Friday, February 4, 2011

On Being A Land Baron

Last year the future Hubby and I embarked on the adventure of purchasing a home together. And, trust me, the word “adventure” perfectly describes this endeavor so far. And while I shall soon regale you with many fine stories about our life in the new house, today’s topic is about what happened to the old house – you know, the place I lived prior to our current abode.

Oh yes, one might wonder, what does one do with their existing home when they purchase new digs in a down market? The choices are tough when the prospect of selling means losing a large portion of what you’ve foolishly already sunk into the place. In my case I opted to rent the place. And why not? While watching a production of “Rent” I fully sympathized with the landlord character – I mean, why won’t these deadbeats get a job and pay their rent? Why should they be allowed to impose their financial irresponsibility upon a decent man? Certain that the more humanitarian beliefs I held as a mere 20-something were now a thing of the past I decided I would make a very capable landlord – nay, land BARON – myself.

So I did what any land baron looking for renters would do – I sought out the help of my friend Craig and his online listing service. To be honest, I never knew of anyone who used Craig’s List to find anything other than perhaps a one-night love affair, “massage” services, black market pit bull puppies, or for enlisting those of below average intelligence to join in their pyramid scheme. Still this seemed like the perfect place to find responsible, intelligent, employed tenants. Shockingly, I was wrong.

But, okay, I did find great tenants eventually (just not via Craig), and despite some hectic maneuvers involving us moving out and them moving in on the same day we somehow managed to (as Tim Gunn would say) make it work. I wrote up their contract using ones I found online, but I did reword them a little (they seemed a little too harsh, even for a tough, bad ass landlord like myself). Charging them $50 every day their rent was late? Surely I could give them until the 3rd of the month without penalty… or the 5th… okay, how about the 10th? And any objections they stated I, of course, removed them from the contract completely. After all, I wouldn’t want to make my new homeowners feel the least bit uncomfortable.

When I received their first few months’ rent promptly on time (or maybe just a little, little late) I sent them long, gushing e-mails to thank them for how timely they were in paying (it only seemed like the appropriate land baron thing to do), and when I got the note from the HOA stating that they hadn’t watered the lawn in months and I was going to be charged for new sod I, of course, wasn’t too harsh on them. After all, I never really taught them how to use the automatic sprinkler system in the first place. Surely this was my fault, how could I dare blame them?

Yes sir, I am dominating this whole land baron thing. I am kicking butt and taking names! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to write them now and tell them that if they stay on just a little longer I’d be willing to lower their rent (it only seems right).

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