Fleecing Old Ladies

February 26th, 2007.

Late last summer, my husband and I were in the market to purchase another property. After a bit of searching, I happened across a cute little double. It overlooked a city park, but wasn’t too far from the express way. The exterior was freshly painted and featured two separate heated garages. Even better, the interior was meticulously maintained and only called for minor updates.

The problem? It was a good $30,000 overpriced.

I spoke to the realtor and found out the property belonged to an old woman who moved in with her oldest child. Apparently, the woman had owned the property for 40 years and had raised all three of her children there. She was a single mother for all that time and considered providing that home for her kids to be her greatest accomplishment. When her children grew up and moved out, she decided to convert the upstairs into a separate apartment and rent it out to help with the bills. She had a lot of emotional attachment to her property. It was her home. Her life. Her pride and joy. If not for old age and sickness making it impossible for her to care for herself, she’d still be there.

The realtor told me this story expecting that I’d care. I didn’t.

I don’t buy real estate for my health. I buy real estate to make money. There is not a single heart warming story in the world that can convince me to overpay $30,000 on a double. Fuck, you’d be hard pressed to convince to overpay by $500. It’s all math to me.

I made the old lady an offer. I offered her what her property was worth.

Her realtor told me that she was willing to come down $5,000, but not $30,000. She also informed me that the old lady has gotten the house appraised recently and the appraiser convinced her that she had priced her house right.

This is why I hate appraisers. People put far too much stock into what they say. The fact of the matter is that your house is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. If it sits empty on the market for two years without a single offer then I don’t give a fuck what your appraisal says. You overpriced it.

I explained to the realtor that the price she was suggesting would make it impossible for me to purchase the property and have it turn a profit. Then, I walked away from the deal.

Seven months later and it’s still for sale.

Actually, I still want the property and I think it has a lot of potential. This is why I made the old lady a new offer. This time, I offered her $5,000 less than my initial offer. I also informed her realtor that I would not accept any counter offer and if she rejected me again, I would not be willing to consider buying her home for another 6 months. And by that time, I will have decreased what I’m willing to pay by another $5,000.

The old lady really has no choice but to sell the property to me. It’s been empty for 2 and a half years and I’m the only one who is interested in it. Her alternative is to keep paying taxes on it until she dies and let her kids inherent.

At that point, I’ll let a couple of months go by and then I’ll make her children an offer. Of course, my offer will still remain $5,000 less than my last offer.

Like I said before, it’s all math to me.

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2 Responses to Fleecing Old Ladies

  1. violentacrestalk.com » Blog Archive » VA: Fleecing Old Ladies

    […] Original post: Fleecing Old Ladies […]

  2. Violent Acres » Archives » When It Comes to Money, Don’t Play Nice

    […] When it comes to making small purchases, they have no problem searching for the best possible price. They compare tags in department stores, scour ebay for hours, and drill information from their friends and family. You can find them inflexibly haggling in a furniture store over the sticker price on a couch or confidently showing the representatives at Best Buy an ad from the computer place down the street when buying a computer. Very rarely do you see an American blush when presenting a card that gives him 10% off of a $6.00 purchase. Nowhere do you hear about people paying double the price of a new television because the saleslady was once a single Mom. Americans love a bargain and come hell or high water, they’re going to do their best to get one…. […]