The Daily EO: June 15th, 2012

Sorry for the delay, I was without a computer since Saturday (travelling).  Writing on my smartphone is like using a stick in the sand.  Slow and hard to read.

Friday was busy.  Due to our flood.  Nay, our trickle, or perhaps our moistening is a better term.  Nonetheless, the our landlord contacted insurance and disaster clean-up as the damage was done.  They responded quickly and by 10:30 am, I showered (at a friend’s house as water was off here), picked up a key for the storage locker, co-ordinating the stuff to be moved out, and agreeing to bring dessert for dinner out that night.

By 10:30 am, Emile had been at work for 2 1/2 hours needing to tie up all loose ends that day.  After all, it had arrived – his final day with the company.

At about 11:30 am, I was standing downstairs with my friendly landlord discussing whether the laminate flooring in the basement should be replaced with laminate or perhaps Berber carpet for warmth.  We were undecided but leaning towards the carpet.  The disaster clean-up team was moving boxes/furniture out, starting the ripping out process, and their equipment was all over the front porch.   The entranceway was filled with furniture and items that were not leaving, but just pushed out-of-the-way for ease of passage.

The doorbell rang.

A friendly looking fellow was standing there.  He said “We were just driving by and saw your sign, would this be a good time to look at the house?”.  We stared as him, somewhat dumbfounded – not because he wanted to see the house – but because after weeks of everything being just so, the house was not exactly show ready.  Well, never turn down a showing – and this way, they could see the work being done professionally.

Deb & Glen toured the house and were unfazed by the mess (“One time when were selling a house, we had a flood AND I was 9 months pregnant”).  They loved the place, and stayed as long as they could until they had to get to their next showing.  I casually invited them back if they wanted a second look in the afternoon, and off they went.  We forgot to even get their phone number.

That afternoon, I started making Strawberry Cake and Blueberry Muffin Cookies for dessert that evening.  Try to make dessert without water and see how that goes for you.   I was coated in butter, sugar, floor and the kitchen was completed covered in dirty dishes.

The doorbell rang.

Deb & Glen wanted to see the place again.  This time, the basement was cleared up – the crew was gone, the floor ripped up and the furniture all placed back.  But now the kitchen was a mess and I wasn’t the cleanest either.  I let them have run of the place – afterall, if this was a scheme to steal our stuff, they deserved it after executing the perfect plan.

They wandered around, discussing rooms, asking questions and I baked a cake.  This time, I remembered to get their number so we could follow up later.

June 15th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Less than 24 hours after showing up unexpectedly, Deb & Glen entered a verbal offer (no conditions) on the house.  What is the point of doing all that cleaning?

AND:  Emile finished his contract and is ready for our next adventure.  I’m proud of how professionally and well he worked to set up robust systems that needed little support.  And with little to no direction from headquarters.  If you need a Systems Manager, Emile is one of the best.


The Daily EO: June 2nd, 2012

My landlords (and friends) are selling the house that we live in.  They are doing a private sale, so everything needs to be done by them including the listing and showings.  They were away this weekend, so I found myself doing two showings for the house.

Showing a house is a strange business.  It is like job interviewing.  You suddenly have to brag about how great everything is (or you are) and try to work in all these details on this wonderful life you lead in the house.  How you’re sorry to leave it.  How you wish life wasn’t forcing this difficult decision to sell and move.  My eyes always see details, so I struggle not to acknowledge scratches or dings or dents or crooked items, my personal failings, etc.

This place is the perfect house for new home owners that want move in ready, or someone who is looking to downsize to perhaps put some of their savings into RRSPs.  Is it perfect?  No, of course not, but it is an updated home with 6 acres and 2 car garage.  Just out-of-town for privacy but close enough to still be close.

Private sales used to be that old crotchety neighbour you that collects broken down cars in his front yard.  Years ago, he headed down to Home Hardware and purchased a”For Sale by Owner” plastic sign.  It hangs weathered outside barely readable beside the “Beware of Dog” and certainly uncalled.  And you’d tell funny stories about Old Man Birmingham and his house for sale.

Now private sales are booming.  And why?  Because if you are selling a $300,000 house in Canada, the usual commission rate is 6% (3% for buying realtor, 3% for selling realtor).  That is $18,000 commission out of your pocket.  Oh, and with the HST, it is $20, 340.  That is about 4-6 months take home income for the average person.  (Granted, if you shop around, you can probably find a cheaper commission.)  And even when you hire a realtor, you have to do the improvements, declutter, organization, and the constant cleaning yourself.

To sell a home privately – and you use a service – it costs as little as $500.  So, with some effort, that is potentially $19,000 in your pocket.  Holy Moly.  That’s a new car.  That’s 2 dream vacations.   That is 6 months earlier you can retire.  That’s a lot of buckwheat.  And you can choose to then drop the price of your home for a quicker sale because you have some margin.

I am not going to argue against the value of real estate agents as I have worked with several that were exceptionally helpful.  And I think there are certain times they really can help.  Say, if you are moving to a large centre and need someone to help direct the area you want to live in.  If you don’t have time to do the showings, etc yourself or you are selling a $1.4M cottage in another city.  Obviously you need people to help you with this.

June 2nd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Pinching my arm extremely tightly in the closet door during a showing and carrying on without even taking a pause. (SoB!!)   With any luck, it will develop into an abscess and can film it for YouTube.