Posts Tagged “property management”

At least in the blue collar world. At least in Chicago.

My wife and I are looking for a new handyman for our buildings, which we seem to need to do every couple of years for one reason or another.

Same as last time, in April of 2008, my wife composed an ad, placed it on Craigslist, then pulled it down ten minutes later because our phone ringer and email boxes couldn’t take the strain.

There may be some glimmers of hope for a recovery. The tech sector in Chicago seems to be heating up. Who knows how long that will last, but if I were a company that used the recession as an excuse to abuse my tech employees for the last two years I would be worried right now.

Nonetheless, if the blue collar environment in Chicago is any indication, large parts of our economy (and large numbers of people) are still in a world of financial hurt.

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That was my favorite mug.

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I’ve been busy on other endeavors this last week. Most notably, my wife and I kicked off our largest rehab project to date — in our own home.

We’re rolling a wrecking ball through the top floor of our Victorian three-flat. We’re living on the lower floor of our unit (the second floor of the house) while we completely gut upstairs. Have a look, and feel free to follow along, at

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After a year of great work our latest maintenance guy headed back to Iowa to be closer to his daughters and grandchild. So, last Tuesday evening, my wife posted an ad on craigslist for a new maintenance guy to handle the issues that inevitably crop up with our rental properties. We offered $20 an hour and the maintenance guy has to have his own vehicle, his own tools, and general plumbing and electrical experience. We offered only part time work — five to 40 hours a month depending upon demand.

My wife published the ad at 9:50 pm Tuesday evening. Read the rest of this entry »

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Newsflash. I own four small apartment buildings (well, for now, the banks own them, my wife manages them, and I’m legally and financially on the hook when bad things happen). For me, managing rental property and software development teams are not nearly as disjointed activities as they may seem. A tragedy of the commons, for example, can happen in either place.

A tragedy of the commons occurs when a public resource is overused or misused by individuals each acting in their own interest, where each instance of overuse or misuse has a greater benefit to the individual than the incremental harm it does to the public resource. Eventually, however, this can cause the resource to be spoiled beyond recovery. Hence the tragedy. For concrete examples, think overfishing or global warming.

My wife and I differentiate our properties by keeping them well-maintained. We pile on the amenities (AC, dishwashers, hardwood floors, rehabbed kitchens and baths). And, initially, we threw in freebies (free Internet access, free laundry, free applications). Well, applications are no longer free, and neither is the laundry.

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