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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vacation and Parties and Observations

It's always hard to get hard and fast information when making a big decision but I have had two observations about our homes as of late - no one in five years has ever wanted to resell one of the homes they have bought from us, and after spending an hour today in my new restored farmhouse perusing area real estate websites at existing houses for sale between $225k and $335k, it's not a big surprise we are kicking it and killing it like we are.

I mean, having nothing to do with our homes, it's not that rare of a story to find a family's situation change, it's priority altered, etc.... that causes them to rethink the country house idea. I have seen it a few times, where a nice house sells, and then in 6 months or so it's back on the market, - the purchasing family a victim of a romantic daydream that didn't match true priorities. However, our 34 homes remain with the original homeowners - you would at least think there would be a divorce or something, -

It has been a question that has been popping up in some of the interviews we are having with folks hoping to get on our waiting list - has anyone tried to resell their home, and how did that go? Answer, simply - no, no one has tried to resell their home, but judging by the fact that we continue to sell all our homes (mini-houses, cottages and farmhouses) at higher prices than last year, I think the value proposition is pretty strong (as long as the sellers avoid paying 8% commissions like the local realtors think is fair - and don't ask them their advertising budget!!). At times everyone in my company feels like nobody likes us because we can't be perfect every second, but my god, we build houses ahead of schedule, on budget, stand behind our work, design with a ton of style and have passed along homes that are holding their value in a real estate plunge - I mean, OMG, what more can I do?

For country folk, Lisa and I like to travel, although logistically it's not always easy, since the airport is 2+ hrs away. Although we have hit Poland, Berlin, Munich, Florence, Rome, Capri and California over the past few years, we return year after year to Tulum Mexico. I think we have traveled there 5 times over the past 5 years. 2 hours south of Cancun, it's quiet, it's beautiful, and it's close.

Here's our hut on the beach. Rents for $140 a night, right on the beach.

Here's my best imitation of Evita or Lenin.

Picture of a Sullivan County rainbow snapped by Lisa.

And a picture of NYC ex-pats who started out as weekenders and eventually gave up the city life to make a go of it up here. That's me, end row, far right. I think this pic was taken at Lisa b-day party last year at Lot 45, Chapin Estate. Or measured another way, 3 houses ago.

And at the dinner table during the party. What's neat about Sullivan County is the ability to ignore everyone, stay close to home and cook at home, or on other days, venture out and find a very unique under-the-radar fast set of diverse NYC professionals.