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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.

October 19, 2023

Small homes

We like our small houses, in fact, was ahead of the curve back in 2007 when we came out with our 2 bedroom, counter-intuitive cottage series.  Back then, height of the boom, bigger was better.  Bigger house, bigger mortgage (lower downpayment!) - bigger bigger bigger.  But in Sullivan County, where we only built back then, the sweet spot for pricing was $300k-ish, and so with some savvy market insights that have served me well from day 1 of this entrepreneurial journey, I thought I saw what no one else was seeing - that our NYC clientele didn’t need a big house, in fact, given their druthers, wouldn’t actually want a big house - and nothing right-sized was being built or available.

So, with the help of the Sears Roebuck catalouge of the 1920’s, as well as some studies of other small homes, we came up with some good looking 1300 sq ft homes that we could sell for the $300’s.  They were a hit and carried us right through the international real estate collapse of 2009. Our Cottages -

Built around 2010 in Eldred NY

On one of our favorite roads in the Catskills is Lake Ridge Road in Narrowsburg.  It used to be lake front lots, but the damn broke back in the 60’s  or something so the lake went away.  But the lots remained.  The challenge of the lots is that they have minimum road frontage - 200’ - meaning an ill-planned house can quickly overwhelm the lot and encroach on neighbors - bad for everyone, bad for values.

Circa 2009 in Narrowburg NY

So we’ve always stayed modest on our home sizes up there, and no better time than now to reintroduce our mini-cottage homes. Part of the secret of our small homes is we don't skimp on the land, or the components and products we put in the homes - they are smaller yes, but they maintain the same level of care and finish as any of our homes.

One of our first Ulster County houses in 2011-ish.

Will be interesting to see how the market reacts to these homes - it's been very eye-opening to price these homes, since at lower sales prices you need to be pretty careful about pricing or you can lose your knickers - shit is just so expensive - these homes are literally costing me $75k more to build - or 35% more than the last time I built them.

2 new ones, Narrowsburg NY
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