We were talking to a building owner about taking on her property. It was like 12 units maybe? Can't remember. Anyway, we are standing in a bachelor apartment having our meeting, and already, I'm feeling this whole, "I don't like, nor trust you" vibe. She was pretty, and dressed well, but just had this stink about her.
We start talking about the building itself. It's a dump. It gets vacuumed about once every 2 weeks, the halls haven't seen paint in decades. Then we're talking about rents, and she says the apartment we are standing in goes for $775. W-T-What the Mother F? I wish I had taken a picture. Some tiles had fallen off the backsplash, and were just replaced with any tile that fit. There is a leaky fridge stranded in the corner. Shitty laminate. It was just a dive.
She continues on telling us about the building-and it gets better. She has a fantastic tenant that lives downstairs. She’s been there for years-pays like $500 a month. Her apartment is beautiful.
So we asks a very logical question, “well don’t you do annual rent increases?”
“Oh, the branch allows you to increase it, what $20 a month, what’s the point?”
So we table that for the moment.
We get back to the rental system. She explains that the building makes like no money, so apartments can’t sit without a tenant. If we get to the end of the month and we don’t have a tenant for a unit, then she’ll come out and put anyone in it, and deal with whatever happens.
Remember that great tenant paying $500 a month? No relevance at all, I’m sure.
So we talk money, and here’s the offer. Sorry, wait. Just wanna throw out some stats. We have:
-increased rent revenue by 20% at one building
-increased individual apartment rents by a minimum of $100 per apartment
-basically rocked the shit job wise. Took this on, and so re-defined what the job entailed that we started teaching people how to do it in other buildings.
Cool. That said. She offered us $300 per month. For that, we got to rent out all the apartments, deal with the phone calls from all the tenants and work for some Gucci wearing chick that had no interest in the building whatsoever.
I’m standing there, in an apartment I swear god built himself with his own two fucking hands to teach low income people about the value of education listening to her offer me $300 per month to take it off her hands. Honey-$300 isn’t going to cover the gas, nor potential bullet holes from driving to this godforsaken hellhole. Yes, for the purposes of this story, I am saying that God himself built it, then forgot it.
So I try to put a different spin on it-maybe there is value in a cost-plus arrangement. I tell her, we’d consider acting as a rental agent. You have vacancies, and we’ll take care of renting them. For a price. I would want $100 per apartment. No vacancies=no money. More vacancies=more money. Phone calls bill out at $30/hour.
Let’s be clear, on the spot I just saved her: the cost of an onsite manager. And let’s be clear, an onsite manager here is going to be recruited from Insite. The cost of driving out from downtown everytime a tenant calls her. And it saves the cost of her time. She can officially set it and forget it. If we don’t get used, she doesn’t have to pay.
I thought I was pretty brilliant. Especially with 10 seconds of thought.
And she starts trying to negotiate on the fact that 2 vacancies isn’t nearly twice the work of one. No shit. I’m trying to scrape together a deal here that makes it at least plausible that I am a little interested in attaching my name to this Bedbug paradise. If that means we actually make money for coming to the 7th circle of hell for 2 apartments rather than one-so be it!
Finally, we ended up saying yes just to end the interview and get out of there. I was so thirsty from talking, and definitely did not want water from that building. We get in the car and had an e-mail sent before we made it home saying we changed our minds.
We could have turned that building around. We could be the assholes that went up to the wonderful tenant living in the “beautiful apartment”, and told her she has 2 months to vacate. Here’s a check. We could be the jersk that handed out rent increases for everyone. Maybe make sure that the halls got cleaned more than twice a month by a man that wasn’t blind. Dirt was ground so far into the carpet that it was growing new dirt. We could have done it on a shoestring budget.
But we weren’t going to do it for free.