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It All Started With An Angry Comment: A Conversation About Integrity, Ethics, And Compassion

Recently, we posted an ad on Facebook, to help build awareness for the Goodegg brand and what we do to help both investors and tenants.

The thing with ads about real estate and rentals, though, is that they can easily get misconstrued by people’s own experiences. Unfortunately, there are many people out here who have had a bad experience with a landlord or property manager, or know someone who has received unfair treatment.

 

Shortly after the ad was posted, we received an angry reaction, along with a seething comment questioning the integrity of what we were doing.

The thing is, I know that this person isn’t the only person out there harboring misconceptions about what we do at Goodegg. There are tons of real estate firms out there, and it can be difficult to tell which ones are operating with a high level of integrity, and which ones are just out for making a quick buck.

That’s why I feel it’s so important to open the lines of dialogue and to communicate openly and honestly about what we do and why we do it.

Before we get to the heart of the conversation though, I just wanted to remind you to like us on Facebook, if you haven’t already. After all, you don’t want to miss out on juicy threads like this one, do you? ?

Okay, on to the story! Below is the original ad, along with the conversation that followed.

Original Ad

Full Ad Copy
The other day, I got a call from one of my property managers.

“Hey Annie. We’ve got some bad news.”

Uh-oh. “You know that tenant who’s supposed to get evicted tomorrow?”

[Me, nodding silently while holding my breath.]

“Well, I hate to tell you this, but she stopped up all the sinks, left the water running, and took off. She flooded her unit, as well as the unit next door.”

[Me, still nodding, hoping I misheard.]

I’ve been investing in real estate for over ten years, and I love it. I love it as a tool to build wealth for my family, I love providing quality housing for people, and I love getting to work with great teams. What I don’t love are moments like this.

And now that I have two young kids, I have more than enough to keep me busy. Who needs a rebellious tenant, when you’ve got a rebellious toddler at home, amirite?

Recently, I discovered passive real estate investing, and it has changed my life. As a passive investor, I can take a backseat while someone else drives the proverbial landlord bus. They do most of the work, I get most of the returns, and the tenants get a clean and safe place to live.

There’s no better definition of win-win in my book. If you’re ready to be done with the headaches that come with being a landlord, click below to learn more about how to get started investing passively in real estate.

The link in the ad directs you to this blog post, which has a sign-up form for the Goodegg Investor Club at the bottom.

Reader Conversation

We are an open book here at Goodegg. We are not perfect, nor do we pretend to be. But, we do aspire to do the right thing by everyone, whenever we can. Integrity is paramount to all that we do, which is why the conversation we had with this reader is so important, and something I feel should be shared and discussed openly.

Below is a screenshot of the conversation, followed by the full text of each comment. To protect the identity of the reader, we’ll call him John.

Full Conversation Text

John

Making money by evicting long-term tenants without the messy, inconvenient guilt that comes with having to look at the evicted in the face.

Annie

Hi John, thank you for your comment. I completely understand and appreciate your frustration. I grew up living in apartments, and I feel grateful every day that I can invest my money to provide the type of quality housing that my family and I were able to live in when I was a child.

Evicting tenants is never easy, and it’s tough on everyone. In this case, we provided the tenant many opportunities to pay their rent, even any small amount. The tenant chose not to respond to our multiple attempts to help.

In the end, we made the difficult decision to evict, as this tenant was impacting neighbors around her as well. And after all, in order to provide quality housing, apartment complexes must be run as businesses, not public projects.

To be clear, I am not in the business of profiting off of others’ misery and tough life situations, nor am I encouraging others to do so. We work hard to provide clean and safe housing for our tenants, and whenever they are unable to pay, we do whatever we can to help, including payment plans, helping to get government support, and more. Eviction is always the last and least desirable outcome, that we resort to only if we absolutely have no other choice.

Through passive real estate investing, we hope to help people who have money to invest, to invest it into these communities, to provide quality housing for those who need it.

I think you’ll agree with me that not every real estate investor should be a landlord, just as not every stock market investor should be a CEO. And in fact, some who are landlords, shouldn’t be. And those are often the people unnecessarily evicting people purely for profit.

The work we do, on the other hand, allows people who want to invest in real estate, who don’t have the time and energy it takes to be a landlord, to put their money into these communities, rather than into corporations via the stock market.

At the center of all we do is integrity and compassion. The teams we partner with work hard to improve these communities, while also producing healthy returns for the investors, so both sides win.

Running these apartment complexes as businesses and producing profits ensures that investors will continue to invest their money into these communities that need it.

Again, Karl, thank you for coming forth with your comment. I completely agree with what you’re saying, and I hope I’ve provided some more context on what we do and how we do it.

If you have any further questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always here to help.

John

Annie Dickerson, I also understand that being a landlord is a business, and it would be wrong to say that being in business as a landlord automatically deprives one of a sense of ethics. I have friends and family who are landlords, and to my knowledge, they have been fair and just in providing that service to people who cannot afford to buy their own property.

That said, I would suggest that your post could have been more sensitive to the concerns of people in the Bay Area who have seen many examples of questionable, if not downright illegal evictions.

So, it seems that you are saying that you are in the business of buying and managing rental properties, and that you are not in the business of profiteering from condo conversion flipping of properties. Is this true?

Annie

John, you’re absolutely right. There are some really wonderful and caring landlords out there, and we definitely aim to be among that group. The unfair evictions that are happening in the Bay Area are heartbreaking and maddening, to be sure. We would never condone anything like that, and we make it a point never to throw anyone out of their homes who are making a true effort to take care of the unit and who want to be there.

The story I told was actually of a personal investment I have out of the state of California, in Alabama. It’s true, I’ve never met the tenant in person, and I’m acting on the eviction through my property manager, but we did work together to make every attempt to try to help the tenant and keep them in their home.

Through Goodegg Investments, we’re trying to help people invest in real estate in a socially responsible way. We don’t do condo conversions or kick people out just for the heck of it.

We focus on value-add, long-term investments. We invest in apartment communities that have seen better days, whose landscaping is poorly maintained, whose kitchens still have tiles from the 1970s. We go in and update those units. We never forcibly remove anyone from their home. We only renovate units after they’ve been vacated.

I appreciate you opening up the lines of dialogue around this subject. It’s clear you have a deep level of compassion for people and communities, as do we.

John

Thanks for clearing that up for me (and perhaps others). Good luck!

Takeaways

Can I just say, that this conversation with “John” was one of the highlights of my day? Haha. I know, that’s probably pretty odd to say, given that he started out by giving us an anger reaction ?.

However, I think conversations like this are absolutely critical if we’re going to move the needle and truly make a difference in our communities. We can’t skirt around these questions about morality and ethics, because they are core to everything that we do.

Unfortunately, there will always be people out there who prey on others and try to profit off others’ misery, and we can’t stop them.

 

All we can do is be a force of light and goodness, and try to spread that goodwill to as many communities as we can.

In order to do so, we’re always looking for great sponsors to partner with, and we take the responsibility of vetting those relationships very seriously. We only partner with sponsors who are investing in real estate for the right reasons, and who will do right by these tenants and communities, day in and day out.

The bottom line is, we love what we do. We get to make a difference in the lives of people and families every day. We help investors achieve great returns and passive income, so they can spend more time with their families. And, we help tenants by giving them clean and safe places to live and a community to call their own.

And that. That is worth all the tough conversations in the world.

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