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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.

November 5, 2021

Dusty Abandoned Blog - Pandemic Wrap-up, Part I

I feel like I should let this blog die the respectful death it deserves instead of these harried resuscitation attempts I do every few weeks. I used to rail, perhaps in these pages right here, about the plethora of websites that had a blog page but when you went it hadn't been updated in months, or as likely, years, with generic content. You could page back through the posts and see the early enthusiasm replaced with a gradual decline, and finally, and abandonment. Though, few took their blogs down, in a perverse judgement that the earlier posts were worth something, though I would disagree and tender the opposite. A non-updated blog is not a good look.

I stayed the course long after most, with this blog tracking progress, or the lack of, for 15 years, with a pretty steady hand. You have to remember that a lot of us small businesspeople do a lot of writing - marketing, emails to clients and vendors, website work, pr work, so to sit down and then put out some quality, discretionary material is a big ask. Add to that the fact that we've been busy, and also my new website, which I like for the most part, has a hard time with picture management so every time I think about writing one I think about the hassle of posting related pictures. And truth be told, I think I like to write because it is a 'release' for me, and allows me to think issues through. For the solo entrepreneur, without the crutch of a partner or intra-company colleagues, the ability to think something through, tease it out, is important. As the business grew and matured (with a parallel maturating of me in my position of CEO) there was less need to vent and explode and explain and celebrate since most occasions for extreme emotions became a 'been there, done that', lessening the novelty of the experience.

I've been writing (and reading) from early on, and I guess that is a motivating factor that keeps this blog going. There certainly is no shortage of things to write about. We've had a gigantic year, good and bad. I think the volume of work we've done, and the associated problems we solved, over the last 18 months, make it hard to condense without a constant tracking, and time and energy for reflecting after the work that went into doing, was in short supply.

Mostly, 2021 was a gigantic year, monetizing a lot of deals we made last summer at the beginning of the urban flight. We signed up a lot of houses, and then the houses took longer to complete than we had hoped - every problem in the book prevented us from our typical delivery efficiency. And truly there were problems everywhere. Big problems. Very big problems from labor scarcity, to municipal confusion, to COVID-19 changing rules and regs, material shortages, and insane material price increases. I've said this more than once, that American society benefited from the pandemic in many ways (notwithstanding those who suffered loss and illness), and one of those is that anyone who was in a leadership position got better at leading, because the problems were just so original and unprecedented, so 'now', so critical to solve, and so unclear as to what the right path should be.

So, just now, starting 60 days ago, did we start monetizing pandemic pricing homes. Others had been sipping the cream off of transactions since the summer of 2020, but since our production cycle includes the sale, design, build and sell, it can take a year. We might have booked 20 houses to build or more, but we then had to build them, leaving our profit period starting in summer of 2021 and continuing through 2022. Interestingly, we might have started a little slower in booking pandemic profits, but we should be seeing them longer, since we are producing inventory at a snappy pace, and that inventory is badly needed in the marketplace. I think we have 16 homes to deliver in 2022 already, and that's with playing coy on the sales side and not getting right back to people.

I've been writing for a little local newspaper which has been fun, and allowed me to dust off the cobwebs in terms of vocab, putting together sentences, finding the right words and staying with it for awhile as the story develops. This has allowed me to fill some time, and stop the brain from hyperventilating over the details of my business.

I'm going to try and track the last year. We will see how that goes. Just sold this beauty in Cochecton to two Doctors from Manhattan of Indian descent.

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