I’m back! Our fourplex purchase and baby update!

Hey all!  After six months, I’m back with an update on our first multi-family rental purchase, but first…

There are a couple of reasons I haven’t been around.  The first: we have a baby infestation at our house.  They’re cute, they’re amazing, they’re exhausting!  But, I can’t fully blame those doe-eyed girls for my absence.

The main reason I haven’t written is because I banned myself from infrequently blogging until I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams– writing a book.  Yep, I wrote a book.  Please, don’t congratulate me.  It’s rough, and still being edited by some poor unfortunate souls who I will owe for the rest of my life.  By the end of the summer I’m going to publish it.  Probably under a pen name.  Regina George, maybe.  Or, Gracie Lou Freebush.

Okay, now back to the first reason I’ve been absent: Baby infestation.

Baby update:

These two ladies are growing like crazy!  Vera Faye just turned two a couple of weeks ago.  She’s the bus driver of our family, and we’re all just trying to hang on to our seats.  We love her fierce desire to be independent and lead the way.

Sweet Annie is almost six months old.  Ahhh!!! She’s the cutest snuggler this side of the Mississippi.  I’m in love with her sweet temperament and full-on-gums-smile. 

okay… enough about babies… on to…

Our First Multi-Family Rental Purchase:

If you’re ever at our house, and I’m pregnant, WATCH OUT.  There’s about to be some real estate bought!  Two days before I had Vera Faye, we bought our first investment property.  Less than a month before we had Annie we closed on our first multi-family.  I can’t explain this, it’s just a fact of life.

I thought I’d briefly go through a description of our new property, how we found/financed it, how we’re managing it , and how it’s doing.

Description:

Our multi-family property is a fourplex.  Also known by sophisticated investors (not myself) as a quadplex.  That means, there are four units.  Honestly, they’re not much to look at from the outside because the roof and the siding are the same beige color.  Think oatmeal.  No berries.  But, they are sturdy, clean, and in a quiet location, so I was immediately attracted to them.

Finding:

I wish I could say I found the property by miraculous intervention.  But, it was found through average, everyday poking around.  Since I have my real estate license, I often look around for potential properties, and I just stumbled on it.  It’s located near our first house (the one we lived in, paid off, and turned into a rental), so I knew the units would rent well– plus, I was 7 months pregnant when the process started, and my real estate hormones were starting to rage.

Financing:

I knew we were going to have to finance the property, because we didn’t have the cash sitting around, and my rich relatives haven’t appeared yet.  Still looking for them though!  If you want to be related to me, and give me money, let me know.

Getting a mortgage on a multi-family property was… interesting.  We have a great relationship at the bank where we do our everyday banking.  The branch manager knows my husband by name.  I tried to use his relationship with them to finance our first multi-family investment, but they didn’t want any part of it.  Long story short: I was ghosted.

Next, I tried using a banker I’d met through my real estate dealings.  He was supposed to be THE BEST.  And, he is, but only for traditional mortgages.  Long story short: I couldn’t even get him to call me back.

So, I decided to give up.  No real estate love for the pregnant lady.  A few weeks went by… and I read an article written by a real estate investor who recommended using a small local bank.  I decided to give it one last shot.

I googled a small, local bank and cold-called their loan officer.  I expected to get laughed at or hung up on, but after explaining who I was and giving him the details of the property, he agreed to meet with me!  It was the first time anyone had even treated me like a human being instead of a piece of mortgage meat.  He asked me to fill out a bunch of financial paperwork and bring it to the meeting.

I filled out the paperwork, meticulously.  It was a beast… asking for everything short of a blood sample.  On the day we were supposed to go meet with the banker, I had something come up so my husband went to meet with him over his lunch hour.  I’m not sure what happened next.  All I know is that my husband took in the paperwork, charmed the pants off of the banker man (not literally…), and we got our money, honey!

Managing and Performance:

When I became a landlord, I read a book.  The author said it takes approximately three months for a new rental to even out.  Meaning, it takes a couple of months to get to know the tenants (or get it rented), get your process set up, and get any repairs done that weren’t done by the last owners.

I completely forgot about this fact immediately after reading it.  I was hit with a major case of landlord amnesia and thought we would be smooth sailing as soon as we closed.

In the first three months, we had two tenants move out, we decided to renovate one unit, another unit had a broken water heater, and we fixed a small electrical repair.  This may seem like a lot, but it really wasn’t that bad, although I may just be having some landlord amnesia :).

Since then, we’ve haven’t had any issues.  This property brings in 1.5% of it’s purchase price each month.  We’re pretty happy with these returns since our other properties we get around 1% of the purchase price in rent per month.

The Most Frequently Asked Question

Question:  Are you crazy?

Interpretation:  Aren’t you worried about tenant problems, repairs, fires, water damage, crazies, zombies, and vampires?

Answer:  Absolutely.

That’s all folks… or at least a big overview of everything.

There  are a bunch of details I could get into (like why a pregnant lady gets so obsessed with rental  houses or what to do when your renter begs you to allow a puppy), but there’s not enough time for that.

I don’t want to make it seem like our journey has been smooth sailing or, on the flip side, terrible.  The truth is, some days are good and some days are bad.  We have difficult conversations with tenants about consequences for not paying their rent, but we also have great tenants who pay on time every month.  Just like any job, there are good days and bad days.  The only difference, with real estate, there’s a lot more freedom.  I may decide to take a full-time job next week, but for the time being, it allows me to spend a lot of time with our babies… and write my first book (haha).

Thank you so much for reading this, it truly means THE WORLD to me.  I  hope you are doing well.  I hope you are accomplishing a few dreams!  You’re pretty awesome (that means pretty +  awesome)!  Go charm the pants off someone!

 

We Have Two Babies Under Two!

“Please send me all updates.  I am being held hostage by two tiny dictators.  Not sure when I will be released.” — Me to a group of friends, three minutes ago.

Well, we did it.  We have two babies under two living at our house.  It’s been a week and no one has been severely injured.  There are lots of things I should probably say about having two kids under two, but honestly I’m not sure what day it is.  So, I’ll just do an update on the babies and maybe some miraculous thoughts will happen later.

Me and my girls!

Annie’s birth.

I had another giant baby.  Annie Claire weighted 9lbs 6oz when she was born at 39 weeks.  If I had gone to 40 weeks I’m sure she would have gone into the double digits.

After much stewing, I decided to have another C-section.  Mostly because I was terrified of going through the same birth experience I did with Vera Faye (14 hours of labor, emergency C-section, 4 days in the NICU…).

I’m happy to say that Annie’s birth was such a different experience.  Choosing to be cut open in an operating room felt very clinical and cold, but it went so smoothly that I think I made the right decision. We just showed up at the hospital, and the doctor was ready.  Less than an hour later it was all done.  Annie Claire was ready to party.

Annie is…

A great baby.  She loves to snuggle.  She loves to sleep in late with me.  Yesterday, we laid in bed until 11:00 and it was amazing!!!  But, last night, she was up for four hours… so you win some and you lose some.

Annie is also…

An aggressive eater.  I’ve nicknamed her “Shredder.”  She took to breastfeeding like a champ, but dannnnnng I’m not sure I will recover.  I want to hand her to anyone who says breastfeeding doesn’t hurt and let her attack.

Vera Faye update.

She is as full of life as ever.  She loves to talk… and say “no” to everything.  She probably knows 100 other words/sounds, but “no” is definitely her favorite.  What other word does a spirited child need?!  She’s getting into puzzles more and more.  She loves her blanket and her book “The Pout-Pout Fish,” and she’s officially smarter than me.

Vera Faye is also…

Pissed.  For the first few days she wouldn’t look at the new baby.  I’m pretty sure she thought that if she didn’t look at Annie, she would disappear.  A week in, she is doing a little better, but she still doesn’t like me holding her sister.  Also, her dad is officially her favorite person.  I’m a little sad about it, but it’s also probably for the best.  Selfishly, it takes a little pressure off me.

Miraculous thoughts.

I still don’t have much to say, but I would like to this: I think I’ve been trying to be a perfect mom.  And, I’m officially over it.  Trying to be Super Mom is an impossible quest, and I’m tired of trying.  Also, I’m tired of feeling guilty for failing.  From now on, I’m just going to be the best mom I can be.  Please remind me of this in an hour when I’ve completely forgotten my mission.

P.S.

We bought our first multi-family rental property about a month ago.  I’ll write about it next, so you don’t have to read all this kids stuff all the time :).

Be Proud of Yourself!

I joined a moms group.

One of my cousins recommended that I join one about a year ago, but I was skeptical.

  1. What would I have in common with random moms?
  2. Would they be welcoming?
  3. Would I have to play weird games, like the ones at baby showers?

Naturally, number 3 was my greatest concern.  I hate that baby shower game where they melt perfectly good candy bars into diapers and ask you to guess which candy bar it is.  Ugh, why can’t we just eat the candy bar?!

Anyway, just so you know, there aren’t any weird games at mom’s group.  It’s mostly just talking and eating- two of my ultimate favorite activities.

During one of the meetings, one of the moms brought up this question, “What are you proud of—besides being a mom?”

Answer: I had no idea.  It kind of stunned me.  Being a mom is so all encompassing; I had forgotten that I did other things, other things to be proud of.

We all get so wrapped up in a certain part of ourselves—work, friendships, relationships, kids, that we forget about all the different parts.  There are so many things you do to be proud of!

So, I’ve been thinking of things I can be proud of.

  1. Writing.  It always makes me feel better.
  2. Selling houses. I’ve sold 8 houses this year.  I never thought I would sell even one!
  3. Growing a baby. Just impressive, am I right?
  4. Relationship with my husband. He makes it easy.
  5. Keeping a clean house—just kidding! I’m avoiding an avalanche of laundry right now.

But, I don’t want this post to be about me.  I want it to be about you.

What are you proud of?

Are you a great cook?  Do you kick butt working out?  Do you have a great relationship with your dog?

See, you have so much to be proud of!  And even if it seems small to you, it isn’t.  What you’re proud of really matters.

Lately, with 2016 passing so quickly, I think there’s a huge need for us to reflect on what makes us proud, because reflection stops time.  Refection makes you appreciate who is around you.  Reflection makes you focus on what matters to you.  And mostly, reflection makes you thankful.

And, here’s the magic.  Thankfulness is magic.  It kills bad stuff.  It kills discontent and depression– it’s like life’s bleach.

I hope you give it a try!

If you find at least five things you are proud of, I’ll send you a candy bar.  It might be a little melted, but it won’t be in a diaper.

10 Jobs You Automatically Get as a Mom

We went to toddler yoga.  There’s only one rule in toddler yoga:  you cannot run around the room like a maniac.  What is the only thing my toddler wanted to do?  Downward dog?  Nope.  Sing wheels on the bus? Nope.  Moo like a cow? Not a chance.  She wanted to rrrrrruuuuunnnnnnn!!!  She knocked down other toddlers.  She stepped on the instructor’s phone.  And, she face planted into a stranger’s mat—all while having the biggest smile on her face. 

pumpkin-pic

Can someone get this baby a pumpkin modeling contract?!

After spending an hour chasing her around the room (almost 7 months pregnant), I thought, ‘when I became a mom, this is not what I expected.’  So, in honor of my toddler, here are 10 jobs you automatically get when becoming a mom.

1.        Lion Tamer.  This is what I felt like at toddler yoga.  Trying to chase, wrestle, and corral a toddler is like trying to tame the most fearsome of beasts.  Only the strong survive!  Watch out for the sharp teeth!

2.       Teacher.  She is really into books right now.  She brings me one at least a couple of times a day, and she sets in my lap while I read to her.  It’s so sweet… makes me forget the Lion Taming I’ve just endured.

3.       Nurse.  “Do you think she needs Tylenol?”  This is a very common question around our house.  Pair that with the question, “Is she teething?” and you’ve just heard 50% of our conversations—you don’t even have to tune into our future reality show :).   I wish college would have included a semester class in child health, because we have no clue what we are doing.  Sometimes we just look at each other and shrug.

4.       Transformer.  The first time I was pregnant my husband looked at me one day and said, “Woah, your body is like a transformer!”  Since having a baby I’ve realized my mind is also like a transformer.  I’m constantly thinking about how to get tasks done during the day while watching out for sluthey baby hands that get into everything. 

5.       Referee.  I actually haven’t encountered this one yet, but with only a few months before the new baby arrives, I thought I would put it on the list.

6.       Therapist.  “Toddlers love big and live big,” I read that in an article on Facebook (it must be true,  right?), and I thought it was the perfect description of Vera Faye.  Everything is SUCH a big deal right now.  If Netflix doesn’t load her favorite video quick enough—she throws on the floor and starts screaming.  When she touched the lace on her pants this morning—she thought her life was over.  There are good sides to this too, like last night I was trying to rock her to sleep and she wouldn’t stop laughing.  So, I really don’t mind this job.  It makes me smile to see that much life going on in such a little package.

7.       Janitor.  Duh.

8.       Fortune Teller.  This one is kind of cool.  I know what is going to make her mad, happy, sad, even before she does.  I didn’t think I would be able to know her so well before she could even speak.

9.       Chef.  She loves spaghetti, Hawaiian rolls, and bananas.  Anything else, she might taste on a case by case basis… if you’re lucky.  Don’t even THINK about giving her food that is anywhere close to hot.  She will not wait for it to cool down. 

10.   Detective.  Sometimes, I’m a Nose Detective searching out something that smells.  Other times, I’m trying to locate the last landing spot of her shoes.  Usually, I’m trying to figure out what she’s chewing on.  It doesn’t matter what the question is, I’m just always trying to find an answer.

There you go.  Ten jobs, you get when becoming a mom.  Do you have any more to add?

Best and Worst of Times

Worst of Times

I don’t know how to write this post.  You need words to write a post, and I don’t have many.  I guess I’ll just say it.

Rick died.

About a month ago, he was ran over– and we still haven’t recovered.  First of all, I feel like the worst dog mom ever for letting this happen.  Secondly, I keep thinking, “What can I do to change it?  What can I do to save him?”  I feel like life should have a giant undo button that you can press when something terrible happens.  Or maybe, like in a Nintendo game, we can have another “life” and get to play the level one more time.

But, I haven’t found those buttons yet, so we’re just sitting in the middle of all the feels.  We’re remembering a great dog.

photo 1

 

photo 4

His big smile, his uncontrollable dinosaur tail, his goofy walk, his goofier run, and his amazing ability to get into trouble.  As one of our first children, he was a highlight of our life.   We’ve cried a lot for that big puppy.  And, I cry for Pink.  He  seems so lonely now.  Since the day he was born, he had the ultimate companion– a brother.  Pink and Rick were our dogs, but they cared more for each other than they did about us.

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I’m still not sure what to say about all this.  Except, I’m taking solace in a movie from my childhood, All Dogs Go to Heaven.  I know he will be there with a big yard to dig holes in, lots of food, and no scary storms.  Love you pup.

Best of Times

Life is weird. Happy and sad events sometimes coincide– leaving an emotional mess (me)behind.  Earlier this summer, a couple months before Rick died, we got some awesome news.

I’m pregnant again!  I’m 25 weeks this week, which means I’ve almost made it to my third trimester.

Just as I’ve been hesitant to talk about Rick, I’ve also been hesitant to talk about the new baby.  After the emotional rollercoaster it took for us to get pregnant the first time, I could hardly believe it could happen so easily the second time.  So, when I started feeling a “swampy” feeling, I completely wrote it off.  I was still breastfeeding Vera Faye at the time, and there were no signs my body was ready.

But, my swampy feeling wouldn’t go away!  While my husband was away on a business trip I decided to take a test.  I was tired of thinking I might be  pregnant, and I was ready to be done with my crazy thoughts!

Well, I wasn’t crazy- at least not about being pregnant 🙂

We’re having a baby!  Definitely a miracle after all we’ve been through.  At first I wouldn’t let myself believe it.  Then, as my belly kept growing, I got even more worried because I couldn’t feel the baby move.  At my 16 week appointment the nurse said I should feel it any time, but I didn’t.  As the weeks passed, all I felt was heartburn.

Luckily, when we went in for our 20 Week ultrasound, the tech said the baby is great, and I wasn’t feeling it move because of the position of all the baby accessories in there.  Now my worries have mostly gone away, and I’m trying to enjoy the last part of my pregnancy.

Since this baby was such a surprise, we’ve decided not to find out the gender.  There’s a mystery baby growing inside of me.  It really hasn’t been hard to keep from finding out the gender.  I was so worried about not feeling him/her move that I didn’t even think about gender, and now I’m so relieved the baby is doing well, that I still don’t think about gender.

I know one thing about the baby.  I’m betting no matter the gender, he/she will be just as rowdy as our first fur child…

Pink and Rick Ran Away

IMG_1097“The dogs are gone,” my husband said, bursting through the bedroom door this morning.

“Ehhhh…what?” I asked, trying to figure out 3 questions:  what time was it, where was I, and what was going on? I figured out the first two questions pretty quickly.  It was 6:53.  I was in my bed.

“I thought we brought them inside to sleep last night,” I said.

“We did.  I took them outside a couple hours ago to use the bathroom.”

I got up.

“Their collars are in the yard.  I’m going to look for them,” he said.  He left.

My husband was gone.  The baby was still asleep, so I decided to look for clues.  Based on what I knew, I started to worry.  First thought: they’ve been stolen.  Someone saw these 100+ pound majestic creatures and couldn’t resist finding out how much kibble they could eat.

Or, since it’s duck season, someone thought they would be the perfect companions and decided to grab them and ditch their collars in the yard.

I went outside to investigate and I knew by looking at the hole in the middle of our fence, I was wrong.  They weren’t stolen.  They ate through the fence and escaped.  This kind of mania was fueled by one thing: Rick’s secret.

You see, we’ve been dealing with a problem for a couple years now: Rick has TSS.  Also known as Thunder Shock Syndrome (I made that up…clever?).  He’s terrified of thunder.  Last time we had a storm, we put the dogs in kennels underneath the carport to help them feel safe.  It didn’t work.  Rick ate his way through his kennel from the inside.   Then, he managed to squeeze his huge body through the hole he created.  We found him underneath Jared’s truck in the driveway.  And, we found a huge, fury filled fur ball under our carport.

Back to this morn.  After realizing that the dogs weren’t stolen by a duck hunting Cruella D’Ville, I called my husband. “Any update?” I asked.

“I just found Pink about a half a mile from the house.”

I started to cry.  I was so relieved. Things have been kind of crazy lately, and I really didn’t want to add losing my dogs to the list.

“Rick must be close,” I said.  The puppies always travel in a pack.

But, he wasn’t.  Jared drove every street in our subdivision, and there was no sign of Ricky.  Ten minutes later, Jared called.  “I’m coming back to drop Pink off.”

I let Pink inside when he got back.  I could tell my husband was worried about Rick.

“I know it’s early, but I’m going to the animal shelter,” said as he walked out of the door.

Twenty minutes later, I called him.  “Any luck?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “I’ve been everywhere.”

I started to cry.  Pink and Rick are so close, I seriously doubt they can survive alone.  And I couldn’t imagine not having Rick.  Those crazy puppies are such a big part of our life.  We’ve had them practically our whole marriage.  It would be devastating to lose them.

“Go check outside again,” my husband said.  “Maybe you will see him down the road.”

I slid on Jared’s boots and waddled to the back door.  I opened it and looked down.  A giant, wet, crazy dog licked my leg.  “He’s here!” I screamed in the phone.  “This crazy ass dog came home!”

My husband sighed.  “I didn’t know where else to look, Kels,” he said.

“Well the crazy asses are back!  Please come home,” I said.

I haven’t been this relieved in a loooooooong time.  Even though, I’m pretty sure Rick just came back to get some breakfast, at least he came home.  We are going to make a Thunder Survival Plan for next time if you have any tips.

Stay warm!  Hope you are doing well!