Blog: R.E. Tales
(Hey, not every place is pretty...)
If you drive along the Jordanville Rd, you will no doubt notice a beautiful red and white barn that sits by the roadside. Part of the bottom floor is made from beautifully laid stone and the rest is carefully done, but modern and neatly kept. It is an eye-catcher. If you slow down to look at it, you may see that there is a red pipe gate that is closed and locked at the driveway. No one around here gates their drives. Well, almost no one. I do know of another and find it plain weird. But look deeper here and you’ll see something else. There’s a house, hidden by low-hanging trees and bushes. It appears to be an old house, not nearly as well-kept as the barn or the grounds, but it’s hard to tell, it is so obscured by the greenery. You wonder if it is ever lived in.
(Later... You did read Part I, didn't you?)
Well, the day of the formal eviction arrived, the day the poor tenant is literally thrown out in the street. I had lined up to come: a Deputy, the Rent-a-Center guy, a helper (the law says I have to move her stuff out while the Deputy watches), my attorney, and a locksmith ($125 just to come). While waiting for the locksmith, my helper (my carpenter – $25/hr) couldn’t believe we could have a key for the door and not be able to open it. So I unlock the door, open it 2 inches, and the security chain she’d installed pulled tight. We jiggle it a bit and it just falls away. What? It turns out that she installed it backwards; instead of tightening when it gets pulled tight, it slips off. Now, it was just a matter of pushing away the sofa jammed against the door. All this time, I am thinking about the locksmith, now on his way and counting his dollars already. He actually was disappointed to arrive and find he had no work to do – and he was worried that I’d stiff him. I didn’t of course.
This woman knows all the tricks of the trade. More than me. She came to me in November in response to an ad I had for a 6 month rental on a place I didn’t want to sit empty over the winter. Barb (not her real name) proved to be a thin gal, probably in her 40’s, good-enough looking except for the bad teeth. She drove a pickup, which is always neat. The story was that she had 2 horses and a donkey and needed to rent a place where she could keep them herself and not have to board them My property had a barn and it had several box stalls, so was perfect for her, plus it was closer to work. She wanted a written lease, something I did not have in mind. But that’s OK; it’s only good business and protects both parties. I insisted upon getting references and a security deposit that was more than double the rent. I checked her references, 2 work and one personal. They all said that she worked hard (as a night-time office cleaner), was on time, had no bad habits of which they were aware, was neat and clean at home as far as they knew, and paid her bills on time. What more could a landlord want? A red flag – only one, the personal reference who was her last landlord, seemed to know her very well.
(Note: this was written before 2019, when I succumbed like everyone else, not because i wanted one, but because my land line had become unusable. Now, after a couple of years of use with my omnipresent always-on cell phone, I decided that I still would prefer a land line,)
People are often shocked, just shocked when they learn that I don’t have a cell phone. What kind of real estate agent am I anyhow? There’s a couple of answers to that question, but the one I prefer is to think, “The kind of agent that you will remember”. A Luddite.
On owner financing, there are many ways to go. The most important thing is how much is down, followed by your (correct) evaluation of them as someone who will 1) take good care of the property, and 2) will keep you paid. This is what really matters. Anything else is like counting how many angels can dance on the point of a pin.
A buyer is planning to come up to buy a place and wonders why I am still talking with other buyers about it. Here’s why:
Today, I showed a dairy farm which has a tenant. In addition to Holsteins, there is also a hound. Nice dog, a bitch, quite friendly. She spends her time in the office where she has destroyed a sofa out of boredom. Foam rubber is everywhere.
There are two parts to a Lease/Purchase kind of arrangement, just like the name implies. In the first part, the buyer pays a substantial amount of money down, which is non-refundable. With this, basically, he buys the right to purchase the property at a set time and at a set price. So you can buy, for instance, at 2013prices, but in 2015. Then, in the second part, each month, the buyer pays a sum of money to me, a sum which exceeds what normal rent would be. The difference goes, along with the downpayment, towards the purchase price. If you buy at or before the set time, your initial deposit and all the extra money is subtracted from the agreed-upon purchase price and then your mortgage begins.
This is an issue that we see only rarely, but it’s important enough that everyone should know about it. First, why do we insist upon having the buyer make a deposit? Easy. It’s money that he risks losing if he does not perform as the contract stipulates that he will. That’s fair enough as the seller also risks something: he risks losing the chance to sell it to someone else for a million dollars (or whatever is acceptable). Once you are under contract, the seller cannot sell it anyone else, so the deposit serves to hold the buyer’s interest. The buyer knows that if he decides he wants a farm with a red barn and not the white one that is there, then he risks losing his money. If he wants his money back, then he has to provide for it with a Contingency in the Purchase Contract. Each contingency that is added makes your offer less strong, so I don’t like to have too many if that can be helped. But if you need a contingency, then by all means, I want it in there. Common ones are to secure a mortgage or to sell property that the buyer owns., Inspection clauses are also common contingencies, though they may not be written in as such if there is a mortgage contingency as the bank may insist upon them as a condition for the mortgage.
I bought a house Tuesday. Boom, just like that. I learned of it Sunday, visited it Monday. It was an on-line auction, which I don’t like, not one bit. My visit yesterday gave me a list of repairs needed. I totaled that and added a bit for good measure. Then figured what I could sell it for if the repairs were done. Then I took a set fraction of that figure, subtracted the repairs estimates from it, and the remainder was the maximum I could bid. The fraction figure I use gives me my profit and allows for cost over-runs, taxes, insurance, and unpleasant surprises, which always happen.
Some are merely amusing, some can be an immense help. All are interesting.
After 40 years, I've learned a lot, & acquired unforgettable experiences. Follow these long enough and you'll eventually get the whole book. (Names probably changed, for obvious reasons.)