For those reading who’ve stumbled across this post and haven’t read the previous one, give it a quick read first then come back here. It provides context to the following story.
So I’ve just bought my first property with my little egg of savings from my time in Melbourne and now I’m babysitting my infant New Zealand bank account containing $0 and my obese mortgage that sucks directly from my non-existent bank balance.
My first crisis was that my mortgage is paid fortnightly (every two weeks for American readers) and the rent paid by my tenants was paid into my bank account monthly from my new property manager.
So on the 15th of October my brand new account fell hundreds of dollars below zero (because of the first automatic mortgage payment) and when I woke up the next morning I was greeted with an email from the bank written in all red letters.
Needless to say I panicked and ran around and freaked out all day until I could finish work and call my bank within New Zealand work hours; or far too late at night where I was in the world.
I explained to Westpac my situation and begged at their feet for mercy.
Luckily they show mercy the first time you screw up, but promised to come down with the might of Thor if it ever happened again.
Well I quickly moved money across from my work account and brought the balance back up to zero while I waited anxiously for the 1st of November for my first month of rent to pay me and push my account into positive digits for the very first time.
Time was slow but eventually the 1st came…. then it went.
I had sent money again over to New Zealand because yet again the mortgage had to be paid. But I was optimistic that it was all about to be worth it.
I opened my account on the 1st..
The 2nd came…..
The 10th came….
I called my property manager panicking, she told me that she’d received no money from the tenant.
She had sent them several letters asking them to pay but they had been ignored. She asked if I thought she should go over and ask for the money in person..
I nearly dropped my phone as I spluttered down the phone at her to get my money!!
Things were not working out as well as I had hoped, so in the meantime I sent more money over to New Zealand knowing that the mortgage would be taken right on time on the 15th whether I could pay it or not.
The 15th came and went and the mortgage was sucked right out on time but nothing had come back in.
My manager called me back and informed me that the tenant was gone and the doors had been broken down by a police battering ram.
My tenant was a wanted fugitive who had been charged with drug possession and trafficking and the police had finally caught up with him.
I nearly passed out, then nearly downed in a pool of my own anxiety sweat.
Eventually he was found and charged and put on probation.
He was working somewhere in the district and now living on his brothers couch so my manager paid me his rent out of her own pocket, then took him to court to reimburse herself.
I got my first rent payment! Things were turning around.
That is until the next tenant moved in.
She signed the lease as a single person with no pets.
My manager inspects and sends me photos of a house full of ‘Disney’s Frozen’ blankets, toys, dog hair, men’s bathroom necessities and mattresses leaning against every wall.
The place just looked sticky, and I couldn’t imagine what it must have smelled like.
She didn’t pay her rent either (shock) and we got rid of her. Five more un-paying tenants went in and out and I replaced the doors (police battering ram) three more times until I decided to throw more money at the house and do it up properly.
I re-carpeted the entire house. The carpet was crack-den quality so it all had to go.
My grandmother made new curtains for the place that matched the new carpet and I had it all cleaned.
I ripped up the yard and re-did it and replaced the fence.
The place completely turned around, and almost like magic the people who started applying to live there were people who paid rent and weren’t on the run from the police.
The place has turned around and become much easier to own, but having a house in a small town has far too many small town challenges when you don’t live there so even though things are better now, I’ve decided to sell the house.
Luckily for me, late in 2015 almost by accident I bought my second property right on the tale end of the glorious Wild West days that came to a crashing end in mid 2016..