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.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

My job is getting easier

Post covid seems to be here. Even in Vermont, bastion of strict covid rules and masking, is finished with social distancing and masking, with packed ski lodges and slopes mask and safety protocol free. That was eye-opening. My son is even mask free in school, 24 months after masking up. It's hard to remember that only 5 weeks ago, we were running scared because of omicron.


On a business front, i haven't taken a sales call (except for those lucky few who have somehow managed to thread the needle and get me on the phone, or get a return email). I'm burnt out, my team needs a break, and the constant searching for a way to do more gets old. Our team, like many teams, was good before covid and is even better now, and now I'm focused on calibrating just the right amount of work that keeps the pockets flush, the bonuses and profit shares flowing, all 6 cylinders pumps but no danger of overheating.

It's a strange feeling after 24 months of pinned red zone RPM's, to be idling in the 6000/7000 range, able to let off the gas and gun it as needed, knowing what you got under the hood.

At this point, Catskill Farms has become very selective about who and why we work for. It's almost a reserve brand, fully priced, hard to get into.

As part of our employee retainage efforts, I started a 401k employer match safe harbor program 6 years ago. This year I paid out over $100k in matches, bonuses, and profit shares to my 10 person team. I also donated about $15k to local non-profits.

With a clean bill of personal health, post-pandemic business and personal plans ongoing, and a team to be reckoned with, 2022 should resemble 2021 in terms of success, but without all the uncertainty, stress, and fog of war.

That's something to write home about.

OH, Right, this is a blog about homes we build and sell. We sold 2 last week - one in Narrowsburg, Sullivan County and one in Saugerties, Ulster County.

Saugerties Ranch

Narrowsburg Ranch

Sunday, February 13, 2022

NYC is Back

The last time I was in NYC was just before Christmas when the Omicron was emerging and there were ( mostly exaggerated) reports of a city freaking out. While I may have disagreed with the extent of the emergency being reported, there was no doubt the city was once again on an uncertain footing, unsure of what business and personal disruptive wave was coming next.

I'm here now for a full day preventative health exam offer by Princeton Longevity Center where they scan, poke, insert, flush, inflate and test really every part of your body from brain to heart to colon to bone mass to whatever else that makes our body ticks. It's a bit of a higher end concierge approach to medicine, which I'm all for. On the 71st floor of One World Trade, the views weren't bad either.

It was a beautiful warm day, and masking mandates were being eliminated and it just really felt that at least for yesterday, the pandemic was coming to an end in terms of day to day disruption. And you could feel the pulse quickening the city. And the thing about an event of this magnitude is that the impact and effect/affect on people's psyche is so repressed and buried because they had to continue on with life, raise kids, go to work, keep their marriage strong, and do a million life things with this incredible life danger stress underlying everything, repressed, stiff upper lip. So the idea we may be emerging, not a false emergence like when we got our vaccines, or wore our masks, but a real finality, that type of deep exhale, teary response could be felt.

I think its hard to overstate the stress that has been threaded through each and every person, young and old, for nearly 2 years. Cancelled plans, missed graduations, families separated - it doesn't matter how much money you made or didn't, if you got sick or you did not - the daunting nature of the challenge was real.

So, with jackets off, restaurants full, a less aggressive masking policy, and a bounce in the step, this big city felt good and alive.

I've probably mentioned this before - I think one of the reasons for the robust economy, the inflation and the low joblessness, is because we all got better at what we do, are more efficient, have less rules that don't make sense - Covid disrupted the status quo like few things ever had, and for people in my professional peer group, the challenges we faced and overcame the last two years have made us better at what we do. Sort of like why athletes train with weights around their ankles - makes the ordinary harder, and when you take the weights off, you are faster than you were before with the same effort. That increased productivity is now baked into the economy, in millions of professionals, and each of their more efficient micro decisions and actions have a little more juice to them, resulting in a macro impact on the economy as a whole.

Bake in the time saved with Zoom, remote/hybrid work and a thousand other workplace changes, and we have just lived through a revolution not unlike the industrial, where there was a true leap forward from the status quo.

Picture of my heart. A lot bigger than I'm given credit for.
Monday, February 7, 2022

Turning the page

So it's now beginning of February, and to be honest, January was a shit show. First, everyone got covid, so the ability to get anything done was questionable. 2, the supply chain disruption is real, and now with delivery drivers scarce, getting it is twice as hard. Appliances are coming in in drips and drabs so what used to be a one day affair of careful receiving of said appliances, protecting the floors, installing the next day - a consolidated surgical affair to minimize chances of damage to floors, counters or the appliances themselves - now it's like a 3 or 4 delivery effort as stuff comes in whenever. Not good, not efficient, and hard to control for variables and Murphy's Law.

Last Friday, Ulster County got hit with an ice storm, and power was knocked out, and continues to be knocked out for many, including many of our clients, and even two houses I'm trying to finish and monetize my efforts.

On the sales front I have people busting down my door to get some information and get in line, but I haven't taken a sales call since November, giving both my team and myself a breather. You can't get a breather unless you do a no-exceptions policy - so there are people within the confines of the red velvet ropes and there are those that are not in the door yet. We hope to have a bunch of houses for sale and more than half done so I'm pretty sure they will be a big hit in this marketplace of low inventory and strong demand.

Now that time is on my side, and not so go go go go go go go go, and the team is in place, spending a fair amount of time on self care, across the mental, physical. A particular one of interest, and overdue, is finalizing and checking twice the succession and wind-down plan in case of my demise, or worse in my mind, incapacitation. As the key man who handles a bunch of details vital to the worth and value of my 20 year effort, paying attention of how it would get wound down and preserving as much value as possible is important and logical. Involves lots of planning and the right people in key places with knowledge and training and incentives of how to do it.

Thinking about taking my son on an African safari, then coastal Zanzibar, then maybe Dubai (logically stopping point on the way home from Africa it seems).

Atlantis, Dubai. Home to the worlds largest water park.
Sunday, January 30, 2022

Another Screen Time Measurement

The 2nd season of Euphoria dropped, like literally 3 years from the first one. Like I do with a lot of shows I watch with multiple seasons with long periods in between (which actually narrows it down to like 2 shows), I like to restream, rebinge the first season before I watch the new. Turns out it's a good exercise since it's amazing how little you remember as time and other events track on. So game on, I'm on Episode 2 of Season 1. By the time I finish re-streaming Season #1, Season #2 will have dropped in entirety.

Repeatedly over the break, I reached out to wish my construction industry colleagues a merry Christmas and thank them for the past years work and look forward to another year of productive profit taking made possible by working well together, and on multiple occasions, I got a response a few days later with a quick apology explaining that their present to their spouse and/or family was turning off the phone for a few days. Now that I'm writing this it feels like I just wrote this on the last post but its such a bear to go back and check - close this window, open that, , I'll just riff with it. That damn phone - can't live with can't live without.

Sometimes when I look at my life, my goals, my achievements and failures, sometimes I just shrug and say as long I'm making the journey easier for my son, then I've done fine. Though, sometimes I think I'm overdoing it, which is my habit, providing a first class luxe good seats west coast skiing Miami big time travel at will experience. But fuck it, there's still seems to plenty left over.

With 2020 being a big year, 2021 a bigger year and 2022 topping each, I have the enviable decision to make about how hard to work this year, which sort of leaves me in a mini-depressed state since for 20 years I didn't have a choice. Work or fail. Heroics or fail. Burrow out or fail. The idea of graduated effort, a calculated effort, leaves me a bit aimless, waiting for the summer to lay by the pool, and at least have that excuse, that I'm laying by the pool.

For those with an interest in advance preventative medical care, Princeton's Longevity Center puts you through a battery of scans and evaluations that can find most things long before they are a problem.

I had two rentals in Barryville NY area, 1 of them being my personal homestead, which as I wrote on Instagram - "Saying goodbye to an old farmhouse that saw me broke, saw me rich, saw me married, saw me divorced, sheltered a baby boy for 10 years and 2 dogs, not to mention an important relationship with a neighbor"

Nothing annoys me more than those Tik Toks or life pamphlets that say "I've never met someone on their deathbed that talked about working more, it's always about family and small moments'. Yeah, no dumb fuck, of course, and when your family was as happy as they were, healthy as they were, prosperous in whatever way you determine and define prosperity - yeah, that was all made possible by work and a lot of it. So yeah, maybe the time put in in the office or the job or the factory floor doesn't rank as the top achievement, but it is the life blood of all other achievements.

The Miami Beach W is one of my favorite hotels, with a roof top basketball court where Lucas hung out all day and the fun pool area where you have to get up early in the morning to reserve your seats. Lots of drama at the W with people unhappy with the lack of pool chairs and beach chairs for those who naively thought you could just saunter on in anytime. Oh contraire, just the opposite. Those who get seats strategize, organize and push their way in.

ps. I wrote this blog a few weeks back because the program has some glitch with pics, I always forget the most streamlined way to post, and hence the delay.

Charles Petersheim, Catskill Farms (Catskill Home Builder)
At Farmhouse 35
A Tour of 28 Dawson Lane
Rock & Roll
The Transaction
The Process
Under the Hood
Big Barn
Columbia County Home
Catskill Farms History
New Homes in the Olivebridge Area
Mid Century Ranch Series
Chuck waxes poetic...
Catskill Farms Barn Series
Catskill Farms Cottage Series
Catskill Farms Farmhouse Series
Interviews at the Farm ft. Gary
Interviews at the Farm ft. Amanda
Biceps & Building
Catskill Farms Greatest Hits
Construction Photos
Planned It
Black 'n White
Home Accents at Catskill Farms, Part 2
Home Accents at Catskill Farms, Part 1