Being Stood Up


She Was A Beautiful Girl

She was beautiful, with long silky hair, clear skin, pretty eyes, full lips, flowing body, she was the girl of most guys dreams. It was a second date and we had a time set up that Saturday to meet at a restaurant. I was slightly nervous and very much looked forward to seeing her again at 8 pm. Being a little early to every appointment was my norm and I was eagerly early on that day, getting there five minutes before. I asked for a table and ordered a beer, waiting for all the clocks in the restaurant to reach the magical number 8. At exactly 8 pm I saw her coming in the restaurant. Oh…wait….that wasn’t her…sure looked like her though... Maybe she is a little late. I give her time and waited half an hour but still nothing. I text her: Are you on your way? Let me know if you have trouble finding the place. Ten more long minutes passed. Time slowed down. Everybody was moving around like snails. I call. No answer. I leave a voice message: Hey, its me. I am here at the restaurant. Let me know if you are on your way. See you here. I waited another twenty minutes for any type of response….a text, a call, message from the waiter, telegram, morse code, anything. I got nothing. I went home with mixed feelings of rejection and disappointment. So sad.


The Ugly Contractor

He was ugly. With no hair on his head, skin of an alligator, blood shot eyes from working under drywall for years, missing teeth, and a burly, hairy body that most women would say EEEEEEEW! Yes…with that many E’s behind the W. He had done a few small jobs for me in the past and this would have been like the fourth one. We had set up the appointment for Wednesday at 8 am at the property. I get there a few minutes early of course. You know me. I go inside the house, pacing back and forth looking around, rehearsing what needs to be done for the remodel in my head, waiting for that dreadful 8. It got there faster than I thought it would. At 8 am I flipped the blind and saw a truck coming down the road. It’s him. I go outside to greet him with a smile on face. When I got to the middle of the front yard I waved him down only to see a guy that wasn’t him wave back at me and he kept on going. It wasn’t him. I got nervous. This time around I wait twenty-five minutes before texting him. I text him: Hey Bud, I am here waiting. Let me know if you have trouble finding the place. I wait 10 minutes and no response. Damn it. Could it be happening again? This time by my ugly contractor. I call him and leave a message: Hey man, just checking in to see if you are showing up. I sit in my car staring off into empty space like a zombie, dumbfounded. This guy is not showing up. After ten minutes, I turn on the ignition, close the door, put on my seat belt, put it on reverse and I am ouuuuuuutta’ here!!!!!!! Yes, with that many u’s and exclamation points. Driving back home, I did not want to hear from that guy… text, no messages, and definitely not telegrams or morse code.

The Contractor Dilemma

When the real estate market is hot contractors have little time for you and you are calling them to show up. When the market is icy cold contractors have a lot more time and they are calling you for jobs or if you call–they actually show up. It is the nature of the beast we call the real estate market. It is a little different in the love market. Did I ever speak to that girl that stood me up again? Yes I did. She called me the next evening apologizing explaining why she didn’t make it. I asked her why she didn’t just let me know she wasn’t able to make it instead of letting me sit there in that restaurant playing around with my drink waiting for her. More excuses. I never called her again after that. Good for me because I found my wife a few years later. As for the contractor, it has been two weeks and I haven’t heard from him and I probably never will again. Will I ever find “The One”….that one contractor that will stick around for the rest of my life? Probably not and I am good with that.

Bought a Bargain Property: Now What?

We have recently purchased a property at a very good price at $330,000. There are three choices we could make and they are driving us a little crazy. My wife and I have been talking about the choices and we have decided to put the decision off for a few weeks. But we will have to decide within the next few months and again the indecision on our part is driving us nuts. Tough choice to make.

The Situation

The deal was found out of sheer curiosity. The market in my neighborhood is hot and most homes sell within 30 days. I noticed that there was one home that had passed 100 days on the market. I wanted to know why and quickly set up an appointment to go see it. The home was fundamentally sound but everything was out of date. It had original worn cabinets, stained concrete flooring that was not conventionally appealing, and the areas with carpet was worn and stained. They priced it well for the condition at a reasonable $425,000. Why didn’t it sell at that price I have no idea but buyers did not want to touch it. I did but at a lower price. The roof, HVAC, and water heater were less than 5 years old. The foundation was sound.  When I negotiated it down to $330,000 it became a treasure. It was pure luck my offer got accepted. Now we have some choices to make.

The Choices

Choice A is to flip the property. Remodeled comparables in the same neighborhood are selling for about $500,000-$550,000. I can budget holding costs and a remodeling budget of $70,000 bringing my total cost to $400,000. If it sells at its market value after the remodel the profit margin would be between $80,000-$130,000 after all expenses!!! It is definitely tempting to just flip it and make a quick profit.

Choice B is to keep it as a rental. Since it was already bought at a bargain price we would have instant equity now and into the future adding to my net worth. The property can lease out for a range of $2700-$3000 once the remodel is finished. However, by keeping it I will have to swallow all the repair costs..that means I will have to be paying off the line of credit I am using for repairs in the foreseeable future. The rent will cover that costs along with the mortgage but I will not be getting that much passive income.

Choice C is to move in to the property and lease out our current home. The house feeds to the same schools my kids go to, has a floor plan that works for us, and is similar in square footage to our current house. If I flip it right away the profits will be taxed as ordinary income. However if we live in it for 2 years the profit becomes tax free.  The government allows homeowners to keep up to $250,000 in gains for individuals and $500,000 for married couples if they live in a house at least 2 years. By being patient we can flip it in 2 years and not pay taxes on the gain. If we like it enough we can just stay there. But again, similar to keeping it as rental, we would have to continue to pay the $70,000 loan for repair costs until we can re coop it back if we sell in 2 years or for a longer period of time if we decide to stay longer.

All three choices have positives and negatives. The ones that make more sense to me at this point is choice A and choice C more so than choice B. My wife and I will be discussing some more in the upcoming days. What a predicament?  What would you do?