We spent five days in Birmingham this past week. We arrived Saturday afternoon and immediately went to the rental house to check its condition. This is my second most valuable property, and was earning me the highest monthly rent, $1,250. The tenants of four years decided to downsize, which was unfortunate news because their original plan was to purchase the house from me. When we arrived at the house, it was immediately obvious that the tenants hadn't moved all their stuff. A quick call to my tenant lead to the promise they would have everything out by Monday afternoon. I wasn't thrilled by this since it meant we were effectively in Birmingham two days earlier than we needed to be, but with the utilities still in the tenants' name, and the wife being a lawyer, I wasn't about to protest too loud.
Fortunately, there was a small project at one of the townhouses that I wanted to tackle, so we spent Sunday afternoon doing that job. Then Monday we ate lunch at my favorite Birmingham restaurant, Surin. I had the Spicy Eggplant Noodle bowl. It's thick base relies on coconut milk to give it a thick, savory flavor. Hit the spot. I picked up a homeless acquaintance whom I try to use for light demolition/repair work anytime I am in the area and the three of us headed to the house.
Over the next three days we ripped out the carpet, painted the entire house, and made a few repairs. I met with my real estate agent about listing the property. She was optimistic about the price we should list at and said the real estate market has picked up in Birmingham. I hope she's right. I bought the carpet and install at Lowe's and then called a new handyman to tackle a couple of drywall repairs that I tried to do. Repairing damaged drywall is a talent that skipped me, and my work always looks crappy no matter how hard I try. This biggest part of the job was a ceiling repair so it did not get in the way of us painting the walls.
The financial damage wasn't too bad. Only the mileage (a vehicle depreciation expense) and our food will show up on my monthly budget. The hotel (a Candlewood Suites for $60/night) will be a rental expense as will the repairs, which I report in my business expenses. I spent less than $3,000 on repairs, including the carpet, paint and handyman.
Back to Reality
We left early Thursday morning; the temperature was in the teens! We made decent time and arrived home around 6 PM. I spent yesterday catching up on bills, reading newspapers and cleaning out the car. Today the weather in West Central Florida is returning to normal. We experienced a low temperature of 34 degrees yesterday, and some of the plants in our tropical garden got frostbite. Today the high is in the mid-70s and we might even reach 80 tomorrow. This is why I moved to Florida! Today I am working a demonstration at Home Depot for five hours. Then on Sunday I have a gas station route and a restaurant shop. Next week I have a route of low-paying inventory shops. The jobs are easy (10 minutes each) but only pay $5 each, and I am regretting having taken them now that I realize they hardly move the needle.