3 Weeks Dealing With Tenants

I’m having fun.

If you are a first time reader, I closed on a four-unit investment property 3 weeks ago.  If you are unfamiliar, please feel free to catch up on what I’ve been up to – One Day; $28,000 & Investment Property: Part 1, Cosmetics.

Going through this process, before and after the closing, I have heard negative stories from numerous people telling me how it’s not worth the time and effort to deal with tenants.

My reaction was and still is – 1) It’s about relationships; everything is; & 2) You must have bought at the wrong price if it’s not worth it.

About relationships.  I’m not telling you to be a push over.  What I’m saying is; listen to them, tell them you understand, but then be firm in your decision-making.

Our rule, rent must be paid by the 7th of each month.  If not, we deliver a 5 day notice that states if we do not receive full payment in 5 days they must be out by the 13th and if they refuse to do so we will see them in court.

Simple communication.

One lady, who received a 5 day notice, gave us $200 on the 10th, but that payment came with a note.  The note talked about how she was the one that took care of the property.  She cleaned it, she shoveled snow, etc, etc.  She also said she wanted to pay the rest of her rent at the very end of the month.

I immediately called her and told her that she knew the deal because she received the five day notice.  I then told her again the exact time frame and what our actions would be if we were not paid in full by the end of the 5 day notice.

I didn’t get heated, I didn’t get mad, I didn’t butt heads.  I simply listened to her and what was going on in her life – she did most of the talking (the less you talk, the more you win) and simply said, “I understand, I am sorry for your situation, but the bank doesn’t let me pay late no matter what is going on in my life.  We need your rent paid in full or else you move out.  If not a court date will be set.”  She said, “Okay, I understand too, I will move out before the 5 days are over.”

She was not upset, she agreed with my response.  Everything comes back to the person who has power and how that person acts.  If I would have made a huge deal out of it, raved and ranted, yelled and argued with her this deal would have dragged out in a courtroom.

That’s my serious story.

A funny story.

The first week we had the property I went to mow and weed-whack since the yard looked awful!  The last time the building was weed-whacked was back in 1974 when the building was constructed

Picture this.  I’m whacking the weeds like crazy.  Going to town.  It’s hot out and I’m sweating – ready to jump in a pool.  Unknown to myself, amongst the weeds; sat a cilantro plant.  Right when I chopped that sucker I knew I hit an herb.  But c’mon man, it was in the middle of weeds, so I really didn’t think it belonged to a tenant.  WRONG!

Two hours later the phone rings.


“Hey man, I pay my rent early and you chop my wives cilantro plant.  Your lawn mowing crew came and it’s gone. That’s our cilantro man, we cook with it.  You killed it. We have to fix this.”

“Well, how much cilantro was there?”

About a 5 second silence.

“Ahhh, 20 to 25 dollars worth.”

“Okay, I’m sorry for chopping up the cilantro plant, I’m sure it will grow back but I will give you some cilantro.  And next year, lets find a different place to use as a ‘garden.’ Okay?”

I like telling the story in person better because I get to use my accent.

i abbreviated the conversation but the man was getting upset.  I could hear it in his voice as he went on but I told him we will take care of the problem and next year we will move his garden so there is no more trouble with this.

Over the last year I have really learned that everything works out better if you stay calm, listen to people, ask questions and before you respond always say, “I understand…”


If You Missed It

If you have missed it, here is our content from the first half of September!

One Day; $28,000

Journey Comes After Start

Eight Months & I

My Memory of September 11

Investment Property: Part 1, Cosmetics

Opportunities Left Unrecognized

Enjoy your Saturday of college football and Sunday of NFL football!!!

Opportunities Left Unrecognized

I write often about opportunities.

Everywhere you go – life is full of opportunities.

It is said, every individual is presented an opportunity of a lifetime once every two weeks.  The problem?  They simply do not recognize it.

The other day while traveling, I was in the airport watching my Packers go 0-1 to the 49ers. While watching I noticed a man, because of his attire, I knew was a University of South Dakota football coach.

As the game was near its end, he got up but before he took off for his gat he started chit-chatting with us, and perhaps, because of my build; he knew I once played football.

He openly offered me a GA (Graduate Assistant) opportunity for next year.  Because of the many projects I am involved in I told him now is not the time (And I believe I would only coach under my former college coach).

He gave me his card and I gave him mine.  He said to stay in touch.

I thought to myself, “Why?  What made him stop by our table, talk to me, and offer me a GA position, on spot, at a decent FCS program; without even knowing me?”

Although I do not see myself becoming a GA anytime soon, I feel there was more to that meeting.  I will be staying in touch with this coach, who knows, it could be one of these unrecognized opportunities.

For the last few years I have learned to keep my antennae up.  Knowing that no matter how hard I focus on it, many opportunities will still go unrecognized, unexplored; but I want to capture as many of them as I can.

Have you ever ran into and started chit-chatting with a stranger?  Probably many times. I am willing to bet, if you asked to stay in touch with half of those people, a great opportunity would have already came out of it.

So I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to stay connected to people who happen to fall into your life at random places, at random times; because that person could be a door opening to your dreams, your purpose for life.

Investment Property: Part 1, Cosmetics

With the recent purchase of a four-unit investment property, I figure now is the time to begin “video blogging.”  Enjoy!

And incase you missed it, check out One Day; $28,000

My Memory of September 11

12 years ago, right now, I was headed to my sixth grade class.  What was about to happen would change The United States; The World, forever.

I remember like it was yesterday.

As I stood in the doorway of my sixth grade class room, my best friend told me his dad was no longer going on his trip to Malaysia.  Naturally I asked him, “How come?”

He had told me that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center’s in New York City.

As a sixth grader, I always remembered seeing the “Twin Towers” on television and in movies; but I did not know what they were called.

Since I didn’t make the connection to the buildings and since our school did not share with us what happened (we had a normal day at school) I never knew just how big of a deal it was until I got home that night.

At the time, I was staying as a guest at a friend’s house.  My parents were in Germany and were actually in the air, about to cross over the Atlantic.

When I saw the planes hitting the buildings and the connection was made, I realized how horrible it was.  I remember how sad I felt for all the people who had immediate family members, other relatives and friends who didn’t make it through the attack.

I also remember feeling scared for my parents because we were unable to get ahold of them.

Once we finally got to talk to them we heard their crazy adventure.

They had left Germany, headed for Chicago, a few hours before the attacks.

A quarter of the way into the flight, my mom looked out her window and noticed something coming out of the wing.  My dad, knowing something was up, simply told her it was water vapor.

A few minutes later the Captain made an announcement stating how they were turning the plane around because three of the four navigational systems they use were not working and that they needed a minimum of two to work to make it across the Atlantic.

Once the plane landed back in Germany, it stayed in the middle of the runway.  Once again the Captain came on the speakers, but this time told the passengers (many were Americans) what had happened in the United States and that America was under attack.

My parents plane was actually suspected of having terrorists on it, and there were thoughts of a bomb on board.  The plane was checked and all the passengers were immediately debriefed.

After another week, being stuck in Germany, they were finally told they had a flight home. Many of the same passengers were on this flight, and they had the same crew members as well.  It was one of the first international flights back into Chicago since 9/11.

One of the crew members recognized my parents from the “turnaround” flight and they began talking.  Apparently, since the “turnaround” plane was warned, in the air, that there were possible terrorists and a bomb on board, the flight crew used broken wine bottles to stand guard at the cockpit.

Everyone remembers where they were, who told them about the events and what they did that day.  The memories are vivid down to every little detail.  Hopefully it is something we never have to deal with again.