It's a Landlord's Market

In any economic downturn, there are always opportunities. One such opportunity is the result of higher lending standards, which makes it more difficult for people to purchase homes, as well as a doubling in the number of home foreclosures in the 2nd quarter of this year: higher demand for good quality single family rental homes.

This was my hunch, but it was confirmed this week after receiving a signed lease agreement for a rental property being vacated today. The new lease includes a 5% increase in rent over the previous one and will be the first time I've had no lapse in vacancy upon a tenant's move-out, quite a relief. I've been considering the purchase of another rental property, and after this experience I plan to start researching prospective investment homes.

And watch this to see a disturbing encounter between Will Ferrell and his landlord:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die


Mid-year review

This entry is more for me than anyone who stumbles upon it, as I wanted to do a mid-year review of some life resolutions which will some day become habit. I'd give myself an arbitrary grade of B-, as good progress has been made in some areas while others are untouched. Below is each area with its respective grade:

- Pare down: F. I'm preparing for an October and November barrage of eBay activity, but that doesn't help in the interim.

- Make running a habit: A. The real evidence is that when I pack running gear on a business trip, it gets used; I now run at least twice a week and more if the schedule allows. I've shed over 15 pounds and moved from "Overweight" to "In Normal Range" according to the WHO and CDC, which defines overweight as having a body-mass-index/BMI of 25 or more. A good BMI calculator can be found here.

- Travel more for leisure: B. Gasoline over $4 a gallon doesn't help, but we've been on three trips so far this year with a big vacation scheduled in early December.

- Reduce exposure to media/news: B. I'm a political news junkie, but you won't find me at a methadone clinic as long as I can get my fix of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.

- Invest more in community: D. It's not what I originally had in mind, but right now this investment in community is through time and money directed at helping to get Senator Obama elected President.

- Manage ADHD rather than having it manage me: A. Just after the first of the year I switched from Dexedrine to Vyvanse, and it's much more effective with zero side effects.

- Simplify investments: B. I'm down to just four individual stocks considered long-term holds (DIS, MRK, SHPGY, and MSFT). All other holdings are in the form of exchange-traded funds. Unfortunately I'm still down 14% since the first of the year compared to a 12.7% decline in the Dow Jones and a 13% decline in the S&P 500. Fortunately the rental properties are all occupied and throwing off good cash flow.


Revisiting the past

I enjoyed attending my 10-year high school class reunion, and that didn't seem so long ago. But it was. Now even further removed from those awkward and painful high school days, I just attended my 20-year class reunion last weekend.

There were hints of this 10 years ago, but even more obvious today is that:

  • academic and athletic success does not translate into success in life
  • beauty is fleeting
  • people are resourceful--even idiots find a way to earn a living
  • if opportunities exist, people don't move far from home
  • the relationship between money and happiness is not linear
  • extreme social retardation does not wane over time

Our reunion committee did a great job finding and contacting the nearly 700 alumni in a rather short period of time, but unfortunately turnout was rather low. There were only a half-dozen people I really wanted to see, and only a few of them attended. Fortunately there were others I didn't know in high school who I got to meet and live pretty interesting lives.

Like many reunions, there was a 20-question survey to be filled out prior to attending. As someone who didn't participate in extracurricular sports, I was annoyed that 3 of the 20 questions asked about high school, college, and pro sports involvement. Somewhat in protest I left a snarky response detailing how I trained and then walked on and made the roster as a linebacker with the Atlanta Falcons from 1997 to 1999. At 5'7" and weighing 150 pounds soaking wet in high school, anyone who knew me would have immediately identified this as a ruse. But walking around the room Saturday night reading the "Did you know..." posters about my classmates, I was amused to see that my "success" with the Falcons had made the cut.