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“NO, this isn’t the forgotten prequel to the Hobbit, a fishing show, nor is it a previously unreleased song from The Steve Miller Band–it’s episode 7 Mofo’s.”

Things were starting to move hard and fast at POS duplex #1, and I was starting to feel like a resident, given the time I was putting in.

I started noticing all the little things I assumed might work against my cause.

Funny how that works when you actually spend a little time at a place.

First of all, there were the neighbors.

The particular area this rental is in caters to the multifamily crowd, and not necessarily the good ones, if there is such a thing.

The fine folks across the street seemed to take inventory of all the tools I brought in, to see what was being left behind, and what I was taking with me when I left.

There were chickens and a rooster on one side (this is a city mind you–downtown), and dogs on the other.


rental rooster


We (my girlfriend actually) lovingly called them the fuck face dogs based on their favorite activity—it doesn’t take much imagination to figure that one out.

The FF dogs would stand in “our” yard and yap away, from the minute I arrived until I drove out of sight. Every. Day.

They were absolutely filthy, and not just morally.


rental ff dog


Surely this place will never rent, I thought.

But it did–just like the work done there–hard and fast.

I put a sign in the yard, and an ad on Craigslist, and it took about three minutes. The previous landlord had rented the place for $475-500 a month, and trust me when I tell you, it was a dump. A small one at that.

I think small shithole sums it up nicely.

The people that showed up were…well…interesting.

One guy was hammered and kept losing his train of thought, forgetting what the purpose of our conversation was—I was tempted to hand him a paint brush and see what developed (next!).

Then there was a girl who looked strung out on something—and I’m pretty positive she was puking in the bathroom, thank god she had the decency to flush, I didn’t care to follow up (check, please!).

All I could think was, “this is fucking awesome!

Not really.

In fact, hours after the papers were signed I had another couple telling me they had cash for rent and deposit, and were waiting at the unit.

I informed them the unit had been rented, and upon returning later that day to pick up the yard sign, I found that it had been ripped apart–only the metal frame was left standing in the yard.

That was the first time it was destroyed, it wouldn’t be the last.

I still don’t understand the reaction.

Needless to say, the quality of my sign diminished significantly with each trashing, until I finally ditched the idea altogether.

Getting rid of it actually improved my results. Who would have guessed?


rental sign
obvious reenactment, this depicts a much nicer house, landscaping, tenant, and sign. Other than that it’s very realistic.


I placed an ad for $550/month, and immediately had tenants. Mind you, it was what amounted to a one bedroom.

The tenants ended up being two guys who barely spoke English, with awesome credit, and their “friend” (who I later found out was a stripper), and anywhere between 2 and 8 kids depending on the day.

Who says good credit doesn’t equate to happiness?

The best part?

They always paid on time, and always paid cash.

I don’t know how they managed to share that tiny space, and the first night I couldn’t sleep—I worried about the amount of electrical outlets, bed space, fixes I couldn’t remember doing, you name it—it didn’t matter at all to them.

I was under the impression strippers made a bit more.

Maybe she was doing something wrong, or had bad managers, or poor spending habits, maybe all the above? Who knows, and I never cared to find out.


stripper rental
ooooh, which one…


The Stripper was nice, but wasn’t very bright.

That’s not breaking news, I’m sure, but it started to become a liability when she called to say there were electrical problems when the light bulb had burned out–two different times, in two different rooms!”

I would assume most would check the bulb first when a flip of the switch equals “nada.” It’s not like you have to watch much HGTV to figure this one out.

Nope, it’s a rental, and no one wants to pay for crap other than rent.

They all seem to have an endless budget for Bud Light, diapers and cigarettes though.

$2, take out of box, apply clockwise motion while in socket.

But $2 will also get you a tall boy at the corner store.  Call the landlord.

Am I worried she’ll read this?

Nope, not at all. It’s a blog about saving money, and real estate.  I know for a fact she will have zero interest in it.

I probably received 200 calls from interested applicants that day. Approximately 195 weeded themselves out immediately. It was interesting to say the least.

There are a lot of flaky people out there, and I learned quickly not to commit time to show the unit unless I had confirmation of our meeting just prior to leaving. No answer, or vague = we’re not meeting.

The couple downstairs weren’t happy, as they were now having to share—and maybe the “stripper” thing wasn’t helping with their relationship.

They did paint “you and me against the world baby, 4-eva” on the living room wall. I guess they needed the daily affirmation and a grammar lesson.

I didn’t care, the stripper unit paid, were nice, and kept to themselves—they also didn’t have a criminal background.

The downstairs couple were habitually late on rent, judgmental, and one and a half months later, informed me they had moved out when I texted to coordinate rent pick up. Yep, they moved out the night before.

They also stole the gas stove and two AC units.


I should’ve been devastated having just completed the upstairs renovation, but was actually glad they were gone.

Seeing the unit made me rethink that.


rental picture kitchen
after quite a bit of cleaning I’m ashamed to say.


It was crawling with roaches, there were bullets by the front door (hopefully not meant for collection day!!), and the kitchen walls and ceiling were covered in grease.




I really don’t like them if you haven’t figured it out.

Becoming a Landlord was looking to be a bad choice.

I threatened them with a sheriff’s report on the stolen appliances, and they dropped the stove off on the front lawn while I was at work. I’m amazed it was still there when we pulled up.

That NEVER happens in that neighborhood.

It was time to renovate another unit, and get new tenants.

Given my experience to date, it didn’t seem like that would be an issue at all.

It was about to get worse.

A lot worse.


“Let’s break this down before I do.”




RENOVATIONS: $1746.89, $649.00

RENT 1: $675, $400 (forfeited deposit)

RENT 2: $180 (prorate);  $550 first month.


$1805.00 in rent,  $2395.89 expenses.


Lost another $590

And 2 1/2 months, of hard work.

Glamourous, huh?

They don’t have any late night infomercials peddling these numbers. Carlton Sheets can kiss my ass. I wasn’t driving an Aston Martin, nope, I had a Jeep Wrangler with an iffy clutch, and 130,000 miles on the od-e-o.


But I bought the place on discount, the renovations would be done on both without losing my shorts, and I KNEW the numbers would eventually work in my favor.



Green Line Pale Ale, a great pale ale you could only get on tap, and only in Chicago. Things have changed since, but it’s still an excellent choice.

It has a great story behind it, I’ll spare you the details, and by that I mean read up on it yourself if you’re that interested. I’m beat anyways.

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