Robert Shemin takes the sting out of the word "landlord" with his commonsense advice for real estate investors. The manager of more than 200 properties, Shemin revealed his strategies for finding the right deal in Secrets of a Millionaire Real Estate Investor, and his latest, Secrets of a Millionaire Landlord, gets down to the nuts and bolts of rental properties. A how-to manual for landlords, Shemin includes sample forms and letters and uses his real life experiences to show how to minimize repair hassles, find the best tenants and make sure the rent gets paid on time. The Nashville-based author also launched the National Landlord Challenge, an appeal to others in his profession to help a homeless family get back on their feet by providing inexpensive housing. "We live in the wealthiest nation in the world," he said, "and I believe that no child should be without a home." BookPage recently spoke to Shemin about the project and what it takes to be a millionaire landlord.

You are also an attorney, best-selling author and sought after consultant. How did real estate become your passion? Real estate became my passion for many reasons. Most people, like myself, never really know what they want to do in life and worse, they are afraid to at least try different occupations. I was working in financial consulting and met an older couple in Nashville, Tennessee, who had been buying, fixing up and renting houses for years. They made a lot of money, but more importantly, they took about six months of vacation a year and traveled a lot. They worked hard, enjoyed what they did and taught me how to do it.

I immediately loved working in real estate because every day a deal is different. Also, it's one of the few jobs left where the results are tangible. When you buy a place, fix it up and sell it or rent it, you can see it, drive by it and feel good about helping the community. It's profitable, it's fun, and it's real.

What's the secret of being a millionaire landlord? The secrets of being a millionaire landlord are the same simple secrets for doing well at anything. (1) Decide what you want to do. (2) Find and follow the people who are already successful at it. (3) Treat your customers, renters or clients like the valued customers they are, and (4) treat your business like a real business with policies and procedures. Stick to it and stay with it.

Your book reveals secrets for landlords. Any advice for renters? The best advice to renters is to (1) make sure that you are renting a place that you can afford. Your rent should be about 35% of your monthly income. (2) Renters should screen their landlord. Talk to the neighbors or other renters to see what the place is really like and find out if you are renting from a good landlord who takes care of their property and customers.

How do you screen tenants to get the ones you want? There is no such thing as a bad tenant; there are only bad landlords. If landlords did their job and screened tenants properly then there would be probably very few, if any, bad tenants.


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