In the last 20 years, according to Mansfield Neighborhood Preservation, over 400 Mansfield single family homes have been converted to investment rental real estate in Mansfield Storrs neighborhoods located around the UConn campus. UConn’s efforts at increasing enrollment has not been matched by a similar vigor in providing campus housing for students, thus creating the perfect ROI storm as the demand for student housing collides with the insatiable appetites of local and non-local real estate investors.
In spite of this seemingly win-win, I just sold my rental property in Mansfield. Why would I sell in this climate of investor take all?
In my opinion, the yin-yang of real estate investing is not for the faint of heart and at least for me, has slowly evolved to a quality of life issue. Let me be clear, compared to what what I’ve heard from others regarding tenants, I had good tenants in this property. They paid their rent on time. No slip and fall insurance claims. They were long-term tenants, ones that I have had since I bought it and are still there post sale as far as I know.
What I won’t miss:
- Leaking faucets, washing machines and running toilets that go unreported until a $500 water bill arrives in my mailbox, twice.
- No pet policy ignored-as evidenced by the appearance of a cat in the window that is snatched away as soon as I drive up.
- Town of Mansfield bi-annual inspections and required repairs.
- Tim Bryant of Sussman & Perry on speed dial.
- Letters from the insurance company with “recommendations” for what I “could” repair prior to renewal (but I did have an excellent rate).
- Disconnected phones – tenants seem to switch phones every couple of months and in the event you need to get a hold of them, you need to resort to mail or go to the door, which is slow to be opened if at all.
- Several inches of grease in the septic tank.
- Stuff, stuff and more stuff inside and out resulting in occasional calls from the “blight officer” (me) requiring prompt clean up to avoid becoming a neighborhood eyesore.
- Broken windows, screens and door knobs.
What I will miss:
- Someone else paying the mortgage, taxes and insurance on the property
- Annual income: A positive cash flow at the end of the year
- Having an asset not tied to the volatility of the stock market
- An additional income stream at retirement
- An asset to leverage if needed or desired
I personally know many investors and have many clients who successfully purchase and manage rental properties and do so without complaint and have been richly rewarded for their efforts. Me—I’d prefer to be free of calls at inopportune times, free of paying to repair things I didn’t break or neglect and especially, free of the risk of renting to a non-paying, judgment-proof tenant, a tenant who seriously damages your property. Maybe I just felt that my luck was running out.