An Evolutionary Step

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yogi
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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 15 Apr 2019, 12:13

My home back near Chicago was a 1500 sq ft ranch with an unfinished basement. We had one full acre of land but only lived on about a third of it. I went to the assessor one year and asked if subdividing the property would lower my taxes. He said not likely. The year we moved down here to O'Fallon my Illinois real estate tax was $100 short of $10,000 per year. It would have been less if I didn't have a full brick house, but not that much less. My neighbor, the dentist, had a 5000 sq ft house and his annual taxes were less than mine. Then again, he knew a lot of people I did not have access to. The assessor said it was all due to the bricks, take it or leave it. My taxes here are around $3000 and have increased about 30% during the short time I've lived here. There is nothing missing here that I did not have up north, albeit less of it in O'Fallon. So, one of the big reasons I migrated out of Illinois is due to the atrocious taxes I had to pay. Then, too, this house is about half the quality of the house I left behind.

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Kellemora
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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 17 Apr 2019, 10:12

Perhaps it is good that I moved south. I just checked to see what the RE taxes on the house I owned in Creve Coeur are presently, and last years paid tax bill shows it was 4800 bucks. That's a huge jump from my 1200 bucks my last year there.
What surprised me even more was the old brick house that was there before the subdivision was built. According to last years tax bill, they were paying 700 dollars per month rather than annually which comes out 8400 bucks, OUCH.

Maybe I had better quit complaining about paying double taxation down here, and it being triple what I paid back home. Based on what the family who lives in my old house is currently paying, I can't complain any longer, hi hi.

As my neighbors on the south side of the road sold their properties, they were forced to combine their two lots into a single lot, which really drove their taxes up. The city hounded me several times to combine ours and I told them no. They thought for sure when the original owner finally died they could force the issue again, but it was too late. I knew enough about real estate, and the necessary laws down here, that I managed to have the home drift from parents to children using the several step process which means there was no inheritance or sudden change of ownership.
It was a tricky deal to pull off, that required a few months to do, and then a five year period where it could have all been for naught. But we made it through not only five years, but for close to eight years, so were definitely in the clear and the old original deed still firmly locked in place, only with different names on it. No sale, no transfer, only deed name changes, which kept the original deed intact. This is tricky to do, but possible, if you have the time for the long wait period for it to become official. They key here is, the original owner must be alive and still living in the house for five years after their name is removed from the deed, else their name goes back on the deed and the new names become inheritors and will owe the taxes for same. At the time inheritance taxes were 48% of property evaluation, which I why I went through all that work. Currently, there is no inheritance tax, thanks to Trump wiping Obama's dastardly deed off the books. But the states still have some fees they've added while Obama was in office.

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yogi
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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 17 Apr 2019, 15:53

I guess I was lucky that Barak Obama's home state was Illinois. The inheritance tax didn't kick in there until the value was in excess of $250,000. I had a need to know all that in 2008 a few months after he was installed as president.

You know way too much about real estate. LOL It's a good thing that you do too because a lot of people just take what their lawyer says for granted. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad after reading your observations about the home in Creve Coeur. That was a 4 fold increase for your house and mine only doubled. Then again, I was already paying $4800 when you were paying $1200. The bottom line is there was a time when the taxes doubled. Apparently it wasn't only a thing in Illinois.

My old house had two lots as well. The ten feet between my lot and the street belonged to the school district down the street from me. It basically was a 10x130 foot parcel of land that they gave to me so that I could access the roadway legally. That happened in December and the county decided I didn't have to pay real estate taxes that year for that small parcel. It was a damned good thing that I got it all in writing too because when we tried to refinance our mortgage ten years later it came up as unpaid taxes. The taxes due for that one month would have been around one dollar or less, but the potential for penalties and fines would have made it astronomical I'm sure.

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Kellemora
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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 18 Apr 2019, 14:47

Inside the city limits of Saint Louis, I bought several all brick, two-story homes, in need of renovation of course, for between 6,000 and 18,000 dollars. If the lot was vacant, the lot alone would be worth around 20k to 30K. Almost all of these required a full gut rehab, meaning all new wiring and plumbing which is why other renovators wouldn't touch them. I was licensed in each of the trades, including general contractor. So I didn't have to hire out work to the expensive union tradesmen.

I also bought several home which were up to code, and had tenants living in them for 25k to 35k.
In fact, I bought 6 occupied rental homes once on the same day. Drove the Title Company crazy trying to handle that many in one sale in one day. Almost put me in the poorhouse also trying to do that many at once. But I simply could not pass up the deal I made.

County homes I paid considerably more for of course, but they were all already up to code before a small fire messed up the insides with soot. In most of those the structural fire damage was minimal, and easily repaired. But here too, there was always something that caused other contractors to shy away from buying them. Things that I could usually handle with ease.

Most renovators want to buy a house that needs little work, perhaps new windows and doors, a few small drywall patches, perhaps new siding, and carpeting. If it needs much more than that, they walk away, and by doing so cause the price to drop low enough I would grab it. Almost all the properties I ever bought were at REO Auctions, aka straight from the banks. Never buy a house on the courthouse steps or you'll be more than sorry later. Foreclosures will almost always come back at you for huge amounts of money, sometimes even loss of the house you bought that way.
The reason for this is in a Foreclosure you do NOT get a clean title. All encumbrances on the house come along with it.
While REO houses will normally come with a completely clean title, no back taxes or liens, etc., you buy it you own it, period.

There are a few folks who buy REO Auction houses for the sole purpose of reselling them right away, as is, with nothing done to them. This is another source of buying a house, with only a slight markup, usually whatever they think they can charge you for it. Most are happy if they can double their money overnight, hi hi. Heck, if they can get a 35k house for 6k and sell it for 12k the next day or week, they usually will. The only question is why is a 150k house being offered for 35k and end up being sold at REO Auction for 6k and resold for 12k?
Most of the time it is only because it needs the kind of work most renovators are not licensed to do. It costs a fortune to hire union electricians and plumbers to bring the house up to code. But if you are licensed yourself, and work for cheap, hi hi, you're in like Flynn.

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yogi
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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 18 Apr 2019, 18:16

I think you did the right thing by obtaining all those trades' licenses. If you did the work yourself it had to take a lot of effort on your part to save those big bucks. It probably looks good on paper, but that's only because you weren't paying yourself what you were worth. My understanding is that REO homes are repossession property. Usually a bank won't want to pay off the liens and take on ownership. They are financial institutions after all and not real estate brokers. Regardless of how you did it, you knew what you were doing and that's all that counts.

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 19 Apr 2019, 10:06

Contrary to popular belief, banks actually double or in some cases triple their money on a foreclosure.
Believe me, they never lose money by foreclosing. They make it look like they do on the front end, but it's the bottom line that counts.

How a bankruptcy is supposed to work, and how it really works are as different as night and day.
Let's take a 75k house as an example, just to keep the numbers simple. There is only 25 left on the mortgage.
The homeowner has 40k of insurance on the home. A tree falls across the home causing enough damage the insurance company says it is a total loss and agrees to pay off the 25k mortgage, and the homeowner gets the rest.
The insurance on the home was acquired through the bank when they bought home, or for some other reason the bank now insured the home with the homeowner paying the bank for the insurance. Regardless of the reason, the home was insured as required by the bank.
The insurance company gets the payoff amount from the bank to clear up the mortgage.
The bank refuses to accept a lien payment on the house because they would then have to recalculate the payoff amount.
The insurance company drags it's feet, claiming waiting for paperwork from the adjusters.
Then they LIE and say the check to the bank was cut, a week before the date of foreclosure.
The bank claims they never received a check from the insurance company.
They again refuse a payment from the homeowner, saying everything is OK, it's in the works.
Two days later the bank forecloses on the house.

The very second the bank forecloses, the insurance policy becomes property of the bank. So it is the bank who now has insurance on the house. I'll get back to this part in a minute.

The bank places the home up for auction on the courthouse steps as a foreclosure. Buyers know the home is damaged, and still carries a 25k lien on the house, so the bids on the house, regardless of how high they go, the bank also bids on the house at its full undamaged value of 50k, which means they will automatically win the bid.
But it does not cost the bank anything to do this, because they are paying themselves the 50k, taking it out of one pocket and putting it back in the other pocket.
Now, since the house sold at Auction for 50k, and the lien was 25k, the homeowner should get back 25k. But he doesn't because it was not really a profitable sale since the bank bought it back, they claim it was now a double loss to them.

The bank then turns around and sells the home as an REO but does so through a private Bank REO Auction. Which is different than an REO sale which could have encumbrances. An REO Auction is always with a free and clear deed to the property. They sold it fairly low to get rid of it fast at auction, it fetched 15k.

OK, how much money has the bank made here?
They received 25k in payments from the homeowner, plus all the interest, bringing his mortgage down to 25k.
Let's say the interest they earned on the note so far was 10k.
They get the full amount of the insurance or 40k - 25k is applied to payoff the mortgage
They keep the 15k that should have been paid to the homeowner from the insurance payoff if they kept it legit.

So, what did the bank make on this deal.
The 15k the homeowner paid as a down payment to buy the house from the bank in the first place.
25k in mortgage payments, which had another 10k of interest paid so far over the life of the loan.
They paid out 50k buy the house at auction, but this is a wash for the bank, a major screw job for the homeowner.
40k from the insurance company.
15k from the REO private auction.

15k + 25K + 10k + 40k + 15k = 105k gross income - On a property they only had 25k owing on when they foreclosed.
They did have some expenses of course, but I doubt they were very much.

The bank could have still gone after the homeowner for the lien of 25k still owing, however, because they are the ones who bought it back on the courthouse steps, they in turn took responsibility for the lien on the house. So to save face, and not let people know how much they make on a foreclosure, they let the homeowner off the hook, but blast him to death to the three major credit reporting agencies showing they lost more than 25k due to suits and collection expenses.

Stashed away in a box here, I have all the paperwork for a couple of these foreclosures, attorneys letters, and applicable laws that let the banks get by with this.
Some good did come about by my going through this myself on one of my older properties. I learned how to buy houses dirt cheap with free and clear deeds, by seeking out the Private REO Auctions, but you have to have cash in hand to bid and make the deals. This doesn't mean you physically carry that much cash in the door with you, you make a deposit with the bank in a special account for the auction. You cannot bid over this amount, even if you have extra cash on hand with you for that purpose, they are sneaky that way. They don't allow two payment sources, one of their gimmicks. After the auction, they will cut you a cashiers check for the amount left in your account if you want. For a FEE of course, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 19 Apr 2019, 16:57

If I didn't know better I'd think your story was describing classic bank fraud and racketeering. I'd even go so far as to accept at face value the underhanded dealings for which you have a paper trail. But, I would have to question the claim that it's standard practice for banks to operate that way. The truth is that the Great Recession of 2008 was largely caused by banks and bogus mortgages they sold to unsuspecting buyers. It took quite a few years to wiggle out of that one plus a ton of new banking regulations to save the economy from a huge disaster. The banks, of course, didn't like the regulations and many went out of business. Regardless, the economy stabilized and now the regulations that contained the disaster have been removed. It remains to be seen if any lessons were learned.

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Kellemora
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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 20 Apr 2019, 11:19

I agree Yogi, and questioned several attorneys over the matter.
What they did was perfectly legal, except for telling me not to pay them because they would have to redo the payout amount to the insurance company.
The attorney said the could not refuse to accept a payment on a mortgage note, if it was for the full amount of the scheduled payment. They can refuse if it is not a full payment.
Even so, it wouldn't have mattered if I did send in the checks, it would have only made them one or two checks richer.

Not on the house I was talking about, but on another house I had, the bank suddenly demand I pay off my mortgage, gave me 30 days to do so. I had never missed a payment, was never late on a payment, so this came as a big surprise to me.
Turned out it was no problem for me to get a new mortgage with a different bank in just a couple of days, and the interest was even cheaper. Nevertheless, it threw me for a loop that they could do that.

My new bank said it had to do with the company I had insurance with more so than with the bank themselves.
When they did a drive by they saw the house was under renovation, and cancelled my insurance.
First I heard my insurance was cancelled. The insurance was with a different company than I usually used on the rest of my houses. But sure enough, they can cancel the insurance if they find construction work or ongoing renovations, or failure to maintain upkeep on the property.
Since I was in the renovation business, those types of clauses were not in my insurance policies on other houses.

Had I known it was only an insurance issue, I could have added the house to my regular insurance company, no problem.
But I was not told. The bank's policy says I must maintain coverage over the amount of the mortgage, which is normal, but most banks will add their own insurance if yours lapses, at high cost too. They probably did, but decided to enact the 30 day payback rule anyhow.

The reason I finally got out of the business, besides 9/11 causing banks not to issue B-paper mortgages, was dealing with nasty crazy inspectors and crooked judges who work with them for payola down in the city of St. Louis.

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yogi
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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 20 Apr 2019, 13:54

I seem to recall something similar in the mortgages I had. The lending company can force you to pay off the entire remaining principle if you make any alterations at all to the house and/or property. Full blown renovations would trigger such a request immediately if you didn't clear it with the bank first. And, if you did try to be honest about it they would force you to refinance and get more insurance. Some of this makes sense to me because the banks are putting millions of dollars on the line by lending it out in the form of mortgages. Of course they get a handsome return for the risk they are taking. What irks me to no end is the $2.00 fee they are assessing me to mail out a paper statement every month which costs them all of 50 cents to produce. They want me to go paperless. This is the same bank whose app doesn't work on Pixel phones (the kind I have) nor can you use virtual machines to do online banking with them.

Don't get me started. Grrrr :lol:

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 21 Apr 2019, 10:35

I used to get my small 42 dollar pension check in the mail every month. They hounded me for a few years to go Direct Deposit as part of their paperwork reduction plan.
I finally agreed!
However, DIG THIS.
I still get the exact same envelope with the check inside, except instead of being made out to me, it says Deposited by Direct Deposit.
So I don't see how they saved anything going that route. They still mail be a Void Check each month, hi hi.

From my credit card company I get an e-mail telling me how much my upcoming bill is going to be.
Then I get the paper bill in the mail a week later. Even if I paid them on-line.

The frau pays our Comcast bill on-line, and we never get a paper bill from them, and the bill we get on-line is not itemized, which is how they managed to steal over a thousand dollars from us. After a bunch of hoopla, we will now get a second e-mail with an itemized list, but it is hard to figure out if we don't have the normal summary bill first to compare with.

Although I don't mind paying a bill on-line, I still want to get my paper bill in the mail so I have it for my records.

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 21 Apr 2019, 16:34

I have no qualms about direct deposits. Anybody who wants to give me money electronically is welcome to do so. I do object to auto payments and direct debits. I want nobody but my wife and myself to be able to withdraw from our accounts legally. The big issue I have with automatic payments is that they have the right to withdraw the funds regardless of whether I dispute the charges or not. I can't withhold an automatic payment. I did make one exception, however. When I got my new clever phone I found a deal I could not refuse with T-Mobile. I needed to be over 55, have a spouse signed up, and allow auto payment of my bill, all of which entitled me to a discount on the monthly charges. With great hesitation I agreed, and now I can look up all my charges in real time on that clever phone using the T-Mobile app. It's not as good as a paper statement in my opinion, but they are paying me to do it instead of the other way round. :mrgreen:

My credit card is with Chase and like so many others they would like me to go paperless. I refuse, but now that I have this clever phone I downloaded the app from the credit card company. I can see what my bill is going to be in real time. All the transactions are itemized and clearly marked so that I can track anything I want to. I even found a pending charge one day that I did not agree to. A phone call to the service rep got that removed plus the same charges retroactive for three months when I did not notice them. All things considered I am totally happy with Chase and the way they do things over the Internet. It's a shame my local bank isn't that clever.

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 22 Apr 2019, 10:56

We have a few things which are automatically paid from out checking accounts.
I don't necessarily like it, but we did get some worthy benefits by doing so with some of them.
Then there are a couple we are forced to pay that way of which we don't like to do that with them.

I used to have several credit cards, now I have just one which I use for nearly everything.
I was issued a card with no annual fee, no interest for 3 years, and a great cash back incentive on every purchase.
The best way to make use of this was to open a savings account in their bank for the cash back deposits to be made into.
Although the interest free part ran out a couple of years ago, I've never not paid the balance in full, so have never paid one cent in interest. The cash back deal was worth it though, my savings account continues to grow each and every month by about 200 bucks a year. Have to laugh at the amount of interest the bank pays me though, about 1 cent per month hi hi.
By paying my card off every month, it has generated numerous offers from other credit card companies, but most of them don't have the same deal I have with this one, they are always lower, or have purchases that are not covered, or want to give things I would never use, like airline miles, etc.

The only thing I really have to be careful about, and make sure I do the accounting exactly right, is when I use my personal credit card to make a business purchase. I have to make sure and enter the transaction as an out-of-pocket expense, and have the company pay me back within 30 days. What I cannot do is use a company card to buy something for personal use, even if I pay the company back right away, they will nail you for co-mingling of funds, which can open up a can of worms you never want to deal with.

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 22 Apr 2019, 14:46

Like you do, I pay off the total balance on the credit card each month. Being retired almost demands that to be done. I cannot afford to allow my credit liability to increase on a fixed income. The Chase card has cash back to the tune of 1% (I think). Some restaurants will earn me 2%. The so called cash is actually tallied as points on my monthly statement. Each point (1% of all purchases) is worth a dollar that I can use to pay off my credit card balance. I can also request a check or direct deposit but never do. At first I viewed it all as a sales gimmick, but it has come in handy from time to time, such as when I purchased that laptop. Some of my retirement assets are held by a stock brokerage company. They are owned by a bank and will give me 1.5% cash back. I've considered applying for that but not only for the cash back. I get all kinds of offers for credit cards, but given my limited income at this age, I don't know if I could qualify for a card as good as the one I already have. I suppose there is one way to find out, but I'm too lazy to fill out the paperwork. :lol:

I only had one business credit card in my lifetime. I more or less was talked into it when we were doing a lot of selling on E-Bay. They wanted a credit card to which I could tie my PayPal account. So we got a business card but never actually used it to run the business other than as security to back our PayPal account.

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 23 Apr 2019, 13:45

I used to have a Merchants Account so I could take credit cards, and even run paper checks through as e-checks. But there was a high monthly fee to have this, plus they got a percentage of each transaction. It was great back when I was selling on e-Bay, at least it covered the cost. But then like others, I went to using PayPal and dropped the expensive Merchant Account.

Without looking it up to check for certain, I too get 1% on all purchases, but on some I get 2%, and on others 3%.
And by going with a direct deposit of my monthly earning from the credit card, I also get a 10% bonus for the amount of the transfer. Not a big deal because the transfer is only between 25 and 35 bucks a month so it is only an additional 3 bucks give or take. But it adds up to about 35 bucks more per year, hi hi.

I don't remember what my PayPal account was linked to. I still have an account with PayPal that works through a checking account I set up as a side business account, not linked to my corporation or personal accounts. As long as I leave 300 dollars in that account, there are no fees associated with it, and since I don't use it to write checks from, I'm not charged for getting a copy of the checks in my statement. I also don't get a monthly statement if there were no transactions that month. Either that or I went paperless to avoid charges. Been so long ago, I don't remember. I just know it has 318.28 in it, hi hi.

On the rare occasion I'm forced to use a Debit Card for a purchase, I only have my business account. I have to make sure and show I took a draw and had it paid on my behalf through the Debit Card, else once again, it opens the can of worms for co-mingling of funds. This is the one thing I am most careful about, because it almost bit me one time.

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 23 Apr 2019, 16:26

It makes sense to use a debit card instead of a credit card if my goal is to limit my spending to something less than my income. The only reason I don't use the debit card is because there are times when my checkbook balance would go negative for a short period of time. Those are the times the credit card is the perfect solution ... as long as I keep the outstanding balance below a certain figure. LOL I don't know how we lived before plastic money became available.

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 24 Apr 2019, 10:33

I can answer that question in only one bank note Yogi.
We kited checks until payday!

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 24 Apr 2019, 12:50

It's true. There was a time we only spent money we could touch with our fingers. But even back in those days just about every department store and grocery would offer their customers credit, or a layaway plan. We still spent money we didn't have, but not as often. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 25 Apr 2019, 09:38

My late wife was a big user of layaway plans, but not because she needed to budget as much as nailing an item when it was on sale for a birthday or Christmas present.
Somehow she seemed to know which items would become hot and sell out before Christmas, so would put them in layaway. Sometimes several of them so she would get compliments on being able to get a gift nobody else could get.

I only put two things in layaway in my entire life, and both were big ticket items.
The first was a Lowrey HR98k theater organ, to lock in a super sale price.
By the time I got it paid off and out of layaway, the current price was already triple of what I paid for it.
The second was a 1977 Cheverolet Mikado pick-up truck. I couldn't really afford it brand new, and the parts department at the dealer also wanted it. So I worked out a deal with them where they could use it for 6 months, and I would then get it at the cheaper used price instead of even for a demo price, and I could not opt to take it if they beat the heck of it to death. When I did get it, it still looked brand new and only had just under 4,000 miles on it. It wasn't exactly used as a parts truck per say, but more of a small package delivery truck for hot shot runs the normal truck missed.

I did have my own credit account down at most of the floral suppliers, separate from the florist account. Not that I ever bought that much for myself from them, but was in the process of developing my hydroculture systems and would have one of the florist drivers pick-up my order while they were down there. I usually had a driver drop a check off for them the next time the florist was picking up at that wholesaler. Saved a nickel stamp that way, hi hi.

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by yogi » 25 Apr 2019, 14:54

My uncle would tell the story of how he bought his retirement home in Florida on a credit card. He worked for International Harvester up near Chicago and was going to retire at age 55 - thanks to the Teamsters. That last year of work was spent doing a lot of traveling back and forth to Florida to find a city to live in, and then a house. After many outings he finally found something he thought his wife would like and wanted the agent to hold it for him. Unfortunately he didn't bring any cash or checkbook with him that trip and it was a weekend when the banks were closed. BUT, he did have his credit card with cash advance options which the real estate people took as a deposit until he could get back there with his wife to sign the papers.

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Re: An Evolutionary Step

Post by Kellemora » 26 Apr 2019, 10:34

Credit cards do come in handy for a lot of things.

I remember back when I was somewhere between 12 and 18 years old (and/or the years of the Blue Laws) and we could not date a check on a Sunday. Writing a check was considered work, hi hi.
What is interesting is, our greenhouses could be open to sell potted plants, but the florist could not be open because you don't just make up arrangements ahead of time.
We did for awhile, on Saturday we would make about 20 bouquets and 30 vases of roses and put them in the cooler to sell, but we could only sell what was already made. We couldn't even sell loose flowers, because they had to be wrapped and put in a box, which made it a tied bouquet. But the greenhouse could set plants in a box for the customer to carry out.

We did like our grocery store did with the kids kites. We had another building and design area with a cooler. If a customer wanted something we didn't have ready, we would say something like, let me go check our other cooler and see if we have something like that already put together. We didn't of course and had to make it real quick, out of sight. Then come back and say, you are in luck we have this one which is very similar to what you asked for. Heck it was exactly what they asked for, hi hi.

We normally stayed closed on Sunday to avoid the hassles.

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