“My philosophy is to improve quality of life by improving neighborhoods one property at a time.” Russ Haims
Whenever you can learn from someone with more experience, take advantage of the opportunity! This is why we talked with Russ Haims, MassLandlords.net/Worcester member, landlord, and rehabber with 31 years’ experience.
Real estate was Russ’ first job out of college and he hasn’t looked back. “No regrets,” he says. He’s an expert at student housing, a difficult market segment.
When we asked Russ why he focused on student housing, his answer was fast and simple: “Recession proof, strong demand, and no loss of rents/non-payment issues.” No matter what the economy is doing, students still go off to college. In Worcester, a college town like Boston, Russ sees strong demand for rentals near the universities and colleges. And students almost always come with parent/guardian guarantees, many of whom own real estate. This helps Russ be sure the rent will be paid on time each month.
Russ shared three tips for successfully renting to students:
- Make sure your apartment is in tip-top shape. This attracts students who care and who will maintain the place. It also helps parents feel that your apartment is “the one” for their kids.
- Make sure the building is in a safe location close to the school. Russ says there is no substitute for a poor location. Choose wisely before you buy!
- Make sure your staff are reliable. Negative word of mouth can hurt your future prospects at the school. Whereas if your students tell their peers what a great landlord they have, it will help your business.
We asked Russ what’s the weirdest problem he’s had to handle as a landlord? He didn’t want to go into details, but basically, he rented to a student whose mother took her bed in the apartment. Sounds like you traded tenants, Russ!
Russ’s advice for hiring is straightforward: “Hire the best people you can and don’t tolerate mediocrity or worse.”
Real estate success is no replacement for the simple pleasures in life. When we asked Russ where we’d find him on a day off, he said, “Somewhere outdoors with my wife and two boys.”
Want more? Russ’ live interview is viewable by members on MassLandlords.net.