Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Voice of Wisdom on Investment Property

That's the new roof on the garage of our lovely rental home in Washington State. Looks great doesn't it? Yea, but there is this problem ...

My friend Lisa has a very intelligent father who has been in the business of developing property his entire life. And Fred is about to turn 91 in October, his entire life has encompassed a great deal. When Lisa told him the on-going fantastic tales of the trials my sister and I have been having with our slums, I mean, our rental property in the Great Northwest, like the Great Buddha, Fred spoke one maxim: "Never own investment property more than an hour's drive from your house."

In our last episode of our Adventures of The Rental Property That Ate Our Savings, my sister and I had fired the property manager whom we felt had been ripping off our father for twenty years. That was even before we saw the disreputable state into which the property had fallen.

In August, we flew to Pine Cone City to meet the new manager we had hired, both almost had heart attacks when we saw the property. Recovered and began to hire people to make the appropriate repairs and flew home, feeling we were on our way to new heights of safe, sane, fair, responsible and intelligent landlordship.


Our new manager just arranged for us to put a new roof on one of the houses, where it appeared the roof on the garage and the house might collapse with the first heavy snow up there. (And it snows up there very heavily each winter.) And instead of making things better, we have already made them worse! Our manager, as luck would have it, hired an unlicensed contractor, who installed an illegal roof without a permit!

I know this, because the inspector from Pine Cone City just called me and said if we didn't make things right we would be subject to fines and probably be sent to prison for life.

I called my sister and conceded defeat.

"How would you feel about calling a realtor and putting these turkeys up for sale?" I asked, knowing how pathetic the sales prospects are in this horrible market.

"I was hoping you would say that," she said. "How soon can we start?"

The moral of our story is that the "property management business" seems to be a euphemism for "stealing money from people who own investment property more than an hour's drive from their homes."

Finding an honest property manager is apparently even harder than finding an honest politician, or an ethical investment banker. Or a Republican journalist.

So I just want you to know that I can make you a very good deal on two lovely, but slightly derelict homes in Pine Cone City, Washington. Fixer-uppers. Handyman specials. All discounts apply. Owners must sell because they are having nervous breakdowns.

Gotta go. Police are at the door with a Code Enforcement Warrant ...

But your honor, how was I to know the Fly-By-Night Roofing Co. had a bad reputation?

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Jon said...

Investment property can be more than an hours drive away. A nice rental in Hawaii sounds nice. You would need to fly there every quarter to check it out (as a business deduction). LOL

The good news is that low priced homes should still sell pretty quickly. When you said you had trouble with the roof work, I was thinking the weight of the new shingles demolished the whole structure.

Robin Chapman said...

Gosh, wouldn't that be a wonderful prospect!

D said...

Ohh this makes me so steamed to hear. I still know people... dangerous, stealthy people. I can make a few phone calls.

Robin Chapman said...

It is a pretty small bump in the road. William Ashley Chapman got what he needed out of these houses and now we just need to get out of this thing , since the people who run these companies are all such crooks! Now I know why I used to do all these reports on famous people who were slum landlords. "This just in!!!" They turned their property over to a manager, and, trusted the guy. Whoa. That was dumb.