Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Every where you look these days there is a green message! And rightfully so. In my 50 plus years on Planet Earth, I've seen such changes to our environment. So last year when I was looking for a new real estate office to call home, I was impressed by the efforts at ReMax First to both be a progressive thinking real estate office but also have a social conscious, especially with environmental issues.
One of our offices are powered solely by wind power. At both offices, bins are set up and recycling is taken serious. And this year, our broker owner offered bonus bucks to any agent that purchases an environmentally friendly new car this year. "Green living" is not just a buzz word at our office, it is a way of life.
And so, in honor of Arbor Day, I'm pleased to announce that RE/MAX First will again donate a variety of trees to customers who purchased a home in the past year. Our goal is to see one tree planted for every house sold last year.
Trees cam be picked up Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27 at Gro-Moore Farms, 2811 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14467 or by special arrangement. Many of my clients have moved out of the area or have not responded to our post card mailing, so I'm opening up the offer to blog readers. To register for a tree, go to http://www.homesforrochester.com/trees/ . (Be sure to choose me as the agent so they know who to send the bill to!) For those who don’t have adequate space to plant a tree, REMAX First will donate those trees back to the community to local parks, town and village halls, nursing homes and schools. You better hurry, though, as there are only a few varieties of trees left.
Mary Shelsby

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Waiting Game

Last Monday I wrote an offer on a property in the city of Rochester owned by a bank. We made the "life of the offer" as Wednesday at noon. When I talked to the listing office on Tuesday, they advised me it would probably take the bank 48 hours to give a response. After 36 hours, I started calling.

My client simply wants to know if his offer was accepted. Fortunately, this is an investment property. He has a very nice home ten or twelve miles outside the city. Often, I write an offer on a foreclosed property for young, first-time home buyers that are looking for the most economical way to purchase their first home. Sometimes they really NEED to know if they succeeded in purchasing the next place they will call home or do they need to hit the pavement again to find another property.

I don't really dislike writing offers for foreclosed property but I do dislike how much more stressful the process is for my clients. The people at the bank work Monday through Friday and to them, the purchase offer is just another file on their desk that they will get to when they can. Me? I work with real people that simply want to know if their offer was accepted, even if it is a Sunday afternoon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Something to Be Thankful For!

It's been a tough, tough real estate market this spring. Buyers are indecisive, sellers are defensive and most real estate agents are just plain grumpy. In previous years, I've sold as many as five houses in a week during the spring and as many as 7 during the month of March. This year, I've only put together a total of five transactions in first 15 weeks of the year.

So I was feeling a bit blue this morning when I pulled up to the gas pump. Fortunately, I glanced up and notice the person at the pump before me paid $72.83 to fill up. And suddenly the $39.42 to fill up my not-so-fancy Pontiac Vibe seemed like a pure blessing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Last Chance for 2008 City Living Sundays

City Living Sunday Part 3 will take place this Sunday, April 13, 2008 at Aquinas Institute, located at 1127 Dewey Ave. Festivities will run from noon to 4 and feature affordability counseling, loan details and how to buy seminars plus approximately 50 open houses in the Northwest quadrant. Click here to see a list of open houses scheduled for Sunday: Open House Report

Buyer Beware!

With all the media attention on the sub-prime mortgage situation, it seems that hardly a day passes when some buyer doesn't ask me about foreclosures. It seems that everybody thinks that is the best way to get the best deal in Rochester real estate.

Today was no exception. I was working with a buyer looking for a multi-family investment property in the city of Rochester. He was pretty excited about a new listing and could tell that it was a foreclosure by all the tape and winterizing stickers in the bathroom photo. The price was right and the description claimed it was a good property in average condition.
I made the appointment and met the buyer on site. Our first impression was the property was better than average condition. The kitchens and baths were dated but functional. One of the apartments had nice gum-wood trim that had not been painted. Each unit had three bedrooms of respectable size. The roof was older but still functioning.
We were both excited about "the find" as we headed back down into the basement. Suddenly my client realized that there was no plumbing in the basement. Someone had gone through and cut the pipes and harvested all the copper! Only in real estate can a house without plumbing be described as in average condition!!!
I often discourage young, first time home buyers from even looking at foreclosures. In most cases, the water, electric and gas have been turned off which makes even major defects obscure, unless you pay several hundred dollars for an inspection. So if you think buying a foreclosure is right for you, remember the old adage, "buyer beware!"

Thursday, April 03, 2008

768-770 Grand Ave, Rochester - Open Sunday, 1 to 4

Come on by Sunday afternoon, 1 to 4 pm, to see this very nice 2-family located in Rochester's Culver-Winton neighborhood. Lots of charm remains with gum-wood trim and hardwood floors. Both kitchens and baths have been recently remodeled and the attic has been finished. Newer roof, plumbing and electric! Gas and electric are on separate meters for each unit.

Currently, both apartments are rented, with a monthly income of $1425, but the downstairs tenant has a month-to-month lease so this would make an awesome owner occupant home or investment property. Asking price: $99,500. For more details, click: www.RochestersBestHomes.com/808231

I hope to see you on Sunday!

City Living Sunday in NE Rochester

The city of Rochester is once again putting on educational workshops for home buyers this Sunday, April 6, 2008 at East High School, 1801 E. Main St, from noon till 4 pm. Mortgage lenders, Realtors and city officials will all be on hand to answer questions about purchasing real estate in the city of Rochester.

In addition, nearly 50 houses located in the Northeast quadrant will be open for touring during the hours of 1 till 4 pm. For a list of open houses, click here: Open House Report and to obtain details on any of these properties, go to http://www.rochestersbesthomes.com/. Maps showing the locations of many of the open houses can be picked up at East High School.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring Market Has Hit!

The interesting thing about a real estate blog is that when the market is slow, it is difficult to find things to blog about but when it's hot, it is difficult to find time to write.

Since returning from my mini-Easter vacation, my phone has been ringing off the hook and I've had appointments, usually more than one, each and every day. I've had three listing presentations, worked with 4 new buyers, showed property to 2 long time buyers and participated in four inspections. Throw in City Living Sunday and a couple of committee meetings and whew! No wonder I'm tired.

Property is selling in Rochester. But there are some unusual circumstances going on with mortgage lenders. Mortgage rates are fluctuating almost as much as the spring temperatures! For example, Monday 30 year conventional mortgages were going for 5.62 percent interest but on Tuesday, they were up to 6.125. So for a mortgage of $130,000 that is a swing of approximately $42.00 a month or more than $15,000 over the life of the loan. It is very difficult for a buyer to know how much of a house they qualify for when interest rates swing from day to day.

The other big news is that mortgages are taking much more time to close. Just last year, it was not unheard of for a house to close in four weeks. It is now taking that long in some cases just to get mortgage commitment. Some banks will give quicker turnaround but it seems they are charging premium prices. Several brokers are suggesting that we write contracts with 60 days till closing to avoid blown deadlines.