Page 96 - AAGLA 2020-11
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 Member Update
Confessions of a Bona Fide Landlord
BIy Al Jacobs
am pleased to introduce myself to you; you’re in the presence of a bona fide landlord. And I did not acquire this impressive status the easy way. As I completed my 9th year in the U.S. Navy, with my ship just returned from a 10-month tour of the Western Pacific Ocean, I actually
had some cash in hand. With the exchange rate of the Japanese yen at 360 to the U.S. Dollar, but with no real opportunity to spend much of my $222.30 monthly pay, I found myself stateside once again, in possession of about a thousand dollars ... and for me, back in 1956, this seemed like a lot of money.
And so I remember one day visiting my mother, a real estate agent sitting in an open house in Torrance, California, and asking: “Mom, I’ve got a thousand bucks; what should I do with it?” She instantaneously replied: “Buy this house I’m sitting in.” My response: “What for? I’m stationed aboard ship.” She then said. “I’ll rent it for you and make you some money.”
In November of that year I acquired a 2-bedroom, 1-bath, house for which I paid $10,395. With a down payment of $950 – make it $900, because my mother shared her $100 commission with me – and liability for a couple of trust deed loans (much like mortgage loans), my monthly payments for principal, interest, taxes and insurance came to $90. As for the rent, a tenant paid $95 per month. As you see, I became a landlord with a potential profit of $5 per month ... providing nothing went wrong.
It is now 64 years later. Since I left the navy in 1963, I have worked in a wide variety of jobs. But despite the various activities I have engaged in to earn a living, my principal obsession has been “landlording.” Until the turn of the century my rental investments consisted exclusively of single-family houses.
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