Tuesday, June 17, 2008

House Flipping In The Real World-Part 5-Guardian Angels

Randy summed it up pretty well-it was a mess. Too much for me to contemplate so told everybody I would be back Monday to start the renovation.

Wasn't there twenty minutes on Monday when Alice and Cynthia came over. I had started hauling stuff in the yard toward the center to make a pile to do something with later. Bumpers, trash bags full of stuff and a bunch of broken up, cheap stereo cabinets along with the bed of the truck. Alice said, "We can put all this junk on a truck and haul it away, cheap." The cheap part caught my attention. I asked for details. "50 bucks. Everything but the truck. We know somebody that will want that--no charge." Things that sound too good to be true, usually are but this was worth a try. I said see you tomorrow and left. Came back the next day and everything was gone, except the truck. Alice was looking a little sheepish, saying her friend said they needed a title to take it. Obviously, I had no title and we all stood around thinking how to get rid of two 400 pound inert pieces of steel. Alice finally said, "I got it...but I'll need 30 bucks for gas." I thought, ok, here's the scam. (After dealing with Freddy, I was a little down on humanity.) But the truck was a problem that had to go so went to the bank, got thirty bucks and left Alice and Cynthia to do their work.

Back the next day and the truck was gone, where I have no idea, but it was gone. Cynthia came over indicating that Alice didn't feel too hot after the two had spent most of the day dragging the truck around--it seems sliding the truck parts around wasn't too hard but getting them up into another truck to be hauled away was a bitch, quoting Cynthia. "Need anymore help?" I have no illusions about my ability to patch drywall holes. I can do it, they just look like patched holes. We reviewed the holes. "How much? "Thirty bucks." Deal. And so on and so on.

Freddy had really screwed up the wiring so Cynthia had to call in a consultant, Randy, who did the job for $25. Then Cynthia offered that the inside really needed painting, the peanut butter brown made the rooms look small. Seems Cynthia has a bit of the interior decorator in her. How much for the paint job? $150. Ok.

At that point my curiousity was greater than my greed and I blurted out "Why are you guys so cheap?" Cynthia didn't even blink. "We're on parole." Oh, great. Parole and cheap, how do these go together? Cynthia gave me a short tutorial on the American criminal justice system. "See when you go to see your parole officer every week they ask what you have been up to and the more jobs you got, the better. So I have a lawn service, I fix up rentals for Mr. Barlow and now I'm contracting for you. Like I said, the more the better." The cheap part was due to the fact that it is hard to find the jobs because most people don't want ex-cons hanging around the house. Made sense to me. Finally, Cynthia enjoyed the work. At least she said she did.

Went home and said to Sue, "Hey, you won't believe this..." as an intro to asking her if I should not take any risks and dump Cynthia and Alice as having ex-cons as your work force may have some liability attached. Sue came back that I had so much bad luck with tenants and Freddy that maybe it was my time for some good luck. I said, "Or maybe they are more bad luck." She retorted, "Maybe they are your guardian angels." Maybe but I was still a bit nervous.

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