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    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Any landlords on Foo?

    I'm thinking of taking the plunge and purchasing a property to lease out. I'm leaning more towards purchasing a condo vs a detached house, mainly due to the maintenance of the yard. I'd rather let others do that. I definitely don't want anyone leasing a portion of the house we're living in ... so that's out of the question.

    I'm looking for advice if anyone's willing to share their experiences. What type of properties do you/ have you owned? Types of renters? How did you set the lease rate? How much time do you spend per month looking after your investment (maintenance, books, renter's issues, etc)?

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    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    If you have the cash right now is a great time to buy rental properties.. I have one and it has been interesting over the last 10 years I have rented it out.. One of my biggest mistakes in the beginning was to hire a property management company.. I found it much easier when problems cropped up to handle them yourself.. I am fortunate and have a Loft which is mostly concrete floor to ceiling so there in not much to screw up.. The problems that have cropped up have been plumbing..

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    Condomminiums() are hard to sell,maintenence fee increase each year,small profit when you decide to sell.

    Get a cottage @Lake Tamagamie(example) and rent by the week.Same total rent in a 3rd of the time and better appreciation in the long run for resale.Not sure what you natives pay in capital gain tax up there.
    I know for a fact those Cannuckers love to go cottaging.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
    If you have the cash right now is a great time to buy rental properties.. I have one and it has been interesting over the last 10 years I have rented it out.. One of my biggest mistakes in the beginning was to hire a property management company.. I found it much easier when problems cropped up to handle them yourself.. I am fortunate and have a Loft which is mostly concrete floor to ceiling so there in not much to screw up.. The problems that have cropped up have been plumbing..
    Landlord rule #1:
    Plumbing problems damage eveything.Address as soon as possible.
    Landlord rule#2:
    Tennants with cats will F up your property.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  6. #6
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    I suggest you go for it now! I own a house and a condo as income property in different parts of the county. The house rented out in two months, the condo is still vacant. People want to live in a house with a yard more than a condo. As you know, to own a home means you can do whatever you want, when you want and if there is a problem, it doesn't affect others in the building. With a condo, problems arise from all ends so it is more costly to solve them.
    In meeting people who are looking for a place to rent, I have found that most people will not show up to view that place when they say they will or are not honest about their situation, The biggest problems that I have faced are the single mothers on welfare. I am tired of them all! They want to bend the rules so their old children or boyfriends can move in unauthorized. I don't entertain them. The renters that you do want are the working couples or families who are interested in the area and local schools for their kids as well as having a good standing rental history. Chances are they will stay for a long time. Oh, do go by the place they lived prior to. This will give an idea of what kind of people you are dealing with.
    As for leases, it is up to you. I do month to month rental because I don't want to hold anyone to anything they are not happy with. I do what I can to make sure all is well to keep them put but like with anything, there is no guarantee.
    When viewing the property, set dates and times that it will be available. If you don't, people will waste your time like there is no tomorrow. If you give a day and time, tell them to confirm the night before. If they don't call, you don't go. If the income property is close to your house, don't drive, ride your bike so that you don't waste your gas if the potential is bunk or doesn't show.
    I will think of more and post later.
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    Hi, folks sdold's Avatar
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    Travelmama's advice sounds really good.

    I own a house and have rented it out for about two years now to the same family. It's only an hour from my current home, but I went with a property manager and I'm glad I did. I managed to find a good one with a reputation for intensive screening of its renters, and I got some really good tenants. They handled everything in getting the tenants moved in, and take care of whatever I don't want to fix or don't have time to fix.

    But the big payoff for me so far has been in taxes, it's amazing how many things you can think of to write off. Talk to your tax guy, but so far that's been the biggest deal for me.

    To me, the house isn't an investment, at least not a great one. I just couldn't sell it at the time I wanted to move, so I decided to rent it out.

    Socal, I can see how a bad property manager can ruin everything, since I depend on mine quite a bit and am lucky that they are good, it could easily have gone the other way.

    Spry: Good reminder about plumbing :-) Actually I try to take care of everything quickly, it makes for happy tenants and I don't want someone who is mad at me living in my house.

  8. #8
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
    I'm looking for advice if anyone's willing to share their experiences. What type of properties do you/ have you owned? Types of renters? How did you set the lease rate? How much time do you spend per month looking after your investment (maintenance, books, renter's issues, etc)?
    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    PM Siu
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  9. #9
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
    I'm thinking of taking the plunge and purchasing a property to lease out. I'm leaning more towards purchasing a condo vs a detached house, mainly due to the maintenance of the yard. I'd rather let others do that. I definitely don't want anyone leasing a portion of the house we're living in ... so that's out of the question.

    I'm looking for advice if anyone's willing to share their experiences. What type of properties do you/ have you owned? Types of renters? How did you set the lease rate? How much time do you spend per month looking after your investment (maintenance, books, renter's issues, etc)?
    I used to be a landlord; it was worth it overall, but it's not easy. First and foremost--know your cashflow! Do you know your expected net investment and projected cash flow? How much cash will come out of your pocket to get the loan started and take possession? After allowing for debt payments, maintenance, expenses, taxes, lost rent, etc., what is the projected net return on your investment?

    A ballpark expectation is to net 75% of rent, allowing for all expenses, including your time, or the expense of a manager. If that number is not bigger than your monthly payment(on the smallest down payment you can get!), consider it a loser right away. If it shows a chance for cash flow, try to make the best estimates you can. These estimates vary some over the long term with the quality of the property and the area. Of course, they vary greatly over the short term with unexpected repairs, non-payment, deposits, etc.

    You'll typically find that the return on your investment is very low, unless your debt on the property is very high. The cash flow return on single family dwellings will tend to be even worse, even negative.

    If you are buying a single family as an investment, you are usually just playing the market; you are counting on appreciation to generate most or all of your return. Yes, you can increase your down payment enough to start banking money, but don't forget the opportunity cost of that cash you laid out up front! For near the same return, you could buy a bond, and forego the risk and hassle. If it doesn't earn cash with borrowed money, it's a loser.

    In contrast, many multi-family properties can generate cash flow right out of the gate. A multi-unit also has the benefit of diversification; if one renter tears up a unit or doesn't pay, you may still be able to tread water on the other units.

    Find a multi and a single selling for the same price, compare the rents vs. monthly payments, and you will see the difference in cash flow right away. A $180,000 single might rent for $1200, while a $180,000 triple could rent for $1800. Say your monthly payment is $1200, so, after 25% for expenses, you net -$300 on the single, +$150 on the triple monthly, -$3600 vs. +$1800 yearly. If your down payment was $18,000, you are earning -20% on the single, +10% on the triple, before appreciation.

    2% appreciation would get you back to zero on the single, but all the way to 30% on the triple. Appreciation is uncertain, and swings wildly, so it should not be your primary source of profit, or necessary just to get your money back if you want to sell. You might consider this a contrived example, yet if you look at real world properties, I think you will find truth in it, even if your local examples are a bit different.

    You say you don't want to live with your tenants, but... Financing is much more favorable as an owner occupant. You can get a loan with a lower down payment, which in turn generates a better return on your investment. You may also get a better interest rate, and qualify for special loans not available to absentee landlords. Once you get your loan, you can move out later and rent the unit.

    There are quality of life issues to consider, but as you can tell, I always press people to look at their expected returns before taking the plunge. I have seen friends and family jump in without understanding the real returns on their investment. Once you're in, if there is no cash flow, you could be in for YEARS just to get back to zero, waiting for appreciation. If you have good cash flow, you can continue to get a decent return year after year while the market does whatever it wants.

    It's all about cash flow; anything else is a 'bigger fool' play, and someone gets stuck holding when the market slows.
    Last edited by chewybrian; 07-23-10 at 06:11 AM.
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  10. #10
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. Definitely has given me some things to consider. Travelmama, I appreciate your advice on types of renters. One of my main concerns is that I get a renter who damages the property, or doesn't pay their rent. I understand the eviction process can be difficult and take quite a bit of time.

    I've got more questions for people who have replied, I just won't have time till this evening to post them. Siu, I'll PM you later tonight.

    Thanks again Guys!

  11. #11
    Senior Member JonnyHK's Avatar
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    We have a good agent looking after the place.

    And my sister lives next door and sends us reports on both the agent and the tenants - and they both know it!

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    I don't have anything of value to offer, but I have a few moments to kill and this is FOO, so...

    My father-in-law owns ~20 properties: 17-unit buildings, duplexes, 4-plexes, single homes, etc.

    He's a one-man show because he doesn't want to hire people to work for him (he is cheap and would rather work himself sick by working 24 hours a day than to hire people).

    He has upper class renters, welfare renters, certain societal cultures who try to have their families of 16 living in a one-bedroom unit, etc. He has properties in expensive areas, as well as areas I wouldn't go into even with a police escort during the day.

    It's a disaster, but it's all because of how he runs it. He doesn't do it for the money, he does it for....?

    Some rent pays the mortages, other places lose money. He breaks even (barely) each month. I don't know how he affords food on his own table because he sinks everything he has into his units. But he only talks about the $500,000 unit that is paid off and makes money each month (and doesn't talk about the other units that lose thousands each month).

    Despite all this, my wife wants to follow in his footsteps and buy a bunch of rentals, too. Yikes! My wife's dad thinks it's insane that we own our own home but no rentals. I told her we can if we do it "right" and pull in enough income that I can be a stay at home dad, we can buy rentals. But when a tennant calls because their toilet broke at 3am, I am not answering it--I will do all the cooking, laundry, cleaning, yardwork, and child rearing myself, instead.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I'll throw this bit out, even though my one attempt at property ownership failed (and this may depend on the locale)- if your tenant decides to manufacture drugs while occupying said rental, you (as the owner) can be held liable. Here in OK, the owner has to pay for clean-up costs whenever a meth lab is discovered.
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    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    I have 2 rental properties in a small, rural college town. Rule #1: stay away from frat boys!! Rule #2, do not buy in a flood zone, even if there have been no floods in living memory - flood insurance is expensive!

    My 1st property is a 3 bedroom house which was in terrible condition when we got it. While the roof was fine, you could see daylight through the block walls in the basement, which was why we could snap it up really really cheap. My husband is very knowledgable and able, and only needed some hired labor here and there; $12,000 had a radient heat system installed, all new sheetrock, blockwork repointed,insulated & repainted, bathroom renovated. At this point, we break even on the house, as we are renting it to my son's best buddy - whom we've known forever & is a bonafide neat-freak. It's a 3 bedroom, 2200 sq ft house. If we were renting it to someone else - we'd proabaly make a few thousand a year on it until the loan is paid off.

    2nd property is a century old victorian house divided into 4 apartments, with a detached doctor's office on the property. Mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc total about 40% of the income. More tenants = more problems, but the kids are pretty good. We've gotten a reputation for being reasonable and responsive, so our tenants refer friends to us & we usually have a waiting list. We get those calls "if he flunks math, can I have his apartment?"

    The big thing is the tax benefit, so talk to your accountant before you take the plunge - we are self employed, so having rental property fits in well with the rest of our endeavors; if you work for someone else, it might not fit your situation as well. Our main purpose is to use these properties as retirement income in the future, so we plan our purchases - and the ensuing loans - around that factor.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  15. #15
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spry View Post
    Condomminiums() are hard to sell,maintenence fee increase each year,small profit when you decide to sell.

    Get a cottage @Lake Tamagamie(example) and rent by the week.Same total rent in a 3rd of the time and better appreciation in the long run for resale.Not sure what you natives pay in capital gain tax up there.
    I know for a fact those Cannuckers love to go cottaging.
    Not a bad idea if I also lived close by to clean up after all the renters. Cottage country is a few hour drive for us since we live further south.

  16. #16
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
    If you have the cash right now is a great time to buy rental properties.. I have one and it has been interesting over the last 10 years I have rented it out.. One of my biggest mistakes in the beginning was to hire a property management company.. I found it much easier when problems cropped up to handle them yourself.. I am fortunate and have a Loft which is mostly concrete floor to ceiling so there in not much to screw up.. The problems that have cropped up have been plumbing..
    Actually now may not be the best time in our area. This is one of my main considerations as to when to enter the market. Canada was not hit by the recession like the States were. Here's a historical Housing Price chart for Canada. As you can see, resale homes have rebounded big time.

    http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/rates/..._graph_en.html

  17. #17
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    Here is an example of the single welfare mothers that I mentioned earlier. What this girl wants is illegal...housing the fiance. If you were to accept it, you are in federal violation of subsidized housing (in America). There will be no protection for you as an owner who takes in an unauthorized tenant.

    Hello Potential Landlords,

    My name is Porsha and I recently received a Los Angeles City housing choice or section 8 voucher. I am looking for a two bed room, I would prefer a house but I am not picky. A bit about me, I am a full time student pursuing a double AA in English Education. I am at school a majority of the time, and when I am not, then I am studying. I have a two year old son, and he is just the cutest, and sweetest baby you would ever want to meet. I am engaged, but my fiancee is not on my voucher, I would like him to live with me; but I can understand if he would not be permitted to. I really need housing before I run out of time and loose my voucher. Whats in it for you? Peace of mind, you would gain peace in knowing that your property is being well maintained and your rent will always be paid on time because the city of Los Angeles will see to that. Please contact me via email at the address on this posting if you would like to know more about me or my situation. Thank you very much for your time Sir or Madam.


    Evictions vary from state to state, from county to county, from country to country. Check out your laws before you leap forward. I rented a room to a girl who knew she could not pay (always had an excuse). Her car was towed from in front of the house so I knew she was a goner. She told me that her wages had been garnished because of the car which meant she had a judgment against her from the city. She tried to play sly by moving out the things she wanted and leaving the unwanted crap behind. She said she was going to come pick it up and pay me knowing she wasn't. The girl only owed me $700 or so. I told her if she didn't come back, I would take her to small claims court. She didn't and I did. It was a two month process because she tried to avoid me. I had a friend serve her boss who served her. She didn't show up in court but I still had to present my case. Judge awarded me $1400 and placed a judgment on her record. I didn't care so much about the money but I wanted her to have another judgment against her. Now, for being irresponsible, her credit is completely screwed. I gave away some of her stuff and placed the rest in the alley for someone to take.

    Another thing, do not take out a mortgage property that you cannot pay for yourself. I recently did work at a townhouse that a young man bought as investment property. He bought high and rented to a single mother with a fleet of kids. They were living there for some time and all the while she wasn't paying full rent. The owner told her that he would lower the rent and still, she did not pay. The kids TORE UP this house. Roaches everywhere. Kitchen dripping with year old grease and the rest. The kitchen has to be gutted. He had her evicted and ended up losing the house altogether. The bank would not allow for auction and foreclosed. He now takes a dump in credit and has nothing. I told him to have her wages garnished for the eviction and go after her for causing him to lose the house.
    I have more scary stories to share because I work in homes but I am sure you know what does and can happen. You just have to make the move when you are ready and can afford to do so. One thing that works is to consider buying in lower income areas. You may not always get the best tenants but people will always live in these areas and homes are relatively inexpensive which means your return is quicker providing you don't have to do many repairs.
    Two Wheels One Love

  18. #18
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Crunch the numbers for your area. The real-estate and renter's market varies tremendously by region. The delta may be positive or negative, but the gamma and theta will indicate whether that risk is acceptable.

    Rents have been dropping in my area and one of my properties brings in only 30% of the mortgage payments each month. Add in insurance, maintenance and prop-taxes (over $50k/year) and it's a losing proposition. The high-end properties where vacationers are paying over $15k/month are doing well. Unfortunately I don't own any of those.

    Don't forget to factor in your opportunity costs. I've made more money in the last couple months by shorting BP and going long on puts in RIG than in all my properties in the past 5-years combined.

  19. #19
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have owned rental property for 50 years.
    Do your own managing/repairs/bookwork/taxes if you are able.
    First house was an older 2 family unit (up and down). Was making minimum-type wage at the time (mid-1950s). Renters paid us more than our land contract payment was. Paid that house off in 10 years and 8 months. Sold it and made small profit and invested in another very nice/newer 2-family on 1/2 acre. That was also paid off 10 years later.
    Paid that off and moved to the southwest. There we bought a nice new townhouse (not a condo) for cash and put money down on another townhouse not far away which then paid for itself.
    Sold that just before big market plummet and paid a healthy capital gains tax.
    We also kept our rent just below what others were charging so folks did not go look for cheaper place. You don't want folks staying a few months or just year and then you are stuck with clean-up, re-renting.
    Had 2 bad tenants in 50 years of renting.
    Had several tenants that rented for 10 years. Several ex-tenants still send us X-mas cards!
    Treat renters the way you like to be treated and see to repairs/complaints promptly. Pays off in the long run!
    Just our experience.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9 View Post
    I have 2 rental properties in a small, rural college town. Rule #1: stay away from frat boys!! Rule #2, do not buy in a flood zone, even if there have been no floods in living memory - flood insurance is expensive!

    My 1st property is a 3 bedroom house which was in terrible condition when we got it. While the roof was fine, you could see daylight through the block walls in the basement, which was why we could snap it up really really cheap. My husband is very knowledgable and able, and only needed some hired labor here and there; $12,000 had a radient heat system installed, all new sheetrock, blockwork repointed,insulated & repainted, bathroom renovated. At this point, we break even on the house, as we are renting it to my son's best buddy - whom we've known forever & is a bonafide neat-freak. It's a 3 bedroom, 2200 sq ft house. If we were renting it to someone else - we'd proabaly make a few thousand a year on it until the loan is paid off.

    2nd property is a century old victorian house divided into 4 apartments, with a detached doctor's office on the property. Mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc total about 40% of the income. More tenants = more problems, but the kids are pretty good. We've gotten a reputation for being reasonable and responsive, so our tenants refer friends to us & we usually have a waiting list. We get those calls "if he flunks math, can I have his apartment?"

    The big thing is the tax benefit, so talk to your accountant before you take the plunge - we are self employed, so having rental property fits in well with the rest of our endeavors; if you work for someone else, it might not fit your situation as well. Our main purpose is to use these properties as retirement income in the future, so we plan our purchases - and the ensuing loans - around that factor.
    Only buy a mobile home located in a West-By-God floodzone river area.
    This way you have a new location/address downriver each year and avoid property taxes

    *On a(serious) side note:
    I am sorry they did not take WV into the college Big Ten football conference this year.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
    Not a bad idea if I also lived close by to clean up after all the renters. Cottage country is a few hour drive for us since we live further south.
    Look neighbor,there are two marketable things up there to make a quick buck,fishing vacations and hockey.You can't skate that well so lets stick to vacation properties in Northern Great White North.
    Don't want to trek to the tundra each week?Many Yanks and Frosties rent those places by the month each Spring,Summer and Fall.Go to vrbo.com (vacation rentals by owners)and see if this is "aboot" making money on realestate.Throw one of the fellows that own the local store/boat rental place a few dollars,case of beer,and your extra northern pike to look in on the joint while these renters are up there.Send the local mounties a years subscription to Playboy magazine(winter nights are lonely up there.)
    Always have the renters sign a disclaimer in case they get their ass stomped by the furry friends of the forest.
    Last edited by spry; 07-25-10 at 06:51 PM.
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  22. #22
    Refrigerator Raider Hater fordmanvt's Avatar
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    I'm in the market for my first home and have been considering a duplex or ?triplex?. I can afford these places by myself, live in one a rent out the rest. Being single, I could take a 1BR unit to get more $$$ for a 2 or 3 BR unit. I've been luck enough that my father is a DIYer and he's taught me a lot about home repair.

    I like the idea of being close to the rental property, although I'm not sure being in the next unit would be too close.

    The horror stories I've heard always boil down to the tenant. Seems to me it would be worth it to lower the rent for the right person, and don't hesitate to turn down someone you get the wrong feeling about them.

    Along the lines of tax advantages, I've heard of people starting businesses for the purpose of renting property. I imagine the biggest benefit is removing yourself from personal liability in case of unforeseen events.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fordmanvt View Post
    Along the lines of tax advantages, I've heard of people starting businesses for the purpose of renting property. I imagine the biggest benefit is removing yourself from personal liability in case of unforeseen events.
    Oh, yeah, you will want your rentals to be under an LLC and not your own name. If you aquire a bunch of stuff, tenant sues for some reason, you can lose everything even not related to your rentals...

  24. #24
    Squirrelly Member trsidn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelmama View Post
    Here is an example of the single welfare mothers that I mentioned earlier. What this girl wants is illegal...housing the fiance. If you were to accept it, you are in federal violation of subsidized housing (in America). There will be no protection for you as an owner who takes in an unauthorized tenant.

    Hello Potential Landlords,

    My name is Porsha and I recently received a Los Angeles City housing choice or section 8 voucher. I am looking for a two bed room, I would prefer a house but I am not picky. A bit about me, I am a full time student pursuing a double AA in English Education. I am at school a majority of the time, and when I am not, then I am studying. I have a two year old son, and he is just the cutest, and sweetest baby you would ever want to meet. I am engaged, but my fiancee is not on my voucher, I would like him to live with me; but I can understand if he would not be permitted to. I really need housing before I run out of time and loose my voucher. Whats in it for you? Peace of mind, you would gain peace in knowing that your property is being well maintained and your rent will always be paid on time because the city of Los Angeles will see to that. Please contact me via email at the address on this posting if you would like to know more about me or my situation. Thank you very much for your time Sir or Madam.

    yikes, that looks like it was written by one of those "Nigerian Princes".
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    Yet more proof that I'm.. well, pretty much right about everything.

  25. #25
    Senior Member travelmama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trsidn View Post
    yikes, that looks like it was written by one of those "Nigerian Princes".
    Yes. That is what I thought when I saw the picture of her that was attached to her post.
    Two Wheels One Love

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