Author Topic: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire  (Read 3540 times)

Angel_fire

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My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« on: June 16, 2016, 07:15:24 PM »
As father's day approaches and my dad's 81st birthday looming, I thought it would be nice to post  a tribute to my dad: a veteran, businessman, and landlord extraordinaire.  Please forgive the long-winded post as succinctness is not my forte.

With 46 years of landlording, I have countless stories of what makes him an extraordinary landlord  and am struggling to choose which ones to share.  To this day, I facepalm at how he's relentlessly caring and compassionate  to his tenants.   I stopped uttering "why are you being so nice..?" when I realized it's just his SOP. 

I believe having repairs/emergencies repaired same day/within 24 hours, being on-call/hands on, and being prompt with paperwork makes him a good landlord.  It's what he does and how he treats his tenants that makes him an extraordinaire one.

To put things in context:
 Back in the 70s-early 80s, my parents accumulated rental properties while they owner/operated several business.  They've sold some of the SFH over the years and now have 18 SFH, a home converted to child day care center, and a 4-plex.  All are updated and in excellent condition except for one.  They're located in low-budget neighborhoods populated by retirees and fellow rentals.  Most tenants live pay check to pay check and a few are in the military. Twelve tenants have lived 5-12 yrs in the homes with a few of them relocating to another home (smaller, better location, less rent)

About 10yrs ago, while my mom reluctantly retired, my dad earned his real estate broker licence just to learn and fulfill a goal.  Not long after, he hired Rob, a handy man/carpenter, and started working 10-4pm four/five days a week with him.   Nowadays the schedule is more flexible but Rob still works 25-30 hrs a week.  My dad picks him up (no driver's license) and finds projects for him to do.  Landscaping seems to be the default choice. 

With that, let me expand to share that my dad's devotion to helping the self-employed/small business  has allowed him to be a unique landlord.   Rob, for example, was a down and out master carpenter, virtually unemployable for a variety of reasons.  It took time, but my dad helped Rob become a reliable person with strong work ethics.   They have a close knit working friendship with my dad helping him and his family whenever possible.  Otherwise, my dad's arsenal of repair professionals consists of self-employed people that he's been with for many years to several decades. 

One reason  he's an extraordinary landlord has to do with his tendency to root for the underdogs and helps them whenever he can.  Unfortunately, he loses some cash flow but that doesn't seem to bother him. 
Despite the ability to do so, my dad hasn't raised the rent for six of his long-standing tenants in  5 - 8 years.   I questioned the loss of income the other week and our conversation went something like this:
 Me: Sally's rent is a lot  less than the other two apartments,.., 
Dad: She can barely pay her rent now with losing some waitressing hours
Me: why don't you rent it to someone else then?
Dad (eye roll):Sally takes care of the place and is a really nice person
Me: what about the School St. rental?  It should be rented for more and the tenant has a better job nowadays
Dad: if I raise the rent she might move out
Me:  what about raising it just $50-75 instead? 
Dad: no, Amanda is doing well, really nice and taking care of the house and yard
Me: why not raise it $25?  She could afford it and...
Dad (double eye roll) want some ice cream?  There's some Edy's double chocolate...

I don't understand enough about rental property investments to understand my dad's mindset.  I do, however, know he shows compassion to those seriously struggling to pay rent due to events out of their control.  He's 'hands on' enough to know when it's a good risk for a tenant to pay very late or pay in installments.  He also lenient when it comes to move in/move out dates; giving tenants extra days to make the transition easier.  And he allows some tenants to pay the security deposit in installments.

I've never had a landlord do the following so I think it makes him extraordinary:  He lets tenants borrow fans, heaters (safe ones), furniture and rugs knowing he's not getting them back.  He leaves toilet paper, paper towels, plunger, toilet cleaner brush, pack of shower curtains and hooks, tub mat,  cleaning towels, bathroom cleaner, windex, stove top cleaner and pads, a/c filters, floor runners and mats for the new tenants. And he restocks the a/c filters as needed.  He also sends out Christmas cards and contacts most tenants on their birthdays. 

This post is too long now so I'll end it with some misc examples
1. Tenants were seen taking the air conditioners and fridge as they were moving out.  My dad didn't press charges after the police were called. 
2. The 12 year tenant has been two months behind in rent for over a year 1/2.  Tenant occasionally pays extra but doubtly will ever catch up. 
3. He postponed evicting a family during Christmas holiday and had Rob help them move out.
4. He pays neighbors to watch over vacant rentals and give them dibs on anything valuable left after a move out
5. After screening and meeting prospective tenants, he's very adept at selecting a decent tenant despite the majority of them being high-risk

I have other examples but suffice to share I know he's helped a lot of people who would have had difficulty finding a decent place to live.  For decades now, employees and tenants have let me know how wonderful my dad has been to them.  And I thought it would be nice to share this topic with fellow readers. 
« Last Edit: June 16, 2016, 07:17:25 PM by Angel_fire »

mousebandit

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Re: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2016, 12:48:23 PM »
I think that is amazing!  One of our dreams is to have enough net worth and rentals to be able to help some deserving families in these ways!  What a blessing your dad has been to these families through the years! 

fishnfool

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Re: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2016, 06:43:09 PM »
Your dad is a landlord with a big heart. Hope he has a great father's day!

Angel_fire

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Re: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2016, 04:57:10 AM »
I think that is amazing!  One of our dreams is to have enough net worth and rentals to be able to help some deserving families in these ways!  What a blessing your dad has been to these families through the years!

Thanks mousebandit :)  My dad is awesome and I'm fortunate to have him as my role-model. 
Father's day today so looking forward to spending the day with him and my mom. 

Angel_fire

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Re: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2016, 05:10:32 AM »
Your dad is a landlord with a big heart. Hope he has a great father's day!

Thanks!  Great plans for Father's day and I'm sure he's going to enjoy it.    I bought him a couple of books, his favorite chocolates, a garden flag, and a money tree plant.   I'm looking forward to hanging out with him all day.   And especially looking forward to the breakfast feast we're going to have in a few hours. 

Happy Father's Day everyone!

lifejoy

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Re: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2016, 05:44:58 PM »
Great share. You should show it to your dad! He's an inspiration :)

Secretly Saving

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Re: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2016, 07:48:56 PM »
Great share. You should show it to your dad! He's an inspiration :)

I agree! Share it with him.

clarkfan1979

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Re: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2016, 08:14:26 AM »
I'm usually about $100 under market for my rentals. I usually get a lot of interest and the tenants are usually appreciative because they know that they are getting a deal. I think it's great when it's a win/win.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2016, 09:53:47 AM »
Kudos to your dad.

Having been in the business (but for fewer years than your dad), I've been around long enough to fully appreciate his business strategy, and I agree with it. I'll explain why he does what he does... and it's not just because he's a basically nice guy although I'm sure it helps.

Remember the old story about the magic goose that laid golden eggs, and the greedy person who cut the goose open in order to get more golden eggs, faster? All that happened was that the goose died, and the greedy owner got nothing but a mess and a big pile of goose guts with no gold.

A good tenant is like a goose that lays golden eggs. So long as the goose is healthy and happy with a nice safe nest, she cranks out a fresh golden egg for me on the first of every month in the form of a rent check. If that's enough to cover my operating expenses and provide a respectable profit with little or no hassle, I'm happy with that. Low-maintenance tenants are a breeze, because unless something goes wrong with the property I have very little to do. That means I can accommodate more of them. I need as many golden-egg geese as I can get, and it's worth catering to them a bit to keep them around. Also, like attracts like, and if one of my golden-egg geese brings other friends to rent out my other apartments, every landlord would love to have such a flock.

I don't mean, by this analogy, to degrade my tenants by suggesting that they are somehow equal to farm animals. All humans are animals and that includes me. What I'm intending to say is that a good tenant is valuable in the long term, and that it's important to nourish the business relationship.

If some of the geese in nearby nests appear to be laying golden eggs that are bigger than what my goose can produce, it might be tempting to raise the rent, but only if the goose is capable of laying a bigger egg without spraining something. Frequently, the best tenants are the ones who aren't in a position to leave easily. They don't have the means to afford more luxury, so they find a place where they are reasonably comfortable and happy, hedonic adaptation kicks in, and they making a good life for themselves where they are. This means maintaining the place where they live, because they get emotionally attached to it. It also means valuing their business relationship with me, and doing things to maintain it like paying the rent on time.

Raising the rent past what your tenant can pay basically cuts open the goose that lays the golden egg: you lose the tenant. She leaves the nest, and what I have is an empty nest with no goose in it. It's worse than having diddly-squat: the empty nest costs me money for utilities and property taxes even if there's no mortgage against the property. Can I find a replacement goose? Maybe not right away, especially if I've priced my room, apartment, or house higher than the market will bear. Will the replacement goose lay golden eggs for me? Maybe not. It could also be a noisy, demanding goose who needs lots of care and attention from me or who pecks at the other geese. Or it might be a nasty goose who doesn't lay eggs at all and who just poops in the nest. I don't need a goose like that, but it's the one I may well get if I'm careless with the golden egg layer.

Tenants are not fungible. They are human beings with their own needs, feelings, thoughts, and attachments.

Whether my tenants are happy, healthy, and living in a low stress environment is not just a humanitarian concern. It is vital to my business interests.

Angel_fire

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Re: My Dad: Landlord Extraordinaire
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2016, 04:41:55 PM »
Thanks TheGrimSqueaker for taking the time to share such a wonderfully enlightening post; I appreciate it.