Site visit and home re-sales
I did something today I haven't done in years - I attended the end of job final walk-thru with the Amanda, my main designer and project manager who has been with me for quite awhile now, and the clients who are buying the home. I had/have no objection to attending, and there have literally been hundreds of opportunities (aka closings) over the last 7 years, but it's really Amanda's lane and who am I to butt in on her turf. Plus, I'm not in need of any more work, especially the hard work of the last walk-thru, where stress and managing expectations is common and necessary. I haven't physically attended a sales closing either in quite some time, long before the pandemic made that standard practice. It's all about time management and those two events in the process 1, take up a lot of time, and 2, aren't my strong suit.
It's hard to describe the hard work I do everyday to make the client experience as painfree as it is. And I know how painfree it is, because I talk to other people and their processes are far different than what we offer, where homeowners and build clients are subject and exposed to the full spectrum of trials and tribulations of building a home, be it permitting, lending, board of healths, utilities, and the hundred other tasks that take real skill and aren't that fun. I think the one flaw in our building process is we make it too easy - many people who build homes are just so darn thankful to be reaching something that could be considered a finish line that the idea of opening a can of worms about this issue or that issue that may prevent move in is just really off the table. Us, with only 2 or 3 site meetings and an effort that seems sometimes like we wave a magic wand and things happen, there is still plenty of energy left to get lost in the details and lose the big or even small picture.
Not sure If I'm making sense, but what has always been missing from our process is me - the owner, the guy who most every time has made the original sale through skillful process education and finding the thing that works for that client - that me, the guy who drops off the screen early on in the process as I hand the baton to Amanda and I work behind the scenes on the mechanical heavy lifts - that it's been clear to me for years that I should be at these end of process meet and greets, maybe not to spend the whole time there for the walk-thru, but for a thank you and a handshake. But even that is not easy - we are busy, and I'm pulled in lots of directions.
But, back to what I was saying, it's clear to me it's important to the brand and the business and the client frame of mind that I do so, so the idea that after 20 years (7 delegating this end of job thang) I was able to pop in and spend a few hours with the clients who trust us (me) to pull this off, that's important. It also feels good to me, since just dealing with the bullshit all the time, and not getting the chance to interact with people who are top of game, and very interesting, diverse, etc.. - that to me was always something I knew I shouldn't be skipping in terms of getting real gratification from what I do for a living.
And it's funny - not quite the right word- that I'm aware of this, have been aware of this, and now finally, in 2022, can and am making the effort to deepen these relationships with people and families who have chosen us, trusted us, to help them with this upstate aspiration. It's always been a critical detail, one I just couldn't get done. I'm having dinner with them, throwing small parties, reaching out.
That happens a lot in business - you know something needs be done, but there is just no way you can do it. Lack of money, lack of bandwidth, lack of labor and skilled resources. So it sits there, undone. No business doesn't have their list of things that just haven't been gotten to but everyone knows it should be gotten to. A website update, etc...
Our resales - what I used to consider real evidence of the quality of our homes, and the demand for them - are off the charts. The prices people are getting for our homes is insane. That's hyperbole since I think people who buy our homes are smart (and lucky) and 'insane' makes them sound ungrounded in data, and that is not the case - however, the prices are high, and the return on the investment for a lot of these people is pretty insane.
Here's one we finished in 2018 - on the market for a couple of days - MAYBE they paid $600k for it. Selling in the high $900's. In 2.5 years. Even for affluent people, this is a big cha ching, ROI. We've seen it dozens of times. Sort of makes me nervous I've left too much money on the table for some of my deals, but when I look at my profits and margins, I think I'm doing the right thing, watching the market, staying under it. I mean, we have nothing to sell, and go out of our way to make it hard to get in, contact with us. When I see people, investors, etc... calmly pricing new homes - or creating business plans around sales in the $1m-$1.5 mark, eh, to me, that's just a big risk, and if the market would turn, it wouldn't be pretty. But, you know, the Catskills could really be onto something this time. The hybrid work thing has fundamentally changed the Catskills, a very attractive place to live. People are clamoring for our homes, for sure.