Neighbor Managers

By: Wojciech Kic

Horse racing is an exciting spectator sport. On any given Sunday during a racing season large crowds gather around racing tracks to cheer for their favorite horse.The spectators are very similar in their kibitzing manner. Standing, screaming, and jumping, spectators seemingly act as one. In between the races they all stand in the same line, drink the same drinks, and spend about the same amounts of money. There is a great deal of comradery among the spectators. They talk the sport and exchange opinions, and often offer each other unsolicited advice. On occasion the conversation may spill to
the topics outside the track such as local, still delayed road construction projects, maybe the price of gas or maybe even politics.The animation continues until the last race when everybody leaves, heading to a new destination. But when relaxing back home, reliving the races, counting the few gains and even more losses, the spectator may ask: who was betting on my horses?

Wasn’t there a suggestion to observe this horse or another? And “a sure bet” advice about a soon to win horse that always comes second? From the guy that even held my seat during a break? Surely, that nice couple meant no harm. And besides, I did not see them win. And when I did bet on my horse they did wish me well!

Like a spectator following a favorite horse a landlord, when placing a house on the market for lease, is also sur rounded by a multitude of accidental well-wishers. Whether family or friends, seemingly, many have a great deal to say. Most of the unsolicited advice, grounded in newspaper clips, and personal experience, is offered for no other reason but for a thrill of sharing the experience. Landlord’s prospective gain or loss is largely immaterial. But these fellow spectators are not playing the landlording game; they have no common interests with the landlord except to observe the allure of the sport.

The neighbors of the landlord’s property on the other hand share in the outcome of landlord’s race. As soon as the landlord places his bet (on his house,) before the race begins, the neighbors pitch in with a hushed tone of the sage advice. Unsolicited, they contribute advice about how to win. They offer insights about the neighborhood; they sing praise and voice concern. But what makes their advice different is that they are playing the game and they are protecting their bet. Like spectators in the horse races the neighbors increase the amount of their payoff by attempting to increase the payoff odds on their horse. What increases the odds of the fellow spectator’s payoff is your bet on any horse that the spectator is not betting on. In each race, all spectators, who are betting on the same horse, unconsciously, develop strategies to protect their interest.

The process involves bet influence.The parties and intensity of the bet influence changes with each race. It works without conscious planning or detection. The net result of subtle hints works its magic through the crowd. When their horse wins, the winnings are enhanced by each winner’s neighbor, and then some.

The neighbors protect their horse by offering the landlord helpful advice. They unselfishly offer to park their cars in the landlord’s driveway so people driving by won’t think that it is empty.

Protection of landlord’s investment is of a seemingly great concern to the neighbor.

“Let me help find you a tenant; call me anytime someone wants to see the property.” This could not be a bad offer. It saves landlord time showing the property and considering how nice the neighbor is the new tenant is likely to be just as nice. It seems that it is in the neighbor’s interest to be helping the landlord out.That’s why he does it for free. But the neighbor is engaged in a different process. When the landlord bets the neighbor loses: a poor tenant causes insight, a good tenant makes the landlord stay waiting for even a better payoff.Thus to the neighbor winning means getting the landlord to bet on a different horse – the landlord selling the property to bet in another neighborhood is the ultimate objective. How is that achieved? The prospective tenants that overlook the neighbor’s car in the driveway get a different picture why the house is still vacant.The hidden maintenance and owner’s indifference are the real causes. It is the decency of the neighbor that protects future tenants from this landlord. If the house is still somehow leased future suggestions from the neighbor to the tenant about sure to be nice maintenance pray on the tenant’s mind.The pattern continues from neighbor to neighbor. Did they have a meeting about that?

So at the next horse race keep your personal attention on your bets.There are no shortcuts in winning. Study your investment. Block your ears to the whispers of good advice. In doing your own homework and making your own decisions you will ensure that someone else is not winning at your expense.

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