Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and Beautiful New House.

Ithaca realtor Kelly Cornstarch had settled into the comfy chair in her home office, her laptop flipped open on the table in front of her. As she waited for her client to join the Zoom meeting she’d set up, she checked her notes on this prospective buyer, who had dropped into her world just a day ago. It seemed promising, though a tad mysterious. Mr. Vladimir Schmutin, who was viewing the listings she’d sent remotely, had revealed little about himself so far, and a Google search of his name had turned up virtually nothing. Still, he seemed eager to buy, and quickly. His image suddenly appeared on her screen.

“Good morning, Mr. Schmutin,” she said. “It’s good to see you. Were you able to tour the properties I sent you virtually?”

“Is afternoon here,” he replied. “I toured. I like Arurora Street one. Is good neighborhood?”

“Aurora Street,” she gently corrected. “Oh my, yes. Fall Creek is an excellent neighborhood. That’s a good choice, and it’s a brand new listing. Three bedrooms, two full baths. Nice old Victorian house with a lot of upgrades. Deep lot, off-street parking. Perfect for a family.”

“No family. Just for me. Want to retire. Write memoirs and whatnot. Plan next move maybe. Also need place for oligarchs to crash.”

“I understand. That all sounds very exciting! We’d need to act fast, though. There’s been a lot of interest in that house,” she said. “Let’s see. It’s listed for $399,000, so maybe, if you’re really interested, we should put in a bid for $500,000.”

“Price is $399,000, no? But I pay $500,000?” Schmutin chuckled. “Is like that here, too. There is ‘price’ and then real price.” Cornstarch could see him using air quotes on her screen. “That extra is for you?”

“Oh, no. Actually, that’s just the market conditions in the real estate world right now. Normally...”

“Understand perfectly, and no need to explain,” he interjected. “I transfer Bitcoin today, and arrive this weekend.”

“Oh, I wish it were that simple,” said Cornstarch. “First of all, we can’t use bitcoin. Sellers are very particular right now. The simpler, the better. It would have to be an all cash offer, with no contingencies, or the seller will just go with the next offer. And probably the fastest we could close would be maybe in a couple months.”

“Cash? Like rubles?” Schmutin rubbed his chin and scowled. “Might be problem right now. Maybe Chinese yuans? I could ask friend for loan.”

“I guess so. As long as they can be exchanged for dollars,” she said. A moment passed. “Should I put the offer together?”

“Also, two too long.”

“I might be able to speed that up,” offered Cornstarch. “As long as no bank is involved. Let me see what I can come up with.”

“Yes. No bank. Just cash. Final question,” he said. “Next door house. Is nice? I might want to acquire one day.”

“Actually, it’s very nice, but I don’t think the owners are interested in selling. I talked to them when we were getting this house ready. They’ve been there for years and seem pretty happy.”

“Many ways to skin Arctic Fox. Is saying in my country.”

Cornstarch shuddered involuntarily. “Yes, well...why don’t you check with your friend on the loan and I’ll see how quickly we can make this happen. Can we talk in an hour?”

Schmutin nodded once, emphatically. “Yes. One hour,” he said, and exited the meeting.

Cornstarch closed her laptop, stood up and stretched. This might be the easiest commission of the year, if it happened.

Next week: Is the Cayuga Inlet deep enough for a mega yacht?

(1) comment

Elisabeth Hegarty

In light of the present war in Ukraine, I see no humor in this article.

Welcome to the discussion.

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