Relax, unwind, and get informed not overwhelmed.
Looking for a new home to buy can be more of a project and risk than most of us think it is. I can honestly say that the process can feel grueling and never-ending, because buying a house is much like getting married. You have to lock in all the qualities you really can't live without and figure out which qualities you're willing to overlook, because a house much like a spouse will never be perfect and neither will be the process of finding them. In the end you still have to hunker down with faith and put your money on the one you think is the one and hope for the best. There are no guarantees in life, just educated guesses, ancient wisdom like Feng Shui and statistics.
Will This House Make Me Happy?
Do you need quick answers on how much typical home improvement projects cost, because your buying a home this year? If you are in the market to buy a new home this year, you're probably driving around town with your Samsung Galaxy, iPhone or iPad with Zillow or another mobile app, scouring the neighborhoods for good deals.
Maybe you've gone to the next step and signed a contract with a Realtor like we did. I say we because my wife and I have been looking for a 3 bedroom home for the past couple of months now, but almost every home we visit, we find ourselves asking things like "How much will it cost to remodel the bathroom", or "Do you think we can do the windows, roof, and kitchen remodel and stay within budget?". Yes folks, even a former general contractor does the same thing you do, when they shop for a home.
From siding replacement, to bedroom additions, and even adding on a garage, all of us are driving around town or searching for houses feverishly on our mobile phones, tablets and computers, thinking "Can I afford to make this home into the home I really want?". (Browse my typical home improvement costs chart; includes job costs for 35 projects.)
I'm a retired general contractor but the retired part is not so much by personal choice. The recession thanks to good old George Bush junior and a few other circumstances beyond my control, forced me to close down a business that I poured every single dollar and a whole lot of energy into. It really was a catastrophic life experience, complete with a financial disaster and an infamous health problem that could have easily snuffed me out during the last few stressful months I held that company with my Kung Fu Grip, while I desperately tried everything to save it.
Important Lessons Learned from a Catastrophic Life Experience
Lesson One: Don't put your personal life on hold while you're trying to build a nest-egg, because there's a chance you will run out of time like I did. I practically put off dating for 6 years while I was working my butt off on my business, and when my business forced me to go bankrupt, I realized that choosing to focus purely on the business was a big waste of time.
One month after I closed the doors to my business for good, I was dating again! Several months after that, I married an amazing girl from Sri Lanka, who also went through her own catastrophe, which I believe molded her into the amazing person she is today. I actually believe based on my personal experiences and by the experiences of others that huge catastrophes in life force a person to mature past their age. I'm happy to report that I'm truly happily married to my wife Kawshi, but maybe I paid the price for this happiness. What do you think? (Actually keep reading, it get's really interesting ahead)
Lesson Two: Sometimes our biggest failure leads us to the beginning of our biggest victory, as long as we focus on the positive in the midst and aftermath of a disaster. Closing down a business you spent countless hours on is exactly how you would imagine it to be, painful and depressing, and for me it was extra painful.
I have birth defect that produces superhuman levels of pain called pancreatitis. The sickness is caused by stress even though modern medicine has not confirmed this. I've written a lot about that on my other websites, because I've made remarkable progress in controlling it in my life. However when my business was drowning in debt, my pancreatitis flare-ups were torturing me every week instead of every month and that started to worry me. I manifested some highly unusual experiences fighting this health condition and on several occasions I completely bewildered my doctors. After that, I became a huge supporter of mind over matter development, which is also known as using the power of your subconscious mind. To most this type of power is fictional but when your life depends on it and you cause physiological changes within your body that doctors can't explain, you tend to develop a faith in these types of things. However fighting through a crushing defeat like a business closure that you poured your heart and soul into was far more challenging for me to keep my mental composure on and towards the end there, I found my faith wavering in my ability to get through the situation unscathed, or even alive.
Eventually I realized that because of circumstances beyond my control, I could stick around and watch a business that I've worked hard to make amazing and award winning go down in ruins or I could admit defeat and move on with my life. The fact that you're reading this right now, is a clear example of the path I chose. Right at the 11th hour I decided that my life was more important than fighting the inevitable, because it's not like I could make the banks grant $100,000 renovation loans to my customers who couldn't get approved after lending practices were changed. It was time for a reinventing of myself once again, something that I've done more than a few times in my 35 years of life!
Did I mention that my business office was located on a cul-de-sac, often refereed to as a dead end street? I acquired the office back in 2007 and I already knew about the dead end street significance in Feng Shui texts that says that the energy can be chaotic, stagnant, or low because it's divided among all the other properties on the cul-de-sac. We got a great deal on the rent from my business partners dad who owned the building with his partner, and we thought it would be okay. However I lost my business and my business partners dad was victimized by his business partner who stole over $100,000 from the company account. Sure it may all be a giant coincidence, or maybe there maybe something to this Feng Shui wisdom.
Putting the Nail in the Coffin
When we were furnishing the office, we went to a going out of business sale at a large office building and picked up several desks for the office, 2 old and 1 new. Turns out that Feng Shui texts also talk about the possibilities of facing the same faith as the previous business, if you acquire their place or belongings. Strike 2 indeed!
Because I did know a bit about Feng Shui, I employed several cures just in-case there was something to this mysterious 6,000 year old wisdom. Look at this picture of my old office. In the upper left corner I setup a Feng Shui water fountain and a lush plant filled green space in what's considered the wealth area. Our business always wasn't doomed you know, we grossed 1 million dollars in a little over a 14 month period right before the recession hit. And I've won so many awards for the business from the Better Business Bureau year after year that they actually asked me not to apply for next years award because it wouldn't be fair and others would think the contest is rigged. LOL, true story!
So I put the past behind me, decided to start fresh and rebuild my life from a financial disaster that might have been caused or helped by the dead end street Feng Shui Curse. I once again find myself in the market to buy a new home.
Now I'm saying a new home, but the fact of the matter is that I'm a newbie in the field of purely working from home by writing articles and producing Youtube videos out of all things. So the house my wife and I are looking for will be relatively new instead. Good ole Google and YouTube have to bless me with a few extra thousand bucks in my monthly paychecks, before we can buy or build that shiny new house we really want, but I digress.
We are currently looking for a newer home. Just today we had our hopes shattered once again, when we set them so high to look at a very promising 3 bedroom raised ranch in a very appealing neighborhood. The house was just listed and no photos were provided on Zillow, Trulia, or anything else; just one measly Google Streetview photo. But what was provided was the fact that this particular home was right on the town line, between a town that's A-okay, and another town that is just plain great, but generally above our current price range.
By great town, I mean low taxes and some of the absolute best quality schools in Connecticut (Have you ever heard of Oprah? I thought you might, she actually went to one of these schools!) . We were excited beyond reason for the showing and I even drove down there while my wife was at work, to text her a few photos because she couldn't wait to go see it herself.
That's one of the benefits of working from home, I can leave the house whenever I please you know, but to be honest I find myself constantly working on my business because my goals are larger than life and my thirst for fancy cars is never going to be quenched in entirety like Jay Lenos. Speaking about making money from home, have you seen this lovely ad before :)
So long story short, we let ourselves get excited once again, and today at 9am we met with our Realtor at the house that was said to be in need of a little TLC . Now mind you we are not morning people, so to meet our Realtor on the weekend at 9am, was a slight exertion of effort on our part. Anyways, we get to the house and pull into the crackled driveway. Then the nit picking begins, as we wait for our real-estate agent to pull up.
"Look at the siding, it's dirty, look at the garage door, the paint is peeling", "Why are all the bushes dying?". As we waited, we just kept noticing small imperfections with the house on the quiet cul-de-sac and then our real- estate agent pulled up in her slick and silver Mercedes. Now the inspection of the house we were ready to put a full price offer on, because of the location and taxes, begins.
Oh my God! WTF! Were my first thoughts. Pardon my acronyms, but this guy was the biggest pig ever! I say guy because I did a little Google espionage the day before on the house and found out that the owner is in his mid 40's, and he's been living there for about 11 years. First the carpet was so far beyond the original color, we had no idea what the original color was. Then we saw his ugly black fireplace surround! I mean who paints their outdated fireplace surround bricks gloss black! And I'm not talking about someone who made a contemporary looking fireplace surround, nope. We're talking about someone who drank a 12 pack of Miller Light and thought he's a Picasso with a black spray paint can, type of fireplace.
So besides the dirtiest ceilings we ever saw, soot on the walls and ceiling form the pellet stove. There was massive spiderwebs on the ceiling corners, 45 electric guitars in every room, and 8 cases of Miller Light beer in the bathroom. This house was in need of everything. We're talking about all new flooring, paint everywhere,new kitchen, new bathrooms, new windows, new doors, new HVAC system, pretty much a complete new interior. Yeah, our heart sank within seconds of the showing. This house is the definition of what can go wrong while living on a dead end street. He's in his forties, the house is dirty and broken everywhere, and he doesn't seem to be married, because what women would dare to eat or sleep in a cold, dark, dingy, dungeon?.
Rock & Roll Should be on the Radio
Can you imagine setting yourself up thinking this house might be the one, then walking into Ozzy Osborne's bachelor pad from hell? Yeah, within 30 seconds of viewing this dead end street house, we knew right away there's no way in hell we'll put in a full price offer on it, EVER. Hell, the house probably needs at least $30,000 in repairs alone (It had a roof leak too), not to mention things we would want to upgrade there like the heating system, kitchen, and bathrooms. Plus, how much is an exorcism anyway? We don't think it's haunted, but it sure doesn't look like it's not haunted, and it is located on a Dead End Street!
I can't say that I'm a Feng Shui Guru, but ever since I read a few books about it, I cannot help but notice that I see similarities between what the books say, and what actually happens in real life, either to me or other people I know. I'm not superstitious, but if something seems to be happening to the occupant of a house and the Feng Shui principals I memorized pretty much spell out the persons circumstances, it may be a good idea to learn what not to do at the very minimum, right?
You're not going to catch me hanging wooden flutes above a doorway, but you may find me not facing my bed towards the bedroom door, which is considered the Feng Shui death position!
Hey we live in an amazing universe and no one exists that really knows all the rules. Many have tried to explain how the universe works in entirety like Albert Einstein, and some are still trying to create the theory of everything like Mr. Steven Hawking. All I know is that I tend to follow the wisdom of whatever worked in my life so far, and what seems to work in the lives of others on average. On that note, please visualize me being the first trillionaire who dedicates mas fortunes to improving all of our lives :) Hey, it was worth as shot wasn't it?
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Take Care of yourself and prepare yourself for some unique blog posts in the future, because as you will learn in my future blogs, I'm a pretty unique individual. Afterall, how many people you know have their own Google Commercial?