Real Estate Investing: The first renter

Part Three of the Real Estate Chronicle

The property manager has already well earned the first fee.

The property came with legacy renters. At first it was a bonus to buy into a property with existing rent coming in and they seemed like decent people at the first meeting. It also meant that I didn’t have to go out of pocket to make sure the place was move in ready: no cleaning crew, no equipment purchases or replacements.

Later, we discovered they were … well, kind of jerks.

Apparently the sale came as a surprise to them, but rather than discussing any concerns with me or my representatives during the sale and closing process, they shut them out and then became unreasonable when it was time to sign a new contract and pay the rent.

It seems that they felt entitled to having their alleged agreement with the previous owner honored (nothing existed in writing, mind you) without having discussed it with us at any point. They insisted that the previous owner was about to let them out of the lease and go month to month instead. Aside from how unlikely that is, their belligerence and rudeness destroyed any initial goodwill they might have traded on. Since they decided to insult the staff, I decided that if I had to abide by their existing lease as a term of the purchase, so do they.

The property manager gets to deal with their jerkitude each month until the lease runs out and I suspect we’ll be plenty happy to look for new renters at that point. We’ll do full background checks, and of course the lease policy will be quite clear.

At this point, I’m thrilled that I spent the money to have management services; it means I won’t be dealing with sullen faces, nasty attitudes, and having to personally chase them for rent each month.

Aside from that, the last thing I need to be adding to my plate is any version of the 3 am “there’s a leak and the pipes burst” sort of calls, so I made sure to hire management that takes care of everything, 24 hours.

So far…

I’ll have my hands full handling the financial aspects of this new venture, and I’m feeling a lot better about the whole thing now that we’ve weathered the first few bumps in the road.

I should probably wait at least six to twelve months before diving into more investments, but if this continues to work out pretty well, there may be another one on the horizon. This whole thing DID go much more smoothly than expected though, so I am tempering my enthusiasm. Just in case.

Read Part One

Read Part Two

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A Funny sort of day

Funny about Money, that is. I swear VH does more in a day than I do in some weeks but every so often, I find myself channeling her.

This was my version, recently….

1. Wake late for the second time. Having gone to sleep around 2-3 am after working too late, fail to appreciate Seamus’s charming morning check-in around 6:30 or 7 wherein he confirms I’m here and alive. I notice this is a thing that’s never concerned Doggle. PiC thankfully does their morning routine and I get a lick more sleep.

2. Rouse to give dogs their morning meds.

3. Swipe myself into some semblence of order and hygiene. Set down to work.

4. Check all the emails, clear out the FYI stuff that I cannot unsubscribe from but rarely read. Can’t filter because some subject lines are too similar.

5. Start a load of laundry.

6. Answer newbie questions.

7. Load the dishwasher. Ponder as my technique, not having grown up running a dishwasher, is still evolving. Recently had a long conversation with Anne of Unique Gifter about her technique and fabulous dishwasher. We haven’t had a successful, totally clean load for a few rounds now and I’m questioning everything: is the detergent crapped out? Is it my loading? Is it the washer? (I still think it’s me..)

8. Review the pile of stuff I have to check and approve.

9. Remember I haven’t eaten breakfast. It’s noon. Throw together something like a quesadilla; wave at Doggle who, whenever he’s saved part of his breakfast, will eat with me.

10. Cram food in my mouth as I clear more emails.

11. Start second load of wash.

12. Frantically run to a doctor’s appointment, find out it’ll take no less than an hour. Goody.

13. Get home and dive back into work, juggling Swagbucks on the side.

14. Remember that I haven’t finished booking parts of our upcoming trip and take a break to get that done.

15. Synapses connect and realize that the first load of wash was super heavy because it was still too wet, not because I was weak with hunger. Drag it back out and toss it in for an extra spin. Thankful we have an extra spin option and that I didn’t start the dryer while I let that puzzle simmer.

16. Seamus still needs a sitter for a while and we’ve struck out with half a dozen possibilities and another half a dozen options never answered. Not impressed with DogVacay at this point but neither am I thrilled about (or even mildly happy with) kennel options.

17. Start to stress out big time. Have a vent on Twitter to a couple friends for ten minutes to blow off steam, then buckle back down.

18. Read all the fine print of booking train tickets. Way too much silliness to do with times and delivery options. Everyone should let us print at home or view the email on phone screen as standard options that don’t cost extra!!

19. Post-booking, comb through TripIt itinerary to delete the last bits of my last mistake: booked a hotel near a train station but wrong train station. And then wrong date. Luckily hotel reservations are the easiest thing to cancel or rebook as long as you remember to actually do it.

20. Start to breathe, stop again as I dive back answering newbie emails and my own projects.

21. Resurface briefly to throw dinner ingredients in the oven. Thank whatever that while I joke that PiC has to eat what I make, he’s actually quite happy to. He supplements my baked chicken breasts topped with sliced onions, tomatoes and lemon with a garlic onion green bean concoction. Was that with butter? I can’t tell. It was great but a touch salty, mine was good but a touch dry. I could really go for a steak right now. Baked potato on the side. Cooked by someone not me.

22. Back to work.

23. Oh but stop and translate a menu. As a favor to PiC whose hands were already full with related organizing, I took over arranging a dinner for a horde of people. But the menu required translation first and in doing so, I culled most of it, making an executive decision we’d have a set menu with few choices and those would be whatever I could translate. Kick the whole multi-course list to PiC for approval and mentally plan to make up a survey to collect orders tomorrow.

24. Back to work and Swagbucks. This is all meant to fund some ongoing expenses we have and alleviate the pinch on our cash flow. Since I’m in front of the computer anyway, most days I can eke out some points without too much distraction. Other days I let it distract me from buckling down which isn’t good.

25. Drag all the dry laundry out and shake it out on the guest bed. PiC will be a good soul and actually make up the bed later.

26. Fold and store the dog towels, hang the guest towels. Things are coming together.

27. More work. Fight with Amazon for an hour for being stupid and stealing my gift card money weeks before shipping my subscribe and save items. What’s up with that?? Hugely annoyed.

28. Write up some more guidelines for people who’ll need them. Realize I could work straight through the next morning but then I’d be all discombobulated for Seamus’s vet appointment.

I keep thinking that if I power through just one or two more days, it’ll all come together but that’s starting to sound like a load of hooey. Serves me right bringing home Seamus! Among other things…

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Nopalito, San Francisco


We had a bad experience at Nopalito some time ago, not being seated at all or called for our table after THREE hours of waiting (2 of which were on the phone in wait list), and were pretty grumpy about it.  A complaint yielded some results so we decided to give them another shot.

The wait staff this time around were great: attentive, helpful, and genuinely nice. I don’t know if we’ll ever risk dinner with them again but a weekday lunch worked really well.  Everything was amazing, and I think we could make a meal of any variety of appetizers.

I thought I was just ordering fancy chips and dip with the Totopos con Chile but nope. SUPER fancy, very filling, very generous serving.

Had my doubts about the brown paper wrapped Carnitas for about a split second, then I smelled it. Then I tasted it. *swoon*

The taquitos de papas were fun and easy (I have a soft spot for taquitos); and I’m going to be dreaming about those empanadas.

Nopalito may not be authentic Mexican food but all that flies out the window when you’re served.


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Net Worth: August 2014


Change from July: 0% increase

Change from January:  265% increase

Our investments took a hit this month so interestingly, between that and our savings, we had exactly no change (except for, literally, some change) since last month.

On Money

I’m working away at Swagbucks to earn Amazon money for household and dog things we need. Feel free to join using my referral link if you like!


Since the addition of another unbudgeted mouth to feed and body to, well, not clothe, but to get up to medical snuff, all (meager) proceeds of the blog now go to fund Dog#2′s ongoing medical care. I’ve got some saved, but he may bid well to run right through all of it since this isn’t really your standard money-makin’ money blog ;) We’re calling him Seamus now, Shamey for short when he transgresses, as he has done on occasion.

So if you have to purchase from Amazon and wouldn’t mind using one of my links in the sidebar there, Seamus and we would be most grateful. Every penny really does count!


I finally secured a CPA to get started on our much-delayed 2013 taxes – wazoo! Once that’s filed, we can get started on the 2014 tax planning; we’ll have a few things to do there.

I have gotten a few recommendations on an estate planning lawyer, so I think that’s my September goal: Get our paperwork nailed down.


Having had no retirement plan through my employer for a while, I really ought to have done this before but I’m just now getting myself in order on that front. I did manage to fully contribute to a 2013 IRA and will do so again for 2014, while quietly kicking myself for not dealing with this much earlier. I think between income, married filing jointly, and having one spouse have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, we won’t actually be able to take a deduction on it but whatever. Saving is the key here.


Reflecting: You’d think I wouldn’t have to squeeze every penny and point program to fund everyday life.  ‘Where the hell did all our money go??‘ pops up an awful lot in my head since we do make a decent income between the two of us, after all! I keep finding myself thinking it’s time to create more income and/or get a second job. But seriously…

Reality Check. We’re still paying for two households, four adults, and two dogs. The Bay Area isn’t cheap by any means, even as frugally as I try to keep our home. And we would like to be in a house that we can reasonably afford to pay off and maintain, someday, so I’m still aggressively saving our cash. And there’s really only so much health/energy I have for THIS life, forget one that includes yet more work.

On Life

We will manage a vacation this year. A semi-actual vacation where I take a few days off instead of just going off to some place and just work while we’re there late into the night and play during the day and come home and collapse.

I’d be excited about this but I’m still in “prep and take care of everything” mode.


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