Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Purpose of the Home Inspection

Okay, I'm getting grumpy! I'm tired and have not had a day off in a while. With that being said, let me get this off my chest!

The purpose of the home inspection is NOT to renegotiate the terms of the sale. If you put in a purchase offer on a house with a tarp over the garage roof, don't expect $5000 concession because the inspector says the garage is a piece of crap.

The purpose of the home inspection is to discover defects that were not obvious at the time of purchase. There is no such thing as a perfect house. The inspector will let you know what is imperfect about it and you decide if you can live with that imperfection. Sometimes the seller will fix the imperfection. Sometimes the seller will offer a credit so the buyer can fix the imperfection. But the inspection is not intended to renegotiate the terms of the purchase.

There! I feel better! Now, hopefully I can go back to my normal smiling self.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Lilacs are Coming But the Magnolias are Here!!!

At some parks, there are signs telling you not to leave the walkway. But not so at
Rochester's Highland Park. In fact, they have many park benches well off the beaten path just beckoning you to come and sit and ponder. What a delightful way to spend a spring day.

Highland Park might be best know for its lilacs but I believe the magnolias are just as spectacular, if not more so. The warm temperatures of the past few days have brought them almost to peak so if you get a chance to take a stroll, do so soon. Enjoy the photos.
And about real estate, well, it's been busy. My two new listings this week both sold in a week or less. I have many buyer clients that still can't find a place to buy. Now is a good time to sell in Rochester.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

54 Westmoreland Dr. - Great deal for U of R Employees

54 Westmoreland Drive. Cute house in a wonderful location. This property qualifies for up to $9000 in grants for full and part time employees of the University of Rochester. In addition, if you have not owned a home in the past three years, you may qualify for the $8000 federal tax credit if you close before December 1, 2009. Stop by and see me today at my open house from 1 to 3 or call me for details. 585-414-5513

Monday, April 06, 2009

How Quickly are Houses Selling In Rochester?

Very, very, very quickly!

Case in point, a new listing came up Friday afternoon. There were no photos but my clients decided to drive by anyway. They called me from the driveway and said we want want to see this. I pull up the listing and there is not even a flowery description of the property and call to get the appointment. There is no sign in the yard so I drive right by it but we get to see it first thing Sunday morning. They really, really like it but we decide to look at an open house that afternoon to compare the properties. No comparison!

We sit down last evening and write an offer. I don't even call the agent ahead of time because, heck, he hasn't even posted photos yet so no one is going to find this property, right? WRONG! Full price offer accepted just hours before ours was submitted.

This was not a starter home either. It was 2500 sq feet in the $200,000 range. So, yes, houses in Rochester are selling very, very quickly.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

How Much House Can I Afford to Buy?

I've got a very good feeling that young people have been watching the news and learning from the messy financial situation facing the country and world these days. While they are enticed by the excellent market conditions (very low mortgage rates, lower house prices and a tax credit!!) there is a lot of concern and conservatism regarding personal finances. Hooray! I am meeting more and more people in their 20's that have little to no debt, aside from student loans. I'm optimistic that this next generation gets it.

As I meet with first time home buyers, they struggle with the decision over how much house to buy. They don't want to get in trouble. That is excellent but I also counsel buyers not to buy too little. It is very expensive to buy and sell houses and with houses appreciating at a slower rate these days, you can expect it to take 4 to 7 years to recoup your closing costs.
So how do you know how much house to buy? Conventional wisdom is that a 30 year mortgage payment (PITI) should fall in the range of 28 to 33 percent of personal income. Here is a link to a handy calculator that can help you figure this range. .

Keep in mind, this is a very simplistic approach to deciding how much to spend. A more comprehensive approach is to chart out all your monthly expenses, set goals for savings (long term and short term) and actually formulate a budget. I know that "budget" is often considered a dirty word but a budget will help you analysis your spending habits and prioritize where you want your money to go, i.e., would you rather travel or have a more expensive home? Visa, the credit card company, has an excellent web site on practical money skills that includes a budget tool. If you want to check it out, go to

Houses in the lower price ranges continue to sell very, very quickly in Rochester right now and luxury homes are beginning to get more attention. I'm looking forward to seeing the numbers for our first quarter.