constant learning curve

1 Reply

My first property (a condo in the Los Angeles area) was purchased when I was local, but by the time I closed I was moved to Miami with my job, so I became a long distance landlord by accident. Little problems happened and my tenant found someone to do the work. It did not cost that much, but it ended up being useless. Then I go with the handyman that the property managers for the complex use. Talk over the phone, develop a good relationship and think I have my go to handyman, I am stoked. I bring in a good plumber from a friend rec who is in the industry to redo a shower. He charges a lot (and gave me a deal) and left the finishing work for the handy man. Then I have a leak in the kitchen and need a plumber so I ask another investor in my complex if she has used anyone and I call this guy who has worked on a lot of the units in my complex. He seems legit and is also not cheap, but not crazy expensive. He has to redo some of the things the handyman had done and all the things the tenant's find did. So I thought I had a good handy man but apparently I didn't. Also this new plumber says the expensive plumber who re-did the shower put in one that was way too low to keep the water in, so the if the drain is slow the water pours over. This seems to never end. How long before you normally find your go to people? With the handy man, is it a matter of figuring out what he can and cannot do, regardless of what he says? Do even the best people regualrly make small mistakes?

Also, when it comes property management, wholesalers, etc. It seems I create relationships, let some go as a result of the interaction and do business with those that check out. Develop even a friendship built on trust, and do several deals together, then you start learning they have not been completely honest. Does it ever end? 

I am still in this for the long haul, my place in LA is still cash flowing and appreciating and I am not regretting it all. This is just the one piece of the puzzle I cannot seem to figure out. We all talk about building a team, but this is not easy. Finding a deal is easy (may take time but I can do it), figuring out financing is easy (may take a lot of research, calling, paper work, etc, but I can do that), meeting people and building relationships is easy (I can do that), but building a team of those you can trust to do a good job, not rip you off, and be honest with you seems way too hard. 

Originally posted by @Ken Virzi :

My first property (a condo in the Los Angeles area) was purchased when I was local, but by the time I closed I was moved to Miami with my job, so I became a long distance landlord by accident. Little problems happened and my tenant found someone to do the work. It did not cost that much, but it ended up being useless. Then I go with the handyman that the property managers for the complex use. Talk over the phone, develop a good relationship and think I have my go to handyman, I am stoked. I bring in a good plumber from a friend rec who is in the industry to redo a shower. He charges a lot (and gave me a deal) and left the finishing work for the handy man. Then I have a leak in the kitchen and need a plumber so I ask another investor in my complex if she has used anyone and I call this guy who has worked on a lot of the units in my complex. He seems legit and is also not cheap, but not crazy expensive. He has to redo some of the things the handyman had done and all the things the tenant's find did. So I thought I had a good handy man but apparently I didn't. Also this new plumber says the expensive plumber who re-did the shower put in one that was way too low to keep the water in, so the if the drain is slow the water pours over. This seems to never end. How long before you normally find your go to people? With the handy man, is it a matter of figuring out what he can and cannot do, regardless of what he says? Do even the best people regualrly make small mistakes?

Also, when it comes property management, wholesalers, etc. It seems I create relationships, let some go as a result of the interaction and do business with those that check out. Develop even a friendship built on trust, and do several deals together, then you start learning they have not been completely honest. Does it ever end? 

I am still in this for the long haul, my place in LA is still cash flowing and appreciating and I am not regretting it all. This is just the one piece of the puzzle I cannot seem to figure out. We all talk about building a team, but this is not easy. Finding a deal is easy (may take time but I can do it), figuring out financing is easy (may take a lot of research, calling, paper work, etc, but I can do that), meeting people and building relationships is easy (I can do that), but building a team of those you can trust to do a good job, not rip you off, and be honest with you seems way too hard. 

I had a go-to licensed and investor friendly renovation contractor... Until he picked up his business and moved to florida where renovations happen all year long and not just seasonal. On top of this, every time my farm area for buy and holds expands to another neighborhood, I end up having to interview new guys to do my renovations. So the answer is you might never have a go-to guy and need to go find your reia. I'm a member of one of the baltimore REIA facebook group pages and its a network of investors like me asking for referrals of top investor friendly contractors for every trade. Great resource to find if you could get a local one for your area. Its like virtual networking and I could find multiple referrals very quickly so I could get a set of bids and execute quickly without getting overcharged. Always use guys that are insured and licensed and get proof of each before signing the contract. Use the maintenance guy for low risk tasks like toilets clogs and basic tasks, but not renovations. Another idea is to use thumbtack (download on the app store) and quickly get multiple bids for maintenance and renovation work you plan in future. You list the work and the bids will come in from various contractors that are ready to start when you need them and will share pricing up front. They show reviews and qualifications of the contractor to help you do a better job vetting than just picking out of a hat. You can never be 100% certain but it at least weeds out the sham contractors and guys that will take your deposit and run.

Updated about 3 years ago

Just run a search on facebook groups to see what LA investor group pages are open and you will find some that let you search their site for contractor recommendations or ask for one yourself. easy to do virtually...