Tim Ballering

tim ballering

A bit about me:

I've been a residential landlord since 1977, at the ripe old age of 21. This became a full time effort in 1981. We gradually added staff until we were a proper business in the late 80's. Currently we employ about 30 people.

In the mid 90's we created Affordable Rental Associates to address the needs of my buddies in the business that did not have the luxury of an office staff and full time maintenance people. The rural farm coops were the model that this was loosely based on.

I've been active with the Apartment Association of Southeastern WI since the late 80's and served as president for a decade. I remain a director.

I'm also a bit of an old school geek, having learned to program machine tools back in mid seventies using a very expensive calculator, a pad of paper and an ASR 33 Teletype to punch a paper tape. Oh, those were the days...

Today I'm fairly proficient with databases. We run highly automated and custom database solutions to manage our businesses, otherwise all of this would drive me insane.

There is a huge untapped market where tech and real estate meet. I see this as an important opportunity. My next project is Startup Real Estate, an effort to merge the two in a meaningful and profitable manner.

Carmen, my wife, was an event decorator, turned event decor instructor. She was the person behind the Balloon-a-Palooza events at the Domes.

Carmen started the Event Decorating Academy® in 2007 in Milwaukee. After the first two years it was obvious that the climate really took a toll on attendance so we moved the business to Miami in 2009.

We've expanded the business and now have a wholesale wedding and event decor supply company, The Event Decor Mart.

More info and links for Tim Ballering

Some stuff I am involved with:

While this may seem like an impossibly long list of things to be involved with, I have great people working for me. Many have been with me 10-25 years. Without them it truly would be impossible.

To succeed at anything:

  • First choose wisely what you wish to do and then diligently pursuing it. Do not quit even when everyone around you is telling you to quit or are giving up themselves. While "pivoting" is a catchy phrase with today's start up, how many gave up while on the cusp of success.
  • Find dedicated employees and partners well before you think you need them. Then develop a compensation method that rewards employees who do what you consider important.

What people say they want and what they’re willing to work their ass off to get are two different things. — Hugh MacLeod

Affordable Rentals Milwaukee

Cafeteria style property management services. We have owned rental real estate since 1977. In 1993, in response to a friend who needed help with their properties, we began providing services to other owners. Conventional property management seldom works well for the manager nor for the owner. Affordable Rentals was created based on the USDA Farmer Co-op model wherein every owner remains in control of their own properties but have access to a full range of services from office support through maintenance. This typically gives better results at lower costs.

Easy Evict

Milwaukee County Evictions, including filing fee, attorney and process service. We had to hire attorneys and create processes for our own management. A few years ago we made those resources available to owners we were not managing for.


Property maintenance labor and trades by the hour, a day or project.

StartUp RE

Start Up Real Estate is an effort to merge rental real estate and tech in a meaningful and profitable manner. There is an overview of these ideas along with some others at my Just A Landlord post on Real Estate Ideas for 2013

Other business type interest

FileMaker Pro Database design

Some things I do to try and give back to the landlord community:

Apartment Association of Southeastern WI

I have been a director for all but two years since the late eighties and president for a decade. The fastest wayto learn more about something that interest you? Join a trade group and becomve very active in it.


Lots of information and resources for rental property owners. I use the Milwaukee landlord reference as my own home page. This is basically a page of my most useful links. The site also has links to free tenant screening resources and more.


My blog of tips, tricks and thoughts for landlords.

ApartmentAssoc Online Rental Discussion Group

Join one of the largest non spammy landlord discussion groups out there. Here you will find owners in discussing landlord issues with this easy opt in/opt out Email list server. This is a moderated list . We try our best to keep it spam free and focused.

Free Wisconsin Eviction Forms

Free online versions of the forms we use at Affordable Rental.

I've answered a few real estate and landlording questions on Quora

Apartment Association

I've been an Association Board Member for most of the past two and a half decades. I see real value in active membership for all owners of any size. Nothing had helped me learn as much about the rental industry as the Association. Learn more about the Association or check out our meetings and events

I'm married to an artist, Carmen Ballering, and yes, some days that is more work than all of the above. ;-) Some of her projects are :

Event Decorating Academy

Learn professional event decorating - Trust me. it is much more fun than landlording.


A site celebrating the uninflated balloon art of Carmen Ballering (despite the name, this is a PG-13 site) Some of this stuff is out of this world. she has been featured on TV, magazines and for a few years took over the Mitchell Park Domes for a Thanksgiving week balloon art exhibit, which featured 110,000 plus balloons.

The Event Decor Mart

Wholesale supplies for professional event decorators.

Studio 611

One of the best dance floors in Milwaukee. If you are a professional dance instructor, contact us for details on renting.