THE SONIC BOOMER
Here’s what I’ve learned about real estate: November is a good month to buy it. It may have something to do with taxes coming due and people wanting to unload it before the end of the year, I don’t know. Whatever it is, November is good for real estate. So, I bought some.
I already own a home, a rental property and a store and, of the three, I have the most fun in the store. The home seems to shelter a lot of dirty dishes and laundry, while the rental property is needy. So, I bought another store.
Here’s how I operate:
1. I wake up Mark from a sound sleep, yelling “Now is the time!” Misunderstanding me, he smiles, but then I jump out of bed. “Where are you going?” he asks. I reply, “It’s time to buy real estate! I feel it in my bones!” Now he grumbles and mutters something under his breath, but he gets dressed anyway because he loves me, although I don’t know why.
2. We drive up and down the streets of our neighborhood for hours while I take notes and make phone calls. He eventually pretends we’re out of gas just to escape the car for a few minutes.
3. We tour a few places and, discouraged, head for home.
4. The next day, I wake him up yelling, “Today is the day!” and, still groggy, he smiles again until he realizes what I’m talking about. Still, he gets dressed and off we go. He’s a saint.
5. We tour a few places and, discouraged, I say, “Let’s head for home.” But Mark has pulled into the parking lot of a former medical supply store (wheelchairs etc.). I just sit there. “No interest?” he asks (exhausted, we are now down to two-word communication). I shrug (no words at all). But the more I look at this long, low building with its awful blue trim and hideous sign forecasting death, I realize it might work. I mean, my current store is in a former funeral home. How bad could it be?
6. I get out and walk around. It has a lot of the same features I like in my current store — a place out front to put my sale stuff, a counter right in the middle where I would’ve put it anyway, and lots of room.
What you must understand about me is that I did not major in business, so I’m generally flying by the seat of my pants. I have no couth. I don’t know the lingo. I also don’t watch “the markets,” whatever they are. My first store cost me $102,500, so I figure I know what stores cost — $102,500. I was surprised to discover that prices have gone up. Now they wanted $175,000 for a store. What? Why?
At any rate, the owner of the wheelchair store wouldn’t entertain my offer of $102,500; he wanted $135,000. Hmmm. That’s more than $102,500 but less than $175,000. Plus, the place is double the size of my current store. Using my rudimentary math skills, it seemed like a good deal. I looked over and Mark was hurriedly pulling bills out of his wallet, definitely a positive sign. (“The dirt is worth 135,” he whispered to me.)
Today we’re going to the bank to see if we can lock it up. Of course, the building has a few flaws. It’s not on the main thoroughfare, which I’d prefer. Its back corner is closer to water than I’d like. And, oh yeah, a tree fell on it.