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!