Escape From Miami

February 20th, 2017

Choosing Houses Takes Horse Sense

I feel a little better now that the shock of driving to Miami from America is wearing off.

Today I’m working on various responsibilities and preparing for a visit to Marion County to see the area and visit some houses. The knowledge that getting out of Dade County will take months is weighing on me.

I went to a forum to ask people from the Ocala area some questions, and while I was there, I couldn’t resist looking at posts regarding Miami. People were considering moving there.

I had to say something. I was honest. I said the people were very rude and the traffic was horrible. I said Miami had no culture. I said black people got bad treatment here, which is very true. Cuba had a political revolution, but it never had a civil rights revolution.

Some character popped up and accused me of creating an account just to “bash” Miami. Yeah, okay. What about the people who said they agreed with me? I didn’t see a convenient explanation for their remarks.

To prove Miami had culture, this person posted a video of someone singing in a bar!

I don’t know why a person who lives in an unpleasant city would pimp it to unsuspecting visitors. Why bring people here with crazy expectations? I would be pretty upset if I moved here thinking this was a nice place to live. If people tell you the truth, at least you can prepare and adjust.

It’s tough to figure out which properties are best. It seems like people in Marion County don’t follow the universal rule of pricing houses 5-10% higher than what they really expect to receive. The prices seem completely random. The realtor is sending me places with asking prices more than 15% above my limit, and he says they’re “negotiable.” If your asking price is nearly 20% higher than what your house is worth, you’re not a negotiator. You’re a scam artist. You’re trying to fleece somebody.

If you don’t know what properties really cost, it’s hard to decide which ones to look at. If your baseball glove budget is $50, and the store prices the good ones at $75 and sells them for $50, you’re going to look at the cheap ones and end up paying $30.

I wonder what a baseball glove costs. The last time I bought one, my dad was not in a spending mood, so I got one from KMart for $5. I cut the label out so I wouldn’t have to hear about it from the other kids.

Wow. I just saw one for $99.

I don’t even have a KMart glove now. I think it was one of the many items that belonged to me that got discarded when my parents moved. I guess I can get by without one at my age.

I have to have a place for tools, and that doesn’t mean half a garage. It means serious room. Some places don’t have workshops. Some have barns with tooly-looking areas that have concrete floors. How hard is it to turn them into shops? Search me.

There are a number of great properties with really bad houses. Florida is known for ugly houses. If you want a geodesic dome made of pink fiberglass, this is the state where you should look for it. It’s sad that so many nice lots have houses that look like machine gun bunkers or log cabins.

Who, in his right mind, builds a 3500-square-foot log cabin? You will never be able to sell a log cabin house to any family that contains a heterosexual woman. Repairs and alterations will be nearly impossible. Every time you hang a picture, you’ll damage your ridiculous wooden walls in ways that can’t be fixed. Is it even possible to insulate these monstrosities? I don’t know. But they’re surprisingly popular.

One of the nicest properties has a house which is “stucco over frame.” Is that even a recognized construction medium? I can’t even tell what it is. I guess they put some kind of siding over wooden studs and then slop cement on it.

I don’t know anything about rural property, so I don’t know what pitfalls to look out for. I don’t want a place that floods whenever it rains. I don’t want drainage problems, swamps I’m not allowed to drain, or nuclear waste.

I’ll have to trust God and do my best.

It’s my own fault I’m in Miami. I chose it. I didn’t serve God, and I didn’t have his guidance. There was a period during and after law school when I was reasonably happy here; I deluded myself. If I had listened to God, I would have landed somewhere else a long time ago.

Don’t be like me. If you’re young, start listening now.

4 Responses to “Escape From Miami”

  1. Cliff Says:

    The Market Value Assessment (MVA) may be as good as it can be and still come out wrong. (And you may well know this, so you can stop reading!)

    For example, there may be too few comps for the realtor to estimate the value of the house. Say you have a 3,500ft2 house on five acres with a river and a concrete floor barn. But the last house *like* that was sold a year ago for $525K less. And the last house on the river was 2,000ft2 and had a three car attached garage and sold for $600K. So the realtor makes a market educated guess that the first house should go on the market for $575K.

    But the owners paid it all off five years ago and are anxious to move to a condo in Miami (!!) and need $500 to buy their new place free and clear.

    So, negotiable.

    Good luck, I have my fingers crossed for you.


  2. Steve H. Says:

    I was going to say, “Thanks for the help,” but since you’re saying there is no hope, I guess I was not actually helped.

    Thanks for the information?

  3. Cliff Says:

    LOL, there is always hope.

    I think the other thing I would keep in mind if I were buying a “they’ll take me out of here in a pine coffin” house out in the country is: making sure you get the unfixable things right more than getting the price right.

    For example, if you wanted deep river access but you felt the house was priced $25k high, well, over a period of 25 years that’s really about $2.50/day for water access. Or a cuppa joe at Starbucks. And if the house doesn’t have that water acces, you can’t fix it.

    But if you thought the house had a cramped kitchen that can be fixed.

    Also, a note on what it costs today: if you don’t plan to sell the house then as long as you can afford to buy/own it, what does it matter?

    These are good problems to have and I’m sure you’ll come up with a good answer that works for you.


  4. Mike Says:

    In my area if you’re borrowing for a home the lender forces a inspection by a qualified home inspector. I think these people are bonded and trained to find hidden issues, maybe you can find one of these guys you can pay for a 3rd party assessment? Might be money well spent.