Today, we are happy to welcome a past client of both John and mine, Mr. Randy Magner. Welcome.
Welcome to the jumpseat, Randy.
Oh, thank you.
Good to have you here. Randy actually, you bought your house, what was it? Back in 2014 or 15?
2014, six years ago.
Okay, so, Tony and I both had the pleasure of helping you find the home and Tony secured the financing for you to purchase the home.
Finally found our dream house. You did a very good job of locating that for us.
How long were we looking for, for your house?
A good year.
Was it about a year?
A good year.
We needed to get into a certain school district so my daughter could go to a performing arts school. And we looked at a lot of houses before we finally found the right one.
Yeah, as I recall, we started off in the Warren Con/Troy section.
And as we discovered, there was very few houses for sale in that part of Troy that fit what you were looking for. So, as we started to broaden out the search, we ended up having more things to look at, more choices and, of course, in 2014 it was becoming a very competitive market. So, we had to move quickly. Did they have, I can’t recall, did the owners have possession? Did we give them occupancy after closing?
No, the moment we closed, they were gone.
They were gone. Okay, that’s right. And as I recall, he was a pastor and also considered himself a bit of a handyman.
Yes, he considered himself a handyman, yes. We’ll get into that.
So, you move into the house and, I think the first thing to go on the fritz was your dishwasher. Right?
It quit working on you and it was a fairly new dishwasher, so we had the home warranty in place.
We had the owner’s warranty.
So, the home warranty eventually replaced, got you a new dishwasher.
Eventually. It took them three or four times coming out, trying to replace parts before they finally wrote it up as a lost cause.
Yes. And, I can’t recall. What else, did you not do some other things to the house once you moved in?
All I did was painted it, and we were done.
Okay. So, we had nice countertops, granite countertops–
Nice cabinets, hardwood floors on the whole first level, hardwood floors upstairs–
We also, we moved the laundry room from the basement up to the first floor.
And I had the master suite redone as well as the master bath was entirely updated with granite countertops, new cabinetry and ceramic tile.
And a whirlpool tub.
You did a nice job with that. So, this is probably, is this February or March you move in there?
We moved in the week before Thanksgiving.
Oh, this was Nov–
We sold our house in Royal Oak, Martin Luther King, I believe it was Martin Luther King Day is when we finally put that on the market and it sold, you sold it, within the first week.
Okay, so now I’ll back up. Now with you saying that, it was 2013 that you bought the house, 2013. Because 2014 is where we’re going with the story.
You just reminded me. So it was 2013–
Is that when Snowzilla came through here? The Polar Vortex and Snowzilla. We had like six feet of snow in the course of one winter.
That was the time.
That was the time, it was 2013, early 2014. We got hammered, in fact, I remember coming to, you had a housewarming party and there was like, it seemed like there was six feet of snow on the ground. I showed up–
Yeah, there was about six people there. One per foot of snow.
The people that mattered came, right?
Exactly, yeah, yeah.
They battled through the snow storm.
But yeah, that was fun.
The important people showed up.
Yeah. So, as many of you who lived in Michigan in 2014 probably remember, around about August 14th, 2014, I believe it was August 14th, somewhere right in there, we had a horrific rain storm. And it seemed like the cloud just sat overhead and continued to rain on us. And there were areas, Warren, Sterling Heights, Royal Oak, Berkley, St. Clair Shores.
Where 75 and 696 come together there was rowboats out in the–
Out in the middle of the street because the water was so deep.
Yeah, in fact, I can recall, I was, my office was at 13 1/2 in Woodward, at that time, and I recall leaving to go home about 6:30 and Woodward was starting to flood in some areas, or get water over it, the road. And cars just started backing up. Some were around 12 Mile and the rain just kept coming. I remember trying to cut through to get back east, to make my way back home and I remember trying to come across 11 1/2 Mile, and it was flooded. So, I had to turn around, come back to Woodward and then try to get through side streets. And some of the side streets were so flooded, in fact, that I had to just, I was doing what other cars were doing which was just driving over people’s lawns on the sidewalks to avoid the big flood areas. I mean, you did what you had to do. And, it basically took me from 6:30 until about midnight to get home.
Oh, my gosh.
To go 12 miles. It was bad. So, many of the roads were flooded, many of the houses that never flooded ever had water in the basement. Had feets of water in the basement, several feet. So, that’s August and some people were fortunate, their basements didn’t flood.
That was me.
You were one of those people.
Absolutely, we survived the flood.
Didn’t get a lick of water in your basement, your–
We were happy. We didn’t know what everybody was complaining about. It was like, what’s going on here?
Yep, you were one of the lucky ones. So, you had this trip scheduled to go to Nashville?
No, we were heading to Indianapolis State Fair, Indiana State Fair.
My daughter had met a couple of musicians that, in Nashville, that lived in Indianapolis. They were playing the state fair. We were going down to see them, so we went down for the weekend. On the way back, got a call from my neighbor, which seemed odd. Says, “Hey, when you guys gonna be back?” I’m like, “Well, we should be pulling in about two hours.” He says, “Okay, okay.” And next thing you know, about an hour and a half later he calls me back and says, “So, where are you?” And I’m like, “Well, we’re coming up Mound Road right now. “Should be home in 10 minutes.” He said, “Okay, I just want to warn you “that your life is going to change.” We pulled in the house. Him and his wife and daughter are out on the front lawn. They got a blanket spread and they’re having a glass of wine. And I’m like, well, having a picnic on our front lawn at 9 o’clock on a Sunday night? This is odd. And he says… His wife hands my wife a glass and she says, “You’re going to want to drink this.” And we’re like, but we wanna unloading… “No, just have a glass of wine.” He says, “We heard your smoke detectors chirping, “they were making noise. “I came over to check things out. I looked in the windows. “I called the police, “and here, have another glass of wine.”
Oh, my gosh.
So, needless to say, he had, the police and him had come in through the back way and had turned off the water about, when he first called me about two hours to prior to arriving home. Apparently, a pipe, or the faucet in the upstairs bathroom on the second floor. Bad fitting, bad installation, it blew and we had water coming down the walls, saturating the floors, it was just nasty.
How long was it running, was there any idea?
We left Saturday morning and came back Sunday night, so could have been 24 hours.
However long it takes to get 5000 gallons of water into your basement. We had a swimming pool. We had a built-in swimming pool. It was kind of nice.
What was your water bill?
I have no idea. I can’t remember. One of the nice things about this was I was able to pick up the phone and call my insurance agent. Friend of mine that I met through a networking group, one that you might have belonged to, as a matter of fact, at one time. And he took my phone call at 9:30 on a Sunday night. And he’s like, “Randy, go find a motel, we’ll pay for it. “Make sure you get your most prized possessions with you. “Call me in the morning, we’ll get you set up. “You can go anywhere you want in order “to get a restoration specialist.” So, we walked in, grabbed some clothes, threw them in a suitcase. We happened to have our dogs with us when we went to Indianapolis, so they weren’t traumatized.
We found a hotel room… My daughter, first thing she did when she hit her house, ran up and grabbed her guitar. Hit a hotel room that night. Got up the following morning, and I had people tearing my house apart at 9 o’clock in the morning, stripping things, everything down to the stud.
So, like that swimming pool in the basement, how deep do you think the water got?
About knee high. And I’m looking at a 30 by 30 basement, 900 square foot basement.
That’s a lot of water. That is crazy.
Yeah, it was, it was quite the traumatic experience. It was depressing. You know, it was our dream home. We worked so hard to find this place. It tapped us out on money in order to acquire it, and here it is, I’m watching people take the drywall off the ceiling. I’m watching them load our furniture out of the house. They’re taking clothing, they’re sending it to the cleaners and putting it in storage. It’s like, I’m just watching everything that we worked so hard for just being dismantled. It was… We stayed a couple days at that hotel, and then they found us a hotel that had a kitchenette and separate bedrooms. But, it happened to be in the middle of being redone, at the time, because it was in Warren and the first floor happened to be under water there.
At the hotel?
At the hotel. So, they had to go through and dry everything up and put in new carpeting before we could even move into a hotel. My daughter was just starting her new school and we had to contact the school to find out if we could get somebody to pick, you know, have the bus come and pick her up there and take her to school. And she didn’t want the bus, the kids on the bus, to see that she’s being picked up at a hotel. Or dropped off at a hotel. So, she wanted to be let off someplace down the street. She didn’t want people to know that we were homeless. It was tough. We stayed at that hotel, it was nice, it had breakfast and it had dinner four days a week. But, we stayed there for two months, I think.
And that’s when you reached out to me, after two months? ‘Cause I, was it two months after it or did you? You reached out to me before then.
Yeah, before then.
To start looking and try and find a place.
Find us a rental place.
Our insurance company, our new adjuster, said, “Well, you know, we need to find someplace “other than this hotel.” Because it’s costing them way too much money. And we needed some place on the bus route, that would get my daughter to and from school, because both my wife and I worked. Which is very rare, in Michigan, in the 2010s. Having both spouses work. But, we had to find a place that was on the bus route so she could get back and forth to school. Because school started at 6:30 in the morning and got out at 2:30 in the afternoon. And, of course, we work 9 to 5, 8 to 5, whatever. So, we found that difficult. Had to some place who’d give us a short-term lease, which I know you were–
That presented a challenge. And two dogs.
And two dogs. And someplace that would take, a rental that would take two dogs.
So, short-term lease, two dogs and, were we looking for furnished, because of your situation?
No, no. Insurance covered furniture. They did a rental through one of the local rental stores.
Probably. They did furniture, TVs, dressers, everything, pots and pans, silverware, dishes.
So, I remember trying to find you guys a place and was running into pushback and resistance. Don’t want to do a short-term lease, want a year minimum, year-and-a-half minimum, if we’re gonna do a six month lease or three or six month lease. ‘Cause that’s what we were looking at originally, three or six months. This is what the insurance company’s telling you, we’re gonna get everything done, we’ll have you in their,–
We’ll have it done in three months, you’ll be back in.
You’ll be back in there. but I think once–
And ran into some other roadblocks.
And I will have you talk about that, but… So, I think eventually what we did, what I did was, I just put your insurance adjuster in direct contact with several owners, so that she could negotiate directly. Because she was telling me, “Well, we can’t pay more “than this per month and this is our max, “this is what we can pay.” And of course, what’s the landlord saying? “Well, if I’m gonna take a short-term lease, “well then, I want more money per month.”
“I want premium.”
“I want premium for having it “for only a short-term lease.” And so, of course, I’m getting pushback from the insurance company saying, “Well, wait a second now, that’s not market-rate.” I said, “All right, I’m stepping back, “you guys negotiate directly because I think, “in the end, it’ll be best for Randy and he’ll be able “to find a place and they’ll reach an agreement.” So, that’s what happened. They eventually contacted, talked to a landlord directly and got him a place.
For an additional $1,000 a month, he was willing to do the short-term lease.
So, at that point you were expecting three months?
But, it wasn’t.
It wasn’t until after the beginning of the following year, after January, that they even got somebody in there to start working on putting things back together. Apparently, what had happened was, our insurance company was going after their insurance company to figure out who was going to pay for this. Apparently, what had happened… We actually had a forensic expert come in to take a look at the bathroom that was where faucet blew and come to find out that it was a faulty installation.
So, when you say, their insurance, you’re talking about the previous owners?
The previous owners’ insurance.
So, they determined through this forensic investigator, which blows my mind, man, that you got forensic insurance investigators coming in to figure out exactly what caused the issue?
That’s pretty amazing.
So, they found out it was a faulty installation. Well, the previous owner thought himself as a do-it-yourself type of guy. He had remodeled a lot, renovated a lot of the house. And who knows whether he did it, whether he did the installation or he had one of his parishioners come in and get the Sunday chicken dinner? We really didn’t know who did the installation. And he’s like, “No man, I did it, all my work’s good.” It’s like, well you know, forensics says it’s a little something else going on here. So, then they went after his homeowners insurance. But, when he bought his new house, he changed insurance companies. So, they went after his new homeowners, well, or they went after his old homeowners. His old home owners is like, he’s not with us anymore.
You can’t sue us, you’ll have to sue his new homeowners. Who ended up paying for it? I really don’t know, but it took three, four months of them negotiating back and forth to figure out who was going to pay for the renovation, before they finally started working on our house and putting it back together.
The next problem was, with having most of the Detroit area flooded at one time or another–
Contractors were hard to find.
Contractors were hard to find.
So, we’d get somebody in there working, they would work one day a week. And then what started out to be a three, you’ll only be out of your house for three months, end up turning into nine months.
So, you’re out of your house from August until almost May.
And depression, okay. I ended up in a fetal position for I don’t know how many months. It was all I could do to get up and go to work because the depression set in. My daughter climbed into her music, which is, and she wrote some decent songs about that. My wife ended up in a video game. She hasn’t climbed out of that video game yet, and it’s been six years.
It was very depressing. Antidepressants, as matter fact, I was on for a while. Fighting with the insurance companies. Insurance company says, “We want to put the house back the way it was.” Which I’m okay with. But, they’re saying, well, your sub-flooring is going to be particle board. It’s like, we have hardwood floors. You can’t nail into particle board. I need plywood. Well, plywood is three times expensive as what particle board is. So, we had to get the adjustment there. While they were doing the renovation, it happened to be raining one day and I happened to show up. And I walk down to the basement and I found a trickle of water running to my drain. And I’m like, “That wasn’t there before, “I have a dry basement.” So, I called my adjuster and he says, “Well, we don’t handle leaky basements.” It’s like, it wasn’t leaking before. “Well, that’s ground water, “ground water isn’t covered, freshwater is.” That was the difference between my claim and most of the rest of Detroit’s. Central Detroit was, we had fresh water, we didn’t have flood water. So, they did cover everything, but it just took a while to get there. Finally, I went back and forth, I’m like, “Man, you gotta cover this, “my wife is gonna be very upset. “We didn’t buy a house with a leaky basement.” He’s like, “Well, I got a brand new house “and it has a leaky basement.” Well, that’s your problem, that’s not mine. Finally went to my project manager and I’m like, “Rick, you gotta help me out here.” He says, “Well, that’s what he says. “Find a way to write this up saying that it was a result “of whatever caused this new leak, “therefore, it will be covered.” ‘Cause I found out that if you could find a reason for it, it could be covered. When I would total a car, the insurance company said, “We’ll give you $8,000.” It’s like, to replace this car with all these accessories, it’s gonna be nine-five. “Okay, we’ll give you 9-5.” But you had to work for it.
You had to push it.
So, my project manager, my builder, Rick, found something that did it and next thing you know, we gotta guy coming in, putting in a weep channel. They had dug up one edge of the basement, put in a tubing, piping and routed that to our drain and therefore, if any water came down the wall, it hit that channel and got directed towards the drain. So, now, nothing in my basement is wet. Which is nice, considering all the stuff that I lost in my basement before.
I remember talking to you at several points and you saying, “Well, I’m working on my list right now “and I’m going through every single item “in the basement, clothing, curtains,” a lot of the stuff that you had from your Starbright Days.
From my theater, yeah.
From the theater that you ran.
Speakers, sound boards, lighting.
You spent a lot of time, where? On eBay, Craigslist, figuring out what things were selling for to determine their value, so that you could place a value on them and give that to them, that this is what I lost and this is what I need to be made whole from.
Well, they had a person come in, and that person came in and inventoried everything that was in the house. And it’s damaged replacement value and this and that. Wireless mike, they told me it was worth $12. That was an Audio-Technica wireless microphone with receiver that we used for the band. And I knew that I paid 300 bucks for that at the time. It couldn’t depreciated down to 12 bucks. So, I had to get the model number of what it was and turn that back in them. And which they did make the adjustment.
You were doing that a lot.
Yes, you could say that.
You literally had three jobs, you had your nine-to-five job, you had the job of keeping everybody in the family together and keeping morale moving forward. And, when you’re not doing those two things, you’re trying to find out value for these things that, of course, they’re gonna say, well, this is only worth this much. No, no, I know it’s worth more than that. And now, you gotta go find it, what it sold for, what it’s valued at, on all these different sites and then you gotta show it to them to prove to them that that’s the actual value.
I had Renaissance costumes, official Renaissance costumes from the Renaissance fair and, I know what we paid for those, which is retail. And they were saying, “No, it’s the costume in a bag “that you get at Target for $39.” It’s like, “No, it’s not.”
And as soon as you put it on and go to adjust it, it rips.
Yeah, no, no, no.
It’s made out of paper.
No, that’s a leather vest, yeah so it was, it was quite the work. But, like I said, as I told you, Tony, they say they’re gonna give you $8,000 for a car that got totaled and you can prove to them that, with all the additional luxuries that you would have on your car: the power windows, the power locks, remote control entry, it’s now worth 9500, well, they’re gonna give you that 9500.
It’s a shame that you have to push that hard, though.
Yes, it was.
You know and it’s almost like, not to slam our friends in the insurance industry but, it’s almost like they’re gonna come in low, knowing that there’s a percentage of people that are gonna challenge it and a percentage of people that won’t, and so their bottom line looks a little better.
A friend of mine’s daughter was a newlywed and young, in their 20s, it was about a year after we went through our ordeal, and they had a fire at their house. And their insurance company wasn’t budging on anything. I mean, when it came time to paint, they didn’t remove the TV set, they just painted around it.
Oh, my gosh.
There were drips on the TV screen, there was this and that, and I’m like, “Look, you go back to them and you tell them, “You said you would put my house back the way “it was to start with. “This type of craftsmanship is not what I bought.”
And if you put up a big enough stink, it’s not they will cave but, my wife was in the insurance business for a while and she’s the one that taught me–
Let ’em know what you got and that you’re not budging. We gave a little and we took a little.
How much help was your insurance agent through the entire process? It sounds like he was on it at the beginning, how was he as things were going, timeline was getting pushed out and you were battling to get value for things.
Ken was very helpful.
Ken was very helpful. Now of course, he didn’t really wanna buck the insurance adjuster that was working with his company. But, he would say, “Well, Randy, if you did this, “or if you approached it this way, things would help out.” Ken’s a good guy. He is a very good friend and I think it actually made us closer.
Okay. That’s good, that’s a good insurance agent.
When it came time to reinsure the house, well, first thing we thought was going to happen was, once we got moved back in, they were going to cancel us.
Yeah, I mean, you would expect it or your rates would be astronomical.
It really did not change.
Wow, they must have got a big settlement from the other insurance company.
All in all, I think we were close to $300,000.
Oh, my gosh.
To replace our house, or fix our house and replace the belongings.
So, everything got put back together, do you feel like, of the craftsmanship and the work that was done, you feel like you have your house back? Do you feel like you have a newer house?
Some of the craftsmanship is still a little sketchy.
We did get the upgraded cabinetry for the kitchen, but my drawers have a tendency of not staying closed. The gravity pulls them out a little bit. I’ve had the company back out a couple of times to fix, to take a look at that and supposedly adjust it. It still doesn’t work. Tile in my foyer, the grout is come out a little bit. The bathroom, I just recently reattached my soap dish to the wall. I don’t know, six years, I think it should last longer than that.
I would agree with that.
The lady that was cleaning our house happened to tear the soap dish off the way when–
See some hard scrubbin’…
When she was scrubbing our bathroom.
So you went through something that was tremendously traumatic–
I’m sorry you had to go through that, but if you had to advise a homeowner, who has not gone through that, as they say, if you had to tell your younger self, what would you tell people to prepare for or what would you do differently?
When shopping for… You need to get homeowners insurance. Definitely. When shopping for homeowners insurance, don’t pick the cheapest guys that are out there. Find somebody that actually has a name. It may cost, you know, when you stop and think about it, it may cost $10, $15, $20 more a month, but it’s what you got in the long run. The other thing that, I don’t do as many home projects as what I did prior, even though I can do that, I’d rather have somebody else come in and change out that faucet or put in that new electrical outlet.
Because if you’re licensed, bonded and insured–
And if something should happen.
If we sell that house and something should happen to the next owners,
I don’t want to be liable for it.
I bet a lot of people don’t know that. I know that was an education for me, that the insurer will look at it differently, especially if they can find a flaw in the install and conclude, well, it wasn’t done by a licensed and insured contractor, this changes how they’re going to approach the claim.
Exactly. The insurance company adjuster actually brought our inspector, wanted to see our reports from the inspector and was asking the inspector why he didn’t see the faulty installation on the faucet.
Do you recall what he said?
It was, I can’t remember what was said, but they did not hold him responsible for it.
And there was nothing on the listing that said, hey, they didn’t give it that extra half-inch turn.
Yeah. I don’t know how an inspector could even, I mean, that’s so darn granular, they’re not going to check every fitting.
Yeah, most inspectors, at least ones that I’ve worked with, they can be extremely detailed and really get into the minutiae of things, but there’s just some things they just can’t visually see or inspect.
It almost makes me wonder if they were looking for the opposite, if he had called it out and warned you and nothing was done, then it might change their approach.
There might have been, yeah.
There was two-fold, that’s what they were looking for.
Our inspector, I happened to get him know him very well because he inspected two other houses, we were getting ready to go to the multi discount plan because a couple of houses that we looked at purchasing before, we would have the inspector come in, check everything out and then they wouldn’t appraise for what… And it was tough to put 20% down and then give him an extra $20,000 to get up to the price where they needed to be.
Yeah, you remember that time? We had appraisal issues up the wazoo in ’13, ’14, even into ’15 we were, industry-wide, we were complaining about it. We have more problems now with just… You know, in your case, but other buyers. Problem is, in the in the early spring, you got issues and then houses start selling in the summer, value gets up and after 90 days most appraisers don’t like to use anything over 90 days, especially if there’s other comparables. So value will do this in the summer and this in the fall and winter. I think we’re a little better now with everything because of the inventory that’s selling. But, back then it was a challenge.
Oh, well back in the 90s it was like the appraiser would walk in and say how much is this house going for? What do we need to write it at?
A lot of things have changed.
Even into the 2000s. I listed this house, this is probably 2003, sold it to this guy for $330,000. Nice three bedroom, one bath and so, a year later he’s like “Yeah, I want to move. “I want to head back to where I grew up.” I said, “Okay.” He said, “what do you think?” I said, “Well, you’ve only been in it a year.” He said, “Yeah, but I did this, “and I did this, and I did this.” I said, “Well, it’s a hot market. “Let’s see if we can sell it at 4, 410.” He said, “I want to push it.” Because it was crazy at that time in 2000. It was crazy! And so I said, “Let’s try it at this number first, “let’s try it at 400 or 410 first, “see what kind of activity we get. “If we get a lot of activity, we can always change it. “Just because we list it at this price “and somebody offers you that price, “doesn’t mean you have to take it”
So, we listed it and literally two hours later, had a full price offer. He said, “All right, I don’t wanna sell it at that price. “Let’s raise it up here.” We raised it to 440. Two days later, we had a full price offer for 440.
Oh, my gosh, unreal.
It was crazy. So, he sold it for a hundred grand more than he did the previous year, but again, this is West coast and he made a killing.
Over one-year time.
And it appraised. I remember the appraiser coming through, he’s like, “So, what’s the purchase price?” I said, “440.” “What did it sell for last year?” “340.”
“All right, no worries, I’ll have it in “in the next couple days.” That’s how the appraisals work? Well, okay. But man, that was the Wild West days and that’s why we had the issues that we had.
2013, 2014, it was, people wanting the high dollar and they were getting appraised 20, 25, 30 thousand less.
Yeah, appraisers look in the rear view mirror, right? They’re looking at old data and we’re on the heels of the recession at that point and it was tough. It was tough. And they were definitely under a magnifying glass at that point, too.
Yeah, yeah. They got beat up pretty bad in ’08, 09, 10 for colluding with lenders to bring value, and there was truth to that, for sure.
So, you know, the pendulum swung all the way over there and then back over this way to being ultra, ultra conservative in value. And I think we’re somewhere close but we’re still on the conservative side.
I would agree. No appraiser gettin’ in trouble for being too conservative, right?
No, no, that’s–
Right or wrong, that’s kind of how that goes.
So, you’re in the house back now six years, I mean does it, does it still feel like home to you?
I like the place, my wife never really settled back in.
Never really settled back in. She still has some of that trauma going on. We’re actually looking for my daughter to graduate from college. Figure out where she’s going to land and then downsize and move to be near her.
Do you ever, whenever you’ve had to go out of town, and you been traveling a lot–
Oh, I turn my water off before I leave the house.
Do you really?
Yes, I go down, I turn it off at the main.
Not taking any chances?
Once is enough?
Yes, exactly, exactly.
I don’t blame you.
Make sure there’s no fires and we’re out of there. It was, one of the odd things was when they put my house back together my gas fireplace won’t light up. So, we had to get ’em back in, whoever did the installation there, had to get them back in to take care of that. My overhead lights, the electrician, there was a little problem in there with them. So, we had to get him back in to take care of things. I don’t know whether it was… I know they were using people that were licensed and insured, I don’t know if it was just there was so much work going on that the contractors, the subcontractors, were able to put that much time in it, or whether it was just, let’s get this done and get on to the next one.
It was a tough time with contractors, for sure.
Having grown up in construction, it was, let’s get her done and get on to the next one.
Yeah, that was an interesting time with everything that happened, the big flood and everything.
You’ve given some advice as far as making sure that you don’t skimp on your insurance because when you do, if you call a 1-888 number for your insurance online and you don’t have an agent who’s been in the business–
You don’t have Ken that you can call at 9:30 on a Sunday night. He takes your phone call and says, “Randy, let me help you through this”.
And he did, he helped you throughout the process. He gave you advice, he offered different ways to phrase things so that you could phrase it properly so you would get reimbursed for things.
I had a friend who, hot water heater was flooding into the crawl space underneath his house. It was a rental property. And I remember going to the house and saying, “Something’s not right, it is really humid in here.” The windows had the film on them–
from the humidity inside the home. I said, “Something’s not right and it sounds “like there’s water running, I can hear it.” And they said, “No, no, no. “No, it’s fine. “It’s just the hot water heater doing its thing.” I said “I don’t know, something isn’t right here. “I don’t know what it is but you gotta get it checked out.” And I think they let it go another day and then finally said, “Okay, something’s not right.” So, going to the crawl space–
All the humidity, of course, when it’s in the crawl space.
Oh, my gosh.
So it warped all the wood floors in the house. Had to have all of them replaced. And the insurance company did not cover it.
So, that was all out of pocket for that guy.
Plus, you have to get in there and get everything dried out so there’s no mold.
Now, that’s why they had to practically gut everything down to the studs on our house, was to stop the mold.
And they probably had to treat all the studs as well with a chemical just so–
I’m not sure.
mold wouldn’t grow.
I’m sure, I’m sure.
Yeah, I’ve heard that process before when there’s that concern.
So, you know you’re very smart in doing what you’re doing. Because of your experience, you’re more, not defensive, but you’re more liability conscious of, “I could fix that, but I’m gonna hire somebody to do it “and we’re gonna keep track of invoice.” I think there’s a lot of people out there, a lot of do-it-yourselfers that tear out a kitchen and replace it themselves, or fix–
I did that in Royal Oak.
Yeah, or fix a faucet or do different things–
Install my own garbage disposal in Royal Oak.
Yeah, and now, of course, you’ve got perspective so you look at that completely different. This was a discussion that we had during the whole foreclosure process crisis from ’08 to ’15 is you’d have these flippers come in. They’d buy a house for 20, 30 grand and it would be gutted and they’d come in and do work and turn it around in six months. And you’d always say, “I don’t know how good of work this is, “but I’m sure we’re gonna find out “in the next three or five years.”
The house that we put a bid on in Troy, was, well it happened to be just down the street from the rental house that we ended up in was one that was flipped. And we could not get it financed because they could only mark it up 20%, or something, more than what they originally bought the house for at that time. They had bought it for $60, 80 thousand and was trying to sell it for 220.
Yeah, yeah, there are programs, and especially back at that time, where there were restrictions on the change and value from seller to the resell point. It’s somewhat relaxed but, to your point, it’s because flippers were just all over the map on what they were doing.
And once we got it to the point of… It didn’t appraise. We got the financing, we got everything and it didn’t appraise for what they were asking for it. And we negotiated back and forth and then, yeah, it was like…
It was tough.
It was a fun time, it was a fun time. That’s why when we finally found our dream home and we moved in, we were happy. And then when everything comes crashing down, it’s quite depressing. Of course, today, I can laugh about it
It’s in the rear view mirror.
And you can travel safely knowing that the water’s shut off.
Right, right, right, all right.
Well, thanks for coming in and sharing that.
Thanks for having me on.
It was great to see you again.
I think it’s important for people to see and hear that sometimes home ownership can be a little rocky and sometimes things happen that are out of your control. And man, it can take awhile to get back to normal, I guess, and it sounds like it’s been a challenge. And interestingly enough, there still seems to be a little bit of a hangover from when it happened, with your wife and it sounds like with Bernadette, too, a little bit. So, it’s sad in a way that that happened, and man, it’s, seems like it’s just forever changed how you guys feel about the house. Even though it’s home, it still kind of feels like not totally the place you bought–
Because it’s been changed.
Although is updated and everything is fresh and I got new hardwood floors and we had a few changes made. One of the things that we had made was, changed was, the way we enter our basement. The basement was off the main hallway as you come in through the, as you come into the house and we moved it to the kitchen and put in a large pantry and put in two doors. That way, when the band’s playing in the basement, it has two doors to go through. And we insulated the walls to keep the sound in the basement so when we’re having band practice, it isn’t as loud for our neighbors as what it could be.
So, some silver linings along the way, as traumatic as it was.
I went from a 28-inch door to my basement to a 36-inch door, that way now I can carry speakers and a drum kit and everything else down into the basement.
You’re carrying those?
With that fake hip?
Yeah, you betcha. Who do you think the roadie is?
Dad’s the roadie.
Dad and all the hats.
The Dad-a-ger right.
Well, thanks, Randy. It’s great to see you.
Appreciate you stopping by.
Thanks coming in.
Thank you for listening to Avoiding Real Estate Turbulence. If you’d be so kind to subscribe and review and rate we would appreciate it. Please share with your friends, family, and co-workers that they, too, can find us on Facebook, YouTube and avoidingret.com, where you’ll find our contact information and every episode. You can also find us on Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify.