For Sale – Part 5

ParatrooperBill is an army vet who left the service after seven years. He was prematurely discharged after having a parachuting accident where he was injured. The discharge was not voluntary but it was honorary. He appears perfectly fit, is a hard worker, and is a kind, trusting, and honest man. His Korean wife ran up all their charge cards and put him deep in debt and then divorced him and returned to Korea. Bill’s house is being foreclosed on and he had to declare bankruptcy. He wants to own a home where there is space to set up his own business. He also has a good paying job. He sleeps approximately 3 hours per day and likes to keep busy.

I guess that’s where I come in.

It is rather hard to get a loan to buy a house no matter how good and honest and reliable you are if circumstances have forced you to declare bankruptcy. Cathy and I learned of him while looking at a home for sale and talked to the realtor at the open house. She told us about Bill and we decided we might like to give him a break.

Bill had picked out a house that is valued on Zillow at 75K. This HUD house is in need of fixing up and he had an agreement to buy the place for 58K. We met at the house and I could just tell by looking at him and then in the way he explained what he would do with various parts of the house to make it right that he was a good investment. I was taken first by his gentle and confident manner and then by his casual expertise about exactly how to make the place into a nice home. Bill wanted a loan for 70K to cover both the purchase and for the expense of materials to get the job done.

FreudDuring the process of going through the house I glanced at various things and I studied Bill very closely. And he studied me. After going through the place he mentioned that he noticed how I study people, like I was a master at evaluating, that I see things as black and white while at the same time I can compromise, that I am cautious and fair minded, that he feels he can trust me to do the right thing when the time comes and that I’d be prepared.

Bill has never been without a job. Obviously he is the sort who is likable and trustworthy, competent and hard working. He doesn’t guess, he says what is on his mind and expects clarity and honesty in return. With both of us, we trust completely until that trust is intentionally betrayed.

HundredsGoing forward, Bill now owes me 70K at 4% interest over 15 years. I advised him to round up the payments to chip away at the total loan. He understands my advice will ultimately help his bottom line and hurt mine. I’m going to make money on this, likely 20K, and he will be improving the value of the property in the meantime.

Going forward I have every confidence of the following: I call Bill and ask him what I should do to fix, say, some siding on our house that was partially ripped away by a windstorm. I feel certain that if he was home he’d drop what he was doing and come over and fix the siding and do it free of charge. I just know that. I also know that I would then find out what it would cost to hire out what he had done and knock that off his loan. It is simply who and what we are.

I have invested in a person. I have made a friend. I am helping a vet who deserves a break. What I don’t do is give money to charities or churches, I like to know exactly how my money is helping and I don’t mind getting something back in return.

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