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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 12-17-2004, 08:56 AM   #41
 
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Hey Spanky! That's a good one. I take Ginkgo daily myself. I once dated a woman who had a bottle on her
kitchen counter. I said, "Oh, you take ginkgo!"
She said, "No, I stopped." I asked why. She replied,
"I read something about it." I asked, "What was that?"
She said, "I forget!"

JG
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 02-05-2005, 04:52 AM   #42
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Re: Obsessed with value?

I don't think I'm obsessed with value but I do have a healthy appreciation and understanding of value. My first job, lo those many years ago, was in a corporate purchasing dept. I often spend money based on the lessons learned there.

Value sums up the buy/sell experience. And its not always about the price. Buyers often derive more satisfaction at paying a higher price. Sellers often derive a sense of satisfaction just by moving product.

Most of it comes down to the ugly price. A: Ours is one of the few cultures that seldom negotiates. Our sense of time and a zillion other reasons have stifled a wonderful facet of the buy/sell experience. B: Now that nearly everything is disposable there is less incentive to research or learn about the product, since its soon-to-be-garbage anyway.

What can you do... I say take your time learn all you can about the item you wish to buy. Negotiate with the seller when possible. "Get the story" sometimes the value is in what you learn about the purchase. Maybe your car was once owned by Jon Voight, but thats another story.

On the sell side, dont be so quick to take the first offer. Do you remember the sinking feeling you got when you offered a lowball price for something and the seller instantly said, "I'll take it!"?

Bottom line... moneys a funny thing you can only spend it once. Take your time, negotiate when possible. Life is a negotiation.

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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 02-05-2005, 05:27 AM   #43
 
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Re: Obsessed with value?

I agree with BUM, there is no substitute for knowledge
(well, maybe experience) and I love to negotiate. I have
found that over the years I was too quick to sell real
estate to the first bidder. Not sure exactly why
(bird in the hand?). I would fight like hell when I was
the buyer to be sure I got the property at the bottom price, but when I was selling I never was as tough.
Left a lot of money on the table I'm sure, but who knows
what might have happened if I let the buyer get away?
Another thing is that as the owner, you know all of the
flaws and drawbacks. The buyer does not. This may have influenced me as well.

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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 02-05-2005, 08:59 AM   #44
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Quote:
Have you seen those lines that form at stores when they have some big sale going on? People waiting for hours, traveling great distances, and jumping through hoops to get 75% off something they don't really need?

I always thought I was above that until Dell lured me with a couple of computer bargains recently. I took pride in not having upgraded my computers in a couple of years (I used to upgrade every six months or so). My old computers were perfectly functional in every way, except one -- they couldn't play the latest games.

I don't even like playing computer games, and I haven't played one in 8 years or so. But I found the need to upgrade very compelling -- I wanted the option to play these stupid games even if I had no need.

And then came Dell. Offering coupons and their refurbished outlet. I found last year's desktop model in their outlet equipped with a powerful graphics card and a kick-butt CPU. Only $300. Would have cost me at least $800 at a computer store. Sold! $300 gone, but my itch finally satisfied.

And then I found some more Dell coupons. $750 off any $1500 laptop. I've got a bunch of laptops, all perfectly good for how I use them, but hey, I could play the latest games on these new laptops, and I've never seem them this cheap before. Sold!

Oh, look, another coupon. I guess I should get a new laptop for my wife too. Sold!

And so it went for a week or two. A few grand later, I had three new laptops, a new desktop, two new laser printers, a photo printer, and a few other gadgets to boot. All for about 50% of what I thought was fair market value. Some of them justified by ideas of either selling them on eBay or by selling my old gadgets to offset their price, making them effectively free.

In short, I went temporarily insane.

And I know it's not just me. I see thriving sites with 100,000's of members who are just as compulsive about finding value.

If these things were readily available at the prices I paid, I wouldn't be the least bit interested. It's the idea that I bought low with the opportunity to get out even or better that compelled me to purchase. And I'm really impressed by the sales and marketing tactics used by Dell -- they feed off this bargain hunting impulse by artificially raising their list prices and giving you the opportunity to game their system in an effort to find/create the best bargain you can.

Why am I telling you this? Mostly as a cathartic act, to purge this compulsion from my system. But also because I think a lot of us hit ER through a compulsion for value, and I thought it'd be nice to share the dark side
Maybe it was just some deft marketing pressure that you've apparently yet to shrug off?

Do not try this at home, I *am* a professional

And dont go and make me mad or you'll find yourself with 14 cars in your driveway and a confused look on your face... 8)

By the way, that video card in your desktop system is sooo 2003...I understand that buyers of the newer model cards experience a full inch of growth in weiner size. Doesnt it make you madder than heck that some 14 year old kid can play doom3 in TWICE the resolution you can, with a faster frame rate?

As far as weddings go, I never saw anyone planning a huge wedding look like they were having fun either a week before the wedding or right after it was over. Its like building a house, it sounds good on paper but its a lot more work than you'd think.

I told my wife she could have any wedding she wanted. Our total bill including her dress, a new suit for me, and the reception dinner was under $500. Most of that was my suit and the whole rib eye I grilled for the reception dinner. I spent more time picking out the piece of meat than the rest of the planning put together. Almost zero stress.

That $500 doesnt include the engagement ring I got at Bluenile. One minor extravangance...
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 02-05-2005, 11:01 AM   #45
 
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Hey TH! Re. "it's like building a house, it's a lot more work than you think." Amen brother! I only tried it
from scratch one time and aborted the whole thing pretty quick. Like you said, it looks good on paper.

I am almost totally immune to marketing in all of its guises. I know what I like/want, and usually shop until
everyone is sick of talking to me and/or hearing about it
(DW especially ). Anyway, almost all pop culture and
mass marketing are repugnant to me and do nothing
in terms of making me want "stuff".

JG
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 02-05-2005, 08:56 PM   #46
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Tell me about it Brother John.

This week I finished the painting of the old house, new carpet, new linoleum, a new stove, laid in two cubic feet of topsoil, two cubic feet of redwood bark, finished the tub plumbing, finished caulking the exterior, and many, many more little tidbits.

I'm tired, and we just remodeled this sucker. Although except for the heating unit and the kitchen sink, every surface and item has been replaced or refinished.

Got good deals on almost everything, materials at least 10% off and I havent even paid for most of them on 'no payments, no interest for a year' plans. About 50k all together, but it'd have cost at least 90-100k at full retail. Well worth the 'value shopping'.

Now to get a buyer.............

Wab...you are getting sleeeepy...you are getting sleeeeeeepy...you want to buy a house in northern california...(gesturing with both hands in a hypnotic manner)
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 02-06-2005, 07:17 AM   #47
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Re: *Expensive versus frugal Weddings.

I used to practice law, (now I practice home maintenance) and naturally had a very close friend that specialized in "family Law". (I was a corporate lawyer). *He had a few rules of thumb: *1) The more expensive and outrageous the wedding, the more expensive and adversarial the divorce. *2) Famous people are already married to themselves so should never be granted a marriage license, as that is, per se, "ego bigamy". 3) A "Normal" wedding *is an indication that there is a fighting chance the marriage will survive, "Show Weddings" that make the society page typically are the beginning of a series of financial blunders that result in divorce. These show weddings (think Donald Trump) are typically "All image and little substance".

My second wedding was simple: *I called one of my close friends, a sitting Judge, and we paid about fifty bucks to get 'sworn in" and certificate our marriage to make it legal. *Spent the money we had in the budget on the honeymoon, and toured Italy, which made more sense to both of us. *It was the second marriage for both of us, so we were not out to impress anyone. *Our mutual feeling was why waste our limited funds on ceremony when we could use it for an extra week in Rome or Naples? *We had a wonderful time. *I truly believe that our relationship took on a new level as we toured Italy like a couple of college kids. *We would have missed so many nice moments had we spent our funds on a big hall and bash. *

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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 02-06-2005, 07:32 AM   #48
 
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Re: Obsessed with value?

My son (a sensible type) just got married for the first
time at age 38. They picked up my son's best friend,
drove to the court house and did it.

I had no money to speak of (age 20) my first time around, so it was an economy affair, including the
very brief honeymoon. My oldest daughter probably
had the most "lavish" wedding in which I was directly
involved. Even so, I probably spent less than $6,000
total. At the time I could afford it.

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Re: Diamonds
Old 02-06-2005, 12:46 PM   #49
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Re: Diamonds

A white guy marrying an Asian ?
I'm the white guy and my wife is the Asian.
When she asked me how big a diamond can she have for her wedding ring, I told her .9 carat. She laughed. Point 9, where did you get that number, she said.
Needless to say, she ended up with a bigger diamond than that.
She still laughs at me today about the .9 !
.
But, I must say, marrying her was the best thing I ever did in my entire life !
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 02-09-2005, 06:26 PM   #50
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Re: Obsessed with value?

In my case, if you ask my wife, the mix was a human marrying a Klingon, but its seems to work.

Hey, TH, I'll buy your house after the bubble bursts!
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 03-13-2005, 04:37 PM   #51
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Quote:
Tell me about it Brother John.

This week I finished the painting of the old house, new carpet, new linoleum, a new stove, laid in two cubic feet of topsoil, two cubic feet of redwood bark, finished the tub plumbing, finished caulking the exterior, and many, many more little tidbits.

I'm tired, and we just remodeled this sucker. Although except for the heating unit and the kitchen sink, every surface and item has been replaced or refinished.

Got good deals on almost everything, materials at least 10% off and I havent even paid for most of them on 'no payments, no interest for a year' plans. About 50k all together, but it'd have cost at least 90-100k at full retail. Well worth the 'value shopping'.

Now to get a buyer.............

Wab...you are getting sleeeepy...you are getting sleeeeeeepy...you want to buy a house in northern california...(gesturing with both hands in a hypnotic manner)
TH

Still remodeling. Painted yet another b/r today. Hardwood floors now look dy-no-mite. Going bats up in the belfry putting in new insulation (oops the vapor barrier goes DOWN). Anyway I'm entering the trickle down phase. The smaller the jobs become the more plentiful they are.

Selling the joint yourself or hiring a broker? We plan to go FSBO for at least the first month or so.


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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 03-14-2005, 08:48 AM   #52
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Re: Obsessed with value?

I'm in the trickle down phase as well, but the trickle stopped about 2 weeks ago. I have to get over there today and mow the grass before it swallows the house. Actually I just need to put all the ceiling fan blades back on, put up one more fixture in the bathroom, and do a bunch of little caulk and fill jobs here and there. I derailed the indoor work by bringing in 3 yards of topsoil and 3 yards of chips to fill in all the holes my dog dug, do a little foundation grading and dress the place up a little. Once again I found a 5 year olds joy in playing with dirt for a couple of days...

Are you painting by hand? I pulled out all of the carpets, masked and sprayed mine. Got a little cambell hausfeld airless sprayer for $199 and that worked beautifully. Practiced on the shed out back for a couple of hours and I was off to the races. The prep, masking and caulking actually took 4x longer than the paint job.

The house sold the day before yesterday for our full asking price after 30 days on market. With a second full price offer the next day as a backup. Funny how these things come in bunches. But then all the fruit trees on the property just went into bloom a couple of weeks ago and they're peaking right now.

We used a broker, but I only paid her 2% and 2.5% to the buyers agent. You can go with one of those internet brokers at 1.5% on the selling side. I still continue to be PO'd at buyers agents who dont show sub 3% homes to their buyers. Both people who made offers said they just saw it on a drive-by. When I bought my last house the agent didnt show me either of the two that I ended up finding myself...and wouldnt you know, both were paying 2% to the buyers agent! What a coincidence! There are some high end properties that are offering 3% to the sellers agent and (i'm not kidding) 4, 5 and 6% to the buyers agent. What you're buying there is every single buyers agent within a 2 hour drive is going to take every single client they have to visit that house.

Sold my last house 2%/2%...but it took a month longer than I figured it should based on the price and the property.

I guess the good news is most people in the $ bracket to buy a home also probably have a PC and an internet connection and many of them do their own snooping around. At this point I'll be glad when selling and buying homes becomes a private business matter. The internet, virtual tours and so forth should have led to significant economies by this time.

Unless you buy and sell a LOT of property and really know your way around an offer sheet, or are willing to do a lot of reading on the subject, a broker can be a good idea. If its a really, really clean property with no potential problems and you really, really know what you're doing, a fsbo can work.

Sure, sure, sure...I can already see the posts saying "but I did a fsbo and nothing bad happened". You can also put a bag over your head and run across the highway 20 times with nothing bad happening...its just not recommended.

The first time you do a fsbo and you get sued over a disclosure problem or have a problem with something that was done intentionally or accidentally on a form that results in you getting shorted a few grand... :P
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 03-16-2005, 02:35 AM   #53
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Congrats on selling your house! Hmmmmm...what to do with the money? I'm sure you've got that all figured out.

Spray paint the walls? Hadnt thought about that. I have all the stuff but I would wonder about using too little paint for a final scrubbable surface. I know that I can use a gallon per coat on a bedroom by hand and use only a couple quarts by spraying. What precautions did you take to prevent death? Some super Darth Vader model respirator? Since I have only 1 b/r left and not much paint I may try it.


Regarding fsbo'ing...I think we're talking different strokes for different coasts. Can't speak for all east coast states but NY/NJ/CT are big on caveat emptor. Don't know the actual percentages, personally I've bought all houses directly from the owners (5 so far) but sold thru agents (2 so far) As long as the seller does not deliberately mislead, the buyer is responsible for repairs. Its the buyers responsibility to hire a qualified inspector who will checkout structural, elec. plumbing, waterflow in and out, etc. Its the sellers job to pass that inspection if the seller wants max return on the house. Its the banks that require the certificate of occupancy. So if the buyer wants a mortgage its , no CO-no dough. A buyer who gets his bucks from a HELOC or the mattress can buddy-up with the seller and trot down to the corner lawyer do the deal and wait a few hours until the new deed is filed with the county and its done...not recommended but legal.

From the sellers point of view I think I'm offering a great house. Ive been into every nook and cranny over the past 9 months and can promise that everything is just spiffy. Beyond that all I can say is that its a 50 year old house fer chrissakes.

Those broker commissions can really put a dent in your profit margin, esp. if the property is subject to capital gains taxes :-/

I'm thinking California would be big on buyers rights. New York jurisprudence says, "f%^! 'em and feed 'em fishheads".

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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 03-16-2005, 03:22 AM   #54
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Hello BUM and all. Had 2 recent experiences with buying
homes and inspection/defects.

An aside, looking bcak I've probably done 50% FSBOs and
50% with realtors, as buyer and seller. Results were
mixed.

When we bought our house in 2001, I hired a couple
in independent contractors just to do a "walk through".
This saved a lot of money over a pro. inspector. The main thing they were worried about was that the washer/dryer and furnace were all located in the garage
and it was not well-insulated. They thought when it
got cold the pipes could freeze. Turns out this design
was one of the best features of the house. Even though we don't heat the garage directly, it is open to the rest of the house. Thus, heat flows back into the garage keeping it around +50 in the winter. A nice set up and very cheap to heat it turned out.

When we bought the condo, the sellers paid for a
"homeowners appliance warranty". Because I was getting this at no cost to me, I slacked off a bit on the inspection
part. For the first 6 months I got nickeled and dimed
continuously. I had to pay $50 per service call and a few
appliances were not covered. I did not renew when it expired.

JG
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Rules! In a knife fight?
Old 03-16-2005, 05:14 AM   #55
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Rules! In a knife fight?

Quote:

The house sold the day before yesterday for our full asking price after 30 days on market. With a second full price offer the next day as a backup.
TH,

Wait till hear THIS one!

A common practice in these parts is to stall the full price offer. It goes up the bulletin board for, oh lets say till next Saturday afternoon. During which time the buying public is permitted to entertain the seller with a higher offer.

Local Sunday paper lists sales price and asking price. Sometimes the sales price is higher than the asking price. How can that happen I asked naievely?

It a jungle out there.

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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 03-16-2005, 07:37 AM   #56
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Quote:
Even though we don't heat the garage directly, it is open to the rest of the house. *Thus, heat flows back into the garage keeping it around +50 in the winter. *A nice set up and very cheap to heat it turned out.
Interesting. I know that in CA that is against code. There must be a fireproof wall between the garage and living space. Any openings must have a fireproof door. Are you sure that's not against code in your area? If so that will need fixing if/when you sell and it may cause some problems with your insurance company if you have a fire originating in the garage.

We found this out during the inspection on purchase of our current home as the previous owner had put a cat door in the bottom of the garage door into the living space of the home.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 03-16-2005, 09:03 AM   #57
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Californias got the same "as-is" clauses...doesnt stop anyone from suing though. My regular agent and broker (prudential realty) do about 30 and 200 houses a year, they get lawsuits on 2-3 per those 200. 1:100 ratio isnt bad, but even if the claims are bogus and dont get carried through you still have to hire a lawyer and cover your butt and that comes out of your pocket. At least if you use an agent/broker they're the ones that usually get the suit.

The other part is the paperwork. On the last two homes I sold the buyers agent sufficiently mucked up the paperwork to require my agent to send back a marked up copy to put the right things in the right places, have certain areas specifically included or excluded, etc. Most of it I probably would have figured out myself; some of it may have been intentionally "oopsed" by the buyers agent. For example my agent just sent me an addendum signed by the buyers releasing me from any liability for the refrigerator and portable dishwasher we're selling with the house, which are personal property and not considered part of the sale here in CA. Without that, if either failed within a reasonable period of time I may have been liable to repair or replace them. If one shorted and started a fire, as unlikely as that is, I might have been liable for that damage caused.

Small thing, long odds, but fairly expensive if they bite. I'm really the DIY-ers DIY-er...and I did think of fsboing this house...but its something that I'd like to buy a kit to read and follow at least the first time just to make sure I'm meeting all the checklists.

Our offers here in CA have expiration dates on them...usually 2-3 days. One trick is to list a 'hot' house and say you're on vacation for 2 weeks and will be accepting offers on mm/dd when you get back. That way they pile in and are dated to expire 2-3 days after mm/dd. We got this one on friday and had until sunday to respond. When I was there cutting the lawn a couple of days ago we had two more couples tell me they wanted to put in an offer. Where were they two weeks ago !?!

Spraying is not a problem at all. Home depot sells a little two barrell respirator for about $25, although for a lot of the work you could probably get by with a little "medical mask". I dont wear one at all when spraying outside. Some sprayers have a lot of "atomization" of the paint, some dont. Some overspray a lot, some dont. Mine doesnt atomize or overspray very much.

The paint usage is indeed quite a bit less. I used an "eggshell" finish, which is halfway between flat and semi-gloss. Its not real shiny but it does give a little more reflective light in the room, and its very washable without taking much off the wall.

Six hours to paint the entire inside of a 1400 sq foot 3 bedroom 1 bath. ~4 gallons of primer, ~6 gallons of paint. The good stuff though, glidden gripper primer and endurance finish coat. I figure almost double that amount if I used a roller. Saved $2000 on labor for the job and cut my paint cost by about $200 by using the sprayer...which only cost $200.

Hey Hyper...you didnt buy my old bay area house didja? I had a cat door into the garage...had one in my last house as well and just finished cutting one in here. No problems selling either of the last two houses with one, although the code problem was noted in the inspectors report. Should there be a fire problem, the insurance inspector would have to prove conclusively that the fire came through that tiny little hole. Of course, when cutting through the door in my current house, I discovered the entire door is not a fireproof door, just an interior door. Inspector didnt find that, or about 100 other small problems. Which goes to show you shouldnt ever trust an inspector...
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 03-16-2005, 11:01 AM   #58
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Quote:
Hey Hyper...you didnt buy my old bay area house didja? *I had a cat door into the garage...had one in my last house as well and just finished cutting one in here.
Not unless you were a divorced single mum who was having her ex-husband the part-time newbie real estate agent from a different part of the bay area sell her house which she hadn't bothered to even clean before the open house.

Quote:
No problems selling either of the last two houses with one, although the code problem was noted in the inspectors report.
It was another point for us to use in beating down the price. We got it for almost 10% below list despite the general hot seller's market with homes going for over list price. We've since brought it back into shape for a lot less than the savings.
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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 03-16-2005, 12:55 PM   #59
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Quote:
I had a cat door into the garage...had one in my last house as well and just finished cutting one in here.

Im considering a cat door. Do you recommend a magnetic or electronic?

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Re: Obsessed with value?
Old 03-16-2005, 02:17 PM   #60
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Re: Obsessed with value?

Sorry Hyper, not a divorced mom. Although I sold that house ~9 years ago, so it could have changed hands several times. Besides...what are the odds? If the house is on Borax Drive, then

Yes, I always loved that street name.

Cat doors...I just use the plain old flaps. I looked at the magnetic ones, but the magnets on the collar were freakin' huge. The electronic ones have a much smaller collar tag, and I tried one of those in my first house. Racoon ripped the plastic door out completely and I left it that way until I moved. In my next house, I did have a minor problem for a short time with another cat that kept coming in through the door and whizzing on stuff in my garage.

That was an issue until I acquired the 25lb attack cat...Charlies favorite! Here is he with my 100lb dog Ted.

Since then, very few problems with any other critters coming into the garage for a visit. Highly recommended.



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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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