Home > Archives for July 2005
This afternoon at 5 PM, he called to give me another update. Two-thirds of the upper cabinets are in and screwed together. They've still got one or two more to put up, which will be done on Monday. He hasn't heard yet on if the panels are finished, so if they aren't done by noon or so on Monday, he may have to come back on Tuesday. The countertops are all in and the sinks are installed. Keith also mentioned he picked up some lazy susans for the two corner cabinets, which did not have any.
So pretty good news so far. I also spoke with someone about clearing the weeds and they will be in the area on Tuesday to give me a quote for that. I'm hoping he can also get the job done on Tuesday, but if he can't, I'm going to go ahead and list the property anyway, assuming all the other stuff is done.
In reading the first post I linked to above, I realized that my cashflow from the Indian casino has dried up. Apparently they discovered I was simply redeeming the $5 coupons and never playing, so they stopped sending me the newsletter. Either that or they stopped the newsletter for the summer, which might be possible since so many people leave town for the summer months. These "snowbirds," as we call them, are probably the casino's main target audience. Oh well. Easy come, easy go.
The tree probably hasn't been watered since I bought the property. I did not see an irrigation system, so I guess the previous owners watered it with a hose. I never thought about watering it of course, since I didn't plan on holding the property as long as I have. We had some storms over the weekend, so the rain should help the tree. It also looks pretty mature and I hope it has deep roots and can find water somewhere underground. Lord knows that with the 110+ degree weather we've been having lately, there isn't much water to be found above ground!
It is my sincere hope that, in about 10 days or so, my rehab project will be done. I haven’t heard from anyone this week, but I wasn’t expecting to. The countertops aren’t due until sometime next week and the cabinets should be being worked on. So, in anticipation of the job being done, I’ve started contacting tree trimming services to get quotes on taking care of the tree in the front yard. This is proving surprisingly difficult.
I have gone to the websites of two companies that provide tree trimming services. Each one had an on-line form you could use to request a quote. I’ve filled out both of them and waited. And waited some more. It would seem no one wants to call me back. This is one of the things I dislike about trying to do business on the internet. I guess I’m going to have to break down and actually use the phone. How quaint.
Joe, the fool cabinet maker I had originally hired, and who has given me nothing but problems, problems, and more problems, has bit me again. Keith and Corbin called me tonight from the property and Keith said he needed me to make an executive decision. It seems Joe had measured wrong or built wrong or just screwed up in some other way and did not make the cabinets wide enough on the bottom. There is a 1.5 inch gap between the stove and the cabinets on both sides of the stove. And the countertops are built to the dimensions of the cabinets, so that means the counter tops, which were supposed to be installed today, were also short. Keith said we could go as is and leave the gap or wait two weeks for a new countertop to be made. *sigh*
If I was just renting the place, I'd probably just live with the gap. But since I am planning on selling, I really can't let the gap stay. It'll be a major drawback and probably the most glaring thing in an otherwise completely rebuilt kitchen. So I opted to get new countertops and be stuck with a two week delay. After making my decision, Keith said that's the choice he would have made too. It's better to do things right the first time.
So Keith will go ahead and work on the kitchen cabinets next week and Corbin will order the new countertop on Monday. One piece of good news is that the bathroom vanities are in, including the countertops. The sinks are not installed though. Corbin didn't have time to do them today, but he agreed to install them when he returns in two weeks with the new countertop.
This is why I'm not bothering with the weeds in the yard until I know everything is done.
I think I've gotten a call from either Keith or the countertop guy (Corbin) every day this week with updates. I like it!
I still need to set up tree service to trim the tree that was damaged in the last storm. Hopefully, the same company will also clear the weeds from the yard. I'm holding off on doing this until just before the house goes on the market, so I'm going to wait for another day or two before setting this up.
I also pointed out to Keith that I haven't received a quote yet for this work :-) He said he forgot, and will get one to me today. When I spoke with him, he didn't even have a price on the vanities - he ordered them before he left on vacation, knowing he needed them, but never got a price. Anyway, he assures me he'll give me a fair price for the job. He said he is a professional and expects to be paid like one, but he's not going to charge me extra just because he knows I'm in a tight spot right now and need the work done. He said in the long run, he can make more money being fair than by trying to gouge people here and there. He estimated a day and a half of his labor, plus parts. I must say I really like the guy so far.
If your house is empty, the company will bring in furniture, paintings, window dressings, etc. If your house is furnished, they will modify your decor so that it reflects less of "you" and more of a "generic homey feeling."
The article didn't mention prices, but they claim customers get a 40% return on their investment. One person interviewed for the article said he got a 300% return. I don't think I'll do this on the house I am currently fixing up, simply because I've already put more money into it that I wanted, but I will keep this in mind for future houses. I think a service like this would help most when an investor is selling a house they fixed up, since those homes are typically empty.
When I first got my rental property, I didn't know I needed to collect tax until my CPA mentioned it. It wasn't a big deal, but it did mean I had to pay $20 a month in sales tax, plus about $50 a year for a sales tax collection license. Had I known I needed to collect tax, I would have included it in the rent I charged my tenant. Instead, I had to take a drop in my cashflow of $20 a month.
About 30 seconds later, he called me back and told me the owner of the trailer wants to know where the trailer is. I told Joe I did what I told him I was going to do in my fax. Joe is claiming he was out of town and didn't get my fax until just now and he was going to fax me his plane tickets to prove it. I told him I have been telling him for at least a month that I wanted the trailer gone and I asked Joe why he hadn't hauled it away in all that time. He never answered that question. Joe said the owner was going to report the trailer stolen. I explained that, since Joe was not returning my phone calls or faxes and that the trailer had been sitting on my property for months, it was an abandoned vehicle and I had spoken with the city and they told me I could do what I wanted with it. I also told Joe I was done talking to him and hung up.
I also swung by the place yesterday and confirmed the trailer was taken away, along with the trash on it. Yay! The property looks better already!
Relating to the trailer - I had about 100 responses to the offer I posted on craigslist come in within an hour. I responded to the first 10, telling them I was offering it to people in the order their responses were received. I gave each person 24 hours to go check out the trailer and haul it away. The first responder didn't get to it in time, so I offered it to the second, who took it. Once I confirmed it was taken, I then spent about 1.5 hours emailing all 90+ people telling them the trailer was no longer available. This was about 48 hours after I posted the offer. I got many responses back from people thanking me for following up but one idiot actually complained that I didn't respond fast enough to suit him! He accused me of leaving him hanging, proceeded to call me names, and said I probably didn't go in order, but sold the trailer to whoever offered me money for it. He said he responded within minutes of my ad going up and apparently he couldn't comprehend that he wasn't fast enough. (He was the 53rd responder.) And no one offered me money for the trailer. Anyway, I'm just appalled that some people can get so snotty when someone offers them something for free!