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Money Drain: Don’t be a Dragon Lady

One of my local newspapers, Frederick News Post based out of Maryland, posted an article of a legendary figure amongst the locals here that I’ve only ever heard about. I’ve only heard her referenced as “The Dragon Lady”, and as the person who owns several PRIME real estate locations within Downtown Frederick that lay abandoned and slowly deteriorating.

She became infamous around here due to her lack of financial sense or care for her properties and the many tenants that had to suffer because of it. Some of her legendary attributes include:

  • Raising rent an exorbitant amount, losing tenant after tenant in the process
  • Not maintaining properties to the point where they become condemned.
  • Having the most cited violations of any property owner in the city at 63 violations, each which cost her money ($2900 so far).
  • Having a “word of mouth” reputation in the city as “The Dragon Lady”
  • Blighting her own properties that she invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in just by neglecting them.

Lesson Learned:
Being a property owner has a lot of responsibilities. Complying with local ordinances, paying the property taxes, making sure the property stays in good shape, and using the property to its full potential in order to get a return on your investment.

I can honestly say after reading this story that the Dragon Lady likely only complied with one of these (the taxes,and even those are likely iffy).

I can’t understand the need to buy so many properties and let some of them sit for over a decade with absolutely no return and no interest in investing money in them to fix them up for potential renters. I don’t think I could genuinely calculate the amount of money lost in her situation, because I’m sure it’s more than you and I will ever know.

This is the trap that a lot of home owners fall into though, biting off more than they can chew. The best thing to do in this case would be to sell them off, even if it has to be a cheap sell, and cut your losses. You can still get a good chunk of change out of them instead of waiting for age to catch up with you and the properties. Not to mention, it can’t feel good to have the reputation of a very unsavory local figure.

About Crystal Groves, Google+

Crystal Groves is a farmer, web developer, musician, blogger, and personal finance enthusiast from the back hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania. She started Money Drain as a project to encourage people interested in fixing their financial situation to share their stories and learn from the stories of others. We all make mistakes, but in order to change we have to make changes.

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