Tag Archives: real estate

May Column for Michiana House & Home Magazine: A Space Jam



Recently, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when a sponsored Groupon advertisement caught my eye. Evidently, for the low, low price of $15, I can buy an acre of land on Mars. Now, I do not pretend to be an expert on interplanetary Real Estate deals, but I have a few questions about this.

For starters, who exactly owns Mars? It’s not that I don’t trust the oh-so-official-sounding Lunar Embassy, which is located in Nevada of all places, but how did they get to be the official Realtor of the Red Planet? Did the little guy from the Looney Tunes shorts hand over the deed to Mars in order to lay claim to Bugs Bunny’s hole? Was it some kind of a trade deal like that whole Michael Jordan thing in Space Jam? Why is he so keen to get rid of Mars in the first place? What does he know about it that we don’t?

Secondly, how did the head honcho of this Galactic Realty firm decide $15 was a fair price for Martian soil? According to the advertisement, this price represents a 57 percent discount off of the suggested retail price, which by anyone’s definition is an incredible deal, but I remain skeptical. For example, how do we know that an acre of land is the same thing on Mars as it is here? What if it is a different unit of measurement entirely? Has anyone actually seen the comps from other neighboring planets to tell us whether or not Mars actually appraised for this price and has it passed its inspection?
Exactly where are these available acres? Is the entire planet up for grabs or only a specific neighborhood? Will we be given the XY coordinates to our little corner of the universe or is Google Mars already up there taking a more modern image for us to see? I may not be a genius, but I do know location is a key factor when buying a piece of property. Does $15 get me an enviable spot in downtown metropolitan Mars, a sweet spot in suburban Mars or a remote, pre-war, pre-fab, previously uninhabited plot of Outer Mongolia Mars? I think we have a right to know. I also think we should be told what our taxes might be, what kinds of schools we can expect for that money as well as the government’s plan for a steady water supply, but hey, not everyone is as picky as I am.

I know I am probably going to kick myself for not jumping on this ground floor opportunity, but there are just too many unknowns for me to plunk down some cash on my Martian estate just yet. Although my friends tell me to stop analyzing the logistics just do it, I’m content to let other folks cough up their closing costs, invent a way to get there, fight off whatever they find and pave the way for the rest of us.

In the meantime, I am going to do something safe and have a star named after me.




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Filed under Confessions of a Cynical Catholic, MHH Column

August Column Michiana House & Home Magazine: Neighborhood kids-the unofficial Real Estate Experts

If you are planning to purchase a new-to-you abode in the near future, then you know there are certain things you have to do: Find a reputable agent or broker, scroll through the MLS listings on your favorite website, employ the services of a qualified home inspector when you have found the place of your dreams, and make friends with the neighborhood kids.

Kids            Yes, you read that last part correctly – make friends with the neighborhood kids. Trust me on this; kids have a relationship with Real Estate grown-ups just don’t understand. Courthouse documents, walkthroughs and professional assessments will only get you so far but these are the people who have the skinny on every property on the block so why not benefit from their experience and expertise?

Even if they have never lived at your particular residence, chances are they have spent a lot of time there and probably know it like the back of their hand. They have seen it at its best, worse and every stage in between. They overhear every conversation, bear witness to every event and they think nothing of telling you everything they know about the place. They know which toilet handle requires a jiggle in order to insure a proper flush and what appliances tend to go on the fritz. They can tell you all about the day the septic tank exploded turning the side yard into a swamp, can point out which windows are the easiest to sneak in and out of and can show you a very simple way of getting into your back door without the necessity of a bothersome key. (You may want to call a locksmith after learning this last piece of information.)

As folks who have been in your house hundreds of times in the past, it does not occur to neighborhood kids to censor their comments or sugar coat the truth. In fact, they see it as their sacred duty to acquaint you with your new home and neighborhood even if that means telling you how much you overpaid for the place, that you are going to need a new roof next spring or that their dad hopes you’ll mow the grass more frequently than the previous owner did.

Although their names may not be on the title and they may not make the mortgage payment each month make no mistake; neighborhood kids are heavily invested in the place you plan to call home. They created memories there, memories that are not transferrable at closing and do not disappear with the moving van. So when they want to show you how Mrs. So-and-So organized her cabinets to maximize available space or point out the best spots to stake out during a game of indoor hide-and-seek, remember they have a vested interest in the place as well and sharing their knowledge is their way of staying connected.

Besides, give them 30 minutes, and you will probably find out the secrets behind every square inch of your new place…along with a few things you’ll wish you hadn’t heard.

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