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Mother Nature and Real Estate

I just returned from the Telluride Mountain Film Festival I’ve attended for the past four years.  Initially I attended out of curiosity.  Now I attend to be provoked (I know) and rejuvenated.  In 2010 I saw the movie “I Am”, a thought-provoking film by Tom Shadyac on the nature and meaning of happiness.  It turns out Bill Gates really isn’t that much happier than me.

In 2010 I had a chance to speak briefly with the director and told him how thought provoking I found his film and that we shared the trait of being former point guards.  That led to a brief discussion of the state of basketball today – but that’s another story.

Here is a trailer for the film:  http://www.iamthedoc.com/

At the 2012 Festival I again had a moment to speak with Tom Shadyac.  I told him I watched “I AM” about every 4 months to try to keep my type-A personality in check.  He laughed and said, “Thanks, man and good luck with that.”

A prominent theme of “I Am is that nature only takes what it needs, no more, no less.  When a tiger needs food the tiger kills but does not stockpile food and does not take more than is needed.  I thought this might be a metaphor for real estate as I read the June 7, 2012 Wall Street Journal article about how large home sales were on the uptick.


While in Telluride I visited the home of a very, very wealthy individual.  His home, situated high on a Telluride mountain, was approximately 12,000 square feet and was used on a part-time basis.  He obviously could afford to own a second (third?) home and has the right to do this, but considering the resources used to build the structure and heat the structure, one wonders how my tiger friend would view it.

If you are looking to buy a home or are considering downsizing you might consider the tiger approach to buying.  A good starting point would be to look at what you need vs. what you want in a home and then distinguish between the two.  Shop with the need list in mind.

That might take the form of a home without a formal dining room but a kitchen large enough for an expandable table for holidays or a room that doubles as a T.V./guest room or a smaller home requiring some rehab or…

Two good resources as a starting point would be Michelle Kodis’ book “Blueprint Affordable” and Sarah Susanka’s “Not So Big Life.”   The need approach doesn’t mean you have to give up quality.  To the contrary, the books sited above suggest we should be looking at the quality of our living space not the quantity of living space.  This approach will allow you to spend less – maintain less and save more – and then you can do other things that make you happy.

Oh, yeah, tunes.   One of the finest parts of our job is that we get to work with clients who want to work with us and who we want to work with.  I’ve done this (Exclusive Buyer Agency) long enough to know that buying a home the right way is an acquired taste.

I note this because one of our past clients, Lois Wesener, puts together a list of the small music festivals around the City (you might even find Seamus’ band – Litmus Vinyl – among them) and allows me to include her link in my newsletter.  As my favorite artist Neil notes, “keep on rockin’ in the free world.”  Enjoy the list and the music and thanks, Lois.


If you have real estate related questions, know of someone interested in buying a home or downsizing please share my newsletter with them or have them contact me with any real estate related questions they might have.

Thanks for reading.

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Homebuyer Associates
1835 N. Riverwalk Way
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414-254-4129