Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Surprising Numbers

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less people moved last year than in any year since 1962! And of course, the U.S. population was much smaller then and so it you look at it as a percentage, in 2008 just 11.9 percent of Americans changed residences, the lowest move rate on record since 1948. I find that rather surprising.

So, how are we doing locally in 2009. By the numbers, it doesn't look good. The Greater Rochester Association of Realtors released numbers last week that indicated sales of existing single-family homes fell almost 14 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. But I personally think these numbers paint an untrue picture.

I personally had very robust year in 2008 UNTIL September 1. That is when the phone stopped ringing. My personal sales for year-to-date are down more than the 14 percent locally reported but the market does seem to be picking up steam with first time home buyers. I am optimistic that this will be a much more productive fall than last year.

Another quick reminder, time is short if you want to buy a house and be closed before the November 30th deadline.

Mary Shelsby
ReMax First

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mrs Clean Does Not Live Here!

Wow! I've seen some dirty houses on the market in recent weeks. I'm not talking dust bunnies, I'm talking dust gorillas. And these aren't cheap houses either.

At one of these houses, my client turned to me and said I feel like I'd just be buying their mess. I assured her we could require that the house be professionally cleaned at closing but the husband shook his head and said, “If they can't keep up with cleaning, what makes us think they have kept up with maintenance items?” Good point!

At another house I showed, the floor was so dirty that we went back to the front door and put our shoes back on to protect our feet. Then when I walked into the dining room, I saw that someone had swept that floor but there was a pile of debris just waiting for someone to appear with the dustpan! This is not an exaggeration!!! This house was listed in the $175,000 to $185,000 range and we had to give 24 hours notice in order to see it. Unfortunately, they did not use that 24 hours to prepare for our showing.

Ladies and gentleman, if you want to sell your house at top dollar, start with a good cleaning. If cleaning is not your thing, then hire it out. And by a good cleaning, I mean wipe down your walls and doors near light switches and door knobs. Organize your cabinets and closets. Clean out your window wells because buyers will be looking at your windows. And yes, do the windows as well. Heck, I also recommend that you eliminate cob webs, even in the basement and attic. It doesn’t hurt to dust the hot water heater and furnace. Send the message that you have loved this old house and have been compulsive about its care. And as long as your house is priced properly for its location and condition, you will have a much greater chance of getting a full price offer.

Mary Shelsby
ReMax First

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Location! Location! Guess this Location!

Do you know the location of this photo? Be the third person with the correct answer and I'll give you a $20 gift certificate to Tim Hortons. (No licensed realtors, please.) Leave your answer as a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

I've been supplying photos to the Greater Rochester Real Estate Board for a similar contest during the past few years and its been a ton of fun. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Mary Shelsby
ReMax First

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Buy Before Labor Day!

I am advising all of my first time home buyer clients to be under contract by Labor Day to qualify for the federal tax credit being offered to most home buyers that have not owned a home in the past three years. I don’t really think it is going to take 80 plus days for a transaction to close but I do anticipate gridlock at banks and attorney offices. I do know of several real estate attorneys that have plans to keep their office open until midnight if necessary to close every transaction that is clear to close before the December 1 deadline.

My biggest concern is housing inventory. Inventory is tight right now, especially homes priced less than $130,000. For example, I started working with new clients just over a week ago that want to buy in the city of Rochester near the U of R. To start their search, I called on 12 listings to schedule an appointment. I could only get appointments at 7 of them because the rest had accepted offers. Of the 7 properties, 2 had offers in that were being negotiated and one smelled so bad we never made it to the second floor. One home was really nice and when I called the next day to schedule a second look, four offers had arrived. This week, 4 new listing came up that met their criteria but 3 of them sold within 12 hours of being listed and the 4th was liked by her but not him. We’ve decided that we’re going to step our search up a notch or two.

Other areas of the city are selling very rapidly as well. The Culver-Winton and Browncroft neighborhoods are definite hot spots. Outside the city, starter homes in the Brighton School District seem to be sold even before they hit the market. And as we count down to the deadline imposed by the Federal government, I anticipate inventory to get tighter and competition more fierce. And so, again, I urge buyers to try to be under contact before the Labor Day holiday.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beautiful Day on Lake Ontario

Lucky, lucky me! I hot to show property on Lake Ontario this morning and it was a simply beautiful day for it.
Should be a good weekend as well! I hope so! Look for me at the Corn Hill Arts Festival, credit card in hand, doing my part to improve the economy.
There is a lot going on in local real estate and I'll be updating soon, perhaps this evening. I promise!
Enjoy the wonderful weather!