Saturday, February 19, 2011

The "duplexity" of my life

Ever since I can ever remember, my husband has always talked about owning rental property someday. I would always push it off as something for the future. Or, rather, something to talk him out of in the future. Well, somehow, that future came up much faster than I thought it would. More specifically, it came up last June. Cory's boss owns several (in the range of 20) rental properties, so Cory started picking his brain about it. Constantly. When a duplex came up for sale in a neighborhood where his boss already owned some properties, he told Cory about it. That's when the future hit the present.

Now, admit it, when you hear the term "landlord" you immediately think "slumlord." Or, at least a pot-bellied, balding, cigar-smoking, jerk of a guy who could care less about his tenants or the fact that they have no heat. Well, maybe it's just me, but that is the image that pops into my head when I hear "landlord." There's no way I wanted to be that guy, or have my husband be that guy. But, shockingly, Cory and I did not have the same ideas about the whole landlord/rental property concept. Cory, if anyone knows him, is all about the money, and only sees it as an investment. I was very nervous about this whole endeavor, but I relented, and we bought our first duplex last June.

Now, this thing was quite a mess. At least, that's what Cory told me. He didn't actually let me see the thing when we first bought it, because he didn't want me to freak out. So, he spent the better part of two months cleaning, painting, laying tile, installing new vanities and fixtures, laying new carpet ... the list goes on and on. Every night, after the girls would go to bed, he would head up to the duplex to work on some other project. And, to be honest, he didn't do all of that himself. But, he's somehow come up with a network of people he knows who can do all this stuff for him. It's rather amazing how many people he knows, really. (On a complete side note, we have been in a random Chile's in Phoenix, while on a trip for a bowl game, when someone waved over to Cory to say hi. And we were hiking in the middle of the Australian Outback when we hear someone come up behind us calling his name. No joke. This guy knows people everywhere.) Anyway, so, he's spending all this time working on the duplex, and I'm not particularly happy about being home alone every night, but the thing is: he loves it. Absolutely loves it. And, when the duplex was rented within 3 days of posting it? Yeah, he was sold. This was the thing for him.

All of that background to tell you that we have once again entered into the world of duplexes. We bought another one last month. He's been spending his time, and that of his network of workers, once again, painting, cleaning, tiling, and carpet-laying. Here's the thing about it: each side of the duplex has more square footage than our own house. And, while Cory's spending all this time and energy (and money) fixing up the duplex, our house has thread-bare carpet, broken tiles, and a toilet that only works every other month. A true example of the old "cobbler's children have no shoes" adage. Well, now, one side is finished. And, ready to be rented. He's quite figuratively the kid on Christmas morning, with eyes shining bright, talking about his newest venture. I can't say that I've been completely converted to the "landlord" mentality, but if it makes him so happy, I can't really fight it. However, if he starts smoking cigars and growing a pot-belly, no doubt about it, I will put my foot down on that landlord hubby of mine. And, now: time to start renovating side two.

The newest duplex.

The bathroom.

The kitchen.

He even put Molly to work "cutting" up carpet. (FYI - it was one of her plastic knives from her play kitchen in case anyone is concerned that we make our children do manual labor with sharp instruments.)

Molly's fabulous paint work.


  1. He does wonderful work.....and what an adventure!!!

  2. The cobbler's kids thing is hilarious. I don't think Cory will get a potbelly and a cigar anytime soon, but I still like pretending you are slumlords...even if the townhouses are nicer than my house!

  3. I only go where the money is, so you won't see me titled "slumlord" any time soon; I prefer something more like "Deluxe Multi-Family Living Establishment Manager". And believe me if I could find a way to profit from a potbelly and cigar, Amy and I would have to discuss her no potbelly rule!