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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.

April 29, 2022

Safari and House Selling

Safari is the Swahili word for Journey, and that’s where Lucas and I are heading in late June, soon after the school year lets out.  Over there in Eastern Africa, in Kenya and Tanzania, where Karen Blixen set up shop in 1913 and ultimately wrote the book Out of Africa about her 17 years there.

Vaccines are important when traveling to countries as these, and yesterday Lucas and I traveled earlier morning to a place that specializes in such medicine, on East 55th Street, NYC.  We were given shots for typhoid, yellow fever, hep A and B and given an interesting tutorial on each.  No vaccines exist for Dengue, Chikungunya.

We were told not to drink the water, not to eat raw foods, not to use the ice and a bunch of other things,  most of which I knew but needed a refresher.  I traveled to India for 3-4 months when I was 23 and I can mostly guarantee I took few precautions, with few problems, but that’s the advantage of youth and naïveté.  

Now I travel with guides and medicine and well planned routes to some degree.   Not overplanned, but planned out, leaving enough room for improvisation but having a structure embedded in the trip.

We sold a house on Friday of last week.  It was a big one, exceeding 4000 sq ft, on 6 acres, with a mountain view.   We did that contract last summer at some point, and then felt the true brunt of the broad basket of inflation across the entire spectrum of materials, and even some labor.  After surviving 12 months of covid related surprises, I thought we were in the clear.  We weren’t and built the 3 houses in Olivebridge into the teeth of unpleasant pricing surprises across the board.  We paid a lot for the land, and we got caught up in the inflation rip tide than pulled our dreamed of profits out to sea.  Luckily, we had priced these homes at what the market could bear, and although our profits were less than hoped or projected, there was still room for a little get jiggy with it dance.

You could see, however, how a contractor could get caught here with contracts that didn’t envision a price increase of this sort.  While the times are profitable for us, I pity the fool who isn’t approaching this business environment with the same strategic planning tools as we do.  It’s just really risky out there.

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