Pay the Fiddler

As much wishful thinking there was in regards to our days remaining sunny, the cloud cover had to arrive again, and it looks like it’ll be sticking around for a while.

The early hours of my morning were spent with appointments that were scheduled, and since both of them took longer than expected, there wasn’t much of a break before I had to go back out and show four more homes to a buyer I’ve been working with this past week.

Nearly all of them were third showings to family members who’d driven some distance to give their opinions on the homes that were narrowed down to that small handful. We spent more time in the ones that were at the top of the list, and less in those that had become less interesting.

You can bet we’ll all be happy when they get the highways opened again so that we won’t have to be zig-zagging our way around those closed streets and highway intersections. Since the buyers were not familiar with our City, I had to make sure they followed me from house to house. There were several times they got caught by a red light, so I had to pull off and wait for them to catch up with me.

When we decided to take a lunch break, I headed back to the office and returned some phone calls that had come in while I was gone. After getting them all returned, a gentleman showed up at my office who seems to be in the know of recent happenings in our City, and I was a little surprised to hear him speak about that hotel project and the concern that’s growing in certain groups that it won’t get built.

I didn’t offer much of an opinion other than my continued hopes that it does get built, and for better or worse, that whole Renaissance Mason City project gets completed as planned. He did say that if it doesn’t, he’ll not be surprised if there’ll be some elected officials along with appointed ones that’ll be looking for jobs because of the amount of money that our City has spent, and nothing to show for it. Like the old saying goes, “If you want to dance, you have to pay the fiddler.” Yes, more sooner than later, we all must make ourselves accountable for our actions.

We visited a little more about this and that, and wouldn’t you know it, the time had already arrived for me to meet those buyers at yet another property. It didn’t take long to go thru it, and since it was my first time within, I made sure to look at everything, just in case another buyer would ask about it. That was another classic example of a lipsticked pig. Even though the bathroom appeared clean, the moment I walked in, I could smell urine. Thinking I was mistaken, I asked the buyer to check it out, and he agreed it held a similar odor. I didn’t even want think about where it was coming from.

After they stood together and had a quiet chat, the buyer announced which house was their favorite, and asked if we could drive back to my office to make an offer on it, and without boring you with the details, around 5:00 pm this afternoon that home was under contract, and both the buyer and sellers all the happier.

The positive thing about having shown that buyer nearly all the homes on the market in the lower price ranges, I now have a better “feel” for what’s out there, and it’s pretty scary. I can certainly say there are very few good homes in that under $60K range in our City, and if we don’t start getting more fair-priced starter homes on the market, there’ll be more tenants trapped in their rental units. Like I said several days ago, there are all the many people living here who’re struggling more than we can imagine, and mostly due to rising costs of goods and services, and their wages not keeping up with those costs. That 15% rate increase of Alliant Energy looks like it’s going to happen, which will certainly create an even heavier financial burden on those living from pay to pay.

I’m beginning to wonder if all this added financial stress and mis-management of paychecks, is causing more cases of substance abuse. Too often people who can’t cope with daily stress, look for ways to temporarily relieve it, and then over time, they end up getting pulled all the deeper into the darkness. Too sad to even think about.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Things do not change; we change.

Joe Chodur

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