When would you know you are over your head in rentals?

5 Replies

I recently moved from Tulsa to Springfield Mo. and started moving my properties from Tulsa to the Springfield and Branson area. I kept hearing the name Chris Gatley from the realtors I used to buy rentals property. I did some research and was astounded by the story of this man. Submitted below is one of many articles on what transpired. My question is: How do you know when you are out of control with your properties?


It's an interesting read to say the least.

Wow. Definitely an interesting read. 

Yes, he is infamous in the Springfield area.

@Sylvia B.

I had two realtors tell me that there were weekly auctions at the courthouse. I drove by a few and decided to buy in the Branson area. I'm not into fix and flip and some I saw needed to be torn down (too far gone to save).

Guy, an interesting read, but I totally disagree that the solution is more government regulation or  oversight of rental properties - unless they are part of section 8 and are therefore offering a service in exchange for income.

IMO, the answer to your question of "When would you know....." is more based on personal integrity and ethics than a hard or fast "model".  Many years ago, we had a real estate investor in Tulsa, who was so motivated by greed that he did some very unethical investing.  Like Mr. Gatley, he ended up losing everything in bankruptcy.  The stories his tenants told, while not as bad as this article states, were still pretty sad.  

As I was interested in starting my SFH business, I actually interviewed this guy (a couple of years before his empire crumbled) to find out how he was able to build what seemed like a nice empire. He told me how he was doing it. My question back to him was "how do you sleep at night and also deal with your conscience"?

Fortunately, I have built a nice collection of SFH in Tulsa, but I learned what not to do primarily by doing the opposite of what this guy did. While I'm not trying to come off as a hero, I do think that rental properties is not just about the physical assets you own, but more about the service you offer to your tenants. Unfortunately, there are tenants that will try to take advantage of that approach.

One last thing to offer, I have personally found the media tends to demonize landlords and make it seem like all tenants are victims.  The Tulsa World recently did an expose on the high level of evictions  in Tulsa County which very much had that theme of victimhood.  So, I called the author of the article and he definitely had no idea what landlords deal with and admitted he had only done one side of his research when writing his article.  To his credit, he did a follow-up piece talking about the causes of evictions and that included some references to "not paying your rent means the landlord can't afford to let you stay in the house or to keep the house in top notch condition".

Would enjoy reading anybody else's thoughts on this question.  Thanks for asking it!

@John Kunick


I'm with you on the restrictions and bad press landlords often get. My question was more about how does a person know they have reached a point of incompetence? Personally, at this point in my life, I am good with 10 doors free and clear and no personal debt. I don't work (retired) and can manage them on about 20+ hours a week. I don't want to suffer, nor do I want my tenants to suffer. I believe in accountability and ethics as well.

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