Jenny has always wanted to run a bed and breakfast. I found this out only after several years of marriage. Perhaps she mentioned it before, but I am, after all, a husband and that means there’s a good chance that I missed it earlier.
On my last day of work for the week, Jenny was talking about this as we went out to eat breakfast after my night shift. It hit me with such exciting force. The idea that we run a bed and breakfast would be perfect for us. I’ve always loved business and I’m not too particular on what kind. Running just about any business would fascinate me.
“We should do this!” I exclaimed, “We should run a bed and breakfast!”
I had thought about getting into business before. I thought perhaps Jenny could help with the office workload if I was to ever go back into the lawn business. I knew it wouldn’t be something she could be passionate about. If she really wanted to run a bed and breakfast, she could do most of the hands on work, and I could handle the business aspect of it. We would both be able to work together and shine in our parts of it.
She already had her sights on the property just a few blocks from our house. After our breakfast, we went right over to take a closer look. There was a big sign and a realtor number. I called it.
“Hello” – realtor
“Hi, I’m Scott Nutter and my wife and I are interested in looking at your property here in town.”
“Sure! I’m out of town right now but I’ll be back next week.” – realtor
So we set up the appointment.
We arrive at the appointed time just minutes before Wayne showed up. We noticed that the house would need some repairs. It needed a new roof and a power wash on at least one side. We looked around inside and were impressed by the tall ceilings on both floors. The house was built in the 1860’s so it had historical value. It would be the most valuable and unique bed and breakfast in our city. It also had several acres to use for additional business. If we were talking some $400,000 perhaps it could work, but this place was probably going for 700,000 I thought. I was off. The owner was asking 1.5 million. That was outrageous. We left knowing it wasn’t going to work, but thanked him for his time.
Then I began to think. If I could get him down to a more reasonable price, perhaps I could convince an investor to fund the project. Based on the numbers I came up with, the business might just be viable. If I borrowed no more than a million at no more that 5% interest and we ran the business at an average occupancy of 40% with rooms going for about $170 a night, it could work. In order to be able to fix it up, furnish the house, and put it up for business, however, I would need to offer much lower than a million. I thought it would be reasonable to offer 700k.
My plan was to meet the owner, sit down with him, and win him over. The owner was a very old man in his eighties. He and his wife were downsizing. If I could get him to agree to that lower price, perhaps I could win the confidence of an investor having already saved the project six or seven hundred-thousand dollars. I talked to the Mr. Windle, the realtor, to set up a time. The first week wasn’t good because he was out of town. A few other weeks went by that weren’t good for me. Then it was close to Christmas and the new year, so it wasn’t good for anyone. In the meantime, I was doing my homework. With some guidance from a man in our church, Mr. Gordey, I looked up the property in the city (or county) government website. I discovered that the place was only appraised for about what I had thought it was worth in the first place: $770,000. He wasn’t serious about selling it, which meant he was looking for the right person. In conversation with the realtor, I found that the owner wanted the history of the house preserved and he really did want it to become a bed and breakfast. I felt that, if I could win him over, I had some leverage on my side. Besides, it had been on the market for over a year, and even though he had some major deductions, he was still paying property taxes on a half a million dollars of property. To sweeten the pot, I had another idea. I found out the owner’s name. Mr. Mckee. I could see it clearly; “Mckee’s Bed and Breakfast”. Who wouldn’t want their name on something like that, and really, at the age of eighty-five, is it really money he wants? Or would a legacy matter more? I know which one I would choose. We could name the rooms after some family members too.
I had begun a book on real estate. I had to get up to speed on this stuff. I couldn’t just expect to walk into a project of this size without some serious knowledge. I found “The Real Book On Real Estate” by Robert Kiyosaki. The first chapter or two was something I would have to sit down and listen to again while taking notes. After that, it was more of what I expected to hear. I learned a lot. The audio book was eighteen hours long, but I was plowing through it with due diligence.
A man in our church was very helpful and encouraging. I asked him if it was possible to get the project up and running this year (2017). It was only January and perhaps we could have it operating by May or June, in time for the major touring traffic.
“This bed and breakfast won’t be open for business until 2018.” He said.
My first reaction was that it would buy me time, and perhaps increase my chances of getting the property at the price I wanted (assuming no one else bought it). Ultimately, it took the wind out of my sails. It wasn’t the same for me. I couldn’t focus on it with such clarity and vigor like I had been. Weeks went by, and I couldn’t make a move. I wanted to meet with the owner and some investors and at least take this thing as far as I could, but I didn’t.
Finally one day, the realtor called.
“Are you ready to make an offer?” he asked.
“Let me get back to you, I have to make a few phone calls” I replied
I called Mr. Gordey and we talked it over some. I shared that I was frozen up and having a difficult time picking the next move and it was beginning to stress me out.
“I work too many hours each week to be able to really do anything with this.” I explained.
“Well perhaps that’s a sign” he advised.
“You’re right, this thing is too much for me right now” I concluded.
I was, after all, working a 65hr a week graveyard shift. Who was I kidding? Well… myself of course. Everyone could see it was impossible, and certainly, I knew it was a long shot, but, it was so much fun! Fun that is until the realities of the time and effort that would be necessary to put into it presented itself.
We would still run a bed and breakfast, however. A real one. We wouldn’t have to think about moving into a big old house or staying in our own home. We would simply run a bed and breakfast from our home. We did have two other rooms in addition to our master bedroom.
We have had several bookings and the season is just beginning. Right now, we only have one room open for business. We look forward to furnishing the other; bigger room when we can afford it. It’s been fun meeting people as they pass through… and we don’t mind the extra income.