Category Archives: Real Estate

My Shepherd Is

DSC_4094-EditThis morning’s closing went as smooth as silk and the buyer is now on a burn to get started with a few improvements along with getting moved while the weather is good.  I oft times feel blessed and fortunate to have so many of the nicest buyers and sellers to work with in real estate.  Perhaps it’s due to the old saying, “Like attracts like.”  I think of that sometimes when seeing not so nice people of similar stripes interweaving within their business and personal lives.

Another one of my listings sold today and I’m confident it will sail thru to closing in a similar fashion as did today’s.  I also got a good report on a home inspection, so it looks like another one of my sales will be closing next week.

Looks like I’m going to have to get back out and beat the bushes for new listings since so many of my existing ones are now sold and waiting to close.  I actually visited with a seller today who owns a home containing the most stunning oak woodwork.  Most people haven’t a clue how rare it is to find such historic homes in our City.  Too many of the rental barons over the years have turned those 19th Century queens into “greasy” unkempt apartment houses.  It makes me sad to the point I don’t even want to think about it.

One of my well knowns called today to share some of his frustrations with a relative who’s been very inconsiderate about others.  Seems the numbers are growing of people in our country who think only of themselves.  I shared with him my take on this societal pandemic.  I believe we as a country are so obsessed by wealth and greed because of how the medias glorify it.  Money doesn’t fix many of the biggest problems people have–it only sends those problems deeper into their psyche which in turn creates all the more problems. If you look at selfishness in its pure form, there’s no movement.  It’s a dead end road that leads to nothing worthy of admiration.

In years gone by, when a few of the old “bulls” would start bragging about their wealth and possessions, I’d interject by saying, “So when your day of expiration arrives, what do you believe you’ve given to the world worthy of your remembrance?  I can assure you that they’ll bury you no deeper than six feet, and after your wealth has be squandered by your offspring, there’ll be created a black hole of memory.”  Ouch!  Those words nearly always got them to stop in their tracks.

One of my own money-loving relatives came up to me at a funeral reception and whispered in my ear, “I bought another 80 acres.”  With an annoyed look I replied, “Good for you.”  But for some reason he didn’t take the hint because he stepped even closer and pridefully said, “And I paid cash for it.”  I couldn’t help myself saying after hearing his dis-respectful statements after one of our relative’s funeral, “You seemed to have forgotten what our grandmother used to say.”  “What was that?” he said.  In a much louder voice I announced, “We enter this world naked and penniless, and we’ll leave this world naked and penniless.”  His faced turned a bright red while looking daggers at me as he walked away speechless.  His remarks were far out of place along with giving me yet another confirmation of his greed. Whenever speaking of such things, one of my favorite hymns pops into my head which is, “The King of Love my Shepherd Is”.

Please don’t forget about my public open house tomorrow which I’ll be hosting at 422 S. Tennessee Place.  The seller is definitely motivated and ready for it to sell.  It’s a beauty.

Folded into Darkness

Folded into DarknessWhenever someone should happen to chide you for supposedly spending so much time running errands, ask them to shadow you the next time you have your list ready.

I’m saying this because I spent nearly half the day doing just that and when I looked at the clock after walking back from the post office which was my last stop, I was shocked to see how much time had lapsed.  At least I did get all the little jobs done for clients who’ve been waiting for those little extras I do for them. I’ll be able to begin my day tomorrow with my search for properties a prospective buyer is looking for here in our City.

With it being a little quieter this week, I’m now able to spend more time with getting buyers matched up with homes.  As I’ve mentioned before, most of the general public are clueless regarding how much time it takes to research listings so to get those buyer/seller match ups to take place.  It’s rather senseless to be showing random homes to buyers when in the beginning, there should’ve been a list of four or five “must haves” supplied to the agent.  Realtors are capable of doing many things, but reading minds is not one of them.

One of my clients was exceptionally vocal today when hearing of another purchase being made by one of our City’s rental barons.  I couldn’t agree more in how frustrating it is to see home after home being gobbled up and milked dry of as much rental income as possible with absolutely no concern about general maintenance and appearance, and not to mention the weakening of our City’s “fibre”.  This summer has been the worst I’ve seen when driving past homes and apartment houses to where I’m even seeing volunteer trees are growing up thru cracks of rickety wooden steps.  There are more than a few haunted house “alleys” in our City, and you can be sure I’ll not be driving down them after dark.

One of my stops today was at Prairie Place on 1st to get new photos taken of another unit that was recently sold.  As I was walking in, one of the few residents I hadn’t met was walking out and said, “Are you the Realtor with the sign outside?”  I said “Yes, I’m Joe Chodur and I’m working hard at getting the rest of these units sold.”  Without any encouragement she added, “My husband and I really like where we’re living, and so happy to find the residents here to be such nice people.”  I then replied with a wink, “And I’m going to work even harder at selling the units left to people you’ll also enjoy having as neighbors.”  While riding up the elevator, I was once again reminded how near magical it is that all the residents of Prairie Place on 1st get along so well.  They’re truly a community within a community.

Don’t forget to tell all your friends and relatives about my “reduced to sell” condominium located at 422 S. Tennessee Place which I’ll be having open this Saturday.  If ever there were an east-side bargain in this City, this is the one.  I can still see a young professional purchasing it and turning it into a real uptown showplace.

The above photo is one I took last evening.  I managed to catch the last rays of sunlight before the day allowed itself to be folded into night.

Long Roads Home

422 S. Tennessee Place-1An associate of mine laughed when telling him how nice it felt to be back to work and finally able to have a break from my exhausting weekend.  Yes, it wasn’t one of those normal Saturday or Sunday putzing days where I’d just relax and do a little of this and that when and if the spirit should move me.

Awakening a little earlier than normal, inspired me to go to the office and get my appointments readied all the sooner.  I was supposed to list a home today, but after walking thru it with the seller, I flat-out said, “It’s really not ready for public viewing because most buyers would walk in and right back out when seeing your home in its present condition.”   At least the owner did understand along with agreeing to get it up to marketing speed.  It may possibly be ready in about a month.  It really is a solid home in a great neighborhood that’s had some recent big ticket improvements, but that’s not always what trips the triggers for many of today’s buyers.  Our marketing strategies have certainly changed over these long years.

While running errands today, I stopped at the lumber yard to pick up something and while there, I entered into conversation with one of their long-time employees.  It came as no surprise when he informed me that the prices of materials will be going up yet again.  It really makes a person wonder where it’s going to end.  There’s no way the average person would be able to have a home built with these rocketing material prices.  It’s no wonder we’re seeing fewer homes being built, and the ones that are, have prices on them well over $300K.  Since most people are on pretty constant income streams, they’d have to either bring more cash to the table, or have smaller homes built to remain within their budgets.  These are the facts that are worthy of concern.

One of my afternoon appointments took me out to the condo I have listed at 422 S. Tennessee Place here in Mason City.  The owner has now reduced it to the bargain basement price of $96,500.  Now that’s what I call a real buy!  I made sure to take new photos of it both inside and out.  The above photo is the new exterior shot. I’ve had several young buyers that have shown interest in it over the months I’ve had it listed, and hopefully now that the price is well below assessed value, I won’t be surprised if some young professional or semi-professional will be its new owner.  You certainly can’t find a single family home offering all this condo has to offer in its price range–especially in such a fine east-side location.

Following up on my comments of last evening, I also want to encourage all my readers to start taking a closer look at our City’s social/economic landscape by making a point to travel to and from work in different directions each day so that nearly every block in every quadrant of our City has been travelled.  Be warned, because if you’ve taken the same route for years, you’re gonna be shocked by what you now see.  There should never be the mind-set of “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to the happenings in one’s community.  I was reminded again today by someone who moved here years ago and saddened when he said, “I can’t wait to get out of this town because it’s not the same town my wife and I moved to back in 1983.”  Since I’m about as native as you can get, I couldn’t help but agree with him and it saddens me.  Don’t forget to travel the long roads home and be sure to take mental notes to where you’ll agree our proposed Renaissance Mason City project isn’t gonna fix what you’ll be seeing.

Like a Dotard

Like a DotardWell, we made it thru another scorcher of a day.  Around 1:00 p.m., I glanced at the outside temperature gauge of my car and noticed it to be 94 degrees.  The wind was making it all the more unbearable.  Now if we were living in Southern California and they were in the midst of “Santa Anna’s”, it would feel pretty much the same other than their temperatures get even higher–especially for those living inland and away from the ocean.

This past week I’ve been hearing horror stories about our not so lovely resident deer helping themselves to the vegetable gardens of people who’ve worked all summer to have bounteous crops.  The reports coming in are all the more mind-boggling when hearing they’re eating tomatoes, watermelons, pumpkins and just about anything and everything between.  Of course those devils won’t eat hot peppers.  The winter crops of carrots and beets will likely also be annihilated once they’re “bite” size.

Every solitary day I get a glimpse of them–especially in the early morning.  I’ve also been seeing some very young ones running around which makes me think there were some does that came into heat later than normal. Nearly all of my younger years were void of even happening to see one let along having to endure the damage they cause.  I remember only one time long ago seeing one likely 40 acres away running quickly in the opposite direction.  There’s no question in my mind they’ve acclimated to our way of life.  I would take up hunting them, but I’ve always believed that if you kill it, you have to eat it.  No matter how it’s fixed outside of pressure canning with a good amount of garlic, I can’t get past the taste.  Garlic certainly does have the ability to mask unpleasant tastes.

Today’s public open house at 103 – 28th St. SW was quite the success considering the number of visitors.  I was happy the home offered central air and it was running.  It’ll make some young family with children a wonderful place to call home.  We just received a price reduction on it to $115,000 which should hopefully get it sold.  There’s really not much to choose from of homes in our market that offer 4 bedrooms and 2 baths.  The real bonus is the lot size and double garage.  Keep it on your radar.  Since another Prairie Place on 1st condominium sold yesterday, I listed the last one of a given floor plan that faces North.  It’s located on the third floor and the unit number is 306. The above photo is the exterior view of the complex, but click on new listings on my website and you’ll see all the other photos I took this morning.

Not having any real pressing appointments later this afternoon, I decided to drive to one of my favorite North Iowa churches.  There weren’t as many people there, and after thinking about it, many likely stayed away due to the heat.  The handful of times I’ve attended their services, I discover something new that makes it all the more delightful.

With all the buzz about Mr. Kim from North Korea calling President Trump a dotard, seems everyone was on a search for its meaning.  I didn’t know the absolute exact meaning, but I was close enough when finding it in my dictionary.  But keep in mind, it sounds different than spelled.  The closest to being correct would be to say, “Dough turd”, only without a break in words.  How about this, “I ran into a goatherd, who was acting like a dotard.  Now you’ve got it.

Repaid in Kind

Repaid in KindSeems everyone was feeling the heat today. I personally noticed the thermometer at 94 degrees this afternoon. All the animals seem to be reacting accordingly by staying out of sight and likely hidden somewhere in shaded trees and bushes. With having several appointments in the Downtown today, I decided to walk instead of drive. Those two and three blocks made a believer out of me in how quickly the heat can make one start breaking out in a sweat. From the sounds of it, we’re going to be enduring a few more days.

Another one of my condo listings at Prairie Place on 1st sold today. There are well over half of them sold now, and I suspect once my ad campaign hits the area newspapers, there’ll be a good number more sold to seniors wanting to get moved in before the the weather gets bitterly cold. What a great place for a senior to celebrate the holidays where they can reserve that gorgeous main floor community room for those memorable celebrations with family and friends. I was reminded by one of the residents that they get together in that room every Monday morning for coffee and breakfast treats, and then once a month a potluck. If you think about it, when all 32 units are sold and occupied, it’ll be like living in a quaint small town where everyone has a sense of belonging. One couldn’t ask for more in their golden years, could they?

I had to laugh to myself when a woman who’s likely in her upper 80′s said to me, “It’s a nice place, but I don’t want to live near a bunch of old people.” I had to really bite my tongue to keep from saying, “Oh, and how many young friends and relatives stop to socialize with you?” From what I later heard, she’s doing everything she can to believe she’s still a young socialite. Unfortunately, some day reality will hit and there’ll be no units available for her in Prairie Place and likely nothing comparable.

Another one of my listings closed today with a fast, yet soft landing. Since we’d been negotiating on it so long, the closing day the buyer wanted was only a little over a week away. Fortunately we managed to get all the title work done in time and able to close the day the buyer wanted. I’m glad everyone pulled together to get it done.

One of the homes I showed this afternoon just happened to be one I sold about 25 years ago. It made me sad to see how poorly the improvements were made over the years, along with some quirky additions like a dishwasher being installed in a closet off the kitchen and placed on a shelf about three feet above the floor. It actually shocked me to the point I nearly didn’t believe it to be a full-sized dishwasher. How the owner managed to get the pots, pans, and dishes in and out without a struggle was beyond my understanding. I couldn’t help but say to the buyer, “My oh my, I’ve never seen a dishwasher so high!” It’s going to take that “special” buyer to pull the trigger on that one.

Something happened today which is another example of how much easier our work can be when we freely help someone else with their work struggles, and in return those good souls do similarly for us. I needed some information on a particular property and its owner quickly, and happened to know that one of my contemporaries had the information I needed. That one phone call saved me hours of digging. It was just one more example of how truly caring people freely help each other without feeling beholding or obligated simply because they know when the tables are turned, they’ll be repaid in kind.

The Look

The Look-1Today wasn’t the most eventful, yet for some reason the hours seemed to take flight from the time I arrived at my office.   I think what created it was my having been side-tracked by another Realtor calling and wanting to show Prairie Place on 1st at 9:00 a.m. this morning.  Since he’d never been in the complex, I had to make sure to give him a quick guided tour before his buyer arrived.  I’m still wondering how he thought he was going to be familiar enough with all the features being offered to have any kind of educated showing.  It would’ve been similar to the blind leading the blind.

I’ve just begun working on an ad campaign for those units with our surrounding county newspapers.  There are far more people living in our “hinterland” that likely don’t even know Prairie Place on 1st exists.  There’s no question Mason City offers some of the best senior oriented services in all of North Iowa.  Perhaps I’m going against the grain of what our City fathers consider to be Mason City’s future, but as far as I’m concerned we would have an even better opportunity to grow if we were make our City all the more attractive to retirees.  With the numbers of our seniors growing nationwide, it only makes sense to gear our goods and services towards them.  Like the “Field of Dreams”, if we build it, they will come.

Late this morning a prospective client called and asked if I would have time to take a look at his home which he’s been toying with the idea of selling.   Since I had some free time, I agreed and drove to the address given.  Since I’d never been inside it before, I just considered it one of our City’s standard two story homes built around the turn of the century.  I walked up the front steps, crossed the porch and knocked.  Since the door was ajar, I could hear him calling, “Come on in. The door’s open.”  I walked in and to my near jaw-drop surprise, I found myself having entered something one would only see in the movies.

Everywhere I looked there was something all the more breath-taking.  The carved pillars, the numerous built-ins, the tall ceilings, the grander than grand open staircase, and of course oodles of gorgeous wood floors.  He smiled and said while I was still looking a bit pie-eyed, “My home seems to have quite the effect on people when seeing it for the first time.”  It seemed I couldn’t stop saying, “Oh my! Your home is beautiful!”  He seemed impressed that I appreciated the interior craftsmanship that looked as good as it must have when first built.

He gave me the whole tour and when we finally sat down to visit about the listing process, I proceeded to inform him that if he should decide to sell it and not ask a king’s ransom, there’ll be many young professional or semi-professionals standing in line to purchase it.  Since he’s owned it for quite some time, I could sense a bit of resistance on his part as far as setting a timeline for placing it on the market, so we left it where he’d call me when he’s made up his mind to sell.

The tour  of that beauty was today’s visual treat for me.  There’s no question in my mind whomever had that home built definitely had money and not afraid to let people know it.  I know of many sleeping beauties in our City, but after today’s surprise, I think there are even more than I suspected.  It’s a good thing the seller didn’t take a picture of the look of wonderment that must’ve been on my face while surveying the detailed work of a late 1800′s finish carpenter.

2831 – 4th St. NW

2831 - 4th St. NWwww-1Today was one of those days where nearly everything I had originally planned to do was side-tracked by phone calls from buyers, sellers, and other agents who were all in need of assistance.  One of the agents calling when I picked up said, “I wasn’t expecting anyone to answer.”  I always consider such a statement a little odd to where I’ve been tempted to respond by saying, “So would you like me to hang up so you can leave a detailed message?”   Some people really don’t think before they speak, which is why far too many have created rifts with their families along with the general public.  I’ll not forget incidents over the years where one or two of my familiars would later back-peddle after saying something totally in-appropriate.  The most memorable one was when I would at times hear “Oh you know me.  I’m always saying something before thinking.”  Hmmm.  I’m still wondering if that particular person is still proud of such an “ability” to insult someone and get away with it.

One of my appointments today was with a young couple who came to my office to sign transfer documents on a closing coming up this week.  They had their son with them who’s just turning a year old.  Such a handsome young man who would give me a bright smile whenever I would say something to him.  His parents are very proud of him and I couldn’t help but say, “You’re very lucky to have such a beautiful as well as happy child.”  That little man had the brightest blue eyes I’ve seen in some time.  If I’d thought of it I would have said to them, “With such eyes, he’s telling us all the window to his soul is filled with great goodness.”

The one and only showing I had today took me to one of our not so delightful districts of our City.  While the buyer and I were out in the back yard, we heard a very loud male voice yelling, “Were the “f” are your “f’ing” socks?”  We turned and looked and there stood a burly man appearing to be in his 30′s glaring down on a boy likely around five or six years old.  Believe me, that wasn’t all the filthy language being spewed out of his mouth and directed at that little boy who by then was sobbing.  The “big boy” finally noticed us across the alley and must’ve decided he’d better stop with is abusive language.  He turned and went stomping back into his house while slamming the door behind him.  And many continue to wonder why we have so many naughty teenagers in our midst.  That showing was definitely a waste of time because my buyer was quick to mention as we were walking back to our vehicles, “Who in their right mind would want to live across the alley from that guy?”   I couldn’t help but agree.

The above photo is the new one I took yesterday of my listing at 2831 – 4th St. NW which I had open this weekend.  We’re now getting some solid interest in it since being reduced, and considering it about time buyers are realizing it’s an excellent buy.  There’s not one major thing that hasn’t been done to it.  The owners recently paid over $190K for it several years ago and went on to spend over $200K in improvements.  It’s just like a brand new home!  There’s no way anyone could even consider building a quality home like it is unless they’re ready to spend close to $500K to get similar quality.  Believe me 2831 – 4th NW offers more bang for the buck than any other ranch in its price range.  I’m still hoping my customer from out East who’s looking at re-locating here pulls the trigger before it gets sold to someone else.