I've come to the realization that being a good landlord is all about having the right tenants. And boy, am I glad to have scored the family currently staying in the barn.
Wait, what? You rented out the barn?
Yes. Let me back up. Because a LOT has happened.
About a year and a half ago I met a man. We dated for three months before deciding it was serious, and then for 12 more after that before deciding we might want to move in together. Because I am a homeowner, and Boyfriend is not, it was easy deciding where to reside. Or... it could have been easy.
Except that I had the hairbrained idea that I'd like to join him on his lease and try living in Portland. And hey, my house is in Kennebunkport, so why not rent it out for the summer?
We shared our big news with our parents, and got their support. Or rather, their acknowledgement. When you're already in your thirties, your parents don't have much to say about you moving in with a man, other than, "Finally!"
Then we listed the house, and waited for interest.
What followed was a crazy few months that could have broken us, but instead made us stronger, through late night painting projects, overdrawn bank accounts, and never ending DIY home improvement.
Overdrawn bank accounts? Aren't you making crazy money?
Well, we're charging what should add up to crazy money, sure, but each penny we've collected has already been reinvested. Which is fine by us because the barn we return to will be exponentially better than the barn that we left, with new siding, new windows, and a new stove, among other things.
Other things like a new toilet. And here is where I get to my point.
My first renters, a family of five on a five-week beach vacation, have been fantastic. They love the house, they are taking amazing care of my gardens and new grass, and they are very communicative. And when something isn't acting quite right, being communicative is a really good quality in a tenant.
The email about the toilet came last Wednesday morning, a day I was already scheduled to swing by the house to meet up with my homeowners insurance company. (Insurance companies are not huge fans of my non-conforming structure, but hopefully they at least enjoyed my new windows and siding!) The family was heading out for the day and wanted to give me a heads up that the toilet appeared to have "stopped", and would I mind taking a look at it?
In the hours that passed before I made it to the barn, I imagined every scenario possible from a simple plunging job to a completely backed up septic system. The actual situation fell somewhere in between, with the ancient copper mechanism inside the tank having finally given out. I managed to get both myself, and the bathroom, covered in toilet water before calling the plumber. He pronounced the toilet "at least sixty years old" (!?) and jerry-rigged it for the night, until I could swing by Home Depot for a much younger model.
While there's a more colorful story behind the adventure of the spraying water, actually getting the plumber to come by, and buying the new toilet, the point of this story is really just to emphasize how awesome my tenants are. Because as responsive and timely as I was with addressing their issue, nobody wants to deal with a broken toilet while on a beach vacation.
Wednesday night I sent the family a long text updating them on the plumber's report and promising their new commode come morning. Their response?
The fist bump is my favorite part.
Yup, I got lucky. These tenants rule.