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We had a generous offer from our neighbor, Jim Cumming, in 2007, but we turned it down because we were at a loss about what to do so soon after Coty’s passing. The deal was also structured in a way that made us a little uneasy. It was probably a mistake not to take that offer, and it was surely a mistake to ask for significantly more than the first offer when we did the actual listing.
The economy was not doing well when we listed Comfort, and to make matters worse taxes were rising at a rate that made government spending and inflation look tame by comparison. Between 2006 and 2007 the ambitious local assessor more than tripled the taxable value of our property along with many other islanders. We had to hire an attorney and take our case to the New York State Supreme Court to get relief. Our finances had taken a serious hit with our medical and insurance nightmares, and the horrendous school and property taxes combined made it impossible to do much-needed work.
A property like ours needed a prosperous buyer who had an interest in restoring those subtle elements that constitute grandeur in a completed project. A brand new house with all the modern conveniences is what many people identify as being the ultimate, but it takes imagination to see the beauty in something less than shiny new.
Seeing the Comfort Island house preserved constituted my primary goal. The realtor we picked, Mike Franklin, had a background in historical real estate and a talent for photography. He used

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