Don’t Count on Pickles When Real Estate Investing

One of my first investments was a rental property with my brother, Nick.

Nothing too complex, not a flip or a foreclosure or a short sale or anything of the sort.

A rental.

And I almost quit real estate investing because of it.

Let me explain…

When we closed on this property Nick decided it was a good time to go to Europe on vacation.  And that’s another GREAT story for another time, you won’t believe some of the things that happened to him in Paris.

Let’s just say there was an Internet Cafe, a bloody nose, a parade and a loaf of bread involved.  And one scared Mom who called me at 5:00 a.m. in a panic.


Anyway, back to it…

So I was left to handle this thing by myself.  There were some tenants in the property and I went to deliver a microwave oven that had broken and to cut the grass.

I was petrified, had no idea what I was doing when I went over to chat with those tenants.

I was so new at investing that if they had asked me for $100 I probably would have given it to them just to keep them happy.

Funny how things change.

A few weeks later Nick returns and we end up losing the tenants.

I guess they didn’t like the microwave oven I had dropped off. I was burning their popcorn or something. So we start advertising the property.

At the time I had limited marketing experience but figured that we better stand out from the crowd.

So I got two bright yellow pieces of bristol board, taped them together, and wrote FOR RENT with a huge Sharpie marker across them.

This sign was so bright it almost let off a nuclear glow.

I’m sure the neighbours were impressed.

And then to really draw attention I wrote ‘FREE PICKLES‘ at the bottom of the sign in huge letters.

Yes, I’m serious.

I figured that it may draw attention to the sign and that may lead to more calls.

Worst case, I would offer them a jar of pickles if they rented the house.

I know how ridiculous this sounds and I swear I’m not insane, but at the time you have to understand, I thought I was brilliant.

I thought I was a marketing maverick even.

This was the most strategic marketing move I had in my toolbox…I was thinking “outside of the box”.

I put my cell phone at the bottom and started taking calls, another mistake.

When people called I began making appointments to meet them at the property.

I’d make one appointment for Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Another for Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.

Another for Thursday at 9:00 p.m.

I was trying to be accommodating and show up whenever the possible new tenant wanted me to.

Big, big, mistake. Each time I’d go something short of a disaster would happen.

Either they wouldn’t show up and I would just sit outside like a fool.