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What to do with an unsolicited offer to buy property

Another day, another unsolicited offer to buy property. Maybe it’s a postcard in the mail. Sometimes it’s a letter. Or an unsolicited phone call or text. Why are they bothering you, and what can you do about it?

It’s a little bit easier to block the phone calls than to stop the junk mail. But until the real estate market cools down, investors will keep calling you if you match the profile of someone they think might be willing to sell. There’s very little you can do about the junk mail except recycle it. You’ll learn to recognize its hallmarks pretty quickly so you don’t have to waste time opening it. 

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Should I paint my basement?

Painting a basement is a cheap way to really improve its appearance. It also takes a fraction of the time it takes to finish it. But it’s not a zero-maintenance option. So, should I paint my basement? Only after you weigh all of the factors.

Painting a basement isn’t a one-time effort that you can just do and forget about. Over time the paint will degrade and you will have to paint it again. It can take years or decades. But as long as you don’t look at it as something you do once and forget about, painting a basement can improve its appearance and make it less humid, making it a more pleasant and useful place.

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My counterpoint to Forget Frugality

I saw a reference this week to an editorial by Ramit Sethi called Forget Frugality. While he has some good points, I think some of his advice is counterproductive and even contradictory. He argues that you should focus on earnings and negotiation instead of trying to actively cut costs.

I really think you have to do a combination of the three, and you should start with what you have the most control over, which is your own budget. Here’s what I have to say about his seven strategies.Read More »My counterpoint to Forget Frugality

I am not in jail.

The bank vice president apologized for calling the police on me.

That’s neither the beginning nor the end of the story, but it seems to me that police involvement of any kind is a sign that your real estate deal isn’t going as well as it could.

It all began with a Citibank loan officer named Aaron who promised me a smooth closing. In my view, being questioned by a uniformed police officer has no place in a smooth closing. And that wasn’t even the worst part of it, which troubles me. Read More »I am not in jail.