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Conspicuous consumption and brand whoring

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  • Congratulations!

    First two pieces of advice would be to be sure you can afford it if it remains vacant and not to assume all your friends will jump at the chance to pay you money to stay at your place. Hee.

    Renting is not hard; there are lease and rental agreements readily available. Now with PayPal, you could even allow possible guests to pay you with a credit card.

    The main issue that gets to be a pain in the ass is maintenance. Will you be doing this yourselves? We do this ourselves but we're the creepy Brady Hardware family. Hee. Would you rather pay a manager to handle the property and booking for you? This is the most hands-off you can get but they often charge anywhere from 8-12 % depending on where you're buying. Most people don't mind because every problem is the manager's. You just get to write checks and collect money. You will have to be sure and report all the additional income you receive.

    Your best bet is to open a second bank account so you can keep all that building's costs apart from your daily finances and it gives you better chances of tracking that the property is paying for itself. This also helps around tax time.


    • My mom is renting out her house in Flint while she lives down south and she's at the end of her rope on the whole deal. It's a real pain in the ass and she's probably going to hire a service to take care of it for her.

      Of course, we are talking about Flint and people there just don't really feel the need to pay their rent. They consider it sort of optional, just behind food and drugs. I wish I were kidding.
      Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


      • I'm seconding what sarah in-laws have vacation homes that we take advantage of in a number of places, and they have all given up on renting them out. They just ended up feeling like it was a huge hassle, and the other issue is that renters don't always take that great care of your place. If you're not local enough to check up on it, you'll probably need to hire somebody and that cuts into what you're making on the deal in the first place.

        Congrats on the home though!


        • My brother and SIL rented out their house in a different city for three years while they lived here in Houston when my brother went back to school. They lucked out with some decent renters, but they still barely broke even. The rent they charged was basically the same as their mortgage payment and if anything went wrong, obviously my brother had to cover the costs. Still, the money coming in from the renters saved them from having to pay one mortgage + the rent they were paying on their townhouse here, so if they had to do it again, they would.

          One of our neighbors is a prof at Rice University and every seven years, he's allowed a sabbatical. The last time he had one, they decided to pack up the kids, homeschool their oldest, and travel through Europe for the year. They rented their house out to some grad students from Rice, I guess thinking that since the students were older, they'd be more responsible. Their renters totally trashed the house. Not like Charlie Sheen style or anything, but they just didn't take care of it at all. They never mowed the lawn, they parked on the street instead of taking their cars around back to the garage/driveway area and when our neighbors had the house inspected before their return, they found all kinds of things wrong with it. I think someone finally reported them to the homeowners' association for lack of upkeep because the last month or so that they were there, the street was car-free and the lawn was decent.

          If you do rent, I'd recommend renting to a family since they're more likely to take care of your house then singles would. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you get to enjoy your house.


          • Yeah, if you guys are going to rent it on a weekly-type basis or whatever, your best bet is bare bones. If you plan on leaving dishes, leave Corelle. If you put in carpet, make it that hotel commercial kind. Decorate it with things you like but don't mind losing. If you rent it for a season get the first month and a deposit in a cashier's check. Do not take personal checks unless it's an established tenant.

            Do not leave items there for you and Mr. O unless there's a closet you choose to not only lock, but get a deadbolt on it. Hire a professional service to come and clean in between occupants if you're not nearby.

            Get a good insurance policy.

            DO NOT let them use the washer and dryer, put a lock on those too. Make it a rule that the fridge and freezer stay empty.

            When choosing furniture, try and get a patterned fabric for it will not show the dirt and wear as quickly.

            Decide on a pet policy. If you allow dogs, make them give you an extra deposit. Assume the dog will sleep on the bed, get on the couch and not have its feet wiped before coming and going.

            I know all this sounds like it will be miserable but sometimes it's not. Really. Just imagine you're going to let high school boys flop all over it unsupervised and take the necessary precautions.

            Speaking of teenagers, do not let parents rent the place for their kids to go on spring break. Make sure the people staying there are the ones you've agreed to rent to.

            If you want a larger choice of renters, undercut the market a little so everyone will clamor to your listing. You get more options that way.

            Oh, also, if you can, get a PO Box for the utility bills and mailings so your personal address is kept private.


            • Jeepers. Had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for.

              I think we will definitely go the property management route, because there are so many places which do that there. The area has a ton of houses for vaca rental (usually 3 day minimum to a week), but it's not the kind of place kids go on spring break, thank god. I'm thinking a no pets, no smoking policy which I have seen in some of the places we have rented there.

              The little old lady who owns it is moving to a much smaller condo, so she's thinking about leaving a lot of her furniture in the house for us to keep. That would be perfect- it isn't stuff I would pick out for myself, so I'm not too concerned about rental people messing it up. Ditto on the appliances she is leaving- they are kinda old, so no worries.

              So all that's left (besides actually purchasing it) is to come up with one of the cutesy-wootsey names like "Bitsy's Bungalow" or "Dunroamin" to advertise it with. Hmmm . . ."Herman's Harem and Sex Palace"?


              • My parents rented out our summer place in Wisconsin for over ten years. We had a local woman manage the renters and do the cleaning. You will definitely need someone on the ground to do that kind of thing, so I think a management company is a good idea.

                But do be prepared for things to break and to be stolen. We cleared out much of the family stuff before we started renting it and kept the crappy stuff for the renters, but every summer we would have to replace random things that had gone missing, generally kitchen stuff, and they would break into the woodshed to have firewood for the firepit they created in the front lawn. They will complain--the bed's too hard, the stove is wonky, the fridge makes a weird noise, why don't you have cable--and have unrealistic expectations. Our place was built by my great-grandfather in the late 1950s and until recently was furnished to match. It ain't the Ritz, but it's served our family just fine for almost fifty years. If you want four-star hotel accommodation, you have to pay for it! Sheesh!

                Can you tell I'm bitter? Heh.

                They will also do stupid things. We had renters try to use the fireplace, despite the large sign on the fireplace that said "DO NOT USE FIREPLACE" and the agreement they signed that indicated same, and got the house full of smoke for their troubles because the chimney cap was on. Another group decided they were freezing and couldn't figure out how to get the built-in space heaters to work so THEY TRIED TO USE THE GAS STOVE TO KEEP WARM and the door of the stove blew clean off. We're lucky the place didn't explode and we didn't get sued. We also had to replace the stove (a vintage model that did work perfectly when used for its original purpose) because it was then deemed terribly dangerous. We also have a new and expensive septic tank system with an alarm in the bathroom that goes off when it needs to be pumped. One group was incredibly annoyed by the alarm and simply unplugged it rather than telling our management lady that, y'know, this alarm is going off and it might mean something.

                Granted, it's been mostly problem free, and renting the place did allow us to keep it in the family during a time when we couldn't otherwise afford to pay the property taxes. (Lakefont. Egads.) But get insurance and get someone else to manage the place and deal with problems, definitely.


                • And then there's Fee and I renting out both of our original flats, with minimum hassle. Granted, we live in the same city, and we're doing it for 6 month minimums, but as long as you get the right tenant, it's not really that big of a deal. The important thing is that you need to price it right: Not too expensive that it stays empty, but not super cheap so that trash get to stay in it.

                  Also, try not look at it as something to make you money each month. Currently I'm not clearing the mortgage on my property, because I rented it out to an acquaintance (read more on that later), and I wanted her in quickly, and she needed a good deal, being a student. She's been really good to the flat, and looks after it well, but then it's increasing in value something like 15 - 20% a year, so for the £25 it costs me a month to make up the mortgage, there's no way I'd get that kind of investment return, you know?

                  As far as renting to friends and acquaintances: Be careful - they can expect far more than the average. She wanted me to replace the bath panel because she couldn't fit her storage unit in. I left her all kinds of furniture (including TV & VCR) that I wouldn't normally leave for a tenant, so it's a take it/leave it kinda deal.

                  I guess the main difference is that you're looking at weekend/week long rentals which is slightly different. Don't get too concerned though. Give it a shot!


                  • Awww, you guys are the best- the advice has been great.

                    However, it turns out to be all moot. We just found out that the neighborhood is zoned in such a way that we can't rent out short term at all, and renting it out longer term doesn't interest us much.

                    I guess that's the tradeoff for buying in such a great area. We're cool with it, and actually a little bit relieved to not have to deal with bonehead renters but still - would have been nice to have covered the mortgage. And now we have to rope the fam into agreeing to use it often enough to keep the squatters out.

                    Anyone have keep-the-squatters out advice?


                    • Sure. Let me squat there until you need it!
                      "But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.Ē---Kanye


                      • Hee. I'm not opposed to that.


                        • OMB. Brad Pitt spends his money saving the children. I could feed a small country for a year with what I've spent in the last month on the new home. We've been putting off getting "adult" furniture until we moved out of the old place, so now I'm going WILD!

                          Living Room

                          Pair of CUTE armless chairs:

                          Leather chair-and-a half:

                          Leather ottoman:

                          * OK, we haven't bought the leather chair and ottoman yet but it's on the to do list for this week...

                          Dining Room

                          A table, two chairs, and two benches:

                          * Note, the table looks better in RL


                          We already have "adult" bedroom furniture so I just got these kick-ass pair of green milk glass lamps to spice up the room:


                          Look at these cute towels:

                          I better go file for bankrupcy now...

                          ETA, I forgot:


                          A kitchen island:

                          And damnit it's on sale now!
                          Last edited by piggay; 06-07-2005, 10:26 PM.
                          It's all about me and my precious.


                          • Pig! I LOVE that first chair! And all of it, really! You have lovely taste, sistah!
                            Itís just really honestly so tiring and emotionally draining to have to get upset over reality constantly.


                            • Nice! I could buy furniture all day long.


                              • You'll have to come over and visit the furniture

                                Dude, if we had actually bought a home we would not be able to afford any of this. I'd be eating ramen everyday yo.

                                Gawd I shopping so much!
                                It's all about me and my precious.