A few days ago I took a ride past several of my investment houses. They are located in an area that is several hours north of where I live so I don’t see them every day. I was pleasantly surprised as I drove past the first house, it had been nicely decorated for the holidays with bright lights and several plastic ornaments. I drove past the second house and saw that it too had been outfitted in holiday attire. As I drove by the third I saw that in addition to being decorated it also had a large snowman in the yard (real snow).
This had me thinking. As investors we tend to look at things such as cash flow, expenses, maintenance, depreciation and all of those other items associated with our rental properties. It is easy to forget the other side of what we do and that is providing shelter for those who cannot afford to buy a house of their own. It is a lot more than sticks and bricks. It is a place where people raise their families and create memories. We tend to grumble about the bad tenants but let’s not forget the good ones.
I think back to my childhood home. It was a very small house yet there were eight of us living there, and only one bathroom! When I see this house today I marvel at how small it is and wonder how we all managed to survive let alone thrive. It may have been small but it was packed to the rafters with memories. There were Christmas mornings when we ran to see if Santa had indeed arrived, somehow he always had. There were Thanksgiving gatherings, birthdays, graduations and so many other milestones celebrated.
When we look back do we remember the house we lived in or the home we shared with our family? Let’s remember that the next time we cash a rent check. We may rent a house to our tenants but they are the ones who make it a home. We should feel good about this since we are helping to provide a basic human need. Growing up I neither knew nor cared about how we came to live in that house, I just knew it as my family’s home.
By the way, that home was a rental.
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
– Charles Dickens