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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.

August 27, 2022

Meandering thoughts on a Saturday Morning

Back by popular demand, a blog post. My friend and colleague Eric G from G5 Insurance reminded me that a new post was due, and I aim to please, so here it is. On a Saturday morning. Who knows where it will go since it is not preplanned. Last night, on the golf course, it was getting darker by 7:30, a sure indicator of the change of seasons, ready or not.

Probably best to get the house horseshit out of the way, so I'm not left tying it all together in the end. This beauty is actually for sale. Rare indeed. Up in the Crest, just north of Fremont NY. Big pieces of land, and big views, and a great assortment of homes. I ended up with that land when the original developer, after 14 years, gave up, and we took over (purchased) at a price that gave me lots of room to maneuver. The home below, just weeks from being finished, will cost around $700k. Has mountain views and a looks over a lake, and gets a lot of sun all day long.

Just returned from a 10 day trip in the '72 Malibu with the dog - Milford, Valley Forge, Spotsylvania, Nags Head, Surf City, Raleigh, Winchester and then back home to Milford. I had never been to the Carolina coast, and it was well worth the journey. From Corolla, across with the help 2 ferries from Hatteras and Ocracoke. I've never spent a ton of time in beach towns, and they all seem to share a lot of commonality, dive bars and fried food being 2 of them. Discovered my dog is not comfortable on the beach - everytime I left her off leash, she would run as fast as she could (and that is really fast) through the dunes and off to who knows where. Thought I lost her on the first flight, had written her off, but then found her on the beach 10 minutes later.

I had never been to the southern low country, and it certainly is pretty and certainly has a unique feel to it.

The big college debt relief was all in the news this week.  I have 2 thoughts - $10k is really much to move the needle on a lot of the debt loads, and 2, there was a lot of great articles delving into who owes what, split out by age, region, ethnicity - so that was interesting. The whole college expense and loan issue is a real shame - the idea that 18-22 year olds, who for many have never had any experience with debt and little experience with money - that they can borrow $100k, to be paid back in the future with no current obligations, and you can borrow more than the college costs and use it to live, and you can't get out of it with bankruptcy- that's not really on kids - that's a rigged game, preying on our children. It starts in HS with school administration bragging about what schools their students get into, with guidance counselors who recommend the 'best' schools, to society at large that puts a premium on the brand of the school, and the 'life changing' network of people you could meet.

There are all sorts of ways to fix this problem - loans could be tied to the profession and salary of the chosen major (no $300k loans for teachers), schools could be held accountable for better due diligence by allowing loans to be extinguished thru bankruptcy (this would certainly cause a decrease in the cost of schools), etc.... Giving out $10k but not fixing the problem and continuing to allow this predatory behavior towards our children is not the best path forward. Maybe a start though... I mean when I went to school, University of Pittsburgh cost less than $6k a semester. If I was burdened by gigantic student loans, my entire life would be different - my fixed costs of payback would have eliminated all of my choices - choices that have resulted in an effort that by now has injected $300m of economic stimulus into the regions where I work - all that would have been impossible since the monthly payback nut would have strangled any entrepreneurial (and money borrowing) ideas. My journey has been such a high-wire act that carrying the burden of a big loan would been the breeze that blew me off course. And I was an English major, an area of focus I give a lot of credit to for teaching me how to evaluate information, and condense it into effective messaging.

Interesting times out there in the real world - information about stock market, wars, energy crisises, inflation, housing market - is hard to decipher. Just glad I'm not fully leveraged, and that we cycled through a very profitable investment cycle - where we load up on land and houses and then sell them off before loading up again (typically accompanied by a fair amount of working debt from Jeff Bank) - this time, I seem to be really well positioned, with a ton of dry powder, a years worth of sales queued up, several homes being built and paid for as we build them (which alleviates a lot of cash flow stress), a lot of passive income, and a team that is without parallel. And even a home that is solar powered with a battery so I'm sort of almost off grid - Come what may, the perch from which I write seems to be a perch of safety, come what may.

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