Browse Category by Business planning

Financial independence – FI

You know it’s time to move when you look through pictures of your home after you remodeled it and realize you’ve changed out most pieces of furniture.

My brother Phillip was in town visiting for the holidays recently and as usual we got into talks of our hopes and dreams. He showed us this amazing video of a man named Slomo in San Diego who rollerblades all day and night and is living his best, and happiest life.

The conversation then shifted to financial independence. Phillip asked if we had heard of the FI movement, and the answer was yes. Back when we lived in Colorado I remember reading Mr. Money Mustache’s blog a few times, as he was located just 15 min from where we lived, and I’ve always been fascinated by personal finance. I had also just read this NY Times article on the FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early). During this conversation Zach and I became acutely aware that we have gotten too comfortable.

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Business planning, Buying houses, Debt Free Living, Fixer Upper, Investments, Move forward, Planning, Small living, Smart money, Uncategorized

We bought a duplex.

Back in 2016 we bought a duplex in Vancouver, WA. We went in on the purchase of this investment with my parents, and my brother and his wife. We started making a video of the process, but it was difficult to do because this property was already rented out on both sides and we didn’t want to invade anyones privacy.

This home is not the most beautiful, and it needs a lot of updating. We plan to make exterior improvements (I’m thinking some shutters, fresh door color, and removal of the awning would be a great start) as well as many interior improvements (The washing machine and dryer are in the kitchen so those need to be enclosed, replace carpet on lower levels with laminate, and fresh paint -goodbye cream!- would be the first items on our list) when the time comes for our renters to relocate. But we like our current residents, so there is no rush!

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Business planning, Buying houses, Fixer Upper, Investments, Planning

Treat your tenants like customers.

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We’ve all heard the horror stories of tenants ruining properties by putting holes in walls, staining the carpets, refusing to leave a property at the end of their lease etc. This concern is what I would assume is the leading cause of people not being interested in owning rental properties.  Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent this kind of behavior, but you can put the odds in your favor by treating your tenants like customers. Having rentals is a business, and with any good business comes great customer service.

Every single time we’ve met with a prospective tenant, we do our best to ensure that we want them to call us if something stops working or if they notice anything that needs attention. We do this for a couple reasons. 1. We want them to live in a place they love (the more they love it, the longer they will stay), and in order to do that they need to feel like they are being taken care of. And 2. These houses are investments for us! We want them to stay in good condition and don’t want something small to not get taken care of and turn into something huge.

We’ve looked at rental properties to purchase where the seller says “the tenants are amazing, they never call about anything, very low maintenance” and honestly, that’s a red flag for us. We’ve gone into several properties like this where it becomes evident that the tenants didn’t call because they just didn’t care about the house or they were getting low rent and were worried if they did call their rent would go up. Again, we want our tenants to call us, and you should want that too.

We’ve been extremely fortunate and have never had bad tenants. That being said, as with any business, you need to plan for unexpected things to take place. We always had money set aside in case something did happen to one of our homes and honestly, we planned for something bad to happen. We did this because we rental properties is our plan for retirement, we are in this for the long haul… so we planned for things to go bad so that if and/or when they did, we would be prepared and wouldn’t let it get us down. Luckily that never happened, and we like to think that a lot of that has to do with the fact that we treat our tenants with respect and are prompt to respond to their needs. Of course, there’s a lot that goes into finding the right tenants as well, but we’ll save that post for another day.

Business planning, Buying houses, Investments, Planning

New Airbnb in Louisville, CO

This last week I made a trip back to Colorado to visit our good friends (and our family Photographer) Ashleigh and Ian. I made the trip because they decided they wanted to rent out their spare bedroom on Airbnb. This was extra special because they purchased their house from us!  It was a lot of fun to be back in Louisville (although it was all of 36 hours) and get them squared away.

Have you ever considered renting your house out on Airbnb? Or, rent out a spare bedroom? Tell us about it!

Airbnb, Business planning, Debt Free Living, Planning, Small living, Smart money

Don’t listen to the naysayers.

 

Too often in life we are swayed to do things, or not to do things, based on what other people say. Of course there is a time and a place to look to people we know, love, and trust for advice… but sometimes, even these people can’t know what’s right for you.

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An example from our personal lives took place when we purchased our second home, that was smaller than our first home, we decided to keep our first house as a rental. We had numerous people who we looked up to tell us that we should just sell our first house, then use the equity to buy one bigger house. We were determined to keep the first property to rent it out and did just that. We continued to get this advice (as well as other reasons to not purchase) on each and every property we bought, but we stayed on course with our long term plan. It would have been easy to sell and get a nicer home. However, we always had a detailed, thought out, business plan. This plan helped us see past immediate wants and needs and allowed us to stay focused on our end goal.

Be smart about what you want and how you want to invest your time and your money. If you feel good about your decision, and are able to execute your plan, then move forward, don’t listen to the naysayers and embrace what you are doing. Push through the barriers and give your self a chance to succeed. You can do it.

 

Be decisive, Business planning, Move forward, Smart money