With the refinancing that had taken place earlier this year, cash flow has been tight for the rental properties. Well, things took a turn for the worse this month as I had to deal with a vacancy and lose perhaps one of my best tenants…
More details below! Let’s see how we did in April!
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 April:
Rental Property #1: Bay Area
Like clockwork, I was able to collect rent on time for this property and there were no issues to deal with. Just like last month, cash flow is minimal and will continue to be this way until I am able to raise rents later this year in September.
For the time being, I’m still very pleased with the performance of this property. The Bay Area buying season started to heat up this month and although it’s just paper gains, this property has continued appreciating at a rapid pace.
Total cash flow for the month was $30.35.
Rental Property #2: Bay Area
Rental Property #2 is still cash flow negative, but that’s just the reality of the situation. Instead of focusing on the short-term negatives, I was happy to experience another month of solid performance. Rent was collected on time and there were issues to report.
However, I will say that I am very much looking forward to getting back into cash flow positive territory starting in June. This property is located in a better neighborhood than Rental Property #1, so rental demand is very strong; I have no concerns that this property will bounce back in the near future.
Total cash flow for the month was -$130.64.
Rental Property #3: Chicago
By now, it’s no secret to readers that rent collection is a much tougher task for me in the Midwest than it is in the Bay Area. A strong reason for that is that I choose to invest in Class A neighborhoods in the Bay Area and I am solely invested in rougher, Class C pockets in the Midwest.
As I mentioned in the last report, since these Cash Flow statements are being released a few months behind schedule, I’ve given my tenants (and myself) much more time to settle any late payments.
So, although this helps dampen out volatility and gaps between statements, I will be honest and freely admit to readers that collecting rent on time is not a trivial matter for me. Granted, my first floor tenant is a market rate tenant and is fantastic, but rent collection from both Section 8 (CHA) and the subsidized tenant on the second floor can be somewhat sporadic. In general, CHA is usually on-time, but when they do miss payments, for whatever reason (abatement is the most common), it can take many months to resolve.
Long story short, CHA payment for April arrived on time and the Section 8 tenant eventually got around to paying rent (although payment didn’t arrive until July as a part of a lump sum settlement).
With real estate investing, as I’ve learned over the years (and want to reemphasize), there are NO FREE LUNCHES! If you want the best-of-the-best tenants and tremendous appreciation potential, you most likely won’t be able to generate very strong cash flow on Day 1 (using conventional financing means).
If you invest in Class C neighborhoods in Chicago, you will NOT secure the creme de la creme of tenants… Nevertheless, if you can stomach late rent payments and rollercoaster rides, cash flow is indeed stupendous when things are working in your favor. 🙂
Total cash flow for the month was $926.18.
Rental Property #4: Indianapolis
Rental Property #4 is owned free and clear which helps make life a little less stressful for me. The tenant paid rent on time, but unfortunately, I had more maintenance issues to deal with (seems to be a common occurrence with this property).
There was a small landlord registration bill that I had to pay in the amount of $7 to the city. Further, the garage door fell off the tracks as the tenant apparently crashed her car through it (but says she woke up one morning and found the garage door in that state… hah!). Down the line, this expense will come out of her security deposit, but in the meanwhile, I was on the hook for a $270 repair to get the garage door functional again. I was told this was just a temporary patch, so I’m expecting more bills down the road.
No one said landlording was easy and straightforward… This goes to show the importance of budgeting a good amount of rental income towards maintenance reserves each and every month!
Total cash flow the month was $487.75.
Rental Property #5: Chicago
Rental Property #5 experienced some difficulties this month as my absolute best tenant decided to vacate this month. Her lease had expired and she decided to move on…
When I got word of this from my PM, I actually reached out to the tenant personally and tried to convince her to stay. I was even willing to reduce her rent from $1,250/month to $1,050/month, but sadly, she could not be swayed into staying…
As a landlord, I realize the great importance of tenant retention and nothing terrifies me more than a vacancy (prolonged). I was more than willing to slash rents because I’ve been around the block enough times to know that a single vacancy can easily wipe away cash flow…
With my best Midwest tenant gone, I had to rely on my Section 8 tenant to help support the expenses for this month. Luckily, these Chicago 2-flat properties are affordable enough where you basically only need one unit occupied (and paying) to support the expenses… just barely!
Somehow, when all was said and done, this until still eked out positive cash flow this month… Enough to help me pay for lunch off of the good ol’ $1 menu! 😉
Total cash flow for the month was $1.74.
Tallied up, the total cash flow this month for all rental properties came in at $1,315.38.
April wasn’t one of my better months, but with real estate and landlording, seldom do things always go right all the time. I’ve had a fortunate stretch of good luck for awhile, so I’m always thankful for my blessings. When things get more difficult (like this month), you just have to buckle down and try to get the problems corrected as quickly as possible. In the end, I do gain reassurance in knowing that my real estate holdings are diversified, so when one unit doesn’t perform, I do have some others to help pick up the slack.
We ended this month with positive cash flow. Although not ideal, it’s still a decent amount and it does help me pay my own bills. But as readers can easily see, I’ll need to figure out a way to bump up the cash flow much more if I am to “officially” declare for early FI.
Obviously, $1,300/month, long-term, won’t cut it in the U.S. or any other country… As usual, I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to figure out a gameplan before that wonderful day finally arrives.
Until then, keep hustlin’…
2015 Cash Flow Summary:
April 2015: $1,315.38
2014 Cash Flow Summary:
2013 Cash Flow Summary: