Van Lifers

I’m not sure where the week went, but another Friday did happen. I was at the office a little earlier again just so I could get some paperwork completed before the phone calls started.  I could certainly tell our days are getting shorter when finding the sun not yet up when I pulled into my parking lot.  If we didn’t have this pandemic still on our plates, I’d say we’ve had a pretty good summer thus far.  Thank goodness we didn’t get that wind southern Iowa was pounded with this past Monday, and after having seen some photos of the damage done, it was far greater than I would’ve dreamed.

With some free time available this morning, I went back to finishing up the deep cleaning in my office, along with getting rid of useless items I’d been saving. After getting that last section cleaned, I stood back and gave it all a good inspection just so to be sure I didn’t miss anything. I’m going to have to look for some new curtains for those back windows because after washing them, I found they’re about to start falling apart from the damage they’ve been getting from the sun.  Isn’t it amazing how it can rot fabric?

I had a few errands to run over the lunch hour which was a mistake because of all the traffic there was on the highways.  Even though we’re supposedly working at minimizing our exposure to the China-virus, I’m finding all the more not bothering to follow even the 6ft distancing rules.  There are several Realtors who’ve had dirty habits of getting too close for comfort, and wondering now if they’re still doing it and believing it’s OK if they’re wearing masks.  Not so.

There were two people who walked in off the street early this afternoon asking about available apartments for rent.  If I told them once, I told them six times that my office no longer manages apartments.  I know looks are deceiving, but the dirty clothes they were wearing, and their over-all heath appearance caused me to back-off all the farther.  I was getting a little nervous over their not simply walking out after me insisting I had no apartments for rent.  They finally got the hint and walked out, and yours truly was back in my basin of bleach water, soap and the washcloth in it so I could wipe down everything they touched.

It’s unfortunate the “powers that be” in our City don’t spend a full day parked on one of the benches within eye-shot of my office because they would then realize that N. Federal Ave. is the preferred pathway to that crumbling mall where I think some dark-sided dealings are taking place.  One of my customers mentioned that he’d just last week walked thru it and shocked to see all the roof leaks and vacant storefronts.  I have absolutely no desire to enter that cursed building.  I change the subject whenever someone starts talking about it because it angers me greatly when knowing how many millions of our dollars they’re foolishly pumping into that dying dinosaur.

When looking at the sales for this week, I was once again shocked at the prices people are getting for their homes, which has me all the troubled over how many will be upside down with their mortgages when an inevitable correction hits.  The market crash of 2008 wasn’t an over-night thing because it was already starting to build in 2006, so after it did hit, my first lesson the following years, was to immediately look back to see when prospective sellers purchased their homes, and if those purchases took place between 2005 and 2009, I’d have to prepare myself for my meetings with them because it usually always ended with me saying, “Unfortunately, you purchased your home during the high time, and if we can’t get enough to at least pay your mortgage off along with your selling expenses, you may be having to make up the difference or contact your lender regarding a short sale.”  Believe me, most times it did not go over well, and you can bet I ended up being the “whiz kid” in getting short sales approved if and when those situations would arise.  I don’t even want to think what our market will be like if that happens again.

Most have forgotten, but I haven’t when remembering the number of foreclosures I’d see being filed in the courthouse with Clear Lake addresses.  There were many months that would go by when seeing posted between 15 and 20 foreclosure notices on their billboard.  Isn’t it funny how people forget those trying times?  Someone mentioned several days ago about one of the economists saying something about there being a great need for people to have free cash flows in the near future.  What he should’ve been saying was, “People must start reducing their long-term debts.”  I’m now wondering how many months out our car dealerships are stretching payments on new vehicles.  The last time I looked it was five years.  I’ll not be surprised if they’ve made those re-payment periods longer.

Hey, I’ve got the answer to our housing shortages.  Let’s encourage all the many to become “van lifers” while having far less living expenses.  When thinking about it, there could be parking areas built for them, water made available, and receptacles for their stored-up human waste to be deposited.  It may sound overly-simplistic, but I think it would work, and especially for those living in areas where there aren’t those radical temperature changes during a calendar year.  Some months ago I was brought up to speed on the self-sufficient technology those vans contain.  When you have time, do a little investigation on them.  You’ll be surprised.

I was waiting to hear on an offer I have on a property today, but before closing time, I received an email from the agent saying, “The sellers want to talk about it some more, and will let me know after noon tomorrow.  I guess there are some sellers who just have to take all the more time to decide.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Tonight’s one-liner is:  Insofar as the mind is stronger than the body, so are the ills contracted by the mind more severe than those contracted by the body.

Joe Chodur

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