The "2 am broken toilet" excuse, upgraded

26 Replies

So I've been busy looking at deals, talking with people about my real estate journey so far, am 100% open about it to everyone I meet, pretty much.

Today, I had a conversation with a coworker.

"I want that one house that pays you a ton of money every month." His cash flow number was $2,000 per month... I'm still pretty new at this, but I've got some general knowledge on options he can have to go that route. We get to talking, and his number 1 excuse:

"I don't want a lot of houses, because I dont want to deal with Fair Housing tenants. I want just one or two houses with really great tenants."

He then goes on to talk himself out of THAT because his mom had a bad time owning houses.

This is a guy who spent years watching his mom landlord, spending 5 years in his 20s as a loan officer (I'm guessing broker), and now drives big rigs for our employer)

I'm honestly just wondering how common such a specific excuse like this is, and why someone wouldnt be open to ideas that give him exactly what he's looking for?

@Keith Torsen

It's one of thousands of excuses out there. You should be glad there are so many excuses and so many people that use them. It creates huge opportunity for the relatively few of us.

I run into so many people who want something, but don't want to put in the work. I meet people every day that ask me to help them get started learning about wholesaling, and various forms of investing. When I follow-up, I hear: "I didn't have time to read that book", "I didn't have time to listen to that podcast, or drive to look at properties, or go to a REIA meeting, etc. etc. etc" But in the next breath, "Hey, did you see that game yesterday?" (You know the one that was on for 3 hours-when he didn't have time to take any steps toward his goal) Like I've heard many times before, "People want to win the lottery, but don't want to buy the ticket"

When people say I don’t want  to be fixing toilets at 2 am I respond with “really? That why I bought my properties. I love fixing toilets at 2am, doesn’t everybody!”

But really you just get enough margin in the deal to hire a property manager to take those calls

People like normal, and normal is working at a job, the other magical normal is winning the lottery.  The same people willing to work for 49 years also purchase lottery tickets with the idea that that piece of poet will make them millions. 

     Now  The likelihood of me ever having 100 million net worth is slim to none, but I guarantee you it’s 1000 times higher for me to get there then the person working 40 plus hours a week and buying their lottery tickets.  

 Everybody makes choices in their life and depending on the individual it’s a smart choice, at least for them and that’s what people need the idea  or belief that their choice was a smart one.  risk is not something people want to take 

@Keith Torsen . My tenants don’t call me at 2 am because they don’t have my phone number. Makes life a lot easier

I don't take my phone to bed with me at night. If a tenant called me at 2am for anything other than to let me know about a flooding issue or a fire, we would have a 'come to Jesus' talk the next morning when I got the message. iI've never had a tenant call in the middle of the night.

Everybody has heard a tenant horror story.  They share them when you talk about landlording.  I stopped years ago.  Now I'm just retired if anyone asks. Between naps.

The way to stem the 'dreaded' 2am toilet call isn't to not bring your phone to bed or not give your tenants your number because you would rather get gouged by a PM. Horrible advice and a big reason I don't check in much anymore. 

During the move-in, show them where the stop valves are for sinks and toilets.  If anything goes wrong, shut it off and call me at a reasonable hour.  I'll walk you through it or take care of it the next day.

Educate and set expectations.  Or hire a PM, get over-charged by an emergency plumber call for no freaking reason and have payments the rest of your life.

@Keith Torsen ever ask anyone why they wont get in the restaurant business? Same bs.

People are afraid and don’t understand **** or they just aren’t passionate on any level.

‘Some people don’t want to challenge themselves and make hard choices. They want to go for the easy familiar decision’

Paraphrased Dan Ariely

Had it happen once. Student housing party night & they blocked the toilet so room-mate & I head over at 1am. BUT after fixing the toilet I also collected all their rents & headed home at 2am we get pulled over by the cops. They find all the cash on me & the assumption is drugs. My friend was impressed with the cash I had collected in rents & decided to get involved in rentals.

We were away in Ohio (2005) & the long term perfect tenant we all dream of having (had her since 2001) calls with the basement full of water. The HW tank is floating sideways & the electrical panel is shorting out. The heavy rains had backed up the city storm sewers & many homes were flooded to the floor joists. I text my maintenance guy who also happened to be up as he was a volunteer fireman & in the process of pumping out other homes in the area. He eventually took care of everything & we put her up in a hotel.

She is still there paying on-time all the time. 

When your in REI "Landlords plan & God laughs" (with apologies to an old Yiddish saying)

Originally posted by @Pat L. :

Had it happen once. Student housing party night & they blocked the toilet so room-mate & I head over at 1am. BUT after fixing the toilet I also collected all their rents & headed home at 2am we get pulled over by the cops. They find all the cash on me & the assumption is drugs. My friend was impressed with the cash I had collected in rents & decided to get involved in rentals.

We were away in Ohio (2005) & the long term perfect tenant we all dream of having (had her since 2001) calls with the basement full of water. The HW tank is floating sideways & the electrical panel is shorting out. The heavy rains had backed up the city storm sewers & many homes were flooded to the floor joists. I text my maintenance guy who also happened to be up as he was a volunteer fireman & in the process of pumping out other homes in the area. He eventually took care of everything & we put her up in a hotel.

She is still there paying on-time all the time. 

When your in REI "Landlords plan & God laughs" (with apologies to an old Yiddish saying)

 I could just see it. Pat, do you still have the accent? Trying to convince some upstate cop to believe the Aussie with the wad of greasy cash is a landlord...that had to be entertaining.

As far as Ohio goes, I feel for you. But I'm glad you told the story. I think a lot of people have these rosy expectations of landlording sold to them by seminars and gurus and then when they get into it, the hammer comes down and tbey start to wonder why bad things happen to good people.

Landlording's tough. You can pay a property manager to take on some of the day-to-day  problems, but in the end, there's no mercy limit on the pain a property or a tenant can bring you. There's no release valve, no lifeline, no mute button, no escape hatch. You are responsible. I think, ultimately, a lot of people are absolutely terrified of the obligations and responsibilities.

Yes the accent was very strong back then 1980's, but the plain clothed cops were great.

We eventually sold that student housing property for a huge profit JUST before it was outlawed by a code change, a GF of a friend worked in the city office so we had 'insider trading' info on the soon to be legislated laws, so we sold it up & running with great rental income. It was originally a big old duplex illegally converted to student housing by the seller so we initially had 13 rooms rented. In fact we even had a kid rent the furnace room & that was before CO detectors or direct vented Hi-Eff furnaces were common. How he slept during the winter months defies me. 

Evictions were simply 'gently placing' the kids belongings out onto the side porch or into the barn. But then we enclosed the porch for another room & then rented the barn to a food vending machine supplier, (& then we had rats).

I miss those days.

Fear and comfort prevent 'wishes' from becoming 'must haves' in all aspects of life (finances, relationships, fitness, health).

“Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-*** weights.”


― Ronnie Coleman

As Grant Cardone says, if you're getting calls in the middle of the night, that means your units are occupied and you're getting paid every month!

You can have excuses or you can have results, but you can't have both. 

I forgot who said that but it's true. Don't listen to your friend.

@Kerry Mertz really sad, but true. People are NOT willing to pay the prices anymore. They give up on their dreams because they are not willing to sacrifice comfort.

I had told a friend I was looking to get into Real Estate to retire early. His response was asking why I would that? Social security payments were based on the last 2 years working so you would want to spike your pay so you can maximize your social security when 65.

I looked at him and ask if he was looking forward to working 15 more years, just to work harder and spike his pay starting at 63? He seemed confused by the question and as if that was the only option.

I’ve had to do worse than fix toilets so I could cope . As Jim mentioned it’s a defeating thankless and tough business to self manage your portfolio . I’ve had to clean areas that would make a man dry heave .ive Had to sort out/ clean a diseased dead guys unit where he died .scrub feces off bathroom walls .pull women’s crusty panties out of moldy storage areas . Pick up poopy toilet paper on the carpet .kill rats by stomping on them ,remove thousands of squirming maggots out of appliances .clean up crusty blood stains .mow yards with grass two feet high with a weed eater .. 

All part of the fun Of landlording ! This is why I laugh when I see people think it’s a passive income business . 

@Keith Torsen

I'd rather take a 5 min call at 2am and then go back to bed... and then sleep in while everyone else goes to their 8-5 job...at least that's my goal for now.

Incredibly enough the same people with the 2am toilet excuse are willing to give their time (which they deem so precious) to someone else. They're willing to work for hours on end, take business travel, commute excessively, miss their kids' life, have set limited vacations, etc. I find it ironic. Oh, and they sit in those awful corporate like meetings, where nothing ever gets accomplished. I'd shoot myself...

I know someone who had a Brooklyn apartment and sold it 20 years ago cause they couldn't handle it. Imagine what a Brooklyn NY apt would have been worth now...

I don’t think it’s just about making excuses. 

Many people just aren't built to run a business. It's not just REI. Most people want the sense of false security of a job. Most people want the certainty of a check biweekly. They don't want to make the sacrifices any business requires.

What most people don’t talk about, is the failures in their respective businesses. Starting a business sounds great. Many fail and lose a lot of money. I’ve failed too. Nothing wrong with it. Just gotta hope your successes outweigh your failures by a couple of multiples lol. 

Many buy RE using wrong calculations, manage it incorrectly, and sell it for a loss just to get out. Most people here are the “lucky” few. 

Most people are risk aversive. I had a friend who won't even download Robinhood app that I recommend even though he will get a free stock for just signing up for free because he is scared of getting hack or something. He won't ask a girl out romantically even though he knows and like her for 10 years. He never buys a car because he is scared of car accident. Telling him to buy a rental property is like telling us to climb Mount Everest in off season.

@Scott Scheel

Your statement could not ring anymore true.

I have a friend who is also a former coworker. I had told him about my rental property endeavors, he was impressed and told me how he wanted to go into flips. He suggested if we could go into doing flips together. I personally don't care for flips but was willing to entertain the idea.

I told him, if he is willing to go into real estate investing, he should read some books and do research. I gave him "Rich Dad Poor Dad" and "Rental Property Investing for Dummies". To me, pretty easy reads. I finished Rich Dad is less than 3 days. About 3 months later, I asked him if he had finished reading the books. Of course the answer was "Nah".

My thoughts on this was, how do you expect us to go into any kind of  real estate investing partnership if you are not willing to read two simple books.

After that, whenever someone tells me they are thinking of going into real estate, I take it with a very fine grain of salt.

Most people are so afraid to fail , that they fail ! They are so afraid to lose that they lose . 

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