04 Jul A bit of a different story to balance out the bad ones
My story is far from the norm. At the time, I was working 3rd shift in a factory and had taken a real estate class at the U of MN. Joined a company and had listed and ended up purchasing the duplex I listed (single family home converted to legal duplex in the 1950's) back in 1978 in the Powderhorn Park area of Minneapolis when I was 24 years old. As a Veteran I went zero money down and pocketed both sides of the commission as the listing agent and buyer, which was around $2000 back then. Left the part time Realtor gig right after that. Rents were $225 for the one bedroom unit and $240 for the 2 bedroom unit at the time of purchase. Mortgage was 8.75% with a PI of $445. Only reason I purchased the property was so I could have pets. Lived in one unit and rented out the other for 31 years. Originally bought the duplex for $42,000 and put $35,000 six years ago into a new kitchen and bamboo flooring in the upper unit and separate electric for the "Commons" areas (something that is required by Minneapolis if owner of duplex does not live or, no longer lives in the building). Also, spent another $9,000 this year on cedar fencing and upgraded Central Air . Both units were vacant for one month while the $35,000 worth of work was being done. Other than that, during all those years I've only had two months total where a unit wasn't rented. The odd thing is, I have never done a background check on a tenant and instead have relied on gut instinct. Possibly having been a Private Investigator for 6 years and a bouncer for 15 years in Mpls night clubs might have had something to do with that decision. I charge a little less than the going rate so, I can have a good pool of applicants to chose from. Every $25 I receive for a background check is mailed back to the applicants. Current rents are $920 for the 1 bedroom unit and $1200 for the 2 bedroom unit. Free washer and dryer are included and are hooked up to the "Commons" electric in the basement. I bend over backwards for my tenants and treat them with respect, which I then get it in return 90-95% of the time. Average time for tenants staying in their unit is 2 1/2- 3 years. The financial part of buying was never a concern for me, like I said I only wanted pets. Here I am now in my mid 60's living off the rents and a Social Security check. I currently live with my wife in the Uptown area in a 825 square foot condo with a mortgage of $688/month and HOA fee of $250. Condo is two short blocks to Lake Calhoun. If I ever chose to move out and live in my Class B RV, I'll have no problem renting out the condo for around $1400 or possibly go the AirBNB route. Intend to hang onto the duplex another 10 years and then sell it.