Thursday, April 21, 2011

Save The Dates are transmitted

So this week's wedding related project is getting our Save-The-Date (STD) information out the door. Since you have to pay your financially responsible for every guest that shows up, giving them a six month head start not to make other plans seems kinda self defeating. But protocol demands it.

Wedding invitations and the accompaning STDs are the last vestigates of snail mail. If it were up to me, I'd use Facebook to do the work. And in about 5 years, that might be the norm. In fact I had the brilliant idea of skipping all that and sending out an Evite. We could have used the hide-the-guest list option so that everyone could comment back with their snail mail address and we'd have them all in one convienent place to forget about 4 months from now when we send out the actual invitations.

Apparently Emily Post was spinning in her grave because that idea was nixed by a completely unscientific poll of a few friends and two street wise vendors. I guess part of the fun of planning a wedding involves the task of hunting and gathering all these snail mail addresses and trying to figure out the proper way to spell someone's last name, their proper title and the real name of the person we've affectionately referred to as the Krazy Guatamalan all these years.

We also had to decide what exactly we were sending out. Do we send an ordinary post card, or a little note or something kitchy like a button with our engagement photo on it. This was one area that I chimed in. Most guys don't care about little details like the color of the table napkins, the font of the wedding program, or the guest list. Some guys only care that the biggest day of their life -- outside of the NFL draft pick -- doesn't conflict with a playoff game of their favorite sports team. I've carefully picked my moments on when to ask/insist/request something and when to let my better half make the decision.

I'd like to say that I put my foot down and said we absolutely are not sending everyone a chessey picture of us. But the truth is, I not only don't have a problem with that but think its one of the few moments in life when it is 110% absolutely all about you. The reason we didn't go with an engagement photo is becuase we just didn't have our act together enough to get one printed in time to get the STDs out.

I did insist on magnets however. Even though it goes against every fiber of my don't spend more money than you have to DNA i figured at least a magnet would serve a purpose beyond reminding people of our wedding date and website. Years from now, people will still have their grocery list supported on their fridge with our magnet.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Your Exact Situation May Vary, or be forgotten entirely

Because I have been exploring the Real Estate market for the last three years, I've made friends with many a realtor.  And by made friends I mean they have my email address and fall just short of stalking me.  Many will send me an are you ready to take the plunge and purchase a home email.  I'll write back and explain how I'm technically underwater on my mortgage but if they know someone else willing to take the plunge and buy my place, it could be a win-win.

No response and you can hear the silence on the internet.  Then two months later, another email will come from the same realtor asking if I'm ready to take the plunge, this time preambled with "I don't know your exact situation...".

How do these people not fall down more?  And how do they live with themselves? 

I got an email from one particular Realtor(tm) who asked a few questions. 

1) You are:
-Actively searching for a home now
-Planning to buy a home within 6 months
-Planning to buy a home later than 6 months from now

2) What price range?
3) What area(s) do you want to live in?
4) Are you interested in a specific neighborhood?
5) What kind of home do you want to buy?
6) What style of home do you want to buy (e.g., contemporary, colonial, tudor)?
7) How many bedrooms?
8) How many bathrooms?
9) Specific features (e.g., waterfront, large lot, garage size, built-in vacuum, distance to school):
10) Additional comments:
11) Do you have any questions? Is there anything else I can do to help?

All fair questions. And I sent a reply.  For number 2 I said my price range was $200-$350K.  I also answered the questions in painstaking detail.  [It takes a lot of effort to cut and paste doncha know.]

Let's just say the response was unbelievable.

Hi Icarus,
I have a house that I will list in the next two weeks on the 3900 block of StreetName. This is a brick bungalow completely gutted and rehabbed. It is not completed yet, it is slated for top of the line finishes and will be priced in the low 500's. I am thinking that if you choose lesser finishes, it could be priced lower.

I could get u floor plans. Let me know your thoughts. Is your condo on the market?

Fooley Shapiro

Imprudent Ripoff
Sent from my iPhone

Now, I realize expecting this realtor to actually read my answers to their questions would be asking a lot.  But I would think something like price range might be important enough to focus on.

here was my response:

Hi Fooley,
Yeah a floorplan would be a good start. What do you mean when you say "top of the line" finishes and how much of a price reduction could lesser finishes bring?

No, it is not on the market.


I figured that would start a dialogue and the realtor(tm) would go back and re-read my answers. Apparently not.  They know how to work that iPhone though:

Hi Icarus, I think you could probably shave $ 30,000. Off the price by choosing lesser finishes. We are planning on listing at 535,000. So we could get it to $500,000. Then you could probably buy 30,000 lower. I don't see it going for less than $470000.

There are others too.

Where is your condo? We should put it on the market.


Fooley Shapiro

Imprudent Ripoff
Sent from my iPhone

I decided it was time to end that conversation and haven't written back.  And I haven't heard from Fooley yet.  But I will bet you my down payment money that in a month or so, I'll get another email that starts ""I don't know your exact situation...".