Apartment Buildings and toilet flappers

The phone was ringing as she stood behind me, my eyes fixed on the computer screen. She says “Are you going to answer it?” It was more of an order than a question the way her voice came across. Her and I both gazed intently at the computer the screen… Windows mail doesn’t open e-mail fast enough to soothe her anxiety. The email we are opening is from the seller of an apartment complex and we are more than excited… nervous…. Scared…. What are these feelings? …If the seller says yes to our offer we are in business.

Let me tell you a bit about this apartment complex. The property consists of 16 units, mostly all two bedroom two bath units… It’s four units on each floor of a four-story building located near a state college with several major employers in the area… Yes, it’s a dynamite place for rentals. Each unit rents for $600, but the building is dated. With some touch ups and modernization we could easily get $800 per month  based on other properties in the area. The taxes are actually pretty low, the owner has been a live-in-landlord for 23 years… the repairs and maintenance costs are low, but that has more to do with the fact the owner-landlord has done all repairs and maintenance himself.

Did he picture buying an apartment complex to become a maintenance man? …I’m not sure if he did or not, but he’s ready to retire, and we are ready to buy.

When I decided to make an offer I wasn’t visualizing myself becoming the next maintenance man, but honestly it could be done with a smile for the income this building will produce. Since it throws off this much cash each month, why don’t I hire a maintenance man to do it?

Ok, so here’s how the story goes, it is Wednesday evening around 7pm and Dawn says “Do you hear that?” …I listen for a minute and before I can reply she begins to say “The water is running in the bathroom, do you think we need a new toilet?” …I know what she’s doing… Am I going to say “Gee honey, I think you’re right, we need a new toilet.” Doubtful, highly doubtful… I’ll fall right into the trap, and it starts the minute I open my mouth “No, it’s probably the flapper.” …Dawn says “How do you fix a flapper?” …”Replace it, they’re inexpensive… Wal-Mart has some.” I tell her and then comes the close, Dawn uses her inquisitively cute voice saying “Oh, you know how to do something like that?”.

Dawn is still looking over my shoulder anxious to read the e-mail. I’ve submitted offers on dozens of properties and found that anxiety doesn’t help. It’s better to be patient… when you tell someone you’ll send them an offer by Wednesday, send it… If someone tells me I’ll have a response this evening, I’ll wait until this evening.

How about you… ever thought about owning an apartment complex? Could you be an owner, a maintenance man, and a landlord? Have you ever felt anxious while waiting for an offer to be accepted?

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