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Oh, That Instant Gratification…

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I have a love and hate relationship with instant gratification.

Why is it so incredibly difficult to be patient, to give it time… to be OK with waiting? Why is it so easy to be impulsive when you sense that instant gratification is near?

An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.

Quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.[/h2s_box]

Patience in life, in all of the struggles we face, in the decisions we make, and in the decisions we are waiting to hear from others… patience is so important. Every single day it seems that I learn over and over again why I need to be patient.

As lots of you have probably learned on your frugal journey, instant gratification is always calling your name. When you see a great deal but don’t necessarily need it, instant gratification thinks you do. When you want to purchase an item that will be free after coupon, instant gratification thinks you should buy as many as you can!

Instant gratification actually played a BIG part in the selling of our home. You see, we listed our house “For Sale By Owner” and just a few days after listing, we got an offer. We countered back and both parties verbally agreed on a price. There was nothing in writing and no contract in place when we made this verbal agreement. The couple was out-of-town and wouldn’t be returning until the following week.

We kept the house on the market as we knew they could back-out since there was nothing written in stone. Not even a few days later, we received 2 more offers. One offer was over the asking price. I was torn and very upset. We had given our word but now knew that by doing so, we had just lost ourselves a ton of money. My values are extremely important to me, so there was no question in my mind what the right thing to do was. We kept our word and honored the offer we had agreed upon over the phone.

After an emotional day yesterday, I woke up this morning feeling a littler wiser. OK, so I am totally not wise by any means and still have a lot to learn (just ask my hubby), but I did wake up feeling like I had learned a big life lesson.

Instant gratification always sounds so appealing, but once that impulsive feeling hits and you go for it, not giving the oh so important decision another thought – it is so unfulfilling. The satisfaction you think would be waiting for you on the other side is never there. I learned that yesterday.

If we had waited and not verbally agreed to anything… I mean the house had only been listed for a couple of days and the people who put in the offer were out-of-town. If I had been patient… if that instant gratification and impulsiveness didn’t take over….

But life is about learning, right? And I sure learned a lot from this experience.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect which make difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

– John Quincy Adams

Join The Discussion

Comments 101

  1. mweyler

    We had the exact same situation happen to us when we moved 7 years ago. The house was on the market less than 24 hours by owner before we got an offer. We then got 2 other offers for more. We chose to do the same thing and I still occasionally keep up with the people who bought the house…we met just through this process. I know the house has been such a blessing to them!

  2. jennine

    Collin we love you, and can tell you are a Christian. God will bless you for this and your family. Love this blog. and of course you 😉

    • simpleme

      What does being a good person have to do with being Christian??

  3. Keith

    You are so amazing Collin!!!! You make my day everyday!!! Xoxo your family are so lucky to have you as an amazing mom/wife/daughter/sister!!!!!!

  4. J

    Karma…it’s a powerful thing! I guess you could also say “What goes around comes around, comes around!” or “What you send out, will return to you!” or the Golden Rule. I love when people share their stories because it makes me stronger and more able to make better decisions.

  5. Sara

    If they have not done the inspection yet, there is still another round of negotiating. If you refuse any concessions, they may back out of their own accord. I’m not a realtor or real estate professional, I’ve just bought/sold a lot of houses over the years.

  6. Katie

    # 1) Collin, I am so proud of you for keeping your word. Your ‘impatience’ might be just the blessing this other family needs. There’s something good in this for you, and it’s worth the ache of the situation. You are a woman of character, and that is something that is worthy to be praised! (See Prov. 31.)

    # 2) Look at all the comments! You are soooo loved! And supported! And admired! The comments encouraging you brought me to tears.

    # 3) To who commented, may YOU be blessed as you’ve sought to encourage Collin! You certainly blessed me.

  7. Jodi

    At the risk of backlash, I see a middle ground.

    Collin, I would suggest a phone call to the people who gave the verbal offer. Explain the situation and see how they react. If they are willing to put their offer in writing and give an escrow check, you’ll honor their offer. They might be willing to match the higher price to ensure they get the house. They might tell you that they were going to be over-extended and unsure they could get a mortgage for the price they offered. They might be having second thoughts. It might all still work out and they’ll buy your house at the originally offered price. You’ll feel better and they’ll feel better once you have something in writing.

    You need to do what’s best for you ethically and economically. That’s what makes so many people follow you!

    All best wishes! Jodi

    • Heather

      I think this is really excellent advice, Jodi.

    • Angie

      I have to agree with Jodi, too. It kind of puts the power back in their hands to make it right. The other thing I worry about–and I’m not a real estate professional but I love to watch real estate shows!–is that it is so up in the air with nothing in writing. They might back out, can’t get financing, don’t come up with the down payment, inspection issues, etc. I would tell all parties of the offers on the table and let them make the next move. You DO NOT want to turn any of the others down until you know the first one is going through. A house is just too important to do on someone’s word. You are good Collin, but not everyone else is and even if everyone in the transaction is good, that does not mean it will work out. Houses fall into and out of escrow all the time. Finally, take your own advice and be patient while it all plays out. Don’t do anything rash until you see what happens.

      • Heather

        ^^^Exactly! (What Angie said.)

  8. Sheree

    If you hire a good Realtor they should be able to pay for themselves, giving you good, sound advice and not letting you sell it for less than what you can get for it. I know it’s a hard lesson to learn but someone’s word means a great deal. It says what kind of person you are. You did the right thing and you will be blessed for it.

  9. ranomayo

    Kudos to you, Collin for following your ethics.
    We went through this twice- when trying to sell a house and another time with a lot. It required some real soul-searching. We did present our dilemma to our original buyers and were offered a little more both times. It taught us to do our homework, have patience and to not undervalue what we had.
    But in the end it is only money. You have to be able to live with yourself and not have regrets. Good luck with your decision and move. Thanks for all you do for the rest of us, every day!

  10. Kerry

    Yay, Collin! You just showed your children what it means to have morals and you taught them to stand by their word. Good job! You will be rewarded tenfold for doing the right thing! :0)

  11. Maria D

    Collin you made the right decision with the information you had at the moment. Do not regret it. The universe will pay you back. It was not about instant gratification, patience had nothing to do with this situation. You could look at it that if you hesitated on the offer and no others came in, they you would had no offers.

  12. Lauren

    Good for you! Hindsight is 20/20. In the end its always better to go with your gut, be a good person, and feel good about your decision. I think that you made the right choice and i think you will definitely have good karma. Best of luck in your upcoming move.

  13. Kim

    A little over a year ago my hubby decided he wanted to trade his truck instead of selling (it’s one of his incredible abilities! Lol) 3 hours after trading for another truck he loved… He got an offer for over $13,000!!! Double what his new truck is worth. But he loves his truck and would not have been able to buy it with the cash… Everything works out for a reason. I on the other hand am currently holding out on my dream job… No more impulses here! Passed my civil service exam, just got the letter today!!!!

  14. Whitney

    Collin, you say that this couple is out of town, and it was a verbal agreement. They could be telling you the truth or they could be blowing you smoke. Have they been approved by a lending institute? This process can be lengthy or it can be short and sweet, it all depends on their situation. The rules in real estate change daily.
    (Literally one week we were approved for our home, then while we were under contract the rules changed. We had to file more paperwork, and then the decision had to be approved again. We had to change our closing date 3 times, instead of taking 1 month it took 4!)
    I admire the fact that you want to keep your word, however I would give them a deadline. I would tell them the situation you are faced with, that you need a letter of approval from their lender within 3 business days. After that they have to front their earnest money deposit. Which is refundable but only within a certain time period, which varies by state. Normally it’s a two week period. If they cannot comply you will be forced to cancel your agreement.
    Keep in contact with your other interested parties, if something falls apart you can call them and hopefully they will still be interested.

    Another suggestion you can do is to tell all your interested parties that you are in a multiple offer situation. That if they are serious they need to submit their highest and best offer by a certain date and time, (normally 1-2 business after you tell them the situation).

    As a realtor, and someone who has been in your shoes, just weigh all your options with your heart and head equally. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  15. Laura

    1 Tim 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

    You did the right thing. God bless you.

  16. Nichole

    That was extremely moving and very well written 🙂

  17. VictoriaBF

    I know how you feel, Collin. Hope you have a better day tomorrow and this situation will be resolved to your advantage! 🙂

  18. babybasement

    way to go keeping your word and what a perfect role model for your children. I imagine the extra money you would have received for your current house will be found in the value of your new house 😉

  19. Molly

    I love that you dont just post post real life stuff too. I definitely look up to you, thanks for being a role model.

  20. Trish

    Decisions that grow our character are never easy… I’ve made similar moves losing a LOT of money and been just about sick over thinking about what I could have/should have done differently. One thing is for sure, I have learned to loosen my grip on material possessions and to value human relationships over objects. This perspective is a valuable lesson that has cost me dearly in money, but will have life-long benefits that are immeasurable as I’m also setting an example for my children. I’ve learned to let go of regret and bitterness and look forward because every day is a new beginning and a gift! May the decisions you’ve made give you peace and blessings!

  21. txhrc4

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this Collin. I really needed to read this. I have been struggling with a bit of the “impatient” bug this week and needed to be put in check. Thanks! 🙂

  22. jeanette

    thank you for sharing. . .Neat to see how God can work things out. . .

  23. Tonya

    I admire you for keeping your word in a tough situation. Much love and respect to you this morning 🙂

    Those sweet kids of yours must be learning well from their parents!

  24. Darcie

    Collin you did the right thing by keeping your word. It may not seem like it right now, but I know you will somehow be blessed because of your honorable character in this situation. Who knows, maybe you will have an experience in the future that will require patience and after this lesson learned it will help you and maybe save you even more money at that time. Maybe your house is going to be just perfect for the family moving in. I’m so thankful the world has good people in it like you Colllin!

  25. cher holden

    I truly appreciate you sharing your story. I am sad that you are missing out on a larger sale price of your home. Honoring your promise to the original bidders is very responsible of you, and I am very proud of you. Look forward, as your life keeps growing in such positive ways.

  26. Luz

    If you’re selling for that price is for a reason. Don’t be discourage God is on control. Everything have a purpose.

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