Cloud of Uncertainty

As we approach the last days of February, I’m finding those little signs of Spring beginning to appear, and all the happier for it. While on the phone today with a client,
he also mentioned how much longer this year’s winter has seemed. Of course I had to remind him that it’s likely because we really didn’t have much of a Fall due to most of October being much colder than normal. Who knows, perhaps with this evolution of climate change, we may not have four seasons any longer to where there’ll be winter, and then suddenly summer, and then back to winter once again.

Some have mentioned how early the flowers are blooming out on the East Coast which is likely because they were getting more rain than snow over the winter, which made for a shorter rest period for their sleeping trees, bushes and flowers. I hate even thinking about it, but I’m convinced with these rising temperatures, we’re going to be seeing far more pesky bugs, and especially ticks because they’re not experiencing as much of a winter-kill.

This was another winter where I don’t believe our sub-soil actually froze solid because there’ve been times where I’ve been able to get signs in and out of the ground. Of course today, I had one “yell” of a time getting a sign out over in Clear Lake, and likely because it was exposed all the more to the northwest wind. Some naughty monkey bent, and then twisted it, which made it all the more difficult to get out.

While driving back to the City from Clear Lake early this afternoon, I couldn’t help noticing in the eastern sky, five jets flying together at a very high altitude in a westerly direction, and then gradually turning and heading northward. For the life of me, I have no idea what five noticeably large jets were flying together like that. If it were summer, and an air show was taking place in one of the big cities, I would’ve dismissed it as being such, but in the middle of winter and five of them flying so high, still puzzles me.

One of my appointments today was to meet the City housing inspector at several properties owned by an investor of mine. It didn’t take that long because of how up to date everything was. Now that all rentals require CO2 detectors, it’s one more thing that has to be present. Oh well, all was good, so that was another “to do” off my list.

I’ve been reading how fast the corona virus is spreading in other countries, which is making me all the more concerned over it turning into a full-blown pandemic. The higher percentage of deaths in Iran is causing more of a concern with me that it’s far more deadly than believed. It didn’t surprise me, because I still harbor great doubts about China reporting their actual number of cases, and especially the number of deaths caused by it. As we all know, the poorer countries will be the ones suffering the most because of how ill-equipped they are when dealing with something of such magnitude.

We’ll see if there’s another virologist coming out and saying, Before it’s all over, there’ll be a minimum 40% of the world’s population who’ll contract it, and possibly get as high as 70%.” Let’s just hope it doesn’t mutate into an even more deadly strain, because if that happens, there’s going to be a cloud of uncertainty that’ll be causing some major corrections in our world stock markets and domestic productions.

Someone asked today how our real estate market has been, and I couldn’t help saying how fewer homes I’ve been seeing listed for this time of year. It’s almost March, and the numbers just aren’t there. Perhaps the bottle-neck I spoke about these past several years, has finally arrived.

After noticing a new twin-home being listed today at the whopping price of $360K, was one more confirmation of how much more costly it is to build new. The price of materials has gone up, along with the contractor and sub’s labor costs. With the recent build-outs, even the newish one bedroom, one bath apartments in the Twin Cities are commanding prices between $1,300 and $1,500 per month. If there aren’t people living from pay-to-pay in those metro areas, then they’re eating macaroni sandwiches often.

Just today, I looked at a home owned by one of my clients who’s been working on getting it readied for this Spring’s market, and when asked last Fall how much I thought it would bring, I came up with a number being somewhere around $100K. Well, after looking at it today, and knowing what similar homes were bringing over the winter, I adjusted my estimate up to somewhere between $110K – $115K, and the reason for the hike, is that there’s really not that many “move-in condition” homes on our market. Keep in mind, when saying “move-in”, I mean there being no foreseeable future updates needed–especially in the arena of kitchens, baths, windows, siding, and mechanicals.

Late this afternoon, I noticed they’ve adjusted the weather forecast for this weekend to be in the low to mid 40’s. If it gets that warm, we’re going to be seeing all the more snowmelt, so perhaps we’ll be finding some Spring flowers starting to poke their heads out these coming weeks.

While driving home this evening, I was shocked but not, after seeing an evil coyote the size of a small wolf, running across the road near the intersection of 12th St. NW and N. Taft. Their numbers are growing like our deer population because I’ve been seeing all the more of them lately, and believe it or not, one of my friends recently told me she happened to see one of those devils out in Stone Pillar early one morning. Yikes!

Tonight’s one-liner is: Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

Joe Chodur

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