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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our New Cottages and Saturday Morning Deliberations

I'm at Blacksburg VA for a wedding, a full 11 hour road trip from Eldred NY. Lisa said it was 8 hours, but it turned out it was 11 and that's one of the reasons she and her friend Amy have the reputation and nickname for BAD INFORMATION. This is no new trend - realistically, all information coming from these two women needs to verified to some degree -

This has been one whale of a 18 month stretch for Catskill Farms.

Currently, by the numbers -
Since January 1, 2008, we have sold 12 houses
We are currently building 4 new homes, and renovating 2.
We currently have 4 homes in some stage of a sales contract.
We currently have a 2 home waiting list.
We currently are selling 25% of all homes selling in the entire area over $250k. And that's an incredible statistic.

Our sales demographic since January 2008, including houses currently under contract, is -
4 families with children under the age of 5.
6 singles
5 families without children (as of yet)
1 family with grown children

A brief extrapolation of the above stats -
'Singles' may include a serious relationship, but the design and purchasing was handled by one person.

I was going to break out gay and lesbian and straight families since I think that is an interesting stat, and definitely a frequently asked question (is the area gay friendly? family friendly?), but then I thought it might be one of those things that get me in trouble - but for what it's worth I would estimate of the 6 singles and 5 families without children to date, maybe 35% are gay, and that statistic probably holds steady throughout our 50 home progression.

Probably what I find most amazing, consistently - is the diversity of our client-base. In their careers, income, life direction, goals, approaches, etc... And that is probably why we continue to do well - we identified a niche marketplace, and then educated as many potential clients about this niche marketplace.

In terms of advertising, there is no other real estate related company in the area that comes close to the energy and money expended to get the word out about our homes. I mean, at any given time we only have one or two homes for sale and we are probably spending 4 large every month marketing those homes - compared with maybe a few thousand a month by real estate companies marketing their entire inventory of homes. As mentioned before, we sell our homes directly to the clients, which allows us to better manage expectations of what they will be receiving, as well as saving everyone a few bucks. When I used to sell our homes through the local real estate companies, I was always beside myself with the lack of exposure, focus and attention our homes got - it wasn't until we started doing it ourselves - showing our own homes, marketing our own homes - that we really started to kick it.

It looks like we got a deal going on Cottage 17 - our newest cottage design - Tom and Bryce sent up a deposit this week and we are hot and heavy into getting them 'up to speed' since the house is well under way, having started insulating this week.

This 1300 sq ft cottage with with 2 bedrooms and two baths sits on 8 very pretty acres. As far as I am concerned, it's quite a deal for these gentlemen, and they signed up just as the fun is beginning - all the interior design decisions are in front of us - kitchens, paint, stain, stone, tile, fixtures, etc...

A commenter earlier suggested I highlight some of the construction processes and materials in order to counter some of the 'shadow' people who make their business to denigrate the good thing we developed up here. I don't think it's a bad idea, but I hate to give away too much since there is a fair share of loser imitators out there still trying to copy, borrow and steal our designs, strategic direction and inspirations. Of course, of the 3 or 4 companies who tried to steal from us instead of coming up with something original, all are either bankrupt or close to it, so I guess there isn't too much to hide, since our success I think comes less from the parts, than the whole - our passion, creativity, experimentation, commitment to improving, understanding of the marketplace can't be stolen or borrowed or stolen - it's what makes us who we are, and yes, they can sneak into our homes and see what type of doorknobs we use, but they can't capture the essence, the flavor, the nuance, the esoteric, eclectic personality of our structures.

Our architectural spaces feed back to those who walk through them. And that is very difficult to pull off in new construction.

Cottage 17. Just about ready to turn the corner.

We now use organic spray foam insulation in most of houses, giving them a huge energy consumption advantage over other homes. Between the positioning of our homes (passive solar), the size of them (small), the natural and native materials, the efficient insulation and the efficient furnaces, we are probably building the greenest homes in the area. So green, in fact, we don't even have to yell it out.

Here's pretty Cottage 19, the only home we now have left for sale. To those with a trained construction eye, this is a beautiful picture - the house is weatherproofed, clean, and just waiting for the next phase. Compare our construction sites to others, and it's instantly obvious who is paying more attention to the small things.

Wide open floor plan, 960 sq ft, full basement, huge bathroom, 5+ acres. We are roughing her in, meaning all the wiring, plumbing, security and audio and heat are going in before we close 'er up. This house will be ready for sale by the time the leaves start changing colors.

And Cottage 22, ready for the siding. Courtney and Bronson did some fine work on this house, with the wrap-around porch, additional half-bath, and a few other tweaks on the original.

Thanks to all our new Facebook fans. Be patient will we figure out exactly how this social networking is supposed to helping us.

It's Saturday morning, I'm just off-campus at Virginia Tech, in Blackburg, getting ready for a wedding at 2pm. Lisa's hot cousin is getting married today. It's funny - she has 4 cousins, I have about 125. Lot's of potential trouble brewed last night, with people feeding Lucas a bottle while smoking with the other hand, people being prohibited from holding the baby after drinking too much, nearly averted bar fights between AARP members (our party) and Virginia Tech summer students, etc..., etc... etc....

Just want to put it out there that I am a terrible golfer - no matter how you spin it, I suck, and I'm not getting better with practice. In fact, just the opposite - I seem to be getting worse the more I work at it.

One thing for sure is that while I am sitting here doing nothing, the grass in is growing back home, one day closer to my badminton court completion. I think I'll spend some time now googling (or perhaps 'binging') official height aluminum referee chairs.


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1 comment:

  1. Regarding Blacksburg, that would't be the pot calling the kettle black would it????