Desire to spend more time at home prompts purchase of rental business

Sean C. Morgan

Brad Hartsook isn’t Thelma Brady, but he’s following in her footsteps.

Hartsook purchased Thelma Brady Property Management, now called East Linn Property Management, in October in a move to focus more heavily on his family life.

Brady retired Dec. 31 after serving in a consultant capacity for Hartsook, to help him get the business going. Hartsook is running the business with assistance from his wife, Karyn Hartsook, who also runs a local Farmer’s Insurance agency.

Brady started the business from scratch about eight years ago, said Brad Hartsook, who has been a route salesman with Franz Bakery in the Lebanon area. He has been responsible for ordering, delivery and sales for the bakery at area grocery stores. He has been with Franz for 19 years.

“I want to have more time with the family,” Hartsook said, noting that he works about 55 hours per week right now.

“I have no issue with working,” Hartsook said, But the fact that he works every Saturday has taken its toll on his ability to participate in his children’s lives. When his son is wrestling, he has to miss the meet, for example.

The Hartsooks have had two rental properties, Hartsook said. Brady managed one of them, while the Hartsooks managed the other.

So when the opportunity to take over Brady’s business came up, “I made him do it,” Karyn Hartsook said, grinning.

Being a landlord can be tough, “but it can also be very good too,” Brad Hartsook said. “And real estate is a good thing to be in.”

The Hartsooks were high school sweethearts before they left Sweet Home.

Karyn Hartsook, 40, graduated in 1994 from Sweet Home High School. She lived in Virginia and Southern California before returning to Sweet Home in 1999. Brad Hartsook, 43, graduated in 1992. He left at age 18 and lived and worked in Albany.

They married in June 2002 and have four children, Bailee, 14; Ryker, 10, Kellen, 8, and Dylan, 6.

After working at Les Schwab Tire Center in Lebanon, Karyn Hartsook opened her insurance business in Sweet Home in April 2004 for the same reason Brad Hartsook purchased the property management business.

“I wanted to be more in control of my time,” said Karyn Hartsook, who has been named head coach for the high school softball team this spring.

East Linn Property Management is sharing a building with the insurance office, moving from 2252 Main St. to 1252 Main St.

Staff members Cathy Gillespie and Marilyn Godell remain with the business.

“I love it,” Gillespie said.

“”It’s been great,” Godell said. “I’m looking forward to moving forward.”

“Our goal is, hopefully, none of our owners felt that transition,” Brad Hartsook said.

The business provides services for property owners, he said. “We do placement for owners. We do evictions. We manage their property to protect their investments and to maximize the profitability of their property.”

The property management company handles repair issues, he said. The tenant and landlord never need contact each other.

East Linn Property Management can still be found at thelmabradypropertymanagement.com, Hartsook said, but soon it will be at eastlinnpropertymanagement.com with improved online services that allow tenants to pay their rent online. Applications and diagrams of properties will be available online.

“We’re here to stay,” Karyn Hartsook said. “Our family’s here. We’ve chosen to live here. Our goal is to give back to the community (that’s) been so generous to us.”

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