For some college students, hopes of starting up their own businesses lie in the distant future. For Nate Weinberg, it’s an extracurricular activity.
Weinberg, a senior majoring in accounting, launched “Nate Rentals” in 2010 during his freshman year at Binghamton University.
Being a landlord to his peers is no easy task. He said dealing with students and their parents can be challenging, but there is also a mutual respect with tenants. Outside of being easygoing with paying rent on time, Weinberg strives to stand out from other landlords in the area by being very attentive to his renters’ needs.
Victoria Iorio, a junior majoring in biology, is one of Weinberg’s current tenants.
“Nate is an amazing landlord. He includes all our utilities in with rent, which is awesome because bills are one less thing we need to be concerned about. He is understanding and flexible when it comes to paying rent without penalty, he comes by and takes our garbage for us, which is another great convenience for a big group of girls. Any problems we come across in the house he comes and fixes it right away and will bend to our requests. For example, we asked for a dining room table that he had put in the house for us before we even moved in,” she said.
Mercedes Domian, a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, was surprised when she first met Weinberg, but said she was very impressed with him.
“Nate goes above and beyond to fulfill any requests we have,” she wrote in an email. “I feel incredibly lucky to have such a pleasant, kind, caring, and attentive landlord for my first off campus experience.”
According to Domian, Weinberg’s extra work made all the difference in her moving off campus.
“I feel that having Nate as a landlord for my junior year made all the difference transitioning from on-campus to off-campus housing,” Domian said.
Weinberg relies on business through Craigslist advertising as well as messages painted on his pickup truck, Mustang, the occasional flyer and clothing emblazoned with “NATE RENTALS” across the front. He said that his experience so far has inspired him to do what makes him happy, and he encouraged his peers to do the same.
Weinberg currently owns four homes in total: a building off Chapin Street, two located on Murray Street, all in Binghamton, and one in Oneonta, where he hopes to branch out.
Q&A with Nate
Pipe Dream: What inspired you to start a rental business?
Nate Weinberg: Well, I’m in SOM, I find a liking in business, and that’s a path I’ve always wanted to take. Upon being accepted to Binghamton, I wanted a job, but I’m really into being my own boss. Once I saw that the student rental business was hot here, I got into that.
PD: What exactly does your business consist of?
NW: I have a one-unit house, two two-unit houses and one six-unit house.
PD: Where did you get the initial capital to start with?
NW: I got a loan from a family member. That’s the hardest part about being a landlord, convincing someone to lend you a large amount of money when you have no credit, no assets. I started out with one house and that went well, so they felt confident enough to lend me more for another. I’m always trying to expand but banks won’t talk to me because I have no credit.
PD: When did your business launch?
NW: Freshman year; the first two came freshman year, 2010. I got the one in Oneonta last year, and I just bought the Chapin house two weeks ago.
PD: Did you consider any other type of business before this?
PD: Do you have a partner or do you work solo?
NW: Only me.
PD: Where are your houses located?
NW: Chapin, two on Murray.
PD: How do you balance work and this?
NW: It’s a lot of work, but my mom always said that I was born with great time management skills. If you just manage it and implement it well, I end up having a lot of free time. And sometimes I put schoolwork on the bottom of the priority list.
PD: What is it like being a landlord to your peers? Has it changed your perspective being on the other end?
NW: It has changed it, not for the better. There’s definitely pros and cons being a landlord to people your age. They think they can walk all over me, parents think they can be upfront with me. There’s benefits because I’m a kid, I’m lenient. I never charge a late fee. I think people for the most part, we mutually respect each other. There’s a preconceived notion that the landlord is the bad guy, and that doesn’t help me at first, but you can be friends with your landlord and it doesn’t have to be so bad.
PD: What are some things that you do differently than other landlords in the area?
NW: I usually try to give the kids almost anything they want. Obviously because I live Downtown, if someone has a problem I immediately go over to them, unlike other landlords who live hours away. I’m a kid, I know what kids want because I want the same things. I get them whatever they want for the house as long as it’s not a crazy request. I think doing so will help people respect me and try to pay their rent on time and whatnot.
PD: What are some issues that you’ve had to deal with?
NW: I went into it thinking it was gonna be bad, but I underestimated it. I didn’t really realize the houses were built 100 years ago. Things go wrong all the time. There’s an issue with trying to keep up with buildings. I always drive by my buildings every day and ask my tenants, obviously.
PD: What is the strangest situation you’ve been involved in?
NW: There’s definitely some that I don’t feel comfortable talking about. I think people can be really, really nice, but when it comes to where they live, things that aren’t theirs, they get careless. Dealing with parents can get weird. I try to be cooperative and don’t talk back, but sometimes they think they need to be tough with me, and I’ve dealt with some parents that don’t like me. There’s the occasional window breaking. Think of what college kids like to do on the weekends and then forget about the next morning and leave for their landlords to deal with … I’ll leave it at that.
PD: Where are you from originally?
PD: How do you think your landlord experience will help your future aspirations?
NW: It made me realize I don’t want to be an accountant. I don’t think I can ever go back to working for somebody else. The freedom of setting your own schedule is a very underrated thing, and it definitely still makes me want to go to grad school and get my CPA, but I think I’m continuing more to real estate for a career after college. And get my broker’s license.
PD: If you could tell a college student anything, what would it be?
NW: Really do things and make decisions based on what makes you happy. Yes, you might not make as much money as you possibly could, but it will make you and the tenant happy.