As Thanksgiving rolls around once again during this period of economic turmoil, I am reminded how fortunate we are and must count our many blessings.
While house hunting in March of 1986, we met John and Karen. John had recently been transferred out of state and they were selling their home. Upon touring the property, we felt good about it. The asking price was well within our means and to top it off it had a swimming pool for the kids! Not to be rash since this was only the second or third house we had looked at, we bid John and Karen adieu. After riding around the neighborhood for an hour or so, we returned, placed our deposit, and signed a contract. For the next eighteen sometimes-wonderful years, we lived in this spacious, well appointed home.
Halloween 2003, after selling off the business assets and renovating the house we put up a sign “For Sale by Owner.” We were going to sell the house within a few days and be on our way to Montana in a couple of months! This was not to be the case.
Twenty-first century home buyers are for the most part a skittish lot. Saddled with fear and peer pressure, they have trouble making decisions on their own. Many excited and eager buyers were afraid to buy without the protection of an agent. Little did they know that an agent works for the agent themself and also the seller. Finally succumbing, we hired a pair of real estate agents that we thought likeable. Big mistake! Don’t hire a likeable agent, hire one that sells. Finally after a total breach of ethics, we fired these friendly agents.
Now wiser, we contracted a seller. Always in the top ten and at the time number two, Nina was a real snake. She put out her sign which included “100 percent financing.” Soon we had bids and chose a buyer. As the custom was in 2005, home buyers purchased the most house they could qualify for. In order to get a loan these people had to consolidate all their credit cards along with the house and take a two-year mortgage. After the closing, we drove to the bank, deposited the check, and hit the road towards our new life in Montana. Six months later, Katrina hit and brought with it staggering increases in insurance premiums. I can only wonder what a burden it was on these new home owners. After two years, when the mortage was due for renegotiation, we were informed the house was again for sale. This created another opportunity for the real estate leeches to once again earn their commissions. I don’t know if there was a sale or a foreclosure. I only wonder if these stupid people are an example of who Congress now feels inclined to protect.
As for us, we drove to Montana and moved into the second house we looked at. The house had snow on the ground and the address was 1127 (the date I met Sweet Mom.) Then we purchased the first vehicle we looked at. Three and one half years later, we still live in the wonderful “little house in Kalispell” and drive Sweet Mom’s excellent minivan.
Sometimes I miss my own business, but this recession makes me feel quite fortunate to not be bleeding cash while waiting for customers to resume spending. The company I work at has cut out all overtime. Once again, how fortunate as I quit doing overtime two years ago. I have no credit cards, no car notes, no mortgage, and the whole family is healthy. As economic downturns have always been, for us, the precursor to prosperity, I feel like one of the luckiest people on earth.©11/21/08