Monday, December 31, 2007

Best Money Spent

One of the most misunderstood concepts of purchasing a home is the contingency for a home inspection. Homes don't pass or fail inspection. Instead, inspectors simply document the conditions found at a home and then a buyer must decide if they can tolerate the findings of the inspection.

In most cases, purchase contracts are written so that a buyer cannot cancel a contract based on the findings of an inspector. Instead, the buyer must first give the seller an opportunity to correct the defect and if they refuse, then the buyer may then cancel the contract.

Everybody has a different tolerance level for repairs. I've seen buyers freak-out at a dripping faucet and others that are not swayed by a roof needing replacement. Having an inspector that does a thorough inspection and can communicate clearly and calmly about findings is key to buyers making decisions that are best for them. And whether the inspection report leads to a canceled contract, neogiated repairs or simply a better night's sleep, nearly all my cliets report that the $300 or so dollars spent on their inspection was the best money spent.

I've asked inspector Adam Backus with Pillar to Post to join this blog because I like the way he works. He has agreed to provide home maintaince tips and other information of interest to individuals considering buying and selling real estate.

And should you need a home inspection, I encourage you to call on Adam. He can be reached at 585-346-9560.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Holiday Gift For First Time Home Buyers

A recent client of mine was struggling with coming up with all the funds necessary to purchase his first home. He had a steady job, good credit but was short of money. To help him out, I put together a list of organizations that provide support to first time home buyers in Rochester and surrounding areas. He was so appreciative, that I thought this would make a good holiday gift for my readers.

570 South Ave
Rochester, NY 14620

(585) 325-4170 Ext 316

Providence Housing Development Corporation
1136 Buffalo Rd
Rochester, NY 14624

(585) 328-3228 ext. 1319

Marketview Heights Association
308 North Street
Rochester, NY 14605

(585) 423-1540

Rochester Housing Development Fund Corp
183 E. Main Street, Suite 900
Rochester, NY 14606

(585) 423-6326

Urban League of Rochester - Home Store
265 North Clinton Ave
Rochester, NY 14605

(585) 325-6530 ext 3078

Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation, Inc.
935 East Ave, Suite 300
Rochester, NY 14607

(585) 461-4263 ext 102

Rural Opportunities, Inc.

Monroe County (585) 340-3302

Genesee & Orleans Counties (585) 343-7297

Ontario & Wayne Counties (585) 234-3565

Each of these programs have unique criteria to qualify for assistance and they provide a wide assortment of services, from education & counseling, grants, matched savings to inspections and home repairs. I have a complete packet of information, so for more details drop me an e-mail.

Please have a safe and joyous holiday season!

Mary Shelsby

p.s. the cardinal photos were taken in Highland Park just after last weekend's snow storm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Closing Costs Take 1!

Hi everyone! Today I'd like to take a moment to talk about a topic that can be confusing for first time home buyers. Many times home buyers will mistake the term "closing costs" with the "Total Money Required to Close". When in fact "Closing Costs" are just one of two or three components of whats required at closing. I say "two or three" because sometimes home buyers are not coming up with a "Down Payment", which would eliminate your first component. Some mortgage products offer 100% financing, but most often, home buyers are putting down a certain percentage of the purchase price. In summary, component 1 is the down payment.

The 2nd component is the "Closing Costs" or the actual cost to get the mortgage. This includes the banks junk fees, such as the; application fee, underwriting fee, tax related service fee, flood certification, and so on. Lender fees are not dependent on the actual loan size, compared to title insurance and mortgage tax. Those two fees are state specific and based on the loan size. Mortgage tax can differ from county to county. When shopping different lenders this is the area or component to keep your eye when comparing, as well as the rate of course.

The final component is the "Prepaid Items". This is the property taxes, home owners insurance, and interest on the loan for the closing month. In NY, when escrowing your taxes, you must come to closing with at least 1 full year of the property taxes. Some of that will reimburse the seller, and the rest will go towards setting up your escrow account for future tax bills. Home owners insurance must always be paid in full before closing whether you escrow or not.

Well hopefully that clears up some confusion about "Closing Costs". Stayed tuned for "Closing Costs Take 2" when I go into detail about the cost to get a mortgage, and what an average amount you should pay per fee.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Rochester Public Market

"Location, Location, Location," is what it is all about when you are thinking about investing in real estate. Investors and want-to-be investors are often asking me what's the current "hot spot" for investing. Usually, once it is a "hot spot" property values have started going up and there are no real bargains to be found.

So how do you find a hot spot before it's a hot spot? Generally, you need to pay close attention to the news so you know where new projects are planned. Then you need a ton of guts and a lot of luck as you scope out what is on the market.

In recent weeks, there have been numerous articles about the Rochester Public Market area and the newly opened Station 55. I went exploring this morning to try to figure out if this might become the next Rochester Hot Spot.

First stop was the Public Market, all decked out for the holidays, llama included. It was cold, but a lot of fun, with great food and plenty of hand-made holiday decorations.

Then we stopped at Station 55, and was glad we did. It's located on Railroad Ave, just down the street from the public market. Downstairs, the old warehouse has been tastefully converted into an indoor market and they had a holiday sale going on. Future plans are for the market to be open Thursday through Sunday mornings. Upstairs are loft apartments. I didn't get to tour the apartments but I saw some photos and they look very nice. I'm rooting for this endeavor to become a huge success.

Then, we drove the neighborhood, up and down the streets that surround the Public Market. It's a very, very poor neighborhood. I lost count of the houses in poor repair as well as deserted and boarded up structures. Back home at the computer, I found nearly 30 houses for sale in this area, many in the $30,000 to $50,000 range, some of which were two family units with decent rent coming in.
So, is this the next South Wedge? I'd say it is worth watching this area. If you want a list of what is currently on the market in this area, send an e-mail to
Mary Shelsby
ReMax First

Friday, December 07, 2007

Three Things to Keep in Mind About Foreclosures

Lots of people are talking about foreclosures these days. There are those with variable interest rates on their mortgage that are worried about loosing their home to foreclosure and there are those who hope to buy foreclosures at a bargain price. I have a few pointers for those considering buying bank-owned and government owned foreclosed property.

First off, budget for extra closing costs. In the Rochester area, it is normal for the seller to pay for a survey, updating the abstract and transfer tax. With foreclosures, most banks and government agencies will NOT pay these expenses and so they must be paid for by the BUYER. Transfer taxes on a $100,000 home run $400 and survey and abstract could cost in excess of $1000. You will also want to be sure there are no back taxes due on the property.

Foreclosures are almost always sold in "as is" condition and not all foreclosures are a good deal. Often, when a homeowner is struggling to keep up with mortgage payments they will neglect important maintenance schedules. When buying foreclosures, it helps to have a working knowledge of what are minor repairs and what costs a fortune to fix. When doing an engineer inspection of a foreclosure, if the utilities are off, the buyer must turn them on in his name and then turn them off and re-winterize the property after an inspection.

Finally, the best place to search for foreclosures is in the normal websites that feature all the mls listings. ( is my favorite!) Services that charge to send you foreclosures are making money on information that is out there for you for free. You can recognize most foreclosures by the language in the listing. Some of the common phrases in foreclosure listings are: "Buyer to verify all information including zoning and C of O ordinance", "Proof of Funds with offer", "To be sold in 'as is' condition", "Seller Will Not Provide Abstract, Survey or Searches" and "Taxes Estimated." If you suspect that a listing is a foreclosure, have your realtor check so that you can budget for the extra closing costs.

For additional information about buying foreclosures, give me a call at 585-414-5513.

Mary Shelsby, Re/Max First

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Never Do This if Your House is on the Market!

A couple of weeks ago I was in the middle of showing a house when the phone rang. I continued to show the house, pointing out the deep closets and hardwoods in good condition, when the answering machine turned on.

"This is Joe. Leave a message," we all heard.

"This is a collect call from an inmate at the Monroe County Jail. Do you accept the charges?" was the message that was left!

We all looked at each other and quickly left. Negotiating with a seller who is buddies with local inmates didn't appeal to my clients.

The moral of the story is if your house is on the market, either turn off the anwering machine or hit the mute button!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Hey Future Home Buyers, Easy on the Holiday Shopping!

I can't count the number of times I pre-approved people before the Holidays, only to see their credit scores have dropped by the time they find a home during the Spring market. The culprit you ask, why its excessive Holiday spending of course. Lets face it, we as red blooded Americans spend to much money, a lot of which is credit debt. This just in, revolving trade lines (i.e. credit cards) that have a balance of more than 50% of the limit WILL LOWER our credit scores. Credit cards that are maxed out with consistent minimum payments is a sure fire way to have the old credit scores in the low 600s. I won't bother to insult your intelligence by telling you the impact of late payments on our precious ficos.

I know what your thinking, "but Steve, I'm doing a conventional loan with 10% down and the rate is the same whether my credit score is a 600 or an 800." Well not any longer! New guidelines from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for most conventional mortgage products state that rates will be based on credit scores. If your credit score is under a 680, your rate will be higher. If your credit is below 680 and you desire to have a rate dictated by a 680+ score, it will require an additional fee in the way of "Discount Points". That fee will represent exactly where your score is.

I want wish everyone a "Happy and Safe Holiday Season"!

Buying Based on Property Taxes

"The biggest disparity between New York and the rest of the country is the property tax."

That's what the front page of today's Democrat and Chronicle reported! No sh#%t!!! I talk to people all the time that are considering relocating to New York and once they get a peak at the property taxes, well, I need to bring out the smelling salts!

Case in point, last week I got a call from Costa Rico from a gentleman considering waterfront property in the Finger Lakes. He picked out two properties, similarly priced, located about a mile apart. One has annual property taxes of approximately $8799 and the other tax bill runs about $11,500. Interestingly, the house with the lower taxes has an asking price of $11,000 more than the other and from the questions that this buyer was asking, I got the feeling that he was leaning towards the more expensive house with lower taxes.

The house with the lower taxes was assessed for approximately $90,000 less than it's competitor. The reason, it has approximately 1800 sq feet of living space compared to 2500 in the other house. Both houses have similar lots and were close in age. So, while no one likes paying higher taxes, the larger house with the lower list price is probably the better deal.

Friday, November 30, 2007

My Buyer Was Offended!

I recently submitted an offer on behalf of a client for a vacation home on the Finger Lakes. In response, the seller countered our offer with a request for a letter from the bank that proved they didn't have to sell their existing home to qualify for the mortgage.

"I am so offended!" exclaimed my clients. "Why would we look at property we couldn't afford?"

When you are buying property, it pays to think like a seller. Ultimately, it is a business transaction and a seller knows next to nothing about the buyer. It is very reasonable for a seller to want to see in writing that the buyer is qualified for the purchase. There is nothing personal about it!

By thinking like a seller, my buyers were able to let go of the emotions and come back to the negotiation table to focus on the more important terms of the contract. As a result, they should have a very nice summer in 2008, full of boating and relaxing!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Liliana Michelle Ryan

No time for real estate today! Became a grandma! Liliana Michelle Ryan was born 8:39 this morning at Highland Hospital. Everyone is healthy and happy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Introducing Kruk & Campbell

Shhhhhh! Don't tell my husband, but I'm admitting to the whole world that I don't know it all. And for this reason, I'm expanding my blog to be a team blog. The law firm of Kruk and Campbell of Lima, NY have agreed to join my blog and share their wisdom about the legal aspects of real estate. Keep in mind, they will not be providing legal advice in this forum, but simply explaining and answering many of the common questions that come up in uncomplicated real estate transactions.

Kruk and Campbell is the firm that represented me in my last three real estate transactions. So I trust them. And they are often the first name that comes to mind when a client gives me a blank stare when I ask them who they want to represent them at the closing table. I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say and I hope you will as well.

If you have a specific legal concern, consider giving them a call. They are located at 7312 E. Main St, Lima, NY 14485 or call them at (585) 624-5030, or visit their web site at

Friday, November 23, 2007

Real Estate During the Holiday Season

The time between the Thanksgiving holiday and New Years is traditionally a very slow time for the real estate market. Face it, people usually have other things on their mind than buying or selling a house. Does that mean it is better to wait till the first of the year to put your house on the market or start house shopping? Maybe not!

Today, the day after Thanksgiving 2007, there are 6,275 single family houses in the Rochester area multiple listing service. Since families are generally pretty busy this time of year with cleaning, cooking, shopping, visiting, decorating, entertaining and other holiday activities, I would guess that many of the above mentioned home sellers must be pretty motivated to sell if they have their house on the market this time of year. Motivated sellers generally equals a good deal for buyers.

Another reason to consider either buying or selling a house during the holiday season is a lot less competition. Sellers may ask a little more for their property if they are the only ten-year old, 4 bedroom, 2 bath ranch currently on the market in their neighborhood. And buyers don't need a break-neck speed to be the first in the door that often comes with the spring housing market.

So if you are considering a move, don't automaticly decide to wait till spring or the first of the year!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Financing Investment Property

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! My wife Lori and I are very thankful for Chase. Chase is our first child, born 07/08/07. We just missed that all "07" thing. We certainly won't complain, seeing as though Chase was in a major hurry to enter the world by coming 5 weeks early. He is a happy and healthy baby, and is very social.

Another thing I think we can be Thankful for this holiday season, is the fact that Rochester is a great place to own Investment Property. Let me take a moment to give you an update on the mortgage industry, as it relates to investment properties. Gone are the days of 100% financing for 4-unit rentals. Gone are the days of putting very little down and getting a reasonable rate. There are still some lenders that will allow as little as 5-10% down on multi-unit rentals, but the rates are VERY high. High rates plus minimum down payment will equal a bad net cash flow almost every time. The old cliche "You have to have money to make money" certainly rings true these days with regards to financing investment properties. Putting 20-25% down will yield your lowest interest rates, and will certainly have you on your way to an early retirement.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We are in a panic here. I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my husband's family.

Before I got into real estate I use to think real estate agents were domestic goddesses, second only to Martha Stewart. After all, we're the ones that tell people how to make a house look like it belongs in a magazine so it will sell quickly. But after five years of the 24-7 realtor life style, my dust bunnies have turned into dust gorillas. Aggressive dust gorillas!

And then there is the cooking part. I don't do much of it anymore. In fact, we do our part to support the local economy by eating out at least 7 times a week and some weeks up to 14 times. (We're still very practiced at pouring the Cheerios around here.) This should be interesting.

The point is, I doubt I get around to much blogging this week. So please, have a safe and happy holiday and make the most of the precious time with your love ones.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Good to be here!

Thanks for the intro Mary! Please allow me to formally introduce myself
as Steve D'Amico, a Mortgage Consultant with First Rochester Mortgage Corp., located at 2024 W. Henrietta Rd,
Rochester, NY 14623, (585) 427-9200 (sorry, couldn't resist the shameless plug). The company I work for is a
Residential and Commercial Mortgage Broker. I'll write more about the benefits of working with a broker in a future blog.

For my first post I thought I might bore you with a little bit about myself and my background. Don't worry, I'll keep in very
brief. I was born and raised here in the Rochester area until I ventured off to college. I went as far away as I could go, but
close enough to run home for dinner and be back to the dorm by 8pm, so I
went to Buffalo. My parents were starting to wonder why I wasn't simply commuting to school, because I came home almost
every weekend that first year, not to mention all the laundry I brought with me. Anyhow, I received a B.S. in Health Science from
S.U.N.Y. Buffalo, and a B.S. in Physical Therapy from Daemen College. I worked as a PT for 8 years at a large local hospital,
before joining the Mortgage business 4 years ago. Why I left health care industry is also for another time.

Let me salvage this blog and save myself with some actual useful information. I often get this question, "Is there a rule of thumb with
regards to how much I qualify for?" The answer is simply "No". There are many factors that come into play when one is trying to
determine how much house the "bank" feels one can afford. Credit scores, down payment, debt-to-income ratio, and reserves such as 401k
to name a few, are just part of the overall picture that determines what an individual can "qualify" for. I think a better question is, "What can
I afford?" In most cases, especially with all the the different mortgage products
out there, one can qualify for a lot more than what one can actually afford to pay.
Banks over qualifying people is one of the factors that has led to all the recent foreclosures. Personally, when I sit down with clients, we'll
spend a majority of the time figuring out what their comfort level is with regards to a mortgage payment. At the end of the day, its all about what
your comfort level is and not what you "qualify" for.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Love Rochester

I spent the day with clients from North Jersey. They came to Rochester looking for investment property. I spent as much effort introducing them to Rochester as I did showing them property. And every time they asked me about a location, I assured them it was 15 minutes away. The malls are 15 minutes away. The universities are 15 minutes away. We visited Corn Hill and then in less than 15 minutes we were in the South Wedge. Fifteen minutes to the Public Market or Lake Ontario. In fact, Rochester is known to have some of the shortest commute times in the nation.

This is in contrast to life in North Jersey. No matter what they want to do, they get in line. One of my clients were telling me about the evening before his visit to Rochester. He dropped his son off at the local mall. He never got out of the car, yet it took him an hour just to get out of the mall parking lot! After hearing stories like that, I know I never want to leave Rochester.
By the way, there are some very nice deals on investment property currently on the market. My clients had a difficult time deciding which property to submit an offer on!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Drum Roll Please!

Big blogging news here. As you may have noticed, I'm not real good about consistently posting three times a week, which is what the blogging experts say you need to do to have a consistent following. (What's the world coming to when we have blogging experts?) So I've decided I need help.

Drum Roll Please. I pleased to announce Steve D'Amico of First Rochester Mortgage will be joining the blog to share his expertise about mortgages and finances.
I don't envy his job. I get to write about beautiful homes or ridiculously ugly abodes. I have very nice clients but we do get into interesting predicaments that they allow me to write about. Steve, on the other hand, works with points and percentages and other things that are not fascinating reading. But he has promised to do his best to keep you informed and educated about the mortgage world and to do it as interestingly as possible.
Welcome Steve! We look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sprung a Leak

We almost didn't do a final walk through. These buyers were suppose to get possession of the house they were buying 5 days in advance of closing. That would have allowed them to move at a leisurely pace and then a day of cleaning up for the new owners of their house. At the last minute the seller reneged! And in the panic of fast paced packing, the sellers almost declined the opportunity to walk through the house one last time before they owned it.

"But what if they are refusing early possession because they have something to hide," my client asked? So we all jumped in our cars, drove to Mt. Morris and exercised our right for a final walk through. It is a good thing we did.

The primary purpose of a final walk through is to make sure the property is in the same condition as when the purchase offer was accepted. In addition, a typical sales contract calls for heating, electrical, plumbing, and other systems as well as included appliances to be in working order at the time of closing and the walk through is the last opportunity for the buyer to make sure that that is the case. At the walk through, the buyer should fire up the furnace, open the garage door, look beneath curtains or whatever else is necessary to make sure all is in working order.

Back to Mt. Morris. We turned on all the lights, turned up the heat, ran the dishwasher. We even flushed all the toilets and ran all the water which is how we found the problem. There was a leak in the plumbing in the master bath, a significant leak, which caused a puddle in the basement. But we found it! Since there wasn't time to get a plumber in, the closing was held on schedule and funds to cover the plumber's bill were held in escrow. And hopefully, everyone lives happily ever after.

If you are buying a property, don't ever consider not doing the final walk through!

Monday, October 22, 2007

What's In Your SPAM Folder?

If I don't show up for our real estate appointment this week it's because I've decided to retire. You see, I got this e-mail from a Canadian attorney . He represents the estate of a Shell Oil executive that died in a plane crash. They have not been able to locate family members and so he's asked if I would step in as next of kin and inherit a fortune. (Shell Oil....Shelsby...kind of sounds alike. That must be the connection!) All I need to do is e-mail him some information on my bank accounts for the transfer and my social security number (It's such a large fortune, I won't even mind paying inheritance taxes.)

And once I give up the hectic real estate schedule, there will be no need for me to be on the look out for a good deal on a watch. I have always tried very hard to be punctual, but I guess I've not done a very good job. I keep getting these e-mails offering a wonderful price on Rolex watches.

When I'm rich, I'll no longer need to buy discounted prescription drugs through the Internet either. I'll be able to walk down to the corner CVS and stand in line and proudly pay full price for whatever ails me. And every night when we sit down to watch the nightly news I'll take great pride in knowing I did my part to support all the commercials that say "Ask your doctor if XYZ is right for you."

Of course glamor and money go hand and hand. Never again will I need to sort through all the e-mails that promise an improved sex life. At the very minimum, I'm sure my relationship with my husband will improve if I stop forwarding those "Enlargement Cure" e-mails!

As more and more New Yorkers start their real estate search on the Internet, I get more and more leads via e-mail. And if I've never communicated with these people before, chances are their inquiry ends up in my SPAM folder. Last week, I found an inquiry from a long-time client that used their significant other's account to contact me. So at least once a day I go through the SPAM folder looking for legitimate e-mail.

Unfortunately, the market is so slow right now I've actually started reading the SPAM. Sad, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Congratulations Al Gore

Last weekend the local newspapers reported that leaf pick up service was starting this week. The problem is, there aren't many leaves available for pick up. Today's real estate travels took me through Monroe, Livingston, Wyoming and Genesee Counties. For the most part, things are still pretty green around here with the exception of the Warsaw and Wyoming, NY areas and even there, I didn't see very many leaves on the ground. In fact, today, October 17th, I took this photo of a shrub in my front yard with new flowers. Tell me again, that there is no such thing as global warming!

I got thinking about global warming a few weeks ago when Rochester Gas and Electric offered us an opportunity to send them a few extra dollars a month to support wind power. We decided to do that although it wasn't an easy decision. On one hand, there is no doubt that traditional power sources have contributed significantly to a very polluted environment. On the other hand, wind mills are not very pretty to look at. Almost ten years ago when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer we took one last family vacation together. It was a car trip and somewhere between Seattle and Yellowstone National Park we made a stop at some national monument. I don't remember what it was called or even what state it was in but I will always remember the view. From this one point, there was not a single building, road, telephone pole or any other sign of man-kind. And it was quiet! No radios or DVD players, no traffic, not even airplanes overhead. The only sites and sounds were those of nature and I'm quite certain that that was the only instant of my entire life when I wasn't surrounded by all the luxury afforded by man-made civilization.

Is this year's weather truly a sign of global warming? Gosh, even the experts can't agree but there is no doubt that we must stop trashing the Earth. I like to think of myself as an environmentalist but if the truth be known, I like my creature comforts and gadgets too much to honestly call myself a good environmentalist. But I do try to try to make good green decisions. And I applaud the decision to give Al Gore the Nobel Peace Prize for all his efforts and work on behalf of a better understanding of climate change.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Harvest Season

One of the things I like most about my job is the diversity. Just yesterday, I was in a very urban setting and today it was out in the country. Today, it was Mendon, last week Perry and the week before Macedon.

I do love the local countryside. I've been too busy the past few weeks to take many new photos but I've pulled out a few of my favorite shots of old barns and pastures.

Zero Tolerance

Yesterday I had the pleasure of touring the Caring and Sharing Child Care Center at Webster Avenue in Rochester. If you are not familiar with Rochester, Webster Avenue is in the heart of the city and is surrounded by some of Rochester’s most neglected and violent streets. The building that houses the child care center is recently renovated and freshly painted. Maybe it’s the playhouse outside the main entrance but something about this building is just down-right inviting. I’ve had the urge to visit it for a long time.

This child care center has 89 slots for child care and because public schools were closed yesterday for Columbus Day, they had a full house. So I guess I was expecting pandemonium that comes from lots of young energy. Instead, I found peacefulness at this center that was difficult to leave. Granted, it was nap time in several classrooms where soft music and dim lights prevailed. But in the older classrooms, there was a lot of learning going on and you could feel the energy but it was it was a quiet, respectful energy. My favorite spot was the 3rd floor where they host the Museum of Kids Art (MOKA). (Those that know me well, know that I want to be an artist when I grow up!) MOKA is also available for hosting children’s birthday parties (e-mail for more information).

As I stepped outside Caring and Sharing Day Care Center, a Rochester Police car drove by and served as a grim reminder of the “Zero Tolerance” program currently underway in the city. I applaud the city for its aggressive program against crime and violence BUT am ever hopeful that through nurturing and soulful child care programs such as this one, we can raise a more peaceful generation. I pray for the day when aggressive law-enforcement is considered a bad thing.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I gave up on New Year's Resolutions many, many years ago. Instead, I do new month resolutions. I guess you could say that I have so many things to improve upon, that setting goals once a year is not enough! Actually, the thing I like best about monthly resolutions, is you can work on little things, and if you can make the change for 30 days or so, it pretty much becomes habit. And if I don't succeed in making the change, will I can try again in approximately 4.5 weeks.

Last month, I decided to eat better and focused on adding fresh fruit and vegetables to my diet each and every day. I'm proud to tell you that I probably had the best feed compost pile in Monroe County. In other words, I'm going to try that one again.

This month I'm going to work on the messy desk syndrome! (yes, that's 3 phones on my desk and there are moments when I'm on all three!) Hopefully, I will be much more successful! Enjoy our beautiful fall weather!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Reassessment in the City of Rochester

We got the letters in the mail several weeks ago announcing a reassessment of all residential and commercial property in the city of Rochester during the next four months. There was a neighborhood meeting last night with good information about the assessment process.

The city announced that on average, property assessments will go up 10 percent in order to have assessed values closer to market value. Of course, that fact caused many groans as most citizens thought that meant property taxes will go up 10 percent. The representative of the city assessor's office did a good job explaining that an increase in assessment doesn't automatically mean an increase in taxes. Tax rates are based on budgets and if the budget stays the same and all assessments increase the same amount, that taxes stay the same.

Of course, not all assessments will change the same amount. If that was the case, there would be no need to do the assessment. In some neighborhoods, properties are selling for less than what they were in years past and so those assessments will go down. The staff appraisers are in the process of studying recent sales in an effort to assign a fair market value and letters will be mailed in December to inform property owners of their new assessed value.

Property owners that disagree with their new assessments can request an informal hearing, which will be held December through February. If the issue is not resolved, the owner can apply for a formal hearing. THE DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR A FORMAL HEARING IS MARCH, 18, 2008 --NO EXCEPTIONS! Final assessments will be announced May 1, 2008.

What can you be doing about this? First and foremost, you need to make sure the city tax records are accurate. The letters mailed to us gave basic information such as lot size, sq footage, number of bathrooms. If you'd don't still have that letter, you can find your tax information on the city web site: . You don't want to pay taxes for an 1800 sq foot house if your house is actually 1675 sq feet! I will include some information at a later date about property values and how to determine if your property is fairly assessed.

Monday, September 24, 2007

First Time Homeowner Assistance

Last week the local real estate board hosted a real estate agent fair. Imagine this! Hundreds of licensed agents all under the same roof at the same time. Generally, I enjoy the fair because it's an opportunity to learn what is new in the market place. This year's event seemed rather bland. Most of the exhibitors were banks and mortgages companies and their message, loud and clear, was we're still in business.

I did pick up some updated information about the Monroe County Homeownership Program. It is a program created by Catholic Charities and includes education and financial assistance for individual and families with limited income. The organization provides credit repair and budgeting counseling as well as a match savings program. For more information, give me a call at 585-756-7457 or an e-mail.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's Busy Out There

My goal is to write here three times a week. I'm not doing so well at that. It's tough to be bright and witty when I'm struggling with grief and sorrow. But I'm getting a little better everyday.

I've buried myself into my work. Since I returned home, I've shown at least 25 properties, written 3 offers and received two offers on my listings. Lots of negotiations going on! I think it is a mad rush for Western New Yorkers to get settled before the snow starts flying.

I'll write again soon. I promise!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm back!

My younger sister passed away this week after a long illness. I spent as much time with her as the Wake Forest Baptist Hospital ICU rules would allow. I think it was the most difficult week of my life.

I'm back to work now. It is the greatest distraction of all times.

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's All About Timing

I often tell my clients that the closing date on a purchase contract is much like a baby's due date. Not very many babies come into the world on their due date and not many houses close on the exact date in the contract.

"If you have to pick a perfect moving day, what would it be?" is generally how I start a discussion with a new client. And from there we try to put together a game plan that will accomplish their real estate agenda as close to the target date as possible. There are a lot of variables that come into play and it often gets complicated and unnerving. A current client of mine suggested that I address this topic in my blog and so here goes. Please keep in mind that there are no steadfast rules for real estate timing.

Usually the simplest transaction is a renter purchasing a single family home. Of course the first objective is to find a house. Some buyers will find them the first day out, but more likely buyers can plan on 2 to 3 weeks or more to locate the home of their drams. (And yes, I've have had clients with special needs that have taken more than two years to find exactly what they are looking for!)

The next step is coming to terms with the seller. Usually price is the biggest obstacle as the buyer wants as much money as possible and the seller wants to pay as little as possible. There are, however, other important terms of the contract, including type of financing, timing (does the seller have a place to go?), inspections and personal property included. My experience with negotiating contracts has been that by aiming for a win-win situation, will result in a smoother transaction from start to finish.

Every purchase contract should state a closing date, and as stated above, that date is simply a target that all parties aim for. Usually, financing dictates the targeted closing date, with most FHA and conventional mortgages requiring 45 to 60 days to close. It is not unusual for cash purchases to close in 30 days and SONYMA loans requiring 90 days.

Most contracts require that inspections be completed within a week of the contract being accepted and generally there are three days after the inspection for the buyer to request repairs in writing. If there are major deficiencies in a property, a deal can die here.

Most contracts require that the buyer apply for financing immediately upon acceptance of the contract and has a stated date to provide a mortgage commitment. In most cases, mortgage commitment is presented within three weeks of the contract being accepted.

Once that happens, the attorneys get busy with title work. Sometimes there are title surprises that can cause a delay. Things like fence agreements and mortgages that were not discharged are easy to take care of but take time that was not planned for. Once title issues are cleared up, the bank will issue a clear to close and closing is set.

An interesting twist to real estate timing is when buyers are relocating to the area to take a new job. Most banks will require a paycheck stub before they will issue a clear to close. This creates an interesting dilemma. Usually, you can't start to work until you have a place to live and you can't buy a place to live until you start to work. If you fall into this trap, your realtor may be able to help find temporary housing while you wait for your first check stub.
Another timing challenge is if you have a house to sell. There is no crystal ball to say exactly how long it will take to get an offer on your home and whether or not that buyer has a home to sell or other contingencies.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Home Again

A few days off is a wonderful thing! Especially for your frame of mind. I realized I was getting punchy before I left and was having a difficult time finding anything I liked about real estate! The couple of days home in Maryland were wonderful. We played golf in 100 degree temps (which wasn't so wonderful) but drank beer to cool off. I also played with my camera a lot and shot some cool hummingbird photos.

I'm refreshed and ready to go.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

Every time I catch a news report I get this sinking feeling in my gut. This bank has closed its doors. That mortgage company is failing. Doom and Gloom! Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Is it really that bad? I talked to my favorite loan officer today and he assured me that the only thing shaky is non-conforming loans. Bottom line is that if you have decent credit and some money to put down, you are golden! I sure wish someone would explain that to the press.

I'm headed out of town for a few day's vacation. It's been a busy summer and I can count my days off on one hand.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Relocating to Rochester

It's been 19 years since I relocated to Rochester, NY from Laurel, Maryland (same town as Rochester's current police chief!) To me, it was huge! I was in my early 30's and had never lived outside of the state of Maryland. I remember being here about a month and one day simply breaking down and crying. I was so tired of being lost and among unfamiliar surroundings and people. Obviously, I got over the homesickness, and learned to love Rochester.

This past week, many memories of relocating came back to me as I helped a new client buy his first home in anticipation of moving to Rochester this fall to take a job with the University of Rochester. My contact with him started with an e-mail in which he inquired about one of my listings that had already sold. I offered to e-mail him some similar properties that were on the market and from there, we began to correspond several times a day.

I encouraged him to come to Rochester to spend a day looking at houses and becoming familiar with the different neighborhoods and what various types of houses cost. He accepted my invitation and so I set up a tour of nine homes, that started in the city, then went to W. Brighton, Chili, Irondiquoit, Brighton, Penfield and Henrietta. We saw colonials, capes and ranches. And much to my surprise, by the end of the day he found the house he wanted to call home.

Once back in New Jersey, Ted e-mailed me and said he couldn't stop thinking about that house and wanted to put in an offer. And so I drew up the paperwork, e-mailed it to him he signed it and faxed everything back. I then presented the offer to the listing agent and then we had about 24 hours of pins and needles waiting to hear the seller's response. She accepted!
The next day, Ted headed back to Rochester so that he could attend the engineer's inspection. Once the house received a relatively clean bill of health, we headed over to Premium Mortgage Corp so that he could complete his mortgage application.
Relocating is not that new for Ted. In 1996 he relocated to the United States from Japan. In the back of his mind, he always thought his first home would be in Japan and so making the decision to put in a purchase offer was not a simple one for him.
It was a whirlwind two weeks, from the time he sent his first e-mail until he had bought a home and applied for a mortgage. Fortunately, Ted has several friends in Rochester and has visited here many times, which should make his move here much smoother than mine 19 years ago!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mortgage Crisis is Hitting Home

I had to make one of those God-awful real estate calls yesterday. I had to tell a family to stop packing because the deal on their home was unraveling. It seems that the buyer of their buyer's home no longer qualifies for a mortgage and since his contract on our house was contingent on the sale of his home, the deal is dieing. No fun!

And then I got another awful calls this morning that things are not looking good for a purchase for a buyer client. They have mortgage commitment and are awaiting clear-to-close on a non-income verification loan. All the rules have suddenly changed and now they need 20% down instead of 10. That's an extra $16,000. I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of cash sitting around waiting for a bank to suddenly change the rules.

And in the past week or so, I've had two different buyers ask for my advice on private mortgages because the banks won't currently consider them under the current strict guidelines. Private lenders are looking for interest rates upward of 14%.

The very good news is that mortgage rates are improving (slightly, but still improving) for those with outstanding credit and money to put down.

My message to you? Do what it takes to have good credit. First and foremost, pay your bills and pay them on time. Learn the difference between money problems and spending problems. Develop a budget and spend less money than you make. Get out of debt. It's not easy and it takes a concerted effort and discipline by the entire family but a good credit score is increasingly becoming your most important asset.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nothing's Slick Right Now

It seems like real estate is meaner than ever these days. Buyers and sellers bickering over little stuff (like the cost of a broken window) as well as big stuff (who pays the bill for the new sewer line?). Nobody wants to agree to pre-possession or post-possession which means everyone needs to live in a moving van while all parties are at attorney offices conducting the closing procedures! (Rather insane, isn't it?) A neighbor refuses to sign a fence agreement because they don't give a damn if the property closes! I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
Speaking of picture, I did luck into this butterfly yesterday that was fluttering around a garden in Rush. It was the best part of my day. Hopefully I can keep this image in mind as I take irate phone call after phone call!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Where Was This Guy When I Needed Him?

Have you seen these billboards around town? We Buy Ugly! A real estate agents dream come true!

Like most agents, when I first started in the business and didn't have much experience, it seemed like I could only get listings that no one else wanted. Believe me, I've sold my fair share of ugly houses. Now, people actually call me to sell their house and usually they are pretty nice. Just when I don't have any ugly houses to sell, this guy's ugly mug is all over town offering to buy ugly house. Dumb luck, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Frequent Misconception!

A client of my recently sent an e-mail to me about a mistake I made. As he reviewed the fine print in the contract to sell his home, he saw that he would be paying the commission for the buyer of his home.

"I've always been under the impression that the buyer paid for the buyer's agent--hence their being representing the buyer and the buyer's interest. If I'm paying for the buyer's agent, shouldn't that person be working for me rather than the buyer," his e-mail asked.

And then this week, I got an e-mail from someone who will be visiting from New Jersey this weekend to look for a new home before she starts her new job at the U of R. "Sorry I didn't ask before, but what is the fee you charge for taking me out to look at houses," she asked?

I am so immersed in real estate, that I had forgotten just how confusing this can be. It was no mistake. It is customary for the seller to pay commission for both the buyer's agent and the seller's agent, even though the buyer's agent works for the buyer. In fact, agents must sign a form entitled agency disclosure in which we disclose who we work for and who's interest we must protect.

And then there is duel agency in which the agent works for both sides and must not show favoritism to either side. Occasionally, I run into buyers that believe they will save money by using the listing agent as their agent. In most cases, the only financial gain of sharing an agent is for the agent as there is no other agent to share the commission with.

My sellers did sell their house in the city of Rochester and this week had an offer accepted in Mt. Morris. And since Mt. Morris is home of the Pledge of Allegiance, their daughter Holly, above, proved to me that she could recite it flawlessly.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Something to Churp About!

It's been busy! Five sales in ten days has had me running. I was so preoccupied with my next appointment that I almost didn't see the tiny, almost-naked baby bird laying on the ground next to my back door. So I scooped him up, made him a bed out of a candy dish and started feeding him soggy dog food. With a full belly, he snuggled up and went fast asleep. And since it was August 1st, I decided to name him August, which just happed to be the middle name of my grandfather, father and brother, all long gone.

August seems to be thriving. Yesterday we moved him from the candy dish to a shoe box and this morning he learned to walk. Maybe it's more of a crawl. One of his legs isn't working correct or perhaps he has gotten so fat from the dog food that he just can't hold himself up. Time will tell. His favorite spot seems to be curled up in the palm of my hand.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Happy August!

Just in case you don't have air conditioning, I thought I share with you this shot of my husband from last February and a reminder to not complain about the heat because the snow will be flying soon!

Monday, July 30, 2007

SOLD - First Day on the Market!

I've not been able to say those sweet words in a while! Sold: First Day on the Market. It sounds so good. I could say it over and over, but won't.

The secret to my success? Don't tell anyone but it is great homeowners. The home was spotless clean, attractively decorated and they listed it at a fair price.

The sellers had one request. Try to avoid showings during nap time. So we signed all the papers, took photos and put it on the market. A few hours later, we get a phone call and guess what? They wanted to see it right in the middle of nap time. The sellers said OK, but please whisper, and the rest is history.

The Rochester, NY real estate market is slow compared to recent years. But if your home is clean, well maintained and priced right, it should sell rather quickly.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Market Report - Finger Lakes Water Front Property

For a 2008 market report, go to .

According to today's Democrat and Chronicle, the demand for waterfront property is bigger than ever and prices on the Finger Lakes are going up. (See article ) I was on a couple of the Finger Lakes yesterday, and there seemed to be more 'for sale' signs than ever. So I dabbled in the MLS for a while this morning, and here is what I found:

Keuka Lake: Just three years ago, if something popped on the market, there was a mad dash to be the first to show it. Otherwise, it might be sold. Today, there are 66 properties on the market, with prices that range from $137,900 (actually not lake front - 3 feet of lake access and the private remarks note: Path to lake is a joyous adventure, good shoes and agility required!) to $1,650,000. To peak at current property on the market, go to : Customer Full Report

Canandaigua Lake: Here is where the D&C article was right on. They reported this was the most expensive waterfront property in the area. Current listings range from $182,500 (again, not true lake front) to a whopping $3,500,000 asking price that earns you the right to pay $41,000 per year in property taxes. There are currently 37 properties for sale on Canandaigua with and average asking price of $721,029. But are they selling? A quick check of the MLS shows 9 pending on Canandaigua Lake, with an average asking price of $511,000. To see current listings, check here: Customer Full Report

Conesus and Honeoye are much smaller lakes and much smaller price tags. Conesus currently has 27 properties that can be viewed here: Customer Full Report and Honeoye has only 6. They are provided here: Customer Full Report.

For more specific information about any of the properties or Finger Lakes real estate, don't hesitate to give me a call at 585-756-7457 or e-mail me at ,

There is a Bunch of Weirdness Going On

I've done my part in the past ten days or so to make rich oil executives richer. My real estate business has taken me on numerous road trips that have included Bethany, several trips to LeRoy, Mt. Morris, a couple times around Conesus Lake and one trip to Honeoye Lake. I'm getting to know Avon very well, as well as Scottsville and Caledonia. I've been all over the city of Rochester and surrounding suburbs. It's been such a whirlwind there were a couple of times I could not remember where I was the day before. I shutter to think what my gasoline bill will be this month.

Anyway, there has also been a lot of wheeling and dealing going on and it has included a bunch of strange stuff. For example, I have buyers that put an offer in on a nice property that's been on the market all summer. They offered a purchase price that was 97% of asking, which was pretty fair since the property had been on the market about 80 days. They came back with a counter that was almost full price which was probably palatable BUT they also stipulated that if inspections found deficiencies to the septic and well the BUYER must pay for the first $2000 in repairs and if the home inspection found deficiencies the BUYER must pay for the first $2000 in repairs plus would not be released from the contract unless the repairs exceeded $2000! HOLY COW! What's wrong with the place? Nothing, claims the listing agent. The seller just doesn't want to be nickled and dimed for little stuff. We didn't walk from this deal, we ran.

And then I got an offer in on one of my listings. The offer asked for appliances. Usually, that is not a big deal except this house is vacant and there are no appliances in the house. When I pointed this out to the buyer's agent, he said they knew that and wanted us to go buy appliances! That is pure craziness! And I sure don't understand why someone would intentionally wrap appliances in a 30 year mortgage. How often does a stove or refrigerator last thirty years?

There were some pleasant surprises this week as well. I was driving around LeRoy, with my clients following closely behind and was just mesmerized by the beautiful fields, huge barns and babbling creeks. We are blessed to live in one of the more beautiful parts of this country. We were driving down Oatka Trail, which I don't think I've ever driven down before, and suddenly there was a very cool statue garden. It is on private property but you can observe most of it from the road. Fortunately, my clients were very tolerant of me jumping out of the car and snapping a few pictures. The photos don't do it justice. If you get chance, take the drive. (And when the rich oil exec's get richer, encourage the to call me for their next house :))

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This is For Lisa!

Lisa keeps encouraging me to keep taking photos, especially of flowers. This is my new favorite flower photo. (Say that a bunch of times real fast)

Your Insurance Is Canceled

In late May, my husband and I became the proud owners of a two bedroom home in the South Wedge in Rochester, NY. We never planned to become landlords but in an effort to help a family member that needed a place to live, we put an offer in on this small house the first day it came on the market. Eight weeks later, we handed over a very big check and then the family members decided Rochester, NY was not the place they wanted to call home. Oh well!

So we put out a for rent sign, got a ton of phone calls and choose some very nice tenants that are moving in this week. In the meantime, my husband has spent every waking hour that's not been on his job, painting and cleaning and hauling out stuff t0 make the place as nice as possible. Everything seemed to be coming together okay and then the mail was delivered yesterday.

"Thank you for allowing us to provide your Rental Dwelling Policy," the letter from State Farm Insurance started.

"You are welcome," I thought out loud.

"We are sorry that we cannot continue this insurance. Therefore, your policy is being canceled as of August 3, 2007," were the second and third sentences of the letter.

The letter went on to list the "deficiencies in the physical condition of the building." Actually, they didn't list the deficiencies. They gave a list of orders, such as, "Repair the broken, cracked, and raised areas of the front and side concrete walkway to reduce the trip and fall hazard."

The letter ended with some friendly advice. "For your protection, you are urged to obtain other insurance to prevent any lapse in coverage."

If I were to write down what went through my mind next, my blog might be censored. We agree with the list of deficiencies. In fact, we already have contractors scheduled for next week to give estimates on these and other deficiencies. What is so frustrating is they say they surveyed the property on June 8, 2007. This letter is dated June 29, 2007. It was not received until July 14, 2007 and it is canceling our insurance effective August 3, 2007. And nowhere in the letter does it give us the opportunity to make repairs and continue coverage. It is flat out, You are Canceled, Go find other Insurance."

Maddening! What makes me even more angry, this is a company and insurance agent that I've recommended numerous times in the past six months. Never again!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Instilling Confidence

Today, there are a ton of houses on the market. To be precise, there are 6,890 single family homes listed in the Rochester, NY metro area. And if you are trying to sell yours, you want to do something to stand out.

One of my sellers realized that the competition was fierce. When they decided to place their property on the market, they invested a little time in organizing all their owner’s manuals, warranties and repair receipts into a three ring binder. They placed a nice photo of the house on the front cover. The binder was left out for showings. The message: “Meticulous Homeowner.” The result, sold in 3 weeks, while many other listings were expiring in 3 months.

In addition, the owner’s binder made a nice little housewarming gift for the new owners. They included a personal letter with helpful information about the neighborhood, local shopping and lots of well wishes!

Property Tax Rebate Checks

When you weed through all your junk mail during the next few weeks, be on the lookout for a letter and application from the State of New York for a property tax rebate. Applications are scheduled to be mailed to western New York in mid to late July.

You might recall that last year, New York State property owners simply received a rebate check. This year, our state legislature, in its infinite wisdom, decided to have homeowners apply for the rebate. Reportedly, Governor Spitzer was in favor of treating the rebate as a tax reduction but lawmakers insisted that taxpayers be sent checks with politicians’ names prominently displayed. Also different from last year are income limits, with those who make less than $90,000 downstate getting the greatest benefits.

I guess I’m just not smart enough to be a lawmaker. For the life of me, I can’t understand why we don’t just reduce taxes instead of mailing an application that gets returned and processed so we can mail a rebate check. Heck, if we eliminate postage times two plus printing and processing, maybe we could even increase the savings for each taxpayer!

I have similar feelings about the NY State STAR (School Tax Relief) deduction. It is always a challenge for me to explain to families relocating to New York State that the property taxes for a home are X but if they fill out a form and submit it to their tax assessor’s office before March, they will automatically qualify for a significant reduction in the school tax bill of their primary residence, and no, they don’t need to apply every year.

Again, why not just reduce the tax? A realtor friend with many more years experience than me says, “That’s just not the New York way.”

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Great Time To Be a Landlord

I enjoy watching the ebb and flows of the market. It amazes me how everything is connected. For example, mortgage interest rates have inched up over the past couple of years from 4-point-something to now 6.5 or so. And sub-prime mortgages have dried up. In other words, you have to have pretty good credit to buy a house today.

Guess what? Not as many people are buying houses these days. Two years ago, as you drove through Rochester streets, there were for rent signs on most every block. Today, that is not the case. I recently listed one rental over in Rochester's 19th Ward. I've had 22 phone calls in the past week and the only advertising I've done is put a sign in the yard. I have five houses for sale currently listed and I've not received 10 calls total on the five properties. I'd say it is a very good time to be a landlord.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

When Children Die

It's been a horrific week in Rochester. For my out of town readers, five beautiful, energetic 2007 high school graduates died in a fiery crash on their way to a cottage on the Finger Lakes. Almost as traumatic, a car-load of classmates were following close behind and witnessed the entire accident.

There were no drugs or alcohol involved although I've heard rumor that the driver was talking on a cell phone. It appears to be a tragic senseless accident.

I didn't know any of the girls or their families. The press describes them all as smart, outgoing, upbeat and cheerful young ladies with promising futures ahead of them. Each and every one of them sound like the kind of girl you hope your son will bring home. And now, their beautiful smiling faces are littering this week's death notices.

What does this have to do with real estate? Not much, except a painful reminder to prioritize life. A time to step back and realize that as a real estate agent, I'm not as important as I like to think. A perfect house will not improve your relationship with your spouse. Nor will it guarantee a good education for your children. It won't cure cancer and it sure can't keep your children safe on their way to the cottage. After all, it is only real estate.

God bless those poor families. It hurts me to think about their pain and so I just can't imagine living it. There must have been a huge shortage of angels in Heaven for God to have taken so many so suddenly.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Scary Numbers

In the Rochester, NY real estate market, 50 per cent of the houses that are listed in the MLS do not sell within 90 days. Just last year, only a third of the home on the market wouldn't sell within 90 days. I guess it is safe to say that Rochester has joined the rest of the country with a slowdown in the housing market.

Another way to look at it, however, is 50% do sell, and many of them sell very quickly. There are two factors that sellers need to pay close attention to when trying to sell their home.

The first is price. You've got to price your home competitively from the very beginning, keep a close eye on the competition, and be fast to cut the price to keep interest high. Because of the Internet, the buying public is keenly aware of what is on the market and so it doesn't take long for a listing to get stale.

The other thing sellers have great control over is condition. In order for a home to sell quickly and for top price, it must be well maintained and sparkling clean! Getting rid of clutter is one of the most important things a seller can do. Sometimes simply rearranging furniture will help.

Above and below are a few before and after photos of a current listing. It is amazing what boxing up books, new slip covers and rearranging the furniture can do.

In fact, this is so important in today's competitive market that I have decided to provide a free two hour consultation with a home stagger for my new listings. For details, give me a call at 756-7457.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

The press called me! City Newspaper! It really wasn't me they were interested in but one of my listings. (for on-line story, go to

City Newspaper does a weekly column called Home Work in which they feature an interesting city home that is on the market. My listing at 75 Huntington Park qualified. So they sent out a reporter and photographer.

That poor photographer! He had no idea that I have the photo bug real bad, so I was snapping photos of him photographing the house. Then the homeowner got into the action by snapping photos of me snapping photos of the pro taking serious shots. It was comical.

Anyway, 75 Huntington Park is a wonderful house located just off St Paul Street. Huntington Park is a nice street....kind of an oasis in the middle of the city. It has huge mansions that were built in the early 1900's for some of Rochester's more affluent businessmen. The house has wonderful charm, with 9 foot ceilings, leaded glass french doors, and my favorite feature, rounded bay windows in both the living room and dining room. It's an extraordinary house for an extraordinary price, only $69,000. Check out this week's City's free and call me for a tour of this home.