Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I’m famous!

Well, not exactly.

I was at Home Depot loading up my van for a project my wife roped me into when a guy walked by pushing a cart. “Hey,” he said. “Aren’t you that greedy landlord?”

Thinking he might be some tenant whom I had to evict, I cautiously looked at him.

“I read your book. The one about being a greedy landlord, so I knew you lived in this area. I’m following you on Facebook now. Your picture’s there.” He shook my hand.

“I’ve been in the business for around 30 years best I can remember. Single-family homes, warehouses, industrial, you name it I’ve owned it. You had a few good ideas that I had never tried.”

“But I gotta disagree with you on one thing.”


“Yeah, the part where you say to stay away from condos. I bought my first one 12 years ago. Now I have 15. My wife and I are getting up in years, and we travel quite a bit, so it’s worked out ok. I’ve learned a few lessons along the way, though.”

“I’d love to hear them.”

“I study the HOA documents, including the financials. Boring as hell but important to know what you’re getting into, especially regarding renting out a unit. Then I talk to the sellers to find out how easy it is to get along with the board. But you can’t always believe them.

“I walk or ride my bicycle around the neighborhood. Better than driving around in my truck. Let’s you see the place up close and personal. How well do they maintain the common grounds, the pool area, parking lot? How well do the other owners take care of their places? Are fences falling down? Stuff like that.

“Then if I actually buy the place, I volunteer for the board. Or at the least I show up for the board meetings so I can speak up if they try to sneak something in about rentals. 

"What I’m saying is that the way our area is developing if you eliminate HOAs entirely, you could be missing out on some nice rentals.”

We said our goodbyes, and I thanked him again for reading my book.

While driving home I thought about what he had said ...

Just about all the new homes in our area have HOAs. And I’m always open to an opinion that’s different from mine … after all, that’s what makes a market. But I’ve had the most success with older single-family homes in working-class neighborhoods. So for now I’ll stick to my Rule #4 and avoid condos and HOAs.

For more ideas on buying and managing rental properties, pick up a copy of What You Must Know BEFORE Becoming a Greedy Landlord. It’s available from Barnes & Noble, Booklocker, iTunes, and kobo. You can also order it in paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon.