(Shared by landlords nationwide)
A GOOD HANDYMAN IS RARE!
How hard is it to find a good handyman? And if you do, how much do you pay him?
I know that rates can vary across the country. However, what I found intriguing about a discussion that took place on the Mr. Landlord website was the consensus of how there are two basic levels of a handyman and how no matter where in the country you have rentals, you most likely need to pay more for the “second” level of handyman.
For example, the first level handyman you may pay $20 or $25 bucks an hour. However, the first level is usually not insured, licensed, and often does not have the ability to front the cost of supplies. This level of handyman’s honesty and work ethic is not always the highest, and their skill set is limited.
On the other hand, the second level handyman is insured, licensed, and able to pay the cost of supplies up front, more likely has a good work ethic, is a self-starter, has their own truck, complete set of tools, and a higher set of skills.
I bring up this distinction between the two levels of handymen to help reduce the frustration of many landlords who have been pounding their heads thinking that their frustrations are unique when they run into problems with the first level handyman.
In listening to landlords nationwide, I can assure you that landlords everywhere have the same challenges in finding a good handyman, especially when you are only willing to pay 20 bucks (more or less) an hour. My point is stop being frustrated, because what you are looking for is a rare breed (the mythical unicorn if you will). Instead of staying frustrated, either work with the best you can understanding what you have, or be willing to pay more. Most landlords (including myself) are frugal and are only willing to pay so much. However, that can be a blessing or a curse to how much you are ultimately able to grow your portfolio. Of course, you have to be aware that working with uninsured and unlicensed handymen also comes with additional risks on top of frustrations.
BIG COURT VICTORY FOR LANDLORDS IN SEATTLE
There was a landmark Seattle law passed in 2016 that required landlords to rent to the first qualified applicant. The law required landlords to clearly state their rental criteria and then rent to the first applicant who met those criteria. Landlords sued over that law last year. In court a couple of months ago, the landlord’s attorneys argued that rental owners have a constitutional right to choose who they rent their property to. When an attorney for the City of Seattle argued that sort of choice sometimes amounts to exclusion of certain people, the Judge was skeptical. “What the plaintiffs want is a right to choose,” the judge said. “They want to be able to have their gut check that we use all the time in the real world.” The judge, who herself owns a rental property, wrote that choosing a resident is a “fundamental attribute of property ownership.” And the Judge ruled to strike down the landmark Seattle law.
CAN YOU FLUSH A $20 BILL?
New landlords frequently come to our LandlordingAdvice.com forum asking for sage advice on what they need to do to become a wealthy and successful landlord. Well, I like
one piece of advice from a very seasoned and successful landlord, who gave the following response:
“It’s a wonderful idea, to be a property owner in theory. But there is so much to learn, and it’s not for everyone. There are things to know about finding, inspecting, and making an offer to buy. Are you paying too much? What are the tax benefits? How much can you rent out the property for? What are the expenses, costs, and deferred maintenance? Do you have the time and money to manage and maintain the property? I had a party at my house with around 30 guests. They all knew I purchased my first rental at 18 years of age and they all wanted to invest in real estate.
So one by one I took a person into the bathroom and asked them to “flush” down the toilet twenty bucks! None of them would do it! I explained that owning an investment property is like having a child. You have to put out money for every little reason with nothing in return – for many years. If you keep and work a property for 10 years, then it can take care of you for the rest of your life.”
QUICK TIP ON FILLING VACANCIES FASTER
“With the weather getting warmer, grass getting green, now is time to get exterior pictures of your properties, to use them later. I always get a chuckle out of some of my competitors who post pictures with the grass dead, and yard at its worst.” — Missouri Landlord
WALL OF SHAME
I was doing my newest training on Fair Housing for the City of Joliet IL, sponsored with the local Realtors and the local landlord association. At the end of the meeting, one of the landlords came up and shared what he does to encourage new residents to pay all the rent money due. In his office he has a copy of checks he has received from collection companies who have garnished wages from former residents. He even enlarged one of the checks to make it very visible. He has a wall that the checks are on, and calls it his “WALL OF SHAME”. The landlord tells all new residents that they do NOT want to appear on that wall one day.
ONE FREE AD MAY RESULT IN A $20,000 PROFIT
A Facebook success story in the making: An investor put a free ad on Facebook just saying that he was “looking to buy a house that needs work.” A woman who used to work with his wife responded that she had family needing to sell a place due to a death. The family said if the investor paid off the $10,000 mortgage he could have it. They want nothing to do with it. The investor says that he simply plans to fill a 30 yard dumpster and list the property with an agent and thinks he will be able to get about $30,000 as is.
The above tips are shared by regular contributors to the popular MrLandlord.com Q&A forum, by real estate authors and by Jeffrey Taylor, [email protected]. To receive a free sample of Mr. Landlord newsletter, call 1-800-950-2250 or visit their informative Q&A Forum at LandlordingAdvice.com, where you can ask landlording questions and seek the advice of other rental owners 24 hours a day.