October 16

The Repo Man


Twenty some years ago when I took a leap of faith and became a real estate investor, I had no idea all of the different hats I’d have to wear.

In the morning you might be working the phones calling leads. Later in the afternoon, you might have to be a contractor making sure a flip is moving along. And then the next day you are talking a family through the probate process. In this business of real estate, you find yourself with different hats. The longer you are in this business the more hats you seem to wear.

I never thought I’d have to be the repo guy, but when you operate a rental business, that sometimes comes with the territory. And that’s exactly what happened this week. My team saw a side of me most of them hadn’t seen before – Ernie the Repo Man!

I have a list of rules I give all of my tenants and one of them is a strict rule that there are to be no non-operable vehicles on the premises. (It is not only a safety issue but also an insurance violation) Three of my tenants apparently thought they were not rules but mere suggestions. So I gave them all an advanced notice with the day and time their vehicles would be towed away so they could take care of the problem before the tow truck got there.

The deadline came and went and the cars were all still there so in comes the tow truck. It was literally a scene from one of those car repo reality tv shows. As soon as the tow truck pulled in, out they came screaming and yelling.

Now don’t get me wrong. I really don’t like doing this and I do all that I can to avoid these situations and help people keep their possessions. I go out of my way to care for every single tenant, but some people will just abuse your kindness and generosity.

And in this business, you have to know when to be firm.

To have a well-run operation, sometimes you need to be their friend while other times you need to be the repo man.

Figuring how how to be both the good cop and bad cop can be tough. It’s really a juggling act. But when you get it right, you’ll develop a very good relationship with your tenants because they know you care about their well-being. Some of my tenants will even cook their favorite dishes for me every once in a while.

And if having a smooth running machine isn’t motivation enough to get this right, their delicious dishes make me want to be my best!

To your success,
Ernie “Repo Man” Vargas | The Probate Fox


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