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Real Estate Lesson from Uncle the Fisherman

next doorRecently, the house next door to us was for sale.  Aunty wanted it.  Wanted it bad.  We put in an offer that was higher than asking price with generous concessions and a very big mortgage.  With some rehabbing and modifications, this house could be rented out with a little bit of a positive income.

The owners decided to go with another offer and sent us a counteroffer which they would use as backup.  Aunty was devastated and feeling desperate.  “Call the agent!  What will it take to get the house?!  Do it now!”

That night was one of anxiety and frustration, and great disappointment.

In the morning, Uncle’s picture of his oio catch many years ago (before we got married) was propped in front of Aunty while eating her typical breakfast of Honey Bunches of Oats and coffee.  This was a favorite picture.  In it, you could see the joy of the catch in Uncle’s whole being.

The ones that got away

Uncle loved the ocean.  In his younger days, he would surf, surf, and surf.  Later, he would surf less and fish, fish, and fish, always from shore since he didn’t like fishing on boats.

Most of the time, he wouldn’t catch a thing.  Sometimes he would catch a great haul, sometimes a little haul.

However, the ones that gave him the greatest pleasure were the big ones that took his line out and got away.  These, according to Uncle, were HUGE (and they got bigger with each telling).

Opposites attract

Uncle was always very thoughtful in his decisions.  Aunty usually does not think and would let emotion and instinct rule.  We were quite the opposites and perfect for each other.  Aunty would jump, Uncle would hold the bungee cord.

Owning the house next to us would have been great (JUMP), and it would also be a big financial burden with potential cash flow (BUNGEE).

Lesson from the fisherman

fish!While gazing at Uncle’s picture, a realization dawned on Aunty.  Not getting the house next door was like the big fish that got away.  It was okay.  Maybe even, better than okay.

In the morning light, looking at Uncle’s broad smile, peace and acceptance washed over the disappointment of losing the house.  It was time to cut the line and enjoy the process.

There will be always be other opportunities.  Sometimes you catch a good one, sometimes not.

As for the big ones that got away – just keep on fishing for an even better one.

September 2015 update:  TWO more really great properties came up on the market – one was THE picture postcard from Aunty’s google page – beachpark frontage with grassy lot and busted up old house with a little lanai on the beach side that could take all of your cares away.  Another one on a special street in Kaimuki with an old cute house in a killer location and HUGE pirie mango tree on a level lot that would have been perfect as Aunty gets older.  But alas, they also got away. 

About The Author

Aunty is a new senior citizen and loving this phase of her life. Less responsibilities, less fear of being weird, able to do more of the things that I want to do! Older, yes, slower, yes, but life is even more wonderful in my golden years and I look forward to even goldener ones.

Number of Entries : 380

Comments (7)

  • Musings

    Uncle was really a cute guy. What a wonderful, supportive man. I know the feeling of losing the one that got away. We still pass the house we originally wanted, but then again, I guess it didn’t matter since we ended up buying my mom’s house anyway. Still…I remember the disappointment. And it would have been cheaper too than what we ended up doing. Sigh…. Never mind. Some things are meant to be.

    • Aunty

      From the pictures of your garden and quarter round moldings, your current home looks wonderful.

      Actually, one of our potential strategies as we got older was to sell our home to the kids so we get to keep the capital gains tax free (so long as it is owned for 5 years, lived in for 2 years). With that profit in hand, we could invest in something that cash flows (i.e. another rental property or annuities, etc.) and the income that is generated is used to pay rent to the kids as we continue to live in our house, thus covering their new mortgage.

      The house that got away was meant to be. Your consideration resulted in your mom’s happiness. That is very nice.

  • Betty Townsend

    Beautiful post and tribute to your husband.

    Hello Jalna!!

  • N

    This is such a wonderful story and a loving tribute to your husband. I remember getting the real estate fever when I just had to, had to, have one house. My dream house was in Kahaluu with a view of Chinaman’s Hat and the beautiful ocean, with it’s own stream running through the property and white gingers surrounding it. Huge home with splendid views. But it was in escrow and then I found another home. This time in town. Much much smaller. And the other house fell out of escrow but by this time, the fever subsided and reality descended. That house was miles UPHILL from any bus stop and if my car broke down and needed repair I’d be stuck. All my support team was on town side. Plus there was a shared driveway and worries about maintenance of it, etc. In the end I let that dream house go becuz it wasn’t practical. Sure enough I did have car breakdowns but being in town the bus was an option. Lived happily in that second choice home for over 30 years. I still dream about the first house but sometimes some dreams are just that.

    • Aunty

      That sounds like such a wonderful property in Kahaluu, though living in town and its convenience makes sense. I still have my eyes and options open for a dream house with a wrap around lanai, no visible neighbors, great views AND the convenience of town. It used to be beachfront Waimanalo for me until a couple of parties left me feeling sticky from the on shore winds. Uncle would have been happy in a shack so long as he could surf and fish. I need air conditioning, hot showers, and room enough to hide my clutter.

      Dreams are great to hold onto, especially if they make us happy. Sometimes they even come true.

  • jalna

    I was preparing to leave to get a haircut when I spied this post. I got to “Uncle loved the ocean.” and I had to stop. I could feel the tears start to well. I didn’t have the time to redo my eyes, so I stopped. I just returned and finished your post. I can’t put into words the feeling in my heart right now, but I’d just like to say that I’m so glad that Uncle was not a big one that got away.


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