Confessions of a Georgia Landlord
Being a landlord in Georgia is a lot easier than Managing properties in some other states i won’t mention. Still, It takes real work and willingness to work odd hours if your going to get it right, which some property managers won’t do… As we found out.
When we began our journey into the world of Georgia real estate investing, we had no idea what was in store. Although we had heard about “screening a tenant”, we were not sure what that involved. We really didn’t understand how to read a credit report or comprehend what we were looking at.
We also didn’t realize how important it was to put money aside for future repairs, or that not doing so would bring about our financial destruction. We honestly believed rentals would be an easy way of making money. After our complete and absolute failure, we decided it was time to start looking for someone to guide us. Some one that knew what they were doing, obviously we didn’t.
Get a landlord education, right?
We began going to REIA meetings and attending real estate investment classes and seminars. After a while we found a wonderful group of investors that were willing to teach and share information without a lot of up-selling and sales pitches.
Despite our new found education, our initial experience with rental property had left a negative impression, so we felt hiring a property manager was still our best option. Yeeaaahh, maybe not.
- The first one was charging us every month for unnecessary maintenance and then charging us for “supervision of the maintenance”, in addition to the standard monthly 10% fee. When they charged us for throwing grass seed and changing a florescent bulb, we had enough.
- The second property manager quit without warning and our account was turned over to an inexperienced flunky who couldn’t even find a tenant. We found out almost a month after this little switch.
- The third and final manager immediately turned our account over to her assistant. The assistant was irresponsible in placement of the tenants (i.e. Putting an old man with a walker in a house that had fifteen steps to the front door and a steep incline to the back door and renting a house in a gated community to a Walmart cashier, depending on child support to pay the rent), charged us for repairs that were supposed to be done but weren’t, allowed tenants to get behind on rent without consequence, would not return our phone calls, and went so far as to tell tenants to quit calling about repair problems because they were being a bother (this was written down in an affidavit from one of our tenants when we interviewed them).
The Landlord back-pedal
Because of the issues we were having with this property management company, we decided to meet with each of the tenants and inspect each of our properties (that’s when we got the tenants affidavit). Upon inspection, we discovered just how poorly our properties had been managed in our absence. Unfortunately, it was at that point we realized our error in hiring yet another property management company to care for our rental houses.
The tenant that was told by the property manager to quit calling had a roof that leaking so bad, when it rained you could use it for a shower, a concrete porch pulling away from the main house creating a hazard for the elderly couple living there, a water heater that was leaking all over 40 plus year old hardwood floors. Another house had a hot water heater sinking through a rotted floor that we had already ordered to be replaced months ago.
So, we fired our third rental management company in two years and guess what that meant? We were going to be landlords…. again. Peachy!! At least this time we were older, wiser, and more educated, right? Anh, maybe.
The real landlord education
Luckily, we decided to take a class specifically about land lording from an amazing instructor and learned HOW to be an EFFECTIVE land lord (yeah.. probably should have had that education the first time). We immediately implemented what we’d learned. After some tweaking, we now have a flourishing rental business with wonderful tenants who take great care of the properties and pay on time every month.
Since the last four years, we have only evicted one tenant and that was a renter that we inherited from a rental house we took over for another tired landlord. Our average tenants stay with us three years (many are military and have to leave). Come see some of the great comments our tenants and other homeowners have sent us. If you are interested in having us be your new Professional Landlord, please contact us.