Property Managers

As of last Monday, we don’t have any tenants in our rental house.

English: Farmhouse at Little Renters Farm This...

English: Farmhouse at Little Renters Farm This farm stands on Beckingham Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That makes me sad.

It makes me sadder that we were too nice and gave them an extra week free to get their stuff moved out.

Now we get the fun job of painting, replacing the linoleum, and probably cleaning the place up to get it ready for new renters that we haven’t found yet.

New renters.

Ick.

Now, we could put an ad on Craigslist and try to find renters ourselves.

Background checks.

Credit checks.

Interviews and walk-throughs.

Then, when we find someone, we’ll be collecting rent and dealing with any whiny issues that come up.

Yuck.

Or….

We can hire a property manager.  The big name property management company in our area charges a $99 set-up fee plus $80 per month.

That covers:

  • Rent collection
  • Coordinating maintenance
  • Accounting
  • All of the other mundane details

If we add on the tenant-finding service, we’ll be paying them one-month’s rent, but they’ll handle the showings, advertising, background checks, and the lease.  And their average tenant placement is 19 days.  Another house in the neighborhood that used them had the house rented in about a week.

That moves our landlording firmly into the passive side-hustle category and all it costs us is (essentially) one and a half month’s rent with the added bonus that we’ll be asking the right amount for rent according to the market, instead of guessing.  Our last tenants were probably paying $300 too little.

I think the property managers are the way to go, but I have absolutely no experience here.

Have any of you used a property manager?  Was it good?  Bad? Hell-on-Earth?

 

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Automatic Oopsie

When I found myself doing an abrupt unemployment tour this month,  the first thing I did was dig into my budget.  I did it so I could see how long it would be before our finances got scary and to see what could be eliminated.

English: A Netflix envelope picture taken by B...

English: A Netflix envelope picture taken by BlueMint. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gah!  So much could be eliminated.

There were things that I’d set up on automatic payments, added to my budget, then ignored.

There were things that I’d signed up for and used, but didn’t get as much enjoyment out of any more.

Example Number 1:  Netflix

We love Netflix.  It gets used every single day.  But the DVDs often sit on the kitchen counter for a month before we get around to watching them.  We clearly don’t need the DVD plan any more.

Example Number 2: Software Subscription

I use some software to track the Google rank of several of my websites.  There is an addon that makes the software work much better.  The addon costs $20 per quarter.   The problem is that I’m not looking at the rankings of these sites any more.  Some of the sites have been shut down, or I’m no longer involved with the clients.  That makes the paid addon a total waste.  I canceled it and told the tracking software to run slower so it would give Google a fit.

Example Number 3: Extra Domains

Hello, my name is Jason and I’m a domain addict.  Seriously, for a while, I was buying domains every time I had a good idea for a website.  Some of them were developed, and some were sketched out and put on hold.   I also bought domains to help with the search engine rankings of the developed websites.   I topped out at about 120 domains.  All of them were on auto-renew.   I’ve been letting them expire, but some didn’t have the auto-renew settings changed, so they (surprise!) renewed automatically.

These are just three examples of several years of development, exploration, and automation of my complicated financial life, and they add up to more than $100 a month essentially wasted.

Here’s what I want you to do.

Right now.

Not “tomorrow”, not “when you get around to it”.

Now.

Pull up your bank statement, your Paypal account and your credit card statements.

Is there anything in there that’s happening every month that you forgot about, don’t need, or don’t even want?

Ax that crap.  Kill it with fire.  Nuke it from orbit. Stop wasting your money.

I’d be willing to bet 99% of everyone has something they are paying for every month that they don’t even want, but either forgot was happening or have just let inertia keep paying the bills.

Be the 1%.

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