LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — There’s talk that Sullivan County land is being bought up for development. Cochecton’s planning board approved a major subdivision. Real estate agents report booming business.
“Homebuyers,” says REALTOR magazine, “appear to be shifting their focus from dense, urban metros to smaller, less populated areas and second-home markets.”
Indeed. “When people are looking at value, it’s hard to beat the houses you can get here,” said Anna Li, co-owner of Catskill Concierge and Catskill Home in Livingston Manor. “For one year’s salary, you can buy a house.”
Country retreat and pandemic escape rolled into one affordable house.
But all these new residents and second-home owners may find themselves confronted by a jigsaw puzzle, where you need to fit pieces together to find answers and get the services you need.
Catskill Concierge and businesses like it help new residents navigate through the puzzle of country life. Concierge services can both advise and oversee projects and homes. They’ll even manage your day-to-day needs if that’s what you want. They know who to call and where to go for help.
There’s a lot to learn here, after all. Do you need a repair person who will actually show up? A concierge service knows one. Does the roof need repair? They can advise and find someone to fix it. Closest source of farm-fresh, organic food? They know. Looking for COVID-19-safe fun on the weekend? Yep, that too.
Catskill Concierge, which launched in 2014, has an advantage in its sister business, Catskill Home, said Alan and Anna Li. Alan is an owner and head of property services; Anna is co-owner and head of property development.
Catskill Home will renovate your house, even if you just need a laundry space. Catskill Concierge takes away the worries of home maintenance so you can enjoy your property.
Having both businesses gives them a range of contacts to call on for help, they said. Plus Alan, as a licensed home inspector, knows what trouble spots to look for.
It’s also useful because “most housing stock [here] is older,” Anna Li said. That translates into “sometimes needs work.” Sometimes it needs major work. And if the owner has a city life and city career, it’s daunting to figure out how to be in two places at the same time.
What are they seeing right now? People are asking, “How does our house work in the day-to-day?” Anna Li said. Meaning, not just as a weekend retreat but also as a place they can stay for months.
“People want the weekend house to be able to pivot to a house people can live in for a few months,” Anna said. They want space for a laundry room, they want a furnace. As more people work from home, creating office space is another need.
Second-home owners are all different. This will not come as a surprise. But it means that the Lis offer different packages, reflecting individual layers of involvement in home maintenance and in the community. Not everyone wants to be that engaged, day-to-day, in renovating the home and finding and overseeing services on their own, Anna Li said, “but another layer is interested.”
Ultimately, “Our company is a conduit between residents,” Anna Li said, “bringing down barriers and making sure people understand each other.”
Contact Catskill Concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845/288-2650.
Ask anyone what drew them to this area, and right off, someone will mention the natural beauty. Of course, that’s a prime factor. But don’t forget housing costs, as Anna Li said. Less-expensive housing opens up possibilities. “Sometimes you get an idea, you want to take a hobby” and see if it will turn into a career, Anna said. “Give yourself a little breathing room [to try something].”
And there’s an attraction in being around other people trying their ideas and dreams out for size. “There’s a richness... being near artistic people,” Alan said.
Country life offers escape from the city and from worries about illness. But it comes with its challenges.
Distance, for one. “It’s spread out,” Alan said.
The amount of driving, Anna agreed. And “no one big town that is the center... although you can get in close proximity to a really charming town.”
There are just some adjustments to be made when you move here, a cultural shift. “It takes weekenders time to find their feet,” Anna said.
But whether you want to go forth and explore your new community or just spend time with your family in peace and quiet, concierge services like Catskill Concierge/Catskill Home can make life a lot easier.