Jun 13

(Read about the law here)

Not sure what it means to you as a landlord?  Do not miss one of the most important Apartment Association meetings of the year!

Tristan Pettit, Heiner Giese, Bob Anderson of Legal Action of Wisconsin  and others will discuss the changes in the law and what it means to you as a landlord and how to be compliant.

When:   Monday June  18th 7 PM

Where:  The Best Western, 1005 S. Moorland Road, in Brookfield

Who: AASEW Attorneys Tristan Pettit and Heiner Geise along with Bob Anderson, a tenant advocate attorney to present an opposing view.

Cost:  Free to current AASEW members, $25 to guests, or $59 with a 2012 AASEW membership included.

The focus of the meeting will be on Wisconsin’s new Landlord Omnibus Law (Act 143).  We will have two landlord attorneys (myself and AASEW attorney Heiner Giese) and one tenant attorney (Bob Andersen of Legal Action of WI) on our panel.

We will discuss the major changes to the law, give our opinions as to how those changes will be interpreted by courts, and advise you as to what you will need to do to be in compliance with the new law.  Oh yeah . . .  and we will also answer your questions.

And you will get FREE food as well.

The meeting will be held at the Best Western Hotel located at 1005 S. Moorland Road in Brookfield WI.

Cost to attend is free to members of the AASEW and $25 for non-members (or choose to become a member and pay only $59 and avoid the $25 fee).

It should be a great evening of discussion and education.  I hope that all of you can attend.

Jun 05

I walk the neighborhoods where are properties are located as often as I can. My walks are in the two to five mile range. It is a good way to combine some light exercise with managerial work.     We also do exterior surveys every spring to set the agenda for our summer efforts.  I try to combine the surveys and walks as much as possible.

You can learn things about a neighborhood on foot that you would never see driving through at 25 MPH. This gives me a more insightful way of checking up on maintenance crews, properties and deciding on properties to purchase. Yes, we are buying again, but that is another story for another day.

I noticed two major things this spring while doing my neighborhood walks/exterior surveys of our properties.

Vacant and abandoned housing

The first is there is a large number of vacant/abandoned/foreclosed properties throughout the Southside (53204 & 53215) that are not listed for sale on MLS and do not have for sale signs.

I began writing down the some of the addresses. When I get back to the office I look to see if they are listed for sale on MLS.  If not I will run ownership on a few of them.

For those not listed on MLS, almost inevitably ownership records show that they are owner occupied.  More times than not they are not registered as vacant buildings with the Department of Neighborhood Services.  Ironically a few had Christmas decorations in their windows.  Many had orange electric company shut off tags on their front doors.

Being a curious lad I look up a few of the listed owners on the court system.  A lot of them show no foreclosure actions naming the listed owners.  Perhaps the owners received notices from their lender and just assumed they were going to be put out on the street?  Who knows.

While my little bit of info gathering during my walks is by no means a statistically correct study, it certainly appears to me that the foreclosure mess is larger that reported and  we are not anywhere near the bottom of the crisis.

Condition of owner occupied housing compared to rentals

The other thing I noticed is if a house is in truly deplorable condition or needs major repairs such as failed roofs or porches,  it is almost always owner occupied or an abandoned formerly owner occupied property .

Inspectors doing fire inspections etc on our rentals will see a couple of blown off shingle tabs or a downspout that isn’t sealed to the sewer and write an order. Yet the owner occupied properties will have failed porches, missing siding, roofs that needed to be replaced five years ago, yet no city orders.

I am not the only one who witnessed this phenomena.  Click here to listen to Mary Hennen, Senior City Assessor’s take on the difference of conditions between owner occupied and rental housing.

We need to assure all properties are held to the same standards by code enforcement, not just rentals.




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Jun 02

Some days it seems like all the smart people think real estate is dead.  One of the larger real estate clubs in Milwaukee has changed their focus from real estate to a mix of  other investment ideas.

Back in 2004-2008 it seemed like everyone was “investing” in real estate even though the numbers did not work.

I had a twenty something kid in my office in .. 2007?.. showing me his Excel spreadsheet and explaining how my model was wrong.  I said ‘Wow! looks like you will be richer than Bill Gates in ten years.’  He said ‘Well,  not richer than Bill Gates, but a Multi! Multi! Millionaire.’  He even offered to sell me a copy of his spreadsheet.  Unfortunately I would not part with $500, even though it it did a nice job at predicting future property values at 25% per annum appreciation.

Last year a lender contacted me,  suggesting I should buy all of his former rental properties.  They were pretty rough, so I passed.

Today relatively  few people are buying in our market, however the numbers can make sense now, while few deals made sense in 2006.

Remember there is a big difference between the wisdom of crowd and a crowd mentality. Go against the stream when, and only when, it makes sense.

Being a contrarian for no good reason is just a fools bet.



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