Sunday, May 19, 2019

I sent a letter to a total stranger. Then he sold me a condo. And gave me $50,000.

Your mind is like a powerful magnet.

This really happened:

In recent years, I found myself tired of the long, dark, dreary Maine winters. 

"Tired" doesn't really describe the intensity of the feeling.  I hated the Maine winters.  If there were a way for a man to murder a season of the year, I would have done it.

So I started spending the winters in Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico.  Nice.  

So nice, in fact, that I decided I would like to purchase a condominium unit in the so-called Suncoast region.  The Suncoast gets this name from all the sunshine that can be found there, 300+ days a year of it.

I found a particular condo development, which I liked because it is jungly and overgrown, and reminds me of a rustic holiday resort in Costa Rica.  I like Costa Rica.

I even found a very particular type of unit I wanted to buy, which is often referred to as a "tree house" unit because, you guessed it, it reminds people of a tree house for adults.

There are only a handful of such units at this development.  But one was for sale, so I made an offer on it.

And was flat-out rejected.  

So absurd and offensive was my offer, apparently, that the owner refused to consider it or even entertain another offer from me.

A nice sentiment.  Yeah, I know.  Debatable, but let's not worry about that right now, okay? 

It is Supposed to be Easy

People tell you that sometimes.  "It's supposed to be easy."  

I've had a hard time with this concept for most of my life, 1) because of my unhappy, hardscrabble beginnings, and 2) because I have tended to do things the hard way, apparently just to make things fiendishly difficult for myself.

No one hurls himself headlong at brick walls quite like Thee Optimist.  Ever hear of the "Irresistible Force meets the Immovable Object?"

I have often been the Easily Resistible Force meeting the Immovable Object.  Again and again and again.

But in this case, I didn't do anything right away.  In fact, a couple of years passed.  And I again found myself in Florida during the winter, walking through that same jungle resort-ish condo development with my girlfriend.

Of course, we were looking at tree house units.  From the outside.  This was because there were none for sale.

But my girlfriend looked at one which had nothing on its various outside porches.  There was no car in the carport.  And she said:

"I think that one might be empty."

And I got a strange thought when she said that.  The thought was: "Maybe I should look up who owns that place, and write the person a letter.  Just a friendly letter out of the blue, asking if they want to sell it for some reason."

It was a silly thought.  But that evening, I found the person's name and address on the county website.  It took about five minutes.  It took another five minutes to draft a four sentence letter to him.

The next day, I mailed it.

The pool at the condo development.  See what I mean about Costa Rica?

Welcome to the Jungle

Two days later, I got a phone call from a woman who said she was the owner's daughter.  The place was not on the market, but he was interested in selling.  Did I want to take a look?

Sure I did.  

I met her at the apartment, and she showed me around.  It was better than I had hoped.  It had been renovated and modernized in the past year, by someone who clearly had a flair for design.  

There were 15-foot-ceilings.  Windows and sliders everywhere.  Not to get too precious on you here, but if you're into bathrooms, this place has one of the nicest bathrooms I've ever seen.

I asked the woman what her father might want for it.

She said, "I don't know.  I'll ask him."

She called him on her cell phone.  A moment later, she told me a price that I knew was $50,000 or $60,000 less than the market price, not even counting the renovations.  It was also far less than I offered the owner who I had previously offended.

So I said, "I'll take it."

Yeah.  I've never been much of a poker player.  

She told her father what I said, listened for a moment, and said: "He just added another five thousand to the price."

I smiled.  "I'll still take it."

She put me on the phone, I chatted with the man for a few seconds, shook hands with his daughter, and a month later, the place was mine, including $50,000 in gifted equity.

Yes, I know equity isn't really money, but it's an awful lot like money.  You can spend it like money, if you want.  Also, the place has only appreciated in value since then.  

A man manifesting new realities through the power of his, uh... nose.  Personally, I prefer to use my mind.

Why Do Things Like This Happen?

So what would cause an older gentleman such as this to get a letter from a total stranger, then hand that stranger a lovely apartment for a lot less than it was worth?

Well, the Art of Attraction would suggest that I attracted it with the powerful magnet that is my mind.

Of course, it could also be a coincidence. 

It turned out that the owner is a very wealthy man who owns a lot of real estate in the area, and it had been on his mind to start getting rid of some of it.  He just hadn't listed any of it for sale yet.  

If you believe the local gossip, he is an old time affiliate of the Gambino crime family in New York.  I have no opinion on that.  But he does, in fact, own John Gotti's old mansion on nearby Casey Key.

And this might not matter, but the vanity plate on my beautiful old Saab 900 Turbo convertible does say MAFIA on it.

He is also an honorable man, and he stuck with the asking price even after he realized what a deal I was getting, all on the basis of a brief phone conversation and a handshake with his daughter.  

As for me, I don't really believe in coincidences.  I think there's something else going on here.  

Something like this:


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