I am an attorney, landlord, and finance enthusiast who lives in Southern California. I am highly focused on planning for my own financial security, which includes growing my real estate portfolio, developing additional income streams, and socking away money in savings and retirement accounts so I can retire early and live comfortably.
My family has been in real estate rentals in some fashion or another since the 1950s, when my great-grandparents first moved out to California and bought a mobile home park in Pomona (we still own it). My grandfather followed in a similar fashion, and bought a few more parks, portions of which were passed down to his children and grandchildren, including me. My slice of the mobile home park empire is very small, but it gave me a tiny start, and a good window into real estate investments.
My mother is a CPA, and from a very early age, she schooled me in all things financial. I began helping her prepare tax returns for the family partnerships and LLCs when I was 16 (which is 20 years ago now—yikes!), and these days I’m primarily in charge of that task. I know my way around tax returns and balance sheets and amortization schedules. My regular job is as an attorney, but from January through the end of March, my weekend job is as an accountant and tax preparer for the extended family.
In 2003, my immediate family (mom/stepdad and siblings) bought a 22-unit apartment building in La Habra, California. We managed it ourselves from 2003–2010. I was involved in just about every step of the process, from screening tenants, running rent comps, preparing rental agreements, dealing with tenant problems, evictions, etc. We hired a management company in 2010 for a number of reasons, and as much as I am a do-it-yourselfer type of person, it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It kept us from killing each other, and it was just too much work for me to manage 22 units and still keep my full-time stressful job. I’m still heavily involved in the management of the building, but my workload now is more about supervising the management company and making the “owner” decisions (things like how much rent we should be charging), rather than dealing with vendors and returning tenant security deposits and running credit checks.
From 2008–2014, I also had a rental condo (my old residence) that I rented out after moving into my current house. The rental part was fine, but the HOA was horrible, and it just wasn’t a great candidate for a rental property, so I sold it in 2014.
Although I am a licensed attorney in California, I am not a certified financial planner or a finance professional, and this website is not intended to form an attorney-client relationship with any reader, nor is it intended to provide professional financial advice. Please read the full disclaimer here. If you are looking for an attorney or a professional financial planner to give you specific advice about your personal situation, please consult a professional in your area.