Archive | January, 2012

Moving Announcement to Tenants

6 Jan

Our tenants mail their rent checks to our apartment address, so we needed to inform them of our upcoming move. Below is the letter we recently sent:


Month X, YYYY

Hello Name,

We’re moving to a new apartment on January 20th, so please send February 2012 rent payment and beyond to this address instead:

Name Name
123 Address
Apt X
City, ST 12345

Thank you!
[Name]

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Book Review – How to Invest in Rental Properties Without Mortgaging Your Soul

5 Jan

Every now and then I’ll review a different real estate investment book and share its unique perspective.

How to Invest in Rental Properties Without Mortgaging Your Soul was written in 2004 by a woman who owned 34 rental units. She started with a duplex, and expanded to single-family and small apartment complexes. She’s retired now, receives half of her income from rentals, outsources all of her property management, and has a genuine enthuiasm for real estate investing. What she really has is the real estate portfolio I aim to build over the next 20 years. 🙂

Real Estate is An Understandable Investment. The book begins with the top 8 reasons the author owns rental property, and this one resonated with me. Basic research allows the average investor to determine the expenses and expected returns, and to predict the result of your investment with some certainty. The author is discouraged by the whims of the stock market, and is skeptical of stock “experts” who make predictions that may or may not happen. I am reminded of ads that mention gold, unlike stocks, will never be worth zero.  The same can easily be said for rental property; even in the worst of times, people will still need a place to live.

Make a Living, Not a Killing. This phrase perfectly describes a philosophy I follow myself – the belief that a lot of landlords have a miserly approach that creates distrust and undesirable properties. And I think when you have a portfolio of undesirable properties, you’re likely to end up with undesirable tenants. I don’t need to squeeze every penny I can out of the property; it is possible to make improvements and still make a return.

Do Good. The author describes the socially responsible benefits that can be achieved through neighborhood and environmental improvements. It starts getting a little hippie around these sections, diving into “spiritual equity” and “the power to promote healthy communities and a healthy planet.” I would consider it a little extreme at points, like when she’s implying that her ability to lower rents below market rent would help the homeless problem. While I roll my eyes heavily, I do admit that honoring our tenant’s request for a new faucent provided a satisfying sense of giving – so I believe there is some truth to viewing charity as a part of your management style.

The bad: I found a lot of the information overly basic and not specifically relevant to investment properties, covering topics such as: choosing a realtor, saving for a down payment, applying a loan, etc. The good: this book is very inspirational for the first-time investor. It dispels the fears and assumptions that prevent people from moving forward,  and encourages the reader to see the possibilities as possible.

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