Landloards: How to Profit Help the Needy by Renting to Section 8 Tenants

I am about to invest in an out of state property which is going to serve section 8 tenants. I found this article very helpful.

It can make a lot of sense for a landlord to rent to tenants who qualify for Section 8, or government subsidized, housing. In California, the Section 8 program is sponsored by county governments and subsidizes the rent payments for citizens unable to afford the entire amount of a market rate rental. The idea is that over time the tenants in the Section 8 program will become self-sufficient and essentially won’t need government assistance.

Subsidized housing in general has a certain negative stigma associated with it. There is this notion that subsidized tenants are worse tenants because they will “trash the place” or “won’t pay rent.” In my experience renting to hundreds of Section 8 tenants, I have encountered a very high quality of person and renter. In fact, focusing leasing efforts on subsidized renters was one of the biggest things that made my single-family business successful.

Section 8 can be a little tricky because different counties can have different rules. There has also been an increase in bureaucracy in the program, which is obviously a deterrent for landlords. On the whole, though, I still really believe in the Section 8 program.

Related: Rent to Section 8 or No?

Here are the six best reasons to give subsidized tenants a chance at your next rental.

6 Reasons for Landlords to Rent to Section 8 Tenants

1. Higher Rents and Built in Increases

Section 8 tenants pay a fixed percentage of their income, and the government or Section 8 program pays the difference. When I was trying to raise rents on a number of homes in my portfolio by increasing asking rental rates, I found that there were a lot of Section 8 tenants applying to the homes that were on the higher side of market rate. This actually makes a lot of sense because whether the Section 8 tenant rents a home that is $1,000 or $10,000, their portion of rent actually stays the same.

For example, if a Section 8 tenant makes $2,000 per month, they will only pay about 40% of that as their portion, so about $800 in this case. If this person rents a house that costs $1,000, then the government will pay $200, and if they rent a house that costs $10,000, the government with pay $9,200. The tenant pays $800 in both scenarios.

There are obviously limits to how much the government can pay, and there is also some diligence to make sure that the rental rate is around market, but as long as it’s close, there usually isn’t an issue. In some cases, I have been able to get about $100 over the nearest market rate comp.

Many Section 8 programs also have built in rent increases that the landlord can apply for on an annual basis. The tenant is indifferent because they only pay the fixed monthly rate. Again, the rent increases need to be around market, but any increase is a good thing for an owner.

2. Tenants Will Stay Longer

The key here is to make sure the homes you are leasing out are in really good condition and that you are a really good landlord. If something is broken, then fix it! I’m not saying that you should put in gold plated countertops, but it is important to make the home nice and a really good place to live. If you do this, then it is likely that the tenants will stay longer.

My Section 8 tenants stayed over three years on average. One of the main reasons is that I was a good landlord, but it was also due to the fact that it takes a while to make enough money to get off of the Section 8 voucher. This is by no means a knock on the tenants – they were great people; they just didn’t make a lot of money and couldn’t afford a place that was better.

The other reality is that there aren’t going to be many better places if you take care of your property and are a good landlord. There are loads of Americans who will be renters for life, and if you are a good landlord, this will end up benefitting you.

The real thrust of this point is that you make more money as a landlord if you can keep your tenants in place. Vacancy and turnover costs are killer. Section 8 tenants are more likely to stay long term, and remember that you also get a higher rental rate.

3. County-Guaranteed Rent

This is obviously a safe net. Many Section 8 tenants have lower credit than an ideal tenant. However, if the tenant loses their job or comes up short on a payment, then the county, or in some cases the city, will step in and pay you the entire amount owed.

Related: Section 8 Success Story

I was somewhat shocked when I found this out. I was renting homes in lower end cities that were partially guaranteed by other cities in the same county with ten million dollar homes. While you never want a tenant to be unable to pay, it helps reduce risk if you know you have a wealthy guarantor (particularly in the form of the government).

4. Lower Maintenance

I have heard people say that “Section 8 tenants destroy the place!” In my experience of renting to hundreds of Section 8 tenants, they are actually less likely to destroy your home, and they also require less maintenance! The reason is that most of my requests for maintenance happen within the first month of a tenant moving in.

This makes sense because we have just done repairs, and the house hasn’t been lived in for a while. As a landlord you expect this for the first month, and usually the maintenance issues iron out over time. Since Section 8 tenants stay longer in a home, the average maintenance costs end up going way down.

The other part of this is that many Section 8 tenants realize that they will never own their own home. I won’t get into the social issues of this point; it is just a financial reality. Because of this, many Section 8 tenants end up taking “ownership” of the home they rent… once they are there for a while. This is a key point because it is important as a landlord to make the home nice and fix the things that go wrong so tenants want to stay.

I’m not making a social comment, but purely a business one. If you do your job as a landlord, then the maintenance will be lower with Section 8 tenants as compared to regular tenants.

5. Tenant Accountability and Extra Screening

It is really hard to get a Section 8 voucher in many communities. There is far more demand than there is supply of vouchers and homes willing to take Section 8. This creates an environment of accountability for the tenants once they get into a good home – they will do everything they can to keep it. Again, it goes back to the point that it is important as a landlord to be a good owner.

Along with accountability, Section 8 tenants go through extra screening in order to get their voucher. Due to the high demand to get a Section 8 voucher, the program can be selective with its criteria. Some municipalities will do background checks and that type of thing. You should be doing your own screening of Section 8 tenants, but it is always nice to know that they have been screened by the government already.

6. You’re Helping People and Making Money at the Same Time

I’m in real estate to make money. I have to be because it’s my business. However, I also feel a responsibility to give back to society and the communities where I do business. If you read most of my blog posts, you will know that I’m usually against most things government.

The Section 8 program really is a good thing, though. One of the most fundamental needs of humans is to have a safe place to live, and this is particularly true of children. It is the responsibility of the community, which includes businesses, to take care of those who are less fortunate. The selfish reality is that giving back is also good for business. The biggest bang for your buck in terms of giving back is to provide a great home for a family who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

Embrace the Section 8 program, and programs like it. It will be good for your wallet, and your soul.

Landlords, weigh in: What do you think of renting to Section 8 tenants? What has your experience been with this?

骑驴找马de程序员,跳槽总结

随着前天晚上签了G的offer,为其四个月的骑驴找马生活结束了。板上已经有若干大牛总结过经验教训吗,介绍了如何复习。兄弟我补充一些吧,希望对还在找工作的朋友有用。

先说背景:
——————————————————–
CS phd+1年工作经验,东部工作,backend的干活。今年的目标是FLGT或者热门的startup。找人refer加上自己投,大概12个公司,除了F没理我,其他都拿到面试了。电面fail了2个,拿了6个onsite实际去了5个,剩下还有4个公司进了二面,不过拿了3个offer后我都cancel不搞了。5个onsite包括Rocket Fuel, Yahoo, G, L和T。T的onsite完全是个joke,早知道就不去浪费一天时间了。正儿八经搞的4个onsite拿了3个offer,L家fail了。我曾报过RF和Yahoo的offer。之后两家互相竞价,把package给抬起来了,以至于G给我offer的时候直接beat这两家,所以比standard package高一些。

说说如何准备:
——————————————————–
大牛们总结了很多了,我就不多废话了。其实就像高考和考研,大家伙儿知道的资料差别不大,关键看你咋用。题不在多,贵在熟。800题不是对所有人都适用,而且我不相信短短几个月能做完800题还能都记得住。我就是把leetcode上的oj题和post题全做了两三遍,然后每次onsite前把自己写的那些code和笔记看一遍。当你把最基本的这200多道题搞的非常熟了,碰到做过的题都能几分钟写完。即便遇到新的题思路也会非常快,正所谓万变不离其宗。试想一下,平时做过的题,但是面试碰到了没写的很好,岂不是很亏么。此外还有一些辅助资料,比如那几篇big data相关的paper,之前有人总结的别人的blog,看那些东西不需要太多时间,但是非常重要。另外就是面经,特别是你要去面的公司的面经,把题都做会。

Timing:
——————————————————–
Timing主要是指如何安排你的面试。我是一口气都投了,然后看如果有回应,再考虑安排在哪天。我先安排了几个不是最重要的,作为热身,以赛带练,同时边赛边查漏补缺。我最初没太在意concurrency programming这块儿,后来在一个电面被问到了,我才开始花大力气补。毕竟我投的都是backend,一定会被问到的。补漏之后确实在Yahoo onsite时候被问了很多。

在几个热身赛之后,安排最重要的,集中在一起。因为面到那个阶段通常状态已经出来了,而且补漏也搞的差不多了,小宇宙该爆发了。最重要的公司如果分散面,好状态难以持续太久。我面到L onsite时候已经比较厌倦了,面到最后T的时候就更不用说了。

剩下几个公司,安排在最重要的这些公司之后,作为backup。如果前面倒霉全歇菜,那还有得搞;如果前面已经成了,后面cancel掉就是了。

心态:
——————————————————–
心态很重要,很大一部分要靠你如何安排面试。一上来就搞GF歇菜的可能大,打击信心。L和T是我第四和第五个onsite,前面三个RF、Yahoo和G都拿了offer,加上战线拖的太长,导致心态疲惫,也难以全力以赴。在前三个onsite,遇到难题我都全力以赴。当面到L时,有个难题我都难得搞了,心想反正爷手握三个offer。其实这样的心态不好,各位朋友引以为戒。

如果你的target是bar高钱多不容易进的公司,那么还是认真准备吧,不要寄托在运气上面。从2轮电面到6轮onsite,每轮运气都好的概率很小,特别对于我这样运气一贯差的人而言。

Communication:
——————————————————–
码工虽说不需要英语说的跟native speaker一样,但是交流还是重要。可以事先找个码工朋友mock一下,看有啥问题。面试时候保持talk,看着对方,面带微笑,如果对方easy going,也可以small talk一下啥的,缓和一下气氛。对比去年找工作,今年在交流上从容很多,这得益于工作这一年跟人交流多于在学校时候。

知彼还得知己:
——————————————————–
高考的当天你都干啥了?还在做题?基本不会。那么长时间的准备如果都没ready,能指望考试当天Don Knuth附体?考试当天应该干的事情是relax和调整状态。如果你需要飞去onsite,那么考虑好别到太晚。尽量下午4、5点到,check in hotel后可以出去吃个晚饭开车转悠一圈,然后洗澡睡觉。onsite当天起来吃好早饭,坐在屋子里面调整一下心情,给自己一点儿鼓励,然后从容上阵。

比如onsite时候的体力分配。一上来就high,通常难以high到结尾。小宇宙要持续爆发。L家的onsite是今年遇到最累的,10点到5点,吃饭只有半小时,最后差点挺不住。

另外还有一些细节。比如像我,每天上班的习惯是上午一小杯咖啡,下午再一小杯。有时候我发现这样会让我过早大脑活跃,下午3点后就没电了。所以我onsite时候上午不喝咖啡,只喝水或者energy water,下午喝一杯咖啡。只有在L家,onsite太他娘长了,下午喝了两杯咖啡。面试早饭吃清淡点,午饭吃管饱又不油腻的东西。吃油腻东西会导致你大脑运转慢,吃太饱也是一样。

先想到这些。technical的东西前人总结了很多了,这儿兄弟我主要是介绍了一些非technical的方面。如果大牛看了觉得“就你这三破offer还敢在这儿发帖得瑟”,还请海涵。如果能对板上混的朋友有一丝半点帮助,也就值得了。

Funny Headlines of 2015 

回顾新闻界又一年陪伴我们快乐生活的点点滴滴:
1、女子为吓男友报警称其是逃犯,警方调查后发现真的是逃犯。
2、女子考驾照13年未通过,驾校全额退款并请其吃饭。
3、小偷入室盗窃,因怕有脚步声,脱下鞋子,脚太臭熏醒屋主。
4、三人花20万人民币造出17万假币。
5、学医女票发现男友出轨连捅32刀刀刀避开要害。……
6、在曹操墓发现一具小孩尸骨,砖家说是小时候的曹操。
7、一男子去宾馆开房,花八百叫了两个小姐,结果三人斗了一晚上地主,该男子倒赢两千多!!!
8、乌克兰提议取消俄罗斯的一票否决权被俄罗斯一票否决。
9、美国一青年举枪自杀,被其母亲发现后报警,警察为防止该青年自杀,将其击毙。
10、英国马拉松仅一人完成比赛,第二名带着五千人跑错路。
11、浙江夫妻幻想中奖500万,因分配不均大打出手。
12、一张姓男子偷窃仓库价值5万饮料,连夜将瓶中饮料倒掉,将空水瓶卖了200多块钱。
13、女友错将风油精当成润滑油,小王新婚之夜竟在北京市第三人民医院度过。
14、一个女孩被诊断为艾滋病,然后为了报复社会她成天约pao,约了一年,然后医生告诉她说是误诊的。
15、教师猥亵女学生一审获刑1年不服上诉 二审获刑12年。