In Money

You can’t afford that house if you need to find a paying tenant

Pretty self-explanatory no?

I don’t know what keeps me interested in watching HGTV when people on there are so clearly clueless at times about what they’re doing with their money in terms of spending it on a house that they can’t afford.

Maybe it’s the same sick “can’t-look-away-even-though-I-want-to” fascination I have with watching shows about debt, really cheapskates, or people hoarding and couponing for crap they don’t want or need to an inch of their lives.

Or maybe I just like seeing the end result of everything looking pretty, after keeling over from shock at the cost / prices / shoddy DIY crap you find in homes.

This morning when the baby woke me up at 5 a.m. just from hormones (I am running on a temperature akin to an oven these days), to kicking me in places I shouldn’t be able to be kicked internally, I finally gave up after an hour and a half of fighting this awakened state, and went downstairs to watch TV at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday until everyone else woke up.


I was watching Income Property with “Jerry and Amee”, who just bought a house for $400,000 and moved in 2 weeks ago but are in such dire financial straits that they simply NEEDED to start renovations ASAP because as Jerry put it:

“We need it [the renovations to get a tenant to rent] because we can’t have this [house] without it, to break even.”



You can’t afford the house but you bought it anyway, are going to sink MORE money into renovations and then hope that someone will rent your fancy basement for 12 consecutive months, for the rest of your 25-year mortgage (I am blithely assuming that’s what they took because it’s obvious they just took the maximum mortgage they could).

You’re an idiot, Jerry.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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  1. Alison

    Thank you for the clarification. I am a Canadian who immigrated to the Southern States to save senior and elder dogs (we run a small charity for this purpose) and I know, first hand, that many people have the notion that they are disposable. I choose to Save Spend and Spluge also, but not because I travel but because what I have decided to do with the rest of my life. Virtually all the aspects you refer to as a landlord/tenant situation are applicable to rescue/foster homes, with the addition of a dependent life being on the line.

    I hear and see that attitude here, a lot, and was shocked and dismayed to hear the same from a fellow countryman. Again, thank you for clarifying and for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it.

  2. Alison

    It was in the comments.

    save. spend. splurge.
    on Jan 19, 2014
    at 20:59
    The renos make me drool. I love their style aesthetic, it’s just so pretty and clean…
    YES!! YES!!!!!!!!!!
    No tax implications, and not even that, nothing about the reality of what it means to be a landlord with a tenant. ****It isn’t like getting a pet you know.****
    I also saw another show where they put in $50,000 of renovations and suddenly their home’s value went up by $200,000.
    I mean seriously? You “made” $200K just from putting in $50K? Why aren’t more people filthy rich then, doing this and flipping houses?
    Oh right because it’s a show and it isn’t realistic, and who would be interested in watching a show where the renovations only improved the home’s “value” by $40,000 even though you sunk $50K into it?

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Ahh. I’m sorry you were offended by my flippant remark.

      My point was more that it’s easier to take care of a pet than a tenant. A pet you feed, walk, pick up the poop from, and generally have a pretty easygoing routine. Then you might of course have issues where you need to pay for the pet to go through chemo, get a hip replaced, and so on but it’s more like having an easy going family member or baby.

      Tenants, are a little more difficult in the sense that you have to take into account that they could burn your house down, and generally make your life a living hell just because they’re another human being that you have to trust without being able to be there all the time to control them or tell them what to do and expect they’ll follow.

      It wasn’t against pets.

      Tell me, are you a vegetarian?

    2. save. spend. splurge.

      Thinking about it some more, I think I also said it because it’s also easier to own a pet from a financial point of view. Less messy. You know you have to pay for shots, buy food, toys, and so on.

      For tenants, trying to get them to rent your place is a messier place to be financially. Can’t force people to give you money for your space, then you have to find them, sign leases, then maybe kick them out if they don’t pay.

      Basically you have a pet (adopted or purchased), and the deal is done, you have a pet for life that you are responsible for.

      A tenant? Not so easy. You are responsible for them to some extent, but financially speaking it is a whole other ballgame especially if they can sue you for being a slumlord (something I have done to previous landlords).

      Anyway, that was my viewpoint.

  3. Alison

    I rarely comment on blogs and never before have I the first time I visited: I should probably stick with that, unfollow and just back away from the keyboard but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t permit anyone, including a stranger, the chance to explain such a (hopefully just thoughtless) statement.

    I’d just read a couple of your other posts and decided to check out this one…wow. Did you just place caring for living breathing animals who feel pain, cold and emotion below being a landlord as far as responsibility goes? “It isn’t like getting a pet you know.”

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Alison: Erm… you make no sense whatsoever with your comment because I re-read what I posted and I didn’t mention animals at all…

  4. Tania

    I have a love hate relationship with HGTV. It’s perfect to put on when I’m piddling around the house as I don’t ever feel tempted to stop what I’m doing to watch until the end of each episode. I’ve been cleaning and purging (I’m knee deep in my personal minimalism or bust by the end of 2014 campaign)so HGTV is the perfect filler background.

    The hoarding, cheapskates and couponers are on TLC here (the same channel with the multiple births and polygamists). I’m unsure when the “learning” channel turned into a bunch of sensationalistic crap, it USED TO BE one of my favorite channels. It also drives me crazy all these shows are listed under the education category in the on demand channels here. Really? While hoarding is a very real problem, I feel the reality shows can be more harmful than helpful other than bringing to light it’s more common than we think.

    I agree. You shouldn’t buy an income potential property unless you can make it through during periods of vacancies. Maui is on a bed and breakfast trend and we live in a neighborhood that’s close to the ocean and also have many transplants (not originally local, moved from the mainland or Canada). It’s one way they see an opportunity to make money here as it’s not that easy to find a job for certain occupations. Some are ok but others are not properly monitoring their guests and they’re living it up in a noisy fashion after midnight on a Sunday night. Don’t even get me started on the smokey fire pit socializing that goes on too.

    Love it or list it drives me crazy too. Bitching and moaning about the additional costs to renovate because they found a real structural/electrical safety issue but are all ready to move into a new home and pay much more (even before real estate commissions and other fees are added in). There’s been a few that I’ve felt “yeah they should move” but for most I think they may feel differently if they merely edited their possessions first.

    I do love One Bryk at a Time (she was originally on Canada’s Marriage Under Construction, Danielle Bryk – she has a ton of kids and an actor hubby and now does interior decorating/renovation project management). I also like Rehab Addict (woman who restores old houses in Minnesota).

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Tania: I should probably stop watching these shows, to be honest 🙂 Drives me mad sometimes!

  5. Morgaine

    We do have a tenant in our basement, my MIL, but we made sure to purchase a house that we could afford with or without a tenant. Who knows what might happen (she could die, not find a job, decide to move out, etc) and I doubt we’d want a renter that we didn’t know, so it just made sense not to move out of our comfort zone. While she’s paying us “rent” (utilties inc) we’re able to save to put more money down on the house and for retirement. But if she moved out tomorrow, we’d be OK. Otherwise, you’re just dumb!

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Isn’t it silly to think that a renter would be there forever!? *sigh*

  6. Aleksie

    I looked up the HGTV description. It was worse than I thought. They want to start having children within 3 years and are hoping to use the rental money to eventually allow them to travel overseas. They also don’t seem to know anything about renovating.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I heard something about a family too but I was too fixated on him saying that the house was unaffordable without a tenant. I mean, what will they do if they can’t find a tenant!? It happens!!!!

  7. Anne @ Unique Gifter

    So many times the people on that show are dumb. I love the renos, they’re gorgeous most of the time 🙂 One thing Spouse hates is how they never, ever discuss the tax implications of the “cash flow” … Most of the time it should be “congratulations, you’re actually making $10 because of taxes, yay!” Oh, that’s a crappy ROCE? Hmm, your money would be better in the stock market!

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      The renos make me drool. I love their style aesthetic, it’s just so pretty and clean…

      YES!! YES!!!!!!!!!!

      No tax implications, and not even that, nothing about the reality of what it means to be a landlord with a tenant. It isn’t like getting a pet you know.

      I also saw another show where they put in $50,000 of renovations and suddenly their home’s value went up by $200,000.

      I mean seriously? You “made” $200K just from putting in $50K? Why aren’t more people filthy rich then, doing this and flipping houses?

      Oh right because it’s a show and it isn’t realistic, and who would be interested in watching a show where the renovations only improved the home’s “value” by $40,000 even though you sunk $50K into it?

  8. CorianneM

    Oh I am so fascinated by these types of programmes. I love Extreme Cheapskates (it’s amazing what lengths people go to to save money), or Extreme Couponing (I am appalled at all the stuff they buy there. It’s pretty much only processed foods/drinks they take home. Even though it’s cheap, 100 sugary water drinks can’t be good for you.)

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Whenever they buy stuff on Extreme Couponing, I think: Wow, they’re not buying anything I’d ever buy. Where are the coupons for vegetables? 😛

      1. CorianneM

        @save. spend. splurge.: exactly! But I guess those don’t go on such sales. I find it amazing how much they manage to save (or sometimes even make money), but then I see someone putting dozens of frozen dinners in their cart or twenty bottles of bbq sauce and I am a little appalled.


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Save. Spend. Splurge.
[ wealth. style. minimalism. ]


MOST DEBT: cleared $60K in 18 months

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