Air conditioning; there are no two sweeter words than these if you live in Florida in the summer (or any time of the year, actually). Air conditioning in Orlando is arguably more valuable to have than any other household amenity; cable TV is important, but you aren’t fanning yourself with yesterday’s paper if your cable is out. Internet is convenient if you need to update your Facebook status from your living room, but you aren’t sitting in front of an open fridge with no shame if your Internet is down. If your A/C is out, you are doing all of the above, plus a few others.
This morning I came into work, refreshed from the 8 hours of the sleep I was lucky enough to get last night. I sat down and started to check my email, when my assistant manager, Erika, walked in. She looked a little tired; and when I say tired, she looked like she had just been run over by the monorail at Disney World. As she uttered her first sentence, I immediately understood; “The A/C in my house went out last night.” Ouch.
Erika and her husband own their own home in a neighborhood about 20 minutes from our property. She proceeded to explain how the night before last, she thought there was a strange noise coming from the air conditioning unit, and she mentioned it to her husband. He seemed to think everything was fine, and went about his day. The next day (which is now last night) Erika came home from work to see her husband mowing the lawn. As she waved and started to walk into her garage, her husband stopped her to say, “Ummmm. The air conditioning is not working.” This only means one thing; it’s now a “going out to dinner” kind of night.
Unfortunately, Erika’s 12 year old daughter had homework that needed to get done that night, as the next day was a school day. Erika and her family sat at Chili’s for 2.5 hours eating and finishing homework. When they finally got home at 10:30 pm, they had borrowed an A/C window unit from a friend to put in their room, so they set that up in the master bedroom. This is where Erika, her husband, 2 daughters and 2 dogs (one which is a Great Dane) proceeded to sleep. All together. In the same room.
The next morning, Erika’s husband woke up early before work to buy a new fan motor. The home that they own was built 5 years ago, and this is the third time that the motor has needed to be replaced, at $180 a pop. That’s $540 worth of A/C fan motors. Not even including labor, since her hubby is at least pretty handy and can do the work on his own.
The reason I tell you this story is because it got me thinking; homeownership definitely has its perks and obvious benefits. But had Erika been living in a Camden community, she would have been able to make a quick call to our emergency maintenance staff and the problem would have been fixed within hours. They wouldn’t have had to go out to dinner, Erika’s daughter wouldn’t have had to do her homework at a Chili’s restaurant and they all would have been able to resume their normal sleeping schedule and stay in their own rooms. They also would be $540 richer! There is a lot to be said about living in a community owned by a property management company with a dependable maintenance staff. And now I’m sure Erika has a new anecdote to share in her sales repertoire!
(Photo courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com).