In 2017, I wrote about “Investing Outside of Wall Street – ‘Landlords’ then, and now?” This is a sequel of sorts.
I don’t remember exactly when our refrigerator light went out, but it has been at least a few years. I’ve been quite annoyed by it, naturally, but put up with it for so long. Why? Because, each month, in the event some issues were to pop up with one or more of our rental properties, we needed to make sure that we had enough funds to get them taken care of immediately. The refrigerator-light repair is but one of a dozen or so items that we chose to forego on an on-going basis. Why did we do this?
It may sound like a cliché but our customers – tenants – have always been priority #1. This meant getting our own appliance fixed, for instance, received the lowest priority.
Earlier this month, we finally had it repaired, not because we became flush with cash but because we have decided to sell our house. To put it on the market, our refrigerator – along with other items – needed to be repaired to function as new and look nice as well.
Each month, tenants are responsible for rent, water, and utilities. Property owners, on the other hand, are responsible for tax, insurance, and maintenance.
A few bad apples in our business, a.k.a. slumlords, make headlines in the news. Contrary to the image that the public may have of rental-property owners, most of us are choosing to sacrifice our own immediate wants and needs to provide our customers with a comfortable environment in which to live.
I am deeply grateful to be living in a country where I can pursue what’s important to me by providing service to those who need it. I’d willingly accept delayed gratification (e.g., functioning lights in the refrigerator) to secure what I value more than anything else in life: Freedom and independence.