Category Archives: Real Estate

Glimmering Sea of Black

Glimmering Sea of Black-1The weather forecast called for it to be windy today, but really?  It was more like a gale force at times.  It had to be the day I was outside more than normal to where I was forced to hold my car door while getting out just to make sure the wind wouldn’t take it.

Since I was outdoors and traveling streets, I suddenly noticed something today that I’m hoping is not a bad sign of what lies ahead of us this winter.  When you’re out tomorrow, pay special attention to the number of squirrel nests there are in tall trees.  I don’t ever remember seeing so many in the Downtown area.  It may also be a sign there was a bumper crop of those bushy-tailed rats this year to where there aren’t enough holes in trees and eves for them to create nests.

At least I didn’t have to run over to Clear Lake again today.  I know everyone likes their town, but when the cold arrives, for me it’s not at all a pleasant place to be–especially when the wind is blowing.  Everyone goes “ape” over their Christmas at the Lake festivities, but personally, I’ve never attended one simply because I’m not a fan of being out in the snow and cold for any length of time.

It didn’t take long to develop an intense dislike for winter back when I was a young man carrying pails of feed and water twice daily up and over snowbanks to hungry barnyard animals.  Of course no matter how careful I was to stay in “yesterday’s” tracks, I’d inevitably get snow down my boots which would freeze my feet all the faster.  Oh well, that was light years ago, and I just chalked it up as another necessary life lesson.

I had another pre-listing appointment today with a couple who’ll have their home on the market the weekend after Thanksgiving.  If there’s anything that’ll make their home sell quickly is its brand new custom kitchen.  I soulfully told the seller she has a designer’s touch when it comes to style and color co-ordination.  The first time I saw it, I had a near jaw-drop reaction since I remembered what the old kitchen looked like.   It’s getting listed in a comfortable price range which should be in reach of most entry-level or “bump-up” buyers.

Since we haven’t had an offer on 1415 – 9th St. SE as of yet, I decided to have another public open on it this coming Saturday.  I looked at the weather and it’s only supposed to be windy.  I do hope it won’t be as strong of a wind as we had today.  I could easily live in that home where I’d fully appreciate its main floor family room with its cozy gas-log fireplace.  Something a client told me late Monday while at her house has continued to haunt me.

She said while she was driving down a street that looks down into East Park, she was shocked to see the number of crows on the ground.  Her voice turned dark and resolute when saying, “There were so many of those devils, I could’ve sworn I was looking down at a glimmering sea of black in motion.”  Of course I had to repeat to her my concern over their growing numbers in our City.  I’ve already encountered numerous bird droppings on sidewalks and parking lots in our Downtown before winter has even started. I think their acclimating and growing spoiled just like we humans.

Before and After

Before and AfterMy morning and late afternoon was spent showing rentals here in Mason City as well as Clear Lake.  Judging by the number of inquiries, there’s certainly a shortage of good housing between our two towns.  I had to laugh when one of the prospective tenants actually said, “I’ll be happy to rent it, but you’ll have to buy new carpet for us.”  Questioningly I asked, “Why new carpet? You can see there’s nothing wrong with it.” Oh Mercy!  The reason they wanted new carpet is because the color wouldn’t go with their furnishings.  I almost said to them, “If you want a different color of carpeting, then you can pay for it including the cost of installation as long as it’s the same quality that’s here right now.”   That sort of request was a first for me.

It amazes me when finding people coming from other parts of the Country having such high expectations from our area landlords.  Perhaps they consider us hicks and willing to bend over backwards because they’re “city slick”.  What I really don’t “get”, is knowing how much cheaper the rents are here compared to where they’re coming from, yet they expect all the more for less.

The first hour of my public open house at 103 – 28th St. SW was dead, but when 2:00 pm arrived, there was a stream of visitors up to and after 3:00 pm.  I do hope today’s showing made a big enough splash with the buyers still out there to where we’ll be seeing more activity and the subsequent sale of it.  At its current price, there’s not another in Mason City that can compete with all the extras it offers.

While chatting about this and that with one of the attendees, he mentioned something about a very bad accident he was in not so many years ago. My curiosity invoked the question, “What happened?”  The more he told me about his car accident, the more I began having non-stop goose bumps. After telling me the number of breaks and punctures he received all over his body, I couldn’t help but say, “There’s definitely a reason yet to be revealed as to why you survived.”

What impressed me the most was his up-beat attitude as well as appearing about as normal a man could be for his age without any thoughts of something over-the-top life-threatening having happened to him.  He did mention the number of doctors who believed him to be something of a real-life character out of that popular movie, “Unbreakable”.

With a few hours to spare late this afternoon, I decided to attend an area church that wasn’t far away to where I happened to find myself close to the beginnings of Services.  The readings were meaningful and the music was fine, but what made me thankful for attending, was seeing an elderly lady whom I’ve known for a long time, but haven’t talked to for as many years.

When their Services finished, I made sure to catch her walking out.  After asking about her general well being, and where she’s now living, I was delighted to hear her two children purchased a twin home for her about 12 years ago, and she absolutely loves it.  Knowing what her job was while in the workforce and how hard she worked, I couldn’t help but say, “You absolutely deserved it, and your children are going to be twice blessed for doing it for you.”

Now, how many semi-wealthy children of elderly parents do you know that would do something like that for a parent or parents?  What I normally see are their aging children doing everything they can to get what little their parents have before, along with after their deaths.  Unfortunately it’s the sign of our times, and growing all the worse. If you should happen to hear or read something after someone’s parent passing, “Check please!”, don’t pay any attention, because it’s just the ways of our times.

I’m Not Complaining

I'm Not ComplainingWithout knowing the wind was going to start blowing today, I went walking down to an office about a block away, and by the time I got there, my hands and face were feeling as though they’d been flash-frozen.  Thinking I was turning into a bit of a baby, the secretary was shocked by the way I was dressed by saying, “Joe! Don’t you realize that wind is making it feel like 7 degrees outside!!”  I couldn’t help but agree while adding, “At least I’ve got my winter undies on under what you’re seeing.”  On the positive side, at least I’m getting accustomed to the coming winter weather.

One of my appointments today was with a dear lady whom I’m sure could tell many stories about her life during her younger years, as well as the joys and sorrows of raising a large family.  Quiet success stories are what I consider those who’ve worked hard in an honest fashion, and now ready to enjoy the fruits of their labors.  She likely didn’t know it, but she was quite an uplifting inspiration for me while at my office.

I have absolutely no time for hoarders, chiselers, and cheats.  I mentioned later today to another gentleman who could certainly make the cover of an investment magazine by saying, “I’m glad to see good people like you out there who’ve done very well and made their money the old fashioned way by earning it honestly.”  He went on to tell me how he’d also made some big mistakes along the way, but just kept his chin up and his nose to the grindstone.  Mr. Chodur couldn’t help but tease him a bit by saying, “You’re much younger than I am yet still able to leave the rest of us in the dust as you skated across the finish line of retirement.”  I couldn’t have praised him enough over his accomplishments.  Just remember, we should never be envious or jealous of people who’ve done well in an honest fashion, but rather consider them role models for ourselves and others.

Part of my day was spent preparing for another closing coming up next week.  I was quite upset with an office which was to supply completed documents to me this week as promised.  The phone call I placed wasn’t nasty, but it’s clerk got the general drift of my level of disappointment with them.  Any time someone promises me something will be done by a certain date and isn’t, sends up a near permanent red flag for me regarding their services–especially when they’re time sensitive.

There are three homes I’d like to speak about this evening with the first one being 1415 – 9th St. SE.  It’s a super-sized  3+ bedroom ranch offering all the bells and whistles.  I thought for sure we would have an accepted offer on it by now, but I have to remember it’s cold and now approaching Thanksgiving.  The second one is located at 103 – 28th St. SW which I just reduced to $109,000.00 and now nearly 10K less than what it was originally listed at.  We had three offers on it which we couldn’t get put together, so let’s hope the fourth will be the charm.  I’m having a public open house in it this Saturday from 1 – 3 pm., so please, do stop by.

Lastly, I’m putting the push on getting 20 – 9th St. NE sold more sooner than later.  We just reduced it to $39,500 which is a bargain basement price for a 3 bedroom home with room to grow.  I do hope an owner-occupant buys it instead of becoming another asset in some rental baron’s portfolio.  It’s a very well built home with the prettiest of staircases.

I’m glad the market is continuing to move along as the end of 2017 draws near.  The phone calls were pretty heavy today but I’m not complaining.

Chimney Effect

Chimney EffectAlas it finally warmed up a little more today with it reaching up into the low 40′s.  Looks like we’re not going to have it much better until next week.  The way this weather has been see-sawing back and forth, we may not be sure if we’ll be having pool-side barbecues or tromping thru snowbanks come Thanksgiving.

I had coffee with one of my dear friends early this morning and thank goodness we didn’t have anyone seated near us for if there were, they’d likely think we were two magpies on a live wire.  The one thing I truly appreciate about him is his great intelligence along with his dark sense of humor.  I did read somewhere that very intelligent people do seem to not only appreciate, but also promote such forms. He learned early on how much I really don’t like dirty jokes.  As much as I avoid them, I sometimes get caught up in one which always causes me to walk away with a very bad taste in my mouth.

Since he’s not much of a social fella, I couldn’t help but say, “Now I know why you don’t get out much.”  “And why is that Mr. Chodur?”, he replied.  I paused a moment and smilingly said, “Because you’re afraid you might get some of our townspeople’s ignorance rubbed on you that you can’t rub off.”  He shook his head and then said, “I find my suspicion just got confirmed that you must have taken a heaping spoonful of malevolence for breakfast this morning.”  I laughed and said, “Just remember. Even the archangels among us have to be a little bit bad at times so to keep working at becoming all the better.”

I did tell him I was certain that the “yes” vote was going to pass before it happened due to the style in which that campaign was conducted.  There are a few names and faces who were spearheading it who’ll likely be there with their smiling faces, if and when that project gets started, and saying, “After all we did for you, what juicy bones are you going  throw us.”  I’m sure there’ll be a select few watching and confirming that very fact.  In all arenas, there are always the spoils of war to be distributed.  Those have been the rules for thousands of years, and will likely be around for thousands more.  Only the real selfless angels do things for others along with always refusing something in return.  By the way, I haven’t seen one for some time.  I do hope they’ve not all flown away.

If you know anyone who has an unlisted 4 bedroom home in a relatively decent area of our town that’s under 90K, please, oh please give me a call.  I have a buyer that’s already been pre-approved.  They had one in mind until they asked for my personal opinion on it. I only give my soulful opinion if someone asks.  I’m just about ready to start knocking on doors of homes that appear to be large enough.

One of my late showings took me to 21 – 11th St. NE which is my “diamond in the rough” listing.  The prospective buyer was quite taken by the floor plan as well as the beauty of the woodwork contained within.  Since he was doing a close inspection, we were both noticing features that most homes don’t have.  Believe it or not, there’s a swinging french door at the top of the open stairway which is original to the home.  Whomever built it was thinking forward enough by knowing that two story homes with open staircases always have that “chimney effect” with heating and air conditioning.  Yes, there were some real master craftsman back in the early 1900′s, so please tell me, what’s happened to quality workmanship which can survive generations?

Money in the Pockets

Money in the PocketsIt was good to be back to a normal Monday with the exception of finding it hovering around 23 degrees when I left for work.  Ouch!  After looking at the weather, I see it’s not going to be getting much better the rest of the week.  If this keeps up, we’ll be seeing some of that evil white stuff more sooner than later.  When talking with an elderly lady this afternoon, she mentioned that most of her “Snowbird” friends are getting ready to head South.

Another condominium unit at Prairie Place on 1st sold over the weekend along with  having another buyer circling.  Perhaps I may be sounding like a broken record, but I must admit every time I’m over there showing the complex, I feel very much at home.

Our City administrators should be thanking their lucky stars that the Good Shepherd donated a million dollars towards that project with no strings attached.  Before I was informed of that, I couldn’t understand how those units could be selling at such a great discount considering the square footage being offered as well as the quality of construction.  So if you divide 32 units into one million, you’ll find that each one of those units cost $30,000.00 more to build than what we’re seeing them priced.  Now you know the rest of the story.

Not only are the units pleasing to the eye on the interior, they’re also exceptionally attractive on the drive-by. That complex will far outlast many others and serve as a beacon of hope for others to beautify their areas of our City.  Thank you Good Shepherd for creating a new neighborhood at the periphery of our Historic Downtown by your being so generous with your “giving back” to our City. Bravo!

The short article I read today troubled me deeply which spoke about the current percentages of Americans that are now living from pay to pay.  Believe it or not, there are approximately 80% of our citizens in that boat.  Some who were interviewed said that it’s difficult to save even $100.00 per month.  What is this Country turning into?  It’s beginning to appear more like a third world where there’s no middle class; just those few very rich and a growing mass of poor.  It’s no wonder people are getting crazier by the day.

I’m hoping all registered voters get to the polls tomorrow to cast their ballots for those running for election as well as the Renaissance Mason City proposal.  Now I want all of you to think about, along with reflecting upon this vote “YES” campaign.  If you truly believe that this proposed multi-million dollar project is going to “fix” the real problems we’re having in our City, then I simply say to you, “Vote your conscience, and let the future of our City speak for itself.”

After reading about this 80% living from pay to pay, I truly doubt there’ll be any more of our area residents doling out money they don’t have to spend. What we desperately need are better paying jobs.  Good jobs are something our City should be placing all the more emphasis on instead of leisure activities.  Let’s focus more on recruiting companies to locate here so there’ll be real leisure money in the pockets of our shrinking middle class.  Now that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The above photo of Prairie Place on 1st is one of my favorites which I thought appropriate for tonight.  Stay warm and be sure to vote your conscience tomorrow.

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.

Saying No is Far Harder

Saying No is Far HarderI’m just making sure you all know about my two public open houses tomorrow. One is in the morning, and the other starts at 1:00 pm.  The first one would be a perfect fit for a first time buyer wanting to get away from high rents and situationally deaf landlords who are only concerned about getting their rents every month and caring less about glaring maintenance and repairs.  This charming 3 bedroom home is located at 20 – 9th St. NE here in Mason City and has been a great home for the seller who decided it was time to get something all on one floor.  It offers a brand new roof, main floor laundry, a workroom off the kitchen that could be converted back to a single attached garage or continue to be used as an office or family room.  It also offers one of the most charming open staircases.  I did some calculations and was shocked to find that even if someone would pay asking price, the full monthly payment would be under $375.00 a month.  Now if it were a rental unit, it would command over $500.00 per month.  Just think about how much a current tenant would save by buying instead of throwing their money down a rat hole and get nothing in return.  My open house is scheduled between 10:00 am and Noon.  Be sure to stop by.

My second open house is located at 1415 – 9th St. SE here in Mason City.  It is very much larger than it appears from the street because of the main floor family room that’s to the rear.  This beauty offers 3 bedrooms, a master bath, open floor plan, gas fireplace, double attached garage and more. The owners were just transferred, but mentioned how much they loved their home along with it being conveniently located near all three schools and east-side shopping.  It also offers even more opportunities for a 4th bedroom and 3rd bath in the basement.  When doing my walk-thru before listing it, I reminded the sellers there are plumbing stub-ins on the basement for a 3/4 bath.  Since they’ve never had any water problems down there, the possibilities for expanded living areas are endless.  Make sure you stop between 1:00 – 3:00 pm tomorrow.

As chance would have it, I had an opportunity to have a good visit with a man of letters this afternoon.  The bulk of our conversation was about the upcoming elections next week and the two big items also on the ballot.  I was certainly brought up to speed with it after hearing his take on some questionable and not talked about red flags surrounding the proposed build-out of that ice area, hotel, and convention center.  It’s been in the news more than once about how the new owner of Southbridge Mall has a huge tax bill that’s unpaid.  I fear history will be repeating itself if that gets built and not so many years later, we the taxpayers end up bailing it out like our City did once before, but this time there are many more millions involved.

I’m also concerned over the noticeable amount of distorted facts and fake news that’s been fed to our City’s general population.  I got a bit of a chill when in ending he said, “Whenever people push and pound the public so hard, that’s all the more reason for them to believe it’s even more of a bad idea.”  After he said that, I remembered times when salespeople would hammer on me to buy something until I finally learned to simply say, “If you don’t stop pressuring me, I’m walking out of here right now!”  Very few learned, but most didn’t.  With that said, I’ve come to discover over these long years that a good product or idea sells itself…so why all the hoopla?  Just remember, saying “No” is far harder than saying “Yes”.  Now think about the times you’ve said “Yes”, but wanted to say “No”, and then you’ll certainly understand.