What You Don’t See

It wasn’t the most pleasant day in real estate when having to call a seller to let him know that the buyers who seemed exceptionally interested in his home, suddenly jumped to the opposite spectrum and purchased another beyond our City limits from another agent, and being one more example of this irrational exuberance that’s hit North Iowa, because I can already see future problems they’ll be having which they didn’t consider when buying it. Oh well, that’s all I could do is wish them the best and walk away.

Another gentleman stopped at my office to announce he’d purchased a home that’s been on and off the market these past several years, which just happened to be one I’d not ever been in which I considered strange since it’s changed hands more than a few times. I think the quirkiest about that property, is its rickety single garage that’s unusable for parking due to where it’s situated. Pretty much all he did was ramble on about how beautiful its woodwork is. Well, I’d say paying +-120K for a home offering nothing more to write home about other than its woodwork, was a pretty hefty price considering there really isn’t a garage. Unfortunately most think garages are cheap to build, but just let them start pricing materials and labor. The real kicking in the teeth, is when the bids come in for flatwork and wiring. Yes, this maniacal buying in North Iowa is still moving along in high gear.

He stayed at the office far longer than I’d expected, and likely looking for some sort of blessing from me in his purchase, but all I could say was, “I wish you the best.” I’m just not the type to tell people what they want to hear, so I think he finally realized he wasn’t going to hear me say, “Oh, you made a fine choice for you and your family.”, so he figured he’d better take my welling wishing as being the best he’d get and leave.

I just looked at the sales statistics for all the Realtors this morning, and just about fell off my chair when seeing the volumes some of my competitors had this year, and doing just a very conservative estimate on what one particular agent made since the first of January, I couldn’t possibly image making well over $660,000.00 in one year. Uncle Sam is going to be knocking very hard on the doors of some Realtors this year, unless they’ve found some un-fair way to hide their earnings. Am I jealous? No, because I’ve always been of the mindset that money isn’t everything, and too oft finding that those who fall in love with it, soon after consider it their begin-all and end-all.

We’ll see what happens when Zillow becomes more deeply imbedded into the minds of homeowners and buyers, because that’s when the rules will quickly change. I’m sorry to say this year has been one of the worst for me due to buyers and sellers going “for sale by owner”, and what really gripes me, are the innumerable hours I’ve spent with both sides, and then end up with a “Sorry, I bought direct.”, or “Sorry, we just for fun posted it on Zillow and a buyer appeared.” Am I complaining? No, but rather being all the more attuned to those who’re looking for more money in their pockets, or “A steal of a deal.” I’ll wager over 75% of the homes that were sold for sale by owner, the buyers paid either too much, or weren’t aware of hidden issues. Believe me, flying solo may sound like the door of opportunity, but in the end, there’s some very sorry buyers.

I think what’s created all these many more FSBO transactions, is how frantic buyers seem to be about getting something purchased, and you can be sure, the sellers are taking advantage of it. Isn’t it funny how people in nearly every profession, suddenly consider themselves experts in real estate purchases and sales? May I take your temp?

I mentioned to that young man today how thoughtless many of those FSBO buyers are when dumping their agents and buying something advertised on Zillow. I asked him how he’d feel if at the end of two weeks of work, his employer walks up to him and says, “Oh by the way, we’ve decided not to pay you this period because we believe you didn’t serve our needs well enough.” I was delighted to find the lightbulb finally went off in his brain to where he more fully understood. Yes, our general public is growing all the more myopic.

The bulk of my day was spent preparing a file for a quick, yet long-overdue closing tomorrow, and once again, only because we had to wait for title work. Fortunately the banker was able to squeeze in a late afternoon closing. I managed to meet the buyers out at the house so they could do their final walk-thru late this afternoon, so barring any intervening circumstances, it’ll get closed after waiting nineteen days longer than necessary.

While out at the alley of my office, I noticed an excavating company digging in the back parking lot of the bar two doors down, so curious me had to go investigate. When I looked to see who was operating that backhoe, I smiled from ear to ear when seeing it was a man who did some work for me a number of years ago. After he noticed me, he stopped, opened the cab, and before he could say anything I exclaimed, “What you don’t see when you haven’t got a gun!” Yes, we had a very good visit and I couldn’t help saying before walking away, “I was having a bit of a down day until I saw you.”, and wouldn’t you know it, he said the same thing. For me, he’s just one of those chaps you can pick up where you left off no matter how many months or years have passed.

As I was leaving I said to one of his workers, “The number of years I’ve known him, I can say he actually was young and semi-good looking.” Oh did they both get a good laugh out of that. Yes, it’s always good whenever able to connect with downright wholesome people out of our pasts. He also insisted he’ll be working back there tomorrow and that I should stop by again to chew a little more fat.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Dare to be honest while fearing no labors.

Joe Chodur

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