Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Wisteria Building

In 1993, after having been in bakery business for 18 years, I dived headlong into the purchase of the commercial building where my bakery, “Favourites” was located. It was a no brainer, really. The building was for sale, my bakery was the flagship tenant, and took up almost all of the leasable space in the building at that time. Plus, I was anxious to embark on another kind of work since I felt that my baking career was nearing completion. As I have said to others along the way, 20 years in the bakery business is quite enough.

Finding the money to make such a purchase, though, was a bit more problematic than the decision to buy. But eventually, I was able to convince the building owners to allow me to buy it for zero down, which in a nutshell, is a perfect metaphor for the old adage, “ it never hurts to ask ”. One month, I was still a tenant, the next, the building’s owner, no down payment required. I will always be grateful to Jack and Diane Baker for their kindness and generosity as they turned the keys (and responsibility) of the building over to me.

I went to work right away, improving the building such that it would accomodate more tenants, and, over the last 14 years, I have spent many, many thousands of dollars, and many, many hours of plotting and planning and waiting for plans examiners to call my name. But I have loved it. Turning this old building, which was originally built in the 1920s, into a living, breathing commercial property has been rewarding. We will soon open for lease a fourth retail store on the property.

Last week, I signed a lease with Francisco Diaz, who will operate his fifth Cha! Cha! Cha! Mexican Taqueria in my former bakery space in “The Wisteria Building” a name I conjured up cuz, well, I planted 4 purple wisteria in 1993, around the building, and now, they look like they have been here forever. Francisco makes killer burritios, and other usual and not so usual Mex dishes. If you are in Portland, we are at 4727 NE Fremont, also known as Beaumont Village. Stop by for a Margarita!

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Anonymous said...

Tips for Being a Successful Landlord

In today’s apartment rental market there are several things that are “must do’s” for becoming a successful landlord. The reason you’re playing the real estate rental game is to have the check in your mailbox on the first of the month, right? Here are a few tips that can help you to achieve this with as little aggravation and frustration possible.

First and foremost is finding the right tenant to rent your apartment, house or other rental. This is the most important ingredient in the recipe. Checking the prospective tenant’s credit history to make sure they are paying their bills is one of the best ways you can screen. A tenant that pays their bills on time most likely will send you their rent on time. Establish a clear system on collecting rent, handling complaints from the tenant and how you will contact them if you need to gain access to the apartment.

Secondly, get all the important terms of the tenancy in writing. You have the option to have a basic rental agreement or draw up a formal lease. Whichever you decide, the important thing is to document the terms that you and the tenant agreed to. Clarify who is paying the utilities, the rental price and any other agreements made between you and your tenant.

It’s a good idea to stay on top of the repair and maintenance needs of your property. When you are notified of something that is broken or not working, repair it as soon as possible to prevent further damages. You may also lawfully enable the tenant to withhold rent, sue for injuries caused by defective conditions or move out without notice.

On a similar topic make sure you are carrying enough property and liability insurance to cover yourself in any situation. A well designed insurance program can protect your rental property from losses caused by everything from fire and storms to burglary, vandalism, and personal injury lawsuits.

I hope that this has been helpful to you. Just remember, as long as you follow these simple tips you will be on your way to a happy and fulfilling landlord future. Best of luck!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Goldstein, associated with which Conveniently Connects All People with All Spaces in All Places, has been dedicated to the real estate rental market for over 8 years. He has assisted over 25,000 landlords with their renting needs. Any questions about renting apartments, houses or other rentals feel free to visit or email him at

Dave Galahad said...

Rick....Good luck in your new quest. You've got a great blog.

carli said...

It sounds nice to own your own building and have the pride of putting so much work into it. . . and the Airstream trailer is awesome. I want one.