When It Rains, It Pours

Literally, and figuratively.  Let me fill you in on the last 10 days…

Angry Irma

We survived Hurricane Irma.  No property damages to report, but we were without power for a week.  School was canceled all last week, because many city roads were blocked by downed trees and power lines.  Thankful for all the utility workers who worked long days to help restore power to our area.

Internet was out for 10 full days.  First world problems, I know.  We do not have TV, we just stream, so without the internet, there is no TV.  Thank goodness for a hard-drive with a handful of kids movies on it.  Other than that I worked on the house a good bit.  The boys rooms were cleaned, organized, and decluttered.  My home office is 75% done.  I made the most out of the technology break.

Looks like Hurricane Maria is heading this way.  Hope that turns back to sea!

Car Troubles

DH needed new rims and tires.  DH found a set for $350.  Great deal.  Only to find out after he got home that all the tires were dry rotted.  I was furious!  Now he had rims, but still needed tires.  Called around for days, $700-$1000 for his truck tires!  Finally a local place had a special (something to do with a sports team scoring) and for $600 he got tires, but the receipt was for $800.  He bought tires, a warranty on them, an alignment, and an oil change.  All was well.  Until….

The truck we’ve had only five months decided to spazz out and die in the middle of an intersection while I was heading home.  Battery and alternator died.  $190 for a replacement battery, $483 for the alternator.  Dealership quoted $833 for parts and labor.  Our friend installed it all for $100.  Thank goodness.

It’s been a very painful, expensive week with that truck.  😦

Homeowner’s Insurance

Problems are not resolved!  In fact after this drama with my adjustor, the water mitigation company called me last week stating they received an email from him that he sent me a check to pay them.  (He called weeks prior to state he paid them directly…)  Around and around we go!!!

Then in the mail two days ago I receive an official notice of termination from my insurance company.  That’s right.  After my first and only claim EVER due to the water heater flood fiasco, the insurance company has dropped all of my policies effective October 1st.  Two homes, three vehicles.

I still have not received a DIME for the repairs needed at the old house for my claim that was filed in JUNE.  I’ll be dealing with corporate this week.  Now I need to find a new insurance broker.

Collections

Out of nowhere, DH and I both started getting hounded by collection agencies this week!  DH has two medical bills now in collections, that were part of a settlement from 2015.  I have all the proof showing these were to have been paid out by the lawyer.  Those are now “pending” for further information.  IE The damn lawyer needs to deal with it.  Sleazy jerk.

Mine is a dental bill from 2014!!  That I PAID IN FULL!  The woman was so nasty on the phone.  If I didn’t pay it in full right then, she was reporting it to my credit.  That threat just makes me roll my eyes to be honest.  I have other things to worry about these days.  Whatever, report it.  Sure enough, she did.  My nice 801 credit score plummeted to a 756 once it showed up.  The amount I supposedly owe?  $441.  I called my dentists office, they claimed to have sent me invoices.  I have an invoice from 2014 that showed a remaining balance of $41.93, which would make sense, because I generally pay in $50-$100 increments.  How did it go from $41 to $441?  No one can explain.  Three years, I don’t have receipts, I don’t even have the same bank anymore.  Another fun project to deal with.

I need a money tree.  

I’ll update my numbers tomorrow, now that I have internet.  🙂

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Posted in Auto, Debt, Expenses, Family, Real Estate, Rental Property | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hurricane Prep

No updates on my homeowner’s insurance drama. Honestly, I don’t have the energy to deal with it this week. Too much going on, what’s another week delay after three months of fighting?! I’ll have my debt update soon! We’re busy busy, because…

IRMA IS ANGRY! And heading this way. Thankfully we’re not in the direct path, nor on the coast, but looks like we’ll definitely be hit with something. The extent is unknown. The last hurricane to hit us hard was Ivan, way back in 2004. We had just bought our first home that year. Lost our deck, patio, grill, half a roof, and our only car. We’ve had others pass by through the years, but mostly downgraded to tropical storms, and none as damaging as Ivan.

Family members on either coast of Florida are figuring our their evacuation plans. Many plan to stay put, others have no choice (nurses) in the matter. My aunt was able to book the last available flight up to our area for Friday morning. Assuming she can get to the airport through all the traffic.

Any readers in Florida, stay safe!  And to all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, you’re still in our thoughts. Hopefully Hurricanes Jose and Katia dissipate!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Is this legal?! Homeowners Insurance Drama Continued…

I’ve mentioned multiple times how much I despise the insurance adjustor I am being forced to deal with as a result of the water heater flood at our old house.   His emails are rude and condescending.  He’s a proven liar.  I have nothing good to say about the guy.

When I received the bill from the water mitigation company for $2600, it was full of false charges, which I outlined in this post.  I immediately disputed the charges with the billing department and was told my case was being escalated to a manager.  That was August 15th, I still haven’t heard from them.

I emailed my insurance adjustor about this bill.  He originally told me he would be handling them directly, then in his reply , he said vendors aren’t his problem, and it was solely my responsibility to pay the bill.  I mentioned the false charges, lack of work, and multiple appointments we were stood up.  I told him point blank that I was disputing the charges and that I never received my check from him anyway.  He responded, rudely, ignoring the check comment, and basically saying too bad, deal with it with the mitigation company.

HERE’S WHERE IT TURNS WTF.

Yesterday Mr. Asshole Insurance Adjustor called me to let me know that he WENT AHEAD AND PAID THE WATER MITIGATION COMPANY DIRECTLY.  What the hell!?!  He repeatedly told me it was my responsibility, he knew I was disputing the charges, he refused to assist weeks (and months) prior.  Now all of a sudden he pays them in FULL??  Without asking, without warning, not a word until after he paid.  THAT’S MY MONEY HE’S SPENDING!!!  FOR FALSE CHARGES!!  Is he even allowed to pay them like that without my authorization???

I was livid, and I let him know that.  I asked him why the hell he paid that invoice when I was disputing charges on it.  His response?  “Well whatever the company did or didn’t do is something you’ll have to take up with them directly.  I’ve already paid and I can’t take it back.”  But why the hell did he pay it?!?!

I AM SO FRUSTRATED WITH THIS ENTIRE SITUATION!!!!  He is also refusing to accept my invoice from Lowes that has the flooring repair estimate.  He stated that they won’t cover labor costs.  !??!!  Is that normal?  Why aren’t labor costs part of a claim when I have to pay for flooring to be installed??

I am at my wits end with this shit.  Please excuse the language and exclamation points, but I am beyond frustrated.  I’m going to have to go above his head now.  Anyone have experience like this with homeowners insurance?  This cannot be normal.  This is my first and only claim ever and I’ve been treated horribly.  There’s no reason a water damage claim from June 6th still isn’t settled in September, right?  Ahhhh.

Serenity now!  Serenity now! 

 

Posted in Home, Real Estate, Rental Property | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Property Tax Increase

After much deliberating, DH and I made the decision to pay off a bulk of our credit card debt with our savings.  This move would cut savings by more than half, but we’d be getting rid of $300 in minimum payments every month.  Yesterday I was going to pull the trigger…

Then the mail came.

With our property tax bill.  I had the worst panic attack I’ve had in a long time after opening that bill.  Our property taxes have nearly doubled since last year!!  We’re looking at about $5,000 now, plus I need to find new homeowner’s insurance, and pay that in full as well.

We do get the homestead exemption applied, but our city/county raised various tax rates, and appraised our property at a much higher value than last year.  I’m a bit perplexed by this, because we haven’t had any major changes.  The pool was the biggest change, but even so that was done before last tax season, and a pool certainly wouldn’t add $100,000 in value.

There’s a house across the street from us that just hit the market.  It’s twice the size, and on the market for less than our appraised value.  The letter says we received our valuation notices in May, and the deadline to appeal was in June.  I never received any such letter!!  Small town (corrupt) politics at it’s finest, not worth trying to appeal even if it weren’t past the deadline!

$5000.  That’s a huge hit.  This is the ‘downside’ of not having a mortgage; your taxes and insurance aren’t bundled into an escrow account.  The rental house still has a mortgage and escrow, that’s a relief.  We’ll have to take this out of savings, which affects paying off all the credit cards right now.  At the beginning of the year we did start a separate sinking fund for these things, but unfortunately we fell behind after multiple rental home repairs, plus the flood, plus DS2’s medical co-pays.  This isn’t an unexpected expense by any means, we just failed to properly prepare this year.  And I was budgeting for $3100, NOT $5000!

$2500 is due in October, $2500 due in December.  Homeowners will be due in October.  Our previous policy was $1200 annually, but we’re shopping around.

Ouch, ouch, ouch!  I take responsibility for this failure to plan, but it still hurts.  I don’t understand how our taxes can be so high, I mean really.  We do not live in a super nice area, and have some of the worst schools in the state.  Again, small town politics and corruption at it’s finest!

And now I’m getting a text from our relative renter that they are experiencing low water pressure.  It’s never ending over there!!  Can’t wait for them to move out so we can sell the damn place.  Never, ever, ever going to have a rental property again!

Posted in Expenses, Home, Real Estate, Rental Property, Taxes | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Life…

Before I go into my post, I wanted to say my thoughts are with those in Houston area and Cape Coral that are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.   I have family in both locations, and know it’s been a rough couple of days.  Mother nature is a beast. 

Random updates on various things I’ve written about recently…

The bee’s.  Whatever DH did, seems to have worked!  Bee free for about three weeks so far.  Knock on wood.  I’m considering getting our gutters cleaned out, to remove any honey residue that could potentially attract another hive.  I wonder what that would cost?!

The Amazon job.  Unfortunately, I withdrew my application for the position.  I can reactivate it at any time, and put it towards other positions.  I just couldn’t make the mandatory training hours work for my family.  I did put up an ad for a night time sitter, and the cheapest applicant wanted $15/hr.  The Amazon gig was $10/hr.  If it were for a long term position, I would take the up front loss, but it’s seasonal.  Plus, I realized the training schedule would have conflicted with two of DS2’s upcoming appointments, and I can’t miss or reschedule those, as we’ve waited nearly a year for them.

I have applied for 3 additional part-time jobs locally.  Clerical, HR, and a medical coordinator.  All admin-type positions.  I was also contacted by AmEx regarding my recent application, and went through “phase 2” of their assessment tests.  I’m not holding my breath for that one.  It reminded me of the ACT/SAT tests!!

Water heater flood insurance update:  Ha!  I emailed my insurance adjustor regarding my invoices and estimates I received last week.  To say his response was condescending and unprofessional would be the understatement of the century.  Even DH was shocked by the email.  Not only was the guy rude, but his email was full of contradictions.

For example, he told me I was solely responsible for paying my vendors (ie the water mitigation company), then in the next paragraph said he was working with the mitigation company to come to a pricing agreement so he could get them taken care of.  Another interesting aspect of this is that he just received their invoice (they sent it directly to insurance, not me), yet he cut me a check (supposedly) back in June.  How can you send the homeowner a check without having invoices and estimates for the damages and repairs?  Hoping they’ll cash it and screw themselves over, obviously.

Lorex corporate contacted me regarding my recall refund.  I posted about this just hoping to get some help, because the recall center were liars.  I mean, it was ridiculous, and has been ongoing since April.  Anyway, I finally received my full refund in the mail!  Four months later.

Meal planning is going great!  Every Sunday I make a menu for the week and order my groceries online.  I pick up the groceries on Monday morning and prep every thing when I get home.  I was recently gifted a George Foreman Grill, Instant Pot, and Air Fryer by my mother in law!  I can’t wait to try some new recipes.  And yes, Wal-Mart’s Grocery Pick-Up service is still saving me a bundle each month!

This weekend we all took it easy.  The four of us were hit with a nasty cold.  DS1 and DH are on the mend.  DS2 and I seem to be having a harder time kicking it.  Hopefully this passes soon, because I have too much to do to be sick!!!

Posted in Family, Work | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Ebay, Mercari, and Etsy

I kept myself busy this month listing items online for sale.  As of the 21st I’ve sold every item I listed on Ebay and Mercari, plus several Etsy orders.  This is just a numbers post for me to keep track of.  🙂

Ebay

  • # of Items Sold: 9
  • Payments Received: $134.00

Mercari App

  • # of Items Sold: 12
  • Payments Received: $168.30

Etsy Store

  • # of Items Sold: 13
  • Payments Received: $247.41

Ebay is the easiest, because you don’t have to get fancy with SEO, the traffic is already there.  I just snap pictures, throw up a descriptions, do a fixed price with best offer option, and wait it out.  Free to list, final value fees around 11% plus Paypal fees.

I’ve been selling on Etsy for 10 years now, on and off.  This is mostly passive income as I sell off craft supplies.  Etsy has this horrible habit of “improving” the website every spring.  The “improvements” are never good and always negatively affect traffic/sales.  Etsy is already difficult with traffic, store owners need to handle their own marketing, while Ebay basically handles it for you.  My store was dead for months as a result of the latest tweaks, but August brought me a random rush of sales all within 3 days.  Fees are 20c to list, 3.5% final value fee, plus either Paypal fees or Etsy checkout fees.

The Mercari App is new for me.  I decided to branch out and have my items listed on multiple venues.  All items I posted on Ebay I also put on Mercari.  Whenever something sold, I would delete it from the other venue.  Mercari was easy!  No listing fees, only 10% for each sale.  Paid out via direct deposit.  Great place to sell clothing and accessories!

That’s a total of $549.71 in extra income this month!  I have more items I want to list on Ebay and Mercari too.  Just need to set aside some time to do the pictures and measuring.

I’m hoping to put a bulk of this income, if not all, towards our debt.  Depends on if our renter pays us soon (7 days late for August and still owe $150 for July), otherwise it’ll be used to front the mortgage and utilities.  At least we won’t have to dip into our savings!

Posted in Extra Income | Tagged | 4 Comments

Water Heater Flood Update

Two months after the water heater flood at our old home (current “rental” property), I finally have an invoice from the water mitigation company.  What a joke!  That company is one gigantic scam and I regret feeling pressured to call them in by our shady insurance adjustor for such a minor flood.  (He made me feel obligated to do it to process the claim.)

Well, “minor”, as in it was not an emergency situation.  I was charged an additional fee for emergency services.

$2,600!  For mitigation services.  Being a stickler for fine print and details, I requested an itemized invoice.  Originally they never even sent me an invoice and just started calling me for payment.  I refused to pay a dime before receiving an actual bill.

I got my invoice today and went line-by-line finding multiple discrepancies.  I was being charged for services that were not provided.  A few examples:

  • $79 to move “top loading washer and electric dryer” – False.  My appliances were never moved.  Not only that, but I do not have top loaders at that property.  They are stacked front loaders.
  • $140 to remove trim.  No trim was removed from any of the three affected rooms.
  • $125 to remove wet drywall.  No drywall was ever removed.
  • $1467 for nine “air movers” aka FANS.  There were only six set up at the property.
  • $49 to remove wet carpet and carpet padding.  No carpet or padding was ever removed.

Unbelievable!!!  Pay attention people.  Read every thing, question every thing.  I still haven’t heard from insurance after stating I wanted to appeal their decision back in June.  Now I’m having to fight the water mitigation company over a plethora of false charges.

While on the phone with the billing department, the woman assisting me also informed me that the $2,600 bill was for mitigation services only.  That I should be expecting an additional bill for repairs.  What repairs?!  They never repaired anything!  They never came back!  We made THREE appointments to get repair estimates and not once did their service person show up.  We gave up and will be doing some repairs ourselves, while Lowes is handling flooring.

I mean….wtf, people.  Just wtf….

Oh, and did I mention I received a cancelation notification for my homeowners insurance in the mail?  Was it from my insurance company?  NOPE.  It was my mortgage company letting me know they received the cancelation notice.  Traveler’s couldn’t even be bothered to contact me and let me know they dropped me.  This has been my ONLY claim EVER on this property and they drop me.

I planned on switching companies after this ordeal anyway, but to drop me!?!?  Over a measly $5500 claim?  That number is what they want to send a check for, minus my $1000 deductible, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to covering the costs of repairs.

I’m tired of shitty people and shitty business practices.  I’m ready to stuff my face into a pillow and scream.  Rant over!

Let my terrible experience be a warning for you all.  Document!  Take pictures!  Names! Numbers!  Don’t trust anyone.  Thank goodness I took pictures of it all.

Posted in Expenses, Real Estate, Rental Property | Tagged , , | 9 Comments