Just when you think the world couldn’t get any weirder along comes Corona! The past several weeks in our fair Valley of the North Fork river have been gorgeous and springlike. Trees are budding, rivers and creeks are flowing brown and swift, the grass is greener (as it always is in Western Colorado!), and our streets are eerily empty.
With the canceling of school and pretty much everything else in the world, my wife Amy and I have been forced to roll and adapt. We have moved her thriving yoga business online where even though momentum has slowed a bit, business is slowly picking back up. In addition I am now the P.E coach for our 10 year old son Edan. Edans’s online schooling starts at 9am and ends around 11. Our P.E. classes consist of near daily mountainbike rides on our jumbo trail system which thankfully is just a stones throw from our home in Paonia. Also thankfully, biking and hiking is considered an “allowed activity” by the State of Colorado! Edan has really taken to biking and is getting stronger day by day. This makes me happy because bicycling is and always has been my favorite outdoor activity! Life in Paonia feels only slightly different to Amy and I (We are professional homebodies). We miss hanging out with friends intimately but still see them out on the trails. We will also miss our spring camping excursions to the Utah desert where it is now illegal to camp. Interestingly in Gunnison county, our neighbors to the east, it is now a crime to for non-residents to loiter within county lines!
Our grocery stores in Paonia have remained comfortably stocked save for paper products (which for the life of me I still dont understand.) and our farmers/growers have been providing bounties of fresh organic spring greens. Restaurants and cafe’s on the other hand are struggling with several shutting down altogether. I feel for them having once been in that business and knowing what small margins they operate on. We do our best to try and support the ones that are struggling to stay afloat.
Over the past week we have seen the donning of face masks around town as the new norm with many crafty and generous citizens making and donating homemade masks to those in need. During these times I can’t imagine having to go through this challenge in a large city. To be honest an event like this was one of the main reasons we moved to a tiny, rural town with abundant water and the ability to grow food!
And Real Estate? Well, real estate activity is certainly quite diminished at the moment but sales continue to happen! Like everyone else realtors are bobbing and swerving to figure it all out. We went from being “non-essential” restricted from showing to now being able to show once again. Recent adoption of technologies like Zoom and 3-D modeling have allowed us to at least carry on somewhat. The 3-D tours are actually quite amazing. Have a look! https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=GcfAtBh64zp. These virtual tours are a super useful tool if you can’t or are aren’t allowed to visit or view a property for sale! Our real estate contracts have also changed and are allowing for remote offers (that is “site unseen”) to be less risky. Demand remains high especially due to the fact that we would normally have a lot more new listings hitting the market this time of year. In times such as these rural Colorado really starts to seem appetizing when considering the relative challenges vs urban lifestyle. I have a had a very large uptick in inquired for LAND. It seems wide open spaces have become especially enticing in the time of Covid 19! I really don’t feel like my quality of life has suffered too much living in Paonia, Colorado during this Pandemic. The social nature of this community has been subdued but absence makes the heart grow fonder right?
If you were considering buying or selling real estate before the world paused I would encourage you to push on! Our challenge won’t last forever and at the moment we don’t anticipate the bottom falling out of the housing market. If anything NOW IS a good time to shop due to the momentary diminished shopping activity from buyers. I certainly don’t recommend over leveraging yourself financially during times of market volatility or uncertain outlooks, but really when is the outlook ever certain!? I have been fielding a fair number of inquiries from buyers looking for “fire sales”. Again at this point I have not seen this happening to our market. Will it happen in the future? I cannot pretend to know what is in store. Its all so unprecedented that we have very little to go off of. I do know that in times such as these there will always be a market for clean, air, water, and food and the benefits of intimate community.
Many folks are still reeling from this disruption and trying to make sense of their new lives. Many are literally fighting for their lives as well as others’ lives. Many are exhausting themselves finding solutions that we will all benefit from. I prey that we come out of this situation better people and a better species. I feel blessed that I live in a community that cares for one another and I am confident a silver lining will present itself in the end. Its been a beautiful spring in the North Fork. Life goes on in our land of milk and honey!