Tree surgeons, arborists, woodcutters…. call them what you will, but I believe they can indeed predict the real direction your local real estate economy is headed in.
Have you dealt with a tree cutter lately?
The ones in my neck of the forest are anything but humble. They’re not crying for business. They work when they want, how they want and for whom they want. In other words, they’re not hungry, thank you very much. And their prices are well, sky high.
Recently we needed a few high limbs cut out of a tree at our house. "Harold’s" advertisement clearly showed him confidently maneuvering a late model cherry picker. When Harold arrived to do the job he climbed up to the roof of our storage building and grabbed the limbs while precariously balancing in a rather dull trapeze act.
"No, I don’t have a cherry picker. What ever gave you that idea? It cost $240 a day to rent one and I didn’t think you wanted to pay extra for that."
For the next big job at our [tag-ice]duplexes[/tag-ice], we hired "Billy". Billy didn’t do anything he had promised. He showed up on the wrong day and insisted we bring him a signed check before the job was done- before the bank closed, mind you. When we asked him what he had done with the trash limbs and debris he shrugged.
"I just threw them over the fence. They’ll never the know the difference next door."
Yeah right, Billy. We own that lot too, you brainiac.
Billy was not the kind of tree cutter you would want to argue with. Maybe it was the chainsaw, I’m not sure. But I really believe having a Pit Bull in the front seat of his pick-up was what really convinced us. Then he left for lunch and returned with a different dog. Now a pretty big carnivorous Chow was sitting in the truck. (Turns out the Pit Bull belonged to his mother and he had returned it to her during lunch. And, no, I’m not making this stuff up).
Finally, the job was done. It wasn’t good workmanship but it would suffice.
"You sure do need a lot of work done around here. I’d be more ‘n glad to do it for you. Just leave a message on my voice mail."
Okay, so Billy doesn’t have the best marketing skills. And he’s not the best tree cutter/arborist/woodsman around. But what on earth does he and Harold have to do with our local real estate economy?
For all their faults, Harold and Billy have just shared a vitally important piece of information. Our local real estate in Nashville is doing fine. Yeah, we could have read all of that in the papers. And there are many more signs to read but why get crippled up in a lot of analysis when you could be spending that valuable time investing?
I keep hammering this in. Real estate is a local market. It’s a neighborhood by neighborhood economy. It’s not like the stock market.
How are the people doing who service your real estate market? Are they doing well? If the answer is "yes" a bubble is not bursting.
If your plumbers, carpenters, maintenance people, landscapers and lawn care people are not passing out their business cards like confetti, everything’s still copasetic.
I know. The [tag-tec]Toll Brothers[/tag-tec] say we’re in a downturn. We’ll discuss that in our next post. But my money’s on the less- than- humble Harold and Billy. After all, when they yell "timber" we’d better be listening.