Landlord Revamps Property To Net Extra $4800

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Hi Investors! My name is Erica Henry and I am proud to say that I am a Landlord in the Tacoma Washington area. I have been a real estate investor for the past 10 years.

After I got laid off from Sun Micro Systems tech company, I took my severance check and bought a 4-plex. I moved into one of the vacant apartments and rented out the other three vacant units.

I picked up this “dump” for cheap, because it need many repairs and the previous Landlord died and his daughter lived too far away to care for the property. I purchased the property 380 Stevens Ave for $209,000. I put down a $45K down payment and closing cost and financed the rest through my local credit union.

What I did next – is what made me the most money – Market research. I studied the local rentals similar to mine and focused on the ones that were getting top rent. Other then perhaps better location, I noticed that the top rentals offered new appliances, updated interiors and a open concept floor plan.

So I took the time and put in some elbow grease of my own and turned my “dump” into a hip “shabby chic” dwelling that up & coming hip young professionals would want to live in.

So the old landlord was getting $750 per unit. Each unit was a 2 bedroom 1.5 bath with a separate living and dining off the Kitchen. The top rentals in my immediate area was getting around $800-$995 in the early 2000's.

So I tackled changing five simple things in each unit:

  1. Fresh White Paint to brighten up the place
  2. New eco-friendly wood flooring
  3. Adding blinds and removing film off windows
  4. Adding new ceiling fans to master bed room and living room
  5. Updated Appliances

Each new remodel cost be about $1500-$2000. Sometimes I would hire a handyman to help with painting, putting down the floor and installing appliances. But I always worked along side them.

So I finished the first unit and immediately I was able to ask for and get $850 in rent. That's $100 bucks more then the previous tenant and about 12% increase in annual rent collection. After the first year the increases in rent paid off the Home Depot bill. Do the math. I made each unit rent for $850. That equates to: $100 x 4 units x 12 months = $4800 additional cash flow annually.

I am happy to say that I no longer live at my first property and all of my units are rented and this building is almost paid for because I choose a 15 yr note with the credit union.

Much credit should be given to sites like, & HGTV. Without those websites I would have not be inspired to be a real estate investor. One time I even tried to get on one of the make over shows on HGTV. I don't think I would have known where to have start or even the guts to be a real estate investor without watching HGTV and seeing all of those regular guys & gals like me kill it with flipping property. I went on to purchase more real estate.

As of present my investing portfolio consists 3 duplexes, a 4-plex and a single family in the same area. I still manage to work part time so I don't get bored at my local Small Business Administration chapter consulting on technology and writing business plans.

One important note: It's always a good idea NOT to live in the same place as your tenants.

Erica Henry
Tacoma, WA

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Landlord Revamps Property To Net Extra $4800

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