The tenants you get these days
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Thread: The tenants you get these days

  1. #1
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    The tenants you get these days

    I started in rental properties in the seventies, renting nice apartments to good solid working class tenants who on the whole, behaved themselves, kept their homes clean and paid their rent on time. Sure there were a few rotten apples but mainly good tenants.

    Then they shut down the factories and sent all the good union jobs overseas. Meanwhile it became easier to get a mortgage and buy a house. The best tenants bought houses , and I ended up with a smaller pool of good tenants and a lot more bad ones.

    So I sold the apartments and bought single family houses, figuring to reduce my profits but get a less troublesome class of tenants. Didn't work. After a few bad experiences, sold all but one rental house (which has a good tenant in it).

    The trouble is I can't find any other investment as safe, that pays as well as rental properties. Now I am thinking of buying a few houses but am scared I am letting myself in for a never ending nightmare.

    So, landlords tell me. Can you still find good tenants? How do you do it? Or has the country deteriorated to the point where they hardly exist anymore?


  2. #2
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    I suppose it depends on where you rent and how good your screening is.

    Of the bad tenants I've had, I can't say I've ever been surprised by them. It probably had more to do with me allowing them to get in, knowing that I guessed they wouldn't be good originally but was willing to give them a chance, than it was from a bad pool of possibilities.

    There are still a lot of good tenants out there, I've got a lot but they don't fall into any one category...there are good and bad in all of them.

    All that being said, there are plenty of people out there who can be a nightmare, the worst part of it is they think that they are in the right. Somewhere along the line entitlement became the new normal.

    While screening is a must today, I still find talking to the potential tenants to be one of the more important parts of being a landlord. Look for lies, inconsistencies, or even embellishments...that is often a good warning sign. Some of my good tenants have included people who others wouldn't rent to because of their past...but they were honest about it with me and appreciated the fact that I gave them a chance, not that I would recommend doing this often.

    The other thing is, you've got to be on top of things...when hey start to slide, jump on it and fix the issue. He longer it goes, the worse it can get. If they fix he issue quickly, they know you meant business and they'll be more careful in he future, if they don't get rid of the problem.

    You also have to accept people for what they are, not what you want them to be. A student renter is not going to be the same as a young family, an immigrant, or a single divorced person...you can't hold them all up to the same standard. You need to set your expectations to meet the person you are renting to, in the area you are renting in. A luxury home has different expectations than an apartment.

    Sounds to me like you got spoiled with one type of renter and can't adjust to changing times or markets. If you were in business with a company, you probably would have shut down for similar reasons.
    Last edited by Just a Guy; 2016-07-16 at 04:39 PM.
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  3. #3
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    I'm not one of your hit and miss guys. I keep on top of things, have good rentals in top condition but got burned out on dealing with tenants after 30 years and hired property managers. All the worst experiences were with tenants picked by professional managers. They always had an excuse which boiled down to 'it's not my fault that's all you can get nowdays'.

    Before I shell out a few hundred thousand and commit to owning more rentals would like to know if they were telling the truth or not.

    If it matters, the properties I am looking at are in Belleville Ontario.
    Last edited by Rusty O'Toole; 2016-07-16 at 04:48 PM.

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  5. #4
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    If you want to call it 'spoiled' that's ok with me. Are you saying you can't get good tenants anymore and you have to take what you can get? Because that is what I was afraid of.

    By the way if you know of a safe investment that returns 8% to 10% a year in cash flow plus possible appreciation I would love to hear about it.
    Last edited by Rusty O'Toole; 2016-07-16 at 04:53 PM.

  6. #5
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    Ahhh, I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned property managers. I'm not a big fan of them. It's a fairly low margin business with many "temptations" out there to cut corners. I'm sure there are a few good property managers out there, but most of the ones I've worked with haven't met my expectations.

    I've either had to train my own or done the work myself.

    I'm not down on real estate at all, I've been actively adding to my holdings every year, so I agree it's very lucrative.

    The only reason I say you were "spoiled" was because you mention you rented to factory workers, which don't really exist anymore. As I said, I rent to a wide variety of people and found good tenants with some work. I can't really afford to have many bad tenants as it would quickly eat up my time considering the number of places I own.

    It may be wise to hire a person to manage your properties and train them to do things the way you want. You also need to properly screen, or train any companies you hire. I've helped establish a couple of professional companies that now manage my properties.
    I'm not JustAGuy (without spaces), or Donald, or <insert name here>.

  7. #6
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    Boy wouldn't that be great. I could teach anybody to manage properties in a few lessons if I could find someone who was willing to listen. In 40 years I think I have met 2 people who would listen and then reluctantly. My brother finally listened after 30 years and now makes more money than I do. I would be thrilled to death to be able to hire anybody who is competent to do anything. Have been trying to hire a house painter since spring, have spoken to 8 painters who advertise they are looking for work, 1 got back to me with a quote for $5200 for a week's work for 2 men. Around here guys work for $15 an hour so that's $1200 for labor plus $500 for materials, plus $3500 profit. And I am lucky to get anybody at all.

    I've given up on finding anybody who is willing to listen or is competent to do anything. I used to do everything myself, now at 65 am getting a little old for the hand to hand combat.

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    My tenants weren't all factory workers but almost all had jobs. Now it is seldom to find an applicant with a steady job.

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    Yeah, I've been lucky to find people I could train. I've trained my realtors, property managers, contractors, and others. Makes life a lot easier. I wouldn't say it was a few lessons though, I spent years doing it. I found young employees of property managers who had potential. They knew what to do, but their companies paid next to nothing and demanded the moon, hence a high turnover on the ground troops.

    After watching this turnover, I kept in contact with a bunch of ones I thought had potential. I encouraged them to think about going out on their own...a few decided to try it. I helped them out with advice and contracts. Turned out to be a win-win, plus I get a bit of preferential treatment having been there at the start.

    Same with realtors. I find young guys who haven't turned into salesmen, train them to find me what I want, how I negotiate, etc. At first they may think I'm being rediculous, but then they see it works and they get steady commissions.

    Nothing is ever fast in real estate, it's all about long term thinking.

    As for steady jobs, that reality hasn't existed since the 90's. What I look for is steady employment, people who are willing to do whatever it takes to survive...not the work/welfare types. I think Ontario got a lot of that attitude back when the ndp made it almost more profitable to not work.

    On a side note, I think 65 is a tough time to get back into real estate...as I said before, And you probably know, real estate is a long term game. If you've got a bunch, adding is never that big a deal, but building up takes time.
    Last edited by Just a Guy; 2016-07-16 at 09:27 PM.
    I'm not JustAGuy (without spaces), or Donald, or <insert name here>.

  10. #9
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    I wish I had a choice.

  11. #10
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    The market is near its peak, you don't have systems in place...if interest rates go up, you may be looking at severe losses.

    I've done well with my stocks, but my system requires crisis. Maybe short some hire party lenders. I just put an offer I. On a place that was appraised at 89k when it was bought two years ago, but went into foreclosure with over $130k of mortgages on it. Lenders are getting stupid out there.

    I'm not JustAGuy (without spaces), or Donald, or <insert name here>.

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