Many years ago I needed to buy a house. My budget was £28,000 (yes THAT many years ago!). At the time house prices in our area were going crazy. I found a house I really liked on the market for £29,500. It was perfect. Near my office, as in close enough to walk. Good heating. Good sized rooms. Close enough to our town to walk. Near to shopping. Bus stop outside should I ever find myself carless.
I offered my £28k. No dice. I sharpened my pencil and did the sums that would absolutely stretch me to £29,000. No again BUT should I go to the full asking price I had a deal. So I did what most young adults would do in my position. Yes I phoned Mom and Dad. Yes they would lend me the £500 I was short. Yipee. I made my offer the following morning, in person. As I was leaving the agents office I noticed a man from the next office going in, said Hi.
About half past 9 my office phone rang. My colleague had offered £30k, gone over the asking price. I was beaten. I decided it wouldn’t do anyone any good to get into a bidding war so I mentally let my perfect house go.
At lunchtime my friend and I decided to take a walk to a local shop to buy a sandwich and stretch our legs. I paid for my food with a five pound note, but the girl behind the counter gave me the change of tenner. Straight away I handed her the extra five pounds back, explaining the mistake.
“What did you do that for, they never would have known?” my friend was incredulous at my stupidity. “I’ll be repaid that £5, 100 times over” I answered cheerfully. At the time I wasn’t even a believer, but I must have heard about the 100 fold return somehow along the way. Plus, I was raised to do the right thing whenever the opportunity arose.
We wandered back to work, within an hour the phone went, the agent again.
“Erm, this is unusual but, um… the vendors have decided to accept your offer of the asking price and turn down the higher offer.” The agent seemed bemused but continued “Apparently you were very nice when you viewed the house and spent time talking with their kids… anyway seems they just want you to have it”
My £500 problem had disappeared! Over the next year that house increased in value by £10,000, a third. A fantastic return on that £5, which was never mine anyway!
Oh the colleague? He asked me out that afternoon, he’d heard I was very nice. We got married. We had two beautiful and clever daughters.
Do the right thing every time – its so worth it!