I take the train to work each morning. Our new house is a 20 min walk to the station. The other day, I arrived at the station 4 min early before my train. I planned plenty of time so I wouldn’t have to rush (and be sweaty on the ride). I was looking forward to a smooth ride.
But I have to cross the tracks each morning because my train boards on the other side, like so:
I always cross in the back because it’s closer. The front cross-walk is farther away: one and a half football fields farther away in fact.
Well, this particular morning the train decided to come early. Whenever a train pulls in, a safety gate comes down and blocks you from crossing. Normally the pulled-in train doesn’t block the cross-walk, so you simply cross after the train pulls in and the gate is lifted and then you can board from the back.
But this morning the train conductor decided to pull in like an idiot:
I mean, for serious.
A bunch of commuters standing next to me waiting to cross snorted and threw up their arms in frustration. (Strangely, most just stood there, as if the train would move its a** forward by itself to let them cross.)
I hesitated a moment because, on the one hand, I wanted to board this train so I wouldn’t be late for work. On the other hand, I wasn’t sure I could run to the other cross-walk in time before the train started pulling away.
If I ran but missed it, not only would I be late to work, I’d be gross and sweaty, too. If I stayed put, I wouldn’t get gross and sweaty, but I would definitely be late.
After thinking a few seconds, I decided to make a run for it. I bolted down the field toward the other side and felt sweat rolling down my back as I neared the end.
I barely made it, boarding the first car just as the conductor closed the doors.
Ever have that feeling where you think you planned it all right, then something idiotic blindsides you derailing your plans, and now you’re huffing and puffing to course-correct on the fly?
That’s what most of my September felt like. So much stuff went down. Just 101 little things that went wrong with our upcoming house closing that we had to fix on the fly, ranging from:
- property inspection surprises that almost killed the whole deal
- to contractors and cleaners who simply didn’t show when they promised to, causing unnecessary stress
- to bad advice we got from Lowe’s appliance reps, causing much wasted time
- to dozens of careless mistakes and inconsistencies in our loan docs made by careless bank lawyers
- to 11th hour communication delays from our title company and agent
Every day was like a little fire drill to put out.
We planned as meticulously as possible, but that doesn’t eliminate getting blindsided and forcing you to throw everything out the window then fly by the seat of your pants.
Fortunately, though, we finally moved into our new house, ached all over the day after, and now we’re living out of boxes, suitcases. Starting our remodeling plan. Getting ready to close first week of October.
Now I’m working on a new case study to explain step by step how we got the house (and all the challenges accompanying it), the financial analysis we did, our offer and negotiation strategy, and our plans to remodel / reposition the property. It’ll be a reveal all.
Meantime, for September we booked revenue of $2,033. This was down -47% year over year.
This was a very significant decline over last year. No two ways about it. I talked in previous income reports about this kind of volatility in online earnings. I don’t expect this to abate. Instead, it just means I need to double down even more to diversify passive income streams.
Our new house purchase will add a big new passive income stream, so we’ll have that as a stable cushion while I grow online income further.
Cool. Onto this month’s details.
1. Moved into our new place…getting ready to close
Purchasing and moving into a new house is a full-contact sport. In just the last month, we:
- Got our offer accepted
- Did whirlwind inspections and lifted contingencies
- Finalized our loan
- Paraded contractors and specialists in to give remodeling quotes
- Ordered a bunch of new appliances (commercial washer/dryer, dishwashers, etc)
- Set up property management software, forms, processes
- Built new monthly financial model to track performance of the property
- Planned out day by day remodeling for next 6 months
Every day was packed to the gills juggling day jobs; trading emails, texts, and calls with our agent, lender, title, sellers, inspectors, movers, cleaners, contractors, retailers, insurers; writing and reviewing legal docs, building spreadsheets, crunching numbers; and of course packing, cleaning, and moving.
We’re in the door now, but still waiting to close. We close first week of October.
Once that happens, we’ll start turning units. Seller gets a 6-month leaseback, so we have to work around that constraint for a while. It’s a bit of a pain but that was part of the price of getting the building.
Otherwise, we already have a full remodeling plan fleshed out and mostly know what to do day by day for the next few months, and the order to do it in. It’s gonna be a very busy next few months given how much remodeling we plan to do. But by the end all the units will look MUCH better and rent for much higher.
I’m writing a big multi-part case study on the deal, so follow this blog to get updated on that. Here’s part one.
2. Growing traffic
As you might expect, that big list of to-do’s above took up all my time this month, and then some. So, yeah, didn’t do much to grow the site this month. Bugger. I know. But a man’s only got so many hours in the day (shrug).
I’ve said for many months now that I really need to dedicate quality time to growing traffic. This month I’m going to declare the same, but I guess I better commit to it more quietly(?) since I know it’s getting a little embarrassing.
September net new subs: 56
September Twitter followers: 1,905
1. Close, start renovating
While we’re done with Bay Area house hunting, potentially for good, I’m certainly not done with real estate investing, or writing about it.
I’m writing a big case study as I said above on our 4-plex deal, including all the details behind our acquisition and repositioning strategy.
Also plan to do a lot of research on the Austin, Texas market. Our future deals will likely involve Austin. I went to college there; it’s the oasis of Texas. I plan to spend a lot of time going forward getting reacquainted with the market. Figuring out an efficient lead-building strategy. Using my legal and finance skills to dig through divorce, probate, and tax sale records. Then teaching it all back here.
In this connection, not to shamelessly plug, but here’s a shameless plug. 🙂
Looking to sell a house in Austin? But don’t want the hassle of cleaning, staging, marketing, and dealing with nosy neighbors marching all over your nice things?
Click below and let’s talk. I can close fast and give you a good price.
2. New real estate case study
As I said, I’m writing a new case study covering the details and strategy behind our recent 4-plex deal. I’ll share key lessons we learned and also hook you up with tools, spreadsheets, and tutorials we used to make it happen. It’ll be packed with actionable insights to help you in your own real estate investing efforts, so don’t miss it.
3. Grow traffic
Yup. I’m still making a commitment here. The 4-plex held us back last month, and there’s seemingly been one thing after another the last few months. But that doesn’t make growth any less important, so I still need to make a public commitment on moving this forward.
Goal in October is to implement 2 new list building techniques and grow our Twitter account.
October net new subs goal: 60
October Twitter follower goal: 2,100
See you in October!