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Saturday, May 27, 2000
When I told Sera I was not going to accept the counter-offer on the property, she blurted out "You Loser!" before she could regain composure. I guess she had to rewind those dreams of how she was going to spend the commission.
Here is the letter I wrote to the sellers of the property, explaining why I was not accepting their counter offer. And below that is the letter I wrote to Sera, in response to her response to my suggestion that I find another realtor.
Thank you for your counter offer, but I regret I must decline at this time. I am quite enamored with the property itself, but the age, architecture, and proximity to the road of the house are incompatible with my particular goals of living on the property and raising a family there. Combined with the legal limitations on number and size of dwellings on any single lot, I keep returning to the conclusion that the existing home is, to me, more of a liability than an asset, and for this reason I cannot justify to myself a higher price than my original offer. I understand that this is purely a consequence of my particular goals and context, and I do appreciate your position as well. I assume you will wish to keep the property on the market at or near the current asking price, but if it ever happens that you would be willing to reconsider my offer, I would most likely be willing make the same offer again barring a downturn in the market or until I find and purchase another property.
Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 15:37:53 -1000 To: Sera From: Simon Subject: RE: Stuff >etc. My position is best explained by letting you know that each client I >choose to take on is very personal to me. I have a very high success rate, >and because of this, when I can't seem to find my clients what they want, or >are so close but not quite there, I get frustrated.
If it is only that, then it is easy: I don't expect miracles, and I don't even expect you to hustle for me -- I just want you to let me know when you learn of something coming on the market which I might be interested in, and if it looks promising enough then for you to get me in to see it, one way or another (i.e., I was quite content plodding around the property with the surveyor -- don't need my hand held, really :). Beyond that, it's between me and the market; I accept that; I expect that.
But I get the impression it's not only that -- that you feel it's not worth your time to work with someone so picky about properties which you may consider low-end. This is your decision to make -- whether it is worth your time to work with me. We may just be a mismatch of magnitude -- my last realtor, who sold me my home in San Diego, and sold two homes to friends of mine, was a sixty year old woman who drove an old convertible volkswagon bug, and who lives in a house just down the street from me. She showed me what was around, nothing fit, and then I didn't hear from her again but once in a while when she found something that reminded her of me. One day she called and said "This is it!" with a bank repo that hadn't hit the MLS yet. I saw it, thought about it for about twelve hours, and bought it before anyone else really had a chance to look. In terms of total timespan, she worked with me for many many months -- for a relatively inexpensive sale -- and she treated that as par for the course. But she probably hasn't made very many million dollar sales in her life, either, so her style is not suited for everyone -- everyone has their goals and standards.
The Maui property is perfect for me, but for my own budget limitations. I can infer with fair confidence that there must be a rule in Realty school that says a buyer will buy the most expensive house they can afford, regardless of what they claim their price range is, and there are no doubt techniques practiced and passed on for figuring out where this true limit is. Unfortunately, I'm a habitual rule breaker -- I'm one of the few people on the planet who hasn't notably ratcheted up my life style to match my income, because I am investing in what I hope to be an exceptional future -- one which I will build with the time I have bought with the possessions I have not. So take me at face value for what I say, because unlike most people I really do mean what I say.
Whether the market will go up or down from here is almost completely irrelevant to me (except that if I knew it were going down I might wait to buy, of course) because I am not buying to hold and sell, but to keep as a home base indefinitely. What matters entirely, then, is what I end up with in terms of the land, the home, and the money left in my pocket. I am not a speculator.
[...] As far as region, I would really like to be "not too far from Makawao" because there is a digital switch in Makawao from which I can get DSL internet service, and I need that at a minimum. Wireless options have not looked promising so far. The Kapakalua property was within range of DSL (I checked). The school here in Haiku is definitely not. However, this limitation is lightening every day as internet availability reaches out, so I am flexible here if all other factors are right. Also the altitude matters to me. Temperature variation is about 5.5 degrees (F) per thousand feet. The school here is at 500' ASL, and it's too hot to get any work done during the day lately. (And strangely enough downtown Haiku is slightly lower even though it's further inland.) The Kapakalua property is at almost 1500' ASL, and I don't want to end up much lower than that.
Finally, if there is a house on the property, it has to be one of three things:
- 1) A tear-down shack with no more than about $10K value placed on it (what it would save me in rent while building, less what it would cost me to tear down and haul away later)
- 2) Something I can remodel into something I want to keep (see 3), and which is appropriately discounted so the final product and price (after remodel) will be within my target range.
- 3) Something I would want to keep, which for me means:
- high quality but not necessarily large
- vaulted ceilings, airy, and lots of windows almost a must
- loft(s) a plus
- curves and non-90-degree angles a plus (i.e., not boxy)
- light-colored woods ideal, darker natural woods or light modern consruction (drywall, rounded corners, arches) second choice, painted wood or other hard-to-work-with older construction a serious negative unless it's something very tasteful and/or truly alternative (steel and glass, dome, giant concrete spheres, weird stuff like that).
Maybe it's the case that what I'm looking for can't exist -- that if you add up all the features I want it just comes to more than I want to spend. :/ (It would be my luck to be in that position -- if only I'd been here a couple years earlier, or made a little more money on the sale of my business...) Does it seem that way to you, or do I have a chance of finding what I want if I am patient?
Anyway, there's my story -- it's your decision, and I will not be insulted in the slightest if you think there's another realtor who's a better match for me.
I am leaving on June 3rd, gone until September 11th, but I can bring up MLS photos and whatnot if anything comes up that's potentially "the one". Between specs, photos, and Garrett*'s word, I'd be willing to fly out on a moment's notice for the right thing.
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