Feels like I'm cheating
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Feels like I'm cheating (by Dee Ann [WI]) Oct 4, 2022 4:40 AM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by Hoosier [IN]) Oct 4, 2022 5:26 AM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by MC [PA]) Oct 4, 2022 6:16 AM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by plenty [MO]) Oct 4, 2022 6:26 AM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Oct 4, 2022 7:31 AM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by S i d [MO]) Oct 4, 2022 8:57 AM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by Roy [AL]) Oct 4, 2022 10:31 AM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by WMH [NC]) Oct 4, 2022 10:33 AM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by AMY [FL]) Oct 4, 2022 6:01 PM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by 6x6 [TN]) Oct 4, 2022 6:43 PM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by Barb [MO]) Oct 4, 2022 7:53 PM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by Still Learning [NH]) Oct 4, 2022 10:33 PM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by MikeA [TX]) Oct 5, 2022 12:04 AM
       Feels like I'm cheating (by Dee Ann [WI]) Oct 5, 2022 10:02 PM

Feels like I'm cheating (by Dee Ann [WI]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 4:40 AM

I'm somewhat jealous of all who've been able to streamline their time, like JASON, i.e. using technology or BRAD with systems in place and ROY with your new phone, to magically reduce your time spent on mundane tasks. Frankly, while trying to get there, I'm frustrated at the time it's taking me to learn the technology and remember it for the next time fast enough to get anything done. No, I'm not getting enough sleep, which isn't helping.

Found out our neighbor is a tech wizard so have hired her to do the watermarks on pics for me. She works 6 days a week so if that doesn't work out, I'm happy to hire one of the hive.

Next, I'd like to find a local part time property manager so we can get away for a vacation or Mr. LL annual trip, you know, to get a life! I may even try the on call service Mr. LL advertises, while we're in town, to see the tenant reaction.

After 40 years of hands on, it feels like I'm cheating. Thoughts?


Feels like I'm cheating (by Hoosier [IN]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 5:26 AM

If you're that "clamped down" that you can't take a vacation, then you're not realizing the freedom you should have from the business. I don't know how many units you have, but do you have so much going on all the time that you can't take a week off? I have taken 7 vacations in a year and been able to manage the business from afar with no issues...and I don't have a property manager.

Make a list of competent contractors, attorney, and other key people...keep this with you while on vacation. Pick the most responsible contractor (let's say for example it's your plumber) and say to him/her..."Frank, I trust you. I'm going on vacation and would like you to be my main contact while I'm gone. I'll give you a list of key contractors, and of course you'll have my cell phone number in any emergency. I'll pay you $100 if nothing comes up, and then I'll add $40/hour for any time you spend dealing with issues." Then somehow "connect" Frank to the tenants...either by providing a list, giving him access to your business email temporarily, or by providing Frank's phone number to the tenants (with his permission). Then he is the main contact...tell the tenants that via an email sent out a week in advance of your departure.

More time saving ideas?

1) Write up some common paragraphs in Microsoft Word that you send out periodically, such as service notifications, lease renewal reminders, "unhook your hose from the hose bib for winter" reminders, late rent notes, and so on. Number them. When you need to send out letters or emails on these items, simply cut and paste them...saves a lot of time.

2) Do the maintenance on all properties on the same day every so many weeks...this may not be possible if you have 40 units.

3) Buy furnace filters in bulk and keep about 6-7 at each property...this should last about a year...saves time shopping for filters. It's funny when I walk out of our local Rural King store with 40 furnace filters lol.

4) If you don't do auto withdrawal of rent...start it! Send out notes saying you're going to start requiring it...and anyone that won't or can't (some people don't have a bank account) will have to start paying a $20/month "inconvenience fee".

5) Keep "kits" in your garage or shed to use during turnovers. I have plastic "bins" that hold most tools and supplies, and they are labeled such as "Plumbing", "Electrical", "Paint", "Drywall", "Cleaning", etc. Then I can load up just the needed kits when doing minor repairs.

6) Make a list of all the common repairs you've done in the past few years and think about ways to reduce or eliminate those things. For example, lots of ice makers going bad? Then stop buying fridges with ice makers or at least put a clause in the lease that ice makers are not guaranteed to work and will be repaired only if tenant agrees to pay 1/2 the cost.

7) Implement some preventive maintenance procedures. Write them down and have your handyman do at each turnover. For example... a) Clean out gutters of leaves b) Trim tree limbs near house c) Inspect roof for damaged shingles d) Drain water heater to remove sediment e) Vacuum out furnace combustion area f) Lubricate door locks and hinges, including garage door g) Put vinegar and ice down disposal to remove odors h) clean food trap inside dishwasher i) Check all interior doors for loose hinges....etc. Have your handyman do this checklist at each house and file it..this will reduce your maintenance time/cost

8) Create a service and repair log, with separate pages or tabs (if using spreadsheet) for each property so you know what was done and on what dates.

9) If you notice that a particular lease clause is commonly broken by tenants in a given year, send a reminder out to ALL tenants about that clause, either clarifying it, reminding about it, or modifying a lease clause to strengthen it

Good luck! --99.92.xxx.xxx

Feels like I'm cheating (by MC [PA]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 6:16 AM

Also realize that you don't have to jump when a T calls with a nonemergency. I do the tech for ours and it is not that hard. Find your system. Most were stop by the house to pay which is fine because they dealt in cash. A few did DD and one or two checks. Zapped the checks with the phone and hit the bank once with cash. Gave me a reason to know the staff. --73.230.xxx.xx

Feels like I'm cheating (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 6:26 AM

Dee Ann, nice! Love it! Start dreaming of where, set the date, make the goal! Ya! --172.56.xx.xxx

Feels like I'm cheating (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 7:31 AM

You might feel like you are the only one out there doing what you are doing but you are not!

You need to find another investor or investor couple that shares your life style and concerns.

While they are on their vacation, cover their rentals. Likewise, when you are bettering your rental business or even just getting away for the weekend - have them look after your places.

Real estate is a tool to give you freedom. If that tool is tying you down, you need to rethink this. I know an issue that my Ex-Wife had was that real estate was a business and she thought that it supplied UNLIMITED freedom (since you are your own boss). Where freedom is provided, she didn't see the flip side - the responsibility side of the house. Then again, she worked at a liberal college for the past 35 years and was devastated when she got laid off for five whole days. You should falling somewhere in between 24/7/365 and 9-5 sprinkled with college fairy dust


Feels like I'm cheating (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 8:57 AM

You're not cheating: you're learning to run a business instead of being a DIYer hobbyist.

I could never have grown past 12 units to where I am today had I stuck with my old DIY attitude. The key, as you have found with your tech whiz guy, is finding the right person(s) for the job.

I made a list of all the major tasks:

1) Standard maintenance (paint, locks, doors, windows, etc).


3) Plumbing & Drain Cleanouts

4) Electrical

5) Cleaning / Turnover

Then I found at least 3 reputable, reliable sources to do each of those and keep them in my phone. Plumber 1, Plumber 2, Plumber 3, etc. When trouble strikes, I go down my list to who can do the job first.

I'm already into tech, and my biggest improvement this year was moving over to Buildium Property Management software, that has taken about 90% of the burden off me to keep up. My lengthy list of spreadsheets has diminished down to just one master list that keeps track of all rents, obligations, and balances so I can forecast cash flow for the month. Takes only a few minutes a week to update. Buildium does the rest of the heavy lifting for sending our Rent Due notices, tracking lease expirations, sending out renewals, etc.

Now when a tenant asks, "How much do I owe with fees?" or "When is my lease up?" or "Can I get a copy of my lease" instead of going to my files, finding their info, and sending it, I just text back my cut and paste reply, "You can see this and a lot of other useful information in your tenant portal."

Done and done!

"Cheating" is business success lingo for outsourcing. You find out where YOU bring the most value and concentrate on THAT task.

Elon Musk doesn't mop the floors in the restrooms at Space-X.

Warren Buffet doesn't repair the ridge in the break room at Berkshire Hathaway.

So why should Dee Ann feel like she's cheating when she delegates those tasks to the folks who are best able to do them while she concentrates on the tasks she is best able to accomplish?

Rootin' for ya!


Feels like I'm cheating (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 10:31 AM

Dee Ann,

I can sympathize with you. The main reason I got a smartphone was because I got tired of telling people "my ancient flip phone will not do that" and you will have to e-mail those photos or PDF word documents to me. I am still a dinosaur but with a smartphone I do not have to advertise it anymore,..LOL. Plus, I do want to start shooting virtual tours like Brad20K does. His VT's are amazing to watch!

A lot of people take vacations because they feel stressed out at their 9-5 jobs and just need an escape. However, when the vacation ends, they go back to the job that stressed them out and get right back on the corporate hamster wheel. Personally, I never feel the need for an escape because I actually ENJOY being a full-time landlord and all of the responsibilities that go with it. I do delegate or try to, most of the mundane tasks that come from my business. Things I can't delegate, I do it myself.

So just chill out and go with the flow. If you put people (tenants) first and money second, you will succeed in this business one way or another,...even if you are a dinosaur with a smartphone like me.


Feels like I'm cheating (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 10:33 AM

Dee, reaching the point where you can delegate and enjoy yourself is the reward for doing your job all these years...it's not cheating, it's WINNING because you played the game right. --50.82.xxx.xxx

Feels like I'm cheating (by AMY [FL]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 6:01 PM

Dee Ann, We all know who is in charge.Just relax and enjoy your life. --99.120.xxx.xxx

Feels like I'm cheating (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 6:43 PM

Good post and tips --73.113.xxx.xxx

Feels like I'm cheating (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 7:53 PM

No need for a property manager, just good subs in place!

I have cleaners 3 deep. Iím not going to waste my time scrubbing their toilet. It can come out of their deposit if they leave a mess.

I have 2 - 3 handymen to call. Plumbers 2-3 deep, HVAC that I can call from anywhere, etc.

Iíve called, emailed or texted my handyman from the beach in St. Maarten, from Venice, Italy, and from Alaska. I have set up a lease with a new traveling medical pro from a hotel room in Ft Lauderdale, and boarded the ship the next morning. I use electronic locks and key lockers when needed.

The goal is freedom! We are spinning up a new 4-plex in the next week. I have one unit rented, Iím showing another on the 15th, and Iím furnishing 2 of the units for medical pros. Iíve got a medical pro planning to move in the 21st. I wonít even be in townÖ. Iím flying to LA for a cruise! We use self check in for our medical pros. It isnít unusual for me to not meet them until a couple of weeks in,and then do everything by text or email.

I do change my own furnace filters. I leave extras, but I change them quarterly or more. Gives me a chance to eyeball the home. --149.76.xxx.xx

Feels like I'm cheating (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Oct 4, 2022 10:33 PM

Can you find a local property management company and negotiate vacation coverage. I just did that. They gave me an hourly rate for providing service. In order to make it not too 1 sided I also negotiated a weekly rate if their services are not needed. I am returning tomorrow from vacation and my sonís wedding. I will happily write a check for $300 to have had the piece of mind that I could have asked them to handle something for me while I celebrated with family. I got 1 text from a tenant asking a question that I dealt with. For me, I will happily pay that several times a year to travel without stress. --198.233.xxx.xxx

Feels like I'm cheating (by MikeA [TX]) Posted on: Oct 5, 2022 12:04 AM

I've had luck finding young couples at church that are looking for a side gig to supplement their income. I made the mistake with the first one to just train them on what I needed done. That was great until they moved a couple of hours away. I'm attempting to get it put down in process documents this go-around. My goal is to get someone to be able to run the day-to-day on the payroll. I'm trying to get to the point where I can schedule a few minutes periodically to check-in, answer questions, and handle only the things that are way out of the ordinary. My own property manager but at hourly wage rates and doing business the way I want. --209.205.xxx.xx

Feels like I'm cheating (by Dee Ann [WI]) Posted on: Oct 5, 2022 10:02 PM

Okay then! LOTS of good ideas here! Thanks for cheering me on; I'm on board.

We used to have a nice list of professional side guys to do plumbing, etc., most of which are retired or have passed.

Along with asking around, I'm going to hang out at a couple of Big Box stores and check there, and I have jotted a few cleaners from Next Door neighbor to try next time around.

I'm so thankful for this group and Mr. LL who has provided my motivation throughout the years. How blessed are we??? --75.11.xx.xx

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