country, Design, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Rental Property, Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday

If man owns land,

If man owns land, the land owns him. Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is resounding to me! Owning property is work, and owning rental property is even more work and responsibility. My husband and I have owned and sold many pieces of property. It is a big job.

When you have renters you are responsible for the safety and comfort of your tenant. When they call at 3AM, and the air conditioner isn’t working, you have to answer the phone. It’s not easy, plus you are going to have to pay bills, repairs, and property taxes. As much as people want the rent to be cheap, you are going to have to figure out a profit margin that makes you happy. You’ll have to have money for an emergency, like a leaky roof, heater, or goddess forbid anything more serious.

Flipping each apartment complex was something that I never really imagined doing. I really enjoyed refurbishing the units. Finding the right tiles, carpet, appliances, light fixtures, and paint for each room was fun for me. I also liked interviewing the possible tenants.

One time, when we owned our complex in Oakland, a guy came in right before I had to pick up the kids. I was happy that he showed up for his appointment, but he was bananas. He told me that he was an ambassador of another country, and he even showed me his identification. He told me he loved the place and wanted to offer me cash above the asking rent. Are you kidding me? No, I told him, I have to check your references. He proceeded to get down on the carpet, and started making carpet angels. I asked him, What are you doing? He said…I love this place, I am not leaving. I told him…Sir, I am going to have to ask you to leave. I have an appointment that I need to get to really soon. If you don’t get up off the carpet, I am going to have to call the police. He finally got his butt up off the carpet, and headed out the door.

I have so many stories of from my property rental days. My advice to anyone that is wanting to start buying rental property is “Do your research, and understand that you are not operating a charity, there is a small profit margin if you do it right.”

country, Cucina, farming, food, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Genaolgy, Happiness Project, Photography, Rental Property, Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday

Cesarina XVI

One of the things I told Cesarina was that she was unforgettable. She told me over the years she should have gotten an Oscar for all the things she has been though, and the government of the United States should thank her for contributing so much money to help  it run. We had good times, we had bad times, but we had time together, and maybe that is the lesson in all the lessons I had learned. Family is family, you take them the way you get them. We are all flawed, imperfect human beings that want to be loved by other human beings. We are granted time in this realm for a short period of time. We all may as well make the most of it. Drink fine wine, and listen to those that have something to teach. We may not know in the moment that they are teaching us, that is why we have to listen.

She made me promise to never forget to treat my daughter in law more fair. I promised her, I will treat her more fair, and I will remember that she is another member of the family. I believe Cesarina would be proud of all that we have accomplished! I learned so much about cooking Italian food, real estate, and the real value of family. Thank you, Cesarina, you may have given me so much more than you will ever know. There is a part of you that lives on in your son, and your grandchildren.

It’s never too late for that Oscar! 😉

country, farming, Fountain of Youth, Fruit, Galleria, Happiness Project, Photography, Rental Property, Wine Wednesday, Winery

Finally Done

San Marcos Creek Villa is done, and here are the results of all our hard work…

Design, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Rental Property

Life Update

Sorry, I’ve been such a bad blogger. Life has had me spinning in many different directions. My niece came all the way from Indpls., Indiana to come visit us in California. She is off to college, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. What a wonderful young lady she has become. Since she is wanting to study interior design, I thought it might help her to see what it takes to design a space.

We are about to open our 5,000 square foot house, and make it available to vacationers that are going to stay in Paso Robles, California. Organizing, what we are going to keep in the house, and what is going to go. We opted to get rid of the existing carpet, and the existing furniture. The carpet is neutral color, and we kept the walls white.


I decided to go with a bright, yet calming color for the dining room. The living room, I went with two conversation areas. Each couch makes out to a bed. I still need to take down some of the valence pieces that are in the house. I also need to wash all the bedding, then make the beds. Tomorrow is finishing up the list of items that are still needed to complete this project.

bounty, Collections and Obsessions, Happiness Project, Rental Property, Saturday Special

7 Steps to Buying Rental Property

So, you want to buy rental property. It’s a great investment! What are the steps to buy rental property? My mother in law used to tell me that her father told her…”The roots of the tree are the most important part of the tree. If it is not planted in the soil, it can not thrive. People need property too, and if you invest in land you are inviting in your family.” It sounds better in Italian!

(1) Do your research. Look at, and find what is available in your area. If you are just starting out, a duplex of four flex is a great first rental property.

(2) Know your budget, alright you have looked online, now what? Once you know your budget, you can narrow down what you are going to view. I like to look at the BIG picture, knowing all the rentals allows you to dream big. You’re going to get there!

(3) Now, find a realtor. You don’t have to go with the first one you meet. This is a personal choice that is your choice! I prefer Sothebys, but ask some friends to refer you to someone. If you don’t like that person, you can tell them you want someone else. If you go with a person you don’t like, you’re going to be miserable. This is a big investment, so it should be enjoyable. The agent is suppose to work for YOU! If the agent takes you to the places you want to see, this is a great realtor!

(4) Look at the roof and heater/air.  The two biggest expenses are the roof and the heater/air conditioner. If there is something wrong with the foundation, run away from the house. How old is the roof? Do the shingles look good, is there a sag in the roofing material? How is the heater/air conditioner? When was it serviced? Where is the filter? When was it changed? Other things to look for…Don’t focus on how ugly the place is, cosmetic aspects can get changed, paint, carpet, fixtures, etc, can all get changed!

(5) Don’t get emotional about the rental. Lets say you like this one…Ok, now you are going to need to check the rental market in the neighborhood. What are the average rents in the area? What kind of changes are you going to have to make to get that kind of rent? How much money are you willing to put into it? If it’s in your budget, no roof or air/heater issues, good return on investment. It is time to make an offer. Start off the lowest you can offer that is fair. You can always go up, you won’t be able to go lower. Try to detach from the property, it’s a house. Now, it’s time to make an offer.

(6) Do a professional inspection and a termite inspection.

(7) Be patient while you wait to see if your offer has been accepted. If it has, you are one step closer to having your dream.