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Wearing too many hats.
Old 04-23-2008, 12:41 PM   #1
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Wearing too many hats.

My wife is due in two weeks with our second child. Our first is 27 months old. Needless to say, my wife has been out of commission for a while.

A quick reminder of myself: I am 34 yo and would like to be able to retire in 3 yrs. I am a civil engineer working for a construction company. I own 3 triplexes.

Most people are try to balance family life and work. I am trying to balance family life, work and my rental business. I throught that I would sacrifice for a few years so that I can enjoy most of my life debt free and financialy independent. But this is taken a toll on me and it is harder now that my wife is pregnant.

Work is work. I work 8:30 to 5, m to f. I do not weekends no more. What I struggle now is my rental business.

Jan. 08) Tenant 01 tells me he lost his job and will be relocating to find work. Tenant 02 did not make her payment.
Feb. 08) Tenant 01 has been with us for 3 years without any problem. However he is not the cleanest guy. He leaves the apartment. I was planning to renovate his apartment anyway.
Tenant 02 just paid Jan 08 rent but behind on Feb. 08 rent.
Tenant 03 is getting back with his girlfriend who they share a kid together. He did not live in his apartment for 3 months. He was making up so many excuss to leave the building. His lease expire Oct. 08. But we aggree to let him leave early. I only did this because he had a son who was less than a year old.
Tenant 04 tells me he wanted to buy my property. Good news.
Mar. 08) Showing apartment (tenant 01)
Tenant 02 still have not paid for Feb. & March
Tenant 04 tells he made an offer to buy another property and is giving notice. So we had to start showing apartment (tenant 04).
Tenant 05 had to repair rotten floor issue in the bathroom. Spend the weekend replacing and redoing the floors.
Tenant 02 had broken water pipe in the shower on the second floor. Had to fix it as it was damaging the ceiling on the ground floor.
Decided to sell one of the apartment ourselves.
Tenant 04 deal to buy another property fell thought but now their place had been leased. Tenant was a good person so we rented our basement to him.
April. 08 Tenant 02 gave her notice, when to court, and will be evicted April 29. Sheriff will be escorting her out. Apparently she was into the crack scene. Oh yeah our water bill was usually around 30-40 month. With her our water bill was about $400. She was charging her "friends" to have their clothes washed.
Still try sell apartment #1.
New tenant 03 complained about the condition left by old tenant. New tenant had a long to do list before they would move in.

My wife did help when we had two showings in two different apartments. I felt guilty letting out of the house since this year we had lots of snow. It was not safe for her to be moving around. But most of the work was by me. This was quite the burden.

Sorry for the rambling. I had to let some steam out. This feels good. Now I have to go back to work. I am leaving early to show the triplex to 4 protential buyer. Hopefully one makes an offer.
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:47 PM   #2
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No problem because everyone needs to vent some times. The reason that you will be able to retire in 3 years at the tender age of 37 is that you're doing about 6 years' worth of work in 3.
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:10 PM   #3
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You'll find landlords on this forum with widely varying outlooks on the effort involved. Some have significant holdings, as you apparently do, but claim the management task is a piece of cake and consider themselves fully (or near fully) retired. Others have small holdings and talk as though taking care of them is a full time, ugly job. And everything in between.

I have no explanation for the differences. Personality? Skill? Location? Types of renters? All of the above?

I do know that landlording is far down on my list of activities to be involved in if I needed to come out of full retirement to make a few bux!

Good luck! And congratulations on your fine family!
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:53 PM   #4
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I would hate to be a landlord - - I am just not cut out for it. I have a hard enough time keeping my own home in good repair.

It does sound like you are juggling a lot!!! Nobody can do everything, so don't feel bad. Also, with a baby due in two weeks you and your wife have a lot on your minds other than renters and their issues. Glad you felt better after venting.
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:32 PM   #5
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Good luck with the sale! It's the only way to turn your real estate asset into more passive investments, which sound like fit your lifestyle better at this time.

If you are too stressed out, would you consider hiring a property manager? They do have services for single-family and duplexes. Just a thought.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:56 AM   #6
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vt, geesh there's only 24 hours in any day! Take a breather!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vt74 View Post
...<snip>... Most people are try to balance family life and work. I am trying to balance family life, work and my rental business. I throught that I would sacrifice for a few years so that I can enjoy most of my life debt free and financialy independent. But this is taken a toll on me and it is harder now that my wife is pregnant. <snip>...
While reading your post, it occurred to me that you are starting to realize you are unable to keep up with the original plans and are feeling guilty for being unable to keep up. Please keep in mind, plans are just that, plans. They should, and do, change over time. Personally, delaying FIRE for a couple of years (you will still be 30-something) is well worth the extra family time you will gain (not to mention the reduction in stress levels).

Enjoy your family, your family (and not work) is what matters most.
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Old 04-24-2008, 11:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vt74 View Post
My wife is due in two weeks with our second child. Our first is 27 months old. Needless to say, my wife has been out of commission for a while.

A quick reminder of myself: I am 34 yo and would like to be able to retire in 3 yrs. I am a civil engineer working for a construction company. I own 3 triplexes.

Most people are try to balance family life and work. I am trying to balance family life, work and my rental business. I throught that I would sacrifice for a few years so that I can enjoy most of my life debt free and financialy independent. But this is taken a toll on me and it is harder now that my wife is pregnant.

Work is work. I work 8:30 to 5, m to f. I do not weekends no more. What I struggle now is my rental busines.
Sheeeech! I could feel your stress coming through on your post

I'm not usually too impressed with somebody coming on and answering, I did it, what's your problem?

I'll make an exception in your case though.

I had two young children and a stay at home wife, in the late 60's. I had a side business, and a few parcels of property, besides a job that required me to be available 7 days a week.

The main difference though, is I didn't have the unrealistic goal of retiring at age 37.(In fact retiring at any age never entered my mind.)

INMHO, I think the above is what's causing you an extra dose of stress.

At age 37, with two small children is not very realistic, unless you have family money that is willing to back you.

With a longer time frame to deal with, you may find that your rental property is not a bad idea.

Good Luck
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Old 04-24-2008, 11:59 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the response. It very nice to have a group of people who is compassionate in our strife to FIRE.

Anyways, yesterday there 4 out of 5 showed up. I was at the property from 3 to 7:30. I did a lot of thinking while waiting around. I am hoping to have an offer from yesterday showing. If not, we decided to stop showing the property. One less head ache.

So my problem is that I like to do all the work myself or I hate spending the money to have someone else do the work if I can do the work myself. So if money is not an issue, I have decided that I will buy time by hiring extra help. This should eliviate some of the stress.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarhead* View Post
Sheeeech! I could feel your stress coming through on your post

I'm not usually too impressed with somebody coming on and answering, I did it, what's your problem?

I'll make an exception in your case though.

I had two young children and a stay at home wife, in the late 60's. I had a side business, and a few parcels of property, besides a job that required me to be available 7 days a week.

The main difference though, is I didn't have the unrealistic goal of retiring at age 37.(In fact retiring at any age never entered my mind.)

INMHO, I think the above is what's causing you an extra dose of stress.

At age 37, with two small children is not very realistic, unless you have family money that is willing to back you.

With a longer time frame to deal with, you may find that your rental property is not a bad idea.

Good Luck
Very candid response that I can somewhat relate to.

It can be very hectic juggling all those things but the most important thing is to be realistic about what one can handle and divide one's time well.
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:34 PM   #10
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VT74,

It does sound like you have a lot of things going at once. I know almost nothing about your situation, but it does sound like there's a lot of stress in your life, and certainly theres a lot of stress in your wife's life right now. Stress is not always a bad thing--it can be very motivating, and exciting in the proper dose. But, too much can lead to health issues, and some damage to relationships that is very difficult to repair. Ironically, the stress can cause us to make poor decisions which take us farther from achieving our goal--which produces still ore stress. A bad cycle.
Unless there is some external factor driving your goal of retiring at 37, you might want to step back and think it through a little. It's possible that by delaying things a little bit you can make some more deliberate decisions that will improve your family's situation overall.

A short story: I was a very motivated young officer when my wife was pregnant with our daughter. It was our first child, and we were very excited. As it turned out, our unit was having a very big exercise/inspection at about the time my wife was due to deliver. Sure enough, my wife went into labor at a very critical time in the exercise, a time I really couldn't afford to be away from the action (especially as I believed the entire world would collapse if I wasn't there to do things---ha!). So, we drove to the hospital and I had one eye on the clock the whole time--"Hey, if she has this baby within the next 4 hours, I can still make it back to give the mass briefing for the exercise." But, when my daughter was born and I held her, and I saw what my wife had gone through, I didn't dive a damn if I ever went back to work. The inspection went fine, and everything was okay. But, if I'd been hit by a car that night, within a year people in the office would have barely remembered who I was. But I'm the only guy who can be a husband and dad in my family, and that job is much more important.

It sounds like you've got your priorities right, and that you want to retire to spend more time with your family. Still, chances are that an extra year or two spent in the harness, with less stress in your home, might be a good tradeoff. After all, when you do quit, you want you relationship with everyone to be strong enough that they'll look forward to having you around.

Just my unsolicited opinion.
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:41 PM   #11
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vt74,

I think hiring some extra help is a good move. What might also help is if you made a list of everything you like and don't like about your rental business, and then work towards hiring out all of those 'don't like' things from the list.

Once you start getting into an exercise like this and really thinking about the situation and breaking the problem down into specific actions you may really surprise yourself at how much you can actually shove off your plate and into the hands of someone else.

Though you may be giving up some $$ today, in the long run, the value that you are building by paying off the units should grow and grow overtime, leaving you a really nice nest egg.

Lastly, you may want to search out other property owners in your city/area and ask them out for coffee to get their opinion on your problem. Perhaps there's a different area of the city with less problems, or a certain service you can hire.

I've not had much problems with my tenants (students living close to the university) but if I was these are some things I would be trying/doing.

Best of luck with #2
Cheers
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