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.

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.