How Kim Spent Her Summer Vacation

Posted on October 15, 2013 by

“Bill, you have a pretty big spot on your lung.  We’re not sure what it is,” said the doctor. If he wanted to get my attention, he succeeded!

I’ve never smoked, I compete in five triathlons and do several 100-mile bike races each year, plus I go to the gym twice a week – yet there I was, wondering whether I had lung cancer.

The good news is that it wasn’t lung cancer! It turns out that the spot on my lung is a result of me having had tuberculosis when I was growing up in Thailand.  No matter, the thought of dying caused me to look at many parts of my life – including our rental properties.

For most couples who own single-family rentals, one spouse is primarily responsible for taking care of the properties and tenants.  In our family, it’s me.

My health scare raised some all-important questions: What would happen to our rental properties if I suddenly died?  Would Kim know what to do?   Could she maintain our capital assets or would she be forced to liquidate all of our investment properties? 

I decided we needed to find out the answer to these questions.

Most of our leases expire in May.  Why May?  It’s the month kids get out of school and many families relocate.  This makes it the best time to get a property back from a tenant, do a quick rehab and then put it on the market for rent or sale.

This past May, June and July, Kim – pretty much by herself – oversaw seven big rehabs (new roofs, interior and exterior paint, new flooring, etc.)  She also filled or sold seven properties.  No small task by anyone’s measure.

Kim proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she can handle our properties, even in the busiest of times…and in many, many ways, she did it better than me!

I asked Kim to list her three biggest lessons learned.  First, a rehab takes twice as long as you estimate.  Second, a rehab costs twice as much as you think.  Third, finding great tenants is tough and absolutely requires you to do in-home interviews.

An in-home interview is when you meet with a PROSPECTIVE tenant at their CURRENT residence BEFORE signing a lease and letting them move into YOUR investment property.   However THEIR home looks – inside and out – is exactly how they’ll have YOUR home looking one week after they move in!

One last thought:  My health scare got me to thinking about my estate plan – or lack of one.  For seasoned real estate investors who control a number of properties, putting together a sound, well-thought-out plan can leave them scratching their heads.  If this describes you, Dyches Boddiford, my long-time investing teacher, is teaching Estate Planning for Real Estate Investors on October 19 & 20 in Atlanta.  Go to for full information.  We’ll see you there! 

Bill & Kim CookBill & Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team. They live in Adairsville, Georgia and have been investing in real estate since 1995. They specialize in buying single-family homes, mobile homes and mobile home parks. They also run North Georgia REIA and teach folks how to successfully invest in real estate.

Contact Bill & Kim Cook

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