They Become Up-Hill Battles

When looking at people’s lawns as I was driving to work this morning, it became quite evident we’re approaching drought conditions, and if these days without rain continue, we’re gonna have some pretty browned-up yards and gardens all over town. Just yesterday I noticed someone having planted either a squash or pumpkin plant near their front sidewalk, and by the looks of those leaves, it was well on its way to being a goner.

It was a normal morning at office with phone calls and emails to return, as well as getting my end of the month office accounting done. Thank goodness they all balanced to the penny which was a sigh of relief because I hate chasing down mistakes even if they’re in the pennies. I also worked on one of next week’s closing files which hopefully after my meeting tomorrow morning with the sellers, I’ll have pretty much everything signed off, so that’s all I’ll be waiting for is the green light from the closing company as to the time and day.

I made a quick trip over to one of our lumber yards to pick up a several items I’d purchased in the past, and wouldn’t you know, they don’t carry them anymore. My next question was, “Where can I find them?” I pretty much knew what his answer would be, and of course I was right when he said, “Your best bet would be Menards.” I couldn’t help saying how those big stores and online shopping is taking out all the brick and mortar shops which have always been the life-blood of thriving communities. I can’t even imagine what our City’s commercial landscape is going to look like in ten years.

This morning I was visiting with a client of mine who used to have his own construction business, and ended up talking about today’s younger workforce who more times than not, don’t listen to simple instructions, almost never show up on time, and when they get there, they’re rushing to get their sloppy jobs done as fast as they can, so they can later bill out ridiculously high billings for their shoddy work.

I did mention to him that over these past several years, I’ve read some eyebrow-raising articles about how rapidly our country is losing skilled labor, and mostly due to retirement and all the fewer replacements filling their shoes. I’ve said many times these recent years, how crazy it is for parents to push their children into going to college for four years and thinking they’re going to have a fat paycheck job waiting for them when they graduate, which is not reality in these times. I also went on to say how much more likely a graduate from a trades school would have a good job waiting, and once established with a company, that person’s long-term job security would be far more likely in the long run. I also had to share my thoughts about job satisfaction when saying, “No matter how lowly the job, I admire just about anyone who’s pride in their job, shows in the end product’s quality. Far too often I hear people speaking ill of those they consider “below” them, when in fact they’re the ones doing a better job by giving their 101%. If you happen to see some laborers out working, pay attention to the way in which they perform, because you’ll soon discover who’s the real worker, and who’s the one not giving a shite.

Most of my afternoon was spent doing some market research on a property owned by a couple whom I’d sold it to a number of years ago. After pulling all the comparable sales, I once again found that this year’s sales are again, all over the map. It’s no wonder many of the appraisers are basically rubber-stamping those sales, and only because there’s no rhyme or reason for one home being similar in nearly every respect, selling for twenty or thirty thousand dollars more than one very much like it. It beats the heck out of me. So today, I’ll be paging thru at least ten comparable sales in a broad sales range of thirty thousand dollars. In the end, it’s gonna be their call on the asking price if they decide to list it.

When visiting with the gentleman at the lumberyard who’s always questioning me about sales, I couldn’t help bringing up that lipsticked pig of a house that was purchased for less than ten thousand dollars not that long ago, and recently selling in the $150K range. Since he knew exactly what house I was talking about, the look of shock appeared on his face. He was so much in dis-belief, I finally said, “If you don’t believe me, I’ll gladly print out the sale report and drop it off.” Before I walked out, he shook his head saying, “There’s gonna be a hell-of-a-lot of people really hurting when this market takes a dip like it did in 2008.” My come-back was, “Oh, the fallout is going to be much worse.”

With the summer rapidly passing, I absolutely must start making some calls to contractors to get some bids submitted on work I want to have finished before winter arrives. It’s not that I’ve been purposely putting it off, but rather not having the time to set the appointments and meet with them. Of course many of them are either too busy, or of the mindset that they’re going to gouge me with their pricing, which is one of the reasons why they become struggling up-hill battles to get things done and done right.

My last appointment was to meet at the home I’d done research on, and without a doubt, seeing the quality upgrades they’d made in their home, ended up being the highlight of my day. All I could say after getting the full tour was, “Wow”. It wasn’t just the attention to detail that impressed me, but also the flow and balance that was created to where if I didn’t know better, those improvements appeared as if they were the original features and designs of the home.

After going over all the comparable sales, I looked at the sellers and said, “Even though you’ve seen the comps, if I were you, I’d add another 20K to the price because your home would appeal to even the most discriminative of buyers.” Yes, it was that good.

Tonight’s One-liner is: The sad truth, is that excellence makes people nervous.

Joe Chodur

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