Learning the Hard Way

When we decided to go for this property to pursue our farm dream (not MINE ours), one of the reasons we went for this property was because it came with two houses. One is the main house, built in 1945, that we live in and the other is a small, ok tiny, cottage which was built a few years later. The cottage was still occupied by renters when we acquired the property. We knew there was work to be done to them both, the cottage more so. The occupants were given a 30 day notice, without conflict, and I got a quick peek inside. Some paint on the walls and ceiling, replace the carpet with some linoleum, and we’ll have an automatic source of regular income, right? Right?

After the prior tenants moved out, with some conflict, I finally got started on the cottage. As I mentioned in a previous post, there were four layers of carpet. Yes, FOUR. I felt like I was in some bizarre Twilight Zone episode where I was doomed to pulling up nasty, dirty carpet that never ended. Well, the carpet did end, at the mostly rotten floor. So, I start pulling up the floor boards. Tongue and groove floor boards. Why do I make a distinction about the boards being tongue and groove? These two houses were built at a time when there was no such thing as plywood or sheetrock. Wood was so plentiful, that floors, walls, and ceilings were all constructed with boards that are 3-4″ wide, 3/4″ thick and fit together via a tongue and groove system. Oh yeah, nails. Lots of nails. To make a long, uninteresting story less so, I had to replace the entire floor system and all of the walls. So now we’re ready to rent it, not so fast. We went through a number of applicants who all found things that they wanted done first, ok I admit there was still some trim to nail up and some painting that needed doing. What it boiled down to though was that it is so small, 400 square feet small with no closets. It seems that even people looking for a cheap rental, have a lot of stuff. Then along comes  someone I’ll just call Jack. Jack, like everyone else I’d met had a story about his hard times and troubles. Well, against my better judgement I settled for Jack because he said he’d be able to take care of whatever else needed to be done, music to my ears because in case you didn’t notice, I’ve a lot going on. In the end, Jack was a nightmare but I accept  that I made some major mistakes, the worst of which was to let him move in before signing a rental agreement, stupid I know. In the end I finally got rid of Jack, who left behind a lovely mess.

Besides a mess, we were also left with some questions. Do we really want to be landlords? Are we comfortable having a stranger, no matter how well they check out, on the same property that we live on? Even more important, we questioned the wisdom of having said stranger on this property while I am gone for 24 hours to work at the fire station. We both agreed that the answer to all of the above was NO. Our next next question for ourselves was what to do with this cottage and the lack of income. First of all, we’ll be making it into a “store” where customers can easily purchase our farm fresh produce without having to knock on our door and stand somewhat awkwardly outside while they wait for us. Slowly but surely, we’re figuring out the direction we are going.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Yes! That is awesome! Exactly what we want to do here. And I can SO relate to the customers waiting out side the front door…or coming right in the house and plunking down on the couch…Good move! Can’t wait to hear how it all works out.

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