Saturday, 22 July 2017

Indiana Jones

This time the gap in blog posts has been caused by too much work rather than a lack of things to report.  We had made the decision that something needed to be done about our house.  The tenant had left (without paying the rent) and our assumption was there would be numerous minor maintenance tasks.  The property manager was chasing the tenant’s bond money and also arranging the insurance claim.  We really needed to take steps to get the property on the market.

After searching some of the flight websites I managed to get a cheap flight from Perth to Adelaide with Virgin Australia.  It’s not my preferred airline; but needs must.  My impression is virgin hasn’t yet decided whether it wants to directly compete with Qantas at the top end of the market or stick with being a budget carrier and compete with Jetstar and Tiger.  Anyway the flight from Perth to Adelaide is 3.5 hours with a 90 minute time zone change.  I’d allowed 2 days to do everything and then added a 3rd day just in case something happened.

I was fortunate with the Virgin flight as the middle seat was empty giving me slightly more room.  Adelaide was experiencing some bad weather which made the landing slightly rough.  Fortunately the showers had passed by the time I exited the terminal.


View east from the Adelaide Airport Terminal towards the Mt lofty Ranges which I used to regularly walk in the days when I was fit.

I’d booked a small cheap (relative Australian term) car from Firefly.  They appear to be affiliated with Hertz with the Firefly vehicles possibly being ex Hertz.

The first task was to visit the office of the property manager and collect the house keys.  On the way I was reminded that Adelaide suburban roads are a mosaic of patches.  The only person in the office was the receptionist however she was able to give me the house keys.

You can possibly imagine my consternation when I couldn’t find the house.  All that could be seen was a jungle.  Bob Geldof could have used the site for the next episode of Survivor Guatemala!  Just like Indiana Jones I managed to push my way down through the undergrowth to reach the front door.  In relative terms the interior of the house was in better condition.  I noticed the floating timber floor I laid in the foyer is desperately in need of sanding and another coat of varnish.


The curtains in the main lounge room were hanging down.  I erroneously assumed all that was required was to connect the hooks back into the eyes on the rail.

2Another shock awaited me in the family room.  Our expensive heavy duty commercial carpet  was stained and had a rough rectangular patch.


In 6 years no one had mentioned this!  Over in the bottom far corner of the room was a hole in the wall which had been roughly stuffed with stainless steel scouring wool.


I’ve subsequently been informed this is how you block a mouse hole!

Both electric roller doors in the garage have been replaced during our absence (we paid) and I noticed the door closest to the house doesn’t lock leaving a gap at the bottom. 


At the rear the house has large upper and lower timber sundecks with magnificent views of the city and gulf.  Well they would have views if it wasn’t for the jungle.  We have paid $000’s for gardening since vacating the house in 2011 and it looks as if nothing has been done.


The lower deck was covered in green mould and we have one rotten plank.  At the other end of the deck the shrubs have grown so high they have pushed the water tank off it’s stand causing it to collapse.  The same shrubs have grown through the lower deck and up through the upper deck and then into the roof of the pergola.


You had to crouch to get underneath the branches when walking down the ramp to reach the lower garden. 


All the trees and shrubs in the lower garden have grown wild.  The native trees have particularly thrived drowning out the fruit trees and lower shrubs.  Australia is a dry country and the native vegetation has to be hardy to survive the long droughts.  However our garden has an automatic water reticulation system which has provided the native bushes and trees with ideal growing conditions.


I’d arranged a meeting with a Real Estate agent for 10am the following morning and given the state of the property I wondered what he would make of it.  It was with much consternation I drove away thinking of the work (and expense) required to get the property ready for sale. 

Our very good friends Trevor and Carolanne had very kindly offered me accommodation in their lovely home located up in the Adelaide Hills.  I thought I might be able to borrow a small stepladder from Trevor and re-hang the curtains.  I hadn’t brought much clothing with me having anticipated finding the house in good condition.  Not only could Trevor provide a ladder, he also had secateurs and heavy duty pruning shears.  When I protested I didn’t have any clothing, he willingly provided an old shirt and long trousers.  Obviously he was determined to ensure I wasn’t bored! Smile

Well that’s enough for you to read today.  I’ll explain what subsequently happened in the next post.


Ade said...

Hi Tom good to see you posting, Seen a lot worse! If the photos above are the extent of what's wrong with the house.
Be right in no time...

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Ade, yes I've seen worse but it was a shock after paying all the money and being told everything was OK.

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Tom and Jan,
What a b*gger to have it left like that when you've obviously paid someone to keep an eye and do inspections and gardening!
David and I sacked the agent we had looking after our Wellington place when we were living in the UK. Cost lots and added no value. So we took on doing the overseeing ourselves from 13,000 miles away. The neighbours whom we were very close friends with, kept an eye and we had a tame electrician, builder and plumber just a phone call away. It was much less hassle! And it meant we had a personal relationship with the tenants, instead of an arm's length one - helped in making sure they looked after the place as we weren't seen as just faceless capitalists ...
Cheers, Marilyn

Ade said...

There lies the difference, you were led to believe everything was in order and paid for it too.
So yeah I'd be chewing a wasp too.

Daykin said...

I think the Agent has taken the gardening money to the pub every Friday night. Get a refund and that will pay for some of the repair work. Is it a buyers market over there ? Do they do lots of buy to let like here in the UK ?


Jennie said...

What a shock Tom - I hope you manage to get it sorted without too much trouble. Jennie

Jenny said...

Yes indeed, after paying good money to have the property looked after and the grounds taken care of, it must have been a shock indeed.
Wonder how the Real Estate officer will try to talk himself out of this? They have been taking your money too, all these years.
Robin and Jenny, Romany Rambler