Dear Friends,

You may wonder why I chose the phrase above to describe our year 2021.
ANNUS HORRIBILIS is a latin phrase meaning HORRIBLE YEAR.

The phrase came to a wide audience in Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas message in 1992, where she said:

“1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an ‘annus horribilis'”.

With the advent of the novel CoronaVirus 2019, commonly called CoVid-19, we have all spent most of our time a] washing our hands, b] wearing a facemask, and c] keeping socially distant from others.  None of these activities is conducive to my long-standing advice regarding the two things that one MUST do to make money in real estate. Do you remember?

You’ve gotta 1) see a lot of houses, and 2) make a lot of offers.

Many of our tenants faced financial challenges during the pandemic. Huge numbers of Americans were laid off, or let go. Millions of small businesses shut down, and a LOT of people became ill.  Far too many perished.

The knee-jerk response by the government was to place a moratorium on all evictions, putting landlords in the extremely awkward position of receiving partial or no rental income, yet still facing mandatory payments for debt service, property taxes, insurance, and (of course) maintenance.

As you now know, the Supreme Court of the United States eventually intervened, stopping the enforcement of the CDC Agency Order banning certain evictions.  But the damage had already been done.  Many landlords were unable to maintain their ownership under the circumstance of being unable to collect a single penny of rent, while still being required to pay taxes, pay for insurance, pay for utilities if included in the lease, and pay for maintenance and repairs.

May God bless the Supreme Court of the United States! 

Nevertheless, I am still heartened by your email and support.  Here is a portion of the very kind words I received from one fellow investor:

“Building a secure retirement in residential real estate has paid dividends far beyond anything I could have imagined that night when you first challenged us to buy a house a year for ten years straight.  It hasn’t always been easy.  There have been some tough times.  But together we slogged through somehow, and all of a sudden, here we are in our fifties or sixties, facing retirement, and we have a nest egg that exceeds anything we ever dreamed about.”

Then the investor tries to say something like “and it’s all thanks to you and your Killer Lease.”

The truth is that, if I had any part in your success, I had the good fortune to be able to be in the right place at the right time.  

If I did anything, I may have planted a seed in your brain. You watered it, you fertilized it, you pruned it carefully, you propped it up after the storm went through.  YOU did all the work.  And you truly deserve the reward!

I know it hasn’t always been easy. If doing this was easy, everyone would do it. But it isn’t, and so they don’t!   More so than ever before, I am convinced that opportunity exists still today. 

I wish I could say that I had some foresight, some crystal ball, that allowed me to see into the future and know where to invest, but that would be a lie.  And as an Eagle Scout, I am not allowed to lie.

So my advice to you remains the same:

Stay the course. Buy a little house this year, and offer it as clean, decent, affordable housing. I think you will be very glad you did!

John Adams

Decatur, Georgia