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Entreprelife | Business. Money. God. (Not in that Order)

More Offers

Army Crawl

Selling a house isn’t anything like this.

(This is part of the Selling Grandma’s House series. For the rest of the series, click here)

I was going to wait until next Tuesday to break the news, but it came so quickly I had to post today: we’ve got another full offer on the house.

Seriously.

The offer was in my email box Tuesday night and we’ve been working out the details since then. This new buyer isn’t asking for an inspec­tion clause and appears to be a fairly reputable home-buying company. Not sure what they want to do with the place, maybe flip it or rent it out to college students or something. Whatever the reason, they’ve put down a full offer on our home and we’re prepared to accept!

In the 24-hours since I’ve gotten that offer two more offers have come in. Neither of them have been full offers, but they were still very nice. With a little nego­ti­ating, I’m sure I could get them pretty close to what we asked for. If nothing else, they remind me that this house will sell, even if the first buyer backed out suddenly.

Unfor­tu­nately, the saga from the first buyer is far from over. Our case still has to be reviewed by the realtors asso­ci­a­tion in Florida and if it doesn’t pick a clear winner, we’ll have to start nego­ti­ating directly with the ex-buyer. It’s still a ways off, but it’s in the back of my mind as I’m working this other deal.

God has really blessed my family in this whole thing. We’ve gotten an amazing realtor who’s taken care of every­thing without complaint, we’ve found two buyers willing to pay full price for the house, and it’s likely we’ll get all our expenses returned to us by the end of this escrow dispute.

It’s an encour­aging reminder of who is in control.

And since I’ve been so bad at updating, let me assure you: there will be high­lights on Saturday and Tuesday will resume normal updates. Things got a bit rocky there for a few weeks but things are back to normal (or as normal as they can be, haha).

[Image credit]

Losing The Contract

The Dog Ate It

No, the dog didn’t eat your contract…

(This is part of the Selling Grandma’s House series. For the rest of the series, click here)

We were set to close on Grandma’s house last Friday, but it didn’t happen.

At some point, the buyer decided she didn’t want my grandmother’s house anymore. There are a million possible reasons (she’s certainly not telling us the truth), but whatever her reason, last Monday she stopped talking to her realtor and a few days later sent us a certified letter saying her attorney looked over the contract and that we were in violation of it (we weren’t, and if an attorney did look at the contract, then he/she is inept because it’s obvious we weren’t).

After telling her that, she responded a few days later with another bogus attempt to make us look like the bad guys when we did every­thing she asked us to do and kept all our promises.

When closing day rolled around, the only thing she gave us was paperwork asking her for escrow back.

We are fighting for the escrow (since she is in breach of contract and we spent a good chunk of money responding to her requests even though we didn’t have to). So I’ll be learning more about realty than I ever imagined. It’s been frus­trating, but I’m not worried. We’ve already had a few people look at the house and I imagine offers will start coming in rela­tively soon.

Sadly, the whole thing is stressing my grand­mother out.

For now, we’re back at square one. The house is listed and we’re hoping for the best.

Fingers crossed!

New Schedule and Katy Perry the Sim

You may have noticed I didn’t update yesterday; that wasn’t an accident. Starting this week I’m cutting my updates down to twice a week.

This has every­thing to do with all the stuff going on in my life that have nothing to do with the blog. I love writing, but between this site and the others I write for, three times a week was getting a bit rough. Cutting it down to twice a week should make things easier.

With that said, today’s post has nothing to do with money, but is still interesting.

Katy Perry and Sim

While running some errands a few weeks ago, a local DJ announced the new Sim’s game featuring Katy Perry. When asked about it, Perry said,

I always like to think of myself as a cartoon, and now I’m a Sim.”

I groaned inwardly at the thought of another ridicu­lous way to use fame to make money and tried to push the whole thing out of my mind.

But her words, “I always like to think of myself as a cartoon…” stuck with me. They rattled around inside my head and wouldn’t let me go.

I started to think about what they mean.

Maybe I’m taking her words too far, but the thought of Katy Perry thinking of herself as a cartoon made me deeply sad. I wondered what she saw when looking in the mirror. Does she see anything but the lie? Has “Katy Perry” taken over her life?

Is there a real Katy Perry left?

I think about her divorce, her lyrics, the way she dresses. It’s all a game — a lie.

Does she have anyone who knows her and not just the persona she’s created? Is there anyone in her life that wants something besides a cartoon?

I have no idea, and since I’ve never spoken to the girl I’m sure I’ll never find answers. But they still rattle around in my head; they still weigh on my heart.

How many young girls look up to Katy Perry? How many men dream of her? Do their dreams squash away what’s left of the person underneath?

Am I Any Different?

With all the sadness, also comes a bit of fear — and maybe some clarity.

Am I the same as her? I may not be exploited the way she is, but there is a persona I create to hide my inse­cu­ri­ties. There is a cartoon version of myself that I show to the world as the weight of the truth presses my heart.

Am I really so different from her? Are any of us?

I’m sure she’s dealing with issues I’ll never begin to consider and making choices I’ll never be offered. But still, in my sadness I find introspection.

Which parts of my life are cartoons? Which parts aren’t real? Those are the parts of life that need to be put to death. Those are the things I need to let go.

It’s never healthy to live as a lie.

Highlights (03.10)

The Forget­ting Pill — What if you could forget painful memories through a simple pill — would you do it?

How Google & 104 Other Companies Are Tracking Me On The Web — This is one of the best articles I have ever read on cookie tracking. It breaks down what they look at, what infor­ma­tion they use, and what’s being done about it. A must read.

How I Lost 150 Pounds in One Year — Is it crazy dieting? Is it getting your meals mailed to you? Is it p90x? What’s the secret?!

Dollar Shave Club — This commer­cial is hilarious and (surpris­ingly) for a real product! Check out the legit website.

Something New?

I’m thinking about making some changes to my life and to the blog.

In life, we have to change. If something new isn’t pouring in, water grows stagnant.

I’m not sure what changes need to be made, but as I look around I am coming to grips with the reality that I am on the cusp of some big changes and I need to prepare for them.

What does this mean for the blog? At the moment, almost nothing. Updates will continue as normal, but I may widen the scope of Entre­pre­Life — or I may leave it exactly as it is.

Whatever happens, I just wanted to give you a quick update on what’s going on in my mind. There is a lot buzzing around up there.

Breaking Down The Expenses

Bag Of Money

(This is part of the Selling Grandma’s House series. For the rest of the series, click here)

Turns out, selling a house is more expensive than simply paying a realtor.

The govern­ment has their fees, the realty company has their fees, the buyer has a few requested fees, and there are always a few surprise costs waiting to spring up at the last minute.

I’m not mad about the fees – they all seem reason­able, but I do want to know what my grand­mother is paying. Like most people, I’m ignorant. Continue Reading…

How To Settle Old Credit Card Debt

Stack of credit cards

The leaning tower of misery

A friend of mine asked me how to settle old credit card debt. I mentioned the process to him a while back, and he is looking to settle some debt.

After breaking down the process for him, I thought it’d be great to share with you as well. I mean, credit cards are the most popular form of debt and the average person has about $15,000 in credit card debt on 10 or more credit cards. It’s likely a few in the community will need to know how to do this.

Before You Begin

Before you even consider settling old debts, you need to know a few things:

  • Know the original amount. Before you can settle, you need to know how much you owed orig­i­nally. Collec­tion agencies add bogus fees and interest that in many states are illegal. Knowing how much you orig­i­nally owed and allowing for normal interest gives you a place of power to negotiate from.
  • The debt has to be old. I’m talking really old. If you miss a single payment, the debt collector isn’t going to even hear a settle­ment. It needs to be 90 to 180 days old before a collector will consider a settlement.
  • Deals vary wildly. There’s no method to debt settle­ment. The longer the debt has been outstanding, the more likely the creditor is to take a deal. A 5-year-old debt might settle for 30% of the original balance or it might not settle at all. However, in most cases, a 6 month or year-old debt will probably settle for 60–80% of the original. You just have to be persistent.
  • Have cash. You need to have the total amount of the settle­ment in cash. If you say you’ll settle with them in three months when you’ve got the cash, they’ll laugh in your face! They don’t want promises, they want money. Don’t offer a settle­ment if you can’t back it up with cash.

If the debt isn’t old, you don’t have cash, or you aren’t realistic about the kind of settle­ments you can get, you’ll only frustrate yourself.

How To Settle

Now that you know how much you should owe, have cash in the bank and you haven’t paid on the debt in 6 months, you’re ready to negotiate.

When they call, let them know you’re willing to settle the entire balance for the amount you’ve saved up. Make sure they under­stand that this is cash money ready to put in their pocket if they’ll accept it.

Here comes the fun part.

They’re not going to accept it. They are going to yell at you, tell you their job is in jeopardy if they accept that low amount, or something similar to convince you to pay more than you have. Don’t fall for it. They’re a minimum wage worker in a cubicle 1,000 miles away. They’re paid to manip­u­late you emotion­ally so that you’ll pay them more. Tell them this is all you can do and it is all you are going to do.

Then hang up the phone and wait for the next phone call.

If you’re normal, this process can take weeks or even months before they finally accept the offer. In the mean time, they will yell at you, threaten to sue you, call you names, and laugh in your face. If anything like that happens, hang up on them. If you’re lucky enough to be sued, head on over to the court house and settle with the lawyer, they usually take the deal.

When the collector finally agrees to take the deal, you still have some nego­ti­ating left to do:

  • Get the agreement in writing. If they won’t send you a letter that says they accept your settle­ment as “payment in full” (it needs that language) then don’t send them a single penny. You see, collec­tors lie. If they agree to a settle­ment and you pay them without getting it in writing, they’ll keep collecting from you. When you protest they’ll tell you that person lied, was fired, or that they don’t know what you’re talking about. Get it in writing or it didn’t happen.
  • Only pay with a money order. They will want access to your checking account, but if you give it to them, they’ll clean you out and keep collecting from that account until you either change accounts or pay the balance and their ridicu­lous fees. Using a money order keeps you safe and keeps them honest.

They won’t like the idea of sending you a letter or accepting a money order, so you’ll probably have to have several conver­sa­tions where you make that offer before they finally accept it.

Once you’ve got the letter, mail the money order in a certified letter with return receipt requested. If you can’t prove they’ve got the check, they’ll say they never got it even if it was cashed.

Staple the money order stub and the mail receipt to the letter that says they accept your payment as “payment in full” and file it away somewhere safe. If you don’t keep the letter and the proof of payment they’ll come after you again in a few years (sometimes 10 or 20) and say they never got payment. Faxing them a copy of the letter, the returned mail receipt, and the money order will shut up and lying collectors.

Freedom Comes At A Price

Nego­ti­ating can be tiring, espe­cially when dealing with collec­tors. But if you go through the process you’ll end up without the weight of debt hanging over your shoulders.

Have you ever settled old debt? Do you know someone who could use this information?

Highlights (02.03)

This week it’s all about YouTube. I’ve got three clips I think you’ll like.

None of them have anything to do with money.

Akbar — Jeffery sings a song about his new friend Akbar. Can a man and some corn remain friends?

Movie: The Movie — Tired of seeing movies one genre at a time? Jimmy Kimmel has created the ultimate movie. (ps — they’ve evilly put an ad you can’t skip in the beginning; actual video starts at 20 seconds)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3NwB9PLxss

Amazing Basket­ball Ending — One of the coolest ends to a basket­ball game I’ve ever seen!

Guest On Debt Free Living Podcast

Erase Debt

Getting out of debt was one of the best decisions I ever made. It relieved mountains of stress, made the first year of my marriage infi­nitely easier, and has made this website possible.

John White at JW Financial Coaching heard I was enjoying the debt-free side of the life and asked me to be a guest on his Debt Free Living Podcast.

We talked about how I got out of debt, how being debt free has affected my marriage, what advice I would give to someone who wants to get their finances under control, and I told a little bit of my financial story.

It was a lot of fun and has a lot packed into 30 minutes.

Listen to it by clicking here and let me know what you thought. I haven’t been on many podcasts, so comments, encour­age­ments, and advice are appreciated.

How did I do?

The First Offer

House Money piggy Bank

(This is part of the Selling Grandma’s House series. For the rest of the series, click here)

After choosing Brooke as our realtor, every­thing kicked into high gear. Brooke has proven to be an excep­tional realtor. She emailed me the contract imme­di­ately and was patient as I read it over and had my grand­mother sign it. The contract was long (11 pages) but my history as a paralegal helped me sort through all the legal mumbo jumbo and break it down for my grand­mother who was happy with it.

The majors of the contract work like this:

  • Brooke is our only realtor throughout this process.
  • When the house sells, she receives a 6% commission.
  • We can end our contract at any time without penalty.

That last bit was important. If Brooke didn’t deliver, I wanted the freedom to switch realtors.

After dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, Brooke and I discussed a price. After looking over compa­rable houses in the area, she suggested $50,000 dollars. I looked over the compa­ra­bles she sent me and thought it was a good price, but I wanted to end any nego­ti­a­tions as close to 50,000 as possible so I bumped it up to 53,000. She told me it might detour a few people, but still thought it was a good price.

We got her the key and security code and at that point she listed it. Continue Reading…

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