It began with the Jerry Springer Show at Nanticoke eviction court. There was no other way to describe it. I really didn’t need to be there, neither did my husband. We have a rental manager now who handles these things. But these particular tenants went out of their way to find my husband and drag him into this. So he felt he needed to be there, and when they got him they got me.
It’s a cut and dry eviction for non-payment of rent. There is no defense for it in Pennsylavnia, although this young couple tried to mount one. The magistrate had two questions for them: your rent was due in April. Did you pay it? No? OK – judgement for the plaintiff.
“But this place isn’t up to code!”
Magistrate turns to our rental manager, “Do you have a certificate of occupancy for that unit?” “Yes.” “Then it is up to code.” Judgement for the plaintiff.
“But we have all these pictures! We have witnesses!” The tiny courtroom was packed with their family members. Just enough teeth between them to eat a potato pancake.
The judge told them they would need to vacate. They would have to file a separate civil lawsuit against us if they felt we had rented them a defective property and owed them anything. Then all Hell broke loose. They all started yelling at once, standing up, wild hand gestures - “Slumlord! This place should be shut down!”
That tenant has no idea how close we came to telling the code inspector to shut the unit down and escort her out the door once I determined that she removed the cover of the electrical box in an attempt to say it was never on. I have a time stamped picture of the box with the cover on, taken by our handyman a few days earlier.
“I wonder how many other properties he owns? “
Quite a few, honey. And we’ll probably get more.
I only wish they’d allowed cameras in courtrooms. Jerry would have been proud!
This is probably not the last we’ll hear from them, although it would be nice if it was. I’ll keep you posted. And I promise if the constable has to escort them out the door, I will be rolling video from across the street!
That is, if I’m not up in Vermont settling into my dream job.
A change of plans?
Back in January, I was let go from my safety net job as a traffic reporter. I took it as the golden opportunity to finally become the full-on real estate entrepreneur I was meant to be. I even wrote a blog post about it: http://thisgingerjustsnapped.weebly.com/blog/without-a-net
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor, however, had other ideas.
In order to collect unemployment in Pennsylvania, self-employment is not allowed. It is the most idiotic, pointless, ambition-snuffing law I’ve ever heard of - I’m not even allowed to do 1099 work! Believe me, my Representative Aaron Kaufer got an earful. He picked the wrong time to walk into the Main Bean in Luzerne while I was sipping a latte writing this blog! At least he agrees with me wholeheartedly.
A few years back during the heart of the financial crisis and high unemployment, President Obama actually created some federal programs to help the unemployed start their own businesses. It was up to the states to implement them, and Pennsylvania decided it would be better for us all to go back down to the mines where we belong. The Small Business Development Center even posts a stern warning that you may lose your unemployment benefits by enrolling in their course! WTF?
I thought about just not collecting unemployment, but then the reality of bills set in.
So, Good People Good Homes is my husband’s business. I’m just an out-of-work disc jockey with a hobby.
Another thing the PA Department of Labor makes the unemployed do for that bi-weekly survival money is keep a record of active work search. This means applying for 3 jobs a week . Last Sunday I realized, oops, I forgot to apply for jobs! Since I’ve already put out my resume to every radio station within a 45-minute commute from my house, I went to the radio industry job board at allaccess.com. It was there I found my dream radio gig.
I would be the Operations Manager – in charge of all aspects of programming – for four radio stations in Burlington, Vermont. I’m a Vermonter. My family is all still there. My sister lives in Burlington. Savannah would grow up with her cousins! Burlington is a cool city, too. And the job would actually pay a decent salary. Not real estate guru money, but not too shabby for radio. And I have no plans to drop my dreams of building a real estate empire – this would just change the trajectory.
Once this post is published, I’ll be packing my bags for the interview. I’ve been told I’m one of the top 3 candidates!
Can you tell I’m excited? I am – and I’m going to be quite let down if it doesn’t happen. But I’ve got 1,000 other things going on to keep me busy, which brings me to my next topic.
Flipping Avoca – The Sequel
Steve locked down another house to flip in Avoca. We close mid-May. I haven’t been able to walk through it personally but Steve has. Yesterday I was at the airport picking up the rental car to drive to the job interview – my Prius is at R&M Collision recovering from a hit-and-run rear-ending on Wyoming Avenue. So I had Steve give me the address and I swung by the house to get an exterior view.
I like what the neighbors did with their yard.
I’m not sure we’d need to be quite as elaborate, but we are going to need to level that slope somewhat and carve out some outdoor living space, then make it attractive with some pavers and strategically placed shrubs. Maybe a bench up on the hill to take in the view. It’s easy to focus on the interior only when flipping a house, but attention needs to be paid to the exterior as well. Not just for curb appeal, but for outdoor living. That’s an important lifestyle factor!
Steve is talking with our contractor now to work it into the price. When I get back from Vermont I want to do a walk-through of the interior to get my take on the re-design.
Interior design for flips
This is what excites me. I did my first interior design on the house I live in, which was supposed to be a flip but I fell in love with it. I kicked it old school – scissors and glue – and graph paper, too!
One of Steve’s contractor friends helped us move. I had my graph paper notebook with me to show him where to put the furniture. He was impressed – said this was like CAD work, only he’d never seen anybody write it out on graph paper before.
What can I say, I was born in 1970. When the sunspots take out all the technology, I’ll still be good to go. But for this flip, I’m looking at downloading some free designing software.
There’s a lot of programs out there, but I’m leaning toward Sweet Home 3D http://www.sweethome3d.com/
I like it because it works with graph paper, like I’m used to, in 2D. Then you can get a 3D view of what you planned. Pretty cool, and easy for a middle-aged Luddite to understand.
I’m not really a Luddite – I have nothing against technology. I’m just not enthralled by it. If it doesn’t make my life easier I don’t have time for it. The more time it takes for me to learn – the more time it had better save me in the long run!
Speaking of technology – I’m on the precipice of replacing my laptop. I got a Lenovo Ideapad Z565 back in 2012, an off-lease deal from the Computer Shop in Forty Fort. I love it! But it’s getting a bit long in the tooth. It’s been quirky since I upgraded to Windows 10, the battery is shot and the grounding pin on the power supply broke off.
Tom at the Computer Shop says stay away from the new Ideapads. The Thinkpad series is OK, though. He also recommends the Dell Lattitude and Precision series. But since I still love my old Lenovo, he suggests I just take it in for a good cleaning, downgrade back to Windows 7, and replace the battery.
I’m starting to think about getting a 2-in-1, though. It would be nice to carry a tablet around the job site when I’m doing an interior design on a flip.
So off I go into a new week, having more questions than answers. Like, how are we going to do this flip if I’m moving to Vermont to start a new job?
I don’t know how I’m going to pull any of this off. I never do. At least I’m never bored!