Art of Proprietation

Monday, January 25, 2010

So, back on the hom front

On the cooperative household side of things, we had a very lean fall. For the first time in more than ten years we were actually empty for about a month. The cooperative household can be as much as 25% of our cash flow, so being empty put quite a dent in our financials.

And when things are lean, I have to admit I am willing to be more flexible than I would otherwise. Mostly that means we have been willing to work with shorter terms than I have in the past. In our state, there is a duration dividing line between places of accommodation (hotels) and real estate, and we make sure to structure what we have to offer as real estate rental, not a hotel. Generally it has not been an issue in the past. Three months has been about the shortest period we have worked with. But with tenants in short supply we have been reduced to the legal limit recently. So we have had a cop who was new to the area and his permanent digs weren't available yet, a research student from Chicago, A med student doing a rotation at the local teaching hospital, an electrician on temporary assignment and next up a Physical Therapist doing a stint at a nearby hospital.

Having this much turnover is a little taxing. Doing reference checks and interviews easily eats a day. And for every one we get to the point of doing references check, we consider/interview another ten. Training a tenant is also part of the over head. Cutting the duration of stay by a third triples the overhead efforts to turn over new tenants. It also triples the losses due to gaps between tenants.

Short duration has been a choice that worked for us in the past. Short term people come with less baggage. Their foibles are easier to endure because of the limited exposure. Temporary situations like ours can be difficult to find, so people who need it are willing to consider the conditions we place on it. And it's nice to have fresh faces cropping up from time to time.

So, accepting less than optimal terms in times of trial is something we do to endure until things are better.

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  • There must be a lot of interesting stories that stem from having a cooperative household. Fodder for a novel, or at the very least, a blog. Can I ask where you're located?


    By Blogger phredude, at 2:27 AM  

  • Phred,
    Thanks for your interest. Yes, there are lots of stories, some funny, some not so, but all poignant. I have at various times thought of them writting down but keep things general out of respect for my tenant's privacy. Every tenant teaches me something, though. Sometimes lessons of encouragement, some of caution. I am a better household manager than I was when I started more than ten years ago and I think the household is a more supportive and comfortable place for it.

    By Blogger MMP, at 6:29 AM  

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