Quietly and Freely

My morning was even earlier than it’s been of late, and mostly due to my needing to get some desk work done before my early appointment to show a home. I did manage to also get my office floors cleaned once again since I’ve been on a burn of late to keep it as clean as possible during these coronavirus months.

Before sunrise, I went out and placed an open house sign on an even busier street just so to draw more lookers. While driving back, I couldn’t help getting a better “rubber-neck” look at that new apartment building south of the mall. When looking at the architect’s depiction, and now what’s real, exhibits a far cry difference. For example, the plans showed brickwork on parts of it. Not so, it’s brick-looking panels, and what one would’ve thought was siding which was infused with color, just yesterday I noticed workers painting a brick red on a siding panel. What really got me, was noticing some of the slide-by windows open which must be the cheapies because when open, they’re not seated straight which means they’re not the tight-fitting ones. I’m now holding my breath to see the quality of the balconies they’ll be attaching on its high-rise portion. I’m sorry to say, that complex is going to quickly lose its luster after about five years, and end up being yet one more offering government housing assistance. Oh well, it’s just another example of the chronic short-sightedness of our non-natives who “think” they know what’s best for our community.

I’m sure all the Realtors and sellers are dancing in the streets over the spiking of prices in our real estate market, but beware, because our “dear” City Assessor is going to come a-calling, and after maybe two years, those new owners are going to be squealing like piggies when they get their bloated tax bills. Far too often buyers think that once their low interest rate loans are locked in for 30 years, their payments will never go up. Not so, because the only thing that’s locked is the payment and interest on their mortgages, and not the taxes and insurance, and as all of us know, our taxes and insurance has been steadily going up, and likely all the more with insurance due to these continued natural disasters that’ve been taking place all over our Country. We must always remember, insurance companies spread their losses across their books, so even if you live in North Iowa and have say a national carrier, your yearly rate will go up if that carrier suffered a major loss in let’s say, Texas. That’s just the way they keep from going under.

Another plate of food for thought, is the rising costs of materials which is due to the added expense of production, but also the demand where if there’s a shortage of materials to rebuild a swath of communities after a disaster, you can bet the manufacturers are going to raise their prices due to demand. It always happens like that. Take corn and beans for example. If there’s a shortage of our two main row crops due to droughts or crop failures, the prices per bushel will go up because of added demand.

You’re likely wondering why I’m speaking about these things at this time. Well, all those price increases come home to roost because such increases of commodity prices, labor costs, increased taxes and insurances all get passed on to the consumers who have no one below their ladder rungs, because we the general hard-working and tax paying public are the those left to foot the bill. It angers me greatly whenever seeing government entities giving themselves raises during difficult times. Why are they not suffering along with the rest of us? Oh that’s right. I keep forgetting that meritocracy has been said to be the final death-blow to our middle class, and after seeing what’s happened since this China-virus hit our shores, I am a rock-hard believer.

My public open house over at 12 S. Willowgreen Court was OK, but not as productive as I’d expected, so it looks like I’ll have to keep working at finding a buyer for it. I called the owner after I returned to my office and gave her my report. I know she’s disappointed but she did give me a good boost when saying, “I know you’ll sell it.”

I stopped at Casey’s to grab some juice, and while paying for it, the cashier said, “Do you want to round it up for charity?” My answer was a flat “No”. But I did also add, “I’ve come to the belief many years ago that being pressured/shamed into giving, means nothing, but when I freely give with no strings attached, is when I’m given the warmest of feelings.” She blushed a little while saying, “I totally agree, and I love the way you put it.” Yes, there are some young ones coming up in our ranks who’re far more understanding of it all than most give credit. Please don’t think me a scrooge because I do quietly and freely give without strings. You can bet I’ve been down that road many times in my life where people who’ve weakly given to me, later announcing there were strings attached of which I was many times reminded to never forget. It’s amazing how the mentalities of long-matured adults can revert back to elementary school playgrounds.

Because of some recent unfortunate events, I want to talk to you about Zillow. First of all, I would like for you to know that in these recent years, I have lost buyers who I invested a great many hours of my time, to for sale by owners posted on Zillow who usually know nothing about selling their homes, correctly pricing them, and in the end, telling all their friends and relatives how they aced out a Realtor and cut even fatter hogs by selling direct. Of course in these feeding-frenzy times, buyers are all the more desperate to get something purchased. At a fashion, someone said today, “I don’t care if I pay $20K or $30K more because I’ll be there for many years. Of course, yours truly who’s working at becoming more indifferent, had to keep his mouth shut.

Zillow is very clever and slightly on the dark side because owners can post their properties for sale with them for free as well as Realtors, but the big catch comes when our so-called “top producing” Realtors end up spending $300 – $1,000+ per month for them to be sent leads based on how much they pay. I consider that form of advertising somewhat questionable. In the end, Zillow is working against the real estate profession, and I’m afraid that in time, they’ll be finding all the more ways to undermine our County’s independent Realtors. Please go to Realtor.com for all your real estate needs.

When thinking about those buyers I lost to Zillow’s “For Sale By Owners”, I still wonder how much they got taken when having absolutely no buyer representation, and even if they hire attorneys to look over their purchase contracts, there still isn’t anyone watching their backs. I’ll never forget a single mother with child who allowed herself to get hosed by a Zillow FSBO. I contacted that sassy seller about paying a buyer’s premium, and she “kicked” me in the teeth by responding, “I know everything I need to know about selling my house, so forget it!” Yes, these times are getting curiouser and curiouser.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Perfect behavior is born of complete indifference.

Related Property:
12 S. Willowgreen Court – Mason City
Joe Chodur

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