Landlord Need Good To-Do Lists

Posted on January 1, 2012 by

To Do ListWhen you are married and work together like Bill and I do, sometimes it’s easy to take one another for granted.

Several months ago, in an attempt to help Bill catch up on work, I took over the clean-out and marketing of one of our vacant homes. I don’t have the landlording experience that Bill has, so I assumed the task would be a breeze.

I took Bill’s 6-page To-Do List and went to work.  I cleaned the house from top to bottom, raked and bagged the leaves, and gave everything a good sprucing up.  Then I staged it with everything from tables and chairs to towels and toilet paper.  I made sure there were flyers in the box and applications in the house.  I updated the ads every few days and made sure the directional signs were pointing toward the house.  I kept referring back to Bill’s To-Do List to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything.  Thank goodness for that list!

We were selling the house with owner financing, so my phone rang constantly with interested and potential buyers.  The constant ringing of my phone gave me a renewed respect for what Bill goes through when we have a vacant home.

Not being an experienced landlord, I wanted to find a “forever” person to live in our home.  No such person exists of course, but my inexperience kept me on the hunt anyway.  One month rolled into the next and my lack of landlording experience cost us a month’s mortgage payment.  Bill swallowed his frustration and allowed me to make my mistakes and grow.

Finally, the right buyers came along.  We knew they were the right buyers when they offered to put $7,000 down.  Following protocol and Bill’s To-Do List, I did an ‘in-house’ inspection on the potential buyer’s current house (to make sure they knew how to treat a property) and discussed the Owner Financing paperwork with them.

The new buyers passed muster, so I begged Bill to help me draft the Warranty and Security Deeds, the Promissory Note and the countless other closing docs that were all listed on his To-Do List.

A few days later we sat with the new buyers at closing and handed them the keys to their new home.  In return, we filled our vacant home with a nice family and deposited $7,000 into our account.  Yeah, baby!

I learned several lessons while walking in Bill’s shoes.  Other than realizing just how hard he works, the biggest lesson I learned was to have a good To-Do List and stick to it.  I am going to make mistakes, of course, but having a great To-Do List, a thorough Application and PYA documents (Protect Your Assets) really helps minimize those mistakes.

Dealing with the “landlording” side of our business made me step outside my comfort zone – a lot.  But having a good To-Do List and a willing attitude made it all a little easier to handle.  And truly…..nothing is better than the mailbox money that rental houses provide.  For certain, it is sweet money!

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.


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