Thursday, May 14, 2015

We have a signed lease!

It's official, we have a signed lease!

So far, I have great things to say about Key Property Management. Their staff has been patient and attentive to us each time that we reach out to them. They gave us good guidance on what to do for the house with getting it ready, how to best stage and show it, and helped screen the applicants/applications that came in.

And now, the best of news- we have a signed lease!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Making Progress - a little of this, a little of that

Campsite at Pine Grove Furnace
(not relevant, I just love it here)
Many years ago I was at the Pine Grove Furnace Camp store and sitting on the patio I got talking to a woman who had hiked on the Appalachian Trail from Georgia. She was done from boredom, actually. But, the part of her story that fascinated me was deciding to do it and then getting her "-ish" in order to be able to do it. I remember her laughing and saying that she was in the worst shape of her life as she took her first steps because the months leading up to it were so hectic getting everything else ready took away any chance she had of actually preparing for the hike.

And that's where we are. We haven't camped at all this year (except for our return from Key West at New Year's) and the upcoming weeks don't look good.

But, there's been progress...

House Rental Status

The property management company has been great to deal with. Once the house went up on their web site and associated sites (Trulia, Zillow, etc.) we got pretty quick interest. Within a couple of weeks, we got 3 applications put in on the house. Our leasing manager took care of showings, vetting people, and trying to decide if they would be a good fit for the house and us. The office manager would email us with an incredibly detailed write-up of the applicants including professions, salaries, credit scores, number of kids, pets, etc. - you name it. They helped coordinate some minor negotiation types of things (pet deposit, painting requests, etc.). And finally, they're handling the drafting of the lease and will be the day to day contact for the tenants.

House Status

Brian had a helper at all times
Sad and empty gang box
Things setup at the auction
Boxing and sorting excess clothes
for sale as box lots
Progress Industries EMS
VTech Phone System

Otherwise, there seem to be a bajillion little things that the house needs to have done. Our county requires a rental license and that includes an inspection of the property. Ahead of that, we went through their checklist and had quite a "honey do" list to take care of. Fortunately, my in laws are awesome and came down to help out this past weekend. What was a little too big for us to handle, the property manager put us in contact with one of their prime "handy man"-type of contractors. Brian came out earlier this week and fixed a handful of things.

As with everything in this house, there were surprises.

  1. The GFCI outlet on the deck that wouldn't work nor reset - that was because there were no power wires to it. They installed a gang box, trim, and even the outlet, but there was nothing to hook it to - not even when Brian took out the gang box.
  2. The tub that vibrated and wouldn't let you fill it more than 1/2 pressure; that was because the water shut off knobs were only turned half-way on. It wouldn't be an issue, except we had to cut out 2 removable tiles to get to it.
Next up is some painting (as most of our paint is 7+ years old), staining of decks (general maintenance), and a few odds and ends around. The last big house "to do" is spring cleanup in the yard. Normally we spend a few weekends doing this before my son's birthday party around June 1. This year, we're going to contract it out. We also decided since there is such extensive landscaping that it would be best to pay for "yard cleanup" twice a year, weeding the flower beds and removing fallen leaves.

And, we've continued to clear out excess. The local auction has been my best friend. I've taken things twice - it's a great and fairly low work way of selling things off. As well, the local yard sale groups on Facebook and Freecycle have been helpful to get things here or there out of the house.

Readying the Camper

This is a bit of a lie. The camper hasn't been back at our house in more than a month. But, I did order a couple of things:
  1. Tire Pressure Monitoring System - I went with the TST 507 with Flow-through sensors.This should/will give us protection in the form of warning if our tires are compromised in some way. I've heard good things about the TST brand. Now I'm just waiting to see if I'll need their booster/repeater. The system came with 6 sensors; so I had to buy 2 packs of additional sensors .
  2. Progressive Industries EMS - this will protect the camper in the case of faultily wired campground pedestals or other low/high-power situations. Again, the Progressive Industries brand gets nothing by high marks everywhere that you turn. I opted for the hard-wired version with remote display so that it wasn't something I had to hookup each time (lessor so that being hard-wired, it's no longer a theft target). The remote display is so that I can put it in with the rest of my control panel.
  3. Bluetooth Connect to Cell Phone System with Handsets - this allows me to use my cell phone plan for phone calls, but use an actual handset for telephone calls. I despise talking on my cell phone and this changes everything for the better for me.

What's next?

First, we need to get crackin' on packin'!

Second, we need to get the camper home so that we can start some modifications (new pin mount bike rack, removing a sofa, building desks) and getting moved in.

Third, my wife and I are going for a kid-less trip to Disney World to celebrate our 14th anniversary. (Terrible timing, but really looking forward to it!)

Fourth, round out the school year.