Advice for buyers and sellers, from Justin Ruzicka

Landlords’ This is for You….

It has been a busy week for myself in Fort Myers Florida. Selling houses, writing contracts, negotiating short sales with success, even a closing. Lots to talk about this week, from fighting an attorney with an eviction I started to being threatened by another attorney. This threat, as weak as it is, really gets my goat. I was very disappointed from the service and attitude I received from Dr. Lee Adkins Family Physician Practice in Fort Myers Florida. In fact so upset I wrote a letter to the Dr/ Adkins explaining my disgust, instead of calling me back to say he was sorry for the way I was treated, he had his attorney Mr. Scott Morris of the Morris law firm write me a threat. The threat is simple and I quote, “ Be advised my client will monitor your blog on a regular basis and if there is anything you place with is untrue and damages my client you will face the distinct possibility of a lawsuit.” That’s fare, in fact I promised the Dr. Adkins that my analysis of the situation would be in fact accurate and truthful. After all my name is Justin, which comes form the Root of Justice, which can only come from truth. Guess what, I am not even going to get into the situation faced at Dr. Lee Adkins Family Practice this week. HA, I am going to write about it another date, so please Mr. Morris and Dr. Adkins come again, I wish you would be regular readers. Hey, my best friend in high school was a guy I got in a fight over a girl…after we tried to beat each other up for no apparent reason we talked our way into being friend and not fighting…I love the guy like my brother to this day! Anyway, maybe we can be friends in the end. After all, from your website, you state, “ You are our reason for being here and we want you to know just how important you are!” Gosh sending me a threatening letter from your attorney does not communicate how important I am and my business is to you. In fact it communicates the opposite. And not to mention my wife, who is a long time customer of yours, sees now that you do not value her either. Here it seems you have lost two customers instead of earning a sound referral source from her and I. Now on to the topic of today’s blog….Landlord head aches…

As the market tanked in 2006 I was able to short sale one of my properties successfully, and start renting for cheap money, back then. My wife has been faithfully following my lead every step of the way, but she will tell you her growth as a Christian had to come to allow her to walk in this faith of my decision making. The home we are currently in was built in 2007, beautiful home, in a gated neighborhood. Everything seemed to be pretty easy for the landlord/property owner. Luckily for the landlord I treat her property as it were mine and am very responsible while residing here. The other day(wednesday), my nanny told me there was water coming out of the wall and that she put a towel over it. Well the towel was drenched. This was in the kitchen, not really close to the sink but along an adjoining wall so I was thinking it was the sink. I quickly emptied all the cleaning supplies that were under the sink, is that where everyone keeps the cleaning supplies? I digress, so after getting a clear look at the drain and all the connections for water supply to the sink I couldn’t see any water dripping. At that point I knew it wasn’t a good situation, as the fix was going to require the pulling of the cabinets and cutting into the drywall to find the problem. At 2:30pm I called the gentleman who was the Landlords agent who got me into the lease and communicated to him that buckets of water were coming out of the wall. I communicated the urgency to get a plumber/contractor to the house immediately. To stop the leak was easy, turn off the main valve of water coming to the house. To live without water with two children who are potty training, three adults working out of my house, well that is another story, so much of my needs required the sense of urgency. Now its 4:54pm and no one has yet to come to my house, the landlords agent seems not to think it is important enough for him to come over, the landlord has called me once saying she is working on getting someone over as soon as possible, I think great. In fact, I even help her by going to the Builders Office on-sight as he is still building out the community thinking I can get a warranty guy over right away. When I get to the builders office, I am told, warranty issues are handled through a main call facility located in Texas, remember I live in Florida? Call facility in Texas? I guess labor is less expensive there. I concluded I would get nowhere with him as he was looking at his watching thinking it is 5:10pm , I am out of here. The landlord calls me back at 6pm, asking how bad it is, which I had previously told her, “who ever comes is going to have to rip out your cabinets and get behind that drywall to figure out the problem.” When I told her that originally she said, I must be crazy or over stating the problem as the home was only 4 years old. Needless to say she didn’t believe me the first time, so the second time I told her buckets of water were coming out of the wall when the water was on, she still didn’t believe me. All she was worried about was, was the water off? HA, I am paying the water bill not to mention I don’t need a flood in my house so yes the water was off. Remember I have two kids under 29 months old that LOVE to learn, which means water on the floor is a new concept, lets try to put our hands in it, or then my daughter tried walk through it where she quickly learned it was slicker than ice…only funny because she didn’t hurt herself thankfully. My point is, my landlords concerns were inline with mine or that I was in line with hers. At 6:30pm, my landlord called me back to say tomorrow at 9:30 someone would be at the home to look into it, until then we needed to live without water. You would think that is no big deal. Well the 8 dinner dishes, the 4 kids cups (2 each per day) that had milk or juice in them, and the items used for cooking, all piled up in the sink…disgusting. WATER, what a simple, yet powerful tool we use everyday, not just for drinking. The next morning, my wife who works for a local University needed to shower, I needed to shower and I needed to get the dishes cleaned so kids could eat and drink off clean plates. We turned the water on for 45 minutes…amazing how dependent we are. I am writing this in grueling detail for two purposes, one to point out all that we as tenants did to help the situation, also to point out how neither the owner or “their” realtor/property manager did NOTHING in the process, but rather followed up with all that I organized. The main point there, if you have property manager like the owner has, I can only say, you are going to be in a world of frustration some day. Yes Being a landlord is easy until this happens, and “this” is a host of items when it comes to a home. It is Thursday at 8:30am, I get a call from the home owner who says ok, “I got a hold of the plumber on site, who will come by at 11:00am. What? I thought you said someone was coming at 9:00am….what ever, I would be there when they showed up. Thankfully I work out of the house and had no appointments planned for the day. At 11am the plumber comes in and says, there is leak somewhere, “no kidding,” I said, what did the owner say? He said it didn’t matter, he was not equipt to handle the problem. He gave me a number of Mark’s Plumbing. I called Mark, immediately, told him my landlord would also be in touch with him but that I needed to make sure he understood the severity of the situation and that I had a household of children that depend on water running, and that I needed him there as soon as his scheduled allowed but it needed to be today. His wife or office secretary said good thing I called immediately he was 5 miles down the road from my house finishing a call and could be at my house in 30 mins. Great. I asked her to confirm with the landlord that he could come and that she would be the one billed. She did that! Great customer service Mark’s Plumbing. He gets to my house, he cuts a hole in the wall beneath the sink, see tons of water, he pulls out the smallest cabinet and crawls in the corner of the kitchen and cuts through the drywall that is drenched to find the problem. Pictures to follow below! He finds the problem…Now he sees mold, total dampness of the leak that traveled along the wall just under the drywall…it traveled five feet to where it hit something to come up and onto the flooring. Now an Emergency Drying Company is called in, now the small little leak, and small is an understatement a PIN PRICK size hole, cause all the damage, but that little leak will likely cause $10,000 of “damage.” Of course much of that is labor for all these services. The plumber does his job, the Drying Firm contacts home owner to contact her insurance to get this problem fixed. Today is Friday, as I write this blog, two days into it and we are told we will loose the use of the kitchen for 10 -14 days, oh yeah my third child is dues in 17 days….stress????? No, we do not get stressed we deal with problems, we face them we work through them, we helped the drying company by having all the cabinets empty and ready for them to come in and pull what is needed. He was grateful we did that, after he said he would. Why would I have someone else do something on the clock that I can do at night when the kids go to sleep seems odd. I want this problem gone as soon as possible. I will write another blog to follow up. You wonder, has the home owner or her trusted agent been at the house yet? NO…HA, all I can say is if this is your house and I am your property manager, which is a service that Just Right Realty Company offers, then I would have been at the house three times already. First to view the leak when it appeared on Wednesday at 2:30pm, would I have been there at 2:30, maybe not if my schedule was full, I would have been there within an hour! Second time I would have been there was when the contractor showed up at 9am, oh yeah and the right contractor would have shown up not someone who couldn’t do the job! I ask the right questions to ensure nobodies time is wasted! The third time I would have been there would be first thing this morning, to double check the contractor showed up and was doing as he communicated. That is FULL SERVICE that we promise and provide!

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Justin Ruzicka, Realtor
Justin Ruzicka, RealtorThe House Guy
Much of my real estate career has been in buying, repairing, then selling the properties for a profit. I work for specific investment groups doing this, as well as manage a personal portfolio. The other 50% of my business is helping my neighbors, I have helped dozens of Families buy or sell their home.

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