Friday, November 25, 2016

Seven Free (and Cool) Things to Do in Rochester

It's the time of the year to count blessings and give thanks.  I have a great family, wonderful friends, awesome clients, good health and much, much more to be thankful for.  I'm also thankful for my adoptive hometown, Rochester, NY, and all that it offers.  Following are a few of my favorite things to do within city limits that are perfectly free.  Free is good, right?

1.   Warner Castle & Sunken Garden.  It's pretty cool that Rochester has a  replica Scottish Castle right off Mt. Hope Avenue, that is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9 till 4, free of charge.  But even cooler, is the sunken garden located behind the castle that is available to view 7 days a week.   Somewhat of a hidden gem, it is not unusual to find yourself all alone in the garden.  (5 Castle Park, Rochester, NY  14620)

2.  Gardens at the George Eastman Museum.  While there is an admission fee to tour the museum that was the home of George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak Company, much of the grounds and gardens are open to the public and they are gorgeous.   (900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY  14607)

3.  Turning Point Park.  While Rochester has many awesome parks, one of my favorites is Turning Point, mostly because it is so easy to forget that you are right smack in the middle of the city while you are there.  Located in the Charlotte neighborhood, it features 275 wooded acres along the Genesee River.  The boardwalk extends over the River and provides a great hiking and biking trail.  (260 Boxard Street, Rochester, NY  14612)

4.  Mount Hope Cemetery.  Yes, people are buried there but Mt Hope is so much more than a cemetery.  It features 196 acres of glacial hills and valleys, decorated with beautiful monuments and mausoleums.  It is thought of more as a peaceful park and it is not unusual to see people walking, bird-watching, biking or running along the trails.  Occasionally, there are even organized runs through the cemetery.   The cemetery is open 7 days a week, 7:30 am to sunset and visitors are asked to be respectful of services or individuals visiting loved ones.  (1133 Mount Hope Avenue, Rochester, NY  14620)

5.   Maplewood Rose Garden.  The rose garden features more than 3,000 rose bushes, and it is purely heaven to visit in the summer.  There are other flowers that bloom outside of the rose season, but nothing beats the blooming rose garden.  (Lake Avenue & Driving Park Avenue, Rochester, NY  14613)

6.  Charlotte Pier.  A perfect spot to catch a sunrise or sunset over Lake Ontario, the
Charlotte Pier is also great for a walk on a warm summer day.  In winter, it is often encased in ice and while beautiful, very dangerous to walk.  The pier is also popular for fisherman.  It is located in Ontario Beach Park, which has sandy beaches, beautiful gazebos and plenty of picnic tables.  (4650 Lake Ave, Rochester, NY  14612.)

7.  High Falls District.  Of course, the waterfall of High Falls is the main attraction but there is so much more to see in this historic part of the city.  The Pont De Rennes walking bridge provides gorgeous views of the falls.  The Center at High Falls is an interactive museum and welcome center that is open free of charge, June through August 11 am to 4 except Tuesdays and weekends in the spring and fall.  There are also factory ruins and remains from Rochester's milling past.  The area is lush with park benches and even picnic tables.  (60 Browns Race, Rochester, NY  14614.)

Did I forget to mention your favorite free thing to do in Rochester?  If so, please don't hesitate to share within a comment.  Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

One Nation Under God

There have been so many surprises over the past few months in relation to the national election. Surprises about missing e-mails and missing tax returns.  Surprises about locker room talk and board room speeches.  But more surprising than the sparring between the two candidates, is the anger and divide among the citizens of this great country.  So much name-calling and spreading of untrue stories to shame the opposing candidate.  Such hatred makes me so sad.

But perhaps the greatest surprise to me is the number of people that said they were not going to vote.  They didn't like either candidate and therefore either were not going to polls or just not going to pull a lever in the presidential race.  Or they were going to write in "Mickey Mouse" or some other ridiculous candidates That too made me very sad.

I set my alarm for 5 a.m. this morning and I was the first in line when the polls opened in my neighborhood.  Then I did something I really don't enjoy doing.  I took a selfie of myself with  my "I Voted" sticker and posted it for the world to see.  And I urged people to go vote.  Damn-it, too many young Americans have laid their lives on the line to preserve our democracy for grown Americans not to take this privilege and responsibility very seriously.  As I write this, there are still two hour before the polls close and if you've not voted, please do it and do it seriously.

All the surprises today were not bad surprises.  I also wandered over to Mt Hope Cemetery where Susan B. Anthony  is buried.  Me and thousands of others.  What a heart-warming experience as many women and a few men stood in line for up to two hours to put their "I voted" sticker on SBA's tombstone.  Thank you Susan for fighting for our right to vote and today we had the opportunity to vote for a woman as the President of the United States of America.  I never thought this would happen in my lifetime.

God bless America and help us heal.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Market Report - Honeoye Falls - Autumn 2016

When I relocated to the Rochester area in 1988, my drive to Rochester took me through the Village of Honeoye Falls.  It was love at first site.  I ended of living there for 15 years and while I currently live in the city of Rochester, Honeoye Falls holds a special spot in my heart.  And, as a result, I watch the real estate market there closer than most areas.  Here is a brief summary of the current market.

When I look at the Honeoye Falls Market, I consider the entire Honeoye Falls-Lima School District, which includes Lima, bits of W. Bloomfield and parts of Mendon.  Currently there are 50 single family home listings in the district, which is the lowest number of listings since January 2012.  They range in price from a $38,000 mobile home in Lima to a stunning 8000 square foot home on 10 acres for $1.2 million ( Homes in this area do tend to be larger in size and the current homes on the market reflect that with an average size of 2,996 square footage. The average list price of the current inventory is $395,650 and on average, sellers are asking $125.96 per square foot.

Currently there are 29 properties under contract awaiting a close date.  On average, these properties were on the market for 52 days.  The quickest sale was in 3 days while the longest sale was 128 days. Typically, less expensive properties sell quicker, and the current pending listings seem to illustrate that.  The average list price of the properties pending was $231,002 and the average price per square foot was $104.09.  The most expensive property that is sale pending was listed at $449,900.

The true strength of the market can be seen by what has sold.  In the past 365 days, there have been 164 properties sold and closed.  The average time on market was 44 days with some properties selling in the first day.  The longest time on market was 516 days and that was for a million dollar property.  On average, buyers spent $109.54 per square foot with the most expensive rate was $217.05 per sq foot.

Again, this is just a glimpse into the local market.  It does not take into consideration the size of the lot, condition of the property or where in the school district the property was located.  If you would like more specific information about the Honeoye Falls market, please don't hesitate to give me a call.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

National Re-Read Your Home Inspection Report Day

It seems we have a holiday for everything.  There is the upcoming day to give thanks plus we have a day to recognize moms and dads and grandparents and even secretaries.  A few weeks ago I heard  it was National Adoption Day.  We have a day to appreciate cats and dogs and even groundhogs.  And it seems there is a day to recognize every type of cancer imaginable.  Well, I'd like to propose a new holiday.

I think we should call it National Re-Read Your Home Inspection Report Day.  You know, that document you received about a week or so after your offer was accepted from some guy with a ladder who poked around for a couple of hours to find everything wrong possible with the property.  You remember, that document that caused you to go pale as you read it and kept you awake half the night thinking about it?  Chances are, if you've already made a mortgage payment or two or twenty, that report is in the back of your closet (or hard drive) collecting dust (or whatever collects on untouched computer files).

Often the next time that report is thought about is years later when you are signing on the dotted line to put your house on the market.  Gee, let's see what the buyer's home inspector might say about our house!

Unfortunately, what may have been a little minor notation five or ten years ago could now be a major defect if it wasn't taken care of properly.  For example, a little water infiltration could require a $5 tube of caulk to remedy but if it is not taken care of, could cost thousands to replace structural rot. Chimneys are another area that rapidly deteriorate if they don't get the attention they need.  It's never fun to fix a chimney or roof or furnace but it is even less fun to do it to sell your house.

I often tell buyers to go through the report and make a list of what's deal killers (items that the seller must take care of before we will go forward) and put the other items on a "honey-do" list.  Unfortunately, in the excitement of moving in, unpacking and decorating that honey do list tends to be forgotten.  So, let's designate a day to find our reports and read them.  And rather than being lulled to sleep like a plate of turkey, let's take action to repair and maintain our properties.  

Happy Thanksgiving friends.  I hope the day brings you good food, good times with family and friends and many new wonderful memories.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Heating Season

Yay!  November is here and the bickering can cease.  Eleven months of the year, I have a wonderful, strong marriage but my husband and I just don't seem to get along in October.  You see, he believes you should control the thermostat by the calendar and I think that the thermometer is a better gauge.  He believes in not turning the heat on till the first of November.   And when the house is 58 degrees, I go to local restaurants to use the bathroom.  In fact, I spend as much time away from home as possible.

The past year, I've run into more then my fair share of bad furnace situations, and so this seems to be a great time to chat about furnace safety and care.

During my real estate transactions during the past year, I've run into at least three furnaces with both cracked heat-exchangers and totally clogged furnace filters.  That's not a coincidence.  When you fail to change your furnace filters and they become clogged, a forced-air furnace must work much harder to force that warm air through your home.  That stress can cause a premature crack in the heat-exchanger.  In one case this year, the furnace was only five years old but so was the furnace filter.  It had never been changed.  So, please, please, please determine how often your filer needs to be changed and do so.

A cracked heat-exchanger can produce carbon monoxide, especially in newer high-efficient furnaces.  So can water heaters, gas stoves, gas fireplaces, automobiles and other appliances that burn gas.  That is why New York state law requires all homes to have a working carbon monoxide detector.  Since carbon monoxide is a completely odorless gas, it's not a bad idea to have a detector on each level of your home.  And a carbon monoxide detector lasts about 5 to 7 years and so it's not a bad plan to purchase a new one every 2 to 3 years and rotate them out of service.  Don't forget to change out those batteries when you do your smoke detectors.

Whenever, I list a property I strongly encourage the seller to have the heating system serviced and inspected before the property goes on the market.  That is because if there are issues, we want to know about them before a buyer does.  To learn that there is a bad furnace after an offer has been accepted, means only one thing and it is not good for the seller.  It constantly amazes me how many families do not have their heating system regularly maintained by a professional.   If you need a referral for someone that is reliable and reasonable, don't hesitate to let me know.

Carbon monoxide safety is a personal issue for me.   I lost a brother to carbon monoxide poison more than 30 years ago.  If you switch a button and it suddenly gets warm in your home, it's easy to get complacent about furnace safety but I hope this will serve as a wake up call.

Stay warm!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Don't Advertise Your Kids' Names With Your Home!!

The weather in Rochester has not warmed up but the local real estate market has.  I've been out photographing numerous houses from Greece, to Brighton to Fairport that will be coming to market over the next few weeks.

The homes are all nicely staged and gorgeous but the kid's bedrooms are especially fun to photograph.  Of course, they leave me feeling deprived as I think back to sharing a bedroom with my two sisters without matching furniture nor color-coordinated drapes and bed coverings.  But that's another story.

I love the trend to decorate a child's room with his or her name until it is time to put the house on the market.  As you stage your home and child's bedroom, keep in
mind that these photographs will be all over the internet right there with your address.  While most kids are taught about stranger-danger, it can be confusing to them when a stranger knows their name.  So, just as a precaution, remove all the name art before the photo shoot.

It's also not a bad idea to put away anything that is extremely valuable so as not to temp burglars.   Of course, valuables can be replaced  but our precious loved ones can not.  

Please don't hesitate to give me a call if I can assist with your Rochester-area real estate needs.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Match Day 2014. Welcoming New Residents to Rochester, NY

Match Day is the annual event where medical students around the country learn where they will spend the next four to seven years of their lives completing residencies.  And so this morning, dozens of new, young doctors learned that they will call Rochester, NY home for the short term and the University of Rochester Medical Center will be their place of both employment and learning.

These young doctors and their families will need to find a new home and there are many excellent choices in a wide variety of price brackets, all close to the U of R Medical Center.  Here is a breakdown of a few options, but every hour it seems something new is listed and something else goes pending.  Feel free to register with my website to receive e-mail alerts:

If you are looking for an excellent school district plus a carefree lifestyle (i.e., someone else cuts the grass and plows the snow) maybe a townhouse is a good choice for you.  200 Lac Kine Drive is offered at $164,000 and it is in excellent condition with a stunning interior.  The home has 2 bedrooms plus a loft, and an attached 2 car garage.  All kitchen appliances are included.  For photos and details, chick here:

If you prefer to be in quick walking distance to the medical center, 950 Mt. Hope Avenue offers 3 bedrooms, one bath plus a one car garage. This home is located directly across from the historic Mt. Hope Cemetery.  More information can be found at .

There are more economical options for medical students willing to travel across the Genesee River.  Rochester's 19th Ward is located less than a half mile from the medical center and features beautiful yet remarkably affordable homes.  As an example, 118 Virginia Ave, a 3 bedroom colonial with one bath, fenced back yard with a deck and garage, is being offered for less than $70,000.  Complete details at

To schedule an appointment at any of these or other properties near the University of Rochester, don't hesitate to give me a call at 585-414-5513 or visit my site at

Mary Shelsby
Licensed Real Estate Sales Person
ReMax Realty Group