Five Good Ideas, taken at Random

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I am getting really sick of people complaining about the economy. I’ve been complaining about it way too much myself! So today, let’s think positive and put five good ideas into your real estate toolbox.

  1. When you show a rental apartment, do your best to schedule multiple appointments (for the same place, of course) at the same time. Why? Some prospects will inevitably not show up, and those who do (assuming you get more than one) will get a sense that the place is in demand – making them want it more.
  2. Write up a checklist for interviewing prospective tenants and keep it in your vehicle along with a supply of blank applications.
  3. Next time you drive by your property, make a list of cheap things you can do to make the place look a little nicer. Then do them!
  4. Do the same for energy efficiency. Obviously this makes sense if you are paying for heat. If you’re not, make the improvements anyway and then send each tenant a letter explaining how you’ve made their lives easier.
  5. Considering buying a property? Call the tenants and find out how they feel and if they are planning to stay. This isn’t unethical or illegal; most of us just don’t do it.

I’ve got another hundred of these, and of course you can find a hundred others elsewhere on BiggerPockets. So why is it important to implement these ideas now? They’ll move you and the country out of the recession, and into better times.

No-Complaining Zone
Complaining about the economy isn’t going to help matters. Writing letters and going to protests isn’t the most effective use of your time, although it can be a lot of fun – and I’ve got a great way for you to complain at the end of this piece.

After all, what is the recession? It’s not a national disease. Instead, millions of real people are suffering from their own little economic diseases. To name just a few:

  • My friends in Florida, who enjoyed quite a few prosperous years flipping houses, and now have three homes they can’t afford and can’t afford to sell
  • My friend right here in New Hampshire, a talented construction engineer at a time when there isn’t any construction
  • Me – three of my tenants are all leaving, one way or another, at the end of the month

I’m sure you can think of three stories to match mine, and one of them might even be your story. It’s really depressing hearing these stories, and even worse when you are the subject of one.

On the other hand, we have some control over our own lives. Certainly we have more than we do over the direction of the country of the world.

Now economies have cycles, and this bad phase won’t last forever. But there are many reasons to take immediate, personal action now, and not wait for the tide to rise. These reasons are valid whether you’re still doing well or feeling some pain.

  1. Even in a crappy economy, you will benefit by improving your skills, processes or products.
  2. When you’re working on these improvements, you won’t have time to gripe.
  3. When the economy turns around, the competitive advantages you picked up during the recession will let you out-accelerate your competitors.

Of course there is a cost involved in this effort, that being your time. So be it. You’ll have to put in some extra hours this year. Remember that even unpaid work (if it’s fun) is better than entertainment you have to pay for. And this work isn’t unpaid – it will return a benefit to you.

If you Really Want to Complain

If you still want to complain, I’d suggest complaining to the federal government. If you don’t like the moves the administration is making – and I don’t like them a bit – I suggest you attend one of the Tax Day Tea Parties.

The TDTPs are protests against the high taxes, runaway deficits and ridiculous pork-barrel spending that, far from improving our economy, is making it harder for us to recover. Tax Day Tea Parties will be occurring in more than 400 cities next week.

Looking at the map, I believe there will be a Tax Day Tea Party in every state. We’ll have fun sending a blunt message to the government. In fact, if you live in New Hampshire, let me know and I’ll meet you at the event in Manchester.

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