Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Today's Progress

Got the locks changed on three doors and a sliding glass door (never saw one of those with a key lock in it before). Now the deadbolts and knobs use the same key, which is nice. That cost $150 and included 5 keys.

The new cabinet guy came out and looked at what needs to be done. He basically said the cabinets that are there look like they were made with leftover pieces in someone's garage. It looks like we have all the doors and boxes, but the bad news is there is no countertop, so that will need to be ordered and he said those are taking about three weeks. I also need a drawer and end pieces. He pointed out some bad work - the cabinets are a bit short in one place, so they don't come even with the tile on the floor - there's about a quarter inch gap. Similar situation with some upper cabinets. The space left for the refrigerator seems a bit too large and the gap between the stove and cabinets on either side is too big. He also said he's never seen corner cabinets like the guy made (and that are already hung). He wasn't sure what the guy was doing. Anyway, he took measurements and said it'll take a day or two to figure out what all needs to be done to finish the job off. I feel much better working with this guy. And he is licensed :-)

On a side note, the other cabinet doors were inside some of the cabinets. I don't remember seeing them there before, so maybe Joe dropped those off at some point.

And I discovered that the last storm we had apparently damaged the tree in front of the house. Luckily, it didn't fall on the house, but now I'll need to get that taken care of before it's sold.

Free Trailer!

If anyone wants a free trailer, leave a comment here and I'll email you details. Here's the ad I posted to craigslist:

A contractor I was using to do some rehab work has fled, taking my money and leaving the job unfinished. He also left a trailer behind. I have been unable to contact him for a month and the city's abandoned property department tells me the trailer is mine to do what I want with. So, I'm giving it away! My only stipulation is that you also take away the trash that is loaded on it - mainly old kitchen cabinets and two toilets. The trailer is approximately 6 feet wide by 10 feet long. It has two axles but there are only wheels on one. The tires are inflated. I don't know if the tail lights work. It's a bit rusty, but seems to be in good shape. Email me for details on picking it up.

UPDATE 6/30/05: The trailer is no longer available.

Monday, June 27, 2005

House Update

I've not heard anything back from Joe regarding my fax, so I swung by the house today at lunch. Nothing has changed. The trailer is still there and the inside is the same. Now, technically, he still has about 3.5 hours to comply with my fax, but I think it's safe to assume he's not going to.

I changed the combination to the lockbox and was surprised to see the keys that were supposed to be inside were not there. Every time I've gone to the house in the past, I've used my set of keys, so I haven't opened the lockbox in probably 2 months. Who knows how long they've been missing. I'm assuming Joe has them, so I called a locksmith today and he's coming out tomorrow afternoon to re-key all the locks.

I also took a picture of the license plate of the trailer to try to track down the owner. It's unclear to me if it's actually Joe's trailer or the trailer of Joe's previous employer. (I trust Joe so little, I'm not even sure he had a previous employer and he's not just working for himself and feeding me b.s.) But, I figure there could be legal issues if I just tow it off myself somewhere, so I did some research and the city has a number you can call to report abandoned vehicles on private property, so I'll call them and see what they can do.

I filed a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors against Joe today for contracting without a license. I could even do it online! How convenient!

I have to call the new cabinet guy tomorrow morning to set up a meeting with him. Hopefully, that can happen at the same time I'll be out there with the locksmith.

Weeds are invading the property, thanks to some rain we've had recently, and I'll need to get those cleared away before I put it up for sale. I'm going to wait for that though, until everything inside has been finished and I'm sure the place is ready to go on the market.

I also got a call from my handyman asking if I got his invoice for the toilets and flooring. I haven't gotten it, so he's re-faxing it, but I also mentioned he still hadn't finished the flooring in the hall closet, so he said he'd do that this afternoon.

On an interesting note, I've just discovered that a friend I went to elementary and high school with has become an actor and is appearing on HBO's Entourage. Check out picture 5 for episode 12 here and another picture here. Funny.. he was going to be a music major, but he did know about every Academy Award question that came up during our high school's trivia contests, so I guess it's natural he headed that direction... Super smart guy too.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Hard Money Lending Results

Today I received the payoff of the hard money loan I made back in April. All in all, it was a pretty good experience. To recap, I loaned $1,200 at 18% interest for 3 months with a $200 loan origination fee and 10 points. The loan was paid off about one half month early, although I still received interest for the full last month.

The borrower had to make a total of three interest payments, plus the payoff payment. Unfortunately, two of the interest payments were late. The first was only about 3 days late, which wasn't a big deal. Because that payment was late, I sent a reminder email a week before the next payment was due. I got a reply back saying the loan would likely be paid off early and to expect a check shortly. The due date came and went and I didn't get a check, so when the payment was 5 days late, I sent another email stating the loan was in default. I got no response. When it was 10 days late, I sent another email saying I was starting foreclosure proceedings. Once again, I received no response. Yesterday (12 days past due), I had just selected a law firm specializing in collections and was about to contact them, when I received an email saying the final interest payment and payoff amount was being sent to me overnight. I received the checks today and the loan is now paid in full. As an added bonus, the borrower voluntarily enclosed an additional month's interest because the payment was late.

So there was a little bit of a hassle, but all in all, it was a fairly good experience. Here are the final numbers:

Loan Amount


Loan Length

76 days

Interest Received


Origination Fee Received


Points Received


Total Received


Total Return (ROI)


Annualized Return


Thursday, June 23, 2005

End Of The Line

I went to the property this afternoon at lunch and discovered nothing has been done since I was there Tuesday morning. I've been leaving voicemails for Joe all day yesterday and again today and he has not called me back. This afternoon, I sent the following fax to him:


This is to inform you that your contract to install cabinets at xxx Avenue in Glendale is terminated. You are to comply with the following terms no later than 3 PM, Monday, June 27, 2005:

  • Either: A) Refund my entire payment of $2,068.00 in certified funds or B) deliver all materials in your possession relating to my job to the property. This includes all cabinet doors, countertops, cabinets, and sinks. You have informed me on several occasions that you have all these materials in your possession and I expect all of them to be delivered to be in compliance with this document.
  • Remove the trailer and the trash that is loaded on it from the property.

Failure to complete these actions by Monday at 3 PM will result in me taking the following actions:

  • The trailer and loaded trash will be removed by myself. The trailer will not be returned to you.
  • Home Depot will be notified that, while acting as their subcontractor and installing the stove exhaust hood I purchase from them, you solicited a side job from me to install cabinets in the property, thus depriving them of income.
  • The Arizona Registrar of Contractors will be notified that you are contracting without a license. As I am sure you are aware, anyone bidding or performing construction or rehab work totaling more than $750 is required by law to be licensed with the Registrar Of Contractors. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and / or 6 months in jail. I assure you I will cooperate with their investigation to the fullest.

    On a final note, you are no longer authorized to enter the property at xxx Avenue in Glendale without me. In order to comply with the above requests, you are to contact me and arrange a time that is convenient for me to travel to the property so that you may accomplish these tasks. I should like to remind you that, pursuant to Arizona law, unlicensed contractors lose the ability to sue to recover for the cost of work performed. Additionally, you may be required to pay back any compensation received for work that was performed without a license.

I called another cabinet installer today and set up a meeting for Tuesday. The reason for option B above is that the new cabinet guy confirmed what Joe has said - that there are about 3 companies in the valley that make cabinet doors and right now it's taking about 2 to 3 weeks to get them made. If I can get the ones Joe says he has, that will save some time. The cabinet guy I spoke with today was actually very helpful and he recommended the steps I can take to report this guy. He said it was unlikely I'd get my money back, but at least I can get this guy in trouble so he hopefully can't do this again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Seeing Progress

I stopped by the property again this morning. It's still not finished, but there were signs of progress. The two upper kitchen cabinets that go in the corners of the room were mounted. (No doors were installed on them though.) The other cabinets were not mounted, but they were sitting on the kitchen floor, ready to be hung. The bathroom vanities were still not there. Small progress, but I'll take it!

My handyman has not finished the flooring in the closet yet either.
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