The Real Estate Transaction


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The Real Estate Transaction

Strange things happen when we act on impulse.  I’ll tell you about one.

We were living in West Palm Beach, Florida in the 90’s when Time Magazine wrote about ideal small towns in which to retire.  They listed the top 10.  In one survey Prescott, Arizona was named the number one ideal small town.

Now that grabbed my attention because my grandmother, my father and my brother were born in Prescott.  I spent a lot of time in Prescott over the years and I liked the town.

I said to my wife, “Honey Bunch, you know one of these days we will be retiring.  Prescott would be a great place to hang it up.  Why don’t we go out there next vacation, look it over, and buy a lot or something?”

That became the plan.

Later we flew out to Phoenix and visited family and then drove up toward Prescott.  It is only 90 miles or so.  About 10 miles east of Prescott is Prescott Valley, formerly known as Lonesome Valley, which I remembered as wide open ranch land.  But not now!  Development was on the way.  The whole valley was laid out with streets, even with street signs.  There were a few houses.  The whole valley was poised to have explosive growth.

I said,  “Gees, look at this.  By the time we get ready to retire this place will be all built out.  The things we like about this area will be gone.  We won’t want to live here.”

We left without looking back.

Santa Fe Station

Santa Fe Station

We drove over to Santa Fe, New Mexico one of my favorite places.  We still had vacation time to enjoy.   I got to looking at adobe.

Looking at Adobe

Looking at Adobe

Adobe is widely used in New Mexico. It is used in governmental buildings, houses, churches.   Nearly everything in Santa Fe is made of adobe or made to look like it is adobe.

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo

Here you see a church.

Adobe Church

Adobe Church

Below is the Palace of the Governors on the main plaza in Santa Fe.  It is the oldest governmental building in continuous use in the United States having been built in 1610.  Today it is a museum.

Palace of the Governors

Palace of the Governors

Palace of the governors

Palace of the governors

So I got adobe into my head and I said to my wife,  “Why don’t we buy a place here?  An old adobe!  Santa Fe would be a great place to live.  We can buy a place.  Rent it until we are ready to use it.  It would be great!”

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm carried the day.  We both got caught up in it and when our vacation was done, we owned a 100 plus year old adobe house in an old Mexican Barrio now known as the Guadalupe district.  Today it is quite trendy with artists, shops, restaurants and theater.  At that time is was just starting to revitalize.

Santuario de Guadalupe

Santuario de Guadalupe

The district is named for the Santuario de Guadalupe.  This humble adobe structure was built by Franciscan missionaries between 1776 and 1795, and is the oldest shrine in the United States to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint. The sanctuary, now a nonprofit cultural center, has adobe walls nearly 3 feet thick. Among the sanctuary’s religious art and artifacts is a priceless 16th-century work by Venetian painter Leonardo de Ponte Bassano that depicts Jesus driving the money changers from the Temple. Also of note is a portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe by the Mexican colonial painter José de Alzíbar.

So my house was in this old historic district and the house was charming.  Small, about 1900 square feet.  One room had stone as flooring, another wood, and another tile.  There were two bee hive fireplaces and the ceilings had southwest vigas and traditional latillas.  It was enclosed with an adobe wall.  It had been added to repeatedly over the years, with the result that it had a cosey organic feel not found in a modern building.

House Gate

House Gate

Out side the yard

Out side the yard

Side View of House

Side View of House

But unfortunately we still  lived in Florida.  So we rented the house, at a loss, for nearly ten years.  We never got to enjoy it.

Which brings us to the real estate transaction.

Around year nine, I decided we probably would not be moving to Santa Fe and if we did, the house was really on the small side of our living experience.  It was time to sell.  I got an agent and gave her a six month listing, asking $295,000.  I think I paid $240,000.  The six months drained away day by day with nothing happening.  No offers.  Nothing.  Nothing, except I kept thinking,  “Maybe I shouldn’t sell.  It’s such a great house.  If I sell I’ll never get a chance to do it again.  Maybe I shouldn’t sell”.

As the listing came to an end the agent asked me to renew it.

“No.  I have decided to keep the house.  I’m not going to sell.”
“But I expect to have an offer any day now.”
“I’m sorry.  I’m not going to sell.  Thanks anyway.”
“But I’m going to have an offer.”
” I  have decided to keep the house.  I’m not going to sell.”

That was that.  About two weeks after the listing expired the agent called me.

“I got an offer on the house.”
“Thanks but no thanks.  I’m not going to sell.”
“But I have a good offer.”
“The house is not for sale.”
“It’s a good offer.”
“Thanks for your past help, but no.  I’m not selling.”
“But it’s a good offer.  Don’t you even want to hear the offer?”  she said with exasperation.
“Oh, alright.  Whats the offer?”
“$250,000?!  That’s not a good offer.  Don’t jerk my chain.  The house is not for sale.”
“That’s not how this should work.  You should give me a counter offer and we will meet somewhere in the middle”.
“I’m not interested in meeting in the middle.  The house is not for sale.  Good bye.”
“Oh, give me something!”
“OK.  $325,000.”
“$325,000?!  You were only asking $295,000!”
“That’s right.  I was asking $295,000, but now its $325,000.”

She hung up.  About twenty minutes later she called back.


So I sold the house.

Or, I thought I did.  When contacted for an appraisal, the appraiser said to the buyer, “You don’t really want me to appraise this, do you?   It will cost you $425 and the house will not appraise for $320,000.”  The offer was withdrawn.

The next year, I sold the house for $325,000.


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Beach Parade

Beach Parade

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Waiting for Turn
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The Watched Shot



About Thomas L. Tribby

Professional artist: painter, sculptor, print maker. Maintains a studio in West Palm Beach, Florida
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