Q: About five years ago I bought three brownstones in our downtown district. They were not in tip-top shape when I purchased them but they were not downright bad, either.
Well, I figured that if I managed to get along with doing as little as possible, I'd make more. If the tenants complained, I tired to pacify them one way or another. But everything backfired. When I tried to sell of the buildings recently, I was told it was in such a state of neglect that I offered a great deal less than I expected. What's more, it's gotten around town that I am a "slum landlord." Nobody wants to do business with me.
A: You have learned a valuable lesson. As you know, if you had maintained your buildings in the proper fashion, you will have been offerecd a much better price. And your reputation as owner and manager of buildings does gat around fast. Not only your reputation, but your borrowing power is damaged.
I learned long ago that no one gets something for nothing. To manage property is no exception. You must give it time, effort and though. You must be willing to spent some money in order to have satisfied tenants and excellent occupancy.
Q: My husband graduated from law school last May. Thought we had heard jobs were hard to get it's like everything elss - we had to find out ourseleves. My husband had excellent grades but nobody seemed to need a bright young lawyers.
Well, happily, he finally got himself located. But we are poor for the time being. We've talked things out and decided that it's foolish to pay rent and get almost nothing in return. But we're in no position to buy a house with prices being what they are.
Just last weekend we came upon a very old house in need of a good deal of repair. It's in a lovely location. My husband is not only a legal beagle but also a very handy guy with the tools. What would you say to our buying this very old, very expensive house and fixing it up ourselves? I think we can swing it. My husband is a Vietnam veteran:
A: I have nothing but admiration for you and your husband. Your husband is, of course, entitled to a VA. mortage. If you can fix up the house yourselves, and if you wait a few years to build equity, you should be able to sell it later for a profit - particularly since you say it is in a good location.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you will be saving money through income tax deductions and mortage interest payments while living in the house.
Go to it. You have the right attitude and I feel certain it will work out.
Bernard Meltzer business address is Suite 900, 112S. 16th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19102.