Corn-munching Country

I welcomed the 1st of February with open arms when knowing we managed to get past both December and January without any bitter cold or heavy snowstorms. From what I’ve been hearing, it sounds like we’re going to have a night or two of below zero temps this coming weekend, so make sure you’re furnaces are running properly and you’ve contained all your drafts.

It was a beyond typical 1st of the month when having to do some additional shoveling which was another’s responsibility, but I have to continue reminding myself that many in our younger crowd, consider such manual labors far below them.

Several days ago a friend of mine mentioned how so very few of our younger crowd is going into apprentice programs such as certified plumbers, HVAC technicians, and electricians. I got a real jaw drop when told how steeply the numbers of new entrants have recently dropped in those fields, as well as the spiking headcount of those who’re wanting to get four year or more degrees. I think our entire country is going to start feeling the financial pinch when having to pay even more money per hour for those tradespeople. Even in these times, I bristle whenever seeing how much I get charged per hour for just electrical work. I’ve said for many years that there are some who just weren’t meant to be sitting in front of a computer screen because many of them were being pressured by their parents. Yes, I consider it being good to have a well-rounded education, but not be pushed into something that’ll never be the real career “fit”.

I was on the phone today with a well known who keeps himself fully informed regarding the ever-changing trends in real estate. What started the subject, was my having mentioned how much last year’s market had turned into a feeding frenzy. After he shared his statistics, I fully understood why it was such a crazy year. Over these recent years, with the exception of last, there’ve been on average about 10 – 15 percent of our population actively looking for new homes, and not surprising me when being told, this past year there being 40 – 45 percent active lookers. How many of them actually purchased would be another statistic, but to have such a major jump was remarkable.

What has me now concerned, is if all those buyers have purchased. We’re now not seeing even near the number of listings coming on since Jan. 1st, which is indicating to me, real sellers have been exhausted. I do know there were a larger number of “bump-ups” in 2020, so if they’re still out there, they’ll have little or nothing to bump up to.

You can forget about an average buyer being able to purchase a new construction considering the price per square footage the builders are now charging. As I’ve said umpteen times, the bulk of North Iowans do NOT have such high income bases, and if a couple is combining two weak ones, they’d better make darned sure they can weather shortages in cash should one of them be out of work for more than a month or two. Isn’t it better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best?

Unfortunately my ire manifested itself with a young man who thought I was going to roll-over and play dead when believing I was going to accept the condition of a home he’d just moved out of. I wasn’t screaming or yelling, but rather being strait to the point regarding his failures, along with confronting him about the two times he lied to me. Once again, I blame the bulk of such mindsets on their parents. I was also quick to mention I was raised in a family where we were made accountable for our failures until we finally “go it”. This business of walking away from responsibilities in slipshod fashions, will never cut it with me. My last words were, “It’s just another example of no good deed going unpunished, but now being all on you.” Whether or not it sunk in enough and finally “got it”, I at least stood my ground without a waver.

When thinking about it later today, I’m personally finding how much different people look at personal responsibilities when hailing from different areas of our Country, and the ones that’ve disappointed me the most, have been those who’d arrived from a handful of States I dare not mention. I’m not sure if it’s a cultural difference, or if they believe all of us living in Iowa, are just a bunch of ignorant corn-munching country bumpkins who’re ripe for their use and abuse.

It’s no wonder why so many of our elderly who move here, have spoken about how much more they like us natives. One of my recent sales to a couple from out West, spoke quite highly of those of us they’d come in contact with. Perhaps that’s why I still consider myself one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet, but beware, as there is with all of us, a darker side which manifests itself after getting my feathers ruffled, and that’s just OK because we must always stand firm whenever someone’s trying to use or abuse us. Right?

The remainder of my day was spent paying bills and working on files. I did have to meet a contractor at a property so to give me a few ideas and price quotes on things needing to be done. He’s a good chap, and always willing to go the extra mile, and yes, he’s another one of our natives.

I had a bit of a jaw drop when seeing a home listed with another agent which I’d done my pre-listing inspection on several months ago, but that’s just OK by me because I’d done my market research, and the price they have it at, is grossly higher than even the closest of recent comparable sales. Oh well, I’ll just wait to see when it sells, and for what price. Like I’ve said, you can ask for the moon, but will you ever get it?

Tonight’s One-liner is: To be content with little is hard; to be content with much, impossible.

Joe Chodur

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