The Family That Invests Together Stays Together
This post is all about being a real estate investor and what that can mean for family life. Lets face it, owning residential real estate and raising a family is not always easy. I think the obvious part about owning residential real estate is that your business runs 24/7. I want to give some advice to those who are thinking about investing in real estate. I also want to help people who are already investing, you are not alone. The key ingredient to investing as a family is that everyone needs to be sold on the idea. In my opinion real estate investing is one of the best vehicles for wealth building, however, it is important to take away the emotion and excitement of owning buildings and realize that it is just one of many paths to financial freedom. It is not for everyone.
Here is my story. My wife (Shelly) and I talked about getting involved in buy and hold real estate investing long before we actually did it. We had several conversations about how each of us would participate in the business. The great thing about our situation is that we had already worked on several flip properties together before we started the Fort Nova Group with our friend Mike Thibeau.
What we discovered as soon as we started was that real estate investing is a lifestyle choice. If you are involved in a relationship, you both need to have the same vision. You must have a clear goal and be able to support each other. I can remember one time we had two vacancies to fill in the same month and both the outgoing tenants had been there for over two years. That meant both units had to be filled and then fixed up and turned over to the new tenants. We do not like to lose revenue, so of course that basically meant it all had to happen with in a couple of days.
We had to handle two complete paint jobs and several miscellaneous repairs to get the units ready. The great thing in this particular situation was that in both cases the tenants moved out a day early, and it was over a long weekend.
We had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to get both units ready. This requires an all hands on deck approach, so when you have small children like us, you have to either find babysitters or one parents and the other works; Well in this particular case we used a combo of both. We also enlisted the services of a painter and a cleaner, plus I dragged my father into the mix.
We had to work together as a family, knowing that this work was required to get us closer to our goals, that is why it is so important if you are in a relationship to have the same goal. Then there is no unnecessary tension or arguments. You just do it and accept it as part of the lifestyle.
We managed to get one unit completely ready and the other 85% ready. I had to get my painter to work around some of the tenants things to finish the paint job.
We also have circumstances where it is necessary to show apartments on evenings or weekends, as well as deal with problems that arise (on a fairly regular basis). I find it very helpful to be able to talk out our situations with each other. We have great tenants, however, we are always aware that great tenants have a choice on where they want to live. What that means to us, is that we strive to provide the best customer service possible. If a tenant has an issue, we want to resolve it ASAP. The situations we need to talk out are the gray area complaints. Those are the ones where the tenant might make something seem like an emergency, however, it can wait a day.
The key that has helped us; is to build a great team of a general contractor, plumber, electrician, and a handyman. We have stayed loyal to our team and provided them with some large jobs, so when we need something small done, they never seem to mind taking care of it. We have been in situations early in our investing career, where we have had calls from tenants with a problem and we did not know who to call. That made us feel out of control and fearful. We were able to resolve those issues, but realized we needed to put a plan in place to avoid unnecessary stress.
Here is my summary:
Recognize that real estate investing is a lifestyle.
Recognize that real estate investing is just one of many tools to achieve financial freedom.
If you are in a relationship, both parties must share the same vision.
Recognize that real estate investing is a long term investment. Focus on the big picture, do not fret or worry about the day to day challenges.
Build a strong team of trades people.
Remember that your tenants are paying your mortgages, provide exceptional customer service.
Real estate investing comes with several challenges and rewards, we have found that working together has made us stronger as a family. It might get crazy busy sometimes, but we would not have it any other way.
Until next time,
Michael P Currie