Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm Unemployed

Life in the Stroller Lane
As of 5PM today, I am unemployed. I was fired from Harrell & Harrell Properties today. Don't shed any tears, I own the business and I fired myself. No one has ever been happier to be fired than I. Maybe someone has, but not very many.

The saying goes that the two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys the boat of his dreams, and the day he sells it. It turns out that rental real estate is exactly the same.

Today, we sold the final rental house!!!

So with no rentals left, I am without a job and proud of it. Champagne is in the fridge at the ready. The sitter isn't available until Saturday night, so that evening I am living it up. This is something to celebrate.

To sum it up quickly, in this escapade we bought three houses and we sold three houses.
The buy & sell cycle is around 3-6 months, so I spent the better part of 3 years working on one or the other. In between, we had eight tenants - 1 horrible, 1 really bad, 4 rather bad, 1 OK, and 1 excellent. Most of the people were fine (though there were three individuals that were way off their rockers), but mostly the families kept buying houses of their own and breaking their leases with me.

And in honor of my friend Di (Live & Let Di), I will put together a Thursday Thirteen of three years and two real estate licenses worth of my insights.
  1. Things only break at night and on the weekends.
  2. To receive absolutely amazing help and advice at Home Depot, wear a skirt.
  3. A good plunger is a landlord's best friend.
  4. A good CPA is a landlord's other best friend.
  5. Find a good handyman and put him on your speed dial.
  6. Repair companies are always late.
  7. Repair companies always negotiate their price.
  8. Good tenants are hard to find.
  9. Sometimes the check really is in the mail.
  10. There are a few great real estate agents, the rest deserve the reputation.
  11. Craig's List and MLS are the only ways to advertise.
  12. Always stage a home before you sell it (Stunning Solutions). It is worth the money.
  13. And if you give your two weeks notice to Harrell & Harrell Properties, it takes two years to sell the houses and leave.
Though I am more than thrilled to be out of the rental real estate business, I am proud to have given it a try. Experts say that 50% of businesses fail the first year, we lasted three and made a profit. We won't be retiring (Jan & Mike are, but that doesn't count), but our bank account went a bit north. Plus I learned a ton of new skills - from accounting to zoning - and just about everything in between. My picture won't be on the cover of Business Week, but I did start and manage a small business. It's something that I always wanted to do. From Janitor to CEO, I did it all.

Now, like so many kids, I plan to take a summer vacation. I have 10 weeks, to sit back and enjoy. Then, at the end of summer, I want to start something new. What will it be? Please send me your suggestions, because I haven't a clue.

I bid adieu to our rental homes:

Unit 1 - In the family 6/23/05-6/12/08

Unit 2 - In the family 9/22/05-5/20/08

Unit 3 - In the family 4/20/06 -8/2/07

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.


Di said...

Ooh! Congratulations. One the sale of your house. On being "fired." On being unemployed. On turning a profit.

And on your first Thursday Thirteen!!! Next time, you MUST post your link on You will get all kinds of fun traffic and will get to visit other people's Thursday Thirteens. Now that you are unemployed, you can afford to waste time on stuff like this!

If you decide to take up golf in your free time, let me know! I'll book us a tee time!


I am very impressed. I would love to do something like this at some point....though I am sure it will be a big headache.

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