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Sunday, March 20, 2022

Lies, Damned Lies, and Real Estate Tactics

Green house (center): what we can afford here.


We’re trying to buy a house after prices have surged over 20% in the last twelve months.

Joe and I have tried to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing, especially because we never thought we’d be in this situation—scrambling to purchase something--anything--not even four years after we thought we’d bought our forever home, and probably kissing a swift goodbye to all of the equity in our old place.  This is only remotely possible by our having begged our parents* to help us, and we also slashed our family’s budget dramatically on the eve of sending two kids to college. But another tough pill to swallow is that we’ve had no leverage to negotiate with our offers whatsoever. It is such a strong seller’s market that homes in our area are easily going $150-200k over ask, as-is, and please pick our offer, pretty-please-with-a-cherry-on-top. 

I hear it is even crazier and more competitive in other parts of the Bay.

[Dr. Evil voice:] Two *million* dollars, but you can't have the VW

I know.  It’s a douchey thing to complain about.  At least we are not unhoused.  It’s unbelievably fortunate to have had the financial horsepower to leave our old neighborhood, however reluctantly, when our batsh*t crazy neighbor opted to screw over all of her neighbors within a mile’s radius. Stupid c**ty lady is gonna have her publicly funded, privately profiting “halfway house” with minimal supervision.  For violent serial rapists.  Who have just been released from prison.  And whose therapists are quite concerned about their known personality disorders.  Because she hates our other neighbor and feels like doing that sh*t. Ahem.

Anyway, we had a huge stroke of luck with the house hunt with the following letter we sent to the sellers of our dream home.  Let it be said that we'd never have a chance to get this place if it weren't pre-market.  And to write such a letter may be an underhanded, saccharine tactic, despite the fact that all of the things we’ve said in it are totally true.  Also, it probably doesn’t hurt that we have cute kids, one of whom has a ‘Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire’ thing going on.  Who can say no to these kids’ faces?

“To the Owners of X  XXXX Dr,

We are a family of eight, with five sons and a daughter. We are looking for a new place to call our “forever home.”  We were recently displaced from our home in Bonny Doon because the state of California approved the release of a sexually violent predator into the home directly next door to ours. 

Our younger kids now attend [nearby elementary school] and we would love for them to be able to walk to school and [extremely close park]. Also, having proximity to open space (something we loved about Bonny Doon) and being situated on a quiet and safe cul-de-sac make this location ideal. We love this beautiful home, which would be perfect for our family, and would be forever grateful to live there. 


L & J”

The “heartstrings” tactic, however obvious it must have been, has worked. They've accepted our offer. Full staggering price and they’re renting back to us for a few months at an extreme discount for themselves while they find a new place to downsize into.  Joe is nauseous at our new monthly payments, but I figure we can have a steady dinner rotation of red beans, rice, ramen, and ice cubes. Let our financial pounding commence.

*When I say parents, I do not mean my mom. 

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