Turned many Daunting Tasks into Cake Walks

What was supposed to be a “frosting” this morning, didn’t happen, unless it was in the very low areas of North Iowa. As I was driving to work early this morning, the outside temperature read 34 degrees all the way into our downtown. I’m afraid tonight will be a different story because everyone’s been saying it’s supposed to get down to 28 degrees, and if that happens, even the plants we have covered many not survive. If it happens it happens because I’ll remain thankful for being able to harvest as much produce out of my garden, and especially considering I had a late start.

I had another home to show in Nora Springs today which was a complete waste of time due to the condition of the home, as well as the floor plan it had. For the first time in a number of years, I encountered another killer semi-spiral staircase in a home built around the year 1885 which must’ve caused many painful falls for its owners over the years. Those stairs were not only steep, but also having short treads, so when going up it not being so bad, but coming down was like trying to get down off a winding ladder face-forward. To top it all off, the only bathroom in the house was on the 2nd floor. My comment to the buyers was, “Can you imagine trying to navigate these stairs every time you’d have to use the water closet?” While driving back to the office, all I could think of was how long it’s going to take before that home goes into foreclosure. I don’t like sounding negative, but with all the work it needs and knowing how high that home’s loan balance must still be, there’s likely not a buyer at this point in time that would want to pay even close to what they’re asking, and especially with that goofy floor plan. And by the way, the basement steps leading to the laundry area were just as steep.

Just as I pulled into town, one of my sellers called, and since I was on that side, I stopped to chat about the repair request that was submitted by the selling agent’s buyers. My sellers were in agreement on all of it except some un-necessary electrical updates which didn’t make any sense because all the outlets in that newer home were already grounded to the circuit breakers in the electrical panel. Seeing that, was just one more reason why the home inspectors in Iowa must be licensed. All the more often, I remind my sellers and buyers that the home inspectors we’re using are not licensed.

Another pet peeve I have, are these appraisal reports that come in from various appraisers who don’t even live here in Mason City. There’s one particular who’ll remain nameless who uses weak comparables and only goes by price per square footage and doesn’t take condition into account, which means if there was a used and abused home in the hood that sold recently, it would be used as a comparable for a home of like square footage in a far more sought-after neighborhood that’s squeaky clean and well-maintained. Well, you know what that means, the estimated value on the subject property will be lowered which would cause the sellers to either walk, or adjust their agreed-to prices down. Appraisers make far too much money for what they do because almost all of their findings are computer generated. Oh, of course they do have to walk thru those homes and take pictures. Gee, that’s a quick way to make $400 – $500 in a short period of time.

Back when I had to do broker opinions for a bank a number of years ago, I made sure I used real comparables which nearly all of them I’d personally viewed. Of course back then there weren’t helpful computer programs like they have now which you just click, type and enter, but rather many notes that had to be made and then typed on their hard-copy forms. Yes, the age of computerization has turned many daunting tasks into cake walks. I continue to smile to myself when knowing that whenever challenging an appraisers opinion, the “price per square footage” gets thrown in my face which is a weak excuse for their own laziness. Some of our appraisers are cranking out as many as four appraisals each and every day which means they must be making some pretty big bucks since this pandemic hit which caused all this impetuous buying. Oh well, it’ll all come to an end, and when it does, those appraisers will be begging financial institutions for their business.

While visiting with a contractor I’ve known for many years today whom I consider a bit of a kindred spirit, we ended up sharing our thoughts about the way in which our younger generation views hard work. He’s been having a struggle in keeping help because so few are willing to get themselves dirty. Of course what angers him the most are their unwillingness to leave their cell phones in their pockets during working hours. I had to laugh when he went on to say he tells everyone like it is, and if they get offended, that’s their problem. Of course my response was, “Oh how often I’d like to share my real feelings with those that’ve been naughty monkeys, but I have to keep my lips zipped and move on.” We both agreed that our near-daily struggle with bitterness is something that has to be continually shut down and closed out because it only affects our wellbeing and not theirs.

He did mention how much he’s always enjoyed working and to the point where he wishes the days wouldn’t pass so quickly. I had to laugh when he mentioned his wife asking him when he’s going to retire, and his answer always being, “Ask me when I’m nearing the mark of 80.” Yes, we still have some real work horses out there.

I have all the research done on a home I’ll be listing in the near future, and when visiting with the seller today, I asked if it would be possible for me to do a personal inspection which will help with my final estimate of value. She agreed, so I’ll likely be getting a call this next week to go and look at it. I know they’ll be a joy to work with.

Tonight’s One-liner is: Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they’ll think of you first.

Joe Chodur

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