Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Working Weekend in the Duke City

August 22 - 24, 2014
Albuquerque, NM

After a pretty hassle-free 15 months, our tenants at the house on Quail Run decided to move back to LA and it was once again time to do the usual inspections and maintenance on the house in preparation for new tenants.  Even though we weren't feeling quite ready to let it go, we considered putting it up for sale this time and Scott even spoke with a well-known, local Realtor while I was in Michigan last month.  While we were not unhappy with the agent's recommended list price of $265K, he believed that the value is only likely to rise further this year. And so we decided to list it on the rental market again, despite the stress and inconvenience of being absentee landlords.  

Our house on Quail Run

After some research on Craigslist, Scott listed the house, increasing the rent for the first time since becoming landlords in 2011.  It was all a bit whirlwind for me, having learned of the impending move-out just as I was departing for Michigan and then flying to Albuquerque just four days after returning from Detroit, but overall, the timing was pretty good, as our tenants had just moved out the day before our planned arrival in Albuquerque.

Friends Christopher and Margaret kindly offered up their guest room to us and organized a late welcome dinner at Amore Neapolitan-style Pizza with mutual friends Petra and Joe upon our arrival on Friday.  But we were there to work and sadly we had neither the time nor the energy to organize any social engagements with additional friends this time.  We look forward to returning one day for an extended trip to New Mexico to see all of our friends and also to do a driving trip though the state to visit some old favorites and also hit some spots we missed during our residence in New Mexico.

At Amore Neapolitan-style Pizza with our awesome Albuquerque welcoming committee
Relaxing at Christopher & Margaret's after dinner
Following a late breakfast (delicious as ever!) at Weck's on our first morning in town, we arrived at the house to find a complete pigsty.  On the bright side nothing was badly damaged or obviously broken but it appeared that Kelly and Michael (I will not protect the identities of the guilty) had not cleaned the house in at least six months and possibly not ever since they moved in!  In addition to the general dirt on all surfaces throughout the house, there were massive cobwebs in the window frames.  

Dust much? (Clearly the answer is no...)
 And the toilets!!  Both toilets had black mold growing in the bowls and desperately needed to be wiped down in their entirety.  These toilets would most definitely give many public toilets a run for their money.  

As my favorite Jimmy Fallon character would say, "Ewww!"
I quickly discovered that the grime was largely superficial which was both comforting from a cleaning perspective but also positively infuriating that these film industry folks didn't even bother to wipe anything down (or hire someone to clean up after them) before hitting the road back to California.

Saturday was spent cleaning up the house a bit, just enough so it wouldn't be a total turn-off for the prospective tenants who were coming to see it over the weekend.  Always on the ball, Scott had listed the house for rent on Craigslist the previous Saturday and had arranged three showings for the Saturday we were in town.  Despite the filth, the house was well-received and we rented it for our full asking price of $1,600/mo. before the third party even had a chance to see it.  Tyler and Alison, a fresh-faced, thirty-something, Midwestern couple with a 3-month-old son, had just returned to the States from overseas - Tyler is a dentist for the military - upon being transferred to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.  After four years in Japan, they really liked the spaciousness, tall counters, skylights and modern features of the house such as our newer dishwasher, washer/dryer and central heating and cooling, in addition to the stunning mountain views, of course.  They agreed to a September 1st lease date and will be moving in by mid-month when their belongings arrive on the boat from Japan.  

After an exhausting day of cleaning and showing the house, we needed a break, and preferably one including wine!  On the way back to Christopher & Margaret's, we stopped at our favorite wine shop, Jubilations, and picked up a lovely French rosé  for us and a French white as a thank you for our hosts. 

Enjoying our host's beautiful backyard after a day of hot, dirty laboring.  The bottle of rosé we picked up was a gooood call...
Sadly, Margaret and Christopher were otherwise engaged, but we had a fun Saturday night out with Joe & Petra, first at Nob Hill Bar & Grill for dinner on their patio and followed by after-dinner drinks on the patio at Scalo's.  Clearly, summer in Albuquerque simply begs feeding our patio-dining obsession!

Saturday night out with Joe & Petra
Sunday began with a short bike ride on a perfect, warm-but-not-hot New Mexico summer day to the trendy Bike-In Coffee at Old Town Farm near Christopher and Margaret's house and organized by Christopher.  

At Bike-In Coffee
Where Bike-In Coffee gets its name...
The refreshingly no-frills set up at Bike-In Coffee
Scott & Christopher enjoy coffee and a light bite overlooking the fields of Old Town Farm 
After sitting and chatting over coffee in the idyllic late August sunshine, we returned to Quail Run where we continued our cleaning efforts and Scott did the annual waterproofing on the exterior wood on the most exposed areas of the house.  We also met with our property manager, Roger, for a walk-through to detail everything we needed him to take care of after we left to go back to Oakland later that day.  During the walk-through, I approached the sliding glass door to the covered patio off the dining room and glanced out. To my great surprise, I spied an obviously dead rabbit that appeared to have bled out from a head injury right on our patio! Scott, my knight in shining armor, scooped up the rabbit with a shovel, disposed of it and scrubbed the concrete floor until there was barely a trace of what had transpired there overnight.

Our best guess is that this poor little guy was either poisoned (with mouse poison) or hit by a car in front of the house before stumbling onto our patio to die 

Although it would have been nice to have time to see more friends and to have returned to a somewhat cleaner house, at least there were no major issues to address and we felt reasonably confident leaving the remaining work in Roger's hands.  Furthermore, it was more than we had hoped for to leave knowing we had secured a high-quality new tenant for the coming 12-month period.  And besides, there was just enough time before our flight for an afternoon patio-sit at O'Niell's to enjoy some final stellar Albuquerque weather!  This was definitely the easiest time we've had to date in turning the house over and we boarded the plane back to Oakland with a feeling of satisfaction and success.

With our wonderful hosts, Margaret & Christopher - love you guys!
Enjoying a quick meal and a couple of margaritas on the patio at O'Niell's

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