Thursday, May 28, 2009

Children's Miracle Network Telethon is this Sunday! Call in and I'll Match your Donation!

I’m writing to you to ask for your support!

For the past 5 years or so, I’ve supported the Golisano Children’s Hospital by donating a portion of my real estate commission for every house that I’ve sold. Well, it’s no secret that the economy has had a strong impact on the real estate market and so this past year was far from my most productive year. As a result, I’ve decided to take my support for this important organization to a new level.

This Sunday, May 31st, I will be participating in the local Children’s Miracle Network Telethon which is being broadcast from the Strong Memorial Hospital Lobby on channel 10NBC. The show is being aired from 10 am to 1 pm and from 7 pm till 11 pm.

I will be answering phones and taking pledges for one hour starting at 11 am, and have decided to issue a challenge. If you will call during that hour and mention my name, I will match your donation.* The number to call is (585) 241-KIDS. In addition, you can contribute on-line at but be sure to mention the Mary Shelsby Challenge in the special comments section.

Why? Well, a couple of weeks ago I attended a luncheon where I got to meet several of the children whose lives were saved by extraordinary care received at Golisano Children’s Hospital. It occurred to me that it would be unthinkable that some child might not have the same opportunity just because they were unlucky enough to get sick during a bad economy. This facility serves a 17 county region and is committed to treating all children regardless of the family’s ability to pay.

So please, mark your calendar for this Sunday, between 11 am and noon, tune into channel 10 and dial 241-KIDS and make a pledge. It’s that simple! Thank you for your consideration and generosity.

*  I will match the first $500 in donations between 11 am and noon in which my name is mentioned.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

The weather just can't be beat right now, just perfect for a holiday cookout. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday weekend. Please do take a moment to remember our veterans. The Vietnam Memorial at Highland Park is an excellent spot for that.

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Cash for Buying a House

For the past two weeks or so, there have been rumors galore that first time home buyers will be able to borrow their federal tax credit in order to use that money for closing costs and down payment towards the purchase of a home. The details have not yet been worked out but I think this is going to happen. There are some technicalities that have to be worked out because basically you are not suppose to borrow money in order to have the funds necessary to qualify for a mortgage. Hopefully this will be worked out soon because there is not a lot of time left in order to qualify for the tax credit. The purchase must be closed before December 1, 2009.

I have also heard rumors of homebuyers amending their 2008 tax returns to claim the credit before they close on a home in order to get the money early and use it at closing. I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice BUT I don’t recommend you doing this. Lying to the federal government so that they will send you thousands of dollars doesn't seem like a prudent advice for individuals that enjoy the simple things in life, like freedom.

Anyway, I’m working with plenty of first time home buyers right now and questions keep coming up about the disbursement of money, i.e., when and how much. Here are some general guidelines.

When you write a purchase offer for a property, you need to be willing and able to make a good faith deposit within 48 hours of when your offer is accepted. Deposits are a minimum of $1000 and are made payable to the listing broker. That money is held in escrow (not given to the seller), is refundable if the contract is canceled due to contingences, and is used towards the closing costs or down payment of the property.

Generally, the buyer has up to one week to conduct inspections of the property and these are done at the buyer’s expense. Inspections include a home inspection ($300 to $500), radon test ($150 to $200), mold inspection ($200 - $500), chimney inspection ($125 0 $200) ect. In addition, if the house is on septic system and/or has a well, they will need to be inspected. It is not unusual for the seller to pay for these inspections but occasionally the buyer will prefer to pay for these themselves just so that the inspector works strictly for the buyer. Well inspections and water testing can run from $35 to $250 and septic pumping and inspection is $200 to $400.

The next outlay of cash is usually to the mortgage lender. Some lenders will collect an application fee at the time the mortgage application is made ($200 - $300). Nearly all lenders will require that the appraisal be paid up front ($250 - $400).

Things get quiet after mortgage application and the next big expense is homeowner’s insurance. Mortgage companies require that you pay for the first year of insurance up front and that the insurance binder is faxed to your attorney before closing. Insurance premiums are based on the replacement cost of the property plus there is consideration of personal possessions, so I won't dare to quote a range for homeowner’s insurance, but do encourage you to shop around.

The day before closing, you will receive a call for your attorney’s office telling you how much money to bring to closing. Hopefully, any surprises with this phone call are good ones, as you will have received and signed a “Good Faith Estimate” at the time of mortgage application. Some of the language on the GFE is confusing to the layman. The GFE will give a total of closing costs, prepaid items which includes interest and mortgage insurance and the down payment. The GFE should include “Total Estimated Funds Needed to Close” and this should be fairly close to what you are asked to bring to the attorney’s office.

I hope this helps clarify how much money is needed when in the home buying process. If you’d like more information or a consolation, don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Favorite Helpers!

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Property is selling in Rochester, NY, thanks in part to the federal first time home buyer tax credit. I've been struggling to keep up but Colin and Sean were a big help in putting a sold sign in front of their home in Southeast Rochester. Thanks guys.
Hopefully, I'll be able to squeeze out a little time over the next couple of days to catch up on blogging!