Someone stole my dryer

Yes, you are reading it correctly. Someone broke into my investment house and stole my dryer. Luckily it was vacant at the time, and only the dryer was stolen. No one is hurt and nothing else is damaged.

Read more about my first investment property How Did I Stay at Home and Buy a House Out-of-state

And yes, I learned that a dryer is lighter than a washer, a fact that you probably don't want to know, at least in this way.

You would never take account of this kind of BS into your pro forma when you are calculating your cash flow and return. The house is not even in a rough neighborhood so no one sees it coming.

I'm in disbelief and pissed, but I do hope that my experience could help you make the right decisions and mitigate risks next time.

Hire a property manager

Even though with out-of-state properties, I still know a couple of people who manage the properties themselves. It is cheaper sure, but when the unexpected happens, are you able to handle any kinds of situations that come up, and can you really get there in time?

For me, the most important thing a good property manager provides is peace of mind. Yes, when things like a break-in happen, it sucks, but I know that my team can take care of most of the situations and accidents. You have someone there onsite make a police report, buy a replacement dryer, and fix whatever is needed.

You don't really need to do anything else other than being rightfully angry and paying for the replacement out-of-pocket.

Home Security System

SimpliSafe, Ring, or ADT. If you have a property manager, it should be fairly easy and cheap to install. These things are like insurance, you won't need it if anything goes well, but trust me, you will thank yourself if anything does happen.


If the house isn't vacant and has been vacant for that long (it's been vacant before it's listed), it probably won't get broken in.

When you are doing an analysis on a deal, vacancy might just be a number, but it's this kind of "accident" that reminds me why you should do everything to reduce vacancy.

Better furnished homes, more reasonable rents, and better photos are some of the things that you can do to reduce vacancy.

For rents, you should think about it this way: if a $100 per month reduction is what keeps it from getting rented out instantly instead of a month of a vacancy, you can at least make even if your rent is above $1200 (a month of rent vs $100 * 12 months). There are more nuances to it, but at least you should consider the potential risks of letting it sit empty for a long time.


You would think that you can avoid crimes by investing in better neighborhoods, but even ultrarich neighborhoods like Hillsborough, CA 94010 has break-ins.

As an investor, you are supposed to embrace good opportunities with risks, because with more risk comes more reward.

When you do your best to mitigate the risks with for example the things mentioned above, and when you have a team to tackle projects that comes with risks, be brave. It's only a business expense, and a hiccup in a long journey.

Minwei Xu

Minwei Xu

Software Engineer at Facebook and Indianapolis Real Estate Investor
Bay Area, CA