On a recent workday, I walked out of the door of a house we’d purchased the previous week and got into my truck. To quote Peg from the PBS show my kids watch, “Peg + Cat,” “I’m free-e-king out!”
When I arrived at the house, we found it was still completely full – as in, the seller hadn’t moved yet.
You see, they’d had until the day before to have all their personal property removed from the house. I was supposed to go and verify that everything was gone that morning and then come back at 1 p.m. to start filming our new reality show “What’s the Deal.” With a house full of stuff, it was going to make it hard to film our walkthrough inspection.
I called the previous owners to find out what had happened. They replied they hadn’t been able to find anyone to help them move.
I hung up with them and called Kim Cook who I was supposed to be meeting in an hour. As I was telling Kim what was going on, she did one of the things Kim does best. She put a positive spin on things.
Besides being an awesome real estate investor, Kim also has a very positive mindset that tends to be contagious. As a matter of fact, she has one of those personalities that’s likely to leave you walking taller and feeling better about life if you spend just few minutes with her.
Kim just has that wonderful effect on people.
The spin Kim put on this situation was that the whole scenario was a teachable moment. She was right. If you are an investor, you’ve probably run into this problem and wondered what to do.
First of all, I recommend putting a personal property abandonment clause into every agreement where someone is going to occupy a property until a certain date in the future. Here is an example of what that clause should look like:
- Seller will remain in the house until November 5th 2017, hereafter called the “move-out date”. When seller moves from the property, seller agrees to leave the house clean and free of any garbage.
- Seller agrees that any personal property left in the house after the move-out date will be considered abandoned and the buyer may remove and dispose of said property as buyer sees fit.
So what does this clause do? It shows that you have agreed upon a timeframe for when the seller will be out. It also says that you have the right to remove and dispose of anything left in the house after the agreed-upon date. This is important because you don’t want someone saying that you took their stuff. Besides, you don’t want stuff. You want the house back so you can get to work.
Money is a great way to incentivize them to perform on time; but make it conditional. Put in a performance clause that states if they aren’t out by the agreed-upon move-out date, you’ll charge $100 a day in rent until they’ve moved. This gives them a little leeway, while keeping them motivated.
On this particular house, I neglected to put the performance clause in. The move-out money was all or nothing. So I had some unmotivated people, a house full of stuff and a camera crew on the way. What would you do?
I did what David Tilney says. I was easy on the people but hard on the problem. We hired a moving crew with the move-out money and got the sellers’ stuff out for them.
Our contract gave me the right to dispose of their property as I saw fit. What I saw fit to do was to treat people the way I would want to be treated. By hiring the moving crew, we helped them, which helped us. And that win-win situation is a teachable moment.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.