Category Archives: Life

Leave it There

Leave it ThereEarly this morning I took a quick trip to Clear Lake to place a yard sign, and while there I did a little tour to see how quickly the texture changes once it turns cold.  I know there are those who swear it’s the best place to live, but personally, I don’t like the extra chill that comes from the lake, along with the wind that never seems to stop blowing.

This is the first year in many that I didn’t sell even one home in Clear Lake simply because of their prices.  With the exception of the lakeshore values which are always going up, there’s no question in my mind that when a market correction hits North Iowa, they’ll be the most affected.  As I’ve said before, with the exception of lakeshore values, there should be absolutely no difference in home prices between Mason City and Clear Lake because on average, our incomes are the same.  When I see a home over there sell for $450,000.00 and a similar one here sell for say $300,000.00, that extra debt service on $150,000.00 would be a noticeable bite out of one’s budget,  along with higher property taxes based on a home selling for that much more.  Servicing that kind of monthly debt must have to be toxic at times for those owners.

Late this morning I wrote an offer on one of my listings, and then around 1:00 pm, I spent about 1 1/2 hours over at Prairie Place on 1st with a potential buyer.  After the buyer left, I went back into their music room/library and played their beautiful piano for about 20 minutes.  As with all pianos, It’ll take a little time to grow used to because of its stiff action and the height of its bench.  Yes, it’s sort of like driving someone else’s car, you have to grow familiar with it.

The remainder of my day was spent back at my progressive project that’s slowly but surely getting closer to being finished.  I really don’t mind doing menial labor in a quiet space because it gives me time to think without distraction.  I guess I can call it my manually meditational time.  I did forget to shut my phone off, so while working, I received a few text messages I had to answer.  I’m beginning to believe we’re all becoming far too attached to those things, and still questioning where this media madness is going to take us in our foreseeable futures.

After reading a short news clip about a report of recently stolen “vote yes” signs out of yards, and the police now asking for leads on who did it, I couldn’t help but agree with that article’s author who mentioned there are many of those signs in public areas which shouldn’t be there but no one in our City seems to be concerned about them.

Whomever is spearheading this maniacal drive for “yes” votes, should be seriously looking at getting him/herself hired on as a campaign director for some big nationwide political race.  I’m sure that candidate would win even if he or she were the least popular in the beginning.  Yes, being able to bend the minds of others is quite a sought after attribute in these times. Like I said before, “Those that have the biggest mouths and scream the loudest usually get their way because everyone wants them to shut off their noticeably off-pitch loud voices.”

I”m wishing you all a productive week ahead along with staying healthy and warm during these days of seasonal change, and not to mention our now having to get used to our clocks set back an hour once again.  I just wish they’d keep it set on daylight savings and leave it there for good.

No Virtues

No Virtues-1Pretty much most of my day centered around my two open houses along with negotiating the sale of one of my listings which we finally got put together, and I’m of the belief everyone’s happy.  In spite of it being a half London fog and drizzly day, I’d say it was very productive.

It disappointed me to find so few visitors at 20 – 9th St. NE, but it was just another confirmation for me that nearly all the young first-time buyers coming out of rentals, want just as good if not better than where their parents are now living.  How is it possible to create quick equity when purchasing something that’s already improved and listed at market or above prices?

When I first became a Realtor, over half of the young buyers were looking for something they could work on and make their own, along with building quick equity.  Now, thanks to HDTV and the arrival of the Age of Specialization, there’s no incentive to purchase something that’s needing cosmetics because they have no vision, no trade skills, and possibly no incentive.

I’ve found that as each generation steps forward, there are noticeable differences in the way they view their lives and the world around them.  Someone visiting my open house today mentioned how many of the new hires at her job can’t seem to separate their personal lives from their work, which of course has an effect on their levels of productivity.  I couldn’t help but agree because I see it quite often whenever I’m somewhere there are many people working–especially when it’s in an office environment.

In previous generations, work was at the forefront of importance, and personal life took the back seat during employed hours.  Now, it seems that personal lives are ahead of work to where they believe their jobs only exist so to sustain their current standards of living, and believe me, it shows. Too many are under the assumption that newer, better, and smarter machines create productive companies.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong.  As far as I’m concerned, what makes the wheels of a company spin, are employees who are working together while striving to make their jobs and products all the better.  If centers of work would only contract real honest-to-goodness efficiency experts in given fields, they’d soon find out that it really isn’t then machines driving their companies, but rather the employees.

My public open house at 1415 – 9th St. SE was quite the success today.  I printed a large number of flyers, and when 3:00 pm arrived, I found only one left.  There were even people stopping by for a second look.  If that home isn’t sold by the end of next week, I’ll be ready to eat my hat.

Being reminded today of something when someone was speaking about a bad habit of another, I couldn’t help but share an opinion of a great man out of our Country’s history who once said, “Those who have no vices, usually have no virtues.”  And of course I couldn’t help but add, “Just remember, those who do nearly nothing, are those who’ll never make mistakes.”  Now that should get you all thinking about your errorless workmates, family, and friends.

Need a Lift

Need a LiftWith it being the 1st of the month, most of my morning was spent attending to duties that go along with it.  Seeing a few snow flurries outside, I was glad to be indoors in case it decided to really start falling.

Over the noon hour, I attended a gathering where I ran into a handful of past clients and customers.  Not expecting to see and talk to so many, I was glad I went and able to play catch-up with them.  Most of them were of the older crowd and filled with clever comments that made me laugh.

Of course there always has to be someone at a gathering whom most of us really doesn’t care much for, and today was no exception.  When glancing at him from afar, I couldn’t help but think, “Why has he been such a bad person for so many years?”  Then of course I had to remind myself that most bad people have developed alt-personalities to where they really think they’re good, and continue on their paths without any self-doubting.

Speaking about this, reminded me of another who’s always a bit of a gossip hound and pot stirrer, but after old age set in, he became markedly worse.  I did hear rumors that he had some artery issues that may have affected the amount of blood flowing to his brain.  Whenever I see him in the store, or on the street, I make sure to stop for very brief chats, but always quick to cut them short before his bizarre questioning begins.

One of my travels today took me over to Clear Lake to do an inspection on a property.  The above photo is one I took of the lake while there.  I can see why most people only live on the lake-side during our more pleasant months of the year.  It looked pretty gloom and doom along with being all the colder with its lake effect.

My first closing for November took place on one of my listings this afternoon.  I’m exceptionally happy the buyer is delighted with her new home.  She couldn’t possibly know how much extra work went into it over those many long months of restoration.  Because I’m fully aware of the work the sellers put into their home, at least the new owner appreciates all the extra details that most homes in that price range don’t even come close to offering.  As far as I’m concerned, it was a perfect buyer/seller match.

One of the out of town showings I had on Sunday was worth the effort because I got it sold today. Yeah!  Hopefully it’s an indication of how productive I’ll be this month. I’m hoping to have an all natural turkey in a pot come Thanksgiving. The buyers are exceptionally happy and I know it’ll work very hard for them in the years to come.

Now, I have my post-Halloween scary story to share that was told me late today.  It seems there’s a stretch of road in North Iowa that’s been cursed in more ways than one.  What sent shivers down my spine was being truthfully told that many years ago, a man was driving home on a long dark road one night when suddenly seeing a man walking along the side of the road ahead.  He slowed down in believing he needed a ride, and when he stopped and motioned for him to get in, the speechless man climbed in, motioned a direction, and off they went.  Not but a few moments later, the passenger suddenly disappeared near the driveway of a very old and much talked about farmstead.  I’m sure that driver had nightmares about his encounter with his ghostly male passenger.

Be sure to think twice before you stop for someone walking along the road in the middle of the night, and never to say, “Hey buddy. Need a lift?”

Halloween evening of 2017

Halloween evening of 2017If there’s one truth that came out of the weatherperson’s forecast, it’s the below normal temps we’ve been having.  Last week, I believed I’d grown accustomed to the cold, but yesterday and today proved me wrong.  It’s now more damp which makes it bone chilling.

My closing went better than expected this morning other than in my haste, I picked up the wrong closing file, and when I got there and opened it up I said, “Oops. I picked up the wrong file, but I’ll be back.”  Thank goodness the closing company is only a block from my office.

Of the many benefits of working Downtown, for me the greatest revolves around my work.  I’m a block from the Courthouse, a block from the abstract office, a block or two from many of the attorneys and banks, and a block from the closing company that does the lion’s share of closings here in North Iowa.  I couldn’t possibly have it better than that. Don’t you think?

Several days ago a person who works Downtown mentioned that whenever he’s driving past my office on his way to work, it always appears inviting on the inside.  I thanked him for the compliment as well as confirming it is inviting as well as comfortable.  People really should try to make their work environments as visually and physically comfortable as possible, simply because of the many hours they spend in them.  I also believe the more comfortable offices are, the more productive workers will be.

After reading the headlines this morning about Russia’s involvement in our elections last year, I’m growing all the more concerned about how much damage they really did with all their fake news and influence peddling.  At least the big social medias are now bowing and coming clean about the degree of Russia’s involvement in turning the tides of those elections.

Now if the tables were turned, you can rest assured there’d be people standing in front of firing squads out in some remote forested area of Siberia, and never to be seen or heard from again. We as a Nation take our freedoms far too much for granted.  When you have single party regimes like China, Russia and a number of other smaller countries, there’s no way for change to take place because those in power refuse to give up, or give in to change.  Like I’ve said for years, it’s all about power and money where bad guys always finish first and good guys finish last, or suddenly go missing.

I’ve been getting a good amount of activity on my listing at 1415 – 9th St. SE to where I’m hoping it’ll soon be sold.  That home’s location, square footage, and condition tells me there’s nothing even close to compare it with that’s currently for sale in our City.

There’s no question all the kiddies are getting themselves loaded up with candies this Halloween evening of 2017, and hopefully tomorrow, none of us will be reading something unfortunately associated with tonight’s “tricks or treats”.

If there’s one truth that came out of the weatherperson’s forecast, it’s the below normal temps we’ve been having.  Last week, I believed I’d grown accustomed to the cold, but yesterday and today proved me wrong.  It’s now more damp which makes it bone chilling.

My closing went better than expected this morning other than in my haste, I picked up the wrong closing file, and when I got there and opened it up I said, “Oops. I picked up the wrong file, but I’ll be back.”  Thank goodness the closing company is only a block from my office.

Of the many benefits of working Downtown, for me the greatest revolves around my work.  I’m a block from the Courthouse, a block from the abstract office, a block or two from many of the attorneys and banks, and a block from the closing company that does the lion’s share of closings here in North Iowa.  I couldn’t possibly have it better than that. Don’t you think?

Several days ago a person who works Downtown mentioned that whenever he’s driving past my office on his way to work, it always appears inviting on the inside.  I thanked him for the compliment as well as confirming it is inviting as well as comfortable.  People really should try to make their work environments as visually and physically comfortable as possible, simply because of the many hours they spend in them.  I also believe the more comfortable offices are, the more productive workers will be.

After reading the headlines this morning about Russia’s involvement in our elections last year, I’m growing all the more concerned about how much damage they really did with all their fake news and influence peddling.  At least the big social medias are now bowing and coming clean about the degree of Russia’s involvement in turning the tides of those elections.

Now if the tables were turned, you can rest assured there’d be people standing in front of firing squads out in some remote forested area of Siberia, and never to be seen or heard from again. We as a Nation take our freedoms far too much for granted.  When you have single party regimes like China, Russia and a number of other smaller countries, there’s no way for change to take place because those in power refuse to give up, or give in to change.  Like I’ve said for years, it’s all about power and money where bad guys always finish first and good guys finish last, or suddenly go missing.

I’ve been getting a good amount of activity on my listing at 1415 – 9th St. SE to where I’m hoping it’ll soon be sold.  That home’s location, square footage, and condition tells me there’s nothing even close to compare it with that’s currently for sale in our City.

There’s no question all the kiddies are getting themselves loaded up with candies this Halloween evening of 2017, and hopefully tomorrow, none of us will be reading something unfortunately associated with tonight’s “tricks or treats”.

The game of Monopoly

The game of MonopolyThe first order of day was to get prepared for a showing that was scheduled early.  I’d say for the most part, the showing went quite well to where I believe the accompanying family members were all in agreement about my buyer purchasing it.  I was reminded once again how much I do enjoy working with senior citizens living in our community.  They’re nearly always very appreciative for what I do for them which in turn inspires me to work all the harder on their behalf.

Oh, the stories I hear about people who’ve taken financial advantage of our overly-trusting elderly, which is likely why I’m so much of a mother hen when working for, and/or with them.  As long as they’re presented all the facts, and given time to think about what they want to do, they usually always make the right decisions despite whatever their friends and/or relatives believe is best.  I’ve found too many times where the children of the elderly have them so stirred up and confused, they look to non-blood others for more clear and drama-free direction.

A past customer/client of mine stopped by the office unexpectedly late this morning.  Today, he had his three year old son with him.  When at that age, they’re usually shy at first, but then their curiosity takes hold and they’re off.  He was playing with a big rubber band while peeling himself from his father’s hold.  Slowly but surely, he managed to slide himself under my desk so to investigate its underside until daddy felt that was enough.

I would’ve liked to visit a little longer, but suddenly realized if I didn’t leave right away, I’d be more than late for an appointment on the other side of town.  Having cut our conversation so very short inspired me to call him later and apologize for being almost rude.  Thank goodness he understood.  He did mention how his son was not wanting to get in his car because he wanted back in my office.  I’m sure at his curious age, he felt robbed of an opportunity to go exploring in what likely seemed to be some giant indoor playground with very tall ceilings and darkened rooms.

There’ll be a real diamond on the rough getting listed with my office in a day or two.  I told the owner today that if my suspicions are correct, it was a Sears and Roebuck home that was built somewhere in the 1920′s.  There are a number of slight variations with them, but there were more built than one would believe in our City.  I’ve always liked its floor plan.  This one has a wood burning fireplace in the living room which is not normally found with that style.

I’m really hoping there’ll be a few industrious young people still looking for project homes in these times.  It offers lots of oak woodwork, and open staircase, and other built-ins. It’s getting listed at $32,500 in hopes we can get it sold quickly in that range.

If I were looking for a project, I’d jump on it without a second thought, but I also realize that times have changed, and the percentage of young people wanting to do restorations has dwindled, which is why a handful of rental barons own so many older, and once- upon-a-time grand family homes in our not so fair City.  It saddens me to even think about it because if I could go back in time, I’d become our certified town crier warning what the landscape of our inner-city homes would look like in the future should we allow the slow and systematic buying up of once beautiful homes by those who must’ve taken the game of Monopoly to heart.

Another Year’s Cycle

Another Year's Cycle-1One of my morning appointments was at an acreage, and before I left the office, I grabbed my gloves and stocking hat just it case it would be colder than expected out there.  It was a good thing I had them because it wasn’t but a few minutes after stepping out of my vehicle, I was walking back to my car and grabbing them.  Most city dwellers have no idea how different the temperatures can be in the countryside–especially when the wind is blowing and creating a wind chill.

Since I’ve been acquainted with the buyer’s parents since I was in high school, we had a few good laughs about how times have changed.  I said to one of the buyer’s children, “I’ve known your grandfather since I was about your age.”  He looked and me, and then back to his grandfather for some sort of acknowledgement.  His grandfather finally replied, “Yup, he’s right.  We’ve know each other since junior high.”  After everyone had their full tour, we played catch up on happenings within each other’s families.  As with everyone’s, there are job changes, births, deaths and everything else in between. I was sad to hear about one member of his family whom I always thought to be delightful, having come down with a chronic disease which has created a life change for him.  Seems the nicest ones carry the heaviest of crosses.

My public open house at Prairie Place on 1st was a great success today with the number of truly interested people in attendance.  It won’t surprise me in the least bit if there’ll be three or four of them who’ll end up buying one.  It’s never been difficult for me to market those units simply because I personally like the whole concept, including the location.  While there, I had an opportunity to visit with several of the recent purchasers.  I wasn’t afraid to ask them how they liked living there because I already knew the answer was going to be, “We love it!”

There were several elderly single gentlemen in attendance who also liked what they were seeing.  I personally know one of them, and pretty darned sure he can well afford living there.  He’s yet another one of our residents whom if you passed on the street, you’d be convinced he didn’t have two nickels to rub together.  That’s why I threw stereotyping clients and customers out the window years ago, because you never know for sure until you know the rest of their stories.

One of my well knowns called late this afternoon to tell me one of his very best friends  friends passed away yesterday.  He was feeling pretty down and I think the reason he called was just to have someone listen, so I did.  One thing I relayed, was the assurance that there would always be that “hole” in his heart, and the sooner he’s able to accept it, the easier it will be for him to adjust.  Too often people who’ve lost very dear friends or relatives, think there’ll be able to be the same person after their grieving process is over.  Well, it’s normally not–especially if their decedents were exceptionally close for many years.

After hanging up I couldn’t help reminding myself that Fall is normally Mother Nature’s time to end yet another year’s cycle of birth, growth, and death.  Perhaps that’s why I tell everyone my most favorite seasons are Spring and Summer.  I’ll never understand in a million years why there are those who prefer Fall and Winter.  What’s your favorite?

Fruits of their Labors

Fruits of their LaborsAlas the wind went down and later this afternoon the skies cleared.  I’m sure everyone was beginning to wonder if winter not only arrived early, but decided to stay.  At least it didn’t get as cold as predicted which may have saved some of the “cold crop” vegetables people have planted in their gardens.

Speaking of gardens, I was very disturbed when reading an article on one of the major news sites about the claims against Monsanto regarding their safety testing of Roundup herbicide.  As many years as that’s been widely used, it looks like there may be a huge lawsuit against them for possibly falsifying or altering their studies.  I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it is indeed carcinogenic and perhaps the missing key to why so many more people in farming areas are getting cancer.

Nobody seems to know why the nearly always fatal pancreatic cancer is so much on the rise.  Keep in mind, back say 30 or more years ago, that type of cancer was rare and usually hit the very old.  Now even the younger ones are getting it which is all the more alarming.  I’ll never forget the young golf pro employed by the Country Club who was as healthy as a horse yet he also came down with it and died.  The few times I talked to him, he was an absolute gentleman and very well liked.

What surprised me the greatest was reading that Roundup is used to do a quick kill of potatoes along with other plants so to make the harvesting of them easier.  I don’t think I’ll be buying very many commercially grown potatoes in the future.  It’s no wonder the demand for organically grown fruits and vegetables are increasing.  I sure wouldn’t want to eat something that’s been recently sprayed by heaven knows how many chemicals.  Have you every seen anyone, especially the younger generation, thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables that were purchased in a grocery store?  Too many assume that just because it looks clean, it’s safe to eat. This is a link to that article… Monsanto Faces Blowback Over Cancer Cover-Up

Like my recent joke about why pygmies don’t eat clowns, I won’t eat most things if they taste “funny” after my first bite.  For years I refused to eat oleo margarine because it tasted “funny”, along with a list of other odd tasting foods that others would freely eat with smiles on their faces.  There’s no question in my mind I was spoiled when a child by the wholesome good food that was served which most times was naturally raised or grown on our farm.  For years I wouldn’t eat chicken because it also tasted “funny” until they started selling natural chicken in the stores.  Believe me, there is a difference once you’ve eaten something that’s been naturally grown and chemical free.

To my delight, there were people nearly the entire time at my public open house I hosted today at 217 – 6th St. SW.  I even squeezed in a private showing of the condominiums at Prairie Place on 1st. I’m hoping tomorrow’s open house there at 320 – 1st St. NE will bring more interested buyers over 55 so we can get the remaining empty units filled.

What a great personal Christmas present it would make for those who’ve worked so very hard all their lives for what they have.  They’re not just an investment, but also a great place to enjoy the fruits of their labors.