Monday, September 18, 2006

Home Sweet Condo aka The $19,000 Bathroom

The last two weeks have been trying, to say the least.

I've looked at enough condos that they all started to blend into one.

There were a few that I really liked...and more than a few that we no-gos from the start.

Location, location, location. I kept finding properties online that I wanted to take a look at. My agent, Sandi, persisted in discouraging me. I'm pretty frugal in some ways and completely irresponsible in others. I wanted to check out the low rent properties and look for a diamond in the rough. My agent was a sport throughout the whole process.

I drug her to a complex near the intersection of Decatur and Lake Meade. The pictures and description online made this one look extremely nice. In reality this place was a little scary. I actually asked Sandi if she was packing heat. Really, it was that uncomfortable being in that complex. What a shame because the units were extremely attractive with granite everywhere. As we were driving to the next dump, err I mean property, Sandi remarked that her clothes still smelled like pot. We laughed at that, but it was a nervous laugh as we put some distance between us and the scene of many crimes, I'm sure.

One on Hacienda reminded me of an Ikea catalog. Cool light fixtures and ceiling fans. Attractive 18 inch porcelain tile throughout. This one was occupied. Sandi and I visited this condo on two separate occasions. On the second visit there was an enema bag hanging in the second bathroom. Sandi spotted it first and advised me that I not go into that bathroom on that visit. We both got a good laugh when she told me why I should avoid it.

There was the nearly completely furnished one on Hacienda in the same complex as the enima bag that I looked at on two separate occasions. Barring the Winnie the Pooh mural in the second bedroom, this one had potention. The owner of this one must have left town in a hurry. He left a nice bedroom suite in the master, dining table and chairs, couch and love seat, coffee maker, toaster, TV, VCR etc.

He also left these

I'd jumped up on the kitchen counter to see the space between the top of the cupboards and the ceiling. I started laughing and Sandi asked "What?? Is their porn up there?" I responded that no there wasn't any porn, but she was close. I almost fell off of the counter as we both had a good laugh.

Another day and another trip to check out one of the "bargains" I had found. This one was on Tropicana just east of Boulder. This complex had a nice feel to it. I drug Sandi to an "as is" wondering why this one was $20,000 cheaper than the comps.
It was missing the bottom of every interior wall, not to mention no carpet of linoleum. This one was freaky because I could only guess that there had been a flood/mold issues. Someone else suggested that a pet had "marked it's terrirory" along the bottom of every wall. Whatever the reason I'm no drywall expert so this one came off of the list fast.

Some of the worst were places that were not fit to live in let alone show to potential buyers. One had a total of five pot/pans on the stove top with dried food in them. I wish these owners good luck with selling their property. They'll need it.

The complex that contained the wall-less wonder was actually very attractive otherwise. Had it not been for the location I would have likely jumped on one of the other units in this development. Here's a sample picture from one of them.

By now I was starting to increase my target price and narrowing my search to West of the Strip and South of Sahara.

We visited Bella Vita off of Decatur between Flamingo and Tropicana. This is a condo conversion that has been in progress for about 3 years. By nearly all accounts, when this was an apartment complex it was not too desirable. Every unit was gutted down to the concrete floors and refurbished. The first condo we viewed was occupied and for sale by owner. Why buy a lived in one when the developer was still closing out about 20 units of the 1,404 total units?
Good question.

Two days later we visited the sales office. I was impressed with the complex as a whole. I really liked the granite. The kitchen, vanity tops in the bathroom, tub and shower were all granite. The doors, baseboards and casings were all upgrades. Brand new Whirlpool appliances. New AC units. Being exactly one mile from work was a plus also.

They were running a "special" on the two bedroom/one bath units. The two bed/two bath units were $19,000 more than the two bed/one bath units. How important was the second bathroom? I couldn't come to grips with a $19,000 bathroom. What to do? Everyone with the exception of one mortgage broker I talked to said to get the second bathroom for a variety of reasons. The mortgage broker said a bathroom should be around $10,000 extra, not $19,000.

I slept on it.

I made up my mind to bite the bullet and spring for the second bath. I was resigned to my fate.
We headed to the sales office on Monday morning with me fully intending to sign on the bottom line.
When we hit the door I was informed that two of the two bed/two bath units had fallen out of escrow. Aparently these units were also part of a "special" based on location within the complex. Being special meant that I could get the second bath for $11,000, not $19,000.

We went to tour the newly back on the market units. As we looked out the window of the master bedroom I had a "Friends" flashback. Instead of "ugly naked guy" we were treated to "older naked lady" closing her blinds. It was just what I needed to break the tension. We all had a good laugh.

I took the bait. The "special bait" not the "ONL" bait.

I signed my initials/name more times than should be allowed/required by law.
This is what I got.

I get to sign my name one more time in 9.5 hours. After that all I have to do is wait 30 days.

My 978 square foot piece of the American Dream?

Who knows.

At least I won't be flushing money down the crapper by paying rent anymore.

How many hands of poker must I deal to pay for this little purchase? Too many to even think about. Way too many.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Home Sweet Home?

There is a wildfire burning in Red Rock Canyon. These shots were taken from my condo complex. The fire is approximately 15 miles west of here. According to KLAS TV 300 acres have burned.

Speaking of condo complexes, I spent the morning and afternoon looking at places for sale. I have been thinking about this for quite some time. With the lull in housing price inflation here in the LV Valley, maybe now is the time. I only looked at three places today and two of them were in the same complex. One was first floor and one was second floor. I can't even decide on up and down but I'm leaning toward down. I can't believe how exhausing this process threatens to be. I made a mistake today and didn't tote my camera. Of course I had a cell phone camera, but I didn't think to use it....until later.......
later when I stopped by the Tuscany for a bite to eat and to use $40 in free slot play. They sure know how to get a sucker to come play in their house, just offer him $40 "free". Well today I invested substantially more than the "free" $40. Stubbornness finally paid off to the tune of........

My first jackpot since April 3rd. It was a long, long dry spell.

The Palms appropriately paid tribute to a native son.

Yes, thank you Andre.

On the poker front, we've discontinued several promotions.
The splash the pot promotion ended on 9/4 as did the "no juice" morning tournaments. I honestly believe that these tournaments were the best deal in town. Of course the tournaments were never marketed as "no juice" but effectively that is exactly what they were. For every 10 players the Palms added $150 to the prize pool. The "juice" was $15 per person. Figure it out guys. The tournaments are to be restructured, but I have no idea who/what/when.

A new promotion involves getting a "football square" for any faces full or better. One hole card must play and the hand must go to a showdown. You can choose either the Sunday or Monday night game. Once 200 blocks are full I guess you are SOL until the next week. $150 will be given away at the end of each quarter. If the "winner" is not present, the $150 will be carried over to the next week for the same night of the week and quarter for a progressive pay out.

Also during the games every time a team scores we will draw a table/seat # and give away hats/polos/jackets.

In previous years during football season every time a team scored we drew table/seat for $100, $200, $300 or $500. That promotion was wildly popular. I'll let you all know how the new football promotion stacks up.

The potential BIG promotion is still in the negotiation phase. If it comes to fruition you'll be the second to know. I have high hopes for this one!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Dad!

I hope you had a great day.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Mesquite, Nevada

Since moving to Las Vegas I've done precious little exploration of the surrounding area. I can now add the metropolis of Mesquite, NV to the list of places I have visited.

I had seen and heard the advertisements for Casa Blanca and Oasis casinos in Mesquite. They are plastered on many of the mass transit buses in Las Vegas. They seemed too good to be true.
A $99 Get-Away.

Tuesday, my Friday, was painfully slow. Since I had been a good boy and had been working 7-8 hours a day I decided to allow myself an
indulgence. I took an EO.

Maybe I should have done some preparation before clocking out, but I had a plan. On my way home from work I called the Casa Blanca to inquire about their package deal. As advertised, it was $99 for two room nights AND two 30 minute Sweedish massages, OR two rounds of golf, OR one massage and one round of golf. I haven't picked up a golf club in over 3 years. I chose to get a 1 hour massage. I intend to utilize this package deal again before it expires. Maybe on the next trip I'll terrorize the duffers. Then again, the 1 hour massage was pretty damn good. Who knows.
Samantha has magic hands. She also happens to be VERY pregnant. She didn't let her condition stop her from digging in though.

On the return trip I made a note of the milage. It was 82 miles from the Casa Blanca parking lot to the intersection of I-15/Flamingo. It took all of 67 minutes(without exceeding the speed limit). Add 20 minutes and I had traveled the remaining 6 miles home.

Maybe I just never took notice of the emergency evacuation plans posted on every hotel room door but #8 is amusing to say the least.

#8 Calmly Wait

The hotel is on fire, I'll be calm alright.


I have no idea what possessed me to place this bet. I rarely make a sports wager. I think the last one I made was Kentucky Derby 2005.

Since Agassi is hanging up his racket after the US Open AND he is a local icon I decided to ride the sentimental horse. At 55/1 it seemed like a good price.

Only 4 matches to go.

When he gets to the semis I'll start thinking about hedging my bet.

Andre, if you happen to be reading this, I'll make a donation to your charitable foundation if you turn this ticket into a winner.

I need to write about some new poker room promotions at the Palms and about my new domestic situation. One potential promotion could be HUGE. Stay tuned......Maybe tomorrow..........

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