"Angeles was safe from invasion; the invaders wouldn't find a place to park." -- Robert A. Heinlein
Selling a house is a pain in the ass.
The worst part of the process is dealing with the potential buyers.
I am, by nature, a misanthrope. This is not an accident of a bad relationship, an encounter with the "wrong sort", or, as has been suggested (millions of times) by a sense of superiority or arrogance cultivated as a defense mechanism, something intended to camouflage my own (assumed by others) feelings of inferiority.
I really AM better than most of you.
It's really a consequence of experience. People will never fail to disappoint nor surprise with their innate sense of asshole.
People, in general, are stupid. I have no patience for stupidity. I can't countenance it: I am programmed, almost, to reflexively jump up and down and point at dumbfuck whenever it rears it's ugly head. Therefore, I have no patience for the bulk of mankind (except for Children, the Mentally Ill, and Old Ladies).
And fuckwit presents itself at all times, in various degrees, but never so much, it now seems, as when someone wants to haggle over the price of your domicile. It is then that the heavy Artillery of Shithead is unleashed in a thunderous cannonade of retard.
What I've heard in the last two weeks (and no, I'm not fucking joking):
"You know, that oilstain on the driveway lowers your property values...".
"If I decide to buy this house, you'll pay for _____, _____ and _____ before we go to contract, right?".
"No one told me you had leather upholstery. I'm an animal lover and I find that offensive. Just knowing there was leather in here makes me ill."
"Could you possibly cut that countertop so that my oversized refrigerator can fit in here?"
"Is there another room in this house you're not showing me?"
"How did you get the basement above ground?"
In the last five years, in preparation to sell this home, I have made the following improvements:
New siding, gutters, drainpipes, soffits, and a re-sealed, re-conditioned real mahogany bay window (of a kind that hasn't been sold on the open market since the 1960's) that is ORIGINAL to the house, and bolted to the roof, not suspended by cables like they do now.
New pavement on the driveway, walkways and sidewalk.
Every conceivable mechanical or electronic piece of the furnace that can break has been replaced.
All of the stained glass windows (six of them in the kitchen and living room) have had their sills and frames re-built and re-insulated.
I have landscaped the motherfucker until it looks like a fucking golf course.
Just two weeks ago, I replaced the entire roof, a skylight, vent pipes and replaced the attic pull-down stairs.
I have done nothing to the interior for a very good reason: if you don't like the color scheme, the kitchen layout, the tiled bathrooms, the lack of central heat/air, then you can damned well pay for all that stuff yourself. I'm providing a house that is structurally-sound, has new infrastructure, and has excellent curb appeal, and you don't get to nickel-and-dime me on the price because the sun comes up in the "wrong" window, or it's too "bourgeois" (Yes! Someone actually said that!), or that it's "a bit tight" (3,000 square feet with a 6,600 square foot back yard is tight?).
Now, naturally, everyone is cheap -- or at least careful -- when making such an expensive purchase, but my view of economics is that if you have to haggle over minor details, or raise a truly stupid question where none should arise in the quest to shave a few thousand here and there off the purchase price when mortgage rates are only 2.8%, then you can't afford to live here, anyway, and you're wasting my time. My price is my price: I've considered it for a long time before I have asked for it, it's entirely reasonable, and I'm not budging.
That's what this house is worth.
I'm certainly not spending another dollar to make it more aesthetically pleasing TO YOU. It's pleasing enough to ME, and that's all it needs to be because I LIVE HERE.
The Househunters are an insidious form of invader I have not had to deal with before, and I find the entire exercise distasteful, petty and annoying. It has tried my sanity, and we're only a few weeks into the process.
They come in various forms: entire Asian clans seeking a place to pack 72 illegal relatives. Roving bands of LITERAL Cossacks promising to pay entirely in cash. Browsers who have no intention of buying anything, but who just "want to see what's on the market". The douchebag couple who comes to compare your home to their current domicile as a means of helping them set their own sale price, or getting an idea of what they can ask for. The busybody who can't resist a "For Sale" sign because it's an excuse to peek into someone else's house. The fake buyers who really came to case the joint before attempting to rob it the following evening.
(By the way, fellas, I know who you are, and I'm armed...to the teeth).
The would-be flippers all hopped up on HGTV. The Dreamers (who think the The Gringo doesn't speak Spanish, and didn't hear them discussing how many they can pack in a single room). The "Working Poor" seeking to buy more house than they can afford armed with a government-guaranteed HUD loan (didn't we do this before?).
The absolute worst of the lot, however, is a particular species of fucktard: the Hipster who was priced out of Brooklyn by the other Hipsters.
I've written about this breed of damaged human being before on this page. Until now, I have had to deal with them at arm's length. Now, they're in my fucking living room asking for coconut water and if the house is low-carb, locally-sourced and gluten-free.
They come in mated pairs (although one brace was of disturbingly-ambiguous sexual identity, at first glance), and tend to follow certain archetypes. They're in their mid-30's, probably recently married.
The (nominal) male is a skinny, bearded, tattooed ignoramus who looks like Shaggy from "Scooby Doo". The (although far be it from me to assume anyone's gender) supposed-female is a combination circus clown/Goth-wanna-be, wide at the hips, narrow in the mind, with a sunken chest that leads you to believe she wears her bra cups inside out because it fits better that way. She's (stereo-) typically neurotic and seems to be just one more overdose on anti-depressants away from making an appearance on "Jerry Springer" or "Dr. Phil" (depending upon which way her destructive tendencies are turned when she finally breaks).
She has just as much facial hair as her boytoy. I'd bet she has even more on her back.
They have a duality of unique odors about them that is far more than just the product of the (obviously very bad) marijuana they smoked before coming to pay you a visit. In one instance, you can smell the earthly aroma of trailer park, in the other, the stale effluvium of suburban, gated-community idiot playing at hippie.
This is what now inhabits the "chic" neighborhoods of New Yorkistan, these days. They are imports from the Rust Belt, mostly, or the northern plains, vomited up by whatever one-stop-light-shithole-with-a-Dairy-Queen they called "home", highly-credentialed (but under-educated), and typically making a living in a field or industry that, logically, probably wouldn't exist without government grants and/or other stupid people on the Internet.
He "works" in "Search Engine Optimization"(i.e. if you pay Google enough, they ensure your business gets on the first page of any search result), and she "works with autistic children" (probably teaching them how to be autistic, when she isn't producing retarded children of her own). They can no longer afford the shoebox loft they live in in Brooklyn or Manhattan (where they've ruined everything, anyway) and a mortgage is actually cheaper than paying rent.
So, now they have crossed The Gangplank (the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge) and have alighted upon the once-bucolic, sheltered suburbia of Staten Island, where they will presumably continue to ruin wonderful neighborhoods with shitty beer bars, coffee houses, and bullshit "fusion" cuisine that is more affectation and social status symbol than culinary delight.
Rule of Thumb: if a Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or a rash of Starbucks come to your neighborhood, simultaneously, you're fucked. It means the population of these idiots has reached critical mass.
The pair that arrived on my doorstep this afternoon was just too much.
Shaggy arrives in an Antifa t-shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops. He has his hair up in a delicate Samurai knot at the top of his head, and what appear to be black pie plates embedded in his ears. His forearms are tattooed with those faux-Chinese-word types, that if I looked up online would most-likely translate as "chronic masturbator" and "Mommy really wanted a girl".
His good lady wife (I'll call her "Landwhale") is festooned in combat boots, overalls, and has hair colored in various shades of blue, red, pink, green and vomit. She is obviously adenoidal and probably has a raging thyroid condition, to boot, so that the excess chins under her face (and maybe the back of her head?) have excess chins of their own.
Neither can utter nor complete a sentence that doesn't contain "actually", "you know", "like", and "and stuff", nor can they resist continuously repeating their scholarly and professional credentials (people compelled to do this are really, really, seriously insecure), as if you're supposed to be impressed, or as if they are making a social statement about their own (believed) superiority.
As an aside, I had them both beat in both the scholarly and professional realms. After the twelfth time of hearing "Boston College" and "Wellesley", a nice blast of "I went to M.I.T" and "30 years on Wall Street" and "I run my own IT business from my basement" shut them both the fuck up.
They made a common mistake made by this sort: they assume, because I have never lost my New York accent, that I'm some kind of peasant, and are signaling their assumed social superiority. When that fails, they tell you about all the "charity work" and "activism" they're involved in, which is a backhanded way of saying "well, yeah, you may be smarter than I am, but I'm a better person!". It's the affected upper-crust version of the old schoolyard taunt "Oh yeah? At least I have friends!".
Incidentally, these are the sorts that gentrify ghettos, demand affordable housing be built (but never anywhere near their newly-acquired, super-high property value!) and vilify that capitalist system that gave them a hefty paycheck for bullshit "work", their choice of trendy supermarket to get ripped off by in the quest for organic food, and which will loan them the money to potentially buy my home.
Suffice to say, the encounter went all downhill from there.
I have no intention of selling to Shaggy and Landwhale, in any case. I detest this sort of insufferable, ignorant, phony, trend-chasing hypocrite. Unfortunately, they have become the predominant type in certain neighborhoods of this once-great city.
I now know how the Indians felt.
Except I'll get my money from them, in the end.