On the road again

This holiday season drug me from my comfortable nest in Arizona out to Ohio to clean and fix rental properties. I have been using all the profit from our small real estate business to pay good people to do all this work, but the costs of business have risen too high. I can no longer afford it. So here we are, my son and I, working ourselves to exhaustion each day and living in a motel. The view from here has been enlightening.

We started noticing it on the road. Motels were mostly empty. Services have been cut back. No mints on the pillows or shampoo in the showers at one place. Continental breakfasts are disappearing at the less expensive joints I like to stay in. Restaurants are not quite as full. Many fast food places are closed down altogether. Ketchup packets are smaller. Burgers are skinnier but more expensive. Its getting tougher out there.

I have also noticed in this old town that everyone seems to have a nice car. The streets are liked with them. these 100 year old homes have no parking in the back--perhaps a deteriorating carriage house for their horse & buggy, but very few homeowners ever built garages. The houses are too close together. the sides are covered with lead paint, and the weather rots the wood underneath. But they have nice cars, compliments of easy financing. But I saw one getting towed off from a home yesterday--probably a repossession.

My latest renters bailed out owing us two month’s rent, having stolen all the appliances and sold them, and adding insult to injury, using the toilet after the water was shut off. 2K for the clean-up and repairs, not to mention the lost rent and appliances.  Whine, whine whine…  sorry--no pic of that toilet for you... just imagine the economy and you'll be close... Pray for my sanity as I scoop it and scrub it later today.

So, we are cutting our losses and selling out. These properties are not precious. Most are deteriorating buildings in a dumpy town where the factories are closing, one by one.  Fortunately, we have one solid property we can sell at a profit and then take our lumps to get the bad properties sold. Since our new well was dry on the prepping property we bought, we are selling it while the market is high. I see it as part of our prepping—getting out of debt! Our only precious property is our lot by the river where we can grow food and get water from a shallow well.

What is precious is my family and friends. And we are turning our attention to be ready for whatever comes. But it requires being out of debt.  If our “inspired” plan works (sell the good, pay off the bad, pay off our home), if this plan works, I will feel completely prepped  with a fairly safe home, PMs, stores of goods, and no debt. It’s a modest plan to be sure—no underground bunkers, only six months of food—but we should survive we well as one can.

At the same time, I have to be realistic and admit that TPTB might possibly keep this charade of an economy going for quite a while longer. We have been saying “any day now” for five years, but here we are. So I am still grading essays and collecting my University paycheck, will still be carefully dabbling in real estate, and still helping friends prep their places. I will not be caught unaware, whether things collapse tomorrow, or where this sick economy continues another 4 years.

We are in the 4th turning. I see it on every street in each of these towns we drive through. We leave to return home tomorrow and hopefully, we can cross the Mississippi, avoid ice storms, and not be caught on the road when the economy implodes, as some luminary predicted would happen by Jan 2 a few days ago. We have cash for gas.

And we have a plan to get out of debt.


silver66's picture

last first of the year

Thanks for the post

Elimination of debt is a wise move, add in food and a growing stack and you are well prepped

I wish all Turdites a very prosperous new year and I hope your stack increases in value as well wink


Orange's picture

Dr J

I feel for you. Sold our rental this year at a loss, but at least I don't have all the hassles. Have a safe trip back.

oldbones youngmind's picture

Safe & Healthy New Year to All

"The main thing is to always keep the main thing the main thing."

NW VIEW's picture

Dr. J

There are many lessons to learn concerning rentals.  I bought my first two for $6000 around 1969.   We have owned fixer-uppers, repaired them and finally came to the educated position of "cheap rentals attract people who have horrible credit, have no income or steady jobs, who will not even keep their units clean, always late with the rent and in some cases we will have to pay them to vacate.  The repairs are continual and costly. "  

We currently have only one mini-farm in Lewis County.  My wife received the property when her parents passed onward.  The place will only rent for $875 per month and the area is one of the poorest in the state.   We just tore off the roof, replaced much of the siding and will need to gut the interior again after the final renter moves on Jan. 15.    We knew that the home was a pit to throw our funds into but the wife has a difficult time because it was her parents home.  The house and 5 acres of river bottom land will only sell for about $225,000 and it costs the same to repair that home in Lewis County as it does in your area.

Motels?    Yes we drove to Georgia this year and stayed in many run down areas, even along Route 66.   One will advance in their choosing of motels if when you go into the lobby and see a certain minority group in ownership, just leave.  Their whole family lives in the motel, nothing is clean, the breakfast is lacking and the rooms are never clean.  Oh what a mess.

Lastly:   We have been building townhouse rentals in the local market.  New units, we are the builder/owners.  We use our own funds and avoid the banks.   The units rent from $1400-$1850 per month/unit.  The dead money that was in a savings account at .25% per year, now yields about 10%/yr.     

Sell everything and build new in your area.   Jim

Fatso's picture

Twitter is down???

behind the curtain?

NW VIEW's picture

The new year is at hand, time to recognize the signs of the time

   Oh only if one could sign like the Seekers!   Here is my song for the new year:

Safety Dan's picture

A Crisis Worse than ISIS?


A Crisis Worse than ISIS? Bank “Bail-Ins” Begin…”Your Life Savings Could be Wiped out in a Massive Derivatives Collapse”.

At the end of November, an Italian pensioner hanged himself after his entire €100,000 savings were confiscated in a bank “rescue” scheme. He left a suicide note blaming the bank, where he had been a customer for 50 years and had invested in bank-issued bonds. But he might better have blamed the EU and the G20’s Financial Stability Board, which have imposed an “Orderly Resolution” regime that keeps insolvent banks afloat by confiscating the savings of investors and depositors. Some 130,000 shareholders and junior bond holders suffered losses in the “rescue.”

The pensioner’s bank was one of four small regional banks that had been put under special administration over the past two years. The €3.6 billion ($3.83 billion) rescue plan launched by the Italian government uses a newly-formed National Resolution Fund, which is fed by the country’s healthy banks. But before the fund can be tapped, losses must be imposed on investors; and in January, EU rules will require that they also be imposed on depositors. According to a December 10th article on BBC.com:

The rescue was a “bail-in” – meaning bondholders suffered losses – unlike the hugely unpopular bank bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis, which cost ordinary EU taxpayers tens of billions of euros.

Correspondents say [Italian Prime Minister] Renzi acted quickly because in January, the EU is tightening the rules on bank rescues – they will force losses on depositors holding more than €100,000, as well as bank shareholders and bondholders.

. . . [L]etting the four banks fail under those new EU rules next year would have meant “sacrificing the money of one million savers and the jobs of nearly 6,000 people”.

That is what is predicted for 2016: massive sacrifice of savings and jobs to prop up a “systemically risky” global banking scheme.

Bail-in Under Dodd-Frank 


Doople's picture

Rental Property

I have invested in rentals and commercial real estate for 40 years and am in the process of acquiring four properties to close in January. What I have learned is to only buy the best properties in the best locations. Many years ago in San Francisco I started acquiring fix up properties in the Haight Ashbury. 40 years ago it was rough. The Summer of Love was gone and heroin was the drug being sold on the corners. I worked my ass of with difficult tenants, threats etc. I did well but if I had simply bought nice property in Pacific Heights I would have been far better off.

Katie Rose's picture

Birthdy Girl I Be

Today is my 67 th Birthday. I don't believe I ever thought I would get this old when I was a child. I planned carefully for retirement, then met seven years of Lyme Disease that wiped all my savings out. So I am like every other poor retiree.

My Hubby and I also want to get out of debt. We found these domes online that we can build ourselves. When the Real Estate Market was booming I headed an affordable housing committee. Our area had "been discovered" and local children wanting to remain on our wonderful island could no longer afford to do so. I/we searched every option available and nothing like this was available at the time. In Japan they are elongating the domes so that there is more of a possibility of having a shape similar to what we are used to.

I believe these also would make good rentals, as in studios. I was counseled by a wise real estate investor years ago to only purchase/build studio apartments for rentals. He said that there would be no boyfriends's fists through the walls, no crayon marks on the walls, etc. He told me nice studios are always wanted as single working folks do not want to be homeless.  They pay their bills on time.

Here are the links:


I'm off to put the goats outside. We have had lots of snow and it is cold. They are eating a lot of alfalfa. And unlike my neighbors, I believe in feeding my livestock. That could be a whole new post on how Hobby Farmers seem to think that animals can go thru the winter without feed or shelter. It really ticks me off to see so many animals suffering because their "owners" are too cheap to buy them feed in the summer. Not the time for a rant...

Happy New Year everyone!!!

SS121's picture

u gotta know what time it is

there was a time to take a position in tulips, that time has passed

an imbecile who got into tulips at the right time did very well.  a genius tulip grower who got into tulips after the time had passed was dead.

.com stocks,  oil, real estate, beanie babies, etc etc..., they all had their time. ... .

you can't go back.

right now is the time to position in physical Silver.  you will not receive validating applause from the masses, you will not be accepted by "investors" in the system.  99% of your friends and family aren't going to "golly gee thanks" and follow your example.  Nevertheless, now is the time to move 100% into physical Silver. 

All the other great ideas and sound "investments" were right, ...then. But now is not then.wink

Marchas45's picture

Dr J

I feel for you my friend. I will never ever own a rental again Never, did I say NEVER AGAIN. Lol All I had was problems because people just don't care.

My area is actually going through a little growth right now which I'll take and hopefully make a little extra fiat in the process.

As for Prepping I have at least a years supply of food for my wife and I and a few stockpiles of useful items that will come in very handy  when everything starts falling apart. I believe I'm well prepared.

Don't work to hard and have a safe journey back home. Happy Hogmanay and Keep Stacking

AIJ's picture


How's the white board coming on the Free Silver Process? 

Looking forward to 2016. 

AIJ's picture

S & P

It was nice knowing yaaaa.........

SS121's picture


Good! yes

AIJ's picture


Thanks. I hat tip you sir. 

Having a few Cadillac Margaritas early so feeling mellow..........and looking forward to a prosperous and better PM market

next year. 

Here is to all of us in the TFMR community.  God Bless. 

benque's picture

Funny I haven't seen

old Colnel Custer, or whatever his name is in any of the presidential candidate debates.  Now what was his name?  Remember him?  Always posting pictures of himself in archaic US Army uniform?  Had a "kill the fed" or "kill the crimex" manifesto, just needing someone to put up the dough.

Not mocking him, just thought if he was serious, and having any kind of success, we might have heard something in the news about him by now.  I'd vote for him if I could, as a strategic vote....or something.

Island Teal's picture

Dr J

Happy New Years to you.

Good write up.

Always enjoy your posts.

Just sold my last 4 plex in October = It was a good feeling to be out.

Everyone enjoy some Steve Wilson aka Porcupine Tree

heyJoe's picture

Happy New Year Doc!

I really enjoy your writing because I can relate to your frustrations.

A little background about me and where I hope to go in 2016.  Sold my financial planning practice in 2012.  Was drinking the industry kool aid until the crash of 2008.  That crash triggered my epiphany.  Tried to reinvent myself to survive in the industry but nothing worked.  Finally saw Ann Barnhardt article about why she was closing shop and leaving the industry and I realized it was time for me to leave.

For 2013 and 2014, I read, watched video, visited websites, followed the 'experts' to absorb all the doom porn I had time for.  I also prepped.  I was convinced the global reset would happen soon.  By the end of 2014, many predictions of financial Armageddon did not occur.

On 1/1/15, I put a note in my calendar for 12/30/15,  'Did the SHTF in 2015?'  Well here we are and I'm still waiting.  What have I learned?  Frankly, no one has a f*cking clue when any of this financial absurdity is going to end.

For 2016, I am done with the doom porn.  For financial news, I have 5 websites to get daily news, including TFM.  I will continue to move forward with my eyes wide open.  Nothing surprises me anymore.  I continue to prep but I now realize 90% of the population has NO clue what's coming. I don't have to be the best prepared, I just have to stay ahead of the sheep. I am a big fan of the old joke, 'if your hiking in the woods with a group of people and suddenly you are being chased by a grizzly bear, you don't have to outrun the bear, just the people you are with.'  I'm freaky fast!

Happy New Year Craig and all the fine folks at TFM!

cyclemadman's picture


I'm glad we have had this time to learn and prepare before our lives depended on it.

We have learned a lot about what grows and what doesn't in our climate and soil type.

Pressure canning is an art. Quite a few mistakes were made learning the subtleties. Most importantly, let the canner cool down almost to room temp before opening.

Just today I was throwing away unusable food we stockpiled in the heat of the moment, when we thought collapse was immanent. Heck, it could still happen tomorrow.

We have been blessed to have time to formulate a plan and think of what ifs. I pray that many of the what ifs we've been thinking of never happen but we've had plenty of time to wrap our minds around them.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

SE's picture

Counter bet

by putting my new tiny house on my biggest credit card this past Monday.  Something tells me this is going to drag on past my death, so I might as well  live my life as well as I can.

4 oz's picture

And then 2016 began......

And then 2016 began......

Libertarian Party of Washington State's photo.

Dyna mo hum's picture


"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading."

In a gunfight, the most important rule is ....HAVE A GUN!!!

These are shooting tips from various Concealed Carry Instructors. If you own a gun, you will appreciate these rules... If not, you should get one, learn how to use it and learn the rules.


A: Guns have only two enemies: rust and politicians.

B: Its always better to be judged by 12 than carried out by 6.

C: Cops carry guns to protect themselves, not you.

D: Never let someone or something that threatens you get inside arm's length.

E: Never say "I've got a gun." If you need to use deadly force, the first sound they should hear is the safety clicking off or the hammer cocking.

F: The average response time of a 911 call is 23 minutes; the response time of a .357 is 1400 feet per second.

G: The most important rule in a gunfight is:  Always Win - there is no such thing as a fair fight.  Always Win - cheat if necessary.  Always Win - 2nd place doesn't count

H: Make your attacker advance through a wall of bullets ....  You may get killed with your own gun, but they'll have to beat you to death with it because it will be empty .

I: If you're in a gun fight:  (a) If you're not shooting, you should be loading.  (b) If you're not loading, you should be moving.  (c) If you're not moving, you're dead.

J: In a life and death situation, do something .... It may be wrong, but do something!

K: If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. Nonsense!  If you have a gun, what do you have to be paranoid about?

L: You can say "stop" or any other word, but a large bore muzzle  pointed at someone's head is pretty much a universal language; you won't have to press 1 for Spanish/Mexican or 2 for Chinese or 3 for Arabic.

M: Never leave an enemy behind. If you have to shoot, shoot to kill.  In court, yours will be the only testimony.

N: You cannot save the planet, but you may be able to save yourself and your family.

zerocd's picture



That road sign is on Rt 95 just a minute from my house here in Delaware (the state, not Ohio)

Happy New Year! 

BTW, I have run a small business for over 40 years and have many long term customers.

I know when times are tough here by who's able to pay their bills.

I can say for sure that the restaurant business is in big trouble.


Dr Jerome's picture

Caught me!

I nabbed that pic off the internet because it was easier than getting out on the interstate and taking one.

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