Real People

It certainly was a glorious day with the temps climbing far above freezing and the sun continuing to hang with us, along with being a welcome relief as we’re approaching our winter solstice. I just mentioned something today to a dear one about how much I appreciate getting past the 21st of December when knowing the nights will start growing shorter and our days longer. It doesn’t seem so long ago when I was speaking about our Summer solstice drawing near.

It was a rather un-eventful day in real estate, and to keep myself busy, I went back to my office accounting and paying bills. It seems that no sooner everything is caught up, another batch arrives in the mail. The one bill I’ve always considered a waste of money, is my monthly billing from the Globe Gazette. I only wish the older generation would finally get over this business of wanting their homes advertised in the newspaper. I personally can’t think of the last time I’ve ever had anyone call to see one of the homes I have advertised in the Real Estate Extra, yet I’d be embarrassed to say how much I pay for that rag every month, and talk about not being up with the times, its format hasn’t changed in over 20 years. I came to the understanding well over 10 years ago that if Holtz Realty was going to remain competitive, it would have to create an online presence, and so we did, and it continues to work far better than anything sent to print.

Around noontime, a customer stopped by to check on recent listings, and while in conversation, he mentioned how much he believes our new multi-purpose arena is going to be a flop and then become one more burden on the taxpayers of our City. Knowing his youth, I continue to be amazed at how much of a realist he is. He talked about the turning away of the casino years ago, the hog processing plant, and then how cumbersome it is to get small changes/improvements made whenever having to deal with our municipal bureaucracies.

I couldn’t help warning him that these new spiked assessed values we’re seeing across the board, are definitely going to be noticeable when the tax bills come out next year. Just yesterday I happened to see the assessed value of a listed home that was many thousands higher than that property will ever sell for. In the past, an over-assessed property was an exception, but in certain price ranges, I’m now finding it to be the rule. Just recently, one of my listings sold substantially lower than its assessed value, and I think I’ll be seeing more of it in the future.

Having some minutes to kill, I took a little time to read a monthly publication that’s sent out to members of our local Chamber of Commerce. I couldn’t help getting a few quiet chuckles when paging thru it because if I didn’t know better, you’d swear Mason City’s business environment is the best it’s ever been since our settlers first arrived. Really? I find it also very commonplace in these times when finding all the more loud-mouthed people with grandiose ideas about how great and wonderful our business climate is here in River City. Once again, I wish all the best for our City, but whenever hearing stilted projections and exaggerations of what’s real, I find a bit insulting of the intelligence of the long-term residents of our community. We all want to see a semi-load of “cash cow” employers arrive, but again, that’s not realistic.

A few days ago, a dear friend of mine stopped by to talk about an article he recently read regarding how all the more future jobs will be lost to computerization, and above all, artificial intelligence. Since he’s computer savvy, he went on to say that even having a so-called secure job in the computer sciences, will not be a given for lifetime employment. This is how quickly technology will continue to make in-roads into safe-haven long-term careers. It’s almost too scary to think about how it just very well may be.

After he left, I began thinking about how there’ll be new opportunities for companies who’ll be willing to turn away from all these voice-activated call centers which many corporations have embraced, by offering realtime services by actual humans who’ll be more than happy to assist their callers. I can see it now, “We have the real people who’re offering the best services.” You can bet there’ll be good business to be made when hearing living humans speaking clear English on the other end of our lines. Aren’t you just loathing all these robot calls of late? I get at least four or five of them a day at my office and the first thing “it” says is, “Don’t hang up!”, but I do anyway.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible of poverties.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

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