Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Conveyance Advantage

Short update: Fire statistics from the Office of Emergency Services in Sacramento,CA, as of 8 a.m. yesterday:
  • 18 fires burning
  • 426,236 acres burned
  • 8,884 firefighters on site
  • 40 reported injuries
  • 3 reported deaths
  • 1,664 structures destroyed
  • 25,153 structures threatened
  • 51 shelters open with a population of 22,195
  • 321,000 evacuees
  • Aircraft and personnel from the following states: Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Wyoming, North Carolina and New Mexico.

My husband (the eternal optimist) reminded me tonight of all of the wonderful items that we have been able to pillage, I mean, convey before selling our rentals. As I write this, I am adding up the worth of these items. Since I wasn't able to sell the Lousy T-shirt on the unmentionable auction site (see, maybe I'll find comfort in knowing that we have recouped part of the approximately $700,000 that we lost.

In one new home that we sold six weeks after we bought it (for $40,000 more--those were the good old days--and the cause of the slump), we really made out. I was able to take the solid Corian cutting board that the developer makes out of scraps in order to prevent the homeowners from cutting directly on the counter. It's very heavy and we use it everyday.
Monetary value: $20
Useful value: Priceless

In that same rental, Lennar gave us a GE Profile refrigerator. Now, I've owned GE in the past and swore I'd never own another. However, this was free. Need I say more? We figured that it was worth at least $500.00. After all, it's a Profile, which means that, when installed, the front sits flush with the cabinetry and doesn't stick out. Therefore, it's a tad smaller than a standard refrigerator.

We had intended to remove it at the same time that we moved. However, we listed the house first, and, specifically, said nothing about the fridge conveying after the sale. A very young, newly married couple purchased the home and assumed that it came with the refrigerator. They neglected to ask us for it or to put it in the contract. The agent begged us to reconsider. No can do. We allowed the buyers' parents to enter after funding, but before the transfer of title (this translates to about 2 days before the close of escrow) in order to paint the interior with designer colors.

Unfortunately, we went to pick up the fridge while the parents were there. They begged us to reconsider and offered to write us a check for the fridge so that it could be there when daddy's little girl moved in. No can do. We needed it that day. The agent ended up splitting the cost with the dad. "After all," we asked, "how much can a small GE refrigerator cost?" Later, we decided to check it out.
Monetary value: $1,200
Useful value: Hey, it's our REFRIGERATOR (it also came with a three-year extended warranty.)

In another resale home that we bought and sold, we were able to pull out a very nice built-in (not anymore) garage unit. We had learned our lesson and took it before we listed the property. It sits in our garage today.
Monetary value: $800
Useful value: Are you asking me or my husband?

Our very first, and one of our best, tenants had to leave in a hurry. We think that some business associates of her fiance had threatened them, but we're not sure. Well, they left the house in excellent condition. I attempted to refund her entire security deposit, but she left no forwarding address and I couldn't find her anywhere. Her mother acted like I was a terrorist when I asked where I could send the check. She didn't want it either.

This same tenant left many nice furnishings in the garage--probably too much to take while fleeing in the middle of the night. We have been kind enough to "store" these items for her for free until her return. At which time, we will be happy to release them to her. Did I mention that this was five years ago?
Bike: $120
Trundle Bed with Mattresses: $400
Misc. things that I can't remember: $50

The pillaging doesn't end with useful items. Oh no! When you pay for the flooring and blinds in a brand new home, frequently there are many materials left over--for patchwork or whatever. We now have a shed and garage rafter stacked with carpeting, tile, blinds, and blind slat replacements that we will never use.
Monetary value: $100
Useful value: -$100 for storage space

Let's add it all up now:
Cutting board made of counter scraps: $20
Refrigerator taken from the clutches of young newlyweds: $1,200
Garage storage unit that I never see: $800
Total "borrowed" items from fleeing tenant: $570
Left over carpet, etc: 0

Total of value of items: $2,590
Approximate amount of money lost: $700,000

Total amount of money left to recoup: $697,410

Now we're getting somewhere!