Shades of Gray

Shades-of-GrayYeah!  Another beautiful day in North Iowa and certainly everyone’s glad for it.  Now we’ll see if the real estate market kicks into high gear or if it will chug along at the slower but methodical pace it has been since winter arrived.  Truth be told, I’d rather see a standard pace rather than the buying frenzies I’ve seen happen over the years to where some buyers went overboard with their purchases during accelerated times of our market and then wished they hadn’t months and years later.  I think more people are going to be all the more wary of higher assessed values and subsequent spiking taxes to where we may be seeing some negative reactions in our City.  Since I watch national trends, I’ve found some areas of our State and even Nationally, where buyers pass over areas with excessively high property taxes.  One can turn their heat down, eat generic brands of food,  buy clothing and household goods at tag sales and the Salvation Army, but they can’t cut the amount of real estate taxes they owe, except for the low income credit they must sign up for every year.  Those income levels are hovering around one having to be in real poverty before it’s given. We’ll see in time how this will affect the general populous.  Maybe there’ll be fewer people eating out, buying name brand clothing, and even maybe mowing their lawns less often just to save a dollar or two in the gas used.  I heard just recently about a woman who lost her husband a few years ago and now seriously considering selling their retirement home simply because of the rising costs in keeping it—especially the real estate taxes.  People don’t realize in a general sense how if incomes are static and all other goods and services continue to rise, there comes that breaking point to where it’s punitive.  I’ve been working on and off with a retired couple who want to buy something of their own, but they’re fearful of rising real estate taxes.  The first thing they ask me when I’m telling them about a home is, “What are the taxes?”  In years gone by, asking about the taxes was one of the last things a buyer would question. Yes, times have changed and it makes me a bit sad because I absolutely hate to find hard working people struggling to make ends meet.   A gentleman asked me today what my take was on what’s been happening with the presidential primaries.  I simply said, “All I can say is I’ve known for some time there are millions of people in our country who’ve been quiet for a very long time, but I believe many have reached their limits and no longer want to remain silent. For the first time in many decades, they want to be heard.”  I know it sounds simplistic, but that’s my take on it this time round.

One of my clients asked me to take a look a home she’s just about got ready to rent. I had a little time to kill so I agreed to meet her there.  From the time I walked in the door I was quite taken by the color schemes she used.  Since she’d not done any work on it for a number of years, she decided to make some great changes.  All the woodwork and cabinetry is painted a soft pearl white, the ceilings are white, and the walls of all the rooms are in different shades of very neutral grays, and the floors are hardwood stained a more deep hue.  I said, “Wow! This place is what I’d consider diminished elegance.” And then I kiddingly said, “Have you been reading that book Fifty Shades of Gray?”  She laughed and said, “No, I just wanted a scheme that would go with anyone’s furnishings.” I complimented her by re-affirming her very good taste, and I’m sure she’ll have many prospective tenants begging to rent it.  It’s always fun to see others taking a chance with design and appeal of their homes even if it’s with many shades of gray.

Joe Chodur

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