Cattle Guards and Rental Pools

by Enrique (Henry) Saldana – October 2011

"It makes a difference whether we consider ourselves pawns in a game whose rules we call “reality” or as players in a game who know that the rules are “real” only to the extent that we have created or accepted them.” Paul Watzlawick, Richard Fisch, and John N. Weakland, Change.

In their book Play to Win! Larry Wilson and Hersch Wilson write a story about cattle guards. Cattle guards were created by ranchers back in New Mexico and Texas to keep cattle from running stray from their ranches. A “cattle guard” is a ditch dug across the road with metal bars spaced every few inches to span the ditch at road level.

Cattle guards were a great invention. Cars and trucks could drive right over them, but cows couldn’t walk through them. So the cattle were effectively fenced in. The only problem was the jolting the driver, passengers, and cargo would get going through them. So some enterprising cowboys figuring out that cows were not very bright came up with the idea of simply filling the ditches and painting bars where the bars used to be to keep the cows from straying, and it worked!

But of course, it worked only until one smart cow dared to cross the painted bars and later led the entire herd across the painted cattle guard, to the surprise of the cowboys, who later found the herd grazing across the fence in the nearby prairie.

What made the smart cow successful wasn’t necessarily extraordinary courage. She considered real evidence rather than herd wisdom.

The moral is: At first glance, most true adventures seem dangerous and full of barriers. But if we stop to examine what is fencing us in and then think about it, we often discover that the barriers are simply paint.

Which leads me to the rental pool story.

A group of local condo owners were “herded” into a rental pool condo purchase investment. They even signed off their rights in the contract document not to have any say in determining how the maintenance, or HOA, fees and costs were to be paid and allocated. And thinking the developer had no “good” history of working in the best interest of their clients, they just went right along with whatever was presented to them. And, as expected, now they are being faced with high maintenance fees, and no control over the determination of the same.

Litigation was suggested as a means of recovering control of their HOA and thus control of deciding the amount of maintenance fees to be paid and a better management of those fees.

However, because they have always been told that litigation in Mexico does not lead anywhere, they, like the herd of cows in the story above, are being kept from crossing the cattle guard and pursuing, through legal means, total control of their HOA, or condo complex maintenance budget. They expect that the condo developer and the rental pool company will give them the control of their HOA, and/or maintenance budget. I guess they have not come to realize that, like the cowboys in the previous story, the condo developer and rental pool company, simply want to keep them “herded” in their contained area and continue to “milk” them out for the maintenance fees, for as long as they can.

Perhaps what they need is an adventurous individual, a “smart cow,” that is willing to cross the cattle guard and then guide them and give them a sense of freedom and reality as to their present situation. But that requires a TRUE leader, not a “herd wisdom” cow.

The premise is simple: We always have a choice. We can remain fenced in all our lives by herd wisdom and painted cattle guards, or we can choose to examine the cattle guards, break through, and go our own way.

The moral for the second story is: Do not sign onto any real estate contract agreements, no matter how good it looks, without having an attorney’s professional opinion with respect to the document.

This report courtesy of Enrique (Henry) Saldana - Mexico Realty Solutions

Tel: (984) 147-2388; Cel: (984) 111-8743


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