Stubborn Homeowners Refuse to Negotiate

Filed Under (Ranting) by Jason L. on 16-09-2008

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SAN ANSELMO, CA - MAY 17:  A real estate sign ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Just this past Friday we put in an offer on a home (mls# 776061) which has been on the market for 202 days. The list price was 290k and has zero-scape and a giant concrete retaining wall in the backyard (taller than the house) which is probably the reason that people have shy-ed away from this property. The house was in pretty good condition, the carpets and walls needed some refreshing but overall it was in alright condition for being 2 years old.

We offered 269k which seemed like an affordable and reasonable place to start for this home. We put in an expiration date on our offer for Saturday and just today, Tuesday, we got a verbal response from the sellers agent. Apparently the seller countered with 290k and will only accept full price. Are you kidding me? Do you not understand that there are far fewer buyers out there, far fewer QUALIFIED buyers out there and that homes are not selling for full price. Price your house 10k or so above what you would be willing to accept.

All I can say is apparently this seller doesn’t really want to sell their home. What a shame. Thank you for wasting our time and your own. And now we move on. Today we are going to look at around 15 homes that are similar priced but brand new, never lived in and 500 sq feet bigger – with no giant wall in the backyard.
This is a perfect example of what we are encountering in the ProvoOrem area. Buyers that still think their house is worth the same as it was in 2006. Stubborn ignorance. No worries, we are getting used to it and don’t really get attached to any one house.

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Day 13 – Day at the beach

Filed Under (Vacation) by Jason L. on 02-06-2008

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Today we woke up and actually made it to McDonald’s for breakfast. I got their sausage mcgriddles 2 for $2. I heard on tv that there were t-storms in the area today and 30% chance of rain. We headed back to our hotel and finished packing up our suitcases. Even though we don’t leave for another 2 days, we want to be ready and have our suitcases organized. After getting things straightened we headed to the beach. The weather was perfect at first, just some clouds and nice warm water. The clouds thickened and we even felt some sprinkles. It cleared up within minutes and we decided to wait for the few remaining clouds to pass. The sun came back out and so we laid out and tanned some more and then got back in the water later. We had fun looking in the sand for cool looking shells. Most everything was just ugly broken coral or shells.

After getting 4 hours of beach time in, we headed back to the hotel to rinse off the salt water and get changed. We laid around a while and watched some tv, then headed out to locate some cheap food other than McDonald’s. I looked up online and it said there was a burger king and taco bell nearby. Boy were they wrong, both have been abandoned and buildings for sale. We walked past McDonald’s again remembering that there was a Quiznos down Washington ave. I really don’t remember it being so far down, but I guess it was. Along the way we passed by at least a dozen homeless people. I’m guessing the rain stirs them up a bit like rats in rain barrels. Quiznos was a nice change for me but mandy didn’t really enjoy it as much. We are now sitting in our hotel again this time watching star trek. Mandy just talked to her mother who is mowing our yard as we speak. I watched her on our webcam which was really neat as she was able to say hi and wave to us in our front yard. (cam.mandymandy.com)

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Day One – Headed to SoBe Florida!

Filed Under (Vacation) by Jason L. on 21-05-2008

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Day One – SLC to MIA

And oh what a day it was! First let me just say that I didn’t sleep more than 4 minutes at Chris’ house. Between the excitement of going on vacation, the fear of missing our flight and the howling winds, it just wasn’t happening. We woke up a bit later than we had hoped and had to hurry and repack everything we had dispersed the night before. We double checked we had the essentials such as passports, money, reservation receipts and the bus route.

Chris was nice enough to offer to take us to the airport, so we let her sleep as late as we could. Once awakened, she sprung into action and had no troubles driving us to Salt Lake. We later learned this was a facade, she told us she almost died 17 times falling asleep on her way home. Jk (0:

We arrived to the airport with only 40 minutes before our flight was to leave. New security requirements recommend you arrive 75 minutes before you leave and for good reason too. We ran to the self check in kiosks and hurried to check in our bags. Unfortunately the large suitcase Mandy packed weighed in at a whopping 72 lbs!!!! So for the next 10 minutes we fumbled through our suitcases right there on the floor in front of the check in counter. I’m pretty sure at least 9 old men walked by and started oogling over Mandy’s underwear; or was it over mine?

Finally after dumping out all of our food from the boxes directly into our backpacks and putting as much heavy stuff as we could into the smaller suitcase and our backpacks (including one shoe — don’t ask, don’t ask), they let us avoid the hefty $50 overweight fee. We ran away thanking them.

Oh and lets not forget now that with less than 20 minutes remaining we had to file into the switchback of seat belts and short poles, also known as the security checkpoint. With our IDs and tickets in hand we anxiously awaited the scrutiny of the Dept. of Homeland Security officer. Next we proceeded to the conveyor belt and removed our wallets, shoes, belts, keys, change, cell phones — basically everything that wasn’t needed to cover our underwear — which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since everyone just saw it all on the floor in front of the check-in counter.

Oh well. No wait, we aren’t done yet. I’m standing there with my socks on, looking at my watch. We have 12 minutes before our flight leaves and the security person in front of us (who was obviously in no hurry) was criticizing the man in front of us for not having all of his liquids in a single plastic baggie. Are you kidding me!?! The conversation lasted at least 2 minutes. I was about to jump the line and grab one of the free baggies they had for us to use that was bigger. I figured that would bring attention to me and then my thought of everyone once again seeing my underwear would come true. Only this time with my face pressed against the cold dirty floor as well. And yeah, they did make me take off my plastic watch and stick it in one of the bins as well. Whatever, lets just get this over with please……

We start running and realize that neither of us can remember which gate we are supposed to go to. I remember A something and Mandy not much more. We stopped by the monitors with about a hundred flights on it and scoured for anything that said Minneapolis; then took off running again. I figure we made it past security, so there is a pretty good chance we won’t get tackled now.

We made it to our gate while they were boarding the last 20 or so people. I think we had about 6 minutes left at that point. Note to self: I don’t ever want to cut it this close again.

So we made it on the plane. So did 100 other people apparently. Both flights today were completely packed, the second one they were even running out of storage in the overhead compartments.

I had read beforehand that Northwest Airlines would try to charge me $5 for a snack pack of sorts. Mandy and I came prepared with snacks and even a water bottle we filled up after the security checkpoint. Apparently though there are free drinks on the flight, just not food. I had no idea they offered Mountain Dew until it was too late. On the second flight I did get one though. It really amazes me how canned pop tastes so much different in different parts of the country just from the water they use. I looked at the can on this one and it was from Minnesota.

I should mention too that these flights were two of the bumpiest flights I have ever been on. It wasn’t that we flew through any storms or anything, it was just windy or something. Several times they turned the seatbelt sign on, including when Mandy and I went to the bathroom. It is funny there is a light in there that says to return to your seat and put your seatbelt on. I came out saying ‘hey, there isn’t a seatbelt on the toilet’. At all the airports we managed to stay away from overpriced food and souvenirs. There really wasn’t much time for that with our 1 hour layover which was more like 30 minutes.

We arrived in Miami around 3pm and headed to the restrooms. We knew that for the next 2 hours we would be on a city bus with no place to go (er, you know what I mean). We headed to the luggage carousel and grabbed our 53 and 35 pound suitcases (yes I still remember how much they weigh), then headed out the doors to the bus stop. Luckily there were signs so we pretty much knew right where to go.

Day One – Takin’ the Bus (no, not through the drive thru)

Before I go on, you must understand why we have chosen to take the city bus to our hotel. First, gasoline is $4 a gallon here for regular unleaded. Second a taxi one way to South Beach is about $40. We don’t really have money for either. Taking the city bus is only going to cost us $3 per person, total. Remember, with us this savings is compared to 80 junior bacon cheeseburgers!

While we waited at the dirty, crowded, smelly bus stop, I watched a truck and an SUV almost hit each other across the way in the parking garage. They both insisted they had the right-away. Once the SUV started honking, I knew it was all over. The guy in the truck threw up his finger and then leaped from his truck and proceeded to scream at the guy (who continued to lay on the horn). The yelling guy then got back in his truck and started rummaging around for something, I was sure it was going to be a gun. He probably did it just to scare us as he then drove out from blocking the road.

Our bus arrived and we walked down a few feet to get on since this time a bus decided to block all lanes and again cars were laying on the horn. It was quite amusing. On bus 42 there was only a couple other people with us. This definitely wasn’t as popular as the other buses we had seen pull up. Bus 42 took us through some pretty rough areas, but nothing I would be afraid to walk the streets during the day. Mandy on the other hand probably wouldn’t. I justified all the houses having bars on the windows is just for when they evacuate for hurricanes to keep the looters out. One house even had security cameras pointed at their new Cadillac.

After about 30 minutes we arrived to our stop which was the Amtrak station. I wasn’t sure it was still in operation as the sign on the side of the building was gone and the parking lot had full trees that had grown up in the middle of it. I don’t believe it had been repaved since I was born. Sure enough it was open though, just no trains coming or going. We stepped inside to escape the 95′ temperatures (plus humidity). Mandy went over and took at look at some of the signage as I stood watch for our next bus.

The second of two buses we were to take was supposed to arrive 3 minutes after we arrived. Because of all the honking at the airport, we were a few minutes late and apparently missed the “L” bus. After about 15 minutes we walked back to the bus stop and took a look at the schedule. Amazingly enough it showed that the L was to arrive throughout the day every 10-60 minutes. Well that narrows it down! So we sat in the hot sun and enjoyed the breeze which took care of any moisture forming from our foreheads.

Another bus 42 came and went, and we waited. After about 30 minutes we finally saw the L. Then it stopped across the parking lot where nobody and nothing was. I guess it got here too soon? We boarded shortly thereafter and were only two of four passengers. This was short lived though. For the next hour we stopped every single block and picked up at least a few people. (it amazed me how close the stops were together) Soon enough people were standing. It was fairly awkward with us having our ginormous suitcases in the isle. Luckily no one complained or suffered serious injury, though they would have had they been pummeled with 85 lbs of underwear.

After watching more and more people load the bus I realized that this was pretty awesome. So many people ride the bus from all walks of life. I did see many people that were less off than I was, but some that I knew took the bus by choice. It amazed me how quite everyone was. Not once during our two hour ride was there a conversation made by anyone, ever.

We arrived to our hotel around 5:30pm today. The bus stop was right on the corner of Collins Ave and 21st Street. I remember the Google street view and how I couldn’t really see where the hotel was. Turns out it was about 50 feet west, down 21st Street (which wasn’t available on the street view). We turned the corner and saw the front, even Mandy was like “wow!” Its a pretty nice looking place. Very retro but clean looking. I’ll get some pictures online soon.

The guy at the front desk was very nice. After I explained it was our first time to South Beach, he was very generous to make some recommendations. Most people come here for the beaches or the clubs. There are some other things to do, but he recommended those two for starters. Mandy and I headed to our room and immediately crashed. She was asleep within minutes. I let her sleep for a while and watched TV, then tried to wake her but it was no use. I guess using public transportation for 2 hours and sitting still for 13 hours was too much for her. We didn’t venture out again today, though at 3am I was wide awake again. Hopefully tomorrow is more exciting and less stressful.

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Something big is coming!

Filed Under (Vacation) by Jason L. on 01-05-2008

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Wednesday April 16th 2008 is going to be our 5 year anniversary. I can’t believe its been 5 years already! Mandy and I have known each other for 7 years and somehow we are complete opposites that mesh together so well. She is random, exciting, cute, rambunctious, petite, emotional, I could go on and on. Basically I’m the exact opposite of everything mentioned.

Five years ago we got married and traveled to Florida for a 7 day cruise and 7 days in her parents timeshare. It was a nice break for us, we enjoyed not having to do anything for 2 weeks!

In the past years we have been so busy going to school and working full time that we haven’t gone anywhere or done anything for our anniversaries and even sometimes birthdays. 5 years though! This has to be special. As I planned this, Mandy had no idea. If anything, she thought it is going to be the same old stuff — I hoped she wasn’t scheming something at the same time, it would have been bad.

I have already booked plane tickets and the 9 day cruise for us to Florida and the Eastern Caribbean. For almost a month now I have been playing it as though we are broke and don’t really have money to do anything. Which now that I have bought the tickets, is true :)

We are going to go with Nessa and Korban on the cruise, they invited us a while back but I didn’t know if we would have time or money to join them. Things I do are usually not planned out in advance, I live day to day. We plan to go do some excursions as a group which is going to be a blast. Luminescent kayaking is one thing I have already paid for. I also got Mandy a nice digital camera so that we can take tons of pictures and hopefully add a photo gallery so everyone can see what we did.

I will add more information as we get closer and of course during or after our vacation.

Who is exempt from the law?

Filed Under (Ranting) by Jason L. on 09-04-2008

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KUTV CBS 2Image via WikipediaOn KUTV Channel 2 (CBS) two days ago they had a report about an elderly couple. The wife had come to the US on a temporary VISA and got married. (here is the part where I am an insensitive jerk). I literally paused the TV and yelled to my wife “they’re breakin’ the law!”. It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, rich, poor or purple. If you want to come live in our country, you follow the legal procedures. Don’t validate your actions by saying the system doesn’t work for you. (I agree the system needs to be revamped) We aren’t going to just let you in because you just got married, or you are old, or you are purple. This is reverse discrimination.

Chew on this: Just because you don’t agree with how a required procedure works doesn’t mean you should bypass or make up your own procedure. Especially don’t justify this is why you broke the law. Excuses are simply a sign of guilt.

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