Sell or rent our current place? Also, landlord horror stories

posted 9 months ago in The Lounge
Post # 16
Member
9325 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

sweet844 :  

Ugh.  We’ve been landlords on several properties.  Never, ever again.  We thought we were safe using local management companies, they robbed us blind with rent skimming and over charging us for unnecessary repairs made by buddies of theirs, and lousy screening.

Worst idea we ever had, we lost tons of money.  These were SFRs, well maintained, in an area of SoCal where rentals were in extremely high demand and we could never keep tenants in them.

And of course, they were constantly being being trashed.  Oh, and be aware—people lie about being smokers.  They also lie about pets being housebroken (we’re dog people, so we did allow pets with extra deposits).  Oddly enough, our best tenants bred mastiffs.  We knew they had mastiffs, not that they were breeders.  Fortunately, they didn’t leave a mess.

Post # 17
Member
1884 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

I’m a serial renter,  but TBH,  I’d never be a landlord.  As a renter,  I definitely prefer to work with a person Vs company.  I’ve had good luck with landlords.  The water heater was old when I moved it,  and after aonth, it stopped working. He must have been expecting it because he came over that same day and replaced it with a new one. I’m really going to miss living here, but I finally gave my notice this morning to let him know I’d be moving out May 1 since the wedding is May 4 and I’ll just stay with my parents the week before the wedding since we’ll have family in town that whole week.

That said,  I just hear too many horror stories to want to be a landlord unless I wanted to keep the house for some reason,  butbdidnt want to live there.   Like if me and fi quit our jobs to join to RV hordes(i love to dream), we’d definitely keep the house and rent it out with family taking care of repairs and rent collection,  stuff like that.  If I was just moving to another house,  I’d just sell. 

Post # 18
Member
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

I have been contemplating the same thing and after reading these stories I think I’ve decided to sell my house when Fiance and I buy our own!

Post # 19
Member
1707 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

sweet844 :  Hi there…current landlord here in Massachusetts. I own a two family. The thing is, when you have tenants, there is no butts. You have to fix it. If the toilet upstairs on the second floor leaks into the first floor because the second floor tenant ‘didnt know’ it was leaking and you have to pay $900 to have a new toilet put in, and $1400 for wall damage, guess who pays for it, right then? You do. 

If the fence falls down after a hard winter. Guess who has to pay for it? You do. 

If the washer pipe falls out of the sewer pipe in the basement and you can’t get there and have to pay a plumber 3.5 HRS labor to find the problem, guess who pays for it? That’s right again. You do. 

Your “take home” isn’t legit. At the end of the year, you can take all of the above mentioned expenses out. And you have to keep track of everything or you get screwed on taxes.

You are responsbile for snow removal in most cases and the upkeep of the yard. 

You are responsible for still paying your mortgage on time if your tenant pays a couple days late. 

You are responsible for following all the laws in your state that apply to being a landlord. Which means if you have a sh*tty tenant, you can’t just kick them out. For example, in Massachusetts, you have to evict a tenant before the first of the month and they have 30 days to vacate. And then if they don’t leave, you have to go to court and get a court order to have them removed. Which. Gets. Dragged. Through the Courts. Talk about Legal Fees $$.

There is a lot more to being a landlord (a good landlord) then just finding a tenant and collecting a check.

There are also a lot of laws that protect tenants and you really should at the very least be aware of them. 

I’m not trying to scare you, just give you the reality that being a landlord is not a cake walk. It can be great if you are a good people person and can detect good or bad tenants and if you are blessed with good tenants.

You have to pay the water bill, that’s another bill. So if you have someone who wants to have them, their husband, two adult children, and 3 pets in the house- you still legally have to accetpt an application from them or you could be sued for discrimination. 

You have to have a solid lease. 

It’s doable. I do it. But it’s not without headaches (see toilet leaking example at top). 

If it were me, I would sell, wipe my hands of it and move on. UNLESS you are going to rent to friends or friends of a friend. They will be less likely to screw you but that would be to keep the house and the lights on, not to make a real profit. 

Just my two cents- good luck to you in your decision making!

 

Post # 20
Member
7995 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Renting it out sounds like a nice deal, but there are so many variables where things can go wrong. I rented out my house in the past and was lucky to have great tenants, but the first management company I used was horrible. I did not have peace of mind. You just need one bad experience to wipe out all the benefit. Plus, your taxes get more complicated with that extra income. 

That said, my parents have rented out their little house in SoCal for more than 20 years now, and that’s done great (knock on wood). Their former neighbor sort of acts as a local contact property manager person. 

Post # 21
Member
399 posts
Helper bee

blueskiessmiling :  I was on the fence on this too, now I dont want to rent! We are going to have to relocate only after 4 years in the house due to a job location change, so we wont be making that much (if anything) on the sell when its all said and done. I just cant handle all of these stories!

Post # 22
Member
8774 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

sweet844 :  I have been a landlord for over 15 years and it is how I have made most of my money but…….. the but is I do it as a business in that I have many properties.

If you are going into it thinking your one house is going to make you money every month then you are wrong. Having a single rental property is about the property and it’s appreciation rather than the rent money. You will make your money down the track when you sell the property if you have chosen wisely (and if the property market doesn’t crash).

Renters are a 50/50 bet. They can be good and they can be bad, just like landlords. You just have to go into it with the knowledge that you might get screwed and accept that fact. If you think you will be emotional about it (like how could they do that to my house *sob*) then I would advise against it. If you have an emotional connection to the property then I would advise you not to do it. Most renters will not treat your home in the same manner that you would. To them the property is part of a service they are paying you for, which is why you can get 2am calls about a light bulb.

I suggest you read any and everything relating to tenancy law for your area and find out what recourse you have against bad tenants and what sort of costs are associated with dealing with bad tenants. Then weigh up if it is worth the stress.

I have had some awesome tenants who care for the home like it was their own. I have had good tenants who understood that some things take time to fix and left the property as they found it. I have had ok tenants who leave the house dirty. And I have had terrible tenants that trash the place and do more damage than their bond covers. One house we had tenants evicted (which took nearly a year) and they stripped the copper pipes from the house so the place was trashed which was a shame as it was a historical property which we had restored. But those tenants were great on paper and had excellent references from real estate agencies. 

But it hasn’t put me off being a landlord because it makes me money in the long run.

Post # 23
Member
9325 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

avprobeauty :  

Yup.  Being a landlord means having a sizeable chunk of cash in reserve.  Do not count on tenant rent money to pay for anything.  It’s too unreliable.

You are so right.  If something breaks, you gotta fix it.

And excellent advice about becoming well versed in your state’s landlord-tenant laws.  Counties and cities also may have their own statutes.  Courts can be brutal on landlords who claim ignorance of the law.

Post # 24
Member
445 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

As a landlord, I would actually be very wary of leasing to friends or people you know. I found it very difficult having to constantly ask my friend to pay rent. I knew she was going through a very tough time financially, but I had a mortgage to pay! She also didn’t keep the house, or leave the house, to an acceptable level of cleanliness.

I have found things much easier paying for a management company to look after everything. I deliberately chose one that had an excellent reputation, even though they cost a lot more than most others. To me the piece of mind is worth the money.

Post # 25
Member
1846 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I’m about to start renting my house. I live in a college town and it’s a perfect house for graduate students. I wouldn’t be able to make much of a profit selling it (maybe $20k more than I bought it for), and we want to stay in our town long-term, so renting and having someone else pay my mortgage seems like the obvious choice. 

That said, I think the most important part is choosing the right tenants! Obviously it’s hard to know if they’re gonna be fuckers who wreck the place, but you can take a stab at it. My renters are two married PhD students and teachers, and they have a 3-year-old. I’m hopeful they won’t shit on the floors like PP’s. 

Post # 26
Member
1093 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

As a current tenant I agree that a landlord can make the difference, however having a deposit in a secure place is the law in Scotland, plus a short term tenancy is pretty normal.

we had great references and dogs when we moved here, sadly our landlord is pants and it takes forever to get things fixed – and I mean months of constant texting and bothering her to move. This house is paid off and they used the money to buy a boat … it took a year to get legal requirements for wiring done so it was fire safe.

its a bit of a nightmare as a tenant, however I text her when there’s things wrong because it’s NOT my house and I think it’s insane to let things fester and not get repaired as it’s doing damage to her investment long term 

Post # 27
Member
1707 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

sassy411 :  its sad how many landlords dont know the laws and its the renter who ends up being hurt. I have had so many bad landlords in my life so I try to do my best to work with my tenants and do right by them.

Post # 29
Member
1637 posts
Bumble bee

avprobeauty :  for what it’s worth MA has more tenant friendly laws than like….anywhere. in a lot of other locales the laws are more landlord friendly. 

Post # 30
Member
9325 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

sweet844 :  

We did not go into the landlord business as real estate noobs.  We had been buying and selling for some time and we still lost a lot of money.

Also consider we lived in the same city as our rentals, so we could spot impending doom before it got even worse.  Absentee lanlordism is the worst.  And courts do not take kindly to landlords who do not monitor their real estate.  Always plan on spending time in court if you’re a landlord, either evicting or being sued.

My advice:  keep it local and marry a burly, intimidating contractor. 

 

Leave a comment


Find Amazing Vendors