Monday, December 1, 2014

Our Occupied Vacant Home


Do you know what’s funny? Well, not funny as in humorous. Rather, funny as in unusual…at least to me. I never saw myself as a "blogger". It just happened. I had been sending emails of experiences to various people in our circles within the business. And, one individual said I should do a blog. I said, “Me? Who would care what I write?” Well, I guess candidly sharing my experiences is interesting to people. I am amazed people even read them. Being we just came off the Thanksgiving weekend, I want to express a heartfelt “Thank You!” to those who read and support my little blog.

Last month's blog was on Jumpy and his purchase of one of our houses. You know, where he began remodeling before he actually owned it. But, hey! this stuff happens. And, it all worked out and everyone was happy. Well, not so sure about the listing agent as we haven't heard from him since.

As you may have noticed, this blog is “Our Occupied Vacant Home”. So, how can it be occupied if it was vacant? We were wondering the same thing. One day one of our employees, “Scout”, was out with a youth group for a gathering. And, on his way home he drove by our house at 33rd Street and Sweetwater. It's right there in view of the 51.

For those of you from outside of Arizona you should know it is required to put “The” in front of numbered highways, “The 51”, “The 1 oh 1”, “The 2 oh 2”, “The 3 oh 3”, etc. For the record, those are state highway names, 51, 101, 202, 303, etc. Or, officially marked as SR51, SR101, SR202, SR303, etc. The “SR stands for State Route”. Since it is a “highway”, and the ones I mentioned are actually “freeways”, I wonder why the state still uses “state route”. Seriously, I do. Oh, as a family member always says, “The one-zero-one”, “The two-zero-two”, etc. to be different. I have since adopted this. Funny.



Ok, back to the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove by the house he saw an RV trailer in the front with a pickup truck. So, naturally knowing it was ours and it was vacant, he stopped. He walked up to the house and there was a couple with children unloading their stuff into the house. He said hello and asked them what they were doing. They said they rented it and were moving in. Scout called me and asked me if we rented the house. I told him no. He confirmed with them it was NOT for rent. They said they signed a lease. When Scout asked them to produce the document they said, “Oh. The guy renting it to us said he couldn't make a copy and would deliver it here to the house.” No paperwork. No proof. They were acting really strange. Something smelled fishy.



Scout called me back and relayed the above information to me. I told him I was on the way. Scout called the police. I showed up and the police were yet to arrive. I politely told them the house was not for rent. In fact, the house was for sale. They were refusing to leave. He then pulled out a printout of a Craigslist ad showing OUR house with OUR pictures and for rent at $450 with a $1,000 deposit and someone else's phone number. We told him he was scammed. Plus, rent for this house would have been $950, not $450. $450 would get you a small apartment, not a 3 bedroom 2 bath home. Then they got a little angry. 

The cops showed up. And, instead of admitting they had been scammed, they began to argue. The police asked me for proof of ownership and I pulled out the file I had fetched from my desk. In it was proof with the deed, my company name, my name and more. I produced my driver's license and the cops believed I was the owner. They asked me the obligatory questions: Is this your house? Have you ever met these people? Do you recognize this Craigslist ad? Do you recognize the phone number in the ad? Is this house for rent? My answers were: Yes. No. No. No. No.



He then turned to the “occupants” and asked if they had ever met us. They said no. He asked if they had a copy of the lease they signed. They said no. He told them they had to pack up their belongings and move as they were trespassing. Now, things got weird. The man stood up from the chair in which he was sitting and grabbed his cane. He hobbled a little and said, “I am a Vietnam vet! You cannot kick me into the streets! I signed a lease, paid the amounts and am allowed to move in!”

The friendly cops became not so friendly and said, “You have 2 choices, pack up your stuff and go or I will have you arrested. It's quite simple.” This seemed to get the fellow's attention. Finally, the woman with him said, “Let's just go. We've been scammed. I believe these guys. No more fighting.” He said, “But, where will we go? How will we get our money back?” The police politely reminded them of a very nice 5th wheel trailer in the front. And, the police will open an investigation.

They left. I got to sleep at 3:am.

And that's real estate in my corner of the globe.

Bruce