Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Starter Home Extraordinaire

I remember buying my first home like it was yesterday. It was a fixer upper, which is all I could afford at the time. The only reason the roof didn’t leak was it was the bottom floor of a condo building. The windows did leak, and not just air. One morning I woke up to find a small pile of snow in my kitchen. But this was a great investment for me. Located on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., I sold it four years later at twice what I paid for it and moved to western New York.

Starter homes have come a long way. Today I have a perfect little starter home in the town of Greece which has a newer roof, windows, furnace and even central air. It sits on a beautiful park-like lot that is nearly a third of an acre and has a 2 car garage. The kitchen and bath have been upgraded with tile and granite. The living room is large and has a stunning stone fireplace (wood burning). The home is located at 126 Alpine and you can check out more details and photos at: www.RochestersBestHomes.com/R152267 or give me a call at 756-7457.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums Going Up

Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) will increase effective April 18, 2011 and so if you are on the verge of buying a house with a FHA mortgage, consider pulling the trigger and applying for a mortgage by April 17th!  The upfront premium remains unchanged at 1.0% of the base mortgage.  In addition, down payment minimum remains at 3.5% and maximum seller concessions is still allowed at 6% of the purchase price.

For personal advice about buying and selling real estate in the Rochester area, don't hesitate to give me a call at 756-7457.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

$5,000 Over Asking Is Not Enough!!!

I like it where I live and apparently so do some other people. Last weekend I wrote an offer for $5000 over asking and I’m sorry to say the house went to another bidder! Why did we offer so much? Well, we lost a house the week before by writing only a thousand over asking. That’s pretty amazing considering there are parts of the Rochester area where houses sit on the market for weeks and months, sometime without even a showing.

The Ellwanger Barry neighborhood, also known as the Highland neighborhood, provides a nice stock of classic American Foursquare homes along tree-lined city streets. It is convenient to the U of R as well as Strong and Highland Hospitals and since last week was Match Day (the day when medical students find out where they will train as residents) the competition for housing is fierce.

Fortunately, my clients are not young doctors. Instead, they are a professional family that wants to leave the suburbs for the convenience of city living. They are not on the rigid timeframe although they are anxious to start their new life. Hopefully, the next house we write on will be the one. But if not, it may be the next.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rural Real Estate

I've spent the last few weeks running from Kendal to Canandaigua to Byron.  Tomorrow I will be near Lyndonville.  I love everything about the jaunts into the country side except filling my gas tank.

Here are a few shots from the last two weeks. Kind of nice to see the ground again, isn't it?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How Disappointed Will You Be If You Lose This House?

No one will sell you a house for less than what you offer, right? So why not start very, very low with the first offer?

Sometimes it works. I’ve had very low offers accepted without a single counter. Almost always it’s because the house has been on the market for a while and the seller is simply sick and tired of the process.

More often, it doesn’t work. My most notable transaction was when the seller was so insulted that she refused to sell to the buyer even after he came back with a full price offer. She still owns that property.

More than once, I’ve seen a second and better offer come in and so the low bidder never gets an opportunity improve their offering.

Most often the low ball offer will be met with a counter. And depending on how reasonable the counter is, I can often predict the outcome. Most people get a bit of a thrill with the start of the negotiation process but they quickly tire of the drama. If counter offers bounce back and forth 3 or more times (unless it’s very minor tweaking of the terms) most often the offer is going nowhere.

So, before you sit down to right a very low offer, ask yourself how disappointed will you be if you lose the property. Only your gut will tell you how to proceed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Low Ball Offer

My clients cleaned and painted and staged. Finally, we put a ‘for sale’ sign in the front yard. For weeks, they walked on egg-shells trying to keep the house ready to show at a moment’s notice. And finally we got the call! An offer was coming in.

As soon as I picked up the offer, I knew my clients would not be happy. It was $30,000 off asking and this was not an expensive house. What I didn’t expect was their anger.

“That offer does not deserve a response,” he stormed. “Tell them to go find another house!”

The most important advice in this situation is not to take it personal. In fact, try thinking like a buyer when trying to sell your home. If there was the slightest chance that you could buy a house for $30,000 less than the asking price, wouldn’t you try it? Of course you would. It is only human nature and so don’t hold the low ball offer against the buyer.

It took some time and effort for my sellers to regain their composure. They finally agreed to write a reasonable counter offer that the buyer ended up taking. Today they are living in a new house.

Not all transactions work out this way. Sometimes the buyer walks. Sometime they counter back with another very low offer. But whatever the situation, it is most important to stay calm, focused and not take it personally.

Tomorrow I'll talk a little about low ball offers for buyers.