Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



The boiler died at a building I own.  I called the repair company, D.B. Johnsen Co., who said try somebody else.  Stack Heating & Cooling came out. Stack was no bargain. Stack was like going to 10 dentists.

Then I had a second boiler go bad, down the street.  Stack’s proposal on boiler #2 was $5950 for two sections of new boiler, to replace a corner that had corroded. I was thinking zero for that corner, Stack.  The boiler had worked perfectly well a few minutes ago.  Now it was cracked.  I had budgeted zero for #2.  I had put everything into boiler #1.  I called a couple guys for quotes.  They were all busy.  Stack himself was very busy.  It was cold out.  He said, “I’m getting too old for this shit.” So was I.  (Stack and I are the same age).

Madison Plumbing did the job and screwed up. It cost me a few grand extra.

Then a third boiler went down.  This was a couple months later.  Stack said, “I want to prepare you. Eleven burners are shot. That boiler is older than me. ” Again with the age, Stack?  This boiler was carboning up and sooty.  “I’ll try to save it.”

“Do that,” I said. “Thanks.”

Stack called again: “I have bad news.” 

I asked him to knock $500 off the price if I didn’t get a second quote.  Agreed.  I wrote the tenants they could buy a space heater at Home Depot and take $50 off their rent until the heat went on.  I recommended a Polonis convection oil-filled space heater. About a third of the tenants opted for the free space heater. One tenant even added $37 for a comforter.

My bill: $38,350 (boiler #3).  Stacked against me.


CYA footnote: Stack is expensive but he’s very, very good.

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1 Ken G. { 01.07.15 at 9:13 am }

One could purchase a plain house, with a perfectly working boiler, for that much.

2 Ken G. { 01.07.15 at 9:14 am }

I meant to say in Maple Heights.

3 Seth B. Marks { 01.07.15 at 2:39 pm }

Did you expense it or depreciate it? Or divide by your age and its practically bubkas per year. Yeah, yeah…I’m an out of pocket thinker too.

4 marc { 01.07.15 at 2:45 pm }

We put in a new boiler last summer in my store. We took out the 40-year-old oil burner and replaced it with natural gas. All my analysis went down the tubes when oil went from $4 a gal to $2.50 a gallon, and gas shot up 25%. Still saving money. Had to bring in gas and remove old underground oil tank. Replace side walk. Probably $15,000.

5 Bert Stratton { 01.07.15 at 4:51 pm }

To Seth B. Marks:

I depreciate boilers. 20-year recovery, 150% declining balance method, mid-quarter convention!

6 Ken Goldberg { 01.07.15 at 7:19 pm }

Too bad. Now you might not be able to purchase a Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4, which starts at $242,445, to drive around between your properties. Your tenants would take notice.

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