My Cup? Still Half Full With Holes

Like billions around the globe during this public health Covid19 and economic crisis, the insatiable desire to see friends and family is real. The exhaustion is eye-dropping heavy by the end of the work week. The at-home meals are becoming too repetitive. The Zoom and WebEx meetings are not as much fun, and in fact, a bit of a burden now. The walking route is starting to get a bit stale, since the beach is not open. Getting dressed up, going to the office, and the feeling of helping others are all missed deeply. And as an owner of a real estate company, this market is challenging sellers and buyers to stay true to their contracts; it’s also challenging bankers, appraisers, and title companies to make solid decisions that benefit all parties.

Yes, there are lots of holes, but my cup is still half full. And if you own real estate right now, be resilient and keep your cup half full. Let me share with you some examples of having a real estate part-time gig, while you work a full time role.

In early April, five of my eight rental homes were damaged by hail and wind storms. My primary home in Indiana was also damaged in that same storm. So let me get this straight: I have six storm damage claims, in the midst of COVID19? Yes, Jen, you do. However, your cup is still half full because you invested years ago, own these homes, and you have insurance. Life happens. Storms happen. That’s why you have insurance.

This past week, a huge tree at one of the rental homes was not showing it’s normal Spring green growth. So let me get this straight: I have a dead tree, that could fall on one of the rental homes and potentially a neighbor’s home? Yes, Jen, you do. However, your cup is still half full because it’s only one tree. All the other trees are alive, blooming and bringing their Spring green colors of hope. The dead tree was removed quickly, to help ensure no further damage. And that tree contractor was thrilled to have the work.

In the last couple days, two of our clients (tenants) have reported that their dishwashers are not working. Is that because of anything that I did? Of course not. Maybe too much food in the drain or a forceful push on the top plastic rack that broke it? So let me get this straight: Two dishwashers aren’t working now, during COVID19, when most families are home cooking 1-3 meals/day, and it’s my responsibility to fix these dishwashers? Yes, Jen, it’s yours. However, your cup is still half full because these families feel secure enough to call you and ask for some help. And we did help them; the dishwashers are back up and running again.

The locusts didn’t show up, but the termites, roaches, racoons, and mosquitos did all at the same time in our new Florida home. In all my years of owning real estate, I’ve never had termites. So let me get this straight: You have tiny critters trying to eat up your home? Yes, Jen, you do. However, your cup is still half full because the previous owner had a termite bond, so the pest control company quickly came out to address the issue.

On March 16, we high five’d as I accepted an offer to sell my primary home in Carmel, IN, for nearly the listing price. Committed to help ensure this sales contract closed easily by early June, I spent over $6,000 to address items on the inspection report the first couple weeks of April. And then fast forward to the past two weeks. Both appraisals came in and were $45,000-$70,000 lower than the sales contract price. So let me get this straight: this home of mine that had 20 showings in 48 hours back on March 14-16, the sales contract has now blown up because of two, low appraisals? Yes, Jen, that’s right. However, your cup is still half full because there are other families who will want this home, and one of them will live there happily ever after. And, don’t forget, you are remodeling another rental home, so it actually gives you a bit more time to thoughtfully get that done, while I re-list and market my primary home again.

On Valentine’s Day, I signed a contract to sell a building lot to a young family, only to find out that the deal couldn’t close recently. Why? The previous owner of the lot, an unnamed Christian college, deposited my money back in Feb. 2019, and yet did not release the lot from the mortgage. So let me get this straight: I buy a lot in 2019, go to sell it in 2020, and the paperwork still isn’t ethically processed correctly? Yes, Jen, that’s right. However, your cup is still half full because on April 10, you did sell the other two homes that are next to the lot. Those two deals were 20x’s the size of the lot deal, so keep it in perspective.

In mid-March during a routine HVAC check up, learned that one of the steady-eddy rental homes needed a new furnace, immediately. So let me get this straight: I buy the HVAC maintenance plan, and it turns in to a $3,450 new furnace? Yes, Jen, that’s right. However, your cup is still half full because the air conditioner was just fine, the new furnace is safer, quieter, and more efficient for the long-time tenant. She deserves that, as she rarely complains. And you just upgraded your home’s value.

The USA government announced numerous programs in early April to help the economy, individuals, and small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program was touted to help small business owners, like me. After I filled out the paperwork for an EIDL loan, I was informed that I might receive $1,000 for the two $10,000 applications that I filled out. So let me get this straight: 50% of my clients have incurred lost wages, I am discounting rent by $200/month and also allowing late payments, and yet I get zero assistance from the USA Government. Zero? Yes, Jen, that’s right. However, your cup is still half full because all of your clients have paid rent, and are communicating proactively with you. They are making it happen, and for that I am grateful.

In early March, I was able to sell two other homes that had been non-positive cashflow drains on my business. So let me get this straight: you sold two homes the week before the COVID19 “stay home” social distancing all started? Yes, Jen, you did. My cup is beyond half full because of these two deals actually closed in-time and on-time.

We good with all those examples? They clearly indicate to me, again, that my cup is half full with some holes. Be grateful. Be resilient. Real estate is one of many ways to make a living; it’s a comforting feeling to provide housing for others and watch it change their lives. Yes, Jen, that’s right. It does!

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