Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rochester Real Estate - The Year in Review

Happy New Year Everyone! This is a perfect time of the year to reflect back and plan for the future. As I look back over 2008, the thing that keeps coming to mind is "The Day the Phone Stopped Ringing!" Literally! I was having a little slower than average year with about 20 sales when suddenly, around September 1, 2008 no one wanted to look at real estate, no one wanted to sell real estate, no one even wanted to talk about real estate.


Things have improved, somewhat. Since Thanksgiving 2008, I've been busy. I showed property the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve (two different clients) and even to three different clients this week and just about every day in between. My phone is ringing like crazy. Buy I'm not selling property. People are skittish! Buyers are not writing and when they do, the offers are so low that the sellers aren't biting. And sellers are wanting more for their property than they will probably get. It is tough to make a living in real estate these days.

The other striking thing about 2008, was how difficult it was to work with the banks. My first canceled contract came the first week of January in which the bank simply changed its mind about giving a mortgage for a two family property because it was in a neighborhood zoned low-density residential. It was sad as the family had everything packed and were ready to move when the bank backed out. Some of the other frustrations came from banks requiring two appraisals on properties owned less than 6 months and a few incidences of the appraiser acting more like an inspector. Some of the bank changes are good. An individual should have a job and a history of paying their bills on time before a bank loans them a ton of money. That only makes sense.

There was, fortunately, more to 2008 than our financial crisis. I got to work with lots of wonderful people. I got to help young couples like Megan & Ev, Marci & Paul and Lynn & Jason purchase their first homes. I helped several families transition from a long time residence to something new. And I worked with numerous investors that decided they liked the return on real estate much better than the stock market. I guess more than anything, I feel like I made lots of new friends this year as I assisted them with their real estate business. It's not been an easy year, but very rewarding, if not financial.


I'm headed to North Carolina for a little R&R with my husband, Jim, but best wishes to you and yours for the New Year. Please don't hesitate to call if I can assist with your 2009 real estate needs.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Santa's sled should have no problem swooping from roof top to roof top here in the Rochester area as we have about 2 feet of snow on the ground. And once he gets inside, boy what treasures for his eyes! I put out an invite to my former clients and all blog readers to submit photos of their holiday decoration, and boy, what a treat it has been.
I received several entries from Mendon, including this nicely decorated fireplace in a beautiful farmhouse on Lanning Road from Jeff and Jeanne. Another Mendon family put their angels in front of the tree instead of on the tree. Lexie, Addy and Mia look gorgeous in front of the tree, don't you agree?

The furthermost entry received was from Wanakena, NY in the Adirondacks. Patty and Roy reported that they simply decorate their fence and the local deer pose as ornaments!
I also received an entry from the very block in which I live. Vern and Joan sent a very nice photo of their Alberta spruce they decorated in their yard. And my neighbors Geri and Joe invited me over to photograph their beautiful home all decked out for the annual Sector 6 Holiday Buffet.
Fran and Pat (yes, the one and only from http://www.patandfran.com/ fame!) from the neighborhood of the arts e-mailed me a beautiful photo of their Christmas tree. It's been several years since I've been inside their home so it was nice to get a glimpse of it from the photo.
I received several entries from the suburbs as well! Mark and Tricia of Mumford sent a photo of their beautiful red Isaac Memorial Tree which they set up in memory of their beautiful baby boy who went to Heaven before his first Christmas.
From Gates, Juanita and Derrick sent this photo of the beautiful table setting for the holidays. Boy, doesn't that look like a great spot to spend Christmas dinner?
Giovanni & Elizabeth also sent in a photo of a very beautiful Christmas tree set up in their home in Greece. Giovanni, a fairly recent U.S. citizen, is from Cuba and some day I'd like to tell his story of arriving in the U.S. on a small boat and making a very nice life for himself and his family here.
My very favorite Christmas tree photo was taken at L.David Salon in East Rochester, which by the way, is a great place to go if you need to get spiffed up for your New Year celebration or any other celebration, for that matter.
     And now, the moment everyone has been waiting for. As promised, I put all the names in a hat and had a random drawing for a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant of their choice. And the winner is.....
Pat and Fran Reed! Congratulations. And to everyone else, thank you for taking the time during this busy season to e-mail photos to me and better luck next year.

     Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.
Mary Shelsby

Monday, December 01, 2008

Buying and Selling Real Estate During the Holiday Season

It is a question that comes up a lot this time of year, “should we keep our house on the market through the holidays?” One for thing is certain, you have a much better chance of selling it if it is on the market than off. That being said, keep in mind that there are fewer home shoppers during late November and the month of December. Those that are out there are generally pretty serious shoppers. Another consideration in making this decision is how do you feel about keeping your home in ready-to-show condition throughout the holiday season?

The holiday season can be a great time to buy a house if you are willing to squeeze house shopping into your busy schedule. Just last year, I negotiated nearly $50,000 off the asking price of a waterfront property during Thanksgiving weekend and for another client submitted an aggressive purchase offer on Christmas Eve for an East Ave condo that was accepted without a counter. In both of these instances, the properties had been on the market for a while and the sellers had moved on to new homes and not interested in maintaining the property over the cold winter months. Not all sellers are that eager to sell but there are good deals to be had over the holidays.

If you are interested in buying or selling real estate during the holiday season, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Let's Have Some Fun! Contest Time....Send me your photos.

Maybe it's your mantel. Or perhaps you have a knack at stringing garland along your staircase. Is your tree too pretty for words? Does your yard cause traffic jams? Maybe I'm just nosy but I'm just dieing to know how you decorate for the holidays. So I'm asking all readers of my blog, even first-time readers, to send me your digital picture of your holiday d├ęcor (inside or out) before December 17th at midnight and you will be entered into a random drawing for a $50.00 gift certificate to your favorite Monroe County restaurant. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Everyone is eligible except my competitors, i.e., Real estate agents and employees of real estate offices.

By submitting a photo, you do give me permission to publish the shot here on the my blog. Hopefully the photos will help generate some decorating ideas for those like me that are challenged by such artistic endeavors. So let’s show the world just how nicely Rochesterarians know how to deck the halls for the holidays! Entries should be submitted by e-mail to MShelsby@gmail.com but please put "Deck the Halls Contest" in the subject line.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Let's Say Thanks" In support of our troops

I found a wonderful web site and since it is Thanksgiving week, it is an especially good time to visit it. It is designed to allow the public to send postcards to the troops overseas. The post cards were designed by school children across the country and they are adorable. You choose a design, then choose a message or write one of your own, then hit the send button. Xerox then takes care of printing the card and delivering it to our troops from all military branches on active duty around the globe. The site also will allow you to download one of the postcards so you can mail it yourself to s specific person. Check it out at: http://www.letssaythanks.com/Home1024.html And a super thanks to Emily Carpenter for pointing out this site!

Lots to be thankful for this year! I love my career in real estate and the many families I get to work with when they are buying and selling houses. And I am very thankful of my husband, for his love and his support of my career. Without him, I couldn't do what I do in real estate. As a cancer survivor, I am very thankful for my current good health. I'm thankful for Mayor Duffy and all his efforts to make Rochester an even better place. And I'm so very thankful of digital cameras so that I can take as many photos as it takes to occasionally get a good one.

And you? What are you thankful for this year?

Have a safe and fun holiday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What's all the Twitter About Twitter?

Do you twitter? I'm trying! I just signed up this morning and so looking for twitter pointers. Right now I've got one follower. It's Barack Obama! I guess things have slowed way down since the elections because I got a notice that he was following me about 30 minutes after I signed up to twitter. How's that for big brother watching over your shoulder!

Anyway, I'm serious. My Twitter handle is MaryShelsby. Real creative, huh? Look me up. Follow me. Better yet, lead me because I don't know what the heck I'm doing!

Got to run. Doing an open house in Webster today. Stop by if you get chance. I'll be at 1175 Channing Woods Dr. Here is a list of all the opens in Webster today: Webster Open Houses 11/23/08


Stay Warm!!! It feels like February out there!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Winter Blanket


Some of my least favorite words in Rochester are "Lake Affect!" Well, we've had some lake affect over the past few days which left a nice blanket on Nathaniel Rochester. Photo taken at the Sculpture "Reflecting," located at South Avenue and Alexandria Streets, in the South Wedge.

For more information about Nathaniel Rochester and his interesting life, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathaniel_Rochester

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Difficult Economic Times

Usually, I can hardly wait to check my e-mail. You might say I'm an e-mail-holic! But it seems that in the past few weeks, I've found more bad news e-mails than good news e-mail. And pretty much all of the bad news has to do with employment, or more accurately, lack of it. All the scary news on television starts to hit home when you hear from a recent client that they no longer have a job or from another that is concerned about the stability of the company he works for. One client I'm very worried about. She is a CPA with excellent experience in the non-profit sector...if you know of an employment opportunity, please let me know so that I might pass the job lead on to her.

Rochester's real estate market has slowed down pretty dramatically. I'm still looking for my first November sale, and so if you know someone looking to buy or sell real estate let me know. I've had plenty of idle time on my hands to dream up interesting thank you gifts for your referrals. :-)

Home are still selling in Rochester. I did a quick check of the MLS, and there has been 841 single family homes put on the market since November 1. Of those listings, 31 have gone pending in the first 17 days of the month and two new builds have have already closed. In addition, 2 of the properties have been withdrawn from the market. That means there are 806 fresh listings out there and one of them could be just perfect for you!

Friday, November 07, 2008

M&T Bank Offers Up to $7500 for First Time Home Buyers!


Usually, the first home is the most difficult to buy. In most cases, you must still pay rent while trying to pull together the funds needed for closing costs and down payment. Well, M & T Bank has a very nice program to help low and moderate income buyers save for a down payment.

The M & T First Home Club is a savings plan in which participants must make a monthly deposit into a M & T savings account and the bank will match those funds $4 for every dollar deposited up to $7500! The program is a 10 month to 24 month program and participants must also participate in HUD approved homeownership education program. Many of the education programs also provide credit counseling and so this could be a good option for a potential homeowner that needs some time to clean up their credit report. There are income requirements to participate in the program. For this program, a first time home buyers is defined as someone who has not owned a home for the past three years.

If you know someone that might be interested in this program, have them call me. My cell phone is the best way to reach me: 414-5513

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

When Things Don't Work Out


One of the very best things about being a real estate agent, is turning over the keys to excited buyers at closing. There is always such optimism about the new beginning.

But sometimes things don't work out to be happy ever after, especially in today's economic climate. I just noticed a listing for a house I just sold a couple of years ago. It sold for $127,500 but is now being offered at $114,000 subject to short sale (the bank agreeing to a shortage.) This is sad for those buyers but could be a good opportunity for the new buyer. If you are interested in a large split level on a very quiet cul de sac in West Irondequoit, check this out and give me a call Rochesters Best Homes.com.

Hopefully the new lending guidelines will keep history from repeating itself.

Speaking of lending, big news today is that rates have dropped significantly. There are many good programs out there, especially for first time homebuyers including the $7,500 tax credit. If you know anyone on the fence about buying, have them call me today. 585-414-5513

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Please Vote!

To watch the media today, it's easy to conclude that the next president has already been chosen. But in the last few weeks I've asked hundreds of individuals if they knew who they were voting for and many, perhaps even most, were still undecided.

I've found a web site that takes personality, race and even Saturday Night Live out of the mix and instead focuses on the issues. You answer 12 questions on the issues and the site determines how the candidates stack up on the issues that are most important to you. Check it out. And even if you don't, please go vote today. Select a Candidate Quiz

Monday, November 03, 2008

Rochester Foreclosures

Last week I showed two properties back-to-back that were listed as potential short sales (the bank agreeing to taking less than owed, i.e., shortage) but when I arrived both had bright "Winterized" caution stickers and duct-taped toilets that indicate foreclosure. So I was surprised when I got an e-mail stating that in the state of New York, foreclosures are down 10 percent in the third quarter that just ended September 30th.

So how does Rochester stack up with the rest of the country in foreclosures. I found a cool map on the internet that paints a pretty vivid photo: Foreclosure Map According to this map, New York state is in the orange, or a foreclosure rate of 1 in 1,200 homes. That's not too horribly bad compared to states like California, Nevada, Missouri and Florida with rates of 1 in 150! Unfortunately, Monroe County doesn't fair as well as the state. Currently, 1 in 600 homes are in some state of foreclosure with some of the large pockets in Rochester's 18th and 19th Wards with rates at the 1 in 150.

The bottom line is we have a serious situation with foreclosures. In fact, the state of New York has enacted a law that requires lenders to wait 90 days before starting foreclosure proceedings.
There are organizations that can help if you are facing a possible foreclosure. The most important advice is talk to your Bank! Avoiding the situation will only make matters worse. Do not just desert your property. If you remain there and maintain it, the bank is more likely to work with you. And call for help. The Housing Council provides FREE foreclosure prevention counseling simply by calling 585-546-3700 Ext. 3015.
And if you are interested in purchasing foreclosures, take a peek at my post from last December: Buying Foreclosures Yes, there are some good deals out there but you need to keep a few precautions in mind when shopping for foreclosures.
I'm a optimist by nature. We are in a difficult economic climate right now but it is temporary. Soon real estate will be fun again.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Have a super Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm in the Capture Rochester Book!



Maybe you got an e-mail from me asking you to vote for my photos. Maybe I tried to bribe you with coffee and asked you to vote for my photos. Or maybe it was the tears as I pleaded with you to vote for my photos. Whatever it was, it worked because not only is one of my photos included in the Capture Rochester Book but it also won a People's Choice Award for being one of the top 25 photos in the book. I'm so excited!!

The book is beautiful and probably 95% of the photography is better than mine so it's pretty shocking to get the award. The whole concept of the book is pretty amazing. They asked the general public to submit photos and 1,166 people submitted nearly 25,000 photos. Then they asked the public to vote "yay" or "nay" for the photo and the received more than 1.5 million votes! Isn't that incredible. Any way, if you'd like to order a copy, go to http://www.capturerochester.com/

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Say Somthing Nice

It's been tough to blog lately. I'm a firm believer in the saying that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. So I've been silent. There is not much nice to say about the local real estate market right now.

I've got clients, mostly buyers, but they just are not finding anything to buy. It seems that with all the doom and gloom in the news, sellers are not selling unless they absolutely have to. Latest stats out show that the number of local listings is down by more than 10 percent.

Good houses are still selling quickly. In at least 4 occasions during the past six weeks, I've had buyers not quick enough on the draw. One agent told me yesterday that she wrote five offers in October but four of them didn't come together, some due to mulitple offers. So if you are thinking about selling in this market, it is esential that you de-clutter, clean and be up to date on all maintence. Then price it right and it will sell! (If you are thinking of selling, call me and ask about my staging offer.)

Banks are giving mortgages but you've got to have decent credit. I've had a couple of buyers with scores below 500 wanting owner financing. Guess what? Owners check credit as well. Now, more than ever before, Americans should pay their bills on time and make strides to get out of debt. Ever hear of a Budget? It's time to adopt one and stick to it.

I will get back to blogging, I promise! I appreciate the e-mails asking if I'm okay. And I guess there has been one very nice side to the current real estate market, I've been able to spend more time with my husband and enjoying photography and other hobbies! Have a fun and safe Holloween!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Yes, There Still Are Mortgages Available in Rochester!!!!

I know that this mornings headlines scream that the credit crunch hits local, but after surveying several banks and mortgage brokers, I've learned there are still mortgages available in Rochester! In fact, you don't need perfect credit either. FHA insured mortgages are still available for individuals with a credit score as low as 580 with 2.25% down payment!!! Minimum down payments will increase January 1, 2009 but for the time being you only need two and a quarter percent down.

Conventional financing is still available with a 5% down payment. Rates are based on credit scores with buyers having a score of 740 or better earning the best rates.

Please, please, please if you know someone thinking about purchasing real estate, encourage them to call a bank or mortgage broker and not believe everything they hear at the gym or golf course. There is a ton of bad information out there!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Feel Like I'm 16 Again.

When I was 16, it seemed like the whole world evolved around the phone. There were no e-mails or text messages. In fact, there were no cell phones and instead of voice mail, there were busy signals or no answers. As a result, there were many hours spent fretting, waiting for the phone to ring.

Well, I'm feeling like I'm 16 again. I didn't sell a single house in September and I've spent many hours fretting, waiting for the phone to ring. I only wish I still looked like I was 16!

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I don't think I'm alone in this real estate market. This morning, the MLS reports over 400 expired listings in the Rochester market. I don't normally count the number of expired, but there were too many not to notice today.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What Do You Think? A Quick Survey about Rochester Real Estate.

Blogging is all about telling you what I think but for a moment I'd like to switch roles. I'd like to know what you think. The news, as usual, is full of doom and gloom and is reporting an economic crisis. Are you feeling an impact from the economy and is it impacting your decisions about real estate? I've put together a quick and unscientific survey about the 2008 Rochester Real Estate Market. If I get enough responses to make it worth while, I report on them in a future blog post. So please, give me a moment of your time to take this survey.

http://www.polldaddy.com/s/B096E19ACDDE23FD/

By the way, we went out to dinner last night and the place was packed. In fact, as we were leaving there was a line of people out the door and along the front of the building.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rochester River Walk

I set a goal this year to walk the entire Riverwalk, a 15 mile urban trail that starts at the Port of Rochester and runs south along the Genesee River to Genesee Valley Park. I've done numerous mini trips and have yet to see the entire thing, but I got to tell you it is TREMENDOUS. The walk includes a lighthouse, three waterfalls, numerous historic districts, the Erie Canal aqueduct, many parks, sculptures and more. May favorite part has to be Turning Point Park.

The slide show below is a work in progress. Check back often as I will update the slides as I complete the trail.

FHA Changes Rules on Buying a Second Property!

I've worked with many a first time homebuyers that have long term goals of building a portfolio of investment property. Often they start with a starter home with plans to stay there for just a few years. As they get more established in careers, they plan to buy a bigger and better home but retain the starter home for rental income. Well, that scenario is about to become a whole lot more difficult to pull off.
Labeled 'Buy and Bail' FHA lenders and other mortgage providers will not provide funding to homeowner that have vacated a principle residence to buy a new residence unless the homeowner is taking a new job or is transferred in an excising job and the new work location is not a reasonable commute. As part of the conditions for the new mortgage, the landlord will need to produce signed leases (of at least one year after the loan is closed!!) as well as proof of security deposits and first months rent. The only other exception is if the owner has at least 25% equity in the property.

These changes in regulations were necessary because of problems in other parts of the country. Homeowners were vacating their existing principle residence and purchasing new residences to either take advantage of home buying opportunities due to stagnant markets or to relocate closer to work due to the rise price of gas. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you are a bargain hunter), Rochester's property values has held steady and it is consider one of the easiest cities for commuting. Nevertheless, these changes are nation wide and Rochester homebuyers will need to abide by them.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Investing in Rochester

With all the turbulence in the stock market the past few weeks, I'm starting to hear from investors again! As one client put it yesterday, he's losing money in his 401K but seeing a 20% return on his city of Rochester rental properties. He wants to buy at least one more property before the end of the year.

What is nice about this particular client is that he knows that rental properties do not take care of themselves. When he purchases property, he budgets for both improvements and repairs and he collects his rents in person so that the maintenance stays top-of-mind. On his days off, he cleaning gutters, making roof repairs, painting trip or doing landscaping. As a result, not only is he collecting good rents but his properties are appreciating at above average rates.

All to often, landlords believe their biggest chore is to go to the bank and cash rent checks. It is refreshing to work with a landlord that understands the responsibility (and rewards) of taking care of their property.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fannie and Freddie Under Control

What does the news about the Federal Government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mean to Rochester area home buyers and sellers? The biggest immediate news is a significant drop in mortgage rates.

Home buyers Kerry Ryan and Joel Jensen have an accepted purchase offer on a property with a scheduled closing of October 15. Their inspections are done and mortgage commitment received two weeks ago. Today, they negotiated a new mortgage a .50 point drop in interest rate! That equates to a savings of approximately $30 a month off the monthly payment!

If you are currently under contract for the purchase of a property, call your lender tomorrow morning to see if you qualify for a rate reduction. These better deals are reserved for buyers with the best credit scores, generally 700 or better. And if you are in the process of shopping for property, consider getting re-qualified as a lower interest rate may qualify you for a larger loan amount.

Is this the end of the downturn of the local real estate market?  I doubt it, but it sure can't hurt!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Real Estate Dog


I lost my business partner this week. Tasha, our beloved Lab and Rottweiler mix, loved to sleep in my home office and so we nicknamed her "The Real Estate Dog." And she was so attuned to my routines that as I would prepare to leave for a business appointment, she would plant herself at the back door, wag her tail and plead to go with me.


"No, Tasha, I'm not selling dog houses today. You'll going to have to stay home," is what I'd say to her almost every day. And when I came home, she was always excited to see me, whether or not I got the listing or made the sale.

She was such a focus of our daily routine, that her passing has left a huge void. The grieving process is particularly painful right now. And so if I'm slow to return your call or respond to your e-mail, please understand I'm not myself right now.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Open House Lima, NY

Come on by 2084 Michigan Ave in the Village of Lima for an open house at a sweet little ranch. Everything is updated.....new kitchen, new roof, new windows, new flooring and more, all for the price of $124,900.

This property features 3 bedrooms on the first floor and one (possible two) in the walk-out lower level. Two full baths!

The kitchen is super nice with lots of counter space and storage. New stainless appliances are included.

If the house wasn't nice enough, this place as a great yard! The .79 acre lot features a very private back yard with a deck that offers views to die for. For more information and photos, go to www.RochestersBestHomes.com/820635

Come on by Sunday, August 24, 2008 between the hours of 1 and 3 pm. Here is a list of other open houses in Livingston County tomorrow: Customer Full Report Open House Report
(The link(s) sent with this email will expire in 30 days on 9/22/2008. )

And if I can be of assistance with any of your real estate needs, don't hesitate to reach me on my cell phone at 585-414-5513.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sunflowers at Highland Park

I've been working with a number of families relocating to Rochester and they have suggested that I add some blogging posts about fun and/or unique spots to visit in Rochester. I've added a tag line of Discover Rochester so click on it for fun places to explore.

If you are near Highland Park this summer, you may want to check out the sunflower patch that was planted near the corner of Goodman St and Highland Park. It's a great spot for a walk or a picnic or to take some photos. Speaking of photos, here are a few of my favorite:

Thursday, July 31, 2008

All the Listings, All the Time

To see everything currently on the market in the Rochester, NY area click on http://www.rochestersbesthomes.com/

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hot Areas! South Wedge & Highland Park Area

It was reminiscent of 2005!

I had an appointment to show a property at 8:30 last night in the Ellwanger Berry/Highland Park neighborhood and when I arrived, there were people lined up on the street to get in. It wasn't too big of a surprise since the last three properties I tried to show in this neighborhood sold before I could get in.

In a similar fashion, I put a "for rent" sign up on my South Wedge property Saturday and it took exactly 12 minutes before someone knocked on the door to see it. My phone has been ringing off the hook ever since and I have appointment to show it to 8 different tenants and I have one offer on the table to buy it.

I've written three purchase offers this week and it is only Wednesday at 8:15 am. At the moment, we are not having a housing slump in Rochester!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Real Estate is Local!

Every time I watch the news these days I have an anxiety attack. Price of Oil! Recession! Crime! Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac! Global Warming! Cancer! Depression (no, not the economy; me!) And just about the time that I'm convinced that times are too difficult to sell real estate, my phone starts ringing.

Fortunately, real estate is local and the Rochester market is not all doom and gloom. I did about a million in sales in June and the only reason July is off to a slow start is that I've been on vacation.

I'm not the only one effected by the daily news. When I'm out and about talking to people, they often start the conversation with a sigh, shake their head and ask in a hushed tone, "How's the market?" Perhaps the number one question I'm asked these days is how long does it take to sell a house in Rochester these days.

Of course, there is no definitive answer to that question. There are parts of our area that are still getting multiple offers first week on the market. It's not happening much, but it does still happen. And there are other areas that are not even getting showings, much less offers. But just as a glimpse of our market, I did a quick analysis of yesterday's pending transactions.

Yesterday was a typical Tuesday in the summer of 2008. All total, there were 52 single family homes that went pending. Approximately 20% of the homes were located in the city of Rochester which supports my theory about the price of gas driving people to move closer to where they work.

Two of the houses that went pending were sold their first day on the market and two additional properties sold in 7 days or less. The average number of days on the market was 51. The longest time on the market was 166 days for a $200,000 property in West Irondequoit.

The average asking price for the single family homes that went pending yesterday was $153,142 with six of the homes with asking prices of $300,000 or more. There were five city properties listed for less than $20,000 as well as one mobile home in Wayne County.

There! I feel better and hope you do as well. I think I will keep away from CNN and instead stay tuned to the MLS. And if you'd like specific information about our real estate market, don't hesitate to call.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Welcome Back David!


Most of my real estate dealings are residential transactions but every once in a while I get to dabble in commercial real estate. I was tickled pink when my friend David Soldi called me when he decided he want to open his own salon and spa. We spent several months searching until we found a nice spot in East Rochester.




Finding the spot was easy compared to what followed. For the next few months, David worked day and night to transform a cute but very 1980's beauty shop in to a sleek and stylish salon and day spa, named L. David Salon.


Just as David got the finishing touches done on the salon, his doctor insisted that he he have surgery on his shoulder last summer. During his recovery from shoulder surgery, an aneurysm was located behind his liver. On January 3, 2008, he entered Highland Hospital for the surgery. He was in intensive care for weeks and in the hospital for months. Eventually, he was even treated for MRSA and was told over and over how lucky he was to be alive.

Due to a very dedicated and loyal staff, L. David Salon never missed a day of operation while David was recuperating. And I'm pleased to tell everyone that starting today, David is back to work. In addition, he has some exciting new products and plans for his business.


So, if you like to be treated very special when you have your hair or nails done, I'd suggest you check out L. David Salon. Their web site is http://www.ldavidsalon.com/ or you can call 385.7550 for an appointment and directions. I apologize for such a direct endorsement but I am so excited to have David back!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Capture Rochester Dot Com


I finally did it. I signed up and submitted a few photos to the Capture Rochester program being conducted by the Democrat and Chronicle. You can check out my photos here: http://www.capturerochester.com/people/MaryShelsby And if you want to vote for them, well, I'd like that very much too!


It is a pretty neat project for those that love photography. Photographers submit their photos, complete with title and caption...(writing the caption is the hard part for me - I thought pictures are suppose to be worth a thousand words so there is nothing left for me to say). Then the general public votes for their favorite photos. If your photo gets enough votes, well, then it will be included in a coffee-table book about Rochester. That's pretty heady stuff for someone who always dreamed of being a real-live professional photographer! So, if you want to vote for my photos, I'd very much appreciate your support!
Have a safe and fun 4th of July!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Be Careful of Estimates

The Internet brings lots of helpful information at our fingertips. Unfortunately, not all of it is accurate. And it is difficult to know what is reliable information and what isn't.



Case in point, is the fair market value of real estate. A lot of what Realtors do is recommend prices for property, both to buyers and sellers. These profession opinions are based on going in and out of a lot of property and knowing what factors such as location, features and condition will play on market value.



You can also find suggested prices for property on the Internet, sometimes referred to as a zestiment. Watch out for these estimates, whether you are buying or selling real estate. These prices are determined strictly by manipulating data. No one visits the property or drives by.



Last year, I sold a home in Avon, NY for $129,900. This was after it was on the market for many months, with a lot of advertising, six open houses and probably 30 showings. While it was a very nice house with a great open floor plan, the house needed some updating and sprucing up. With the amount of exposure and the number of people that looked at it, there is no doubt in my mind that the market value for this home is $129,900.



Want to know what the zestimate is? $147,500!!! Don't believe me? Follow this link: See home details page The site even acknowledges that the house recently sold for $129,900 but they still estimate its value at $147,500.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Itchy Belly



The folks at Eagle Vale Golf Course in Fairport were nice enough to allow me to wander the course to attempt to photograph blue herons. The herons were not very cooperative but this teen-aged goose didn't seem to notice me as he scratched his belly.


It's summer in Rochester and the weather is simply glorious! I hope you are getting out to enjoy it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Latest in Home Design

Believe it or not, I spent a few free hours this afternoon viewing houses for fun. It was Realtor Day at Homearama 2008 and so I went to preview 7 beautiful homes that feature the latest in design and features. It was great fun. Here's a slide show of the some of the houses I got to see today.





Maybe because it is tougher and tougher to pay for a tank of gas, but these luxury homes sure seem to offer nice incentives to stay home. Several of the homes featured home theaters and at least two of the model homes offered screened in porches with gas fireplaces. All of them were professionally decorated and pleasant to look at.

Homearama 2008 continues until June 29 and so if you are thinking of building a home or even just decorating a home, I'd suggest you attend. Tickets are $9.00 ($8.00 in advance) and the hours are 2 to 8 during the week, Saturdays 10 till 8 and Sundays noon till 6. It's located at Magnolia Manor in Perinton.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Day at the Zoo

I learned something pretty cool about the Seneca Park Zoo recently. If you take someone to the zoo that is in a wheel chair, the person pushing the chair gets in free. That is so cool!
And so if you know someone in a wheelchair, take them to the zoo today! The weather is just about perfect. For more information about our zoo, go to: http://www.senecaparkzoo.org/

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Open Sunday, 1 to 3, Henrietta NY



I hope you will stop by to see me Sunday, June 15, between 1 and 3 for an open house at 3 Langston Point, in Pittsford (take Stone Rd to Tumbleweed, then left on Cobblefield to Langston Pt.) It's a 1996 built colonial with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a list price of $249,000. The yard is simply awesome! For inside photos and details, go to www.RochestersBestHomes.com/813862 . Some other open houses in are are are included in this link: Open House Report

Have a great Father's Day! If you're not able to spend it with your Dad, borrow someone elses father and let them know they are appreciated!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Assessed Too High!

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from the town of Henrietta assessor's office. They asked me about a former listing that I had that was assessed at $145,200 but sold after 18 months on the market for $115,000.

"The house didn't appear to be distressed. In fact, looking at the old listing it looked quite nice. Were we that wrong," the assessor asked?

My professional opinion is that the house should have sold for $129,000 but the sellers were convinced that the house was worth more based on the assessment. By the time the asking price was reduced to $129,000 the house had been on the market so long that the public was convinced that there was something wrong with it. After all, nothing depreciates a house faster than a for sale sign!

The assessor was quite distraught! The owners had never called to question the assessment. When I shared with her the flaws of the property, she agreed that it should have been assessed for less.

This is a sad story. The sellers lost a lot of money on this property. I spent hundreds of dollars advertising the property, conducted 7 open houses and more than 30 showings. The sellers was frustrated and angry at me for not selling it and listed it with another agent. It still took several months and numerous price drops to get the job done. I guess the only winner is the new buyer that got a heck of a deal on an 1800 sq foot ranch.

The moral of the story is it is okay to protest your assessment. And if you are going to put your house on the market, price it right in the very beginning.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Million Dollar Homes

Once upon a time, it was extremely rare for a house to go on the market with an asking price of a million dollars or more. Today, that's not real unusual, as noted in the real estate section of today Democrat and Chronicle. I've put together a list of Rochester, NY area million dollar listings. Many of these gems are waterfront property but the rest are just simply pure luxury!

View all properties that match your search criteria here

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hot Properties


Perhaps the fasting moving properties these days are single family homes for less than $100,000. It seems like most times when I call to get an appointment for one of my buyers, I'm told there is already an offer in. Dang it!


Here is a list of approximately 60 open houses this weekend of single family homes in Monroe County listed for $100,000 or less. Enjoy the great weather and call me if you need real estate assistance. Customer Full Report Open House Report
By the way, the photo was taken on University Ave in the City of Rochester. It's a lovely place for a walk.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Advice For First Time Home Buyers

I got an e-mail today that was very similiar to many that I've received in the past. It read, "My husband, Peter, and I are thinking about buying a house in the near future as we are quickly outgrowing our apartment (we have 2 young children). We have so many questions, and have no idea where to start. Do you have any advice?"



I referred them to a blog that clients of mine did several years ago whereby they documented each step of their journey to buy their first home. It's very entertaining yet educational. Of course, because it is in blog format, the end of the story is on top. To follow their story, you must start at the end of the blog, which is their first post. To check it out, go to http://prinzihouse.blogspot.com/.

In much less detail, the basic steps for buying a home follow:

1. Get pre-qualified for financing. I can recommend someone that will review your credit and income to advise what type of financing (FHA, Conventional and/or SONYMA) is best for you as well as how much you can/should spend for a home.
2. Meet with a realtor to go over the process, paperwork and to discuss what are priorities are for a home.
3. Look for property on the internet, do drive-bys and schedule appointments through your realtor.
4. Find the house of your dreams and submit a purchase offer.
5. Once the offer is accepted, you usually have a week or so to complete inspections and shop for a mortgage.
6. Closing is generally 45 to 60 days after the offer is accepted.
7. Live happy ever after.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Memorial Day


May your holiday be safe and enjoyable.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Butler Did It!

Whether you are staging your home for sale or just getting ready to entertain, a properly set table is impressive. And if you want to set your table properly, take it from the pros.....professional butlers. that is.


I found a cool web site....The International Guild of Professional Butlers http://www.butlersguild.com/ with complete instructions on how to set a table plus at least a dozen ways to fold a napkin. So, if you want to impress homebuyers or guests, check out this site! For more information on staging your home for sale, call me!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Hedge Against the Economy


Several weeks back CNN Money Magazine predicted Rochester's housing prices to increase 2.7%, ranking it second in the country for fastest growing markets. And while that is very good news for the Rochester real estate market, there are a few things to keep in mind. First off, this is only a prediction. Second, this is a cool off of the 4 to 6% appreciation we've been seeing in recent years.


As I work with buyers, especially first time buyers, I urge them to consider shorter term financing, even if it means purchasing a less expensive property. In my opinion, that is the greatest hedge against today's uncertain economy.


Case in point, consider 137 Boardman St (www.RochestersBestHomes.com/811190 ) listed at $96,500 with property taxes of $2,285 per year. Let's suppose we come to terms with a purchase price of $93,000 and we plan to put 5% down ($4,650) which means we are financing $88,350. Let's say our interest rate is 6.125%.


For a 30 year mortgage, consider the following:


Monthly principle & interest is $536.82 (Of course, that does not include taxes of $190.42 which would make the payment $727.85) After five years, the balance of your loan will be approximately $81,500. That means, of the nearly $35,000 you send to the mortgage company over the period of 5 years, only $6,850 is used to pay down your loan.


Now, let's look at a 15 year mortgage. Sometimes you can get a better interest rate on a shorter term loan but for the sake of comparison, let's stick with the 6.125% Monthly principle & interest is $751.52 and at the end of five years, you will have paid down your loan to nearly $65,000. Instead of having $7000 in equity, you will have approximately $23,000!


Most banks also offer 20 and 10 year mortgages. Often buyers will not even inquire about a shorter term mortgage because they assume they can't afford it. In my opinion, they can't afford not to! When shopping for a mortgage, ask your lender to also provide a good faith estimate for a 20 year and 15 year mortgage and go with the shortest term mortgage you can possibly afford.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Open This Sunday


Tomorrow concludes the Liliac Festival for 2008 but the peonies are about to pop at Highland Park. If you are like me, you might prefer to wait until the crowds are done to go see the park and so I've encluded a list of open houses for your Sunday afternoon. The hottest listings in town these days are home priced for less than $125,000 and so that's what is on this week's list. Open House Report

4 Family Home on Rochester East Side



I recently listed a 4 Family Home located just two blocks from the new luxury condos (www.RochestersBestHomes.com/800254) on South Union. It's a great location, just a short walk to down town. The building includes two studio apartments and two one bedroom apartments but could easily be converted to a two or three family unit. It also features off-street parking on Canfield St, which is a dead-end road. Currently, this building is fully rented with $1830 a month gross income. Asking price for this property is $149,900. For details, go to www.RochestersBestHomes.com/812209 . For an appointment to see this property, call 585-414-5513 with a minimum of 48 hours notice.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Attack Duck!



Yes, my photos are usually in focus. But when I took this shot last night I was shaking with fear.


I was showing property in Avon, NY last night and this duck seemed very happy to see me. When I reached out to pet him, he bit me! It hurt and left a pretty good mark too.


Enjoy the rest of my photos from Avon, NY!


U of R Employees Offered $9000 Incentive to buy City Homes!



The University of Rochester and the City of Rochester each are offering $3000 in assistance to full and part time employees of the University of Rochester that buy a home in select neighborhoods in the City of Rochester. In addition, Advantage Federal Credit Union and Canandaigua National Bank & Trust will provide an additional $3000 in assistance.


The targeted areas for the incentive program are the 19th Ward, Plymouth-Exchange on the west in Sector 4; while to the east, they include Highland Park, the South Wedge and other nearby communities in Sector 6. They are the neighborhoods that are closest to the campus. A win-win situation, this program should provide a nice boost for the Rochester real estate market.


These neighborhoods provide a wide variety of homes in a broad price range. At the upper end of the range is a beautiful 2000 sq foot Arts & Craft style home listed at $186,900 ( www.RochestersBestHomes.com/808603 ). The South Wedge Neighborhood is a popular neighborhood for young professionals and has several nice options. For example, a 5 bedroom home with lots of natural woodwork goes for $122,000 (www.RochestersBestHomes.com/812395 )


On the west side, there are approximately 100 current listings of single family homes, with prices between $20,000 (needs lots of work! to $145,000. A cute bungalow style home with three bedrooms and 1 and a half baths is listed at only $61,500 (www.RochestersBestHomes.com/805433 ) or a drop-dead gorgeous colonial with new kitchen and as well as recent new furnace, AC, roof for $119,500 (www.RochestersBestHomes.com/733325)
In addition, NeighborWorks Rochester will be providing participants with home ownership counseling. For additional information about this program and an updated list of eligible properties, and other information about Rochester real estate drop me an e-mail or give me a call.
Mary Shelsby
office: 585-756-7457 cell: 585-414-5513

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Brainstorming about Rochester's Future

Last night I attended the Rochester Neighbors Building Neighborhoods Planning Meeting for Sector 6. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. (more info here: http://www.nbnsector6.org/)

We arrived, had a light supper and then were quickly broken into groups. As a group, we had six minutes to throw out our most creative ideas about improving Rochester on a given topic. We then changed topics and had six more minutes to brainstorm. Some of the topics covered included housing, public safety and our youth. The ideas were flying fast and furious so that our scribe had to work fast to keep up!

The next step was to prioritize to the ideas. Each participant was give five sticker dots and we were invited to view all the lists that all the groups put together and pick the five ideas that were most important to us. Wow! Tough job. The first thing I realized was that many of my neighbors are a lot smarter and more creative thinker than I.

Mayor Duffy dropped by to observe the process and gave us a few words of encouragement. It was nice to meet him in person and I was surprised to see how tall he is!

One of the most impressive aspects of the evening was the number of young people in attendance. There was a good mix of high school students, college students and young professionals. Even more impressive was how active they were in the process. The young people made a statement that they strongly desired a youth center in the neighborhood and then during the voting process, they actively lobbied us old folks to vote for a youth center. It was exciting to think that we were likely working with future leaders of our city.

Yesterday afternoon I was super tired and strongly considered not going to the brainstorm meeting. I left last night very energized and optimistic about our future.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Open houses on Mother's Day


I was very surprised to find more than 100 open houses today. After all, it is Mother's Day. With all the publicity this week that Rochester's real estate market ranks second in the country, it's no wonder. Here's the list: Open House Report

Me? I'm hanging out at the Lilac Festival!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spring Market


No, I've not disappeared from the face of the Earth. It's spring time and more than the leaves have reappeared......so have the buyers. I've been working with five buyers for every listing which has kept me running all over a five county region. (Boy, the executives at oil companies must love me!) And when I'm not showing property, I've been sneaking over to Mendon Ponds Park for a little photography. It's simply beautiful there!
I'll be back soon with some stats on the spring market!