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Unfortunately, we didn’t get our predicted rain, so it looks like our gardeners are going to be out watering again. As I mentioned to someone today, I usually don’t plant a large garden only every other or third year, and of course this would have to be my “big garden” year. Oh well, all I can do is make the best of it until we start getting more rain.

I watched a short news clip reporting on Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam being now at an all-time low. I didn’t realize our Southwest has actually been under multi-year drought conditions. Of course one of the experts mentioned that their water is now evaporating faster due to the higher temperatures those States are now experiencing. This year’s heat has been the worst I’ve ever seen with the exception of a mid-summer heat wave we had back in the late 1970’s. I distinctly remember several days being well over 100 degrees in the shade. Of course back then, there still weren’t that many people with central air which made for near-sleepless nights due to the heat and humidity.

A dear one of mine called today to tell me how much she liked the looks of my new listing at 240 – 7th St. SE. I was delighted to hear there’s another in our midst who has an eye for design and appeal, and as chance would have it, another Realtor was scheduled to show it late this afternoon. There’s no question whomever does buy it, possesses an eye for seeing past the cleaning up, painting, and tearing out of carpets. I did mention to my friend how impressed I was when noticing how level the floors were and hearing not even one squeak while walking around, which was another sign of a quality-build. I fully agreed when she said, “If a person spent $20K in that home, you’d find a real beauty having emerged.” Truth be told, as many times over the years my having noticed that house while driving by, it’s “look” would always be enough to catch my eye. She did say if she won the lottery, she’d have it bought and turned into her fun project. Yes, that home has up-side potential written all over it. I did notice the homes on either side of it appearing more than presentable which is another plus.

Most of my day was spent chasing after loose ends for three closings I’ll be having the first of next week, along with getting a listing package prepared and sent out to a seller on a home I’ll be posting for sale tomorrow. As much as I’m wanting to see that home go to a family, it’ll most likely get purchased by an investor and turned into another rental, as we’re seeing a great deal of buying taking place in that arena across North Iowa.

While on the phone with another this morning, I brought up the subject of these first-time buyers purchasing with only 3.5% downpayment, which causes their monthly payments to be higher due to monthly mortgage insurance premiums. The most recent one of such sales, was in the $90K range, and when I looked to see what that buyer’s total monthly payment was going to be, I could see why it was purchased because it was a mere $650.00 per month. But, the fly in the ointment, is when knowing the real estate taxes are going to go up on it, as well as its homeowner’s insurance. That home sold for $30K above assessed value, so you can bet your britches those taxes will go up, and quickly. I’m now wondering if our Assessors get bonuses for raising tax assessments.

Of course I then posed the question, “What’s that buyer going to do when say the water heater goes out, the roof needs re-shingling, or any other failure of that home’s many components?” When we have buyers who’re purchasing at the top of their financial limits, have unsteady jobs, and little or no reserves, that to me, is a setting-up for either bankruptcy or foreclosure. Keep in mind, they still have auto repairs, home maintenance expenses, food, utilities and all those other little monthly costs that quickly add up. Is there ever a perfect world? No, but at least today’s buyers should be counseled about all the what if’s, many months before they’re handed the keys to their new homes.

One of my colleagues stopped by today to drop off a document, and somehow we got on the subject of new construction which is at a near stand-still. For some reason, he’s insisting the costs of materials are heading back down to where they were, but I’m not so sure about that because whenever you see the price of scrap metals going up, that’s telling our world there’s a demand, so if there’s a demand, the prices stay high. Right?

I had to stop at a groceteria to pick up one thing before heading home, and as I was walking in, out lumbered a young woman with a five or six year old following behind. Ok, now don’t think me wicked when saying she was quite the overly-zaftig sight. She was almost as tall as me, but at least four times bigger around. What really got me, was seeing how she was dressed in a tight tube-top and brightly colored paisley leg-ins. I couldn’t help wondering how a woman of her young age managed to create an apron of fat that large. But the real jaw drop, was when I came right back out not more than five minutes later and hearing her asking a guy parked in a car next to her, to move his so she could get into hers. Yes, she was that big. I’m convinced this pandemic must have so many people subconsciously stressed out to where the primitive “self-protect” sections of their brains are insisting they load themselves up for leaner times ahead. I know we have two distinct groups of people that either eat more when stressed, or eat less, and I’m pretty sure there are far more in that “eat more” bucket. What do you think?

On two of my closings coming up, I noticed their yards hadn’t been mowed in weeks, and even though our lawns are entering their dormant stages, those annual weeds are still growing unsightly tall. One of the owners agreed to mow, but the other is far out of town, so we’ll see what happens on the day of its final walk-thru. Such oversights are becoming the norm in these times, which I find troubling.

Tonight’s One-liner is: Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, as nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

Joe Chodur

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