Thursday, June 9, 2011

A breif history lesson

Hi all, sorry its been so long so many little things have been happening and no energy to post, but I promise things will start picking up around here soon.

So in the mean time I wanted to give a little background about where it all began and why my sidekick (aka husband) and I have challenged ourselves with such large projects. We are a little crazy but there is a method to our madness. 

Like any normal stage in a young couples life we bought a house. A fixer upper of course it was what we could afford and after some renovations we built up our confidence and decided to really jump off the deep end. For some "free" entertainment we used to drive around neighborhoods and look at houses and building dreaming of what they could be etc. There was this wonderful building in particular that was downtown near our house that we actually parked across the street from and just lusted over.  It was very run down and  unloved; for some reason when we drove away I felt connected to it and knew something was going to happen with it.  A year later we found ourselves driving around again and low and behold a "for sale" sign was pitched in the front yard.  We both looked at each other with wide eyes and thought "we could never afford this" We scooted home and got online to check out the price.  With a little creative thinking, a walk thru of one unit and the basement, (a very scary sight) we were in escrow two days later.

Our walk thru of the unit should have scared us off, there was a older couple whose teeth were all but gone that were cooking on a one burner hot plate because the stove hadn't worked in months, there fringe wasn't working either but they didn't seem to care and put there food in there anyhow. A prostitute (or she looked like one) was putting on makeup in the bathroom drinking a beer and talking to a girl who was past out in the bedroom half naked. The basement of the building roughly 1500 sf had 3 to 4 inches of water in most of it because the hot water tank had went out.  They had just installed a new one but decided that cleaning up the water was not a priority and that all the sofas and mattresses used for hourly prostitution were fine. We were very naive.....

From the beginning we told ourselves that if it didn't work out thru escrow we wouldn't push it, and seeing what we had in our walk thru we did know that we had alot of things to figure out.  Our families thought that we were crazy but I knew that the bones of the building were solid and that someone needed to save this building. 

The first hour after we closed escrow we had a 30 yard dumpster delivered.  We knew there was alot of trash so we figured we would start there.  Moments after arriving we were greeted by our "new" tenants.  All of them were over friendly, twitching and itching and asking if we were good landlords because there old landlord was a slum lord.  The dumpster was full to the brim and we were surprised to learn that they had beat us to the punch and cleaned out most of the basement. I guess to get in our good graces.  Three units had people living in them, no one had leases or had paid any rent in months, one unit was open because the bathroom had been gutted and the basement apartment was used by everyone for hourly services.  If your not catching on we figured out really fast that we had just bought a real honest to god crack house.  We knew it was bad, but not this bad.  The power had been turned off and they had broken all the meters and were stealing power and running electrical cords to each unit (fire waiting to happen). They had also cut the gas line which also had been turned off and they were trying to install a propane tank in the basement for heat. (also fire waiting to happen)  Needles and spoons were everywhere, people's trash was just left around because no trash service was in service and random people were breaking into the basement and just sleeping where ever they felt like.  These people needed to go.  Period.  We gathered up everyone and politely told them that we were going to be doing a major renovation and that no one could stay, however we were going to give them a week (legally we could have kicked them out  in 3 days) but we were afraid that they would burn down the building or something.  We felt horrible questioning where they would live and would they be ok, and on moving out day we grew some thick skin.  These were drug addicts, not people who you can reason with.  They only care about one thing and will tell you anything to get what they want.  And they wanted to stay living in our building for free forever.  After a  couple of screaming matches and personally moving one person's furniture to the curb (with their permission of course) we took back our building and fortified it from the scary people not willing to listen to "Trespassing do not enter" signs.

Part Two Monday............