I have for a long time been impressed by the writings and teaching of Stephen Covey (he is most famous for his best selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People). I have been influenced to operate by his business principle of Win Win.
I have found in my relationships with renters that when they win (renting the property meets their needs) and I win (renting to them meets my needs) we have an enjoyable relationship. Therefore, I seek to establish win win relationships with all my renters.
The wins I seek to provide to renters are: 1) provide them a nice place to live; 2) treat them with dignity; 3) return their phone calls and respond to their request to solve problems with the property they are renting.
The wins I seek from my renters are: 1) they pay in full on time; 2) they take care of my property; 3) they are good neighbors. I want my renters to act in a manner which is considerate and respectful to the people who live around them in the neighborhood.
I entered the rental property business in Duluth when my daughter was a student at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. One summer after signing a rental lease for her I stumbled across a couple of small houses for sale. I became intrigued with the idea of purchasing one and developing it together so she could live in it while she was student.
The next summer I did purchase a house in need a great deal of remodeling. My daughter and I lived in the house in sleeping bags on the floor for several weeks while we worked together ten hours a day. It was a wonderful bonding experience for us.
I discovered that I liked working with my hands and learning to do building projects.
When my daughter graduated I decided to try renting the house rather than sell it. I found I enjoyed relating to the college students who rented from me.
During this time I was the senior pastor of a church in Minneapolis. I discovered I enjoyed working on the property I owned in Duluth as a break from the satisfying but all encompassing work as a pastor. Also my third child was just beginning college and I needed to generate some extra income for his education. Therefore, I began to slowly expand the rental properties I owned in Duluth. I would purchase a house, fix it up, then rent it. I now own sixteen rental properties in Duluth. I continue to enjoy working in the rental market in Duluth. I love the city and the rental properties give me a reason to visit often. I continue to enjoy relating to my renters.
In January, 2005 I took a year long sabbatical from the demands of pastoring a church. I purchased a huge, dilapidated duplex in South Minneapolis. The biggest project I have ever taken on. Though at times I wondered if I would ever finish, six months later I did finish and it turned out beautifully. My daughter purchased it from me, she and her husband now live in it, and rent the other half.
I have since left the full time pastorate and teach Greek and Hebrew in a seminary in the Twin Cities. I enjoy this immensely, however, it is only a half time job. I use the income from my rental business to provide the balance of my income.