SSS #146: When The Facts Change... 🏑


It was a productive week.

βœ… We sold the triplex in Elizabeth πŸŽ‰

βœ… We evicted another non-paying tenant ($15K in backrent 😭)

βœ… Costco brought back Raspberry Minicakes 🀀

βœ… We went to the Zoo 🐯

Livin' La Vida Luna


We went to Turtleback Zoo on the 4th.

Luna saw a friend from school and we ran into an old friend from the gym.

Awesome way to spend the morning. The place was empty too.

β€œWhen the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?”

- John Maynard Keynes

I have this annoying tendency to change my mind multiple times in the span of a few hours.

Hopefully, this story serves as my defense as to why.


Wednesday night, my builder forwarded me a text from the backyard neighbor at my new construction project.


I called my builder as soon as I saw the text.

My first question, "so we're taking down trees?"

I honestly had no idea.

My builder said, "yeah, we got the approval to take them down."

I asked, "How long do we have to make this decision?"

He replied "They're coming tomorrow morning to remove the trees."

My final question, "How much is it going to cost?"


I told him I'd call him back in 20 minutes. I grabbed Dia and hopped in the car. We drove over to the lot to scope out the situation.


As you can see, 5 of the 6 trees are as far back as can be. They are practically on top of the rear fence.

Do we really need to cut these trees down? They're nowhere near where the house will go up.

Dia and I decided to leave it alone.


I let my builder know and put this behind me.

I get a call from my builder around 9 AM the next morning.

"They're saying they didn't get my text last night and they're at the property ready to start cutting. What do you want to do?"

"Tell them to go away?"

"OK, but they're going to charge us $1,500 for coming out with the crane. We'll have to eat that."

"Hold on, I'll call you right back."

At this point, there are 4 options.

1) Eat a $1,500 surcharge and get nothing done.

2) Do the bare minimum. Take $1,500 worth of trees down.

3) Send it. F*ck the neighbor, take it all down.

4) Gather more information.

Option 4 entails calling my mentor, Gabe.

"Hey, dude. Morning. So we have this tree situation...."

"I try to take down as many trees as I can when doing a project like this."

"...But they're all the way in the back. They're nowhere near the proposed structure."

"The existing driveway goes all the way to the back of the property where the detached garage was. You will have to dig all of that up. Once you start moving that much earth you're going to hit the roots and kill the trees anyway. Or worse, the trees could start to tilt towards the property. It's too unpredictable. Do it the right way from the start"



I drove by later that day and here's the final product.


Looks nice. No going back now. πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ


Here's something I didn't mention.

In addition to texting my builder, the neighbor found me on LinkedIn and sent me a message.

(Sidenote: I need to get better at creating my LLC's in a more anonymous way)



Sometimes, I wish I was a "shrewd" businessman.

If I had that certain quality... seeing a message like this wouldn't affect me. If anything, it might harden my resolve.

But I'm soft.

And this message appealed to my better nature. As I drove to the property with Dia, I was hoping to find a reason not to take the trees down. I didn't want to disturb the neighbor's experience of everyday life.

When we got to the property, I found the reason I was looking for and felt an immense relief that I wouldn't have to make a confrontational, contradictory decision.

I even went as far as saying, "If these trees provide him an afternoon shade, they'll provide us with a morning shade. That would be nice."

It didn't matter.

I couldn't ignore the years of experience my mentor had with construction heavy projects like this.

What he said was true. We were going to dig deep and close to those trees. We were likely to damage the roots or disrupt the trees in one way or another.

Ripping off the band-aid was the only way.

If I could go back to Wednesday night, I would call Gabe before driving out to the property and save myself a lot of back and forth.

Lesson learned.