It’s been awhile since I’ve injected fresh capital into beefing up the cash flow. The last two deals I won were appreciation plays far off into the distant future. And although I am very grateful to have landed those deals, I’m already realizing that my quest for cash flow is nowhere near complete. With just five properties (seven units), I still don’t have enough inventory to balance out the peaks and valleys. In other words, when a single property underperforms, it tends to viciously drag down the overall cash flow with it (as you will see in this report).
So, the only real way to bring statistical harmony into the fold is to acquire more units… Realistically, my timeframe to early FI is just too short to be able to continue buying up properties in the Bay Area… Going that route, at best, I could probably only acquire 1-2 units per year… And as many local investors know, finding cash flow in the Bay Area is exceedingly difficult these days!
A lot of things are still up in the air (such as my latest cash out refi and the closing of Rental Property SH #3), but after the dust settles, I may have to go looking out of state again for cash flow…
The results are presented “as is” for each month. If something breaks and I need to spend money on repairs, those charges will show up as an expense for the corresponding property. If there are no issues, no expenses are reported. So, although I do set aside a portion of the net income for vacancy and maintenance reserves (which will inevitably happen), I don’t account for them in this report.
Here’s the report for November:
Rental Property #1: Bay Area
Rental Property #1 keeps on performing. Another month of solid cash flow without any incidents to report. It’s been an incredible year for this property.
Total cash flow for the month was $447.67.
Rental Property #2: Bay Area
Rental Property #2 has also had an amazing year, and November marked another perfect month. Consistent cash flow with no headaches… it can’t get any better than that.
Total cash flow for the month was $344.76.
Rental Property #3: Chicago
The first floor tenant (market rate) paid on time this month and has been a wonderful tenant since the beginning. I acquired Rental Property #3 in July 2013, and she has always paid on time, each and every month.
The former second floor tenant (Section 8) has since been evicted, and November marked my first full month of vacancy. No rent was collected… Further, the utility bill came due and I had to pay a $500 rent-ready fee to get the unit back up to stuff.
All in all, this was a pretty painful month.. What can I say? Vacancies hurt… a lot. It may seem obvious, but it’s so absolutely critical to a landlord’s long-term success — If you have a quality tenant in place, do EVERYTHING you possibly can to keep them!
If you think flat rate rental increases each year are bad, wait until you add up all the expenses it will take to get a new tenant in place who is equally as good…
A hundred times out of a hundred, I’m going to sacrifice some measly cash flow each month and go with the proven commodity. I’m not saying don’t ever raise rents, but I just don’t see the need to do so every year like some landlords do…
Total cash flow this month for Chicago came out to be -$712.71.
Rental Property #4: Indianapolis
Rental Property #4 has been under new management for a few months now. I’m still getting a feel for the new PM, so will withhold judgement until I have more datapoints.
So far, they have been very good at collecting rent on time. I usually see rent deposited by the fifth of each month, via their online portal. On the downside, November was another month in which I was hit with a maintenance bill. This time, there was a more serious sewer line problem, and it set me back $425. Yikes!
The PM did call me as soon as the issue occurred, and walked me through it every step of the way. They had a scope of work report as well… but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I’m being nickeled and dimed here… Unfortunately, when you are thousands of miles away, that’s the price (tradeoff) you make when investing out of state.
I hope things will get better over the course of time, but if not, I will have to find yet another PM… It’s still early, so I will give this company the benefit of the doubt for now…
Total cash flow this month for Indianapolis came out to be $93.18.
Rental Property #5: Chicago
Rental Property #5 continues to do well, and helped bail me out this month. With Rental Property #3 and Rental Property #4 experiencing some big problems this month, I really needed this Chicago property to perform.
As mentioned above, this is where the importance of total units comes into play… I only have seven units to help dampen the blow from any given underperformer… I really wish I had more properties so that each individual hit wouldn’t inflict so much damage to the bottom line…
After all expenses, total cash flow this month was $1,286.94.
This month has been the most difficult to date with the rentals. After all was said and done, I ended up cash flowing only $1,459.84. That’s a far cry removed from a $3,000/month, when all systems are go. 😉
As you can see, there’s a reason why I’ve always been conservative with my early FI math… My overseas budget is currently set at $1,000/month… Ideally (for right now), I would like to be able to net cash flow $2,000/month for a given year after all expenses… A month like this only gives me more reason to be even more conservative… Better safe than sorry, right?
Well, honestly, I can’t say that I’m too surprised. With rental properties, seldom do you operate at maximum efficiency… Problems are bound to happen, and this month is just a perfect example of that.
Hopefully, things will get better in a hurry. Once I get Rental Property #3 Unit 2 leased back up, the worst of that ordeal should be over…. Really, I can’t overstate the importance of having good tenants in place… You really have to value the good ones you have, because you can see from my own experience what happens when you don’t have one! That’s a big reason why I’m so reluctant to raise the rents on Rental Property #1 and Rental Property #2, even though those tenants are currently paying well below market rate.
Anyway, there are things I can learn from this experience as we move forward along. One things for certain, I need more cash flow! 🙂
If anyone knows where I can find a good cash flowing fourplex, I’m all ears!
2014 Cash Flow Summary:
November 2014: $1,459.84
2013 Cash Flow Summary: