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Archive for May, 2010

Carpeting prices...ugh

May 27th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I keep wandering away from this blog…start feeling uncomfortable about my finances (what is going on? How am I doing?)...and then come back and provide a vent that gets my head cleared up again. I guess it’s a new system I have in the works.

I was able to transfer the utilities with no problem. Relief. One thing I learned: the power company has an option called a “Landlord Agreement” where you pay one fee of $30.00 and you can then transfer the power back into your name whenever you want without paying a fee. So I got hit with a $30.00 fee this time but in the future that should be a helpful feature.

The boys are moving out this weekend. I talked with the boys who tentatively said they want to move in…and they DO want to move in. Relief there too. Their lease is up July 1st. They want to move in earlier but now I have a carpet conundrum.

This is about to get boring- you might want to go view another blog.

The carpet in the 2 bedrooms is gross. Definitely needs to be replaced. I have $3-400 put aside for new carpeting. I go to a local flooring store and get the basic renters carpet in a cream color and after they measured yesterday the price is $700.00!! For 40 yards.
$370.00 for carpet
$80.00 new pad
$160 installation
$60.00 remove old carpet
$31.50 tax

I know I can remove the carpet myself…at this price I will do that. And I know that maybe the pad underneath is still usable and I wont have to buy that. But it would still be $561.00 AND I would be doing a lot of heavy labor ripping out carpet!

I went to Home Depot and found the same type of carpet for cheaper. Their pricing is:
$250.00 for carpet
$78.00 padding
$97.00 Installation
$36.00 remove old carpet
$ tax
Total $461.00 plus tax

WAY CHEAPER!! Here’s the kicker…the Home Depot carpet COLOR is that UGLY shade of Brown. Really ugly and wont match any paint. PLUS Home Depot takes up to 3 weeks to install the carpeting. The first place will do it next week.

I am going to TRY to negotiate with the more expensive place today but I am awful at it. I already know I wont get anywhere. So it looks like Home Depot and ugly brown it is.

Update

May 24th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Things are going well. Busy weekend with lots of fun stuff. The 2 boys (with 2 dogs) who said they think they want the upstairs unit now say they do want the upstairs unit. They cannot move in for a month after the previous boys have moved out (this coming weekend)- but that gives me time to update the apartment.

New question: What do I do about water & electricity? The previous tenants plan to shut it off, and I need it on to paint/replace carpeting and clean. How does that normally work? Will a utility company just transfer the bill into my name on request?

In other news: my job has given me a pretty awesome title-ish promotion. No pay raise associated with it, no title change- but I now get to do PR write ups to submit to various online sources who publish the articles. Our corporate PR person is overwhelmed and since I have a Masters degree in PR they asked me to do the work. I’m thrilled. My first article was published over the weekend! I love my job because it is so liquid. I find myself taking on different roles on a regular basis. It really challenges and teaches me about myself.

Still for rent- maybe

May 18th, 2010 at 03:30 pm

The upstairs unit is still for rent…I think. The very first guy who came to look at the unit liked it but told me he has a pitt bull mix dog. BB wants no dogs because of the heart pine floors (scratching), and the noise of a dog running around overhead would annoy downstairs tenants (currently me).

It seems like a hypocritical thing to say because we have 2-3 dogs at any given time. But it’s different when it’s OUR dog scratching up the floor. The scratches are worth it because we love our dog. We don’t want scratched up floors from some strange dog.
So I told the guy no. Then I show the apartment to 5-6 other groups and no lease is signed. So BB relents and yesterday the guy, his 2 roommates and their 2 dogs (not 1) come over to look at the unit. The dogs are not old as I was told. They are very much hyper and energetic. But friendly, and there was no barking during the time that I saw the dogs.

What can I say- they caught me a little tired and resigned. I said yes to both dogs with a $100.00 non refundable security deposit for each dog.

So the boys looked over the unit. The original guy loves it. His friend who owns the other dog likes it. The 3rd friend is not happy with the neighborhood. That’s been the mantra I have been hearing at each showing- that they are too nervous about the neighborhood. Hello- I live by myself in this neighborhood and I weigh 100lbs! Why are grown men scared? Not to mention that we had students living in the unit for 2 years…they are still alive to graduate school. Isn’t that proof enough? Plus there are 2 dogs living there!

Anyways, the original guy told me that he really likes it and might even just go into the apartment with the other dog owner and leave the 3rd roommate to find another place. The 3rd roommate has options because he does not have a dog…and I think the 3rd roommate makes the most money of the group. So he has options that the other two do not.

So I told the guy that I am not listing the apartment right now- I’m going to hold off until the improvements have been made. This gives him some time to "work on" the 3rd roommate. He was asking questions about the lease and deposits…all questions no one else has ever asked me. So I feel pretty good about him. If I don’t hear from him by tomorrow- I will call him.

If all goes as planned…I will be collecting $10 extra a month than I get now…but the $200 in non refundable dog deposits is an extra $16.00 a month over 12 months- meaning I am really getting an extra $26.00 a month. And that number makes me happy. Smile

So we’ll see how it goes.

For Rent...still

May 15th, 2010 at 01:48 pm

Well it's been some time since I posted. I went to Las Vegas for 3 days. The whole trip including airfare cost $620.00. I was prepared to spend double that- so I am thrilled. 7 women in Las Vegas gets you lots of free passes into good clubs.

I am still trying to rent the upstairs unit. I have 3 showings today. Every day I think is THE DAY where it will rent and I can forget about it. But not yet. I started out on the high end of the rent scale and now I am a little lower than I feel comfortable being. I plan to put $500 into the unit in new carpeting/re plastering/painting walls...and I will only be collecting an extra $10 a month than I am collecting now.

I feel bad for the boys currently living there- 4-5x a week I am going through the unit for a showing. They don't help it much though- they have posters and black out curtains over the huge lead glass windows. They have cables running all over the floors...and the laundry sits in heaps everywhere.

I cant wait for the unit to sit vacant so I can give it a good cleaning. I feel that once the upgrades have been made- the unit will command much higher rent than I am currently listing it for.

So I don't know if I should take it off the market until after the boys move out and the upgrades are in place. So I can list it for a higher rent. Or secure the renters at the lower rent, put in the upgrades and know that I have probably secured long term renters because they will be living in a posh place for a low price.

Ahhh...I'll just show the unit 3 x today and see what happens. Time to stop over analyzing things.

Till Debt Do Us Part

May 2nd, 2010 at 09:25 pm

Does anybody (in America) watch the TV show "Till Debt Do Us Part" that comes on right after Suze Orman on Saturday nights?

It's a Canadian (I WISH they would bring it to America!) reality show that features a couple in debt and the shows host comes in and gives them some money saving challenges to complete in a month. If they do well- she rewards them with $5k. If they dont- no money.

I think this is my new favorite reality show. I think the challenges can be a little silly- like walking around a mall in a T Shirt that says "Ask me about my $40k of debt"...but last nights episode had 2 lines that made me pause to think.

The first episode (There are 2 seperate episodes on each Sat night) featured 2 teachers pulling in around $100k a year with a little baby. The wife was in debt control mode and never spent any money even though she felt really deprived. She never allowed herself to buy anything because the husband spent every dollar he earned. He belonged to like- 4 different mens sports teams and regularly went to poker night with friends. And he would often gamble online (and lost $8,000 to online gambling.) His wife was trying to control their rising debt but the husband always had an excuse, like, "Some friends from out of town are visiting- I have to go out" and the wife said she was always wondering what excuse he would offer next to spend money.

Well they got him in a confessional setting and he said "I don't understand why my wife wants to save money. The purpose of money is to spend it. I would rather have a good life than have $30k sitting in some bank account doing nothing." And then! he says "I don't think we need a savings account since we'll always have access to the credit cards and a line of credit."

His whole attitude was ...awful. He was a brick wall. He never understood the point of saving anything. The show host tried everything to get him to understand how precarious their financial situation was. The show host even gave the wife $300 and told the wife to go out every night for a week so the husband could see what it felt like when the wife walked out every night to go spend his money. Because the wife felt like he had gambled away "her" $8000. (I assume it's because she had saved the money and in the course of a few late nights online- he lost it all.) But he never got it. The shows host ended up telling the wife to separate her finances from him.

The 2nd couple featured a man 35 yrs old. He is a student at a University who had accumulated $50k of undergrad loans. Married to a pharmacist who was pregnant with their child. And they lived in his parents basement. Wife made $35,000 a year and husband made $12000 a year. The shows host said to him "What makes you think you can pull this young woman from her home country (the wife was Asian), marry her, get her pregnant- but not be able to put a roof over their head?"

That kind of hit home for the guy and he got a part time job after that. And he decided to give up his plan to go to medical school and instead get a teaching job.

Anyways, I like this show. I hope it comes to America.

Today I got a Pretty Darn Good letter in the mail

May 1st, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Is it possible that today is one of the better days of MY LIFE!??

It's close. It's up there on very good days.

I open my mailbox and see a letter (bill) from my mortgage company. If it wasn't a bill it was a harassing letter badgering me to get mortgage insurance or accident insurance or to make bi weekly payments (I get something from the company nearly every week).

So today I open it and vaguely comprehend the words "Check included from escrow overage" as I am skimming the paperwork. As I started fumbling through the papers looking for the check I thought, "Great! A check! I could really use that right now- it's probably because I homesteaded the place a few months ago and they finally have it straightened out." I was hoping for something over $10.00. If it was $30-40.00 range I was in for a great weekend.

I finally found the check and its for $768.00!!!!! I almost screamed out loud. I was in total shock. Then I started jumping up and down before carefully reading the paperwork to find out how the heck I was getting a check for such a large sum of money.

I bet you just thought the $768.00 check was the best part of the story- right? No its not. It gets BETTER.

So as I was reading to see if this was a real check and not one of those fake checks that you can cash IF you sign up for some insurance/cash advance/money making scheme...I read "Your previous mortgage payment was $980.00 a month, your new monthly payment is $889.00."

MY MORTGAGE PAYMENT IS BEING LOWERED BY $100 A MONTH!!!

WTH!! OMG!! This is AWESOME!

And that, my friends, is why this is one of the better days of my life.

FYI: What will I do with the $768.00 check you ask? I'm going to put it towards my mortgage principal. Boring but it seems like the right thing to do.

Not as bad as we thought.

May 1st, 2010 at 11:48 am

Well, BB was slightly melodramatic when he explained the back surgery to me.

He wont be in the hospital for a MONTH. He will be there 3-4 days. He'll be pretty immobile at the house for 10-14 days until the staples come out. After that he will have pain but can do most average things.

Rehab will be about 3 months but he can do that here in GA.

So we are looking at about 2 weeks in FL for the surgery and recovery and then daily rehab here in GA.

BB is now pretty excited (if you can be excited about major back surgery). He talked to the big league trainer for his team who has rehabbed about a hundred of these surgeries. The trainer said BB will be in pain when he wakes up from surgery- but immediately he will notice that his legs no longer tingle or go numb.

The trainer also said that there are about a dozen players still playing in the big leagues after having undergone the same surgery. BB feels better that they are still able to competitively slide/run/throw with the best talent around- then he should be able to do normal activities like workout and play with his kids. BB is talking about being able to go on walks with me, canoeing with me, bike riding...all things he could not do before.

So now BB is ready for the surgery. He was upfront with his employer and told them what he was thinking. The team boss was cool and told BB to do what he needed to do. They are familiar with the surgery and know he will be ready to coach again next year. So it seems like we have job security but you never know.

BB said last night that he wants to use the Big League trainer for his rehab while he is recovering in FL. The trainer is an employee of the team and does not work through insurance- so BB will have to pay him out of pocket. I am all for BB getting quality rehab, but I was a little irritated when BB just casually stated that he wants to use the trainer and pay him on a per session basis. The guy is the head trainer on a big league payroll. How much money you think he makes an hour? I bet a lot. When we have health insurance that will pay for rehab! I'm going to let BB work that out on his own- I am hoping the team will help out BB and set up something with the trainer.

As for The Impulsive Purchase? Things are up in the air. We'll see.