Well, this year started off with a bang and I am not referring to the fun, awesome kind. Washington, D.C. experienced the coldest winter in over 50 years. The temperatures hit negative 18 degrees with the wind chill. Burrrr. My rental property portfolio and I are glad to see January in the rear view mirror.
My rental property portfolio only turned a small profit; it was not pretty. Two of the properties experienced frozen pipes of which one pipe burst. Sprinkle in other plumbing issues, a modest upgrade and a small pest problem and that about sums up January. It’s actually shocking I was profitable this past month.
Rental property #4’s renovation is complete. I absolutely cannot wait to share the details, however I’m still wrapping up a zoning issue with the city.
The Landlord Report- January 2018
Hello there – welcome to another “Landlord Report”. This monthly report will share my experiences as a landlord. The report will show EVERYTHING related to my rental properties and life as a landlord….
I will discuss the rents that I collected, mortgage payments, and other ‘landlord items’. Additional topics may include repairs, finding new tenants and any other items that might randomly pop up. The report will also share how much money I made and the amount of time (hours) I spent being a landlord. I want to show the world being a landlord is a wonderful thing.
Throughout this process I aim to be as transparent as possible. Being a landlord and owning rental property is a wonderful way to earn (mostly) passive income and allow you to buy back your time faster.
I hope you follow along with this monthly series. The Landlord Report can serve as a guide to owning rental property. Please feel free to contact me with any questions – happy to provide insight.
The table below outlines all my income and expenses for the past month:
As you can see, January was not a good month for my rental property portfolio. I managed to turn a profit but my income is usually much higher. Some of the expenses are a bit exaggerated since I upgraded one of the properties; other expenses were painful as there were a few repairs.
None of the properties had a perfect month. A perfect month means that I collected 100% of the rent and had no expenses other than the mortgage.
Being a landlord is not all sunshine and cash flow. But! I still love being a landlord.
Below you will find a detailed account about what happened at each property this month.
Rental Property #1
Rental Property #1 Summary
The cold, snow, and ice did not treat rental property #1 well. There’s been a lingering issue with water leaking into the house by the front door; the brutal weather did not help.
The carpet by the entryway was soaked from water leaking into the house. A sump pump pipe was also draining back towards the house. The padding beneath the carpet and the carpet were at the end of their life.There was also the possibility of mold growth if I did not address this problem, so I called one of my handymen to knockout this out.
He cut open the drywall to check for points of entry.
He also removed the existing carpet and subfloor.
My handyman replaced the carpet with tile. I prefer tile over carpet since it is more durable. The new tile looks great and am happy with this upgrade.
Lastly, my handyman rerouted the sump pump drain line away from the house. This will help prevent problems in the future.
The repair would have cost less if I installed carpet, however tile looks great and will last longer than carpet. The extra expense is worth it – especially since I plan to live in this house again.
Total cost: $904.00
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Thankfully, the tenants paid their rent on time. I stopped by the rental property to collect the rent while meeting my handyman to discuss the work.
Rental Property #1 Summary
In summary, rental property #1 – lost $522.24* and I spent about 1 hour 30 minutes managing the property.
My mortgage debt dropped by $737.68 from my monthly mortgage payments. When considering principal reduction, I made $215.44.
*Remember – this is an accidental rental that I plan to live in during FIRE.
Rental Property #2
The tenants paid their rent of $4,000 in full and on time. Rent collection required me walking downstairs to get my morning cup of coffee. Does life get any easier than that?
Sadly, that’s not the whole story for rental property #2. The pipes froze twice. Thankfully, there was no damage. However, I spent hours worrying about the pipes. I also spent a lot of time moving space heaters around the house in an effort to defrost the pipes; sleep was rare for a few days.
The shower head for the upstairs bathroom needed to be replaced. This is a simple repair that anyone can do at home. The new shower head cost $10.54 and it took less than 5 minutes to install.
Two of my roommates/tenants decided to renew their lease for another year. The other two roommates/tenants will be leaving when their leases expire at the end of March. Thankfully, I know how to handle vacancies and look forward to increasing the rent.
Rental Property #2 Summary
In summary, rental property #2 – earned $1,580.89**. I spent about 10 hours managing rental property #2 this month.
My mortgage debt decreased $725.99. When factoring paying down my debt, rental property #2 made me $2,306.88.
Not bad for 10 hours worth of work. This property usually takes less than an hour to manage.
**I also live in the house and get paid to live here. Pretty sweet right? House Hacking is awesome.
Rental Property #3
Frozen pipes, busted pipes, clogged pipes, and bed bugs…. Tough to believe this was all in the same month and at one property.
The pipes froze twice at rental property #3. I was fortunate the pipes defrosted after the first freeze.
Sadly, the pipes burst the second time. As I mentioned last month, the first year of owning a property is a learning experience. This was the first serious cold front since owning the property.
The area where the water line enters the building was not well insulated. This also was where the pipe burst. I suspect this is partially why the pipes froze in the first place. The area was cold and a there was a small air draft. The draft has been sealed, the pipe replace, and the area insulated.
Frozen and busted pipe:
Total cost: $800.00
Total time: 5 hours
The drain line for the house backed up for the second consecutive month.
Even as an experienced landlord, I still make mistakes. Last month, I tried cutting corners by using a handy man instead of a professional plumber; this time I called a professional plumber. The handy man cost less but did not completely solve the problem. In the end, I made the issue more expensive.
The plumber snaked the drain and completely cleared everything out. Moving forward, this should not be an issue.
Total cost: $240.00
Total time: 30 minutes
Then there were bed bugs in one of the units. A simple phone call and writing a check solved this problem but I was not happy.
This issue is a direct result of the tenant’s cleanliness or lack thereof. This expense falls on the tenant and I always make tenants pay for such items, however the tenant is part of a subsidized housing program that is run by a non-profit organization. I bit the bullet and paid for the treatment up front. I expect the tenant or non-profit will reimburse me for this expense. I had to act promptly because I could not risk having bed bugs infest the entire building.
Bed bug treatment:
Total cost: $525.00
Total time: 30 minutes
The utilities for this property are starting to become a burden. To briefly recap, the property has one water meter and one gas meter. I pay for both of these items. I also pay for the electricity in one of the units.
I reached out to the gas company to add a second gas meter. This will lower my monthly overhead and should be completed in February or March. I’ll still be responsible for the water bill; this is customary for multi-unit buildings in Washington, D.C.
Moving forward, all of my leases will require tenants to pay utilities. This ‘fun experiment’ was not worth the extra rent I could charge on one of the units.
Gas Bill: $243.65
Water Bill: $121.97
Electric for unit: $51.66
In summary, rental property #3 – lost $166.36 and I spent about 6 hours of my time managing this property.
Rental Property #3’s mortgage debt also decreased $407.96. When factoring in paying down my debt I made $241.60.
In summary, I spent about 17 hours and 30 minutes of my time maintaining my rental property portfolio.
This was a bad month my rental portfolio. Being a landlord still feels worth the time and energy.
In January, my rental properties provided me with a positive cash flow of $892.29; amazing given all the headaches I had to deal with during the month. Even with the extra time, I made about $51/hour.
My mortgage debt decreased $1,871.63 last month which further increased my net worth.
Factoring in repayment of debt and cash flow, my rental properties earned $2,763.92. Being a landlord and owning a rental property portfolio is great.