Category Archives: Real Estate

For Those Who’ve Survived

For Those Who've SurvivedIn spite of it being warmer today, I got myself a good chill while showing a home that’s had its heat and electricity shut off for months. In spite of all three of us growing  uncomfortable from the cold within, it really wasn’t a surprise that they were showing real interest in it.  The home is located at 21 – 11th St. NE  here in Mason City.  With it being priced so low, it’s a no-brainer diamond in the rough when considering it has circuit breaker wiring, a nearly new roof, and almost all its beautiful woodwork having never been painted.  It offers one of those rare floor plans that actually fully functions to where there are no areas contained which would give one to say, “Oh, I would not have put this wall here.”  Hopefully they’ll be its new owners because they’ll be using it as their primary residence.  I made sure to point out the finer points of the neighborhood.  Most people living in Mason City don’t know what a great family community lives within until they either live there themselves or know someone who does.

My public open house today at 1034 Park Lane was a smashing success.  There must’ve been at least 12 couples in attendance.  It’ll not surprise me a bit if it gets sold within a week.  Like I said, it’s priced very “right” considering its location, the age, the square footage, and recent updates.  There’ll be some who’ve looked at it recently, and then later on in our sales season, and long after its been sold and closed, sorrily saying, “We should have purchased that home when we had our chance.”  In regards to this home, the saying, “If you snooze, you loose.”, is most appropriate.

After my open house, I had to run back to my office for another appointment, and when finished, I found I had enough time to make it to an out-of-town church service.  I got there just as they were singing their opening hymn.  The most memorable happening was when the pastor during his sermon spoke about the sudden death of his older sister, and how it affected him as well as his parents, along with numerous other siblings for the rest of their lives.  What struck me was his comment that there’s still, while after those long years, not a day that goes by without thoughts of her.  A sudden death within a family is so terribly tragic that it leaves permanent and ever so noticeable scars.

Just as I was walking out, two women with whom I worked with a very many years ago at an area bank stopped me.  I was nearly speechless when seeing them.  Evidently, they were attending some sort of function together after their Services. While we were having a good chat, one of them mentioned their pastor’s sermon, and how something like that must’ve been so horrible at the time. I couldn’t help but share my own thoughts about a great loss I suffered when my very best friend of many years passed.  The only reason I brought it up was to clarify what I’ve recently discovered after my many months of a personal “soul cleansing”, of which I’ve now found that there’s been an illumination given to me from beyond time and space in which I now more fully understand what a real best friend is.

For me, a true friend exists when two people accept each other’s triumphs and failures without strings attached.  I went on to say how lucky any human can consider themselves to be when knowing before they die that they had at least one true friend.  In Germany, it’s considered one of the greatest personal achievements before death. There is a Germanic saying that goes something like, “If someone you know has passed, and while standing above that grave stands his/her best friend weeping, then you’ll know he/she died a very rich person.”  I think my statement must’ve struck a chord with them because they were both a bit teary-eyed after I said it.  I’m glad I ran into them and had the opportunity to share a few thoughts and reminders.

Now on the flip side of what I just said.  Don’t you think the above sketch speaks volumes to our society regarding how so very often we’ve helped certain supposed “friends” and/or “relatives”, and then later showing their own personal forms of thanks, which unfortunately takes place all the more later than sooner.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if we all started counting each others knife scars, and then give generous prizes of endurance for those who’ve survived?  Tonight’s story is the truth, and I’m sticking to it.

Making Iowa Greatly

Making Iowa GreatlyMy day was pretty much a mix of duties from the moment I arrived at the office.  I guess it’s just OK to consider oneself a jack all trades with a multi-tasking overlay.  You likely would’ve considered me an overlapping Jack if having followed me around this particular day.  And of course, the cold temperatures weren’t helping me with my duties.

One of my customers stopped by to drop off a check early this afternoon.  He must’ve had some extra time to kill because of his extended stay.  Since we were seated up near the front window, he happened to notice a couple with several young children walking past my office.  I think that must’ve been his cue to bring up the subject of how differently children of today are being reared by their parents.

Evidently that change must be a great sore spot for him because he continued to bring up reasons why there are all the more of our young who’re being over-exposed to the evils of adulthood at very early ages to where they’ve become polluted or jaded far too soon before their minds are fully developed, which in turn creates future social issues for them when they’ve finally reached adulthood.

I agreed with him on nearly all his points, including how I believe many of the parents of those fractured children should be equally blamed for not providing their own insulation against all the many bad ideas and ways which always seem to be within easy reach of our young.  We can also blame the social medias for freely providing information on nearly anything and everything one could possibly consider.  Just remember, children are naturally curious, and when that curiosity drifts into forbidden territories, that’s when the drawbridges should be immediately pulled up by their caring parents–without exception.  Before he left, we both agreed that getting our society back into balance, will likely take years, and possibly even more than a generation or two.

Please don’t forget about my public open house I’m hosting tomorrow that’s located at 1034 Park Lane here in Mason City.  Now that the owner has moved everything out, it now looks all the more open and spacious, and I won’t be a bit surprised if there’ll be some solid interest tomorrow as long as we don’t get any more snow.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s priced right, considering it’s a newer 3+ bedroom ranch in one of our more desirable districts which also offers a double attached garage, a useable basement with a 3/4 bath, and a larger than normal fenced rear yard.  Please tell any of your friends and relatives who’re considering a change to stop on by.

I took a photo this morning of the above three flags flying over our County Courthouse.  The faint early sunlight made them appear to be glowing.  While looking at them it reminded me of that “Make America Great” slogan we’ve been seeing so much of this past year, which caused me to consider branding my own slogan that’s closer to home which is, “Let’s start making Iowa greatly better.”  You all know our work ethic is stellar, our natural resources are endless, and our educational systems are top drawer, so all we need do, is to all the more continually remind ourselves that the sky’s the limit with opportunities awaiting in our great State.

Funny Farms

Funny Farms-1After enduring yet another bone-chilling day, I’m even all the more happy to find us slowly approaching the end of January, and when February arrives, I’ll most vehemently say, “Good riddance to January!” When visiting with one of my clients this afternoon about this winter’s weather, I said, “I hope I’m wrong in my prediction, but if my memory serves me correctly, in years past, I recall bitterly cold winters being followed by swelteringly hot summers.”  She laughed and replied, “After these endless weeks, I’m ready to have Summer’s heat turned up a notch or two.”

Most of my day was spent running errands and working on my office accounts.  Just staying at it an hour or two each day, makes for another one of my jobs finished more sooner than later.

One of my errands sent me out to my listing at 1034 Park Lane here in Mason City where I took new exterior and interior photos which I felt necessary so to replace the ones I took when I first listed it.  Now that the owner has moved out, prospective buyers will be able to more fully envision their own furniture placement within.  As with most long term owners, they usually have more furniture than those who’ve just lived in their homes a few years.  As with nearly everyone, long term home occupancy does create the opportunity to store all the more personalty.

Speaking of personalty, I’ve noticed this past decade how much more stuff–especially clothing, people have contained within their homes.  Just today, I showed a house to a young couple who seemed very interested in it simply because it offers a large amount of built-in storage cabinets and closets.  One closet off the hall, is almost the size of a small bedroom.  Whomever had that home custom built must’ve been major hoarders. When considering it was built back in the 1920′s, I’d say they were way ahead of their time with such a large number of built-in storage spaces.

There was an interesting article I read in the newspaper today about a young couple who purchased their “dream” acreage back in 2016.  What I found the most curious is that they intend to start raising all the more chickens and hogs so to sell their meat to some of our area natural food outlets.  I thought, “How wonderful to see more of our young getting back to the basics.”

After looking at the photos provided by the writer, I couldn’t help but consider them more of the “gentry” type who live within decorator homes perched out on a patch of land in our countryside.  I’m sure by trial and error they’ll learn that raising animals for at least a small profit, will entail a large amount of time and effort on their part to get their animals from birth/hatch to market. If there’s any advice I’d give any who want to step into that arena, is for them to be willing to invest extra time in creating a daily/monthly/yearly method and sticking to it.  I’ve seen good working farms, and really bad ones, and the one statement I make whenever seeing a bad is, “Domesticated animals absolutely DO NOT and CANNOT take care of themselves.”  There must ALWAYS be daily chore interventions by humans, and if there is not, they quickly become dysfunctional “funny farms”.  I’ll continue to wish them well, and hope they’ll have their acreage’s productivity skills fully fine-tuned all the more sooner than later.

As a footnote, the last “funny farm” I was at, I almost cried on behalf of all those animals great and small. Even thinking those animals now, nearly brings tears to my eyes.

Shades of Red

320 1st NE #209-1First and foremost, I must tell everyone about the fabulous turnout we had today at my public open house over at Prairie Place on 1st.  For sure the weather was perfect along with my having advertised it heavily beforehand.  The two main officers of Good Shepherd were good enough to help me with the the heavy flow of traffic.  I would conservatively estimate that there were at least 25 couples in attendance.

I couldn’t be thankful enough to the owners, for their willingness to have their units open for viewing.  They were immensely helpful with my marketing of the vacant units by their allowing prospective buyers to see for themselves how much furniture will comfortably fit into those vacant units.  Since all the rooms are over-sized, it’s hard for many to get an idea of how much will actually fit.

It was an extended workout for me but well worth my time. I’m sure the visitors were also pleased with the variety of goodies being offered which including cake, cookies, and homemade confections, along with punch, coffee, and bottled water.   If there’s not at least one buyer who’s ready, willing, and able to come forward out of today’s showings, I’ll be greatly surprised.

These past several days I’ve been negotiating on the sale of one of my listings, and I think we’ve finally come to an agreement.  I now must get documents scanned and emailed to my out of State buyer.  With a noticeable number of my listings starting to sell, it looks like I’ll have to start beating the bushes anew.  If my suspicions are confirmed, I’d say we’re heading into a shortage of good listings before Spring arrives.

Since I was very late finishing up on my open house at Prairie Place on 1st, and then back at the negotiating table with today’s final sale of one of my listings, I decided there wasn’t enough time to visit an area church, so I’ll have to pick one to attend tomorrow morning.

I’ve really been noticing these past several days how much puddling of water is taking place in people’s yards.  With the ground frozen solid, it can’t leech back into the soil which in some cases, makes for ponds the size of small ice skating rinks.  I happened to notice one today that took up at least half of a home’s rear yard.  I hope buyers don’t think there’s something wrong with those properties for sale because of an abnormality caused by those brutally cold weeks we had to endure, and then a rapid warming.

This afternoon I was teasing a young gentleman who attends St. Paul Lutheran Church by saying, “The people who are choosing the music for me to play at St. Paul are really putting me through my paces with all the new music they’re feeding me.”  He laughed and said, “Well, somebody’s gotta feed you.”

On a similar note, there was a couple in attendance at the open house today who mentioned how much they liked it when I played their church’s beautiful grand piano stationed up near its sanctuary which I used to play on a near regular basis a few years ago.  The wife even went on to say, “The reason we used to set so close to the front was because I not only liked hearing you, but also watching you play.”  Oh Mercy!  I think I must’ve turned at least ten shades of red after she said that.  After my color finally returned, I thanked her and said perhaps someday soon she’ll be seeing and hearing me again.

Here’s wishing you all a peaceful evening and a pleasant day tomorrow.

Missing a Glove

Missing a GloveOh how wonderful today’s weather turned out to be.  No, we didn’t have an entire day of sunshine, but at least it was warm enough to get more of that nasty ice melted off our sidewalks and streets.  That thawing gave me an opportunity to get more ice chipped away from my curbside so people walking from their cars to my front sidewalk wouldn’t have to be climbing over a potentially treacherous curb.  Too many businesses don’t clear away at least a path for regular pedestrians who are fighting to get to sidewalks, but don’t seem able to connect the dots of understanding that their negligence is making it all the more dangerous for their own clients and customers.

I’ve heard some business owners blaming the City for not getting it all off, but don’t you think they should be getting their own arses out there and clearing paths for the sake of their own commercial interests?  All businesses great and small must continue remembering it’s all about making potential clients and customers as comfortable as possible when it comes to doing business in our State’s last retail hub before entering the People’s Republic of Minnesota.

It looks like my week has been pretty productive considering two of my listings were sold, and one of my prior sales having closed.  I’m even in the midst of negotiating  an offer on another one of my listings which I’m in hopes we can get a deal done on it before the weekend is over.

After chatting with several people this week about how high our recent Alliant Energy bills were, it sounds like everyone got their “sticker” shocks when opening their bills.  I was actually prepared for it in knowing how much colder than normal those weeks were compared to our recent winters.  I could also tell that my bills were going to be bigger because of how much more my office furnace was running to keep ahead of those severe temperatures.  When it’s that cold, the chill actually radiates within like a reversed radiator.

Please remember, I’m helping to host the One Year Anniversary/Open House of Prairie Place on 1st that’ll be taking place tomorrow between 1:00 – 3:00 pm.  It’ll be a good time for prospective buyers to view units still available, as well as getting private tours of units already occupied by a number of current residents.  The current owners are the most delightful people, and continually looking forward to having their next new resident’s arrival.  Like I said, “It’s a beautiful community in the making.”

One of my clients stopped by today to drop off a document I’ll be needing.  Since we both had time to chat, we visited about this and that, until the subject of fishing came up.  Since he’s an avid fisherman, I was forced to listen while he was recalling this past year’s catch, and of of which I found very interesting.

After hearing his stories, I was compelled to tell a story of my recent attempts  at fishing several years ago. First off, I had to inform him that I hadn’t fished since I was likely seven years old.  Well, about two or three years ago, I decided to try my hand at fishing.  Oh Mercy!  After about three hours of loosing hooks, tangled lines, and endless snags, I finally gave up and said, “I’ve not yet evolved enough to understand the concept of fishing.”  He got a good laugh at my recollection of such a disastrous afternoon.  Perhaps Mother Nature just decided to punish me for not spending some soulful time at her water’s edge.

When I was walking Downtown early this morning, I happened to notice something dark in the corner of a business entrance’s alcove. I curiously walked over to see what it was, and to my surprise, I found that some male must’ve lost a glove that was positioned on the concrete in a way appearing to be giving all passers-by’s a ghostly “finger”.  But then I considered it was only a lone remnant of some male having thrown his glove down as a challenge for another to have their go at fisticuffs.  Looks like we’ll never know the real answer, but at least I did get a photo of it to share with you.  But there’s one thing you can be certain of, someone is missing a glove.

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?