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Still Chewing Through the Straps

July 28th, 2017

Out of my Way, You Pillars of Salt

Today is a better day than most. I am waiting for a mechanic to give me a report on the farm machinery I intend to buy. For a hundred bucks, a trained diesel mechanic is looking at a farm tractor, a garden tractor, and a gas-powered golf cart for me. If God smiles on me, soon I will receive his report, and I will be cleared for takeoff.

It’s wonderful to know that when I move, I won’t have to begin my northern Florida experience with a month of tractor-shopping. Buying vehicles is like dating. It’s full of pitfalls and the potential for bitter regret. If I get the machines the mechanic is looking at, I’ll be covering all the bases at once, and I’ll be getting a very good price.

I still have a lot to do here. My dad has rental properties, and one is vacant right now. Yesterday I toured it with the realtor who looks after our properties. It was very depressing. The tenants were slobs, even by tenant standards. They painted the dining room walls a dark rust color, in semi-gloss instead of flat. They painted other areas a sickly baby blue, and of course, they got paint on the white popcorn ceiling. They destroyed the vertical blinds. They were told to patch all of their nail and screw holes when the left, so they jammed spackling compound into them, but they didn’t sand them.

Here’s one of their more impressive stunts: they drove a doorknob through a wall and left a patch you wouldn’t believe. Someone slammed the door and drove the doorstop through it, and after that, I guess they figured it was okay to use the wall as a doorstop.

I knew the place needed new kitchen cabinets, but now it looks like it will need to have the bathrooms done. A contractor had the gall to submit a $30,000+ estimate. Dude. It’s a rental. Granite is for people who take care of things. It’s not for tenants.

I would sell it right now, as is, but then I would have to think about capital gains tax. To avoid paying, I have to have a new rental property in mind, and I have to buy it within a few months. Tall order.

Never buy residential rentals. You have to be out of your mind to get into it. Residential tenants have the same respect for your property that convicts have for prisons. They expect homes to be perfect when they move in, and then they live like animals. Commercial tenants are completely different. They expect nothing except walls, and they don’t ask for much. More often than not, they make improvements which they leave behind. And you can evict them FAST. Try that with a home. Even a squatter who came in through a window can hold you off for months.

Here’s another fun item on my list. My dad’s pool pump died. Couldn’t it wait another year? Guess not. I had one delivered, and now I have to install it. In the hottest weather of the year. That will be a joy.

It gets better. The starboard battery bank on my dad’s boat is dead. Somehow, we discharged it so much it laughs at the battery charger. I have to try to charge it with the port engine, using jumper cables. Won’t that be fun? If I don’t get on it today or tomorrow, the boat could sink because the bilge pumps won’t run.

Guess I should make that my top priority. I’ve gotten used to the lovely emerald shade the pool has turned.

On the up side, the mechanic just called, and he thinks the machinery is worth twice what the seller is asking, so there’s some good news. There are a couple of hydraulic leaks, but they’re easy fixes, and the bush hog has a deck tear I should be able to weld up. Hooray for me.

Time to head for the boat, to erase all the good I did with my morning shower. Pray I get it running, and that I can resist the urge to scuttle it.

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3 Responses to “Still Chewing Through the Straps”

  1. Heather P Says:

    Sell the boat or better yet donate it to offset the capital gains tax from selling the rental property. You’ve written for years about what a pain that boat was to deal with so just get rid of it.

  2. Steve H. Says:

    Unfortunately, he did not like paying for repairs, so it has a lot of cosmetic problems that will cost money for the new owner to fix.

    I got it working without much trouble (thank you, God), so now it just has to function until someone buys it.

  3. Ken Says:

    When I was building my house, I picked the brain of a local building contractor. I axed him which subs always had the most ridiculous bids; tile guys.

    As opposed to the insulation guy that did the whole job, materials and labor for less than I could buy just the materials.

    Residential renters truly are scum. LOL

    Toothpaste is decent spackle on light colors….

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