May 24, 2012
or "Don't be a dick." (Those of you who know Melissa and I won't be surprised at this. Those who are surprised by that don't know us as well as you think.)
So as some of you may know, Melissa and I closed on a house. Today in fact. Some of you may know that we had a really easy time of it, and in fact, ended up with a monstrously great deal.
Well, as near as we can tell, it all boils down to a bit of luck, and a decision we made early on: do what we think is right, not what people tell us.
See, when you ask people about buying a house, there's a lot of talk about how to get the lowest price possible, don't let the seller know you really want the house and other such things. We did none of that. We decided that if we didn't like the price on a house, we weren't going to even try. It's a simple theory, you use it all the time. Don't like the price? Don't buy it.
We also realized we hate, hate, hate negotiating like we were in a medieval bazaar. Does it save you money? Maybe, but you may miss out on some other things.
We were luck in that we found a great realtor, Susan Ice, from Keller-Williams of Tallahassee. If you're in tally and you want to buy or sell a home, I cannot say enough good things about Susan. She was perfect. She was able to play devil's advocate without trying to tell us what to do. Even in cases where we liked a house she thought had issues, she made sure we had all the facts, even the inconvenient ones, but let us make our own decisions. She also realized that for both of us, we had to like the house, because we weren't buying an investment, we were buying a home. A place to live. A place to be at peace with each other and ourselves. She picked up on that early, and was able to show us a lot of houses that came close for us.
But then we saw the house we wanted, bad. We went to visit it and as we left, we said, "we want this one. Let's move on it, and we're not going to dick around on price. The asking price is awesome, lets' go with that." We had no problem in letting the seller's realtor know we loved that house.
This turned out to be the precise right way to go, because the seller had lived in that house since 1993, and the amount of love he put into the place was huge. Everything, everything showed this guy cared, deeply about his home. So the fact that we loved the place, and that we weren't being dicks about the price? That mattered. That decision, to not be dicks, paid off all over the place.
When we asked if he could pay some of the closing costs, he agreed to a figure that was essentially all the closing costs. (I'm not kidding there. Our final outlay towards buying a house? $4.50. yeah. Less than five bucks.)
When the inspector found some issues with minor wood rot, he not only had those fixed, and quickly, but fixed a few things he didn't have to at all.
When he found out we were getting a VA loan, the fact that I'm a vet, and that we were being as absolutely cool as we could got us:
1) a hammock
2) A nice surround-sound receiver and subwoofer
3) A totally non-requested steam-cleaning of the carpets and paint touchup
4) A HUGE BBQ grill. (no really. This sucker's pretty damned big.)
5) A 25$ Publix Gift Card
At the closing, both Susan and the seller's agent said they wished they could clone us for all their deals. We also made sure that whenever the loan officer from Capital City Bank, (if you're in Tally, bank with them. Their online needs work, but their people are amazing and nice) needed anything from us, she got it, within the hour if possible.
Basically, at every step of the way, we made sure that we removed as many obstacles as possible, and it paid off big time.
The end result? Everyone won. The seller sold his home to people who understood and appreciated the work he put into it. We saw the love he had for his house, and that made us love it too. When the only thing you "have" to update is the contact paper in the kitchen shelves, that shit is awesome. In addition to leaving his home in the "right" hands, he got a decent pile of cash for it, and felt, I hope, respected at all stages of the game.
We got the house we really, really wanted, a place we can love now, and for decades if we want. We even named the big oak tree in the back yard. "Aveline", because she's a big girl. (DA2 Fans will get this joke.) We got the house, and then some. We had almost no stress, we closed a day early, and there were zero problems, from the time we first bid until the time we closed.
Our motto on this going into it was "Everybody Wins". It worked out pretty good.
Maybe more people should give it a try.| Comments ()
May 14, 2012
"Twitterview" about my book!
(I didn't make up the word, so don't blame me for that)
So on 15 May, Peachpit's going to be doing a "Twitterview" with me about my book. Details here:
Ask questions, get a free book. Not a bad deal.
May 11, 2012
Who the Star is John Gruber redux
Jason Snell, a friend and occasional boss-like person for me has a fun story about a certain profane shirt John Gruber wore on stage at Macworld Expo in 2011. "Who the fuck is Mick Jagger" was what was on Gruber's shirt.
I'm not going to talk about that, Jason's story is good enough for the shirt itself. However, there was an amusing backstory that intersects with the shirt. As readers of this blog know, I'm part of the Angry Mac Bastards podcast, along with Peter Cohen and Darby Lines. It's profane. Very profane. However, out of respect to the context of Macworld Expo, when we have our live show there, we don't work blue.
But we get warned. I'll posit that the three of us get more warnings about "appropriate language" than every other speaker at Macworld Expo combined. We expect some of it, it's only natural. But after a while, it does get a little tedious. "Yes, I know, no bad werds. You've reminded me about this a lot." That particular year was even worse for me, as I was doing some stuff on that main stage with Macworld, including "Stump the IT Guy" with Chris Breen. Warning, warning, yes Chris, I know, I'll be good. And we all were. Because it's really not THAT difficult not to swear. But as it turns out, we weren't who they should have been worried about...
Because then I see Gruber's shirt, and every time I saw anyone from Macworld Expo or Magazine after that during the show, I had to tease them about it, because...well, after all, when you've been warned over and over about something that was not going to be a problem anyway, and it's some other guy that causes the problem that they were worried you'd cause...
...well, it's almost a requirement to tease everyone who warned you.
Because hey, schadenfreude!| Comments ()