On The Other Side Of Almost Every “Steal” Is Someone Getting Cheated
That’s what Daddypotamus said yesterday as we talked through the events of the last two weeks. Since you have the internet (and are therefore not living under a rock), I know you’ve heard about the U.S. “housing crisis.”
We had too, but it was nothing more than a conceptual problem until we put our house on the market. We got an offer almost immediately, but turned it down in hopes of getting something better. After months of showings without offers, reality had sufficiently slapped us in the face. We developed a painfully clear understanding of what it meant that 30% of our competition were foreclosures priced way below market value.
The “Low Ball” Offer
Two weeks ago we got a verbal offer. It was so insulting I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. We threw out a ludicrous counter offer just to see what would happen. Surprisingly, they responded and inched up over the next two weeks.
Throughout the negotiations I felt violated. It may sound silly, but I did. They manipulated, they insulted us, they asked for more than was reasonable . . . and then asked for more (Can we throw in our refrigerator?? Seriously???).
These people knew I was pregnant. They were trying to use it to their advantage to pressure us, but in the end it backfired on them. Because you know what happens when you make a full-term pregnant woman angry? Something. It could be one of many things, but something is gonna happen.
Since they never submitted a formal offer and we weren’t bound to anything, I called a woman that had seen our house a few weeks before. She was the person I “saw” in this house. Her sister and nephew live in our neighborhood (ya’ll know how I feel about having family nearby) and she was just the spunkiest, sweetest lady I’d met in a long time.
So, like I said I called her . . . and sold the house right from under the other buyers feet! Do I feel bad about this? Nope.
I Win = You Lose
When I was in the corporate world we had this guy come in and do a seminar on teamwork. He divided us into groups to play a game called “Get The Most Points.” The objective was, obviously, to get the most points and win.
Is this two faces or a vase? Like many things it’s a matter of perception. The game was called “Get The Most Points,” not stop the other teams from getting points. Not “Make Sure Everyone Else Wallows In Misery and Lack So You Can Upgrade Your Lifestyle.”
Ironically, the best strategy would have been for each team to work together to achieve the highest number. But peoples perception is that in order to win someone has to lose, and no one saw the other possibility (except me, and I was too chicken to speak up).
After the president of the company led his team to victory (because who would be more skilled at crushing opponents and rising to the top than him?), the teamwork coach pointed out the obvious fact I had seen earlier. We tried to thwart each other’s success because we inherently believed that would lead to more success for us. Not only is that untrue, the OPPOSITE is actually the case.
Living a Win-Win Life
That day in the boardroom changed my life. By keeping silent I had contributed to a culture of intimidation and exploitation, and that needed to change. I began looking for win-win situations. I buy my cloth diapers from a local momma who gives me a great price. Win-win.
I buy my meat from local ranchers that use environmentally friendly methods. I win because the food is more nutrient dense, the rancher wins because he doesn’t have to pay middle man costs. The environment wins because no chemicals were used and less gas is needed to ship locally. The local economy gets a boost, which is good for me! Win-Win-Win-Win!!!
I want to engage in as many win-win transactions as I can in my life. What made me so angry about the first potential buyers I mentioned is that I felt cornered into that old system of exploitation. That’s not how I want to live my life.
I’m happy to say we ARE selling our house to the woman I’d envisioned here. The contract was finalized last night. Although we are only breaking even (or maybe taking a slight loss), we love this woman because she is helping us get to where we need to be, and she loves us because we are giving her a fantastic deal. No one had to lose their dignity. No one had to feel powerless.
Ten seconds after we finalized the contract Katie gave her yet another hug and kiss and then we prayed over her. We prayed that her move would go perfectly with nothing broken or missing and that she would be blessed here, in this house where we have spent all our married life and where two of are children were/will be born. It was a gift to both of us.
The night ended with me promising to email her my blueberry muffin recipe, which I served the night before. (Of course I couldn’t direct her here! Can you imagine her reading this about herself???) She reciprocated by inviting us back to our former home if our children ever want to see where they entered the world.
It was a big win-win moment for me. In the words of Michael Buble:
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling goooooood
Wouldn’t you like YOUR business and life transactions to end with warm hearts, good results, and blessings all around? If we stopped always trying to get the “best deal” at the expense of the other, how much better might our lives be? I love good deals and I’m not about to stop. I buy used items off of Craigslist when possible, which puts money in regular peoples pockets and keeps perfectly good stuff out of landfills. It doesn’t take tons of money to start making win-win transactions, only a little forethought.