Foreword to the Landlord's Handbook

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Foreword written by Nancy Spivey for
Third Edition
The Landlord's Handbook
A Complete Guide to Managing Small Investment Properties
Daniel Goodwin, Richard Rusdorf & Barbara McNichol
Dearborn Trade Publishing



Nancy Spivey, Landlord Coach


It is amazing—so many ways we can end up in the role of being a landlord.

Some of us find ourselves with a property that we decide to rent rather than sell when we move into a new home. Others of us buy a vacation home that we rent out most of the year. Others of us just set out to produce monthly cash flow and/or a solid retirement for ourselves by owning and renting property. Some even venture into commercial properties. However you ended up being a landlord, you can be a successful one with some work, lots of knowledge, and a conscious attitude about its opportunities and rewards.

I was asked to write the foreword to The Landlord’s Handbook because I am a landlord and also a coach, speaker and trainer. I work closely with both experienced landlords and those just pursuing a landlording career. I grew up in a family of landlords, my grandfather and grandmother were landlords, my uncle was and still is a landlord. Now I am carrying on the family tradition.

I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly side of being landlord while growing up. I heard all the nightmare stories and saw the benefits and growth that one can achieve as a landlord. Indeed, many of the richest people in America have been landlords—or still are!

My experience as a landlord has provided me with cash flow, appreciation in property, learning experiences, and great opportunities to positively influence the lives of others. Now, as a landlord trained in the profession of coaching, I also have the great opportunity to help other landlords. I work with landlords through training, speaking, and one-on-one coaching. I am a member of the Georgia Real Estate Investors Association, where I am an instructor for the organization’s Institute of Education. I also belong to the International Coach Federation and the National Speakers Association – Georgia Chapter.


It’s About More than Making Money

Landlords’ experiences can be described in many ways. They can be fun and rewarding. They can also be stressful and tiring. Like anything in life, landlording comes with good and bad. That’s why it’s important to have the knowledge you need to make the right decisions as a landlord. You likely have more knowledge from your other jobs, dealings, and experiences that will contribute to your success as a landlord than you realize. With a little reading and practice, you can be a pro at the job of being a landlord!

When coaching landlords, it’s most important for individuals to clearly have a vision about being a landlord. Typically, making money is a part of the vision. But what aspects of landlording (besides the money) might bring you fulfillment? How can you work towards a vision and/or a mission that will enhance your life as a landlord and positively impact others’ lives, neighborhoods, and so on?

I’m here to tell you that when you become a landlord, you have a responsibility to do more than make money—one that’s greater than making money.

You have an opportunity to offer nice homes for families, to provide education to them, to improve neighborhoods by improving your own properties, to improve cities by your positive input in a neighborhood. The seeds that you plant can continue to grow well beyond your seasons here on earth.


Family of Seven Couldn’t Pay Rent

I bought a property a few years ago that came with tenants already living there. Unfortunately, I soon found out those tenants could not pay the rent. Everyone I talked with suggested evicting them. Seven people lived in my new rental house: five children, the mother, and the grandmother. The father had left and gone back to Mexico.

I soon learned there was no place for the family to go. I even checked into shelters in Atlanta, but none were large enough to take all of the children. I didn’t want them to be separated, nor did I want to evict them, but I did want to cover my expenses and make a positive cash flow.

How could I handle this situation? Being an eternal optimist, I saw opportunity and possibility. I began my research to find out what options existed. After spending much time talking to local officials, I learned that this family was eligible for public housing. The family had no idea how to get on the public housing program so I walked with them each step of the way—even asking a friend to help me pick them up and visit the appropriate organizations.

These efforts made it possible for this family to stay together and move into a nice new apartment. They only had to pay $75 a month for rent and utilities. I’ll admit that had I evicted them, it would have cost me a lot less time and money, but I have my values, heart, and mind to consider. I look back on what could have been a horrific situation and feel great pride and fulfillment about who I was able to be and what I could contribute through my role as a landlord.


Choose the Kind of Landlord You Want to Be

Being a landlord puts you in the position of dealing with people, money, property, and lives. Often we see the image of landlords as the guy who’s always grumbling, being cheap, and making all the money for himself.

You have a choice in the kind of landlord you want to be—and in how you will handle situations that arise out of being a landlord. The best advice is to remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If you’re still feeling “stuck” on the decision about becoming a landlord, I challenge you to consider the following questions.

1.            What will being a landlord provide in your life? This could be extra income, retirement funds, etc.

2.            What can you give back as a landlord? You can provide nice homes for families, enhance neighborhoods, etc.

3.            What would stop you from becoming a landlord? Possibly fear or the stories you’ve heard or the belief that you don’t have the necessary experience.

4.            How can you get around the obstacles that could stand in the way of being a successful landlord? Having confidence is a big factor in overcoming fears and potential obstacles in handling the jobs required of landlords. Understanding the rules and regulations—the “in and outs” of the job—and learning what to do can greatly enhance your confidence as a landlord.

5.            What do you expect from the experience? You’ve heard that “life is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Well, being a landlord is similar in that you almost always get exactly what you expect. That means you must manage your expectations and those of your tenants.

6.            What do you expect from your tenants? Setting expectations and communicating them upfront with tenants can make all the difference in your experience as a landlord. Set your expectations for yourself and for your tenants and create the mental picture that you want to see as a landlord.


Best Way to Get Ready for Landlording

The Landlord’s Handbook is one of the best books I’ve seen for landlords. It covers the broad range of knowledge one needs to be a landlord.

From tenants to taxes, the handbook covers the information you need to be a successful landlord. Whether you are just starting out or have a lot of experience, this book is a valuable resource! I wish I’d had it when I first became a landlord.

Thankfully, you do have this book. It will help you be the successful landlord you are capable of becoming.

Happy landlording!

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