Saturday, November 14, 2009

catching up

I know I haven't updated in awhile but I've been busy bringing in the next generation of our little dynasty. LOL! Corbin is the baby landlord and he arrived October 17. Yay!

And in the month between the last update and his arrival, I managed to (despite being forced off work by high blood pressure) get both vacancies filled with good tenants. The ship has been on a fairly even keel since then.

So what better thing to do than make an offer on a decrepit property? I mean, what do most people do when they have a 4-week-old infant, are on mat leave, and a month before Christmas? Ha!

It's a GIANT 5-plex we saw about 3 months ago. It's gorgeous and solid and has all the right updates (plumbing, electric, etc). It also has a busted roof, a flooded vacant unit, and 4 of the worst tenants the city has to offer. He bought it 3 years ago for $255K and is trying sell it for $279K. But he hired a property management company (he lives in toronto) and never visited his property to see what they were doing to the place. It is currently one small step above gang hangout and it is amazing how quickly people can wreck a place.

We need vacant possession (I don't want any of those tenants) and we offered $230K. Now we see how desperate he is.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Busy busy busy

Well, things are going well. The evicted tenants actually, well, evacuated. Without being evicted. Awesome! Strongly worded letters and threats of rent subsidy loss go a long way. They also did not damage the place or leave it filthy. It's grimy, needs a good scrubbing, and they left both a pile of trash on the lawn and about 6 million fleas to kill, but all in all I think it was a success. And as Rob says, NO MORE CHARITY CASES.

Alas, S. at Sanford #3, he of the moving-not-moving saga, is moving again. :) He has a chance to play baseball in New Zealand for 10 months, which is totally awesome and I say GO FOR IT. Do NOT pass that sort of shit up.

I have a really good prospect for his apartment, on phone screening. Here's hoping it's a one and done and I can get these things rented out before baby enters at stage right.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Well, today is September 3! The rowdy tenants at Spadina #1 are supposed to be out by the end of the day. Do you think they will?

I'm feeling a little more confident about it - yesterday when I drove by there was trash on the lawn for pick-up, so they're at least moving stuff OUT. Hopefully that means that they are also moving THEMSELVES out. I should be getting a call today that they've left the keys (hoping).

Then I get to see the state of affairs. Sigh. Here's hoping it's clean and not broken.

In happier news the new tenants are in and happy at Sanford #1 - A&L. R&A moved out before noon, and A&L got in that afternoon with a mailbox key exchange and me at work! It actually went smoothly! I have never pulled that off before. I do have a pile of crap in the driveway to get rid of, but that's a small price to pay.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Well, it has come to that

I served the second notice to my tenants today - their termination date is set as September 3. Two weeks from today. Sigh. I was hoping it wouldn't come to this but I've received nothing but complaints from EVERYONE. Neighbors, both other tenants in the house, blah blah blah. It sucks. So I give up. I gave them a chance and now they've used it up.

So I'm hoping that they just leave, but I bet they don't. They're just stupid enough to try and fight it. I will have to go tomorrow to get a hearing date from the tribunal if I don't hear from them today. Bah. There goes $170. But at least I still have their deposit so I'll get it back, I suppose. And then holdover rent, because most people being evicted do not pay their rent either. And I'm sure they'll behave like church mice too while we're waiting. ACH! This will not go easily.

I hope I get the unit back in good shape. Before I have this baby. Lots of ifs here aren't there? :D


Monday, August 10, 2009

You learn something new every day!

And last Friday, I learned that it would actually be easier to evict someone for being loud/noisy/disruptive to their neighbors in the building than for non-payment of rent! I guess the tribunal doesn't care as much about the "rich landlord" not getting paid - but they do care about people living comfortably.

I've gotten a couple of complaints regarding my young couple with the new baby (P&A at Spadina #1) - lots of fighting and yelling and slamming doors, etc. Normally I just try to smooth this stuff over with both parties until they work it out. OR i prefer to stay completely UNinvolved.

However, last Thursday night/Friday morning, the police were called to the house for a domestic disturbance. UNACCEPTABLE. My upstairs neighbors were the first to tell me about this, and I wrote up the N5 warning. In reading through it (I've never done this before) I realized that they get a 3-week notice with a 7-day notice to cure. If they get a second complaint in the 7 days I can file a court date. If they get a second N5 warning in the next 6 months, they get a 14-day notice with no notice-to-cure. In other words, you're out. They can dispute charges at the hearing, but the judges don't look kindly on rowdies.

I heard from the cross-ways neighbor that they've been causing some issues with all the neighbors, which I don't like. The guy next door to the North is a bit of a dick, but it's still not acceptable to be hearing this crap about them fighting in the street at 4am, yelling and throwing stuff. So I served the notice.

I got a very scared boy calling me about an hour later. He's panicking! And making lots of excuses. I hope this scares him straight and he keeps his mouth shut from now on. We shall see.

How funny would it be to go to a tribunal hearing 9 months pregnant?

Monday, July 20, 2009

New window being cut, yay!

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Honesty is nice

So, on friday afternoon I get a call from R. At Sanford #1. They broke the window in the front door. The big, solid OLD oak door.

Sigh. But you know what? They could easily (it's a triplex, all tenants use the same door) have clammed up and shrugged their shoulders. Especially since they're moving out in 6 weeks! And it's not like I can just not fix it. That's not how it works.

So anyway, since it was a friday and it isn't visible from the street, I booked the guy to come out today to avoid emergency charges. He was supposed to be here at 4. Then they called and said "after 5". It's 6:20 and he's here! With the wrong piece of glas of course. Meh. I just want it fixed. Here's hoping!

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Well, okay, great!

S. at Sanford #3, my adorable single young guy on the third floor, has found a new job! Yay him! So he called me this morning and asked to stay, with just a little help - he won't get paid until the end of the month, so can he use his last months' deposit for July and then pay me an extra $100 a month until he's caught up again?


It is much easier to "work with" a good tenant like him (he's clean, quiet, pays on time, and obviously is responsible enough to deal with a bad situation) than try to find a new one, all for the sake of a last months' rent deposit.

So, phew. I don't have to schlep the 1-bed again. They're hard to rent - lots of unsavouries come look at them because they're so cheap.

BUT. While I was there I talked to A. and R. in the 3-bed. Boo...they're leaving in September. R. got into Mohawk college and they don't have two cars - A. works up in Ancaster. So it's just more convenient for them to be nearer the school. It will be easy to rent the 3-bed, there are none of them around, so I'm not worried about that, I just loved getting their rent by email (early) every month. I never had to bug them EVER and they've kept the place nice.

After that I don't think I'll have anyone leave for awhile. I hope. We are getting dangerously close to baby time, here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A possible interesting venture...

I mentioned in a previous post that we really need to look at expanding our own homestead...whether that means occupying the whole duplex (not ideal - I *LOVE* my upstairs tenants) or moving on to another house for ourselves. Two people in the 1-bedroom flat is fine...two people and a ton of construction tools/supplies in a 1-bed is tight...two people, construction gear, and an infant is manageable. Two adults, construction gear, and a mobile baby is going to be impossible.

The trouble, though, is that all of our financial resources are tied up in the rentals. We can ALWAYS borrow money from SOMEBODY to buy another income property...heck, they pay their own bills! But banks get squicky when we talk about buying a house that doesn't produce on top of what I guess they consider 4 risky investments. What happens when we have problems! ACK! They don't seem to consider the fact that we live WELL below our means and in an average month set aside $1500 for emergencies/savings...and when pressed can manage $2500 a month. Above and beyond our expenses. They don't care. They like that cushion exactly like that. They don't want us spending it on a house just for us.

So...what to do? Rob has come up with a pretty sweet plan, and I hope he actually goes through with it. First, consider that he works for a HOME BUILDER. Someone who, you know, builds houses and sells them to other people. Someone who is rich beyond our wildest dreams ( the really wild dreams I can imagine it). Someone who understands the complexity of home mortgages and lending.

Can you see where I am going with this?

Rob proposes that he do a deal with his boss for him to build us a house (a BRAND NEW, NO RENOVATIONS, THREE BEDROOM MODERN HOUSE! WITH TWO BATHROOMS EVEN - MAYBE *THREE*!!!) and hold the mortgage himself. Obviously there are drawbacks to this plan, but Rob loves this job and the company he works for, he doesn't mind the implication that he will be tied to the company. And we can always refinance later. But the mortgage would not have to be approved by squicky banks, we could set our own terms, and, even better, it would not draw down our lending power unless his boss felt he had to report it to the credit agencies! It would just be a big chunk of equity.

In return, his boss will have a slightly tighter hold on his star engineer, and would be making money on the loan. If we default, it's no skin off his back to cut us loose.

I hope this becomes more of a reality than a late-night discussion.

The economy finally brushes up against us

My slightly dopey but always ideal-tenant young guy has been laid off. This is Sanford #3, the attic 1-bed. It shouldn't be too hard to re-rent, at least. I feel bad for him, he's a great guy! At least he's doing the responsible thing and moving home to take care of things until he finds other work. Still - he's just finished his apprenticeship as a millwright - remember when that was guaranteed employment (and DAMN GOOD pay)?

So I'm off to get it listed and the webpage updated. Hopefully I can get it filled for August 1. He'll be out before that and the place will be spotless, he is an immaculate person. I'm giving him a break on his last month (calling this his last month and not charging him for it, even though it could backfire for me). He's been a good tenant and I don't like to kick people when they're down..

What am I dreading most about this placement? I have to climb 3 flights of stairs to show this place! Ha. This pregnant thing is starting to get in the way.

Friday, July 3, 2009

All full again - and looking?

Well, it's been quiet around here for the last couple of weeks. The settling into the new house seems to have gone off mostly smoothly - a few hitches with fuses but otherwise no problems. The kids with the baby on the way - the first floor at Spadina - are a little high maintenance but I think that they're learning.

It's the 3rd and I've gotten lazy with rent collection. Granted, the 1st was a holiday. I have 2 at Spadina, 1 at Lottridge, and 2 at Sanford. I actually have to pick UP one of the Sanford ones, but I'll do that later when I'm out and about. S. at Sanford #3 won't be back until Monday but he ALWAYS pays on the 5th or 6th and it's fine with me. The big three haven't paid yet - but they've all arranged for today/tonight. Hopefully I don't have to chase anyone. Ugh. I hate that. And then I'm done for another month! Although I was thinking that with 9 rents coming in right now, I should work out some new collection system. It's a 3-day job collecting everyone's rent.

We're still keeping our eyes peeled for another gold mine like Spadina. If we can find something at a good price with zero work required, I am up for it. We have 3.5 months before baby comes, and we could do it! I just don't want to be tapped out. It's just that after baby gets here there won't be any buying for awhile, and interest rates are ALREADY starting to climb back up. Now is buying time, and I feel worried that we're going to miss the boat a bit. Not to mention that the first purchase we make after the baby has to be for us. The 1-bedroom just ain't going to work for more than 6-10 months.

Lots of happenings on the horizon, that's for sure!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

100% occupied, Zero Vacancies

How awesome am I? Hahaha. In 20 days from closing, counting a weekend away, I have three out of three units in the new house rented AND PAID. That's pretty sweet. I love the second floor people (the ones with the restaurant that we and our friends like to go to). The first floor people I'm a little worried about - they're young and I fear that they will be pretty high maintenance if I don't rein them in quick. They just need a little training is all. The last one, the basement, was paid up as of today - he's not moving in until July 1. Works two jobs though, and seems like a good kid. Hopefully we don't have anything weird happen. Two sets of tenants are taking possession on Monday (well, Sunday actually) but the second floor family isn't going to be moving in completely until the next weekend.

NOW it's party time! Yay! We have a bit of a hoedown every time we buy a house, it's fun. Gives us an excuse to entertain. And especially since we don't have a big enough house to have parties here, it's fun for us. We also invite the new tenants (and selected tenants from other houses that we like and deserve an appreciation nod) for a burger and a beer. BBQ and beer and rock band if you're into that - sitting around chatting if you're not. It's a goodwill deal. Plus it makes it tax deductable...shhh...

Rob finally got ahold of someone at the collection agency that we referred my deadbeat ex-tenant to (he owes us about $600) a year ago. They have been incommunicado since then, and I was not exactly happy with their customer service (ie NO service). Well, it turns out that they might be taking him to small claims court? Errr...a phone call about that would have been awesome! So I need to get that sorted out, I'm not paying court costs just so the kid can stiff us some more. Blood from a stone and all that. I just want it on his credit record so if he ever tries to buy a car or house or something he has to settle us up. That will be so satisfying. It's not worth going to the ends of the earth for a lousy 600 bucks, you know? But apparently the collectors will pay the court fees and just add that to the judgement. Heck, if they're up for that, go for it - maybe they'll go after him harder in that case.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

One down two to go!

I got the two-bedroom rented! AND paid! Woot! I like this family, although I may be a bit biased. They own a local restaurant that makes a GREAT breakfast AND they have the most adorable Chinese adopted daughter. they're just hardworking honest people.
I think my six o'clock spot is a no-show. Poo. But I have strong potentials for the 1-bed coming this evening so i'm hopeful there. The basement should go quickly if I market it a bit more intensively. I was concentrating on the big units first.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

At the new house!

I forgot how pretty it is! I really really like this house. There is NOTHING to be done. Well, ok, I need to install one lockset, that's it.
I have a few people showing up tonight to see the units. I hope it goes well.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

The eve of closing day

Well, our first foray into the 30-day close seems to have gone off without a hitch. We signed all the papers at the lawyers' office today (Vince was surprised and happy to see us only a month after the last time we were in there!) and apparently the keys are already there, just waiting for the transfer of funds tomorrow. Yay! It was nice moving so quickly.

I have the units listed but it's a terrible time for that - nobody ever looks at the end of the month. I'll get better traffic next week. At least I hope so! I have to have people in there paying rent by the end of the month. :) I'm not super worried though, I've never had trouble before. We'll see what happens! I've been cruising the ads and it looks like I'm middle ballpark on similar units, which is exactly where I aim to be.

Rob is incapacitated due to his gaping leg wound (dumbass) so I'm extra glad that this is a no-effort property. Just a few small things to get done and we're good to go. I'll have to see if my mom can help with the carpet cleaner because I can't lift that up and down the stairs. Other than that we'll be fine.

Yay house #4!!! Now we're on to the next project for a little while: parenthood. Yikes. That should be interesting. ;)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cutting the floor - subdrain installation

Against my better judgement (ie this is just a job for a pro, honestly) and to save $3000, we are installing the subdrain/weeping system/sump pump at Lottridge ourselves.
Part one was demo which involed ripping down drywall and insulation that had gotten wet, and exposing as much of the walls as we needed to - which is most of it.
Today we rented a fancy-schmancy masonry chop saw at home depot. On a side note - do you think it's a problem when the HD tool rental hit recognizes you by name? Haha. Anyway, the saw is working great on the ceramic tile and the thankfully very thin layer of concrete underneath. It is making one hell of a mess though! Which is why I get to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine in case rob cuts an arm off or something. Pregnant landlords are not terribly helpful when you're blowing clouds of pulverized ceramic around!
Ah well - I think this is as much about getting to use the big saw as it is about being cheap. But being cheap is good too!
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Everything is looking good...

Well, even with a new mortgage broker and a new insurance company, everything is going great. Only 13 days until we close on the new house. Wow! This 30-day close thing is pretty cool. The mortgage conditions have all been met, the insurance company is sending over the binder to the lawyer, and I can't think of anything else. Oh, utilities are all switched.

I've been in it 3 times now (first viewing, inspection, and insurance inspection) and the first love bloom is not washing off. This is a really, really great purchase.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It has been a whirlwind of activity around here lately!

So much so that I haven't even had time to blog about it.

We have been looking since March for house #4. It's a good time to buy: inventory is sitting on the market, sellers are a bit panicky, and prices are soft-ish.

However, in the investment market, at least in OUR target area, NOBODY is selling! The only stuff I'm seeing are properties that have to be sold: foreclosures, deferred maintenance, and poorly managed properties (sometimes all in one). When we looked for Lottridge & Sanford, we quickly saw the available inventory and then were out at new listings two or three times a week. This time we'd be lucky to see one worthwhile listing a week. We were seeing duplexes (not our target) and junkpiles and monster huge things, just to keep looking.

Then finally a breakthrough. Last Monday we got a listing for a little duplex with really nice photos and a super low pricetag. We jumped at seeing it since someone had already been in the first day and said they were considering an offer. It turns out, it's NOT a duplex, but a triplex, and it is immaculate. NOTHING needs to be done. It's vacant, beautiful, and ready to go.

We jumped at it. Made a full-price offer, thinking they were shooting for a bidding war. Besides, at full price, it was still a great deal. Why get greedy? It was accepted the next day! ACK!

Turns out, the selling agent was a bit panicky when he set the price. Everyone keeps talking about the terrible market, and it becomes self-fulfilling. Our offer expired at 11pm, he had 6 more showings that evening he could have squeezed in to see if they'd get a bidding war going (not that we were interested in that). He cancelled them all. When they heard there was a strong offer on the table the other people backed off.

So we bought it, first offer, no write-backs. We've switched mortgage brokers and got our approval for a mortgage the very next day (3.95% people. Fixed. For five effing years. That is truly amazing).

The inspection was today and as expected it went amazingly. The place has been loved. The roof is nearing life span, the furnace was ancient, but the wiring and plumbing are great, the basement is dry, the apartments are spic and span.

Wow. We close May 26. Cross your fingers nothing goes wrong!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mortgage finally closed!


That only took two weeks of wrangling.

Public Service Announcement: If you hire only ONE good professional, make it your lawyer. And I don't even care if the actual lawyer is good, all he does is sit there and sign your papers when you finish everything. Make sure he has the best bulldog legal person (are they techs? I dunno) around. They are worth their weight in gold. That way, it doesn't matter who screws up - if the mortgage company drops the ball, if your broker checks out of the communication pool, if your seller dicks around, if the seller's realtor is a lazy can pass that information to your legal person and they will make it allllll better.

I have heard of people doing these things on their own to save money - doing all their own title searches and stuff and just showing up to get the lawyer to sign. This is very very foolish. There is just something important about a phone call or a nasty email when it has a law office's signature on the bottom.

Robyn is my hero at my lawyer's office. She has smoothed over so many bumps, and we've only made 3 purchases and 2 refinances. She is amazing and this whole thing would be incredibly stressful without her.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mortgage companies

So - we're with firstline mortgages for our primary residence (where we live) and it has come time to renew the mortgage. We've decided to add a HELOC (home equity line of credit) to finance our next purchase. This should not be hard.
I started the process in January - the house was valued at $235K and we only owe $146K, so even at 80% we can pull out about $40K. Nice.
We were supposed to close on April 1. We didn't. I think firstline fired a bunch of staff or something, and now with the rates being ridiculously cheap they're swamped. And service has suffered.
So now it's the 9th tomorrow, we finally got the mess sorted. We thought. Went to sign the papers at the lawyer's office - and it was ALL WRONG!! So mad crazy rush today and it looks like we're fine. We'll see tomorrow I guess.
If this is how they treat a repeat client who has 3 mortgages and has refinanced twice (not all with them, but still), what are they doing to people who don't know what to fight? Our rate was 0.4% too high. That's a lot of money over 5 years.
Anyway, we'll be looking at some more props this weekend. Yay!
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Long time no update!

Phew, it's been awhile! Anyway, not much going on in the world of our little rentals. People are paying, things aren't breaking, and I don't feel like doing all the "extra" work that needs to be done (like waterproofing the basement apartment at Lottridge, sigh). So it's been nice to just sort of let things ride. Yay!

But next week the city's garbage rules begin. One container per household, period. If you put out extra bags or cans, the city will slap a sticker on it and there on the curb it will stay. I thought it was a one-bag rule but thankfully it's a one container rule (135L can, less then 23kg). This should not be that hard for people to manage, especially with the green (food waste and biodegradables) and blue (recyclables) bins being unlimited. BUT - tenants seem to have a different attitude. It'll be interesting. I think my guys will be okay.

But there are a lot of absentee landlords in this city, and I think by July we're going to have a smelly old problem in the lower city. Do you think tenants will haul their bags back inside? Hahaha. And are landlords going to cruise around the day after garbage day and pick up the extras, taking them to the dump? Not many. And in a multi-unit house - if one tenant puts out three bags, what do the other two tenants do? Who's fault is it? Grrr. I don't think the city is prepared for this - there are not many single-family owner-occupied homes in the lower city, when compared with divided multi-unit rentals. I mean, I hope it goes well, but we shall see.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

All quiet on the rental front

I just realized I haven't updated much recently. That's because, thankfully, nothing has been happening. Nothing major anyway.
B. At Lottridge #2 ended up getting his disability settlement like I knew he would and paid up for two months. Yay!
There's been no more tenant distress over at Sanford so either they killed each other or started acting like adults and took their fights outside my house where neighbors won't call the cops.
I have three rents already and waiting on just three more. Which is really nice.
The roof at leinster is done and we have to pay for it in August.
We'll be settling up the refinance at the end of the month and then we'll be on the hunt again for property number 4 and 5. God help us. Haha!
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Fully Occupied again!

Well - almost. Aside from the basement at Lottridge which is not currently habitable. Silly water. Who wants to come smash up a floor and help us install subdrains and a sump pump? Doesn't that sound like fun! Come on!

No? Well, pfft then.

Anyway - Lottridge #2 still hasn't paid for February but my gut is still telling me that he's not lying about waiting on his disability money. And his girlfriend left him as well. That's gotta suck. Once he gets his settlement he's paying me 3 months up front and he figures he'll be back at work after that. Here's hoping. But he's been in touch with me every day and I guess I was feeling charitable. Some people I go after right away (first eviction) because I just can TELL they're lying or hiding. But I don't get that vibe from this kid. Here's hoping I don't regret it!

Lottridge #1 is paid up and lease signed! Yay! I still have to clean the carpets tomorrow - was supposed to do it today but meh. Didn't feel like it. And they're not moving in until next week anyway so they said no biggie.

Other than that things are going pretty good.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We got the re-finance today!

Well - we got our terms anyway. Apparently our house is worth more than we thought, according to the mortgage company. Or they just like to give us money. Which is fine by me. Seven weeks and we'll have a full bank account and be itching to buy another (or two). We are definitely shooting for two this year.

It seems like cheating to keep using our equity to buy more houses, which pay for themselves, so that we can use THEIR equity, to buy more houses, which pay for themselves. The only one we pay for, (and we only pay taxes and utilities) is the one we live in. I know it takes a good income to get started but I just don't see why everyone thinks we're crazy.

Although - it may have something to do with the fact that by this time next year, we will owe various lending institutions somewhere not too shy of a million dollars. HA! At least all those dollars are making us dollars, right? Eep.

I try not to think too hard about that part. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My first book

Ha! Well, maybe. It's possible, right?

I mean, when I was in highschool I wanted to be a writer. But there was a healthy dose of practicality and a good salting of dreading poverty in my personal make-up. Here I was, good at math and science-y stuff, and somebody said "Engineers make good stable incomes!" so off I went. I mean, I could write on the side, but I certainly couldn't make engineering-type wages on the side!

12 years later and my sum total of writing happens in my blogs. Pft. I mean, that's cool and everything but it's not exactly soul-satisfying, you know? And somewhere in the last twelve years I've developed a fairly strong aversion to most fiction. Unless it is incredibly artistic and well-crafted, it just feels like junk food for the brain to me. And one thing I'm good at is self-assessment, and I know I will never be that writer. I'm not an artist, I'm a craftsman. There's a difference. So how can I write stories when my own writing makes me cringe?

Anyway, this post *IS* landlord-related, I promise. Rob has proposed that I write a book about our experiences in property investment. Obviously this would be a long-term project as how the hell can someone with 3 properties and 5 years experience write with authority?! So these are the chapters and title he's proposed:

Title: Minimum = Maximum Profit
"always put down min and eventually you have max"
chapter 1 - tell the story of the vision
chapter 2 - the research, the A word at the book store
chapter 2 - the first buy
chapter 3 - the change in plans
chapter 4 - the spreadsheet to buy or not to buy
chapter 5 - the circle of friends
chapter 6 - replacing people in the circle with better ones
chapter 7 - the long term spreadsheet
chapter 8 - min payments pay off
chapter 9 - max profits
chapter 10 - explaination of a hard road but acheiveable

Book 2 - Minimum costs = Maximum Tenants
chapter 1 - the beginning of the screening process
chapter 2 - the revising of application forms
chapter 3 - where to advertise
chapter 4 - advertise with the times
chapter 5 - etc
end of book - funny stories of your experiences

I think the end of book two would be fairly bulky.

Now obviously this is currently all a pipe dream, but I suppose it is possible. It would be a very personal type book, not dry and legal like most real-estate investment books. A lot of anecdotal information, directed at a Canadian audience, first-person-experience type information. A starter book for people who want to invest but think they can't/don't have the money/are afraid.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chilly turns out that the wimpy cold kids at Lottridge really aren't so wimpy after all! Whoops!
They kept saying "It's really cold in here." and I would check the thermostat - it says 71F. I told them - it's an old house get used to it!
Until I sat here for a bit waiting and you know what? It's effing freezing! What the hell?
So I got my themometer and it's 62F in here. Ack! This is a brand new furnace and I just changed the filter three months ago!
Except I went downstairs to check on it and the damn thing is all screwed up, plugging up the intake. I replaced it again and it's getting warmer already. Whoops.
Moral of the day - not all cold tenants are whiny. Eep
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Oh, and some other stuff...

You know what sucks? $1300 in gas bills. For one month. In December. January is going to be much, much higher. Yikes! At least they're only $38 in the summer. It's coooold this year.

Rob is all gung-ho fired up lately. I don't know what's gotten him all riled up. The accountant at his company has been feeding his ego lately, because he is impressed with our business plan and investment strategy. Which at the moment seems to entail using every last penny of equity and leverage we can find to grow as quickly as possible, and then in five years we'll have critical mass (when the whole kit and caboodle starts replicating itself without too much personal input). Ron, the accountant, has worked with Rob's boss since time immemorial and saw him succeed the same way. He now has 700 rental units clearing $900K in profit per year. PROFIT. And he could have had much more but got involved in land development and speculating instead. Which has also been hugely profitable.

It's scary and dicey and dangerous, but I think we'll make a go of it. Hopefully I can look back at this post in five years and not feel stupid!

Trouble Brewing...

I fucking hope these kids don't burn me. They still owe me a bunch of money towards last months' rent (called Saturday as the chic got laid off last week, which sucks) to say they'll just pay ALL of it this weekend instead of half and half last weekend and this one, as they were planning. Blargh. I've only got $100 of their money as insurance and I hope that's enough. He can afford the rent without her income but still - if they bail Rob is going to have a shit-fit. As am I. Honestly - I had so many good applicants for this place, and these guys are still great, as long as they come through.

If they bail, I quit. ;) I will never rent to another promising young couple again. Unless they have kids and are stuck with each other. I mean it this time.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This job sucks

And the pay is shitty too
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The new tenants have paid their deposit, and are moving in February 15. I think that's the best case scenario for this place. L. is moving out January 31, and he paid a last months' rent deposit, so even though he's bailing on his sixty days notice, I'm only losing half a months' rent. Which actually gives me time to get the carpets cleaned (which they BADLY need - blech) and a couple of small repairs made.

The new tenants, P&H, are pretty good. The caliber of tenant has really gone up since I started doing this 5 years ago (FIVE YEARS!! Holy crap). They are 25 & 36, been living together for nearly 3 years (which almost kinda makes him creepy now that I think of it, LOL), and they both have decent steady jobs that they've been at for awhile. They are very excited about the place and can't wait to move in. I always like that - I feel like I'm giving people a comfortable home to live in. Later I'll be swearing about it when something breaks on a late Saturday night, but for now I feel good about it!

The downstairs tenants at Lottridge, B&H, were a little disappointed. They missed the boat though! Their friends decided on Thursday that they would probably love to live there, but unfortunately for them I had already signed the new tenants. I hope it doesn't cause problems, but honestly I'd rather have them not know each other so well. I don't want my whole house being like a big friends' party house.

The stupid fridge is STILL on the porch at Sanford. The guy that said he was picking it up bailed and nobody told me. So I have to call the scrappers and get that gone. Oh, and the front porch light is out as well. I'm sending Rob to do that one.

Hopefully things will be quiet now for a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I think we have it rented!

Tonight I had two couples show up for their appointments out of three. So all told I was 7 for 8. I think that's the best yet!
I offered it to the good couple from Monday but they never called me back so pft on them. They probably couldn't get the deposit.

So tonight the nice couple from st. Catharine's (no kids two cats) got the place! Well, as soon as they pay their deposit that is. He's 36 and she is 25, they've lived together for 2.5 years and they both have good jobs. Plus they LOVE it! That's my favourite part. I hope they stay awhile.
I hope they pay their deposit so I don't have to do this anymore.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

EVERYONE showed up!

I had five appointments booked for yesterday to show Lottridge #1. I've learned in the past few years to double book - usually only 50% of applicants actually show up, and if you have more than one applicant there at a time, it creates interest and tension.

Anyway, they *all* showed up and it was a madhouse! Ah well. Here are the applicants:

1. Young couple, expectant mother due, like, RIGHT NOW. They've just now figured out that they drafty crummy 1-bedroom place is not suitable for a child and need to move asap. But they have a few conditions. She is on assistance and doesn't want to tell them that her gainfully employed boyfriend is living with her and chipping in. Oh, and could I falsify my rent receipts and rental agreement to show that she pays $700 per month, not $875. Because then they would be suspicious. NEXT.

2. Young family (so very young!) with a 21-month-old little girl, very polite. Mother is not working, recently lost job with plant cutbacks, is going back to college. Father works for his own parents at well-established local autobody shop - good income. They are well-spoken. Moving asap because of problems with other tenants where they currently live.

3. Young family #2 (even younger!) with a 20-month old daughter. Quiet, shy, seem unsure of themselves. Love the place (of course, everyone does). Boyfriend works but they don't make much money, barely enough to cover it. She is also on assistance, not working. She is gone back to school to get her GED. Eventually wants to go to college to be a law clerk. Medium-sized mixed dog.

4. Single dude. No references, no job (student), no visible means of support. NO.

5. Family of 4, children aged 1 & 3. Small jack russell terrier. Seem a bit obnoxious. Want to live there forever. Don't make a lot, and currently going back to renting after selling their house.

I have one more showing tomorrow night to a single father who has his two boys on the weekends.

I like option #2 a lot and called them to tell them so - but they haven't called me back! So I dunno yet. Option 5 looks good on paper, but I just didn't get a great feeling from them. I know I shouldn't go by gut feelings, but I do. I really liked the young kids with their daughter. I hope they come through for me.

We shall see!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It has been 12 hours without an emergency...

Wow! I feel refreshed. Ha! I got the tap fixed this morning. First I went to Lowes since it's closer. The guy there informed me that it's a Delta faucet type that's not made anymore and they don't have any of the cartridges. He sent me to a Plumbing Supply place that was closed. I cannot leave the water off until tomorrow.

I then went to Home Depot, where the plumbing guy took my cartridge, and climbed way high up in the shelves to a box labelled "Delta parts", fished out new cartridge guts to me, and gave them to me NO CHARGE! WOOT! Ten minutes at the house and it was all fixed.

Chris the snow guy came out and did all the houses for $40 again. I think I'm ripping him off.

I'm also getting better at taking pictures of apartments. I took the camera with me since Lottridge #1 looks way better than the website photos showed. I took all new photos and updated the website, I think it's much improved:

Lottridge #1

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Oh my effing god.

This is not even funny. Here I was thinking I'd start a blog and talk about my houses - so I guess my houses have decided to give me something to talk about!

Lottridge #1 called me at 7:30. We were just on our way out to move the old fridge out of Sanford #3. His bathtub tap is frigging Niagara Falls. Turns out it's just a new cartridge (yay cartridge faucets!) but the hardware stores are closed. Yay! So the entire house has no water until about 10 am tomorrow morning. Good stuff.

This is a public service announcement - always install a panel so you can access individual shut offs without tearing out a wall. It is only a matter of time before something dies and you need to turn off the water. It is much easier to turn off the broken line instead of having the whole house off.

Also the inevitable came up. He hasn't got the rent. Sigh. I gave him the grace until today but he just didn't come up with the money. So he's leaving at the end of the month. I loved him as a tenant. But after his daughter moved out in September I knew it was a matter of time. Then closing his business nailed the coffin.


New fridge and it fits! Rob can just quit waiting to say "I told you so" - he was pretty sure I was going to measure wrong.

I do suck at measuring.
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This is where I sit this morning waiting the inevitable "9 til noon" for the fridge delivery
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Friday, January 9, 2009


Just seeing if I can upload from my blackberry
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This house is trying to kill me

Sanford #2 emailed me last night that her fridge was out again. Who knows how long.

So I went this morning and flipped the effing breaker, AGAIN.

But - did S. plug his fridge back into that circuit? I know A. said he needed a breaker flipped again, I have to assume that when S. tripped the one he plugged it back into the old one. Sigh. I hope so! Because if I have to replace TWO fridges Rob is going to have a shit fit. Although it would really piss me off if he did that and didn't tell me it tripped again since he KNOWS that there is someone else's fridge on that circuit. Gawd. Hopefully we get the new fridge in on the weekend and all this will be a thing of the past.

The new door looks good, no frame damage.

Speaking of fridges, someone is coming to take the old one! My free ad on kijiji was basically "It's old, it's breaking down, trips breakers, it's on the 3rd floor and YOU have to remove it." and 3 people wanted it. People will take anything if it's free.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I did it!

I am currently uploading my old LJ landlording posts to here. Yay me!

First post

Well - my first post here anyway! I decided to stop boring the hell out of my LJ friends (all three of them) with landlord posts and actually create a blog about our landlording adventures! I am going to *try* to import my old related LJ posts to blogger - wish me luck!

On to the pertinent business. I got a phone call today from Sanford #1.

HER: "Uh, we're getting a new door."
ME: "...."
HER: "R. got locked out in his underpants when he went to check the mail and nobody else was home. He didn't even have a phone, obviously, so he kicked in the door."
ME: "ACK!"
HER: "Don't worry, we're paying to replace it today, but I wanted to call and tell you and give you a new key for the deadbolt we're going to put on."

You know - never in my life have I ever kicked in a door. I wonder if I could even do it if I tried?

In other news, last week one of the roofers fell through the roof into my upstairs' tenants closet. TADA! Thankfully he wasn't hurt, but we ended up re-drywalling and insulating a 6x8 foot section of ceiling, not to mention washing about 6 loads of laundry for the tenants. And cleaning up gross old insulation.




We were planning out our upcoming year of growth and craziness last night and talking about finances. Hopefully the HELOC on Leinster will go well and we will be able to buy a couple more properties this summer. At least one anyway. And then one for us! More than a 1-bedroom! Yay!

Rob actually said "Why doesn't everybody do this?"

Please refer to above paragraphs to point out the idiocy of this question.

Hence why my own bathroom STILL has and effing plywood floor. At least we bought tiles. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Water Sucks!

Have you noticed that 80% of my house drama has to do with water and it's various issues? :)The basement leak at Lottridge is as feared - foundation drains. Half the drywall is torn out and we have to dig a trench all around the basement, lay weepers and clear stone, install a sump pump, then re-tile and re-drywall the whole place. That should be a BLAST.