Holiday Shopping 2013: What Should I Get My Tenants?

by FI Fighter on December 14, 2013

in Real Estate Updates

mag_mile

The holiday season is now in full effect and Christmas is just around the corner. You know what that means, right? It’s time to go SHOPPING! Since I’m no big spender, and don’t feel the need to treat myself to any material goods (Maui is enough), that’s one less person I have to worry about getting a gift for. ;)

Moving down the list, my Bay Area tenants and first floor tenant in Chicago have been EXCELLENT this year, and they most definitely deserve something nice!

First Tenant

The tenant in Rental Property #1 has been living there since September 2012. Recently, she extended her lease for another two years. This WONDERFUL lady has always paid rent on time, and has been very self-sufficient. She rarely contacts me for anything, only in instances when she absolutely does need my help to fix a problem (HOA complaints, garage door issues, etc.).

Last year, I gave her a $100 gift card to a steakhouse. This year, I was thinking about increasing the gift by $50. My first thoughts are to again get her a $100 gift card to a restaurant (to promote a family bonding experience at my expense), and to add a $50 gift card to Amazon.com on top of that. She has some young kids, so hopefully this will help her get some nice toys for them this Christmas.

I did increase rent by $40/month back in September, so I don’t think the extra gift is too excessive. I’m keeping mind of the bottom line, but c’mon it’s Christmas! She’s been great, so I have no qualms about it…

Second Tenant

I’ve rarely ever mentioned the tenants in Rental Property #2 because they’ve also been AMAZING. They pay rent on time every month, and have only asked me to fix something once (new dishwasher). Granted, Rental Property #2 was a turnkey property, but it’s still been a very pleasant experience thus far.

Since the tenants have only been living here since May, it’s been less than one full year. Initially, I was thinking about just getting a $50 gift card. On second thought, I’m currently debating whether or not just to increase the gift to $150, same as tenant #1.

Reason being, their old dishwasher broke around September timeframe, and I had to order a new one to replace it with. The store didn’t offer free installation, and I didn’t have time to do it myself. So, I asked the tenants if they could install it themselves, and they agreed. This would be a gesture to return the savings back to them.

Since this is just a married couple, I was going to swap the gift cards around – $50 gift card to a restaurant, and $100 gift card to Amazon.com.

Third Tenant

The first floor lady in Chicago is another FANTASTIC tenant who pays on time. If you hadn’t guessed by now, nothing thrills me more than having tenants who are financially responsible. :)

Similar to tenant #2, she hasn’t been living there for a full year yet. I’m also thinking a $50 gift card to Amazon.com should do the trick.

Fourth Tenant

The second floor lady in Chicago has been the one keeping me up late at night! No, not really, but her inconsistent payments have been the lone blemish on an otherwise successful year of real estate investing. She has been late on a few months, and missed payments entirely on the other months. Luckily, Section 8 subsidizes 92% of her rent… otherwise I would have started the eviction process by now. Her performance as a tenant leaves a lot to be desired, so unfortunately for her, she gets no gift card this year.

Fifth Tenant

The fifth tenant is a lady in Indianapolis. Since she just moved in last month, I’m going to test drive this experience before jumping the gun and rewarding her prematurely. If things go well, she’ll most assuredly get something nice next year.

Joys of Landlording

Unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoy landlording. Yes, of course things won’t always go smoothly… There will be bumps along the road, that’s unavoidable. But the one think I love most is:

Being able to make a direct impact (hopefully positive) in another person’s life.

When I owned stocks, I was a shareholder in the company. I owned a very minuscule percentage of the actual company, so I had no voice or power to change ANYTHING. If the company made a bad decision, I got punished. If the company made lots of money and succeeded, I got a small fraction of the profits. They told me how much I was getting, and it was indisputable.

With real estate, I’m the boss! Even though the bank is the majority “shareholder”, I get to make all the important decisions. If I feel like raising rents, I do it. If I want to reward my tenants and do some good in the world, I’m allowed that freedom. Sure, I might take a hit on my returns, but at least I get a say on the matter.

I LOVE being the CEO/CFO/President/blah blah blah of FI Fighter Real Estate Investments Company. I get to be the change I want to see in this world.

 

What gifts would you get your tenants? Do I have the right idea or am I being too stingy? Too generous?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Fast WeeklyNo Gravatar December 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

The “change you want to see in the world”, that’s one of my favorite sayings FI. I think it’s great you’re rewarding good quality, long term tenants, with Christmas gifts. That should help you build a long term relationship with them. Have a great weekend, and keep being that change!
-Bryan

Reply

FI FighterNo Gravatar December 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Bryan,

That’s neat, and that saying is also one of my favorites. Definitely one I try to follow. It’s a great time of year as well, so I’d like to do my part in helping families celebrate and enjoy!

Cheers!

Reply

theFIREstarterNo Gravatar December 15, 2013 at 12:36 am

What a nice idea!

As they say I think it’s the thought that counts so $150 seems very generous! I don’t think many landlords would ever give anything.

When I used to rent I used to sort out all the bills, council tax, fix some stuff up in the house, and made sure 100% of our rent payments were made on time – it was a shared house so sometimes even covered others payments till they got paid etc – so we never missed a payment.

The landlords were off in Dubai living the high life and were very hard to get into contact with so almost by default they’d never be bothered by us. Did we get any presents for being good tennants? Did we heck!! In fact when they did feel like coming over all we’d get is a load of moaning about tiny details x y and z and how rubbish and ungrateful tennants we all were (WTF).

Terrible, terrible landlords, and not very nice people in general! Glad to hear you are nothing like them!

Reply

FI FighterNo Gravatar December 16, 2013 at 7:28 pm

theFIREstarter,

Wow, what a story, and one that reminds me of my own experiences dealing with landlords in college (especially). Even back then, it always irked me, and since it stuck with me so much, I knew that if one day I was in a position to do something different about it, I would.

I’m sure I’m not the only landlord who does this… it would be a cool new trend to start though ;)

Take care!

Reply

Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful LifeNo Gravatar December 15, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I wish my landlords gave me gifts! I’ve always been a model tenant.

Reply

FI FighterNo Gravatar December 16, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Stefanie,

haha, maybe you should rent out one of my units ;)

Yeah, I don’t think the odds are too good of finding landlords who will give you back gifts, but you never know…

Cheers!

Reply

MartinNo Gravatar December 16, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Fighter, it is nice of you what you are doing to those tenants. I didn’t think about anything like that and never had any experience in my entire life of a landlord doing something like this at all. I am impressed. I bet those tenants will take it with gratitude and will cherish it. And I bet you will see result from them being responsible and respectful to your property. This is so amazing of you.

Reply

FI FighterNo Gravatar December 16, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Martin,

Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, it does feel good to do something nice for the tenants, especially since they are taking care of the place for me and paying rent on time. It’s a two way street, and they are showing me respect, so I want to do the same in return.

Thanks for stopping by!

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