You have to go inside the house
My sister and her three kids are moving cross country — and I mean literally from one coast to the other. On the fifth day of their long car trip, they finally made it to Georgia and stopped in to spend the night at our house for some family time and a much-needed reprieve from hotel rooms and restaurant food.
We had a good get-together. My mom and dad and grandparents all came to eat and spend time with my sister, whom they haven’t seen in person in years. We had good food and good fellowship.
After everyone left, my sister, Ashley and I sat in the living room and talked before heading off to bed. My sister began to tell us about the rental she was moving into and how excited they were to be only a day away from being out of the car and into their new home.
I became curious about how she found a rental so far away from the area they moved from, and she told me all about it.
First off, the rental was listed with an agent local to the area. My sister found the nice, three-bedroom, two-bath house on a private lot on one of the big rental websites. It was close to her new job, and her new boss drove by the house and said it was in a good area.
With that confirmation, my sister applied for the house, got accepted and paid rent, deposit and signed a year lease.
As we talked further, she talked about how the pictures looked. Now, I knew she hadn’t been inside since she was living across the country, but I asked if anyone she knows personally had been inside the home to inspect it for her. She said, “No.”
That’s when she told us that she had already signed the lease and paid the money before she discovered a problem. You see, the ad for the rental said it had a dishwasher in the home. But she could not see it in the kitchen photos. She called and asked the agent about this, and the agent said she was pretty sure there was a dishwasher but that she would check.
Feeling the strain of the tight rental market, and relying on the agent, she went ahead and signed the lease. But the next day, the agent said that there was no dishwasher present and she apologized for that. She said that if my sister wanted to install one herself, she could contact the handy-man the agent uses.
I found that development odd. The accidental dishwasher advertisement wasn’t unusual — it could happen with a computer glitch. I thought it was odd that an agent was giving a tenant permission to cut cabinets, add wiring and mess with plumbing.
I asked my sister if the agent was the owner, and she said that the agent was not the owner and was just advertising the home. As matter of fact, there was going to be a third-party management company in place after the lease was signed, and there would be no further contact with the agent.
I told her I wouldn’t want one of my tenants installing a dishwasher without my input and approval because of all that the process entails.
Once my sister and her kids arrived on site, there was more bad news. For one, the house had an overwhelming cigarette smell, and the place was more dated than it had looked in picture. The paint job was shoddy, and there was a sign on the stove saying it was out of order but that a new one had purchased and would be delivered in a few weeks. There were a few other odds-and-ends maintenance issues, and my sister thought she’d better call the property manager ASAP.
It was a good thing she did. For one, the property manager said that the owner would never have approved cutting into the cabinets to install a dishwasher and couldn’t believe the agent had offered that up so freely. Next, the property manager quickly got some air purifiers out there and made arrangements to fix the other issues. But my sister still had to deal with them for the first few days of her stay.
This whole procedure didn’t make sense to me. You see, we do not allow someone to put in an application on our properties until they, or one of their representatives, have viewed the interior of the home in person. Had my sister had someone go in, a lot of those issues could have been remedied before my sister showed up, and the customer service would have been a lot better.
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.