Income Property

TJ Wrangler; "The New Normal;" Scott McGillivray "Income Property" Stephen King and Self-Indulgence

Living in Bucks County, PA for the past twenty years surrounded by horse farms like Fashion Farms I have seen and smelled my fair share of horse manure. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen it packaged as quite well as Scott McGillivray does on the HGTV television show “Income Property. But this post isn’t about horse manure and I’m not focusing on McGillivray. It’s more about self-indulgence and how things that start out with good intentions can often turn sour because of self-indulgence.

It does makes sense to own rental properties for income. Tony and I have a guest house on our property that we’ve been renting out for ten years. We’ve always been realistic about it and we’ve always had great tenants, and we’ve managed to avoid a lot of the horror stories other landlords have experienced. But it’s never been simple, from finding a good tenant to ending the tenant landlord relationship.

The basic premise behind McGillivray’s TV show is so unrealistic and so off base I have to wonder how it’s actually allowed to be in TV. Nothing adds up. For example, McGillivray will talk young home owners into turning extra space into rental property. But he does this by creating these complicated wildly expensive renovations that wind up being nicer than where the landlords live. You could put these places in Architectural Digest they are so wonderful. The young homeowners wind up taking out loans that can range from $25,000.00 and higher (and they always do go higher), as an added expense to an already high mortgage they are carrying. And they do this in neighborhoods that don’t look as though they will ever see a return on the investment…not to mention that potential home buyers are NOT interested in taking on income property for the most part. I’ve been there, too. In many cases you’re not increasing property value by adding a rental apartment, you’re just making it harder to sell your chopped up home.

Oh, McGillivray is great at home renovations, and he’s not to bad on the eyes either. Half the reason why I watch is to see what he’s wearing and to get ideas for my own home…not my rental. But even that gets tired when I listen to the self-indulgence and the bad advice people are getting.

I think this article says it best:

After a bit of math, It does not add up.
It would take 35.7 payments to equal $25000. This would be 2.9 years of renting out that space. Lots of damage and wear can happen in 2.9 years.
At 850 a month it would take 2.45 years of payments to cover the original $25000. And again, lots of damage and wear and tear can happen in 2.4 years.
On the plus size size they increased the value of the property by 35%
On the downside, the home owner is out $25000 for almost three years. and when the downstairs apartment is paid for, they will have to renovate again. So far, no profit is made. and with in two years, the downstairs will be outdated and ready for an upgrade. Renovations and repairs we can estimate $2000 – $7000.


Tony and I have found that people renting small apartments want one thing: fair rent to keep their expenses down. And that’s what we’ve always tried to give them. The renovations we do in the guest house are constant, but we don’t go overboard and don’t put in the very best of everything because we would never see a decent return on that investment. The photo above is actually the kitchen in the guest house that we renovated about two years ago between tenants. We found good strong cabinets with a nice design at Ikea, a practical floor that will hold up to all kinds of abuse at Home Depot, and the walls are painted clean basic white. In other words, you don’t have to spend a small fortune and go deeper into debt to own a decent rental income property. What you have to do is provide good, decent living space for people who may or may not wind up taking care of it.

The New Normal Still On TV

Speaking of self-indulgence, “The New Normal,” I think, is going to be around for a while. But that’s still up in the air. I DVR it and I like it for the most part, but it’s nice to know I can fast forward when Ryan Murphy gets into his political BS. There was a TV show years ago where the creator used to get very political. It was called “Designing Women,” and it’s still on TV in some markets in syndication. In the beginning, it was a great show. But as each season passed it started getting more political and self-indulgent and it wound up being more cheese than actual entertainment. The only reason I watched it was because Delta Burke was hysterical and her character grounded the other big mouths who were always complaining and harping about something. And it always seemed as if the creator of that show, Linda Bloodworth Thomason, was standing on a soap box telling the world her political opinions: self-indulgence once again. The show wound up tanking after Burke left and Bloodworth-Thomason went on to create other shows that never did half as well as “Designing Women.”

And I’d hate to see that happen with “The New Normal.” I have gay friends who actually despise it so much they won’t even talk about it. But others love it. I think there’s a good storyline, good characters, and I’d like to see it stick around for a while. However, Ryan Murphy might want to watch a few old episodes of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The Mary Richards character was ground-breaking and controversial at the time in many ways: single working woman, independent of men, attractive, smart, not a virgin, and also very funny. They *showed* the politics and the changes happening within our society at the time more than they talked about it and ranted about it. And the show lasted and it’s still a hit over forty years later. And that’s because there was nothing self-indulgent about it.

Stephen King releases a new book/essay on Guns

I haven’t read this book. But I do think it’s interesting to go to Amazon and check out the reviews by people who have read it. Frankly, I don’t need to read it because I don’t own guns, never intend to own guns, and I do think anything that will help stop the violence we live with because of guns is worth doing. If that means stricter laws, I’m all for them. And yet, according the the reviews of King’s essay on Amazon, he’s dipped into self-indulgent hell once again and he’s turned a heated debate into his own personal pulpit. Again, I haven’t read it so I’m only commenting on the reviews I’ve read so far.

And no one ever seems to address the gun issues in our inner cities. The people who live in cities like Philadelphia can’t even go to sleep at night without worrying that someone’s going to shoot a gun and blow out their bedroom windows. These people are begging for help. I’m not joking about this. The gun violence in cities nowadays is raging out of control and most of these guns are being used by people who do NOT have legal permits and NEVER will have legal permits. So while I’m all for stricter laws in order to obtain guns, I’m still wondering why no one has addressed the other huge issue of how do we stop gun violence with people who will never have legal gun permits no matter how strict the gun laws are.

In any event, there are over 375 reviews as of today on Amazon for King’s gun book and about 70 of them are one star reviews written by people who think he turned what should be a balanced debate into a one-sided self-indulgent soap box.

Here’s part of a two star review:

I’ve been a lifelong King reader and huge fan as well as having a keen interest in guns. So I made sure to lend it for my Kindle and check out what I was sure was going to be an interesting, balanced point of view. And it does start out good: the usual folksy, aw-shucks, appealing King style that he’s perfected. It draws you in and has something interesting to say about how his book Rage inspired several school shooters. But then about halfway through the appeals for gun control start and it builds and builds into the usual, tired anti-gun chatter we can hear all over the internet, appealing not to your logic but to your emotion.

Moving on to the TJ Wrangler, here’s where I get self-indulgent sometimes when I’m writing. I always try to stay away from anything too political unless I balance it out. That’s often hard to do with same sex marriage because I believe in it so deeply. In The Virgin Billionaire series I wanted Luis to be political and left-wing and all the things we expect young gay men to be…to the point of stereotypical, but I also turned things around and tried to balance them by making Jase a conservative gay man who focuses on equality as a fact and an issue more than an emotion.

But I do tend to get self-indulgent with cars in my books. I’m not actually a car junky like a lot of gay men I know. In fact, I couldn’t tell you one dink little model from the next that came out of Japan in the past ten years. I think the Prius design looks like a skunk with an armadillo up its ass. But I know a 1962 Lincoln Continental when I see one, and one of my all time favorites is the TJ Wrangler made by Jeep. I’ll be getting into more details about the TJ in my next book, which I’m working on right now. You’d be amazed at how interesting the TJ motor can be, too. Why I was literally shocked when I started to research it. 

But I promise, I won’t make it too long and I’ll spare readers of the technical details without getting too self-indulgent. You’re reading my books for sex and love and emotional reasons, not to read about cars or politics or religion. And I hope I never deviate from that too much.