Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Love Hate Between the Local and the Visitor

I suppose this strange dichotomy has existed for years here in Sullivan County, but I think like everything that makes SC different as a “tourist” spot , this relationship is a little strange, and sort of passive-aggressive. In comparison to locals in the Hamptons, or the Jersey Shore, or further up, where the hostility is a little more apparent, and such nicknames as Cidiots and Massholes, Full-timers here in SC, I think are a little more protected from the influx, so the annoyance is kept to a minimum.

Though, as the internet has made the world smaller, I think in some ways it has brought this clash a little more to the forefront. Most (much livelier blogs) have this undertone, and as issues like gas-drilling and property taxes are discussed, it becomes more apparent. Full-timers feel it is a necessary evil, and put up with a crowded Delaware, less parking, longer lines at the movie theatre in town, or the grocery store, because our sluggish economy is driven by the weekender. Right now estimates are between 30-40% of our money for public schools come from the pockets of people who do not claim SC as their primary residence. That is a huge portion, and really shows how dependent we are on the weekender.

On a whole other level, the Hasidic community is more openly frowned upon and muttered about. The rumors that they do not pay taxes, seem to pave the way for this dislike. (Which according to those in the know, simply isn’t true. The property that is off the tax roll is minimal.) At any rate, what is true is that their bungalow colonies do tend to be run down and in disrepair. Our townships need to do a better job of keeping those communities up to code. I also think that they simply stand out which makes them a target, and the influx, from Memorial Day to Labor Day is so apparent, it helps fuel the dislike.

Not sure where I am going with this, just an observation I had. I suppose neighborly resentments have been a staple of any community forever, and ours is no different.

But in some ways it is different, and mirrors the County. Even this sort of dispute you can enter into only when you want. Or, you can choose to just keep to yourself, and enjoy springtime in the Catskills.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bad Blogger Once Again

It has been pretty busy the last few months. Being a new father of course adds to that, and takes some time away from such things as blogging, but I was updating my website, and wanted to update in here as well.

Spring is in the air, and it has brought buyers with it. My last post with the four lake access properties? Three currently are in contract, and the fourth has had a parade through it this weekend. (Listing agents words, it is not my listing.) This does prove that the right properties at the right price will go quick.

I think that is why in this market, it is more important than ever for a buyer to get hooked up with a broker who knows the market, and what is going on. There are so many over-priced-look-good-in-the-picture listings, that I think there are some buyers out there who, after going out hunting a few times, have given up. In my experience the magic number is three. If I can't find a motivated buyer what he or she wants in three trips, the invariably seem to shift gears. Not so much stop looking, but slow it down, start thinking about other areas, etc.

Everyone is different, so there is no way for me to guarantee that I can find a buyers something they will like, but it really doesn't take a rocket scientist to see a property, and know it is a good deal, and could potentially be attractive to quite a number of buyers. That is why when a good listing that is not mine goes into contract, I always get a little twinge. Missed opportunity. 726 North Branch Road comes to mind. Love that old boarding house. Heard just this weekend there is a deal on it.

But in someways, I think this malaise, and this general feeling that Sullivan real estate is crappy and overpriced, is the Realtor's fault. Although now, the under trained, and under motivated are dropping like flies, there is still the part-timer, seat of their pants agent out there, showing on weekends, without a good feel for the market.

I'm not putting anyone one down, I am addressing the possible buyers out there, agents get a healthy chunk of cash for selling a home. Just make sure they are qualified, and they are willing to work hard for the money. What would you pay for 3 to 4 thousand dollars? In no other business is there the possibility of getting paid so much for doing so little. That is what drove the NAR numbers to new records during our version of the gold rush. Well now the big nuggets are gone, but the fervent ones are still sifting through the sand for the smaller pieces. Those are the kind of agents you want.