Sunday, April 16, 2006

buying local, and real estate

We bought a half hog yesterday, all neatly cut and wrapped, from a friend who lives about 20 miles away. This does my soul good, knowing that the freezer is very full (and God knows in the event of a prolonged power outage I will have the canner going 24 hours a day!), knowing that the animal did not spend its life in a hog confinement building, nor did it travel several journeys to get to my table. And, with those prejudices in mind, I would still rate it in a blind test as the best pork I have ever tasted. We grilled chops last night.

We spent Easter afternoon at my brother's house, in a very prosperous suburb of Minneapolis. He works for a major computer disk drive company, with his Ph.D. in physics. We don't get together that often or call each other up to chat much; we're just not that way. But still we get along fine and have a nice time at family get togethers.

Their house is currently on the market. They somehow decided that, with three daughters and a three bedroom house, they would do better buying something else nearby than adding on. Okay, given that they live fairly modestly for their means, they're not looking for a McMansion or anything. But still I think it's a losing proposition. Even with the profit they will make thanks to nothing but the whims of the market, they will probably still end up with a higher mortgage payment in the end. Oh well. Perhaps they know something I don't.

Madcapmum had a post recently about real estate agents and their sometimes unscrupulous tactics. I'll be quite frank about this: I have never had a good dealing with a realtor, and I'll be damned if I ever buy or sell property through one again. I hate the whole real estate game, the cosmetic bullshit they tell you to do to enhance "curb appeal", like I want to sell my house to some moron who thinks the vase of fresh cut flowers in every room makes the house somehow worth the overinflated price that the market demands. I hate being called on a whim and being asked to vacate the premises for an hour or so while some looker gets shown through. And I hate having a buyer specify on the purchase agreement that they want my stuff off the premises two days before closing, two days before they take ownership, or bank subservience as it may be, and my selling agent not rejecting that as total bullshit, not doing their job to represent me. That still hurts.

Oh well, none of my business anyway, nothing to get worked up over, just another thing that makes my visits to the city so memorable and stressful. Makes me glad I am so far out, so where I am.


madcapmum said...

"...the overinflated price that the market demands."

Definitely. It makes me cringe to think what our house is worth and will be worth, until I remember how much we'll have to pay to live somewhere else. Talk about the vicious circle.

Floridacracker said...

I agree with Mum, and I wonder how will our kids buy land?

madcapmum said...

That's exactly what we're trying to plan for, FC. I'm a bit worried for my kids. We're looking at properties that are inherently valuable as a resource for water, wood, and food production, so it doesn't matter what the market later dictates as its "worth".

Of course, having lived through several Alberta boom-n-bust cycles, I know it's inevitable that prices are going to plummet at some point, and there will be lots of people holding onto huge mortgages. When that happened in the early 80s here, folks just walked away from their homes and the banks repossessed them. The whole thing was completely unsustainable. And at that point, housing becomes attainable again. Not a great system, all things considered.