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The top of this page displays a Dashboard Summary of all of my key performance metrics.  Scroll down for a detailed month-by-month account.


september 2019 update (+$5,684)

Another near-record high month due to a few anomalies. Some “free” cash flow is starting to show up from my 3 unit (I’m starting to get deposits but haven’t made a mortgage payment yet), so that helps to bump up the numbers. I got a full security deposit back, which was nice. In negative news, one of my properties instantly became a liability this month, but I’m remaining calm.

august 2019 update (+$2,020)

Another solid month while riding through a vacancy. September is looking good, plus I’ll be adding my 3 unit to the mix(!) in October.

july 2019 update (+$2,643)

This is what I like to see! Sustaining a vacancy and multiple repairs and still maintaining a healthy portfolio cash flow is what I always wanted to shoot for! An increase in unit count helps immensely - this is the definition of diversity in real estate. More units not only increases my AVERAGE cash flow but also decreases cash flow VOLATILITY. This doesn’t mean crazy stuff doesn’t happen, but the overall impact to the portfolio is dampened.

june 2019 update (+$3,606)

Great month! I’ve hit the $20K benchmark which is already more than I’ve made in any other year…and it’s only halfway through the year!

Here’s some interesting stats: $13,188 (65%) of my cash flow in 2019 came from the 4 BRRRR’s (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) that I completed in 2018. These properties account for only 44% of my properties (4/9 currently) and only 15% of my cash invested ($32,216/$215,182)! That’s what I call efficiency, and I love it. BRRRR’s work, folks!

May 2019 update (+$900)

An overall ho-hum cash flow result, but when you dig into the numbers and details there’s a lot of positives. I’m still cash flow positive despite a $2,500 capital expenditure. I had multiple tenants extend their leases another 12 months which avoids a TON of vacancy and associated expenses. Also, some of the upcoming expenses I was expecting either won’t be as bad or won’t be happening at all.

april 2019 update (+$6,016)

Aaaaand ANOTHER monthly cash flow record! A lot went well this month as I had a tenant catch up, rent increases went into effect, and even experienced a favorable PM accounting error.

A lot of the cash flow perceived success in 2019 is simply due to delayed cash flow that was due at the end of 2018 but wasn’t paid on time. So, this made 2018 look artificially bad and is making 2019 look artificially good.

Also, WINTER IS COMING. As I outlined in a blog post about cash flow, we KNOW that Cap Ex is going to happen. I have three or four projects/issues that need to be addressed in the next month or two which will total thousands of dollars. The extra cash flow from the first part of 2019 will help to pay for the Cap Ex later in the year and bring the actual cash flow closer to projections.

Bottom line is, this is a long term game so it’s not worth getting overly excited over short term fluctuations - whether they are insanely high like this month or depressingly low like some months I’ve had in the past (see October 2018).

march 2019 update (+$3,901)

Another great month despite an economic vacancy in the Bat Cave. It’s been a monster first quarter of 2019 as the BRRRR’s from last year are really starting to take off, plus the tenant in Lightning #1 is catching up from payments that were missed in the end of 2018. My PA property manager has been doing a great job the last 6 months; really proactively getting better tenants, following up on late paying tenants, and taking care of repairs in a cost effective manner.

february 2019 update (+$2,214)

Another great month, all things considered! Zero vacancy but I did experience some maintenance costs in several properties. I will be expecting a few vacancies in Central PA properties over the next few months which I will monitor very closely with my property manager.

january 2019 update (+$3,693)

Great start to 2019! Minimal issues plus a tenant is getting caught up on late rent which inflates the number a bit for this month.

I’ve updated my projections for each property and the portfolio - this is outlined in my recent blog post.

December 2018 update (+$4,594)

What a great end to an up and down year! This is a record cash flow month for me and is a great indicator for what it looks like when there are minimal issues and zero vacancies.

I also added my 9th property to the mix - The Unicorn.

The unfortunate story of 2018 will be CapEx in Indy Hipster House, major repairs in Indy Rancher #1, and multiple vacancies and evictions, most notably in Lightning #2. This is real life baby.

november 2018 update (+$1,265)

A mediocre month but I’m definitely happy to be back in the green overall after last month.

Next month I’ll have recovered from the vacancy in Lightning #2 and I’ll also be adding another property to the mix (Name TBD). It should be a solid last month of the year!

october 2018 update (-$4,937)

Bad month due to my first CapEx event at the Indy Hipster House. The deck collapsed and it cost me about $6K to replace it. This reinforces a very important lesson: either add value through rehab and make the property like-new (BRRRR), or buy it like-new after rehab (turnkey). As you know my preferred method has been BRRRR lately as you essentially can get the bank to pay for the rehab.

I have a few properties that are cruising along nicely, and I still am having tenant issues with the recent acquisitions. It really does seem like all of my properties have needed a 6-9 month ramp up period before they really start cash flowing.

September 2018 update (+$1,562)

Average performance this month as I’m still waiting on the recent acquisitions to really get off the ground. If they don’t, I might need to re-name them “Huge Dud #1” and “Huge Dud #2”.

I added another property to the portfolio - The Bat Cave! Expected cash flow through the rest of the year has been adjusted accordingly. You may notice that I’ve quietly hit a milestone: the portfolio value has crossed over the $1M threshold.

august 2018 update (+$1,437)

As expected, I saw a bounce back month in August.  I'm hoping to fill the vacancy in Lightning #2 soon, fix some lingering repair issues in Central PA 4 plex, and have a strong last few months of the year.

july 2018 update (-$2,109)

Worst month in quite a while, and I've discovered the portfolio still isn't strong enough to ride through some issues without a negative cash flow month.  It's times like these where it helps to step back and look at the big picture and see that the losses are short term and temporary (this is one of the reasons for Real Life Rentals).  Most of the issues will be resolved in the next month or two.

June 2018 update (+$3,074)

I'm happy to say that the portfolio is now beating expectations for YTD cash flow.  There might be a little turbulence next month (stay tuned!) but I think I've got enough units in the portfolio now to ride through it.

I've updated the portfolio tracking to include Lightning #2, along with the expected cash flow numbers.  We are up to around $1,700/month in expected cash flow.

This month we celebrated our 3 year anniversary of owning Central PA 4 Plex (and being real estate investors).  It's been quite a ride, and the best is yet to come!

may 2018 update (+$2,168)

Another great month despite a few minor issues.  I've updated the tracking to include returns from Lightning #1.  Also note that the "Expected Cash Flow" has increased as well to account for the added property.  Year-to-date numbers are right on target, and we'll see if they can be sustained.

april 2018 update (+$2,604)

What a great month - all existing properties are humming along, and the two new BRRRR's are starting to throw off some cash flow as well.  I will be adding individual tracking for the BRRRR's once the first mortgage payments kick in.

march 2018 update (-$1,411)

Had to pay for turnover repairs, lease up fees, and major basement repairs being done this month.  I'm excited for next month as I'll have my 2 Central PA BRRRR's to add to the mix.

february 2018 update (+$1,636)

Good month, all things considered! Some properties had some bumps but the other properties carried me through to some nice cash flow at the end of the month.

I've got some turnover and maintenance expenses hitting in March...could be an ugly month...but by April I'll have my next 2 BRRRR's (Buy-Rehab-Rent-Refinance-Repeat) to add to the portfolio and we should be poised to take off from there!

january 2018 update (-$600)

A ho-hum start to 2018 with multiple expenses hitting at once.  Looks like another vacancy coming up in Indy Rancher #2 but hopefully it gets filled quickly.

December 2017 update (+$2,834)

Finally had a good month to finish off the year on a good note.  Massive lessons learned this year on many fronts, and there was some significant adversity to work through, but the worst is finally behind us! The current portfolio is positioned well and I am now working on TWO local BRRRR's to add to the mix in the next 2-3 months!

November 2017 update (-$1,315)

Another month of negative cash flow - 3rd in a row.  The Central PA townhouse vacancy was finally filled and all indicators are that next month we'll be back to positive cash flow.  I just acquired another BRRRR locally and looking bring that one "online" (rent ready) in February or March.

October 2017 Update (-$2,070)

Another down month due to the continued vacancy in the Central PA townhouse, turnover expenses in the Central PA 4 plex, and repairs in Indy.  It is just impossible to cash flow with a sustained vacancy in a small portfolio like mine.  The good news is there's a light at the end of the tunnel - the vacancy is getting filled and the repairs are mostly taken care of at this point.

september 2017 update (-$1,965)

Painful month due to a continued vacancy in my Central PA townhouse as well as a major turnover bill that hit at the start of the month.  I really need to get this thing filled as soon as possible.  Lots of lessons learned on that property.

august 2017 update (+$1,994)

Little bit of a rebound this month, but the portfolio is still going through some churn.  Next month could be break-even or negative.  My Central PA townhouse was STILL vacant, and I have some turnover expenses that will hit in September.  On a somewhat related note, I did fire a property manager for the first time! (I will do a post about how and why.) My other properties carried me through this vacancy in August - brought a 6th property (9th unit) into commission, and finally getting some late payers onto a payment plan to get them caught up.  This is the paradox of buy and hold - the more units you have, the LESS risk there is to your cash flow.

July 2017 Update (-$703)

Bad month...this is what cash reserves are for! I had to pay for utilities on my 4-plex, have a few late paying tenants, and have a vacancy in my Central PA townhouse (killer).  Next month will be much better as the late payments and late fees come in, and I've also got my 6th property complete with rehab and a tenant in place which will add to the cash flow.  This is the first negative cash flow month in almost a year, but the bottom line is I didn't lose any sleep about it because I keep at least $10K in cash reserves at all times.

June 2017 Update (+$4,082)

First official monthly update - cash flow looks great this month, but it's really an anomaly.  I had tenants pay late on 3 properties in May, which moved that cash flow, plus late fees, from May to June (I get my disbursements from most property managers on the 15th of the month).  It's rare to have late payments on 3 properties at once, but I'm fine with it as long as I eventually get the rent paid.  I also added a 5th cash flowing property to the mix (hoping to add a 6th next month), which helped to bolster the number this month as well.  Even though it's not sustainable with my current portfolio size, I'm happy with over $4K in passive income this month!

February 2017 - May 2017

It looks like a downward trend, but I promise it's not.  Something happened each month - vacancy/turnover costs, tenant placement fees, minor maintenance, and late rent payments.  This is all part of the game!

September 2016 - January 2017

Beginning in September, I now had four cash flowing properties and the flood was all cleaned up.  I enjoyed several months of no vacancies, low maintenance, and on-time rent payments.

July - August 2016

Disaster struck in the form of a basement flood in my first Indy Rancher.  The total repair bill was over $5K, and I paid it mostly between July and August.  This one-time event is the main reason why my total cash flow is below expectations.

May - June 2016

My first (and only) sustained vacancy in my Central PA townhouse.  I still only had two properties at this point, so this one hurt, as you can see from the dip in cash flow.

january 2016

At the start of this chart, I had just two properties - Central PA 4-plex and Central PA townhouse.