Author Topic: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences  (Read 13970 times)

Mattamatics

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Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« on: February 16, 2012, 11:06:54 AM »
Hello All,

I really enjoy reading other people’s experiences with land-lording, or reading about their real-estate empires (or plans for) so I figured I’d write about mine so far. (Hopefully others will write in their own threads their experiences/ or empires as well – I look forward to reading them…)

Quick Background: 27y/o in London Ontario.

In January 2010 I purchased my own principal residence (was previously a poorly run student rental) Since then have been renting out 2-4 bedrooms for between $600-1400mo, probably averaging around 800mo) Operating costs (including all utilities, property taxes, mortgage, ins, cbl & internet, small r&m approx 1500-1700mo. (About 550 of this is principal repayment – have about 15 years left on this mortgage)


Student Rental#1
May 2010, purchased student rental property with two friends, near Fanshawe College. Very desirable neighbourhood (for Students)purchase price 239K, 20% down, variable mortgage at P-.35. (approx 12 year old home)

2010 Results: (8mo period) Gross Rents, $22,000 ; R&M 700 Monthly Expenses (including utilities, insurance, prop tax, & interest) 10,800. NI approx 10.5K; ea 3.5K. CF approx 5.5K.

2011 Results: (full year – estimate, haven’t completed my book keeping yet to get exact #’s) Gross Rents, $34,000 ; R&M 4,000 Monthly Expenses (including utilities, insurance, prop tax, & interest) 15,000. NI approx 15K; ea 5K. CF approx 5K. Note: R&M includes 2K for central air unit (there had not been one there before) Also R&M includes approx 1K in unusual R&M explained in post below.


Student Rental#2
April 2011, purchased student rental property with two friends, near Fanshawe College. Very desirable neighbourhood (for Students)purchase price 215K, 20% down, variable mortgage at P-.75. (approx 13 year old home) Same street as Student Rental#1 (prices had decreased approx 2-5% since our purchase of#1)

2011 Results: (9mo period) Gross Rents, $22K (vacant one month) ; R&M 1.5K Monthly Expenses (including utilities, insurance, prop tax, & interest) 10,000. NI approx 12K; ea 4K. CF approx 7K.


Student Rental#3
Currently in process of purchasing student rental property with two friends, near Fanshawe College. Very desirable neighbourhood (for Students)purchase price 194K, 20% down, fixed 5 year mortgage at 3%. (approx 15 year old home); Different street than other 2 student rentals but same neighbourhood. Houses on this street rent for between 425-450 a bedroom; where #1 & #2’s street houses rent for 450-500 a bedroom.

2012: Anticipated gross rents of 28-30K a year; NI of 13K a year, 4.3K ea, and CF of 6K a year.

Mattamatics

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 11:10:49 AM »
Student Rental#1

Overall are experiences have been good, the first group of students we had were overall good 5 guys 1 girl. Though the girl caused us some problems – This is what the other tenants tell us happened:

Had a fight with boyfriend, kicked in bathroom door which he had locked himself in (ruining door); proceeded to argue further then took a hammer and broke several other doors in the house (including main door and frame – though in her defences the students had already been rather hard on it) we ended up spending approx  1K in doors and a day installing/hanging them. Still trying to recoup some of this cost from her/her parents… (likelihood < 1%)

 As well we learnt that it is significantly cheap to install a central air unit (2K) with install than it is to have tenants secretly bring in window units (which lease forbids) and then claim they never use them.  As well they damage the window and loose or break the screen…

Also that it’s important to inspect property regularly. Our first group of students just left garbage to pile up in the garage, and then would refuse to take it out on garbage day. We ended up borrowing a pick up and making two trips to the dump (approx 40 “contractor” garbage bags). Not a big deal though it did kill most of the day for two of us. 

Overall though this house has been profitable (surpassing expectations) and only limited headaches/ work. – Work consists of maybe 40hrs total to clean up/ show and rent the house (which happens close to yearly due to nature of the students being tenants) and then only a couple hours a month to cut grass/small maintenance etc.

Student Rental#2

Has been very uneventful so far. (except for the weekend the tenants moved in)
Group of 6 girls, one of which had a very demanding mother who claimed the house was disgusting and unlivable. My partner and I had been there two days before and spent the whole day cleaning… What happened was:

4 of the girls moved in on a Friday (we had cleaned on the Thursday)they threw a party Friday night… By the looks of it they and their guests had a lot of fun at this party. Saturday before the other two girls moved in they cleaned up the cups/empties but not the floors/kitchen. When the one mother saw it she completely freaked out and screamed at me over the phone (literally 2-3mins of nonstop hollering). I tied to explain that the house was clean before move in and that we had photos of it, but she didn’t care… Demanded I come to the property immediately and fix everything (during the party one of the bedroom doors had been ripped down and a bathroom door broken.) I told her I couldn’t make it right away (in order to allow her to cool down) when I arrived at the house the mother had left. I discussed with the girls how the house had been clean/all doors functional Friday morning they agreed but told me they were scared to deal with this mother (including the daughter who’s mother it was) So I ended up just replacing the doors to keep the peace and told them they had to stand up to the mother/explain why the house wasn’t clean. (as the mother was coming back on Sunday to ensure that everything was up to her standards) End result I earned a ton of good will with the tenants they haven’t complained about anything since, and were very understanding/helpful when it came time for us to show the house to potential tenants.

Lesson learned have tenants sign a form on move in that the house is in an acceptable condition and clean.

Though I don’t think this mother would have cared about it anyways – On Sunday the mother was complaining that the previous tenant had left his old couches (per request of the girls) and how disgusting they were… Finally one girl stood up and said if we don’t have the couches where are we going to sit? – they had no other furniture in the living room, mother’s rebuttal was I don’t care it’s to disgusting to sit on (all this while one of their friends was passed out on said couch – and looking quite comfortable)


Overall though it’s been enjoyable and profitable experience. As well it’s allowed me to learn several new skills I wouldn’t have otherwise known/or likely learnt. (FYI: Learning to patch drywall is very important if you’re going to be a student landlord)

loading

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2012, 04:29:16 PM »
Thanks for sharing your story! Really interesting.

Could you just post a definition for all those acronyms? Not sure what EA/CF mean. Other than that, it's great to hear how well your investments are doing!

arebelspy

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 05:11:32 PM »
Thanks for sharing your story! Really interesting.

Could you just post a definition for all those acronyms? Not sure what EA/CF mean. Other than that, it's great to hear how well your investments are doing!

I read them as Each / Cashflow.

Thanks for the stories.  Sounds like you're doing awesome! 

I'm curious about an IRR for all of them combined, taking account your initial purchase costs, ongoing costs and revenues.  Have you run those numbers?
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Sparafusile

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 05:21:31 PM »
Great stuff, keep it coming. I'm with "loading", I didn't understand much of the money stuff due to the short hand. Can you use the table feature of this forum and give us a spreadsheet view of all the pertinent stuff? I know it's a lot to ask, but I, and I'm sure many others, are interested in learning in earnest and it would help a great deal. Thanks again, I hope to hear more stories.

richinlondon

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2012, 07:13:26 PM »
Thanks for sharing your story! Really interesting.

Could you just post a definition for all those acronyms? Not sure what EA/CF mean. Other than that, it's great to hear how well your investments are doing!

Yeah, I'm curious to understand your figures as well but I personally don't get your acronyms. Perhaps you could post up with a key so that we can figure them out? :-)

Mattamatics

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2012, 09:04:36 AM »
Hi,

Sorry about that,
NI=Net Income;
EA was simply each partners share of the net income (I just thought it important that I reinterate that, to keep my share of the properties/investment in perspective, seeing how I only have a 1/3 interest)
CF= is just the cashflow from the property (so NI - CF = Principal repayments on the mortgage) we're aggressively paying off the mortgage (at current rate, amortization period of under 15 years; obviously it'll end up being longer due to the interest rates being variable (and it's unlikely we'll see interest rates this low for 15 years straight - but one can dream)
R&M is repairs and maintenace, I just sepereated this from other expenses as it is more variable in nature than other expenses. (also due to the age of the homes - under 20years R&M is likely lower than most would expect on a student rental)

I'll look into doing an IRR and uploading spreadsheets (likely be next weekend)

Hope that helps
Thanks

Passed Doo

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 12:27:24 PM »
You seem to be doing Good Work ! Congratulations.

Here's some Food for thought on what can happen when great prep - pre-sale work either goes wrong or?

I felt this article was a great precautionary read for those interested in getting started.

Interesting read: 

http://survivalblog.com/2012/02/living-through-the-real-estate-crash-and-bankruptcy-by-brad-c.html

Careful, Fellow M's.

Many Lessons here. 

The World CAN be a very brutal place. . .

Ask Why this happened, and then What would YOU have done differently... Be Honest, it's the only way to learn.

Happy President's Day, both Dead and Alive (pun intended).

Make Money, Be Happy !

arebelspy

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 11:21:45 AM »
Over leveraging is a bad thing.

Using negative leverage, rather than positive. Being cash flow negative. All bad things.

That guy made mistakes. But there's no great lesson besides don't buy overpriced assets, or they aren't actually assets at all.

Paying cash for a rental instead of 25% down for 4 rentals will just slow down your path to FI. But if it lets you sleep at night, then you should pay cash.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

StaceStache

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 12:19:03 PM »
I'm in your boat, Matt. Right now I'm paying down my home aggressively, and then want to save up cash for my next rental. Though I'm toying with just saving the 20% downpayment, because it will take a lot longer to save up for the whole thing in cash. I guess I'm struggling with the risk of leveraging 4 properties at 25%. Would like to hear more input on this subject.

richinlondon

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 03:22:47 PM »
"Paying cash for a rental instead of 25% down for 4 rentals will just slow down your path to FI. But if it lets you sleep at night, then you should pay cash."

I think I like the simplicity and security of the 100% down approach.  I've got 2 years of payments left on my primary residence and plan to live in it debt free while we save for our next primary residence.  The plan is to then rent it out and continue to save for an additional rental property with the funds from our normal jobs and the rental income.

Can you sell me on the 25% x 4 property option?  Would the cash flow not wash out because of the mortgage payments on the four versus the one paid for? thanks

I think part of it may depend on where you live. In some jurisdictions (I can only speak of the UK personally as I'm not overly familiar with other tax laws), for tax purposes you can write off mortgage interest against rental income, which means you have a smaller tax bill, thus you can eventually grow your portfolio more quickly. Slowly but surely, if / when the capital grows sufficiently in your investment (due to property price increases), you can remortgage the property and take your initial investment money out of the deal, whilst still controlling the asset. Thus you get a rental return on the property even though none of your own money is in the deal. Something for nothing so to speak. The money you take out of the deal you can then use elsewhere on other deals. But as others have said, it's important not to overleverage yourself!

arebelspy

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 03:50:07 PM »
Can you sell me on the 25% x 4 property option?  Would the cash flow not wash out because of the mortgage payments on the four versus the one paid for? thanks

Sure!  Without making it overly complicated, let's use some round numbers and a simple example.

100k purchase prices of homes.  You have 100k (and let's say some change for emergencies, etc.. a cash cushion above that, which you'd want if purchasing a rental).  You can put 25% down on 4 houses (25k each x 4 = 100k) vs. 100% down on one house (100k x 1 = 100k).  Houses rent for $1200.

Let's compare the two scenarios.

We'll use the 50% rule, which was discussed in an MMM blog before, which I can go into more detail if necessary, but basically it says that of your gross rent, about 50% will go towards vacancy, repairs, long term capital maintenance, property management, property taxes, insurance, etc.  The rest is profit or for paying down a mortgage.

Scenario 1: 100% down, no mortgage payment.  You cashflow is $600/month, or $7,200/yr.

Total for scenario 1: $7,200

Scenario 2: 25% down, 30 year mortgage.

At current rates of 5% (current owner occupied is about 3.75%, investor is 5%), your mortgage payment will be $402.62 principal and interest.  1200 rent - 600 to 50% rule - 402.62 to mortgage = 197.38/mo cashflow per house, or $2368.56/yr.  Times 4 houses = 9474.24

Already you're making an extra 2 grand per year.

But wait, we are also paying down that mortgage.  Year 1, your tenants pay down $1,012.19 per house of mortgage, or an extra $4048.76 that you gain in equity.

Total for scenario 2: $13,523

So you make almost double in terms of equity gain + cashflow by having mortgages.

That's assuming no appreciation.  If the house appreciates, you gain 4X as much appreciation.  If it drops, GREAT, buy more houses!  If you aren't buying places where the rents more than cover the expenses + mortgages, don't buy them.  Who cares what the "value" is if you're holding long term.  Even if you lose your job, you can cover the payments because the renters themselves more than cover the payments!

So great, you get more appreciation.  I personally don't think we'll see any appreciation in years.  But if you're holding them for 10-20 years, you sure will see some appreciation.  I guarantee housing prices won't stay at 2012 levels for 20 years.

But that's also counting having someone managing all those properties for you (that's counted in the 50% rule).  If you want a side-gig as a landlord, you can save yourself an extra $120/mo on scenario one, or $1440/yr.  But if you landlord in scenario 2, you'll gain an extra $5,760/year.  Yes, you'll have 4x the work (managing 4 houses vs one), but you have that choice - let them be managed and pay for that, or manage yourself and pick up a few extra bucks than you can in scenario 1.

On top of that, you ALSO get mortgage interest write-off.  So on top of 2 grand more cashflow, 4 grand principal paydown, 4x appreciation potential, you can write off some of that cashflow.  PLUS you'll have 4X the depreciation, sheltering all that cashflow and perhaps protecting some of your W2 income from your normal job.

Still think paying cash is better?  It might be.  Like I said above: "Paying cash for a rental instead of 25% down for 4 rentals will just slow down your path to FI. But if it lets you sleep at night, then you should pay cash."

Note 1: my numbers are more conservative, not just to make my case.  Many, including MMM, think they can beat the 50% rule on expenses.  And many investors won't buy a house for 100k that only rents for 1200, or 1.2%/mo., they want higher, like 2%.  Using actual numbers investors get, the case is even better for leverage.

Oh, I also didn't mention the fact that the principal payoff grows each month, as the amount towards principal vs interest increases.  By year 10, you're getting $7259.56 in principal payoff (as opposed to the $4,048.76 in year 1).  Oh, and I also didn't mention the fact that rents rise.  4 rents rising is much better than 1 rent rising, especially because your mortgage payment won't rise.  There's two more reasons why leverage is better.

Note 2: I did mention, not sure if it was in this thread or another one, that over leverage is bad.  Negative leverage, putting you in a cashflow negative situation, can ruin you.  Purchase smart, count on no appreciation or rising rents ever, and make sure the numbers still work.  Then be happy when you do get rising rents and appreciation, as a bonus.
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arebelspy

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 06:01:21 PM »
Thank you for the compelling and detailed arguments.  I have some things to consider.  Since this will be our first time land lording I want the security of having it paid for this go around but, when our mustaches grow a little thicker borrowing may be an option.

I'm fairly new to this blog and forum and I am absolutely hooked! thanks again guys/gals

Fair enough.  You could always consider a balance as well, getting only a 50% mortgage and 50% down.  Then you get many of the benefits I listed, accelerated financial independence, and lessened risk.

Oh, and I forgot another benefit: you don't have to wait to invest until you have the whole amount (100k in our example).  You can buy one once you hit the 25 (or 50) percent down, then buy the next when you hit that, etc., allowing you to start earning returns earlier and scaling up faster.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

fire

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2012, 10:46:43 PM »
The dollar disciple blog just had a good article about the advantages of financing a real estate purchase vs. paying cash for it.  He seems to cover the bases pretty well in it.  http://dollardisciple.com/rental-property-financing-or-please-dont-pay-cash/

arebelspy

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2012, 06:45:00 AM »
The dollar disciple blog just had a good article about the advantages of financing a real estate purchase vs. paying cash for it.  He seems to cover the bases pretty well in it.  http://dollardisciple.com/rental-property-financing-or-please-dont-pay-cash/

So many things wrong with that article.  His NOI accounted for taxes and insurance.  That's it.  Your property is never vacant?  Never needs repairs, or capital expenditures?  Property management (and even if you manage yourself, that's not return on money, that's a separate job, so still should be taken out of NOI)?  You can guarantee you'll never have a tenant that doesn't pay?  How about utilities?  Tenants often pay stuff like electricity and water, but many places make sewer the responsibility of the owner. 

His NOI is just so inaccurate as to be amazing.  The 50% rule is a much better rule of thumb, but really digging into each property's specifics is the best way to do it.  Not ignoring all those costs.

Then later he counts "unrealized capital gains" -- putting in a few grand of work doesn't immediately pay off double, for one, it just sold to you for 60k, and you put in 18k, and now it'll sell for 100?  Unlikely.  BUT, even if true, he discounts all selling costs!  You're going to have seller's fees, likely paying a realtor, holding costs, etc.  You can't immediately sell for the full price and have no costs. 

The point of the article is true - leverage can provide a greater return at a greater risk.  That's what it does.  But please, ignore all the numbers he used.  They're flat out wrong.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Dollar D

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2012, 09:45:12 AM »
So many things wrong with that article.
I want to start off by saying thanks for reading and I appreciate your opinion. :)

You're right: my analysis was very simplified. I didn't account for vacancy, maintenance, and other costs. I'll attempt to explain them one by one.

One of my (perhaps unstated) assumptions was that by putting $18,000 into the property when you bought it, your maintenance would be very low. This has been the case in my limited experience with landlording. My strategy isn't to hold them long term, it's to take the money and reinvest it into apartments so I don't expect to make any large capital improvements either.

Vacancy can be severely reduced by your management style. If you have a good tenant they will notify you within 30 days that they are leaving. If you are a good landlord, you'll know ahead of time, perhaps a few months. If you're a really good property manager, you can have another tenant lined up to move in within a week or two of the old one moving out. Obviously this probably won't be the case if you hire property manager: vacancy is your problem, not theirs, and a lot of property management contracts actually encourage turn over since the manager makes more money from a new tenant than a renewing one.

In our area, tenants pay for all utilities so I didn't include that in my analysis.

If I were trying to rely on this income to pay my bills, I absolutely would reserve some of it for maintenance and vacancy, which I stated in another post (but neglected to mention in this one). But I disagree about including vacancy as an expense unless you are trying to compare real estate to some other form of investment.

Personally, I don't buy into the 50% rule or the 2% rule but to each his/her own. I don't think that rent and expenses are as strongly correlated as the 50% rule implies. It does make creating examples easier though. Each property is different and so is each real estate market.

Regarding the unrealized capital gain: One of the assumptions in the article is that you're buying a distressed property. Clearly it is distressed because it needs 18k in work. I stated that the market price for that property was 100k. Why do you think that one wouldn't be able to get market price if it were in near-mint condition?

You're right that I also left off the selling costs. I'll go back and update the post to include a mention of that.

AGAIN: I want to say thanks for reading and I appreciate your criticism. The point of the article was that leverage is a powerful tool so I'm glad that came across.

arebelspy

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Re: Mattamatic's Investment Properties & Experiences
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2012, 11:26:11 AM »
Thanks for commenting Dollar D.

One of my (perhaps unstated) assumptions was that by putting $18,000 into the property when you bought it, your maintenance would be very low.

Putting in that money gets it up to shape.  But you'll still have maintenance, just due to normal wear and tear.  Roofs wear out, appliances break, etc.  Maintenance doesn't go to $0 just because you get a distressed property in rentable shape at the beginning.

Vacancy can be severely reduced by your management style.

While I don't disagree that you might be able to improve on your area's average vacancy, no vacancy, ever, is just unrealistic.

My strategy isn't to hold them long term, it's to take the money and reinvest it into apartments so I don't expect to make any large capital improvements either.

Ah see, that makes a big difference.  If you're more or less flipping them (or buying for the short term and 1031 exchanging them very quickly after only a year or two), then you may not have any capital expenditures beyond the initial rehabbing.  My post was based on a longer term buy and hold (3+ years).  You should state that in the article, that your article is based on the assumption of fast sale, IMO, because otherwise the numbers can be misleading.

In our area, tenants pay for all utilities so I didn't include that in my analysis.

If you're looking into apartments, you'll sure want to include it, because even if they pay utilities, you'll still have lighting for common areas, trash removal, etc.  You shouldn't ignore it, even if you count it as $0 in a particular analysis of a single property.

If I were trying to rely on this income to pay my bills, I absolutely would reserve some of it for maintenance and vacancy, which I stated in another post (but neglected to mention in this one).

Why would you count it if depending on it for income, but not when doing an analysis on the investment or comparing different options (such as mortgage vs cash, in this article)?  It should be counted regardless of if you are depending on it for income to pay bills or taking the money and spending it on hookers and blow.

But I disagree about including vacancy as an expense unless you are trying to compare real estate to some other form of investment.

Well no, it's not an "expense" persay, but it WILL affect your NOI, simply because to get NOI you take your gross rental income and subtracted the expenses.  It actually comes out before you subtract the expenses.  It should absolutely be counted, because it will lower your NOI, expense or not.

Personally, I don't buy into the 50% rule or the 2% rule but to each his/her own. I don't think that rent and expenses are as strongly correlated as the 50% rule implies. It does make creating examples easier though. Each property is different and so is each real estate market.

It's merely a rule of thumb to start with, every property will need its own calculations.  Nevertheless, historical data has shown that properties trend toward 50 percent of their gross rent going to vacancy, maintenance, capital expenditures, taxes, insurance, property management, etc.

Regarding the unrealized capital gain: One of the assumptions in the article is that you're buying a distressed property. Clearly it is distressed because it needs 18k in work. I stated that the market price for that property was 100k. Why do you think that one wouldn't be able to get market price if it were in near-mint condition?

I think that if you're buying it for 60, putting 18 into it (making 78), it's unlikely the market value is 100k.  But fine, maybe you found an amazing deal.  I won't argue that scenario is impossible, just unlikely.

You're right that I also left off the selling costs. I'll go back and update the post to include a mention of that.

Cool.

AGAIN: I want to say thanks for reading and I appreciate your criticism. The point of the article was that leverage is a powerful tool so I'm glad that came across.

I agree, and I agree with the vast majority of the article.  Just had to nitpick on a few details.  ;)

Thanks for addressing the concerns.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.