Category Archives: Mason CIty

The Throes of Death

The Throes of DeathI’m glad there wasn’t anyone following me around today because they would’ve likely dropped back and sat a spell waiting to step back in behind me on my way back.  Yes, this was a classic Monday to where I truly felt like the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker.  Every appointment was made, every text was answered, and all phone calls returned except for one that I somehow managed to forget about until my client texted me about another matter.  I did call him back and gave him the information he wanted.

One of my newer listings sold today along with another one coming to a soft closing.  I’m certainly going to miss visiting with those sellers on a regular basis because over these long months, we’ve developed a real friendship.  I encouraged them to keep in touch as we were walking out of the closing and will be all the happier when I see their smiling faces again.  We really do have some terribly good people living in our midst.  Most don’t realize they’re here because they don’t scream loudly or make unreasonable demands on others. The thing that makes them all the more special is that they’re truly thankful for the little things others do for them.

On the flip side, I’m growing all the more weary of getting texts from people, and especially other agents who don’t even have the basics of social skills learned.  I can’t think of how many people, and how many times I respond with information they’re requesting from me, and yet they won’t even say “thank you”.  As I’ve said before, this business of texting is turning our society into a country filled with likely 200+ million islands of humans that have been created by smart phones.  There’s going to be a day of reckoning for them as they grow older.  I won’t be surprised if they’ll be coming down with some sort of psychological disorder that can’t be corrected due to their long years of unnecessary multi-tasking.

We see people who’re supposed to be paying full attention to where they are and what they’re doing, but I see all the more carrying on with whatever they’re doing while glancing back and forth at the screens of their smart phones–especially the twenty-somethings and younger.  It’s no wonder their memories are weak because they don’t give their minds enough time to register and archive something that’s not even being fully focused upon.

I had a nice chat with one of my clients today about 20 – 9th St. NE which is the home I just listed late last week.  We talked about its design along with the location it could’ve likely been moved from around the turn of the century.  I’m pretty much convinced it’s a rare survivor of homes constructed back in the 1870′s and most likely originally located in the Downtown area.  Why was it moved?  Because our City was growing and commerce needed land for their mercantile structures. When I have time, I’m going to take a much closer look at the home’s original components.  I won’t be a surprise if it’s one of our last great examples of simple residences built when our City was no larger than a village.

The above photo is an updated one of the geraniums that I had hanging upside down in my basement all winter.  I smile to myself when looking at them because all eight of them were started from one plant that I found in the throes of death at a back alley just one day before a killing frost arrived.  These particular geraniums are an exceptionally deep yet vivid red.  I’ll be sure to have them hanging in my basement again before winter arrives.

Admiration Society

Admiration SocietyWith the exception of a quick showing this afternoon, I was pretty much free to go back to some real menial labor, and at this hour, I’m feeling the physical effects of it.  Irregardless what anyone says, getting out and doing something physical is the best way to get one’s mind off their job and all the other day to day stuff that builds up in one’s mind.

Whenever I’m out and about on a Sunday, I see more people doing nearly nothing other than walking to the convenience store to buy junk food, or driving around aimlessly in search of something to kill time.  The real problem is that they’ve become blind to the world around them to where their yards look like Green Acres, and the insides of their homes and apartments look like they’ve not been cleaned in years. And young people wonder why they’re developing chronic diseases that the really old normally get.

I’m not bashing people who’re overweight, but there really are far too many children in our schools that are far too heavy for their years, and nobody seems to care.  When over-weight children reach adulthood, they’ll be facing an ongoing battle to loose weight which most finally give up and continue to put on the pounds.  I mentioned something to someone one day which really hit home when I said, “Whenever I have to buy a 50 lb sack of something, I have to work at carrying it, and even harder at getting it in my vehicle. Now just think what your world would be like if you suddenly found you have to carry that 50 lb sack around 24 hours a day.”  Now that’s just 50 lbs.  Just think what it must be like for those carrying 75 – 100 lbs more than their bodies were built to handle!

It seems we’re living in a country of excess.  As a whole, we eat too much, we drink too much, we are too sedentary, we take to many drugs, and finally, we refuse to do anything that has menial labor involved.  I just walked past a row of apartment houses today which are mostly occupied by people on Government assistance.  Oh Mercy!  The plastic bottles, candy wrappers, and empty chip bags were all over their yards.  To be so lazy and disrespectful of Nature and our City’s citizenry is beyond my scope of understanding.  As far as I’m concerned, our entitlement programs are in great need of an overhaul.  Nearly everyone is capable of doing something, and at least something for the common good is what they should be doing.

A well known of mine called today to vent over how much she’s upset with many of her friends and relatives who had agreed to help her with a move that’s coming up.  Sounds like nearly all of them have better things to do.  I know her well enough to say she’d give someone the shirt off her back if they asked.  After listening to her for a while I finally said, “Just remember a friend or relative in need is a friend or relative indeed.”

I then went on to say how honor and dependability has fallen by the wayside.  She and I are of the stripe who follow thru with what we agree to freely do for someone, and as far as I’m concerned, if the time comes when those I’ve done for turn down a request from me for help, then I psychologically show them the front door of my world, usher them out, and lock the door behind me.  I would like to start a club here in Mason City, and I want to name it “The Mutual Admiration Society”.  It would be a club/society where the members would be bound to an honor code of helping each other when in need.  Can you imagine how much easier the lives of those members would be?  Now expand your thoughts and think about all the good a Mutual Admiration Society would do for our City.

Playing with Light

Playing with Light-1It certainly felt like early Fall when I arrived at the office this morning.  With the exception of several hot weeks this summer, we really didn’t have much of an old fashioned one. I still remember all those times at the beginning of the school year when the classrooms were exceptionally warm due to the late August and first part of September temperatures.  It wasn’t the best way to get a school year started with cranky students and teachers whose moods were altered by stiflingly hot and humid classrooms.

My public open house at 422 S. Tennessee Place was much more of a success than I expected to where there were people coming and going nearly the entire time.  Whenever I show it, I’m all the more impressed with the design of its bathroom.  It has a separate tub along with a step-in shower which is highly unusual for lower priced condominiums.  What surprises me the most is that there’ve not been more younger people looking at it since it’s now priced below 100K.  Any up-scale apartment rental would be far more than what one’s payment would be for this unit.  I also enjoy the covered upper deck which offers more privacy. Another attractive feature is that there are only four units in the building which means less people coming and going, and likely less friction between owners.

I received a call from someone this afternoon which triggered a bit of anger withing when telling me he wasn’t going to sell a book which he’d already agreed to sell me for a more than fair price. I was supposed to pick it up today, but after his more thorough “inspection”, he felt it to be priceless.  All I could do was to hold my tongue and remain civil.  Unbeknownst to him, I’ll now go out of my way to avoid him as well and remain of the opinion that if he should offer it to me again for the same price, I’ll not take it even if he chose to give it to me.  Since very young, I’ve always be of the hard and fast mindset of people sticking to their word.  I now know he’s a very suspicious and highly un-trusting person.  I remember well the old saying that goes, “Highly distrusting people are the ones that can’t be trusted.”   I’ve encountered them all my life along with making sure to remain at a comfortable distance.

Now for my story of yesterday.  Two of my long-time clients stopped by my office yesterday for a visit, and when they walked in I said, “Who turned on Fall’s switch?” His wife then replied, “This is the first time in my life I’ve had to wear winter clothes on my birthday.”  I was shocked to the point of saying, “Today is really your birthday?”  “Yes, and that’s why I’ve taken the day off.”  They then followed me into my office and made themselves comfortable.  I looked at her husband and said, “Do you mind if I give something personal to your wife for her birthday?”  Since I’ve known them for a long time he said, “Of course not.”  I then got up from my desk and walked back to a cabinet and took an envelope containing the Peridot ring I purchased for my mother so very many years ago which came back to me because she insisted that after she passed, all items given to her by her children were to be given back.

For well over a year I’ve been trying to think of some woman with an August birthday whom I would consider worthy of being gifted that ring.  I really wanted it to go to an August birthday woman because Peridot is August’s birthstone.  What shocked me the most is that my client arrived at the office on the exact day of my mother’s birthday.  I took the ring out of the envelope and handed it to my client and said, “Happy Birthday from my mother and me.”  She looked at it and I could see her eyes welling up with tears. “I can’t take this beautiful ring.” she exclaimed.  By then I was also teary-eyed and replied, “I insist because I’m all the more convinced there was some unexplainable reason you arrived her today and completely without reason you told me it was your birthday.”

As they were walking out, she turned and hugged me while thanking me yet again for her birthday gift. I walked back into my office and said to myself, “Yes, today’s happenstance was meant to be.”, as I today continue to have a very good feeling about it all. Yes, that Peridot ring now has a new owner and happy to be out of that envelope which has been in darkness for far too long. I’m sure it’s now back to its job of playing with light.

Piano Man

Piano ManIt seems the market is continuing to move at a brisk pace this week to where two more of my office listings were sold and possibly two more offers coming in tomorrow on other ones.  Every time I hear someone say, “Oh, I’m not sure if it’s the right time to sell.”  My reply has been, “In our market, any time is the right time.”  In these times I just want everyone to be happy about their buying and selling experiences.   This past month has been a real test for me in keeping quirky little happenings from turning into roadblocks or land mines.

Several days ago it came to my attention that someone had written something negative about my office on one of the social medias.  When the person telling me finished describing what was said by that person, I said, “That person has never done any business with Holtz Realty, so what in heaven’s name would incite such writing?”  I guess we all have people out there who harbor dark thoughts about us and we don’t even realize it until something shows up on a social media platform.

An appointment has been set to meet with some sellers I’ve met with several times, and it looks like I’ll have another listing coming on board late tomorrow or early Saturday morning.  I do believe it will sell because of the number of bedrooms and baths it has along with the size of its yard.  Anyone with children would certainly want to have such a home.  They’ve agreed to list it at a price I recommended which should put it in great competition with other homes currently listed.

It seems Prairie Place on 1st is really getting the attention these past two weeks.  Two of them are sold and it looks like another will be under contract before Monday arrives.  As many people I,ve spoken with about that complex, nearly all of them didn’t realize it has underground parking.  I think I’m going to have to really get the word out about that over-looked feature.  One stall is included with the purchase, and a second stall can be rented for $50.00 per month.  Now that’s a real plus.

While out at a home today with a buyer and contractor who was called to give an estimate for some changes to the home, we ended up chatting about this and that after the measurements were done.  To my surprise, the buyer mentioned how she enjoys knitting in her spare time, while the contractor then informed us that his wife also knits.

I shared with them how much I truly admire anything that’s been created by hand.  As far as I’m concerned anything made by hand is entirely unique to the world, and should be respected and admired as such.  If only the younger crowd would understand this and begin learning how to create beauty for themselves instead of buying junk that has thousands of other manufactured copies.

After getting the measurements I needed on a unit at Prairie Place on 1st, I sat down at the player piano that’s in the music/library located on the main floor.  There was a piece of music someone left there so I went ahead and played it.  Wow!  That piano has had some very good care considering how old it is.  The above photo is of that piano which borders on being a beautiful piece of furniture.  While playing it, my thoughts went back to one of my favorite songs written by Billie Joel called “Piano Man”.  I do have the sheet music for it, so maybe I’ll stop over there some day and play it for several of the residents who’ve asked me to play something.  Here’s the link to “Piano Man”.

Piano Man

20 – 9th St. NE

20 - 9th St. NE-1If there was ever a day I’d consider having been a productive one, I’d say today was just that one.  From the moment I arrived at the office, to the time I locked up for the night, there were continually positive and forward moving things happening.  It would be great if every day’s synergies would be as such, but as we all know, we have to accept the good days along with the bad, but always sure to remember that savoring the good days always helps when enduring the bad.

I was sure to be a little more smartly dressed today for a late morning gathering.  One of the gentlemen happened to notice, so I went on to say in a vain tone, “I didn’t realize my body has been so well preserved to where I can still wear slim-fit dress shirts and slacks at such an ancient age.”  He snickered and said, “If you can still wear them, then go for it.”  I laughed and said, “At least you won’t be seeing me covered with tattoos and walking around in drop-crotch denims.”  He got me by saying, “You never know how far your new-found vanity will carry you to where you may be already harboring dark thoughts of having a few personal tattoos painted on some hidden and out of the way area of your vain body.”  I guess I deserved the tease. Vanity, vanity, sic transit gloria mundi.

The more I’ve been showing Prairie Place on 1st, I’m finding myself growing all the more comfortable with the units that are still available.  Everyone that viewed them today felt they were exceptionally well built, in a great neighborhood, and certainly competitively priced.  What pleases me the most is that everyone that currently lives there, consider themselves part of a community.  The upscale common areas contained could only be found in exclusive big-city metro areas.  We as a City should be very thankful Good Shepherd was good enough to freely contribute a million dollars towards the project just to keep the prices affordable for North Iowa’s elderly.  Good job!

This afternoon I arrived at a home that I’ve been waiting for the owner to finally say, “I’m ready to list.”  Today was the “curtain rising” day for it.  Being more familiar with the home which is located at 20 – 9th St. NE, I’m all the more in the know of it’s history.  It was actually moved onto its site many years ago, and likely because our Downtown was expanding.  The construction is of the balloon style and built entirely out of old growth lumber which is a very good thing.  It has the look of a grand home, but when inside, it’s smaller and more manageably sized.

There’ve been changes made to the home, but the “feel” of its original structure is still present. I’ve always been a push-over for an open staircase which this one has.  It also has an addition just off the kitchen which I would personally turn into a single car garage.  It’s in a perfect spot to where you’d get out of your car and walk directly up into the kitchen.  If someone were to do that, it would raise its value considerably.

Since the home was moved there, the basement isn’t as scary as many are of the 1890′s vintage.  There’s a working shower down there, as well as a stub-in for a stool and vanity.  I absolutely adore its wrap around porch which is crying for someone to add more period support pillars.  I’m sure in its day, it was quite the head-turner.  Click on the following link to view my charming new listing located at 20 – 9th St. NE that’s exceptionally value priced at $42,500.00  I’ll be standing by for your calls.

 20 – 9th St. NE Mason City

Tonight’s photo is an exterior shot of it.  Don’t you just love it?

Two Hot Listings

Two Hot Listings-1It was one of those quirky days where the communications between clients and myself somehow got skewed.  One of my morning appointments didn’t show up so I figured he over-slept and would call later saying such, but I found out later he thought I was to meet him at his home.  I looked back on the text messages between the two of us and could see the appointment was supposed to be at my office.  Not to worry, I just filled that time slot while waiting with another office project.

Another one of my appointments this morning was at Clear Lake and for the strangest reason, I managed to get over there about 15 minutes early. After thinking about it, I realized the traffic lights were in my favor for once, as well as there being light traffic.  There are certainly times of the day when Hwy. 122 is exceptionally busy between Clear Lake and our City.

While waiting for my appointment, I happened to get pulled into a conversation with two delightful elderly ladies talking about carbs.  One of them began talking about how wonderful the potatoes were that she was gifted by an area gardener which were grown in chemical free soil and not fertilized with anything commercial.  The other lady said, “I’d love to try some, but I stay away from potatoes because of their high carb content.”  I couldn’t help but interject, “Potatoes aren’t as bad for you as you may think.  It’s what you put on them that makes the difference.”  “But they still have carbs.” she replied, “And I really have to watch my carbs.”  I smiled and agreed while thinking how much of the public have mis-conceptions about the foods they eat.  The prime example is baked bread.  Everyone likes fast food, and most of it has some sort of bread or breading.  Nearly all commercially baked bread has sugar in it.  So there’s the doubling up with the complex carbs from the flour, and the simple carbs from the sugar that’s been added.  My examples could go on and on.

I just listed two residences today that should be getting sold very soon.  The first one is at 1115 – 8th St. SW here in Mason City.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s a blank canvas in a great neighborhood that’s only about a block from our favorite Big Blue.  I listed it at $68,000.00 which is many thousands of dollars less than its assessed value.  It has well over 1,100 square feet on the main floor, a rock solid poured foundation, and a double garage.  If someone is willing to roll up their sleeves and do some cosmetics on it, it’ll for sure create some instant equity.  It’s a far better investment than the stock market.  Click on the following link to view.

1115 – 8th St. SW Mason City

The second listing is at Prairie Place on 1st here in Mason City which is the newly built premier condominium complex in our Historic Downtown.  It is Unit 301 which a third floor corner unit offering views to die for.  If I lived there, I’d be perched out on that covered deck nine months out of the year watching the captivating world below.  Of all the units in that building I’ve viewed, I like 301 best.  It’s at a ridiculously low price of $215,000.00 and worth every penny as far as I’m concerned.  Another reason I like it is because it’s at the end of a hall which offers all the more privacy for a given owner.  Click on the following link to view.

320 – 1st St. NE Unit 301 Mason City

Yes, Holtz Realty just added two hot listings to their inventory today and looking for the both of them to be sold quickly, and by the way, the above photo was one I took of the sky yesterday during our “historic” eclipse.  I still can’t stop thinking about how those poor yet life-sustaining potatoes are taking such a beating in our times.


TwinsIt appears a few if maybe more North Iowans were saved today from having some serious eye damage caused by looking directly at the sun during our near total eclipse.  Say what you may, there are always those who think protecting their eyes from the sun’s burning rays is hogwash, but it’s a very real danger, and oft times permanent.

In spite of the heavy cloud cover, there were people standing around outside buildings in the Downtown and scanning the sky for some sort of visual experience around the hour of 1 p.m. to a degree where I was beginning to consider it comical.  While pulling up to the drive-thru of a bank I said to the teller, “The world is not coming to an end because that’s all were having is just another eclipse of the sun, and so what if we haven’t had one like it since 1918?”  She got a good laugh out of it, and will  likely remember me all the more the next time I’m in her lane.

There wasn’t much downtime at my office today with the phone calls and walk-ins to where I was wishing I’d packed a sack lunch.  The highlight of my morning was getting one of my listings closed which has been hanging on for over 60 days.  We could  have had it closed much earlier, but we had to wait until the current tenant was completely moved out.  Most times tenants move much earlier just to get themselves settled in a new home, but that wasn’t the case this time around.  I’m just glad the new owners were patient enough to wait the extra days.

Over the weekend I went clothes shopping and found a pair of slacks that looked like they’d fit me, but was a bit wary to purchase them because they were of the slim style which are meant for our twenty-something young men.  When I got home I tried them on, and to my surprise they fit comfortably.   I wore them to work this morning and when I encountered a well known, I said, “Look at my new slim-fit slacks that were made to fit men decades younger than me and they actually fit me nicely.”  The look and response I received was a classic when she said, “I wish I could be so lucky.” I really wasn’t bragging, but rather a confirmation that we all must keep from pigeon-holing ourselves and others just because of the number of years it’s been since we came down our chutes.

In spite of my ability to wear a younger man’s clothes, I’d never want to go back to being twenty-something.  For me, those were the years filled with tests.  Either I was testing myself, or others were testing me.  They were also years where I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to grow up and be.  The most annoying thing about that decade was an attempt by others to pull me into their socio-economic “herds”, and even today, I’m exceptionally happy I managed to get thru those testing years intact.

The above photo is from my “gifted” photo album.  Seeing the above identical twins brought to mind a few sets of twin males I’ve known over the years.  Most don’t realize that twin boys are uniquely charming when pre-pubescent, but when they grow older, and especially just past puberty, they can be confusing as well as exceptionally devilish.  I knew one set of twins who were able to dupe their girlfriends into believing they were who they purported to be, but in fact they were going out with the twin brother.  Yes, twins can be quite the delight, but also wickedly naughty.