A few months ago I shared with you images of an apartment we’ve been renovating. The last of the tradesmen has finally left the premises and so we’ve been advertising for a tenant.
The property has been advertised through a real estate office but I have been doing the open for inspections. On Monday a chap phoned me (who assumed I was the agent and not the owner), and said he didn’t get to Saturday’s inspection so could I show it to him in a couple of hours. Well I did have a few other things planned but switched them around so I could beetle to the property which is nearly an hour from where we live.
Fortunately the trip was worthwhile because the chap just loved the apartment. He said all his furniture would fit into the lounge room, said the kitchen was very spacious, loved the quality fixtures in the bathroom and could see himself relaxing on the deck with a beer in hand right after coming home from work.
I told him there were other interested parties in the property so if he wanted it, he’d need to move quickly. He emailed his application that night and even though his reference checks didn’t quite match with what was stated on his application, I benevolently phoned him by lunchtime the next day to let him know his application had been approved.
He was very pleased and seemed excited but then said, ‘Do you mind if I show my wife?’ What wife? He’d never mentioned a wife. If there was a wife, why didn’t they view the property together? But bending over backwards I said, ‘Sure’. So I reshuffled my afternoon and beetled back up the coast to show the wife.
The chap is 62. He introduced me to his Filipino bride who looked around half his age. He gave the apartment a good going-over by opening every cupboard, pulling out every drawer, flicking every light switch several times, opening and closing every door, pulling the blinds up and down, fiddling with the curtains, pulling out the trays inside the dishwasher and opening and closing all the windows. I confused him for a moment for a pest and building inspector. Meanwhile the bride had nothing to say. She didn’t look pleased and asked him why there wasn’t a washing machine. ‘Dear, it’s quite common to have to buy your own washing machine’, he told her.
They left the apartment telling me they still wanted it and that they’d like to move in on the Saturday – in five days. I told them I would rush back to the office and prepare the lease documents.
After organising the lease documents and when I was picking up Alfie from swimming lessons I checked my phone and the chap had left me a voice mail. It was so long and so inappropriate I just had to share it with you. This is exactly what you ought not to do if wanting to come across like you’re going to be a low-maintenance tenant. (And BTW, the apartment has always been leased to couples, there’s been no complaints about the size of the wardrobe or the heat on the deck and the laundry was a mess because someone had left the external door open and leaves had blown in).
“Oh hi, uhm, just wanted to run this by you. With the bedroom, there’s not much wardrobe space there. Just wondering if the owner would be prepared to put another built-in wardrobe in there and also an awning over that thing. Ask them if they would be interested in doing that and if not I’d have to get my own wardrobe in there. Also, there’s not much storage space for my wife; if the apartment was for one person then fair enough but for two of us, we can’t fit our clothes in that cupboard. There’s just not enough room. I suppose we could get a wardrobe but it would be more beneficial for the owner to get another built-in long term anyway. If there was a bigger built-in wardrobe they’d probably get more rent for it. And an awning as well. It’s just so hot out there and sunny; it’s almost…well in the day you just couldn’t sit out there, it would be way too hot; I mean I was standing there today and I just couldn’t imagine what it would be like if it was really hot. I just wanted to run that by you. If you could call me back as soon as possible and let me know cause I just don’t know what to do uhm, now, and the laundry’s a mess and all that sort of thing. There’s a lot of mess down there and it’s really dirty but uhm, I’m not sure if they’re prepared to clean it up a bit and under the verandah a bit as well but anyway, give me a call and let me know uh, if worse comes to worst, maybe we could use the application for another property. Maybe you can get me something more suitable, I mean, I don’t mind paying more money but ah, we just want somewhere really nice to live. I mean I really like the outlook and everything there, it’s great but it’s got to be practical as well like decent living areas and storage and so on so anyway, let me know what you think and call me as soon as you can.”
And then he phoned me. And he went on and on and on. Now he was complaining about the fact there wasn’t a dining room. He said, “And I know we can put a table out on the deck so we can eat out there but what are we going to do if it rains? Where are we going to eat?”
Hmmm. I thought his new bride was pretty underwhelmed. His list of issues with the property was so extensive I just didn’t want him as a tenant as there would no doubt be no end of whinging.
The next day I showed the property to a young Korean couple who are moving in next Saturday. They love the apartment so much and are so excited to have had their application accepted. When Josh came into the office to sign the lease he greeted me with a bear hug. And then as he was leaving I was not only given a hug but also a kiss on the cheek.
Then the chap phoned to ask if the property was still available. His wife had reconsidered.
The train had pulled out of the station and left him (and his bride), on the platform.