I had my first experience with renting out my property 17 years ago (man that makes me feel old). I have been a landlord in someway or another almost non-stop since then. Also, I am going on my 9th year of being a Realtor. I have handed over many keys.
But I had my most rewarding experience of handing over keys 2 months ago. I had the honor of giving keys to a woman who has been homeless for years. It was such a privelege to be such a huge part of giving someone a hand up in life! We have a big affordable housing issue here on Maui. I was aware of it but until this year I did not realized the extent of it. I posted a very affordable condo for rent and with in a week I had well over 50 people wanting to see it. I followed the list in the order I received requests. Every single person who came to see it was homeless. All of them were either receiving housing assistance and/or working full time. There were families and single people. Many people complained that although they had been approved for HUD they could not find any place that would take their voucher. My heart ached and I lost a lot of sleep. I met these people and looked in their eyes. I knew there was only one condo and a lot of good hard working people who would still be with out a place to live once it was rented out. I wished I had 100 more. I knew it was hard to find affordable housing and we struggled with finding a place to rent when we move to Maui. I was so relieved to buy something and know we would have a roof over our head. But seeing so many people who do not have a place to call home sits heavy on my heart.
I experienced the process of getting HUD approval for the unit. It was slow and the condo sat vacant for almost 2 months while waiting for the tenant and unit to get approved. That is an automatic loss of almost $1200 in association fees. I understand why landlords are not jumping at the opportunity to get HUD approval. It really needs to happen much faster. I was patient because I had committed to taking HUD applicants. But my patience was really growing thin that last week as another association payment was coming due. Everything did finally go through but not as easily and seemlessly as I had hoped.
It was finally the day to call and let the tenant know she was approved. I was estatic! I am not sure which of us was more excited to meet at the condo that day. Despite the fact that I could not help everyone that needed help, I was able to help one person have a home to call her own.
I can easily say it was my favorite time I have every handed someone a set of keys. Those keys were life changing for her and me! I want now more than anything to get into providing people affordable housing because I have seen the huge need for it in a very up close and personal way. I really hope to be a part in finding a solution for it here on Maui one day!