Are you changing or complaining?

These last months I have read a lot of grousing from landlords about “bad tenants”. Okay, not everyone should be a landlord–read “My Rentals are making me crazy” from John_in_NC. This is a great thread about growing into something else.

But if you ARE a landlord, what are you doing about your “bad tenants?” I have read that you complaining landlords have responded to your bad tenants by removing closet doors (now they won’t break), painting oak floors (no upkeep), even removing garage doors (no place to hang out).

Unless you have consciously decided: I AM ONLY GOING TO RENT TO THE LOWEST INCOME PEOPLE IN MY TOWN–I think this is wrong-headed. If it is your business plan, okay, good. If you otherwise just keep decreasing the amenities in response to the current tenant, it’s short-sighted.

What about if you STOPPED and analyzed your BEST tenants? Who are they? How can you get more of them?

Let’s just say that you discover that little old Church ladies are your best tenants. They stay. They don’t do drugs or drive-bys. They pay the rent. Now how are you going to keep them? How are you going to get more Church ladies?

This is where you go talk to them, “Miz Jones, you’ve been here a whole year and you have been a great tenant. Is there anything that you need?”

“Oh, you would like some closet doors because your clothes are getting all dusty? Sure, I can do that. Say, I have a vacancy coming up next door–do you have a friend who might like to look at that apartment? I can make it especially nice for her.”

Now you put up ads in the Senior Center and the Church bulletin board. You actively go after those ladies and YOU MAKE THEM HAPPY.

There have been threads here explaining the very best, most appealing paint colors. Colors that sell flippers’ houses! Have you tried painting a wall or two in those colors in your vacant apartments? Or are you still over-spraying that 5-gallon bucket of Landlord Navajo White that marks your unit as humdrum, cheap and ordinary? Boring, unappealing, uninviting, cold? Stuck in a rut?

Landlords, you can offer your tenants only TWO of the THREE–quality housing, quality service, or low prices. Tenants will accept crappy places for low rent. Tenants will pay more for good places. If you upgrade your apartments, one-by-one, you will upgrade your tenant pool. As for me, I’ll give the service and quality for higher rents.

Would I have rented a place with no closet doors, no curtains or blinds, painted Navajo? Only if it was REAL CHEAP. I would rather have paid more for clean, cute, charming, unique.

What about a challenge? Try upgrading and schmoozing your tenants in one small building. Plant grass. Trees! Flowers. Buy a hose. New trash can. Fancy metal house numbers ordered (cheaply enough) from the internet. Paint the mailboxes. Paint the front doors. Fence the yard. Rake the gravel. Look at that building with a critical eye to details. Pick up trash and get it clean.

Do what FDjake and NC John did in marketing a vacant commercial building, only do it to your “bad tenant” building. Put lipstick on that pig. And a nice dress too. It WILL pay off.


The ironic thing about REICLUB is that the 3 people whose contributions have helped me the most have been fdjake, propertymanager and yourself. Go figure!!!
I’m one of the newbies that actually does invest and and enact what I learn here. It does pay off. I have exchanged my deadbeat tenants for great tenants by doing much of what you describe.
Things that attracted my new tenants were:

#1 Exterior cleanliness:

Green and clean!

If the exterior looks like crap, prospective tenants will not even want to look inside.

When I bought the property the front yard was washing onto the street because of a broken retaining wall. There was a 10ft. diameter crater about 1 1/2 feet deep. It was a mess. I repaired and painted the retaining wall, filled in the lawn with some loam and then laid down some sod; instant, perfect lawn!

I Replaced broken exterior doors and painted the new ones white. Replace and paint porch railings and balusters. Painted all exterior trim and railings to match. I also replaced the rusted mailboxes with new ones.

#2 - This is only #2 because if you don’t do #1 you’ll never meet the good tenants!!! Good Tenants don’t want to live next to deadbeats!! Tell them you are looking for quality tenants and will not rent the other units to deadbeats/druggies or other disruptive people. You may have to wait another month to rent the unit but it’s worth it.

#3 My units are updated, clean and neat. I did not spend crazy money on them. Most of the fixtures are low end from Home Depot but look great anyway. However, I don’t cheap out on plumbing fixtures, ie faucets, shower valves or toilets. IMO- Spending 25% more on these items greatly reduces problems down the road.
One huge improvement was removing the carpet and refinishing the 120+ year old hardwood floors. Refinishing the hardwoods cost me 1/2 of what new, cheap carpet was going to. And, they look great!

My old tenants were slobs, never paid on time and were disruptive to the neighbors.
Since I have gotten new tenants, I’ve had people in the neighborhood actually stop me in street to thank me for “cleaning house”.
My new tenants pay on time, keep the place clean, and are respectful to each other.

I recently asked my newest tenant if everything was alright. She said she would really like to see numbers on the house. Are you kidding? That’s it? I never paid attention to such a small detail because that house is the only one on its street. I figured if you found the street, you found the house. It cost me $1.99 and 10 minutes of my time to make her happy. Like in a marriage, it’s the little things that count.


THESE are the types of topics that KEEP me coming back to REICLUB!!!

GREAT JOB Furnished and JP!! :beer :beer

Especially the CHURCH LADY scenerio…This is spot on…Good people ASSOCIATE with other GOOD PEOPLE…Losers hang with losers.

Furnished, One more point I’d like to make: I can’t tell you how much I respect you for still posting here…You take a lot of shots here (and from people who haven’t purchased a CAR on their own never mind investment property!) But you’re TOUGH, you STAY here and continue to contribute VALUABLE SUBJECT MATTER!!

I could CARE LESS what party or political side you associate with…To me it’s like ARGUING over religion…If YOU believe this or that…GREAT!!!
I’m here to LEARN and HELP others…I could care less if you support the green, 2 headed martian liberation party.

What you bring here is OPTIMISM!!! Which in my EXPERIENCE is more VALUABLE than anything else and is SORELY missing from Random Ramblings…

Nice job…As usual Furnished!

The church lady analogy is priceless! Do you know who I rent to? I rent to truck drivers, nurses and correctional officers. NO Section 8 here!
Do you know what having a correctional officer or a cop as a tenant does for a neighborhood?
It’s Unbelievable!!- THE BS STOPS INSTANTLY in the entire neighborhood!! Suddenly, the 16 year old blaring music out of his 1994 Maxima turns it down. The kids in the neighborhood stop using your front yard’s retaining wall as a baseball backstop or hockey goal!

    My tenants work hard and know the value of a dollar. They don't want neighbors who are blaring music at 2 AM because they have to get up and go to work in the morning! My tenants know that I won't put the first person who has a pulse in a unit just to fill it. 
     A good percentage of my tenants are previous homeowners.

They may have lost their houses but they haven’t lost their PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP!! They treat my rentals as if they own them!! Two of my tenants even describe themselves as OCD neat freaks! I’ll take that kind of OCD anyday!
This landlord stuff isn’t so bad when you take out the TRASH! Let the TRASH be another landlords’ problem.


FO, while I do agree that all rentals should be clean and safe, I strongly disagree that all rentals should have closet doors, ceiling fans, garbage disposals, landscaping, etc.

The rental business is about MAKING MONEY! Therefore, a landlord should evaluate the market for each category of rental they have and equip those rentals so that they generate the maximum amount of cash. I have rentals all along the normal rental spectrum - in other words low income to lower-middle income. In Ohio, middle income people own homes. In my low income and Section 8 rentals, it would be absurd to add amenities because these tenants are too dumb to successfully operate them. They consistently tear up closet doors, destroy the carpet, etc. Therefore, to maximize income, this level of rentals has no closet doors, no carpet, no diswasher, etc.

In my nicer rentals, the market demands some of the amenities, so I put in whatever is necessary to maximize cash flow.

Let's just say that you discover that little old Church ladies are your best tenants. They stay. They don't do drugs or drive-bys. They pay the rent. Now how are you going to keep them? How are you going to get more Church ladies?

That SOUNDS nice, but it’s simply not realistic. In the real world, one church lady may be a great tenant and the next church lady could be the tenant from hell. Furthermore, while it’s ok to advertise on the church bulletin board for renters, it is ILLEGAL to discriminate based on religion. If you are successful in filling your units with church ladies and someone notices that - you’re going to have a discrimination suit.

Safe - clean - maximize the cash flow - that’s what I shoot for!

This landlord stuff isn't so bad when you take out the TRASH! Let the TRASH be another landlords' problem.

I couldn’t agree more! SCREEN, SCREEN, SCREEN and never sign a lease longer than one month!


I believe we have 2 REAL EXAMPLES of this WORKING for 2 REAL INVESTORS.

Maybe you could have someone re read the post to you…I believe the point here is IF you provide tenants with NOTHING, you GET NOTHING for tenants. BOTH FO and JP gave specific examples of how INCREASING what they PROVIDED, returned a BETTER Tenant to them.



We all know what YOU’RE doing Mike!!!

Thanks for letting us know what side you’re on!!! :beer


you are obviously not paying attention!

Mike is a section 8 slum lord, who loves section 8 government $ but hates the government that pays him. :rolleyes

I’m not a landlord…wasn’t a good fit for me.

But this guy devotes at least a full chapter to what FO and jfpen are getting at here…

Definately found this book to be valuable.

…just happy that the russell reconstitutions are out!

Here is my game plan for my future in real estate investing.

  1. I find buyers for a firm that sells bulk reo tapes and single cherry picked properties all over the US. I get paid when somebody buys from them that I referred. We also work with another group that specializes in a new type of short sale where the homeowner could still own thier home after the negotiations. I get paid when the house we negotiate sells.

  2. With the money I make from these transactions I am first going to pay ALL of my debts off completely and live as modestly as I can for a while. After building a decent banking account between $20-40,000, I plan on purchasing some rent to own properties that are fairly inexpensive 2-3 bedroom homes. I wanted to rent these homes out to elderly section 8 tennants and young families.

  3. My plan is to buy a many homes as I can get, one right after another. With the rent money I receive I would like to pay off a mortgage with the profits as fast as I can. I would like to own these properties over the course of my lifetime and when it is time for me to retire pass them to my son who I want to show how to run the business.

What do you all think???

Thanks for the information here FO, this little bit of insight is some good information that will benefit folks in this type of investing.

I like your willingness to live modestly in point #2. That will set you up nicely. I had a guy at work ask me a few months ago about how we were able to do all this investing. I told him we purposely bought a house cheaper than what we could actually afford so we would have money to invest (we chose to live BELOW our means). This guy is a rank higher than me and makes a good bit of money more than I do. He chose to pay too much for a house here and admitted that when it was all said and done each month, he didn’t have ANYTHING left over.
As Mike said before, you can’t discriminate against someone based on one of the protected classes. That’s great that you hope to get either elderly sect 8 tenants or young families, but you can’t market the units like that without running the risk of problems. We have several sect 8 tenants. I’ve yet to even see a sect 8 applicant who is elderly. What I’ve seen is anything from 21 yr old single women w/ multiple kids to couples approaching 50.
#3 is good too. There used to be a user on here named Hooch who liked to pay off newly acquired property as quickly as possible. What we’ve experienced with acquisitions and payoff is this: For the past 1.5 yrs, we’ve basically bought one property right after another. If there is any rehab work to be done on these houses, you’re likely going to use a good portion of your rent “profits” on your other houses to help with the rehab costs of the new house. When you get the new house rented, you’ll have the same thing all over again with the next deal you do. So we’ve now built our business up to a reasonable level (for us) and are planning on slowing down on the acquisitions for now. Property asking prices in my area are moving up with no good reason and I’m not going to pay that much for a place just to do a deal. We have a good amount of money left over after our mortgage payments to pay extra on a house. The plan is to start with the smallest mortgage and attack them one at a time so we can collect as many deeds as quickly as possible.

Along the lines of FO’s OP, we try to make our units look as good as we can for what they actually are. Our units are some of the better ones in town based on what applicants and our workers tell us.

Complaining for me, hopefully changing through hours of meditation a day.


Great points.I see so many that when they do make more$$,they spend more,therefore to me they make no change.If you still are in the weekly cycle just on a higher scale,you’re still no better off.I’m personally putting my house up when the market picks up a bit after this black cloud oil gusher is settled.

We make decent money but yet still are in the cycle.So I’m gonna buy a couple of acres and build a small house/shop that I can pay cash for.Then as I buy/sell houses put money into our dream house.SInce I can build it,it should be very reasonable compared to a turnkey.To me it’s like eating ham/cheese for a couple of years so I can eat steak for the rest of mmy life when I want.So many are financing their 2yr steaks for 30+yrs and never get ahead.

Even though I bought this house during a boom,I’m still into it good,at this time I have around $40k equity.But the problem is nothing is selling here,nothing.Out of over a hundred agents in my wife’s office,there was one house sold this week=for $28k!!Better days are ahead though (can’t see it etting worse).Hope your trip to Orange beach was good,checkout Ribs and Reds when you’re there.

“To me it’s like eating ham & cheese for a couple of years so I can eat STEAK the rest of my life.”

Bama…THAT NAILS IT!!! Completely, Totally, 100% NAILS IT!

When you get ready to build that house drop me a line…I can give you some great money saving tips…Maybe we could do it as a new topic here and let everyone see how it goes. I’ve built more houses than I care to remember…Don’t buy into the BS that it’s HARD…IT AIN’T…It’s only HARD if YOU decide to make it hard…Start out with the building DESIGN…BOXES are cheaper to frame than multi roofed architect designed “STATEMENT HOUSES”…there’s a reason 200 year old Colonials STILL look “right” even today. Timeless design doesn’t have to be COMPLICATED DESIGN. This one idea can save you TENS OF THOUSANDS!!!

I can also share some tips with you on getting the best PRICING from your subs.

Keep me posted.

people are turning their backs to the “banksters” and the likes of their 30 year fixed rate products.

look at what recently sold at your local real estate office…a $28k Taj Mahal.

Bernanke has mortgage rates set at historic lows…and it’s still a dead horse.


The HERD is turning their back on 30 year fixed rate mortgages at the EXACT TIME they should be LOADING UP!!! 4.5% for 30 YEARS??? It is NEVER gonna get better than that…EVER!!

Watch what the HERD does in upcoming years…They’ll be WAITING IN LINE to get mortgages at 10% interest!!

This movie gets played OVER and OVER here and yet NOTHING is LEARNED…The GERBILS keep getting on the treadmills at exactly the WRONG TIME!!!

These LESSONS will make you RICH!!


Dang, fdjake, thanks for the pat on the back, but I’m one of the herd as for as the 30-year mortgages.

I’m thinking exactly on the lines of justin0419. I’ve paid off all personal and business debt except mortgages and the credit line. I’ve shrunk my inventory of furnished homes – sold one, and didn’t renew other leased homes.

But three big new suite hotels are opening here in the next few months. I have no idea of how that will directly impact this furnished rental home business.

It would be real nice to have less mortgage debt. My payments are pretty big, as a couple of them were 10-year commercial variable loans. When interests rate go up, and they will eventually, the payments will be even bigger.

The idea of taking on new mortgage debt now, and hitting a 50% vacancy rate…can’t do it.

I’ve gotta be conservative on this debt, even if it ain’t contrarian. There will always be good deals.


Okay, I got the irony… Politically, we are on different ends of that pendulum, which is weighted pretty far to the right on this site. So sometimes, I have to speak up just for a little balance.

As for our landlording methods, I could probably step right in and manage your units, and you mine. I give you applause :bobble for TWO quotes of the week: “When managing rentals, TAKE OUT THE TRASH!” Also, I liked “like in a marriage, it’s the little things that count.” :bobble

Our different landlording styles could make a great script for a movie, were I to handle your places for a month, and you mine, don’cha think?


FURNISHED TENANT phones Mike: “I hate to complain, but I just saw A BUG outside my door, AND my pizza cutter is broken!”
MIKE: ?!#&"XXX!!!

MIKE’S TENANT phones: “Damn! They shootin’ right outside the door!”
FURNISHEDOWNER: “You poor thing! Why don’t I just upgrade you to a better unit?”


I'm thinking exactly on the lines of justin0419. I've paid off all personal and business debt except mortgages and the credit line. I've shrunk my inventory of furnished homes -- sold one, and didn't renew other leased homes.

But three big new suite hotels are opening here in the next few months. I have no idea of how that will directly impact this furnished rental home business.

I think paying off debt is VERY smart. This is not the same cycle that we’ve seen before in the United States - because the big bankers have reached the end game. They’ve successfully stolen a HUGE portion of the country (and the world) and now are intent on destroying our way of life. They want POWER - not money. To get that power, they’ve indebted the governments of the world to the point of being broke. The countries are broke; the states are broke; the cities are broke! Instead of stimulating business and jobs by lowering taxes and cutting regulation - they are DRASTICALLY raising taxes and increasing regulation which they KNOW will make things worse (have I mentioned Cloward and Piven). We are at a tipping point. The parallels to 1930 are clear. The game is up - except the coming depression will be MUCH worse than the 1930’s!

As for your issue with the competition FO, why not just add some typical low income rentals to supplement your Furnished Business? It will be a culture shock, but the money all spends the same.

Great points.I see so many that when they do make more$$,they spend more,therefore to me they make no change.If you still are in the weekly cycle just on a higher scale,you're still no better off.

My sentiments exactly! If you have to work around the clock and keep a 9-5, then what did all that work get you? I guess more digits in a checkbook is a good thing - IF IT’S NOT WIPED COMPLETELY OUT BY THE IDIOTS IN OUR GOVERNMENT! Personally, I’ll take being semi-retired and enjoying life any day of the week.

Mike is a section 8 slum lord, who loves section 8 government $ but hates the government that pays him.

Ridiculous! First of all, I’m certainly not a slumlord. All of my rentals are safe and clean and I am one of only 2 or 3 landlords that pass my Section 8 inspections almost always on the first inspection. Also, I don’t love Section 8 - I think that Section 8 and all other entitlements should be terminated and it wouldn’t affect my occupancy one bit. I’m absolutely certain that if people were given the choice of working or starving - they would work.

Wait, wait, pm, I thought it was the Socialists who were ruining us, but now you say it’s the BANKERS?! :banghead They must be SOCIALIST BANKERS, then, right? No, wait, Bankers are CAPITALISTS…unh…

Having low income rentals is not a bad idea. It has always been the back-up plan. If the market here won’t cover the higher costs of a furnished rental, pull out the furniture, stop the utilities and just go with the market. $400/month units will always rent. I bought all houses with that bottom-line number in mind.

I would rather have more rent though. I would rather get $1200 for a 1-bedroom than $400. And deal with a middle-income working professional than an entry-level tenant.

I like your plan. But are you flexible enough? If you meet someone who says, “Do you want to buy a cheap little house?”, can you shift gears and do it? Quickly?

A couple of years ago I bought a nice, level, utilitied city lot for $400. I wasn’t shopping for one, didn’t want one, couldn’t use one. But that owner needed cash, THAT DAY, and it was only $400. Now I am going to put it up for sale…$2500-$4800 somewhere in that range. A few thousand profit for being flexible and for saying, “Yes, okay, let me go get the cash.” Not a big score, but a score nevertheless.

I am still chewing over the idea of getting rid of debt. As quickly as possible. But I want to keep that edge, that openness towards getting some piece of real estate for a quick profit. I want to have it both ways!


Wait, wait, pm, I thought it was the Socialists who were ruining us, but now you say it's the BANKERS?! They must be SOCIALIST BANKERS, then, right? No, wait, Bankers are CAPITALISTS...unh....

FO, your local banker is a capitalist; the bankers at your regional banks are capitalists; the “bankers” who own and run the member banks of the Federal Reserve are NOT CAPITALISTS! They are thieves! They have STOLEN TRILLIONS of dollars from the American People in the greatest theft in history (as I have repeatedly explained). The Fed creates money out of thin air; loans it to the big banks at near zero percent interest; and then these banks loan it to the treasury at 3% interest. THEFT - PLAIN AND SIMPLE (and unconstitutional, of course).