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Wednesday, May 28, 2008



So there's this blog out there that tracks regional real estate trends and I have been a regular contributer over the last 3 years (I also write lots of letters to the editors of our local rags). Anyway, for a little background this area up here in Sullivan County has a very superficial tendency to exhibit some class resentment among the newbies and the oldies - but it's just that, - superficial. The area is actually pretty open to the people who have newly landed, -straight, gay, banker, artist, musician, teacher, potter, etc.... The diversity of the under-the-radar 2nd homeowners is actually one of main drawing points, in my mind - otherwise, you could go to Oneoata.

Anway, to make a long story short I recommend NOT EVER saying one of the reasons people buy 2nd homes is so they can enjoy life's little moments more, such as seeing their dogs run around without a cage- or worse, that because NYC is expensive some of the surprise that this region is not super cheap is blunted. Well, it quickly went downhill and ended up on a very interesting strand about how 'all New Yorkers are easy suckers for us sophisticated country folk' and that any one who buys a Catskill Farms house is just throwing money away since the value will suredly drop precipitously. My thought is exactly the opposite, of course- that the better informed and educated about the area our customers are, the happier I am since then they are aware of value we are offering.

It wasn't the constant attack and simmering hatred that caught my attention, but rather the mob mentality of the anonymous blog post - people say really stupid things when they don't have to post their name. I guess that's why newspapers insist on full name and addresses. Post after post by people who don't know me - his houses suck, his customers are dumb, his prices are ridiculous, on and on, and in some cases, some even using my name to post blog threads. It reminded me of the one episode of West Wing where Josh starts replying to a fan web site blog and is really surprised at the mean reaction.

I say BigTime Bunk.

It's even better when I get threatened with 'you'll never sell another house again'. If I had a nickel everytime I heard that, well, let's just say Storm would not need to be laying on a worn out hand me down pillow blanket (she's doing well, thanks for asking).

Catskill Farms wakes up, works hard every day, delivers an honest product, and earns its money - the only thing that makes us different is the fact we understand the marketplace, and cater to a very discerning group of people who understand the definition of value - that value is a mix of financial emotion well-being, and you can feel it when you walk in the door.

Scattered all over Sullivan County are failed development projects by big smart money. I can name 8 without even thinking too hard. But here we are, a little simple company with a little simple idea - and we can't build them fast enough. I used to read the newspapers during this economic malaise and worry that it will only be a matter of time before it affects our business - but knock on wood, we have a year's waiting list and are turning people away on a weekly basis - supporting our current pricing as well as our historic prices - ie., very good for our customers.

The question is why - and I think the only explanation is that there was a market demand for a product for many years that no one ever figured out - and when we stumbled on it, and didn't make any big mistakes that put us under, - we inherited a surge of pent-up demand.

When the market was hot, a good company got lost in the crowd because everyone looked good. But now that the market has been pretty dead for 14 months, all those companies that were strolling along, then limping along, then using crutches, finally could not outlast the downturn and are simply gone, gone, gone.

On another note, Over the weekend I went to an Irish Musical Festival in East Durham, NY, just outside Cairo NY. This is in Greene County, which is another 2nd home hotspot.

I bought a new set of Callaways couple of weeks back and have been hitting the links regularly, here teaming up with 3 guys from LI who are married to 3 sisters.

And the cute little 'massage parlor' for some after-golf happy endings.