To say I was disappointed was an understatement. With a click of someone else’s mouse, my dream of a lakeside live music venue was gone. I checked the auction and saw that there was just the one bidder. I didn’t want to lose that parcel as well, so I placed a bid high enough to either guarantee that I’d get the land or that someone else would pay a high price. I wasn’t going to lose out again.
That afternoon, after being notified via email that I had won the auction, I gave some consideration to what I could build on the parcel to take advantage of the view but not spoil the landscaping of the adjacent parcel. I knew I needed something with a turret, so I could see the city above the wall protecting the railroad tracks. I would also want a place in which to be able to rez some go-karts and my motorcycle, presuming it still worked. If not, I’d have to get another one.
But when I got home and was able to log into my new parcel, it was just sort of… blah. There was no water anywhere. I took a trip down to the city and walked around for a while. It was empty, as most of Second Life seems to be. Walking the streets of an empty virtual city was actually quite lonely. There wasn’t really anything to do or see. Now, I thought to myself, if I had been able to get that lakeside property, I’d have lots of stuff to do. Sailing, jet skiing, fishing. Not to mention a cool spot for a venue.
And so, as you’ve likely surmised, I started looking for parcels by water. Preferably a virtual ocean. I also wanted it to be a protected area so I didn’t have to worry about buildings being put in front of me. And, ideally the water area would be large enough for sailing and exploring. All of the parcels I found, however, were either larger than I needed (I didn’t want any tier, although I did rationalize that a 1024m2 would only be an additional $5 per month since I got the first 512m2 tier-free.)
After TPing from location to location, checking out the sims and the adjacent parcels, I finally settled upon one. It was in a great location, right on the edge of a Linden water sim which evidently fed into water that flowed through 55 sims. While flying over the sim I saw a number of large boats, which told me that I should have no problem with what I wanted. As for the neighbors, one was a dock that was apparently owned by some Japanese residents. The other side was a nice build complete with a superb sailing vessel. The only downside: the cost.
Thanks to the purchase of my auction land, I was down to just over L8000. The purchase price on the parcel was L8350. Assuming an exchange rate of L250 = $1, that would put the property at over $33. It would also completely exhaust my savings. While I wasn’t excited about being broke once again, on the other hand it certainly made my return to SL more interesting. In fact, it made sense to take all of the Lindens I had earned performing songs about Second Life and use them to purchase an oceanside venue–like a cafe–for the performance of songs about Second Life. It would be as if I had left the hustle of the live music scene and retired to an ocean villa.
But first I had to get the price down to L8,000 or below. Yes, I know that with a click or two of my mouse I could easily purchase as many Lindens as I wanted, but that wasn’t the point of it. I had become enamoured with the scenario and was going to play it out, whether I ended up with the parcel or not.
So I IM’d the seller, Zan, an Australian whom I noted sold a lot of high-price land. That meant he had some serious money invested in-world. It also meant, however, that he needed to flip property pretty regularly otherwise the tier was just money going out. Not everyone wants to spend that kind of money on a 512m2, so the fact that I was interested was a point in my favor. I had to gamble on the fact that given his experience, he had priced the parcel at a level which gave him a decent profit but wasn’t too far out of line for what sellers were paying. I didn’t have the time, inclination or ability to confirm things, so I was going to have to run just on the assumption.
I also had to get rid of the 512m2 railroad parcel before I purchased the new land. This had to be done for two reasons. First, I needed the money. Second, if I owned it when I purchased the new one, my understanding was that I would get hit with a tier payment. So my plan was to try and bundle the parcel with a flat payment. Alternatively, I noted that he would sell the property on contract with terms of L250 per week plus a percentage of the selling price. So that gave me a backup plan.
While I am tempted to bore you with the intricate details of the land negotiations (after all, I’m a trained negotiator and mediator in real life so it was a lot of fun), suffice to say that we eventually struck a deal: L8,000 + my parcel. I then had the pleasure of watching Zan landscape, list and sell the railroad parcel in about ten minutes. The selling price: L99. I had purchased it for L251, so any thoughts of my becoming a virtual land speculator were dashed against the rocks of reality–or virtuality, at any rate.
During the course of negotiations, Zan and I got to talking about what he did in Second Life. While I had heard of people making money selling virtual real estate (such as Anshe Chung), I had never actually met anyone that did that for a virtual living. He answered a number of my questions, which only raised some more. It got to the point where I felt I was pestering the poor guy (who had been nice enough to negotiate on the sales price) but it did give me an interesting idea to start interviewing people that I met who have an active Second Life and find out what brought them here and, more importantly, what keeps them here.
But first, I had a building to construct.