Trapped in a Patch of Nettle

This morning’s beauty was so much filled with wonderment, I decided to take a little drive in the countryside before beginning my day at the office, so off I went. With it being so early, there were very few vehicles on the roads, which offered more of an opportunity to see more natural sights, than those being man-made. Of course whenever out in the hinterland, I always try to get as close to bodies of water, so this morning, I stopped and got a few good looks at both the Winnebago and Shell Rock rivers. After being at the banks of both of them this morning, it was confirmed once again that the Shell Rock is by far my favorite. For whatever reason, I believe it’s more pollution-free than the Winnebago. We must all be thankful to the City of Albert Lea for working hard at cleaning up its lake, because it just so happens to be its tributary.

I stopped at a small park near the Shell Rock and did a little walking around its quaint picnic area. I’m sure it’s getting used on the weekends by families, but being so early on a weekday morn, I was the only soul to be found out poking about. While there, I began wondering if more residents North Iowa will be spending additional time outdoors this summer since they’d been self-quarantined indoors by the China-virus. You can bet I’ve been getting out more than I have in recent years, and very much liking it. Of course several weekends ago, I over-did it and ended up getting a good sunburn on my face and neck. There’s no question I’ll be using my sunblock the next time I’m out for any extended period. I did manage to find my classic straw hat that I’ve had for years, and now hanging in a conspicuous place, just so I don’t forget it.

My morning went flying by with desk work and phone calls, and one of them being a call from an agent who showed one of my listings yesterday, and reporting she’d likely be bringing an offer in on it today, which she later did. I called the owners, and as chance would have it, they were home, and asked me to drive over to present it.

When I got there, I proceeded to go over the offer with them, and since it was at the bottom end of their range of acceptability, not asking for seller concessions, a pre-approval letter from a bank attached, and over 20% down, they decided to go ahead and take the offer. The buyers were asking for a 10 day inspection period, but the sellers did say that selling it at a deeply discounted price, they would make no repair concessions if a home inspector should find something, which I relayed on to the selling agent.

I fully “get it” when buyers decide to have inspections, but what I don’t understand, are the nit-pickings they do, which in turn, freaks-out the buyers, and especially if they happen to be first-timers who have no concept of minor repair costs and improvements. I have to laugh to myself once in a while when reading some of those lengthy reports where they’d over-expanded on little problems, yet missed the big ones.

As an example, about four years ago, a person purchased a little brick home in one of our blue-collar neighborhoods, and from what I heard, the inspector didn’t find much of anything that would cause any concern for that buyer, but since I’d shown that home enough times, the first thing I would point out, were tell-tale signs of water seepage in the basement, and likely due to it being built on lower ground than the neighbors’. The second expensive “fixes”, were areas on the brick exterior which were showing large cracks in many mortar joints, which was an expensive tuck-pointing job in the making.

Now why didn’t that home inspector mention those problems? I say he or she was too busy looking at all the little things, but didn’t stand back far enough to see the big-ticket issues. I think many of those inspectors have tablet computers with programs which they scroll thru and fill out as they’re going from room to room. One of my sellers recently told me that she noticed the inspector of her home, checking to make sure all the hinges on her kitchen cabinet doors were working. Now I’d say that was a bit of an over-kill. That just happened to be the same inspector who missed a very large structural issue with a home that was sold some years ago.

I was over at a home today which was in great need of some yard maintenance, and when I walked around back, there I found a beautiful Clematis trapped in a patch of Nettle. Being so taken by it all, I walked back to my car, grabbed my camera, and took the above shot. I felt a little sad for that poor defenseless Clematis being caged by those stingers, because most people are normally diligent in keeping the weeds away from them. As much as I hate nearly all vining plants, there are those few exceptions, and Clematis being one of them. There have been a few times over the years where I’ve tried growing them, but they never did make it to maturity. I did later learn that when planting them, you are supposed to use one of those old round clay field tiles which you bury deep enough so that it’s level with the ground, and then plant the Clematis inside it. I haven’t tried it, but from what I’ve read, it makes for a healthy and long-lived perennial.

Part of tomorrow’s day, is going to be spent working on a problem file which was a recent sale of mine. I’m going to remain confident that all will be well, and when just recently reading the opinion of title, I’d say the listing agent has got some digging and calling to do. I’m also going to call the closing agent to make sure she stays on that agent, just so to get the requested documents to her as soon as possible. I suspected at the time, there were going to be title issues, and wouldn’t you know it, there are.

Before heading home, I checked on my San Marzano tomatoes, and thankfully found that they’d not been attacked again last night, which means that deer repellant is working on both those tomatoes and hostas.

Tonight’s one-liner is: “No comment” is an expression I’m starting to necessarily use in these turbulent times of societal unrest.

Joe Chodur

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