Decisions & Breakdown Tables (June 14)

What amazes me most about the recent real estate sale efforts is how little time some folks spent on a such a big purchase decision.

One buyer sent her sister to look at houses. She viewed by phone, liked the first house they visited, and made an immediate offer. The contract was signed and accepted the same morning. My house was third on their list so they never got that far.

There is a saying: “don’t marry someone until you’ve summered and wintered with them”. That may be a general rule that can apply to all decisions. If so, it probably needs to be adjusted for decision size. That rule of thumb calculates out to between 1.75% and 5% of the final cost or investment, depending on how you figure seasons and marriage length.

If the logic is right, you should spend 30 to 90 seconds deciding where to eat lunch. A $100 tool deserves 4 to 10 minutes of thought. It’s worth 35 minutes to 1.5 hours of research for a $1000 computer setup, and 23 to 70 hours for a $40K truck. A $300K house purchase ought to get 170 to 500 hours of planning.

You can plug in your own numbers: the spreadsheet is at this link. My guess is that most people over-think small decisions, and under-think the big ones.

I’m still looking at Zillow and daily, in prep for a sale/purchase in March 2022. It will be a more educated decision then. The past few months I was busy finishing up construction work, and didn’t spend 170 hours on buying research. Maybe I can summer and winter with some of the fixer-uppers that are still unsold, and get a better sense of their flaws. Kinda like dating, with hunks of wood and masonry.

Meanwhile, our staff is back to making progress on Goldenseal Pro. Last week we hit a big milestone: smart fields now pop up a list of items when in a breakdown table. It’s a small bit of interface, but we never were able to make it work in Cocoa for Macintosh. MFC for Windows was even worse: we never got tables to work there at all.

Doing it in Qt took a few days of futzing, but that’s not bad. Most likely, everything that we need to do will be possible with Qt. Just a matter of time.

Dennis Kolva
Programming Director

Author: Dennis Kolva

Programming Director for Turtle Creek Software. Design & planning of accounting and estimating software.