Category Archives: Real Estate

Hell Serves no Ice

Hell Serves no Ice-1I’m still in a bit of shock that it’s already the 2nd of August and feeling Summer’s just getting started.  We did have a quirky beginning with all the rain and lower temps early on, so I guess we’re all going to have to start playing “catch-up” with our enjoyment of Mother Nature’s last third of Summer days and evenings for this year.

It sure was another crazy wind storm with rain last night.  I noticed more branches down and when talking to someone earlier today about it I said, “I think those really strong straight line winds we had several times earlier this year internally weakened those big trees to where winds not so strong are now finishing off the damage that was already done.”  He agreed while saying his neighbor’s big tree came down in last night’s wind.   I dearly love trees, but I’m becoming all the more fearful of those healthy looking big boys that may come crashing down without notice during a storm.

Prairie Place on 1st had two separate showings on it today, and now that the word is getting out, I believe we’re going to see those units starting to get sold. I’ve reminded everyone that Henkel Construction built that complex and they’re by far the best constructed I’ve seen in a very long time.  I told a Snowbird yesterday, “How much better can you have it here?  When you decide to head for Florida for the winter, you just lock your door and dismiss your worries because you know it’ll be there as you left it when you return in the Spring.”  She couldn’t argue that fact and is now thinking of having a second look.

One thing I’ve been careful in mentioning is the fact that when people get up there in age, they shy away from having to drive any farther than they have to–especially on our  busy four lane highways.  With Prairie Place on 1st, there’s no real reason to be on the Highway every day.  Fareway is within walking distance, nearly all the big churches are only a few blocks away, along with the Post Office, the banks and credit union. Many of the elderly who like to walk, can find a plethora of interesting places to go such as the library, the shops Downtown, East Park, the museum, and everywhere else one could think of that’s located in our Historic Downtown.  If I were looking for a condo, Prairie Place on 1st would be my first choice.

I’m going to schedule two public open houses this coming Saturday which will be the acreage I have listed at 305 N. 1st Street in Fertile from 10:00 a.m. till Noon, and 323 – 6th St. NW here in Mason City from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.  They’re both very good homes for the money and it’s now their time to be sold.

Someone was telling me today about an unfortunate happening with one of his relatives which made me sad and internally very angry.  I know I may be sounding judgmental when saying, “Sometimes, in a karmatic way bad people get their paybacks for what they’ve done to others, but when bad people do evil things to naive young buyers, they’re even all that much more evil.  It seems there will always be those who’ll be so inconsiderate of other human beings that they’ll take them for everything they can get, and walk away with Cheshire smiles on their faces.  Too bad they’ve never come to the realization that Hell serves no ice.

Work of a Master

323 6th St. NW-13With it now being the third day of dealing with my 15 flea bites, I’m all the more determined to stay as far from fleas as possible, but no farther.  Calamine lotion has been the best remedy against the itching as well as keeping the inflammation down, but since those bites are on my legs and having to wear long slacks, as soon as the lotion gets rubbed of by the fabric, they’re back to itching again.  I’m still in disbelief how people with dogs and cats can leave them untreated and in likely such miserable states.

During a conversation with my aunt this morning, I nearly brought up the subject of my flea bites, but then decided against it because she would’ve expanded it manyfold by bringing up the times she was nearly driven mad by flea bites she received a handful of times.  I know I’m sensitive to them, but her sensitivities are off the charts to where if she’s been bitten more than a few times, it becomes an emergency room visit for a shot to help counteract the physical effects of those bites.  It’s always interesting how certain sensitivities run in families to where there’s a hard-coded genetic pre-disposition.

I’ll never ever forget the time I had to do an inspection of a rickety old house a tenant moved out of that was part of an estate.  When I walked in only a day or two after the tenants moved out, there was what I thought to be clouds of gnats around the windows, but quickly discovered they were jumping fleas. I flew out of that house faster than greased lightening.  Of course I had them on me and in my car, so I drove straight home and stripped in my garage and put those flea soaked clothes in plastic bags.  I sprayed my car as much as I could, but still had to have an exterminator treat it.  It’s not a fun happening to have when finding a flea on your shirt sleeve or feeling one in your hair while driving.  It’s more of a dangerous driving distraction than I care to experience.

We’re starting to get inquiries from the general public on Prairie Place on 1st now that all the information and photos have been placed online.  I gave a tour of it today to a Realtor who’ll be showing it tomorrow.  She was glad I did take the time to give her a preview because she’s now more comfortable with the units.  I was happy to hear her mention that they reminded her of the condos at The Garden’s in Clear Lake but far better built as well as being noticeably bigger.  It would be great to get some Clear Lake resident buyers as well.

We’ve also be getting more inquiries on 323 – 6th St. NW which is as far as I’m concerned, the best three bedroom home for the money.  The owner who’s about as meticulous as one would ever imagine, performed a near miracle with its restoration  and upgrades.  Whenever I’ve shown it, every buyer has marveled at the quality and beauty within.  I’m confident there’ll be a very discriminating buyer who’ll see it and want it.  What I appreciate about buyers like them, is that they know quality and able to recognize the work of a master craftsman.  In these times, I’ve discovered they’re a dying breed.  The above photo is but one of its interior shots.

Out in the Trenches

Out in the Trenches-1After an exceptionally busy week, today finally seemed back in the realm of normalcy to where I could get bills paid, correspondence sent out, and follow-up calls made.  By the time mid-afternoon arrived, I considered myself caught up and ready for the weekend.

Tomorrow will be the first time in a number of years where I’ll be hosting two public open houses in one day.  After looking at my normal Saturday morning schedule, I figured I could sacrifice another two hours for an additional open house.

The first one I’ll have open is my new listing at 1031 – 10th St. NE which offers many sought after features such as, it’s a ranch, it offers 3 bedrooms, has a main floor den/family room, and an attached double garage. It also has steel siding, a basement rec room, and a big enough yard for a garden.  To top it all off, anyone looking to be closer to Nature, this is the place to be.   Across the street is a natural area which attracts wild turkeys and other wildlife which can be seen wandering about regularly.  I hope to have a good crowd from 10:00 a.m. till Noon.

The second open house tomorrow is located at 1202 – 2nd St. NE which is right next to the Winnebago River.  Every time I’m out there I feel as though I’ve just been teleported to a nature preserve.  The sellers just today gave me the go-ahead to reduce the price to $110,000.00 which should certainly spur some good buyer interest. First off, this home is NOT in the flood district.  It offers a newer kitchen that’s roomy enough for some serious cooking, a main floor family room with a fireplace and sliding doors to a deck, and of course views, views, and more views of the Winnebago.  There’s something primeval about bodies of water for us humans.  It’s almost as if it’s an internal calling to some sort of beginning for us all.  Have you ever checked the recent prices of lakeshore homes in Clear Lake?  Those prices alone should give any buyer the incentive to invest in this home.  I’ll be there from 1:00 – 3:00 pm., and if you can’t find me in the house, I may possibly be down at the riverbank.

A very many months ago I spoke about how I don’t believe good teachers are getting paid enough.  Well today, I happened to skim over the posted salaries of Mason City’s School District.  I’m really wishing now I hadn’t recognized a number of the names and salaries posted.  There is one particular person whom I’ll not mention who’s getting paid way more than I would have ever dreamed possible.  The shock for me when seeing that salary was knowing too well that person is not a teacher, has no college degree, and is not in administration.  It’s a far too no-brainer job to be afforded such a high salary.

No one will ever be able to convince me that school administration staff is worth as much as they’re getting paid.  The real “out in the trenches jobs” are being held by the teachers who as far as I’m concerned, have to endure far more from students, parents, and administration for what they’re getting paid on a yearly basis.  Ok, I’m finished with my gripe, but I do hope there’ll be some visibly good re-arranging of salaries and priorities within Iowa’s school districts.

Curtain Rising for Prairie Place

320 1st St NE-4Even though you’d think everyone looks at the simplest of situations similarly, the cold reality sets in to where you step back, turn, and walk away from someone saying, “Whoa!  From what plain of reality did you cross over?”  Yes, it’s a wonderment sometimes how we humans manage to co-exist with such radical mindsets in our midst, and unfortunately, they seem to be the ones who scream the loudest.

I mention this after having encountered someone again today who’s completely and utterly all about himself.  I was supposed to get some documents returned, and when I asked about them again, he changed the subject on me.  Not being in the best of moods for a side-stepping conversation, I said again, “You didn’t give me those docs which you assured me I would have over two days ago.”  Another feeble promise was made and likely won’t materialize.  He hasn’t yet realized that the more he remains a cog in the wheel, the more likely he won’t get the home he wants and then I’ll be the bad guy.

While at the grocery store today I ran into an old client whom I’ve done some work for in the past.  He’s retired and certainly enjoying his golden years due to his careful planning for them.  What interests me the most about him is his fearlessness in regards to his travels to exotic places that most of us only read and/or dream about.

From previous conversations with him, I knew he’s traveled the Orient on a regular basis, but today I found that he’s gone for six months a year.  Seems he’s found families in different countries who take him in as a full-fledged guest for those six months, and it has worked greatly for the number of years he’s been doing it.  Today he told me a story about having spent some time with a retired North Vietnamese soldier who fought for the other side during the war in Viet Nam.  The photos he freely shared of those years were from a different perspective which was a real eye-opener for my client.

Just before we broke off our conversation, I said, “I’m sure you’ve found in your long term stays with those families that it’s less dangerous there than it would be living with families in certain areas of our Country.”  I was saddened when he replied, “You’re right, and believe me, some areas of Mason City are far more dangerous than what I’ve ever experienced while living in those Oriental communities during my six month stretches.”  I soulfully couldn’t help but agree with him which made it all the more saddening.

As I promised yesterday, I have five new condominium listings that I can now share with you.  They are located at 320 – 1st St. NE here in Mason City.  I took as many photos as I felt necessary to give the general public a clear view of what Prairie Place on 1st has to offer.  As I’ve told people in the past, “If I can see myself living in a residence I have listed, then it’s all the easier for me to sell.” Click on the following link to my website showing my new listings.  It’s a virtual curtain rising for Prairie Place on 1st.

320 – 1st St. NE Listings…

Prairie Place on 1st

320 1st St NE-1Someone mentioned today how humid our summer has been this year when saying, “I moved back here from a State that’s normally very humid, but I don’t ever remember North Iowa being like southern Missouri.”  I couldn’t help but agree that it’s been exceptionally humid lately, and after the heavy downpour of rain we had this morning, we’ll be experiencing all the more humidity these next days unless we get some cool drying wind out of the north.

One of my colleagues called today on another matter, but we later found ourselves on the subject of all the fears homeowners have been alerted to over these past ten to twenty years.  I totally “get it” that people need to be made aware of things that are hazardous to their health, but sometimes I believe those fears get blown way out of proportion.

One particular failed acreage transaction I was involved in several years ago centered around the well water test.  When the well test came back, it was discovered its water contained a higher arsenic level than what the Federal Government recommends as being safe.  Keep in mind, its arsenic level really wasn’t that much over the limit.  The seller agreed, at her expense, to have a reverse osmosis system installed for the drinking water at the kitchen tap which we figured would be the best remedy for everyone involved.

After the buyer had done extensive reading online regarding the subject, he insisted that the seller have a new well drilled, or was going to walk because he was not going to subject any of his future barnyard animals to well water containing higher than acceptable amounts of arsenic.  After much back and fort negotiating, the sale fell thru, and the owner decided she was going to remain living there and deal with the arsenic as she saw fit.  I’m nearly 100% certain she did not have a new well drilled and is likely still drinking the water from the well just as before without a reverse osmosis system.

After telling my unfortunate story about arsenic to my colleague today, I added, “Why is it we’re not seeing all the cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, cats, dogs, and any/all other barnyard animals dropping dead of arsenic poisoning?”  Shouldn’t we keep in mind, arsenic has been in the ground for hundreds of thousands of years which was long before we feeble humans fell out of the trees?  With that said, I believe we all must be careful and cautious regarding carcinogenic/poisonous materials, but also to keep all of those very same fears in perspective.  Don’t you think that makes sense?

The highlight of my day was spending about three hours or more bringing myself up to speed with the condominium units that were recently built which are located in the Crescent of our Historic Downtown.

I took oodles of photos and many notes so that when I list five of them for sale tomorrow, I’ll be able to intelligently answer any and all buyer inquiries.  Believe me, that complex is the best I’ve ever seen built in this City, and as far as I’m concerned, they’ll all be sold more sooner than later.  The above photo is of the street-side entrance to Prairie Place on 1st.

Tomorrow, I’ll have the new listings posted online so everyone can get a better look at that exceptional condominium complex.  I did meet a handful of the current owners and they all love their units, so don’t forget to look online tomorrow for my new listings of Prairie Place on 1st.

1031 – 10th St. NE

1031 10th St. NE-12There were a few highlights to my day which I felt worth sharing with you all.  I’m sure you’ve all had similar happenings where you go somewhere to perform a task, and along the way or back, you find yourself in the midst of a delightful intervening circumstance.  For me they’re not normal occurrences, but today must’ve been extra special to where I experienced two.

The first happened as I was leaving out of a home after a pro bono “value added service” I had just provided.  I was walking to my car and happened to notice a gentleman whom I’d not seen in a very long time out playing with his young family in his backyard.  Considering I had enough spare time for a chat, I walked across the street while whistling after him.  He turned and motioned for me to go on back.

Several years ago I heard that he now has two young children, but I didn’t think much of it until I was encountered by two cherubic faces. One belonged to a three year old, and the other of a four to five-ish age. They looked all the more like little rascals seeing they’d must’ve been eating chocolate earlier when seeing all the smears around their mouths.   The father and I were busy playing a bit of catch-up while the kiddies were busy doing comical things for attention.  The little three year old was wanting the most attention,  but too shy to communicate with me, or even get close.  We spent about twenty minutes in general conversation about life, the state of our country, the world, and lastly, about how greatly our planet  has been evolving of late.

He seemed concerned about the future for his children which caused me to say before I left, “I’m convinced there are big changes ahead for us, but as long as we take care of ourselves and those who’re special to us and will likewise do the same, we’ll be fine.  But there are those who’ll be facing many problems in very big ways because of their selfishness and greed over the years which have created vulnerable islands of quicksand  which will be their self-made demise.”  I drove off believing our encounter was meant to be.

My second happenstance was visiting with a gentleman about some work I needed to have done.  Since I couldn’t reach him by phone, I drove to his workshop.  Not expecting to be there for over an hour, I was shocked to find how late it was when I got into my car.  I was quite taken by his collection of real honest to goodness field stones.  “Where in the world did you find so many?” I said.  “Believe it or not, I drove many times to my father’s farm in eastern Iowa to get them.” he said.  The more I looked at all their different shapes, colors, and sizes, the more I was struck with admiration of his diligent labors. He was quietly surprised how taken I was by his collection since most consider rocks just rocks.

The last highlight was getting a very well built home in a popular neighborhood listed.  It’s a roomy 3 bedroom ranch that has a first floor family room with an attached double garage.  The sellers have been busy for weeks getting it ready for the market, and it shows.  You’ll not find a better home for the money than my new listing located at 1031 – 10th St. NE here in Mason City.  I’m hosting a public open house on it this Saturday morning from 10 – Noon.  I’m confident it’ll sell more sooner than later.  Click on the link to view this handsome ranch that’s close to the pool, park, east-side schools, and shopping.

1031 – 10th St. NE Mason City

Worth Revisiting

107 S. Rhode Island-1Without expecting it, this particular Sunday was a day for me to get a real workout by my being menially laborious.  With the exception of taking about an hour off to re-shoot some photos on one of my listings, I was nearly in a constant state of motion for hours on end.  At least it wasn’t so hot outside due to the north wind providing a constant cooling breeze.

While diligently working on several projects today, my thoughts were taken back to about a year ago when I was preparing my Mother’s home for the market.  At the time, I considered getting her home ready a daunting task, but now after it’s been sold for nearly a year, I look back and smile to myself in how near possessed I was in getting it presentable to the general public.

Without a question, every square inch of her home was fully cleaned, every wall and ceiling painted, kitchen and bath updated, all woodwork cleaned and re-varnished, anything not in tip-top condition was either repaired or replaced, all the oak floors were re-finished, and last but not least, her basement and garage was cleaned and painted to where when finished, I dare say you could eat off of any of those floor.  At the time, one of the professionals from Downtown happened to see the photos of her home online and said, “Wow!  That basement is so clean, it looks like you could eat off the floor.”  I smiled and said, “Yes, I think you probably could.”

I mention my work on her home not out of pride, but as an encouragement for others who are planning on listing their homes.  More sellers are concerned about placement of furniture and online presentation, but that’s not what sells homes the most.  A very clean and well kept home either furnished or empty will sell the fastest, and I’ll argue that fact with anyone into perpetuity.

Thinking of two of my most recent sales, both sets of sellers were exceptionally good about having their homes as close as one could get to being spotlessly clean and maintenance free .  Did they offer quartz countertops and glitzy stagings?  No.  They were presented as real life homes owned by real life conscientious homeowners.   If only all of the other home sellers here in our City were of similar mindsets, we would likely be experiencing an even more robust real estate market.

One of these days I’m going to take a drive over to Bancroft just to have a good look around as well as take an abundance of photos.  From what I’ve heard, their market is very strong and what few homes do come on the market are sold quickly.  Keep in mind, Bancroft isn’t that large and not exactly in spitting distance of any “hub” communities in North Iowa.  I suspect the reason their market is hot is because it’s a great little community in which to live, and certainly not containing any “mini ghettos”.

The above photo is of 107 S. Rhode Island which I re-visited today to take new photos.  The sellers have added appliances along with making more improvements.  It’s a great home, in a great neighborhood, and certainly priced to sell.  Click on the address link and see why 107 S. Rhode Island here in Mason City was worth revisiting for another photo shoot today.