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.”