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.