Category Archives: Real Estate

1853 Springview Drive

1853 Springview Drive-19The highlight of my day was taking a new listing located a 1853 Springview Drive here in Mason City.  The photo above is the exterior shot, but if you want to see all the rest of the others I took, click on the address and you’ll see for yourselves how absolutely gorgeous this home really is.  It’s about as clean and maintenance free as one could ever imagine.

First off, the kitchen/dining area to the back of the home offers abundant natural lighting and fabulous views of the outdoors due to there being no homes behind it.  I’ve always liked homes with that feature because it offers more privacy both outside and within.

The master bedroom has a 1/2 bath off, and all the windows were recently replaced by triple-pane thermals with a lifetime warranty on them.  All the mechanicals are up to date as well, along with there being a recently added 3/4 bath in the lower level.

The home could easily be considered a “legal” four bedroom if someone would add an egress window in the lower level since there’s a room already set up for guests down there.  I was surprised by the size of that room, along with its closets. I was surprised to see how close the 3/4 bath is to that guest room.  There’s also a very large rec room in the lower with a bar in the corner.

At the rear of the home there’s a nearly new deck and a charming gazebo. With the back yard being fenced, anyone with small children or dogs, won’t have to be looking at fence installation so to keep their loved ones contained.

Yes, this home is about as move-in ready as you’d ever expect, which always makes it nice when new buyers who usually have full-time jobs and busy lives.  I would consider it more a home “sanctuary” where one spends needed time to relax and rejuvenate.  I’ll wager it’s going to sell quickly.

Another interesting happening took place today.  The mail person delivered an abstract on a property which contained all the original hand-written entries going all the way back to 1854 when that parcel’s patent was issued. Every time I’m given the opportunity to read an abstract’s cursive entries, my thoughts are carried back to those times.

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Can you possibly imagine how much work it was in those days before typewriters?  Those poor stenographers must’ve been fit to be tied while trying to transcribe legal notes during very cold and very hot weather.  Just remember, there was no central heating, fans, or air conditioners.  And of course just think of the more formal clothing both men and women had to wear. There were no “Freedom Fridays” in those times, and it’s no wonder white shirts had collars that could be removed from their bodies.  I’m convinced those shirts were likely worn more than a day or two between washings, but their collars were likely washed, ironed, and starched on a daily basis.  Sounds like something that should be done in our times so to save our precious water and energy. Don’t you think?

The above photo is one of the sheets I found in that package which is an affidavit signed by an Iowa Notary Public. After adjusting my brain to reading 1891 cursive handwriting, I was able to read it clearly, but couldn’t make out the exact spelling of the last names.

It’s not so far in our future where our young won’t be able to read writing like this.  There’ll likely be specialist who’ll have to be paid to transcribe handwritten, soon to be “ancient” documents.  Just one more example of how our world is rapidly changing.

Stuck in a Snowbank

Stuck in a Snowbank-1Now that the wind has changed directions, we’ll be back on our way to having the rest of the week a bit warmer.  That northwest wind just about had me fit to be tied again this morning.  I was out in it for about 20 minutes working at freeing up a frozen overhead door that was stuck to the concrete so I could get it to go up with the transmitter, and while out there, I think I was nearly frozen solid myself.  It’s interesting how when the temperatures are so cold, the wind seems to always find you no matter how protected you are against it.

In spite of the weather, several of my listings were sold today, and as chance would have it,  I sold one of them myself.  That’s one I figured wouldn’t be on the market very long because of its location, square footage, and updates.  The buyer is exceptionally excited about it and I fully understand why.

Now that we’re over halfway thru the month of January, I’m all the more beginning to long for Spring.  Yes, we do have many weeks before the trees begin greening and our flowers pushing their heads out of the soil, but at least once we’re past this month, those sights will soon be in our horizon.

As the temperatures rise, I’ll be keen to look for the indicators of a good year of home sales, and one of them being the number of new listings coming on the market before the snow melts. Let’s see who’s right about this year’s real estate market.

I had a conference call with the directors of Prairie Place on 1st today, and we’ve decided to have a public open house on the units in celebration of its First Anniversary on January 27th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM which happens to be a Saturday. I’ll be doing some extra advertising on them prior to that date.  I have several interested buyers who’ve looked at the units but haven’t yet come forward to make commitments.  So if you know anyone 55 or older who’s considering a well-earned upgrade to a senior community housing, please let them know.

While talking to one of my customers today, he mentioned how much he likes good food–especially spicy. I asked him if he liked ground hot peppers. He said he did, so off I went to get him a small bottle of home-grown ground hot peppers.  When handing it to him I said, “Now be careful because you may not think it’s not very hot, but it creeps up on you after about a minute or two, so use it sparingly until you get used to its heat.”

I couldn’t help but notice while talking to the two of them how he would continue open the bottle, smell it, and then close it again until I finally had to ask, “Is something wrong with how it smells?”  “Oh no!” he said, “I can’t get enough of the complex and rich smell it has.”  Again I said to him, “Just remember my warning of how its heat creeps up on you.”  Oh, and I couldn’t help but encourage him to sprinkle some of it on the next bowl of ice cream he has.  He looked at me questioningly and said, “Ice cream?  I’ve never heard of putting ground hot peppers on ice cream.”  All I could say was, “Try it.  I guarantee you’ll like it.

I’ll be getting a new listing tomorrow that’ll “wow” you, so be sure to check it out on tomorrow evening’s post.  If it doesn’t sell right away, then our current buyers must have their heads still stuck in snowbanks.

What do you think of tonight’s photo of our Downtown in the “dead” of Winter?

Kinda Creepy

Kinda CreepyWhether the sun shining or it’s cloudy, when the temps are -10 degrees, it isn’t the least bit comfortable while outdoors, and of course, I had more outside appointments today than I cared to have, but we all know that’s what a Realtor must endure when doing business in the tundra of North Iowa’s winter.

Thank Heaven I wasn’t crazy enough to have chosen to live in some God forsaken State like upper North Dakota where not only the weather’s brutal, but with their towns and cities being so far apart, you’d think the human race had suddenly vanished due some biblical rapture having taken place.

As in many sparsely populated areas of our Country, there is a strong tribal mentality in those areas which is very scary.  I personally knew of one family who raised their children on a farm out in one of those hinterlands, and in my opinion, they possessed an unnerving “hive” mentality to the extent that no matter what, they were always right in their skewed beliefs and actions, and I mean ALWAYS!  Oh well, it takes all kinds to make the world go round, but what gives comfort to others, is they’re on the fringes of our Country’s merry-go-rounds.

My public open house at 1415 – 9th St. SE was a smashing success today where there were people coming and going the entire time I was there, and even some arriving at the last minute which kept me there for nearly another half hour.

I did a little market research before I went out the house and found that there are very slim pickings of ranch homes currently listed for sale in our market in that price range.  Even several of the buyers in attendance agreed with what I’d earlier discovered.  It will be very interesting to see what happens with our market come Spring.

After my open house, I had to meet with a seller to have some pre-listing papers filled out.  Since I hadn’t been there for about three months, I was pleasingly shocked by the amount of progress he’d made with the upgrades in his home.  After walking completely thru it I said, “The size and layout of your home offers everything anyone would ever want or need in a home.”  I think he was happy I congratulated him so profusely because tackling a project like that had to be daunting.  There’s no question in my mind it will sell right away, but before it closes, I’ll be sure to measure and sketch it’s floor plan because it’s worthy of being copied as a new construction.

Expecting to have a bit of a free day tomorrow, my plans got altered by several buyers wanting to view homes, so I guess I’ll have at least a half day.  I’m just happy the home sales are starting to pick up again after the holidays.

The above photo is one I took of Central Park today, and when seeing all those empty benches, no pedestrians to be found, along with the amber afternoon sunlight, made it to appear kinda creepy cool.  What do you think?

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot-1From the time I left home, it seems yours truly was in a state of constant motion with shoveling snow and running errands for others.  Thank goodness I made sure to wear warmer clothes when knowing I’d be out shoveling.  That wind only allowed me to be out there for no more than ten minutes at a time.  First the fingers and then the feet is where Jack Frost’s fiery-cold bites would begin.  It’s amazing how quickly one’s fingers can turn to ice, but how slowly they’ll warm up again.

Of course, since it’s been below freezing enough days to where my fingers are now getting those deep and painful cracks that appear every year when there are extended days without a thaw, I finally broke down and purchased another tube of vitamin E hand cream that seems to help with the healing process.  Oh well, it’s just another genetic predisposition I have to endure. It’s amazing how many there are in our general public who don’t have that problem.  I know part of the reason they appear, is that I possibly wash my hands more often than most which removes one’s protective oils.

Several hours were spent at Prairie Place on 1st with my showing an interested party several of the units who I believe is leaning towards purchasing one that’s caught her eye, and then later doing a final walk-thru with the buyers of another unit before we went to close out their purchase.

Once again, I’m convinced Prairie Place on 1st is evolving into a community within a community of absolutely delightful people.  The couple who came on board today will certainly be welcomed with open arms by its current residents.  The Mrs. is a great storyteller and quick to share one or two.  Some day in the near future, I’ll have to tell her she’s missed her calling.  The way in which she describes events, creates “I’m there” visuals that you’d swear you were looking at that very scene right along with her while she’s recalling those people and places.  If today’s prospective buyer, who’s found a floor plan she likes and ends up purchasing it, there’ll be only 12 units remaining to be sold.  Yeah!  Whenever marketing many, the concept of “less is more” will certainly kick in when we reach ten.

If you know anyone looking for a roomy ranch out on the east side of our City, be sure to mention the home I’m having open to the public tomorrow from 1:00 – 3:00 pm which is located at 1415 – 9th St. SE.  You’ll be amazed at it’s size and amenities being offered.

Before heading home, I had to make a few shopping stops, and the last one being Fleet Farm.  I went there for one thing, and ended up coming home with a few more due to some really good sales they’re having right now.

As I was heading towards the check-out, I noticed a man likely in his 40′s wearing a black broad-brimmed hat, leather boots, and a two-piece denim outfit that looked as if it was something that was created at home.  Oh, and he had a very full beard that was kept trimmed, but a haircut that looked like a “bowl” cut.

Yes, I’m sure he was a Mennonite doing some late afternoon shopping.  Just glancing at what he had in his cart, I could see he was buying pounds of nuts and bolts, and four bags of barn lime which I didn’t realize they sold at Fleet Farm.  Having read about the daily lives of the Amish and Mennonites, I couldn’t help but suspect what he would be doing with that lime and those bolts.  It’s always interesting to see others with different beliefs and lifestyles–especially one that has survived for generations.   Social diversity in America is why we continue to be considered the melting pot.

Don’t you just love the photo I’ve posted above which I snapped of an ancient Spruce yesterday with her cones still being held fast by her in the midst of our seemingly endless wicked winds?

First Day Back

First Day Back-1Perhaps I am starting to sound like a broken record, but I can’t help but be a little vocal about how cold it was this morning. I actually had to cover my mouth because it was so cold.  Whenever the temps reach such negative digits, it becomes chokingly cold.  Thank goodness the wind changed directions and now getting a little warmer.  I teasingly said to someone today, ” Oh great!  Now the direction of the wind has changed and blowing that cold air back in our faces again.”

With this frigid spell hanging on so long, I’m becoming all the more envious of our little snow birdies who’re likely sipping margaritas out around pools somewhere in Florida or Arizona while checking their smart phones to see how cold it is here so to give them all the more reason for leaving North Iowa.  In spite of that, I’m still not to the point of wanting to buy in those areas due to weather issues those States have to endure at other times of the year, and their giant bugs. I’ve always thought it nice to be able to be gone for at least two or three weeks during the brutally cold weeks.

Since it’s supposed to be warmer this coming Saturday, our office decided to have two public open houses that day from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.  There’ll be one at 103 – 27th St. SW, and another at 1034 Park Lane.  Both are priced to sell so make sure to stop by and have a look.  When seeing how low our real estate inventories are in North Iowa, it won’t surprise me if we’re going to have a real shortage once Spring arrives.  Perhaps some of the rental barons will decide to sell some of their better houses since prices are still strong. There sure have been all the more first-time investors entering our market lately.  As much as I’d rather see it go to an owner-occupant, 20 – 9th St. NE is priced so low that it’s now in reach of what investors would pay.

One of my well-knowns from out of State called this morning to wish me a Happy New Year.  We brought each other up to speed regarding happenings in each other’s lives, and we somehow ended up on the subject of tribalism which is becoming more talked about on television.  We both agreed how the extremes of tribal mentality would send the world back into the dark ages where there’d be un-ending wars, closed borders, and mini fiefdoms dotting our countries. I’d say Chechnya is a prime example of what’s in store for us if this mentality doesn’t stop.  Seeing all the more unrest on nearly every continent, it’s not surprising to see how many societies are regressing.  Isn’t it strange how people can change their thinking in the midst of our age of information overload?  Whatever happened to all those reasonable minds that kept the masses from killing each other?

In truth, the bulk of my day was spent trying to keep warm along with those normal first of the month duties.  Having believed I’d prepared myself before the New Year arrived for entries to be made come 2018, I somehow forgot to have another journal created which I’ve placed into use each and every year.  So far, that was the only thing I’d over-looked.

With it being my first day back to work in our new year, I’d say business should now start getting back to normal.  I’ll wager nearly everyone’s glad the Holidays are now over and the job of normal living has returned.

Biological Assault and Battery

Biological Assault and BatteryIt was certainly a surprise to find more snow on the ground this morning, and certainly enough needing a shovel.  The love/hate relationship I have with winter has been a repeating annual event.  On a positive note, I’m getting all the more exercise with my seemingly endless throwing of snow.  I shutter when thinking about building those tall hills of winters past.

Only two appointments were booked today which gave me more free time to continue on with my year-end duties.  I have several more to finish tomorrow and after that, barring something overlooked or forgotten, I should be ready when flipping my calendar to January.

There were several homes I had to do a walk-thru for owners that have moved just to make sure the furnaces were working and all was well.  One had not yet been shoveled so I grabbed my scoop from my car and did quick-over their sidewalk.

Several people asked me about my plans for New Year’s Eve and the following day.  My answer was that it would pretty much be a repeat of Christmas.  As chance would have it, one of my favorite clients/customers mentioned his having been a similar time for reflection and contemplation.  Because this past Christmas was so much different than previous years, it’ll likely be clearly remembered.

I’m still a bit in shock why 422 S. Tennessee Place has not yet been sold.  You can’t find a better condo in a better neighborhood for a lower price.  Perhaps now that our City’s inventory is low and likely staying that way for this coming year, it will finally get purchased by someone having realized that it’s as good as it gets when it comes to units from which to choose.  With it being an upstairs, one would think it would be a great attraction for a young professional. Put the word out on it whenever possible.

One of my well knowns stopped by my office this afternoon just to have a chat about this and that, along with holiday happenings.  It sounds like if all indicators are correct, she’ll be on track to have an exciting year ahead.  Since we’ve know each other for such a long time, we can freely speak without having any “filters” blocking random thoughts. It’s too bad more people don’t just say what’s on their mind instead of beating around the bush with vague remarks clouded with innuendos.

After a conversation today with a client who lives in a metro area, it sounds like the flu that’s starting to get passed around is all the more wicked than last year’s.  What frightens me the most, is the possibility of something as globally deadly as the one that killed between 50 – 100 million people back in 1918. Viruses are continually mutating to where a few microbiologists believe it’s like trying to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun.

Just these past several days I’ve noticed people in public sneezing without covering their mouths, running noses, and incessant coughing.  I wonder what one of them would do or say if I’d walk up to them and insist, “Do you know that you are likely committing biological assault and battery on those around you?”  When you think about it, that’s pretty much what they’re doing by having so little regard for the health of others.  Containing an epidemic starts by staying home when a cold or the flu hits until fully recovered.  Just remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Half Empty

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Hopefully everyone has arrived safely where they needed to be the day after Christmas.

One can only imagine all the left-overs that were being re-invented for today’s meal and possibly a few more forward.  Some meats actually taste better twice warmed.  I’m sure you’ve all had left-over turkey and standing rib roast sandwiches the following days.  Just now thinking about standing rib roast and how long it’s been since I’ve had it, that or leg of lamb will likely be my meat of choice when our next major holiday arrives.

It was a struggle for me when preparing to leave for the office this morning with it being -12 degrees outside.  Oh how I do hate our weather when it gets so cold.  When it’s that cold, it has a freezing sting of a thousand mosquitos.  In spite of the sun shining brightly, just walking that 1/2 block to the Post Office around noon wasn’t the least bit pleasant.

Most of my day was spent paying year-end bills along with sending out correspondence.  As these last days of 2017 approach, I’m beginning to wonder where those previous twelve months have gone.  Yes, I did have a productive year, but still wondering what happened to the time.  I’m still convinced some entity, ever so secretly, stole Summer from us.  Perhaps 2018 will bring us an even earlier Spring and later Fall.

As I’d feared, the sale of my listing at 20 – 9th St. NE  unfortunately fell thru the cracks today because the selling Realtor wasn’t able to get his buyer fully financed.  It’s too bad because all their inspections were done along with the appraisal.  It was the first time in very many months I’ve had something like this happen with one of my listings.  If any of you know someone looking for an entry level 3 bedroom home priced below 40K, then this one is certainly at the top of the list in its price range.  The most upsetting thing about this failed sale, is that I would have likely had it sold to another interested buyer during those weeks it was tied up.  Oh well, we just have to pick up where we left off before that Realtor arrived with offer in hand.

One of my clients told me a funny story today about her growing puppy having suddenly discovered a full length mirror in her closet.  Sounds like her overly-curious canine believes there’s a usurper living in her closet waiting to take its place in her household.  Since that happening, her puppy continues to growl and bark whenever near her closet door.  I told her she should be a little wicked and take a piece of good smelling meat, let her puppy smell it and quickly walk into her closet, then eat it before walking out again.  For sure her animal will be all the more convinced she’s hiding another who’s not only in competition for affection, but now for food!  Too funny!

I’m sure many of you over the years have noticed “Boxing Day” marked on certain calendars.  Well, it all began with the British aristocracy who had to be waited on hand and foot on Christmas Day, so therefore they decided they’d give their servants the following day off while rewarding them with bonuses, boxes of left-over food, and other items of thankfulness.  Sounds like the makings of another Thomas Hardy novel doesn’t it?

In these times, Boxing Day has been transformed into something similar to Black Friday here in the States.  It’s another day off where all the major retailers in Canada and Great Britain cut prices so to move their after Christmas inventories.  It looks like the Crown and her subject Canada now have two major shopping days–Black Friday and Boxing Day.

Once again, please put the word out to friends, co-workers, and relatives that Holtz Realty is on a burn to get 20 – 9th St. NE re-sold in a “yesterday” fashion.  And do stay warm during these blistering cold days and nights!

By the way, is my wintery photo I’ve posted tonight of our current Moon being one you’d call a half full Moon, or a half empty Moon?  Gotcha!