Catskills - Sullivan County - Ulster County Real Estate -- Catskill Farms Journal

Old School Real estate blog in the Catskills. Journeys, trial, tribulations, observations and projects of Catskill Farms Founder Chuck Petersheim. Since 2002, Catskill Farms has designed, built, and sold over 250 homes in the Hills, investing over $100m and introducing thousands to the areas we serve. Farms, Barns, Moderns, Cottages and Minis - a design portfolio which has something for everyone.

Friday, February 3, 2023

New Design Partner

I find myself writing whenever I have a complex problem to solve. The focus and regurgitation of thoughts from pen to paper is a process that helps me work through a problem. Always has been that way. The ability to think something through, toy with it, reshape it and write about has always served me well. I always write more when things go sideways.

The thing about business, at least my business, there's always a push and a pull, a ying and a yang. Right now, Amanda's leaving us, but I put $2,200,000 into contract over the last 10 days and have another $2.2 likely coming down the pike. I've interviewed and hired some really fascinating people. And I zero'ed in and now working with a very aligned design group out of the Baltimore area.

Her work, Inhabit Interiors, is a lot like ours, and truth be told, most of design work has always been done remotely, from the Catskill Farms/Client perspective. So not a lot will change except this group will bring a whole new set of modern skills to a process that might have become stuck in its own success lane. Reinvention is critical.

One thing this unexpected hurdle has provided me, is the opportunity to look across the company and decide what I want it to look like 5 years from now and, what part of Amanda's job can be delegated and outsourced, creating a more redundant, fire-proof company.

Another thing it has provided me is a lot less sleep - I'm up early thinking things through.

I can hear the wind howling; it's supposed to -5 today. 2022/2023 has been a mild winter, but for at least today, it's ferocious.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Things change, business continues

Today is the last ‘work’ day for my colleague who after 7 years has found a new gig.  In those 2 weeks since her notice, the pace of my participation in the day to day operations of the business has increased expotentially. While, operationally, the team I have in place can handle most eventualities, I’ve never stopped paying attention, so it’s not like I don’t know how to run my company.  In fact, like I’ve mentioned a few times over the years, to succeed in business - at least in my business -  you really have to lower your expectations of your help.  It’s no slight against them to acknowledge that few people you hire will be as committed as the Owner, so as an owner, you just have to find a way to accept that so you don’t drive everyone out the door.

The reason I mention it, is similar to why I said in the last post, ‘my skills aren’t what they used to be….  (Wait for it) - they are a whole lot stronger than the last time I had to flex like this.  I know my business inside and out, I built it from it literally from nothing to a marketplace leader.  I’ve hired most of the team.  I’m the one with the more durable relationships with our vendors and subcontractors.  Takes a lot of work, and takes a shift in my mindset, but it’s not as if I’ve lost touch with the nitty gritty of the pulse of the business - that’s one thing I’ve learned over the last two weeks.

This departure by a senior member of the team has allowed me, has forced me, to look at the company and decide how to move forward, and interestingly there are lots of ways to re-invent and improve - just have to shift out of cruise control and rev the rpm's, - which is getting a little harder as I age, and have a comfortable nest egg, I must admit.

Another thing I’ve learned is that the Catskill’s marketplace for real estate is still pretty strong.  It died out a little last fall, but starting about 2 weeks ago, you could tell that there were still a lot of buyers out there.  We have put 2 homes into contract - 2 completely finished spec homes - in the last week, and we weren’t even that motivated to sell them with the market still trying to figure itself out.  But that’s an incredible unexpected boost to the 2023 outlook, and gives us the leeway to lean into the mystery of what the marketplace will bear in 2023.

2 houses just going into contract for March or April closings.

Friday, January 27, 2023

When employees depart

Business is heart-break. It happens when you invest in an employee and it doesn’t work out even though it should and it costs time and money and opportunity.  It also happens on the other end when you meet and mentor and see them successfully leave the nest for the next thing.

I’m experiencing that now, with my long-time right hand woman Amanda departing after 8 years and a hundred plus homes.  She’s my project manager, sounding board, assistant, supporter, crutch and cheerleader. She saw me hit it big, and fall right back to earth.

We are a small company and it came out of the blue so not only do I have the need to process the personal loss, I have to get busy and in 2 weeks forge a new path in a way I had never really considered.  I sort of thought, as my friend Bryan said at the bank, that she was part of the succession plan.  So much for best laid plans.

So I now think, wake early, first in the office last to leave old skool work hours - turning on the skills energy and brains that have powered me thus far, and as I hit the gas this time and navigate the curves, I reflect and notice my skills aren’t what they used to be - my skills are on a whole new level of expertise, and while setbacks and disappointments are sure to lurk in all the shadows of all our bright rays of success, the experience I now have as part of my professional fabric is like teflon - or that of the newest jeans out there - durable, flexible and ready for a whole host of life eventualities.

My experience with Amanda, who I fished right out of college reminds me of the singer/songwriter Albert Hammond (as many of you know whose son we built a compound for), he sings in what I believe to be his most famous song - It never rains in southern California - he writes , and makes me remember how Amanda ‘found me’ in 2014 -

  • Out of work, I'm out of my head
  • Out of self respect, I'm out of bread
  • I'm underloved, I'm underfed
  • I wanna go home
  • Will you tell the folks back home I nearly made it?
  • Please don't tell 'em how you found me
  • Don't tell 'em how you found me
  • Gimme a break, give me a break

I feel she was my first big break, after 12 years in business. I feel blessed and cursed for the exact same reason - having such a wonderful person cross my path.

Busy day last Monday wrapping up a big project in The Fields, our anchor project at the Crest.

Of course it snowed big time when we had everyone and their mom scheduled for their punch list day. No where to hide on that big mountainside.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Now Hiring -

Design/build firm Catskill Farms seeks individual to for start to finish, client-facing project concierge.  This interior design meets project manager positions touches all facets of the build process.

This mix of project management and design allows a talented individual to be fully immersed in the full life cycle of home design and construction.

You will deal with clients, vendors, subcontractors, municipalities, and a host of out-sourced design and operation resources.

Leave no itch unscratched while putting your stamp on homes across the Hudson Valley.

This is the first time this dynamic position has been available in 10 years.

Offices in Wurtsboro NY.

Feel free to text Chuck, the founder and owner, at 917-838-5342.

Charles Petersheim, Catskill Farms (Catskill Home Builder)
At Farmhouse 35
A Tour of 28 Dawson Lane
Rock & Roll
The Transaction
The Process
Under the Hood
Big Barn
Columbia County Home
Catskill Farms History
New Homes in the Olivebridge Area
Mid Century Ranch Series
Chuck waxes poetic...
Catskill Farms Barn Series
Catskill Farms Cottage Series
Catskill Farms Farmhouse Series
Interviews at the Farm ft. Gary
Interviews at the Farm ft. Amanda
Biceps & Building
Catskill Farms Greatest Hits
Construction Photos
Planned It
Black 'n White
Home Accents at Catskill Farms, Part 2
Home Accents at Catskill Farms, Part 1