I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation in Boston! I had the opportunity to see a new city, meet friends, and to relax for a few days.

I have been endlessly busy since my vacation ended. My home is a duplex and I rent out the second floor. March has been a period of transition as one tenant moved out and we prepared for next tenant. The entire apartment needed a rehab which included painting every room, redoing the kitchen, redoing part of the bathroom, replacing all of the carpet, and making lots of small electrical fixes. The process was supposed to be completed by the end of March, since I only had a month’s buffer to pay the mortgage. It is now April and we’re still putting the final touches on the apartment.

The search for a tenant has been extensive between placing ads and interviewing prospects. Based on my experiences, I would liken the process to a job search. Both parties involved have a pain point that needs to be solved. In my case, I need income and I have an empty second floor unit. In their case, they need a place to live that meets their budget and is comfortable. The process of meeting in the middle means each party has to make a sale. For us, we demonstrate why our apartment is a great choice and that we will be good landlords. (No one wants a slumlord!) For prospective tenants, they show us they are responsible and can afford the rent. Garnering attention for our rental has not been difficult, but we definitely had to turn some people away based on their background checks. (One person never mentioned a previous eviction and judgment that totaled well over $7000.)

Going back to the job comparison, an employer can fire a bad employee especially if it is an at-will employment position. For a landlord, it is difficult to remove a bad tenant who refuses to leave—even if they are clearly not paying their rent. A lot rides on selecting the right tenant the first time. Fortunately, we seem to have found our prospective tenant. Hopefully, all will go well during the final inspection on Thursday. Think of it as the “job offer” stage. The deal isn’t sealed yet and something could happen, but these are the last steps.

The last month has been quite a project for me.  Like any project, planning before you start is crucial. I’ve learned along the way through research and failure such as:

  • Dreaming big is fine, but do not neglect the smaller details. The details may seem small until they lead to a big problem.
  • Have your expenses and budget in place before you start anything.
  • Surround yourself with a team that is competent and reliable. Research them and obtain good references before you move forward.
  • The adage of cheap, fast, and good will ALWAYS apply. You can pick two, but you can’t have all three. Stay away from the fast and cheap combination, the end result is rarely pretty.
  • There will be setbacks and frustrations. Don’t let them keep you up at night or those frustrations will discourage you.
  • If you are overseeing a project, check in from time to time. Do not be afraid to voice your concerns.
  • Always perform a final inspection before you declare the project finished.


Have you ever tackled any huge work-related projects? How did they turn out?

(Now if you excuse me, I have spare apartment cleaning to do before Thursday afternoon.)