Along the Natchez Trace

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Busy at the House

We don't live in the house...  never have, not likely ever will.  The house belonged to Bill's grandfather back in the '50s.  Grandpa John passed away in the 1970's and his widow lived there until her passing 9 or so years ago.  She'd remarried, and became a widow again during those years.

Bill & I were back in Farmington, NM in late 2004, and Bill, being the genealogist that he is, was doing research getting his family tree up to date.  His grandfather's wife had been rather reclusive in her last years and although we'd heard that she'd died, she had requested that no obituary be printed in the newspaper.  We tracked her down through the funeral home that had the arrangements...  and they provided us with the lawyer who handled her affairs.

Turned out she'd left everything to the Salvation Army, with the instructions her home was to be sold and the profits also go to charity.  The lawyer still had her ashes in an urn in his office...  said he was waiting to see if any relatives showed up before taking care of them.  We asked if we could have her interred at the local cemetery and we'd provide a headstone.  Well...  apparently he was to take care of those things and she had provided the funds in her will for just that.  This has since been taken care of.

Then...  what about the house?  She'd had it kept up quite well and it happened that we were in the market for a rental, so we bought the house....  it never had to go on the market...  we bought it as an investment to be used as a rental.

I think we've owned it since 2005...  always had a Rental Property Manager take care of it.  We hadn't even seen it since 2009 so when we arrived in Farmington a couple of weeks ago and drove past we were appalled at how trashy it had become.  The same couple has rented it since 2007 and either they just aren't high maintenance folks or the agency was negligent, and a lot of things have been allowed to deteriorate in that time.

Among other things, the fascia board needed scraped and painted.  One section needed replaced.
We found a man who is one of those independent "handyman" guys...  he's painting this week.

Bill replaced the bad fascia...  Jimmy, the handyman will paint it and put it up.

The house still has those old single pane windows.  We are looking into replacing them with double pane, energy efficient windows.  There are some landscaping issues...  dead shrubs in front...  lots of weeds coming up through the concrete.  Many "lawns" here are really just decorative gravel.  But they still need to look okay.  There are some other issues...  garage door opener, one of the bathrooms needs some work.

It's kind of embarrassing to come back and find that the house you "entrusted" to the rental agency looks like the kind of house you'd never want to live next door to.  

Today we "took our house back" from that agency and found another that we think we can trust to tell us when things need fixed.  It's so much easier (and cheaper in the long run) to fix things when they first start to go bad rather than wait until it becomes a crisis.  

This is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath with attached garage and a big, fenced in backyard.  I think before too long it will look nice again and even Grandpa John would be happy to live there.

And...  the next time we come back to Farmington we won't cringe when we see how it looks.

That's All For Today!


  1. Sometimes it is hard to find people you can trust to take care and/or notify you when something needs done. Hope the new realtor will work out better.

  2. Same thing happened to me in a house I owned in Ajo, AZ. It's difficult being an absent owner. I finally sold the place.

  3. So frustrating when you pay somebody and they don't do the job at all. But it looks like you're going to soon have the place looking good again. Same renters?

  4. I've always upgraded the rentals where I've lived. I lived in one shack where nothing worked, front door would not even close, gray water illegally draining into the yard too. I repaired everything, even replaced the toilet and tore out rotted molded bathroom vinyl, three layers of it. I couldn't believe someone would own a house, even to rent, and let it go to hell like that. I got evicted however when the 45 year old stand alone furnace blocked and failed, had never been serviced, had been leaking CO into the house forever, but even with a CO detector showing unsafe levels, my landlady would not do anything, until it blocked, threw out flames, and failed and the gas company shut it down as dangerous. Middle of winter too, right before Christmas, and she booted me.

  5. It's a cute looking little house. Just needs some TLC!!

  6. It was such a slum. That midnight, the day I had to be out, as I left, I turned my car around in the driveway, to face the house, headlights on, and I stood out in front of the car and raised both hands, with middle fingers extended, and yelled at the top of my voice "Goodbye Slumlordville!" Felt good.

  7. It does stink when a decent possession is neglected and even abused by someone entrusted to do better. If that sounds a bit pontificate, it is. Been there, done that. Glad you were able to bring it back.

  8. We just found out last month that one of our rental condos had not had the rent collected for 2 months. The rental company just said 'sorry'! Grrr.

  9. If anyone wants to be an absentee landlord, I have a house in Nashville, TN. The absentee landlord thing isn't working for me and it is for sale. Make a good rental for someone. Not me. I had two different agents supposed to be handling it. In both cases they had 'friends' who just needed a break... Yeah. House trashed and rent not paid. Some folks make it work I hear.