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Friday, November 6, 2009

5 Home Waiting List Details

One would think this whole selling homes in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the greatest real estate bust and economic upheaval would run out of steam at some point for us here at Catskill Farms, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear - it ain't going to be 2010.

I don't like to count my chickens (or homes sold) before the ink is dry on the contracts, and I've made my mark up here in the hills by never forgetting how difficult it actually is to develop, design, build and then sell (yes, it's all impossibly easy if you don't have to successfully sell it at the end) these homes of ours - the fear that "I'll never sell another", although one could argue that it's about time to 'get over it' since after 55+ homes in all sorts of implausibly daunting sales and business environments, that maybe I should just give us some credit and admit that whatever we are putting in the kool-aid is working well, tasting great to a wide-range of imbibers.

Successful imbibers, talented imbibers, extremely diverse imbibers - all part of our impressive client rooster here at Catskill Farms.

Looks like we are heading into the winter of 2009/2010 with a full list of persons signed up for homes - with any luck, we will have 5 homes in contract, under construction, and moving towards a late winter/early spring completion and closing. And that's pretty amazing - I wouldn't be surprised if Catskill Farms is selling more real estate than 4 out of 5 local real estate companies at the moment. My friend David keeps a widely read blog that tracks the average and median sales prices of area real estate, and nearly zero of our $15m of real estate sold has ever been reflected in his statistics because he only studies and tracks sales that happen through the MLS (multiple listing service) and we sell most of our homes privately. So one could argue that the most credible real estate stats available for Sullivan County are measurable wrong and misleading because our homes - one home a month for the last 18 months - are not included. The fact that homes sell for about double the average price for the area only reinforces the argument that without including our sales, the stats are measurably incorrect.

So, 5 homes of all different shapes and sizes - a big farmhouse (2400 sq ft), a traditional cottage (1280 sq ft), a traditional mini-cottage (960 sq ft), a loft like barn (1100 sq ft), and micro-cottage (800 sq ft). The diversity of what we are capable of, - the mix of what we offer - our desire to find a way for anyone who wants one of our homes - we take it serious, we find a way, we don't lose a buyer who gets what we do.

And the thing about the varying sizes, the driving design premise behind the idea is to not sacrifice any detail or quality with the smaller homes, -the prices are lower because the homes are smaller. Even the little guys have whole house audio, security, wide plank floors, fireplaces, porches and decks, soy-based organic spray foam insulation, and at least 2 or more acres.

These black and whites are composites of the homes that are heading into the ol' contract phase.

Cottage 20, a smaller version of Cottage 23.

Mid Century 50's Ranch II.

Micro-Cottage 2.

And Farmhouse 12.

And Barn House #2.

It's not easy keeping it real with new designs every month, but by keeping it real, we are keeping it alive - and that is more than most businesses that play with real estate can say at the moment. And, to be honest (surprise, surprise), it's how we built this business - we do it the hard way with constant new designs, constant elimination of the middleman and constant pushing the envelope of what is possible in terms of value.
Because, in the end, we sell value. Not value as we define it with savvy marketing and bullshit taglines and logos (although we have those as well)- but value as defined by our customers - who seem to the best and the brightest in their respective fields and vocations. They are the ones casting the vote and identifying our homes and processes as value-oriented - and it may be old-fashioned to offer value and play to our clients intelligence, but that's just the way we roll here at Catskill Farms.

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