A common element among almost everyone I’ve been working with this summer is that they’re brand new to Sullivan County. For many its their first time here (not counting college-era stops at the Roscoe diner on trips between NYC and Ithaca or Binghamton.)
To be honest, ‘newbie touring’ is not a favorite past time among Realtors. The payoff tends to be low, especially in the summer up here when ‘house shopping in the Catskills’ is on the top 10 list of ‘things to do on a hot summer weekend’, up there with antiqueing, going to the shore or taking the family to a ‘pick your own’ blueberry farm.
One frustration with ‘never evers’ is that they don’t quite grasp how large Sullivan County is or how much variety we have here. You just can’t get your hands around this county in a single day trip from the city. Driving from Claryville to Barryville, for example, take about an hour and fifteen minutes.
I’ve had folks say they want to see these 2 houses in Claryville, a house outside of Livingston Manor, 2 near Jeffersonville and a couple more down in Barryville — which just isn’t possible in one day. Most people wouldn’t dream of flying to Orlando and trying to get in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney/MGM Studios and Universal in one day. Is it physically possible? Yes, but not very enjoyable.
Most newcomers are pleasantly surprised by the variety here. Many folks start a second home search with a pretty defined idea of what they’d like, in terms of setting, house style, amount of privacy, etc. But that idea is often formed in a vacuum, without understanding what the range of options are. Unless someone is very specific about what they want, I try to expose newcomers to as wide a range of options as possible on a first trip — even if that means doing more ‘drive bys’ and actually visiting fewer houses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had potential clients say, "Wow, this setting is really beautiful and not what we were thinking of at all, but is something we’d consider." I’ve venture that the majority of my clients end up buying something very different than they initially envisioned.
Something I’m noticing among this season’s newcomers is that they’re excited about Sullivan County, and they’re excited about the possibility of getting a place here. They’re excited that there is this place just a couple of hours from Manhattan that’s so beautiful — and they can actually afford. They’re quite different than some of the more jaded shoppers we saw over the past few years, who would compare us with the Hudson Valley, Cold Spring and Saugerties and invesitably rate us short.
Today’s buyers are looking at the Sullivan glass as half full, not half empty. They tend to see how much we have to offer, not how much we lack. Its a whole new attitude, all bright eyed and bushy tailed.
True, the profile of the current crop of second home buyers is different, which I’ve written about a number of times before. They’re younger, often first-time home buyers, with modest budgets. They’re not looking for trophy property and don’t expect to find something that can grace the pages of Country Living.
While they may not be spending the big bucks, their enthusiasm is infectious and they can be awful fun to work with.