Thursday, December 29, 2011

Apartment Update

Received the November report for the Houston apartment complex and it was not good. Occupancy has dropped to 89% with 26 move-outs, 12 of which were without notice. So rent concession costs increased to fill the empty units. Expenses are still going lower, which is a small positive. Some exterior wood replacement needed to be done that cost $31,000 but that was paid directly from the replacement escrow account with our lender, so it did not affect cashflow. The manager's report includes this ominous phrase: "...outstanding aged accounts payable continue to place considerable strain on property operations." Total revenue for November was $175,000 and the balance sheet shows $233,000 of Accounts Payable, so yeah, I can see that would cause a strain.

Truthfully, I am getting tired of this investment. I don't think the investors have gotten a payment in over a year. I know the problem is high unemployment and the soft economy, but it gets pretty old hearing month after month that the place is just limping along. This investment was made with an eye towards capital gains, not monthly income, so I need to keep that in mind. Still, it is somewhat frustrating to know there is little that can be done to turn things around. I guess I am still used to the rehab mindset of being able to improve a property and sell it.

I'm starting to see why my hard money lending partner likes lending so much. Rentals require dealing with tenants and repairs, etc. Investing in apartment complexes does too, although a management company keeps those factors one step removed from the investor. Hard money lending on the other hand, is relatively hassle-free, once you have a set of good, regular borrowers lined up. Lending also lets me spread out my investment over several properties, reducing the risk from any single one. I think once this apartment investment ends, I'll stick to hard money lending. You do lose out on all the nice depreciation deductions and tax-deferral options though.

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