Why Kiersten and Julien Saunders Decided to Stop Being Landlords

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  • Julien and Kiersten Saunders own two rental properties, which are for sale in 2019 and 2020.
  • After watching landlords and tenants struggle during the pandemic, the Saunderses are “relieved” they are selling their property.
  • They left the real estate business after realizing how much more they could earn as content creators.

Earning passive income from two Georgia-based rental properties helps Kiersten and Julien Saunders are retired in their 40s. But rental real estate is not part of their long-term plan.

Julien bought his first house in 2007, before he and Kiersten got married. Later, they renovated their home together, paid off the mortgage in 2017, bought a new primary residence in 2018, and rented out their first home to a tenant. The couple also purchased a move-in-ready condo in Marietta, Georgia, in 2014 for additional rental income.

In November 2019, though, for a half-dozen reasons, they sold the condo. A few months later, in March 2020, they also sold another property, and they used the funds to increase their stock portfolio. They also raised money for emergencies during the first year of the pandemic and financed their content creation efforts, rich®ULAR.

When the pandemic began in March 2020, the Saunderses saw landlords and tenants in their community struggle. Kiersten told Insider, “Our friends are struggling with whether to kick out a mom who is late on rent, but actively looking for work. I’m relieved that I’m not going to go through that point of moral decision if there are other ways to make money. .”

Below, six reasons the Saunderses are selling their property, and why they’re relieved they’re not landlords at the height of the pandemic.

1. They don’t want to deal with ‘old’ processes

Kiersten and Julien find the bureaucratic tasks of being landlords so time consuming and old school.

Julien says, “It’s nitpicky stuff, like a change in leadership in the HOA, and now you have a new point of contact. Or there’s a new platform you’ve used for mortgage payments. This is all very old.”

Of the struggles of other landlords during the pandemic, Kiersten said, “A lot of people have to apply for government programs with long lines, no more phone calls, faxing paperwork, trying to prove that this person owes you back rent. Through that, we know that we call the True.”

2. The Saunderses do not want to keep cash on hand for future vacancies or repairs

To plan for vacancies, repairs, or renovations, landlords need to save money in case of emergencies related to them. rental properties.

As a landlord, Julien says, “I have to save money for future renovations, and I have to keep accommodating for future vacancies. insurance on this property because it steadily increases every year. So to me, it sounds like I’m holding onto a very outdated, albeit proven, approach to building wealth.

3. The creator’s economy is the easiest and most fulfilling way to make money

The Saunderses started the award-winning blog RICH & REGULAR in 2017 to document their journey to becoming financially independent. The couple soon began to notice that the income of their creator exceeded the income from the rental property. They quickly realized that if they freed their time and energy manage their rental propertiesthey can earn even more as content creators.

Julien says, “The more we start to grow as creators and realize how lucrative it can be, we just flat-out have a preference that is the main source of our income. Our rental property is really great rent-free mortgage for us. , But it’s really small compared to what we can get doing freelance articles. It’s like, gosh, one or two days of work compared to a month of work to make $1,200.”

Seeing how much they can earn as a creator, it doesn’t make sense to keep pouring energy into managing rental properties.

4. The Saunderses had learned more from the community of content creators than the community of landlords

Julien says, “I just can’t see myself on the weekends wanting to sit in some old room with a bunch of people learning about tax hacks. That’s what the community of blue-collar real estate investors looks and feels like.”

Kiersten adds, “We’re not healthy people, like we’d rather just pay to get rid of the problem. So the margins are smaller too.” The couple said they prefer to surround themselves with digital-first tech creators who can teach them about SEO or new ways to reach audiences.

5. Instead of rental property, choose the Saunderses income stream that is added to their skills

Both Kiersten and Julien came from the marketing industry, where they learned how lucrative it is economy of content creators is in the first place.

In their book, “Cashing Out: Winning the Wealth Game by Walking the Distance,” the Saunderses address the psychological shift required to leave a full-time job. Their first question is: Who does this job teach you to be? If your source of income asks you to do things outside of your values, it’s time to make it plan out.

Kiersten says, “When we know who our nature teaches us to be, we know that it’s not a skill or a persona that will be very beneficial 20 years from now.”

6. They will rather invest in the stock market

In total, the Saunderses were landlords for about 11 years. But looking back, they wish they had put their wealth into the stock market.

“When I looked at all that capital, at the time, it was about $250,000 worth of real estate,” Julien said. “I really wish I had it in stock, actually, instead of a condo in Marietta, Georgia. This is not to say that we will never become real estate investors again, but I am more inclined to buy index funds instead of going through the process of becoming a landlord. It seems like the old-school way of building wealth.”

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