Monday, May 20, 2013

The painter who stole my paint

Ten years ago, I used to sell real estate - back when the market was booming mad. I used to work for a well known national production builder and sold those cookie-cutter McMansions. I also had my real estate licence and worked as a buyer agent. Times were very good then. I was putting my husband through college full time when he decided to go back to school in his mid 30's. (Never say it is too late to go and get a degree or change careers! It is not.) I remember one couple who I sold a home to had zero down and over $70,0000 in credit card debt and a credit score of 560. We were able to credit-repair them up to a 600 FICO over a 3 month period and qualify them for a home. (With zero down!) Four years later they foreclosed on the home!  This is an extreme case, but there were many instances where I was showing homes to people who had no business buying homes and they were hell bent on buying the home for zero down. And they did it too! This thinking is what got us all in the mess we are in now.

Anyway, having recently gone through the buying process and having a little knowledge about the subject, it is just amazing to me how much harder it is to buy a home now, then it was then. We have very good credit, good income, etc. a "good buyer" - and this process was very grueling. Lots of paperwork, lots of conditions... One of the issues why we couldn't close was because there was some children's artwork on some of the walls of the home. My kids were actually fighting over who got to have the room with the "ladybugs" in it. It wasn't Picasso, but it didn't bother us at all. The appraiser commented that it was "graffiti" and we had to get drywall holes (one was a rough in for a whole house fan - that we didn't even want covered up...) and the bedrooms painted as a condition for loan approval. This was a major hassle. The bank wanted us to pay half of $1750 to have someone come in and put primer over the existing "artwork" and fix drywall holes. My view was that if I was being forced to pay money for a painter - then at least let's get colors that we like. They weren't having any of that - they were only going to cover up the markings with a neutral paint color of their choice.

After haggling about it and getting nowhere with our Realtor and the bank Asset Manager, we stopped by to meet with the contractors while they were beginning and decided to "work a deal" with them directly. They were already getting $1750 to paint 4 bedrooms and cover 3 drywall holes and put a makeshift cover over the whole house fan rough in. They told us to go buy the paint and pay them $300 and they will paint our colors instead of the plain white in the bedrooms. (We wanted to paint the girls bedroom 3 different "fun" colors - keeping it very bright and unique. The rest of the bedrooms - a warm gray color.) The painters told me to get 8 gallons of gray and 1 each of the "fun" colors, pink, red, and purple. This paint cost over $400. I knew it was too much paint, but I was looking forward to using the rest of the gray elsewhere in the house - the hall way, the bathrooms, the family room, etc. And I had plenty of plans for the "fun" colors too.. to do all kinds of cool stuff for the kids. In the past when we have used painters, they always leave the paint - especially when we have bought and delivered our own paint! Anyway, these painters totally took our paint. We didn't want to make a major deal out of it, my husband asked if there was any left over. The painter who was loitering around to clean up said, "Oh, my partner must have taken the red..." and then my husband saw the huge 5 gallon pail of gray in the back of his truck. He casually said, "Oh.. that is for my next job..." (yeah, right... after my hubby's evil eye, he ended up bringing it back in and putting it in our living room when we were in another room - so at least we got that. It's over $130 worth of paint - that I need to paint the rest of the house that I thought was pretty obvious.) Next, I picked up the purple gallon can that was left in our living room - it was virtually empty. (This was used for 2 10 x 10 walls.. so we are talking only 200 sq. feet.) - No way. I didn't say anything, but I was just kind of wondering what happened to all the paint? I wanted to use that paint to decorate letters of my kids names for their new room and paint some new ladybugs for them on their new walls. As the painter was packing up and turning to leave, I heard my husband say, "You have purple paint leaking out of your duffel bag onto our front porch." Sure enough, in his haste, he had somehow managed to pour at least a half gallon of that leftover purple paint into some unknown container when we weren't looking and put it in his duffel bag... and it started to leak out in a big glob all over our porch! AWKWARD! I kinda consider it stealing. Or to give him the benefit of the doubt - at the very least, really tacky and highly unprofessional. I hate to write a book about it, I mean who cares - take the paint - fine. But I do want to ask my readers a few questions for some perspective:

a) When you buy paint for your painters (especially in a wacky color), do they leave the paint behind, or is it acceptable for them to take it?
b) Do you tip your painters? (Obviously, I did not tip.)

c) Am I overreacting?

1 comment:

  1. I would not be happy about that at all. If you bought the paint, you keep the leftovers I say. Sheesh.

    We want to buy again (we currently rent because we couldn't afford to actually buy the size house we needed yet) but I know it's a huge hassle and I want EVERYTHING in order before we go through that process.


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