We had a rental property, single family home for 20 years. I managed it. Screened the tennents called in the plumber when needed etc. It was a headache. It did spin out some nice income but finally we had enough when the last tennent turned out to be what we think was a druggie cooking meth. He trashed the place and that was when I said "enough!" no more....We sold it when the housing market had tanked but luckily for us it was a "starter home" and perfect for someone wanting to have their first single family home.
We used to have a couple but sold them 6 or 7 years ago - and we are down to the one that is here on our farm, right next door. The others (in town) were a gigantic PITA, but this one attracts people who want peace and quiet so have people stay for a long time and they've always been wonderful (have even remained friends with them after they've moved on and bought their own homes).
In our area, real estate is very, very cheap, so we ended up with really crummy renters for the most part. I hated it and we always had people who left all of their crap behind and a few times it cost us close to $1000.00 to haul all of their crap away. I was so sick of it. I'm happy to have the farmhouse rental next door, and that's it.
Resomething-I remember that one. Wasn't it on HGTV's My First Sale? The people were in Denver and actually bought their dream house before they tried to sell the first house, overpriced it, couldn't sell so rented to four college students. They did trash the place, including filling the basement with sand for a beach party, staining the wood floors with beer or water, and ruining the appliances, and I think not paying rent. The woman owner tried to get a mortgage forebearance (or whatever it's called) for the first home, and claimed the reason was they bought a new house, and didn't want to pay for the first one any longer (the bank told her to forget it).
I know three people that rented homes as Section 8, all three ended up with totally trashed houses, and one man said (it was his late mom's house, and just beautiful from the before pictures) he wished he would have burned it down instead of rented it, because it was so painful to see it destroyed like that, and it only was rented for a few months.
The most important thing about a property manager, is they get the 3 am phone calls about stopped up toilets, and usually have 24 hour maintenance available. To me the ability to do a full criminal and credit check, plus the problem solving would be worth it to pay 9 or 10% fees. You still have to be careful, because not all property managers are good, and some would rent to anyone to keep properties full. One where I used to live was tough, but fair; then they rented a property near me that had been vacant for almost six month, and did nothing about the tenant running an illegal business (dog rescue, unlicensed, and bad), with way more dogs than the lease called for. The rental people did nothing about them, until someone (yes, I bet you can guess who) ratted the renters out to the business license guy, who took the animal control officer with him. The renters moved a couple of months later, but the dog 'rescue' was shut down immediately, and the dogs went to a real shelter that found them homes.
Young black family with a new baby, I think, it's been a while. Yes to college students and stains on the hardwood but I don't remember a basement full of sand, that would qualify as trashed. For some reason I remember the house sitting on a street across from quite a bit of open space, not a park I don't think.
I keep forgetting that in the 20 years since the family had most of the rentals there have been real strides in the laminate floor coverings - they look nice and wear well. I recall having a lovely porcelain double sink with the extra deep bowl on one side that we put in brand new, not the Kohler but whoever the other guys are, had a nice new arched faucet to go with it and my DH of all people really abused it once I had to move on ahead - I had put a mat in and the idiot poured out the coffee pot in there every day and let the coffee soak in under that mat - grrrrr. I'd been pulling out the mat and plopping it in for pot washing but he had no clue. Of course he felt bad once it got pointed out, but these are the sorts of things you are going to have with a tenant and why ss sinks were the "big new thing" in the 60's - they are low maintenance and ideal for a rental.
I did have to rent an apartment here in Lex and the complex was very discriminating. One of the things they did do was rent to roommates - with the caveat that each roomate had to qualify on their own to pay the rent. They also recruited from amongst the tenant pool for new renters, I guess hoping that a tenant would have a vested interest in the place and not tell people they didn't trust and want to live near them.
I own 5 rental properties, totaling 17 units and mostly rent to lower income tenants. Quality is hit and miss, but I am fulfilling a need in my area. I bought my properties pretty cheaply, rehabbed them, and owe relatively little compared to the value of the property. I don't intend to own them forever - will probably sell them in a few year when the market goes back up (I bought them in the last 3 years when the market was at its lowest). I manage them all myself and don't find it all that taxing even though I have a full-time career and several hobbies. I like Section 8 tenants (county-subsidized rent), but I also give people who struggle to find accommodation a chance - sometimes that works out great, other times not so much. I like multi-family units so if one is vacant, the expenses are all still covered by rent and only my profit is reduced. All my properties produce income each year.
RE-yes, that was the one, and they also stole a street sign for Beach St, to go with the party theme. The first episodes were almost all in Denver (some of HGTV's production companies must be based there), and then they branched out to DC area, and Texas for a lot also. Real Estate Intervention (the original series based around DC) had a lot of delusional sellers, who had treated the house like an ATM, with refinancing constantly when the value went up, then when the market fell, they were totally behind the prices they could get for the house. They also usually bought another house first, then tried to sell. I learned my lesson the hard way on buying before you sell the current house.
A little Alabama town near where I used to live was full of Section 8 houses, about a third was what I heard. Mostly owned by one person, but there were endless problems, because (I understand this isn't really legal) the tenants were mostly from other states, because it was so much cheaper to live here than where they came from, the other state still paid the bills, but the local housing authority had to monitor the tenants, and there were tons of 'extra' tenants who showed up to live with legal residents. It was a total mess.