707 N. Federal

Over the course of the day, I had an opportunity to visit with some of my clients and customers regarding how they were faring during this upside-down way of life we’ve been living since our Governor announced her first round of closings within our State.

Most of them have been adjusting, but a few have grown despondent due to their age and immobility. All I could do, was to encourage them to keep busy and stay connected with the outside world via the phone or internet. Now that our weather is beginning to turn pleasant, it makes for all the more frustration when knowing they’re not even able to meet for coffee with their friends and relatives.

They’re saying that Iowa should be reaching it’s “peak” with the Chinese virus in two to three weeks, and if that be the case, many will feel as though Spring had passed over them. Oh well, once there’ve been no more cases reported in Cerro Gordo and our surrounding Counties, I think many of the restrictions on inter-action with groups will be lifted. Of course I’d still be wary of those new arrivals from heavily hit metro areas, because I’m of the belief, that’s where most of ours came from in the beginning; They’d been far away during Spring Break, and unknowingly brought it back to North Iowa.

My closing file for tomorrow is now readied, and that’s all I have left to do, is go out and pick up my sold sign, remove my lockbox, and drive to the closing. I told the buyers I would miss working with them because they’ve been a delight to work with, and hopefully due to my encouragement, they’ll stay in touch with me.

My listing at 415 – 1st St. SE has been getting more showings recently, and I’m praying it’ll soon be under contract. I’ve scratched my head in dis-belief it hasn’t yet sold, but as I’ve said before, most buyers are now being duped by all the staging and tweaking sellers are doing to “wow” buyers.

There still are prospects out there who look past all those frills, and focus more on structural integrity, mechanical updates, and location. Just today, I had nice little chat with a professional who enjoys looking at active listings online. She mentioned several homes that were recently listed, which in her opinion, were grossly over-priced, and I fully agreed with her. But I did tell her what the most troubling is for me in these crazy times, and that being those uneducated buyers willing to pay big bucks for “lipsticked pigs”. If we should happen to enter a long-term recession, there are going to be pages of foreclosures posted on the bulletin boards of Courthouses across our State.

Most in our general public don’t know the number of recent HUD foreclosures that’ve been recently listed, and it’ll not surprise me if they’ll continue. Unfortunately, many of them get purchased by investors who either keep them as low-end rentals, or do some quick “re-skinning” and back on the market they’ll go for another round in that vicious circle. Believe it or not, there’ve been homes here in Mason City that’ve been thru two, and even three foreclosures since I started my real estate career. I’ve often wondered if those bad karma houses somehow attract the most innocent of buyers.

Speaking of karma, just yesterday I was paging thru an old Polk’s Directory of Mason City which was published for the year 1927. For some reason, I was drawn to the yellow page section where people paid for larger advertisements of their companies.

I first looked at company names, and if not recognized, I would look at the addresses to see if those buildings were still there. I’d say half of the buildings those companies worked out of, are now either parking lots, or the sites where newer buildings now stand.

The above photo is of one advertisement which just about gave me a jaw drop because I recognized its address, and then went on our City Assessor’s website for a confirmation, and unfortunately I was right when thinking it’s still standing, but now a converted apartment house where most of us have seen people hanging out on its front porch.

As chance would have it, some years ago, the owner at the time, who’s now deceased, asked if I would give him a ball-park value on it. What impressed me the most, was when walking in and seeing a grand oak staircase, but the more I looked, the more creeped out I was getting while walking thru it. Thank goodness about half the tenants weren’t home which meant I didn’t have to look at all the apartments, but you can be sure, I was glad to get out and away from those unctuous doorways, and dimly lit smoked-filled rooms. While driving back to my office, I still remember feeling as though all of my energy had been near-completely drained from me while there.

When thinking it was still owned by one of our “investors” who purchased it at a discount from the beneficiary who lived in the Twin Cities, I wasn’t surprised that he subsequently sold it to another “very familiar” name in our City. What I found most curious, was that he paid the same low price for it. Hmm…It makes me wonder why he didn’t keep it, considering how low of a price he paid for it.

There’s no question in my mind, that if after I somehow got hoodwinked into buying it, I’d first have it blessed by a very holy person, along with getting it fully “saged”, and likely still not being fully certain the spirits of all those dead people that were carried in and out of it, finally decided to go to their light. If you’ve ever spoken to those who’ve worked in, or lived in a funeral home, you got my drift of what types of stories they’ve told.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Let us endeavor to live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry.

Joe Chodur

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