Dream Life Vol II Chapter 17: “House Hunting”

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 After the application procedures and explanations, Sharon and I met up with Liddy and the others.



“It looks like you’ve completed all the procedures without incident. Let’s go look for a place to live.” (Liddy)



 Liddy started to walk briskly, but Sharon, who was standing behind me, tugged at my sleeve.


 I turned around.



“Um… is it okay if I don’t study? The others seem so desperate…” (Sharon)



 Sharon looked anxious as she asked me this.



“I guess so. It’s true that other people seem to be desperate. But I don’t think it’s worth studying now. Liddy has given her word. You just have to trust that and do what you normally do.”(Zack)



 Even after I said that, she still looked worried.


 I took her hand in mine and began to pull her along.



“It’s going to be all right. Don’t you believe me? Let’s just think about what kind of place you want to live.” (Zack)



 At first Sharon seemed to be dragging herself, but when we started talking about houses, her expression gradually brightened.





 Back in the new town, we headed to the Merchant Guild to be introduced to a real estate agent.


 In addition to providing services to its member stores, the guild also offers services to the general public. One of their services was to introduce stores in the city.


 When we told the guild about our situation, we were introduced to a real estate agent. We took the guild’s letter of introduction and headed for the realtor’s store, McLeod’s, near the main gate of the old town.



 We wanted to be close to the Old City, close to water, and in a safe neighborhood.


 McLeod Real Estate had many properties near the center of the new town, which met our first requirement of being close to the Old City.


 McLeod Real Estate was located a couple of minutes from the main gate of the Old City and was easy to find because of the large sign posted on the street.


 Once inside, a woman who appeared to be a clerk appeared immediately after hearing the doorbell ring and asked what our business was.


 Liddy told the clerk about her business.



“I’m looking for a place to rent. The contract is for five years. There will be three or four of us living there, so it doesn’t have to be a very big house…” (Liddy)



 The female clerk took careful notes of Liddy’s conditions and said, “Please wait a moment,” and walked into the back of the store. Soon a man of about fifty years of age, with good posture and good looks appears.



“My name is Douglas McLeod. I understand you are looking for a house.” (McLeod)



 Liddy nodded, “Yes.”



“We have found several properties that meet the conditions you requested, so we will guide you to the site.” (Mcleod)



 I felt uncomfortable with the fact that this elegant-looking gentleman was a real estate agent.



(He’s too classy to be a real estate agent in this world where there are no laws. From what I’ve seen, if he says he’s the butler of a noble or rich man’s mansion, I’d probably accept it. In Japan or any other developed country, they would have to collect strictly from those who are behind on their rent or evict them… Does he have a hidden face?) (Zack)



 A house is directly related to life and livelihood. If you fail to pay your rent and evicted, not only will you have no place to live, but you will also lose your furniture and other assets in your home, and if you are evicted in the middle of winter, that alone will put your life in danger. If the law were in place, the danger to life could be avoided, but I do not think the law is that well established.


 Therefore, the delinquent party will try every possible means to get payment to wait, and real estate agents, on the contrary, will take very aggressive measures to collect. Naturally, the other side will resist, and in the worst-case scenario, they may even stay put. If that happens, the only way to get rid of them is by force.



(Or maybe there are some weird conditions like if you fail to pay rent on time, they will immediately turn you into a slave?) (Zack)



 While I was thinking about this, Liddy was talking with McLeod.



“…let me show you a couple of houses.” (Mcleod)



 Apparently, we were going to see some properties, and I followed Liddy.


 Guy kept a blank expression on his face and didn’t say a word.


 Apparently, he is trying to make others recognize him as an escort so that he won’t talk to us.



 The first house was a two-story wooden house with a triangular roof about five minutes from the main gate.


 The building itself was quite old, but it stood on a plot of about 10m x 15m and had a small garden in the back.


 The kitchen, living room, and toilet were on the first floor, and the toilet was a simple flush type directly connected to the sewage system. In addition, there was a room that looked like a laundry room with a drainage system that could be used as a bathroom.


 A well was also nearby, which made the house seem quite user-friendly.


 Going upstairs, there were four rooms that could be used as bedrooms, with built-in bunks and closets.


 McLeod explained that a family of ten could live there.



 The next property was a tenement-like apartment complex about ten minutes north of the main gate.


 Four houses were connected horizontally, and each house was a two-story maisonette-type [T/N: Small house usually with two floors, also it’s French for little house.], with a small garden in the back.


 Inside the house was smaller than the previous one, with only two bedrooms on the second floor.



 The third house, about five minutes further north, was a two-story wooden house with a triangular roof.


 It was similar in construction to the first house, but the well was farther away, about a hundred meters.



 Liddy began negotiating the price on the spot.



“The first one is fifty C (50,000 yen) a month. The second house was 20 C, and the third was 25 C, am I right? They’re pretty expensive.” (Liddy)



 McLeod put on a business smile.



“Compared to the old town, it’s cheaper. You know, it costs at least 80 C to get into the Old City.” (Mcleod)


(It is true that if you are going to pay two C every day to enter the Old City, it might be better to live in the Old City even if it is a little expensive. So, the salaries of the people involved in the academic city must be quite good.) (Zack)



 Liddy lightly brushed off McLeod’s words and proceeded with the conversation.



“I wonder how much a lump sum advance payment for five years would be?” (Liddy)



 McLeod’s expression changed slightly at her words. The smiling face vanished for a moment and a calculating smile appeared.



(Is this face the real one? In a way, it’s more reassuring to see this kind of expression. But still, the lump-sum advance payment for five years is fifty Crona multiplied by twelve months by five years for the first house, so that’s 3,000 C (3,000,000 yen). It’s not money I can’t afford, but I wonder what they will say…) (Zack)



“Five years in one lump sum, is that right? …Then I will give you ten percent or rather, I will give you a big deduction and give you a twenty percent discount.” (Mcleod)



(20% discount huh… I guess if you calculate the discount rate in terms of the internal rate of return (IRR), it would be about five percent. I’d need a spreadsheet to figure that out. Either way, if the interest rate is about 20 percent per annum, there should be no loss to the other side even with a thirty percent discount. Now, let’s see what Liddy has in store for us…) (Zack)



 Liddy looked at me, seeing the look on McLeod’s face. Her eyes are clearly telling me to negotiate.



(Oy oy, you’re going to bring me in? I guess I don’t have a choice…) (Zack)



 I felt I had no choice, and decided to live up to her expectations.



“My. McLeod, my name is Zacharias Lockhart. Lydiane is my tutor.” (Zack)



 Suddenly, McLeod looks surprised as I speak to him.



“Tell me, what is the annual interest rate on Doctus loans?” (Zack)



 Suddenly the topic changes, and everyone, including Liddy, is surprised. McLeod, when asked to speak, still managed to regain his sales smile and said,



“I’d say three to five percent a month. We don’t have a fixed figure because it’s between the trading companies that we do business with on a yearly basis. It’s decided on the spot, so…” (McLeod)



 I was mentally calculating in my head.



(Three to five percent a month means compound interest calculation, about 1.04 to the twelfth power is the annual interest rate… Roughly speaking, that’s a little over 60 percent annual interest. If that’s the case, you’re getting blasted for two discounts… Now, I can’t do any more math by heart, so…) (Zack)



 I ignore McLeod and start doing the math on the ground.



(Calculating on a monthly basis is tedious, so let’s make it a yearly basis, so let’s assume that the first year is 600 C and compound interest at 60 percent for the next five years. …In the fifth year, that’s 15,200 C. Then, assuming a five-year discount, the five-year compounding of 60% on 1,500 is 1.6 to the fifth power, so 10.5 times. Even at 1,500C, that would become 15,800C. Well, that’s a ton of money. First, we’ll negotiate for a five-discount.” (Zack)



 After five minutes of calculating, I stood up slowly and grinned.



“It’s funny that you’re getting your money’s worth at a two-digit discount rate. By my calculations, you’ll make a profit even at a fifty percent discount.” (Zack)



 McLeod’s sales smile disappeared and he stared at me with a blank expression on his face.


 Then, after a few moments, he came to his senses, plastered his sales smile on his face again, and raised his hands.



“What kind of calculation is that? No matter how much you pay in advance, it is still a 50% discount… saying such an insignificant thing…” (McLeod)



 I narrowed my eyes and said, “Then let me explain,” and began to explain the formula I had written on the ground.



“If you receive a lump sum at the time of signing the contract, you can reinvest that money. Assuming you lend that money at a rate of 4% per month, or 60% per year, it will be this amount… On the other hand, if you receive the money monthly, this is the only money you can reinvest…” (Zack)



 Guy and the others, Liddy and Sharon, couldn’t follow my explanation. McLeod was listening with a smile on his face at first, but gradually began to sweat on his forehead and interrupted me midway through my explanation as if he couldn’t handle it anymore, giving up with his hands in the air.



“I was so surprised. I didn’t know there was such a calculation method. But I’m afraid that 50% discount is a bit…” (McLeod)



 I smiled broadly and said, “How about a forty percent discount? You can still make quite a bit of money on this.”, presenting my terms.


 Wiping the sweat from his forehead, he whispered, “40% off… 40% off…”



(No need to go overboard any further, I suppose. I don’t want to make enemies for as long as I live in this town.) (Zack)



“40% discount… I am still going to make a lot of money.” (McLeod)



 After muttering this, he turned to Liddy and said, “He says you’ll take one at a 40% discount. Which property do you fancy?”.


 Liddy couldn’t keep up with what McLeod and I were talking about, and was puzzled by the sudden change.



“Well… How about the first house? It’s a little big, but for that price, I think it’s well worth it.” (Liddy)


“I have no objections. How about Sharon?” (Zack)



 Sharon nodded and told me that she had no objection.



 After that, we decided on the detailed conditions.


 McLeod informed me that he would allow some modifications, but that we should return the apartment to its present condition when we moved out.



(I can build a bath in the room with the drainage system on the first floor. I have more magic power than in the past, so I can complete it in two days…) (Zack)



 It was decided that the turnover would be on July 23, the day after the written test, and the contract was to hand over 1,800 C at that time.



 On the way home, Liddy spoke to me in an exasperated voice.



“You are as reckless as ever. I’ve never heard of a 40% discount. I was going to do my best to get it down to 25% or so, but immediately you threw a 50% discount…” (Liddy)


“I’m sorry you think I’m being reckless. I could have pushed for a 50% discount. Well, that McLeod guy doesn’t seem to be as nice as he looks, so I got off at 40% discount, and he can still get to make over 3,000 C.” (Zack)



 Liddy looked at me with a pout and asked, “Hey, are you sure your earlier calculations were correct?”


 I nodded sagely, “Of course.”



“If the math is so strange, there’s no way McLeod, the merchant, would accept a 40% discount.” (Zack)



 Liddy says, “Yeah, but I don’t understand,” and looks at Guy and Sharon.


 They nodded and agreed with her.


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