Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just Moved Shmandlord to it's New Home

I just finished the transition to Shmandlord's new home. The new address is:

Please update any links you have. If you're using an RSS feeder, you should not experience any problems (as long as you're using the feedburner feed).

Please email me if you have any problems!

This is the last post that will appear on the blogspot page.

See you over at the new pad!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Link ADD

  • I just stumbled upon a new site on which I've already wasted too much time: neighboroo. It allows you to analyze a few statistics about the population of the country by zipcodes, then work your way out.

  • Check out John T. Reed's analysis of Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which goes completely against what you'll hear from most real estate investors. If you're familiar with Kiyosaki, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this analysis.

  • A cool rental listing site: housingmaps,

  • Maybe/Someday: Sotheby's International Realty

  • I've been playing a bit of chess recently, and would like to play against any interested Shmandlord readers. If you'd like to play, start up a game with me over at Post Card Chess (using the email address landlordshmandlord AT gmail)

Image: saad

Organizational overhaul

For a while I've wanted to overhaul my organizational system in hopes that I can improve my productivity and prevent important details from slipping by. In addition to my landlord ventures, I have a full time job and am also starting my own software company.

So, this weekend I made the move to implement the Getting Things Done system. The basic premise is that you:

  1. capture all the things that need to get done into a logical and trusted system outside of your head and off your mind

  2. disciplining yourself to make decisions about all the inputs you let into your life, so that you will always have a plan for next actions that you can implement or renegotiate at any moment

In the next few days, I will describe how I fit my landlording into the system, what worked, and what didn't. If anybody has or does use this system I would appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks kengo for the image.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A lesson on what not to do

foreclosureI know I've mentioned the blog before, but I cannot stop reading I am Facing Foreclosure. Just for the quick overview, Casey (the blogger) bought 8 properties to flip (not rent) with a combined value of over $2 mil. He did this by taking out over $140k in credit card debt, lied on his loan applications, and put no money down. He is now suffering the consequences.

Anyway, I just wanted to post a quote from one of his blog posts that struck me as funny. I have to admit that when I first read it, I felt a hint of jealousy, but quickly snapped out of it for obvious reasons. He is toying with the notion of renting out one of the houses that is being foreclosed:

I’m not paying the mortgage so why not collect some cash, right?

You know, I really wish I could just not pay my mortgages, and pocket the rent. Wouldn't you? He then enumerates the reason why renting is not worth it to him.

Funny. If you have any thoughts on how I can stop paying my mortgages please let me know. However, I will not consider suggestions that result in foreclosure.

Thanks sercasey for the image.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Working things out with Section 8

I spoke with the Section 8 inspector, and he was very reasonable.

It turns out that the township code was recently changed, and that is why I need to fix the wiring in the basement. He just wants the visible wire properly replaced, which will have to be done by an electrician. He also gave me a very generous timeline.

Regarding the paint, I don't have to scrape and repaint all exterior wood like the sheet said, just the areas that need it.

Regarding the pipe, he was also very reasonable, saying that I could just properly cap it.

He also asked if I could call back Monday to schedule inspections of my other apartments, which is required by the township every two years. All of the remaining inspections will most likely be sometime in December.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Problems with Section 8

Looks like I spoke too soon when I said that the Section 8 inspector hasn't made my life a living hell.

I don't think that I'm on the guy's bad side, but I just got the letter about this year's required fixes. The list isn't pretty, including:

  • Replace visible wiring in the basement (the wiring hasn't changed since I've received a CO).

  • Remove an unused natural gas pipe in the basement. (What? This has also been there for years.)

  • Scrape and repaint porch, and all visible wood outside. (It really just needs patching, not a full scrape/repaint).

There are a few other requests, but the rest are understandable. I'm trying to get in touch with the inspector to see why all of the sudden he found things that have been there for years.

I will let you know what happens.

New: The Carnival of Real Estate Investing

Anesia over at The Landlord Blog just started the The Carnival of Real Estate Investing.

Check out the first edition here!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Is it really?

wsj nar ad
As was pointed out in the last carnival, the National Association of Realtors has launched a $40 million campaign to end any softening promote the buying and selling of properties. Their slogan is "It's a great time to buy or sell a home", which obviously cannot be completely true.

Now, I'm not one of the extreme pessimists who believes that you will spontaneously explode if you own investment property early next year, but I do believe that the market will continue to soften and that it may not be the best time to buy or sell all homes. Over at The Big Picture there are two articles about this, but the second one titled Analyzing why "It's a great time to buy or sell a home" dissects every line in the recent WSJ ad and explains why "every single statement in the ad is materially false or misleading".

I think it's worth a laugh read.

Also, here is the first article.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Carnival of Real Estate 17

There were lots of great posts this week, and it's been hard picking which ones to include. I was very impressed with the breadth of topics, and feel that we, the Carnival of Real Estate community, should continue to encourage posts regarding all aspects of real estate: realtors, mortgage brokers, landlords, stagers (yes, there was a good post on staging this week), etc.

I am going to list my top 5 and then include the remaining posts in no particular order. Here it goes:

  1. The Pumpkin That Sold Me a House describes how a realtor can differentiate him or herself. Whatever industry you're in, it is always important to focus on the customer's experience, which is something that is too often forgotten. This post is short, but illustrates how one realtor, without exerting much effort, is reaching their customers in a very effective way.

  2. Ugh. True Gotham has a really great read about a frustrating mess, at Co-op Board Antics-Redux.

  3. In Defense of Landlords over at explains why rental prices are rising.

  4. Mike's Corner Web 2.0 for Real Estate Pros has some good commentary about adapting to change in Change is a good thing.

  5. Transparent RE makes many much needed points in An Open Letter to the Title Insurance Industry.

Additional Posts:

Thank you everybody for submitting the wonderful posts. Also, thanks to everybody who stopped by for the Carnival of Real Estate. Next week, the Carnival will be hosted at True Gotham. Please submit your posts by Sunday, November 12th.