Friday, August 21, 2009

Location! Location! Guess this Location!

It's that time again! We had such fun last month that I've decided to do it again.
Do you know the location of the clock? Leave a guess as a comment in the blog (or shoot me an e-mail) and I'll send a gift card to the third person with the correct answer. (No realtors, please!)
Mary Shelsby
ReMax First

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Perfect House Verses Compromising

Last night, a young couple that I’ve been working with for several months found a beautiful home in their price range. The kitchen was simply stunning with Shaker style cabinets and a beautiful tile backsplash and floor. Both bathrooms were updated and the hardwoods were in great condition. It was so beautiful that it was easy to overlook that Rt. 490 was in its back yard. The highway was so noisy that we found ourselves yelling at each other in the driveway.

My advice to my clients was to forget the house. Granted, it is unlikely that we will find another house this attractive in their price range but if they buy a house in good condition, they will be able to do the cosmetic improvement and upgrades as their economic situation improves. On the other hand, if they purchase this house, they will never be able to do anything about the highway regardless of how much money they make. From the sullen looks on their faces, I don’t think they liked my advice.

There are almost always compromises involved in buying a house and so I offer the following general guidance for consideration in choosing a property.

Location – While it is possible to pick up a house and move it, it is not very practical. Therefore, I encourage clients not to compromise on location. If you’re not wild about having a gas station next door, chances are good that neither will future home buyers when you go to sell the house.

Layout – It is possible to tear out walls or build on an addition, but it’s not cheap. When you are shopping for a house, take time to assess the layout. Are there enough bedrooms and baths? How’s the traffic flow? Does the kitchen have a good design and room for storage?

Mechanicals - When I bought my first home, the first major improvement was to install a liner in the chimney. It was expensive and I couldn’t even see it. There just was no inviting people over to see my new chimney liner! Eventually, everything in a house wears out. Roofs, furnaces, windows all have to be replaced from time to time. When home shopping, assess the mechanicals and be very conscious of their lifespan and cost to replace.

Cosmetics – Everyone falls in love with a beautiful home, myself included, and so it is difficult to convince buyers that this should be their last consideration and first item to compromise on. Think about it. If you had $10,000 to spend on your home would it be more fun to pick out roof shingles or kitchen fixtures? Almost every house can be made attractive, especially if you paid attention to layout. And if you don’t feel that you have the talent or vision to make your home beautiful, there is an abundance of good designers in the Rochester area.

Again, I point out that these considerations are very general and there are special circumstances. Buying a house is a big decision.  Hopefully, you can find a house that is perfect in every way.  But if not, be very aware of what your compromises are.

Mary Shelsby

ReMax First


Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Few Thoughts About Seller Concessions

It seems like the topic of seller concessions keep coming up during the negotiation processes. Often, we will be receiving a counter offer from the seller when my buyer calls me up. “My dad says the seller should be paying my closing costs!”

FHA and VA mortgages allow for a seller to pay the buyer’s closing costs up to an amount equal to six percent of the purchase price. For most conventional mortgages, three percent seller concessions are allowed. The seller paying the buyer’s closing cost sounds like a gift, doesn’t it? Something we should negotiate for, correct? I don’t necessarily agree.

I contend that most sellers know what they need or want to net from the sale of their property. And if there are going to be seller concessions thrown in, the seller is going to demand a higher price. So, in effect, seller concessions is another name for a buyer financing their closing costs.

Now, if a buyer is short on cash and needs seller concessions, they are a great and wonderful thing. But if a buyer has adequate funds to close, I believe they will be better served by getting a lower price for the property and lower monthly payment.

I am not anti- seller concessions. I am anti “buyers thinking this is a gift from sellers and not understanding they will be paying interest on those closing costs for as long as they hold that mortgage.

We are finally enjoying summer-like weather in Rochester.  I hope you are enjoying it.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Just Listed! 32 Delaware St, Rochester, NY 14607

Great new listing in the Neighborhood of the Arts.  Check it out with this link: 

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Neighborhood of the Arts - A Great Place to Live and Play

Rochester has many great neighborhoods but one of my favorites has to be the Neighborhood of the Arts. Jammed packed with culture, the NotA features the Memorial Art Gallery, George Eastman House, Village Gate and ARTWalk. The neighborhood also offers great shopping, restaurants and drinking holes.
If you've not checked it out, ARTWalk is a permanent urban art trail that connects the art centers and public spaces. An expansion to the ARTWalk has been approved and funded through federal stimulus money and so there is a lot of anticipation that a good thing is going to get even better.
The Neighborhood of the Arts encompasses University Avenue, Atlantic Avenue and East Ave and features many high-end residential streets such as Granger Drive and Portsmouth Terr. The area offers many investor opportunities with multi-family dwellings and apartment buildings coming on the market on a pretty regular basis. Medium priced single family homes are a rarity and tend to sell very quick.
If you'd like more information about real estate in the Neighborhood of the Arts, don't hesitate to give me a call.
Mary Shelsby
ReMax First