Friday, December 21, 2012

Ho Ho Ho!

Holiday blessings to you and yours!  And please don't hesitate to call or e-mail if I can assist you with your real estate plans!
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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Pricing Distressed Properties

I recently showed a property that was listed for $70,000 in a neighborhood where many similar properties sold in the $120,000 to $140,000 range.  As soon as my buyers pulled in the driveway, they were spouting off defects and the price tag to fix them.

It didn't get any better when we walked inside.  The windows were old, the carpet was shot and there was an active leak in the basement.

Much to my surprise, the buyers were subtracting these repairs from the asking price and they were getting pretty darn close to asking the seller to write them a check in order for them to buy the property.  The more I tried to talk reason to these folks, the more they gave me the evil eye and acted like I was working for the seller.

 When I work for buyers, I work for buyers.  But I don't like wasting everybodies' time and emotions writing offers that are incredibly unrealistic, unless the buyer will acknowledge that the offer is unrealistic but wants to give it a shot anyway. 

When a house is priced $50,000 less than a similar property in better condition, it is safe to assume that the seller at least tried to price it for condition.  Did they price it fairly?  Only doing some homework will say for sure.  Start with a list of repairs.  Research what it cost to have the work done and subtract that from typical market value in the neighborhood.  Then start negotiating with the seller.
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vote for My Photo Please :0)

It's Hot around Park Ave Especially for Investment Property!

The temperatures may be falling but the real estate climate around Park Ave is super hot, especially for multi-family investment property.  In the past six weeks or more, I've heard from many investors and want-to-be investors and when we secure an appointment to view these properties, there are usually two or more other investors looking at the same time.

A little free advice here for new and want-to-be investors.  There are three primary ways to loose money on your investment.   

The first is financing.  I meet many investors that want to buy the property as a primary residence simply so they can put a minimum down and mortgage the property to the hilt.  With interest rates so low that is tempting to do but all interest is front loaded, and so this strategy will only work if the investor is committed to a long term investment. 

Next comes maintenance.  Even if you purchase a property in perfect condition, tenants cause wear and tear.  If you can't tell a hammer from a screw-driver and the thought of getting on a ladder breaks you out in a sweat, you will need to hire someone to take care of your property.  So that is profit out of your pocket and into someone else's.

The last biggie is managing your property.  You will only make money if you screen and select good tenants and then collect the rent.  Some investors hire that job out and as a result a good chunk of their income is given a way.

The bottom line, is that there is a lot more work to being an investor than depositing rent checks.  If you need to mortgage the property, hire a handy man plus a property manager, make pretty darn sure that the return on the investment is great enough to cover these expenses. 
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Friday, October 05, 2012

Showing Stress

I work hard when I take a listing.  My days are filled with putting out signs, taking photos, verifying tax bills, writing ad copy, calling utility companies and much, much more.  But my job is much easier than most homeowners.

When a house is on the market, a home owner must clean the gutters, manicure the lawn, paint the front door, hind the trash cans and that's just with hopes to have enough curb appeal that we get an appointment request.  When the showing request comes in, that's when the real work begins.

Yesterday I had a showing request for a family's home that have two daughters, aged 1 and 3.   When I arrived, the house was spotless......floors mopped, counters clean, beds made, absolutely no clutter and all the lights were on.  My seller greeted me with a big smile and then I heard it!  Not one, but two crying babies!   This particular showing came right in the middle of nap time and so both girls were taken from their bed and put in car seats so they could vacate the property for the showing.

And fortunately, in this case, my seller's efforts paid off.  We receive and accepted an offer last night.  But this was the 14th showing request for this property.  In a couple of incidences, the appointments were canceled just before the showing time and in at least once case, the buyers never showed up.  In one case, the buyers couldn't afford the house but they were curious to see it anyway.  And in all the other cases, the house just wasn't right for them for one reason or another.  But for each and every showing request, this house was cleaned and staged to perfection.  And regardless of the stress this caused, they always greeted me with a smile.

I wish I always could have that much grace.

Sad Day in Honeoye Falls

General Motors announced that it is closing its Fuel Cell Facility in Honoeye Falls today. This will have a huge impact on this tiny village's economy. GM has offered jobs in Michigan to many of the workers but I'm betting there will soon be a flood of nice homes on the market in Honeoye Falls and Mendon.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Staging! How to Make the Perfect Bed

If you're like me, no matter how hard I try I can't get the bed to look like they do in the magazines and showrooms.  Here's a nice little clip that demonstrates how to make the perfect bed.  I'm going to try it and I hope you will to.  Having a beautifully made bed is important for photo day and showings when you house is on the market.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good Morning Rochester

I love it when I'm in the newspaper and it's not the obit page.  Enjoy this beautiful autumn day.

And an update on my story earlier this week about the family moving back home!  We got another offer that is coming together nicely so my open house is canceled!  YAY!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2.785% For 30 YR FHA Fixed Loan! Unbelievable!

I saw a couple of posts on Facebook today saying that interest rates for a fixed 30 year FHA mortgage hit 2.785%.  This is so unbelievable that I didn't believe it until I made a few phone calls to confirm it.

For months, I've been bragging about my 3.25% mortgage and I needed to do a 10 year mortgage to get this rate.  Today's deal blows that out of the water.

So my friends, if you're on the fence about buying, now is a great time.  If you're on the fence about selling, these low, low rates will make it a great time to sell.  And if you're on the fence about staying put, consider refinancing.

I'm taking new clients now, so don't hesitate to call.  756-7457 is my office number.

Mary Shelsby
ReMax Realty Group

Monday, September 24, 2012

Moving Back Home

The Democrat and Chronicle has featured several articles about young professionals that have gone on to bigger and hopefully better places only to move back to sweet ol' Rochester.   But I have a less happy tale to tell.

About 60 days ago we received a full price offer on my lovely colonial located in the quaint village of Wyoming.   Because Wyoming is such a small community, the sellers got to meet the buyers and everybody was excited about the anticipated closing date.

About 3 or 4 weeks ago, the sellers knocked on the door of the buyers to see if they wanted their lawnmower and some furniture.  Although they were pretty certain they were home (this is just down the street from where the sellers live)but no one would answer the door.

That weekend the sellers rented a u-haul and moved out about half of their furnishings.  The next weekend they finished the job.    Since this family has three small children under the age of 4 and both parents work full time, it was not an easy endeavor.

Long story short, it took lots of phone calls to the buyer's agent, the buyer's attorney and even the buyer's loan officer but it eventually became apparent that the buyer's didn't have the money necessary to close.   Without a doubt, that was a disappointment.  But what is infuriating is that everyone on the buyer's side knew this and didn't tell the seller's side until the day of the scheduled closing.   And so my sellers are moving back home.

This is a lovely home, 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths.  It will be open this Sunday, October 30th, 1 till 4 pm which just happens to be the Appleumpkin Fall Arts and Craft Festival.  The address is 60 Main Street and the price is $99,900.  Here is a slide show about the property.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Real Estate in the Netherlands

I spent the day yesterday with a delightful couple considering relocating from the Netherlands to Rochester, NY.  We spent the day visiting Fairport and Canandaigua and next week we will be viewing properties in Irondequoit, Rochester and Brighton.

I couldn't resist the urge to ask about how houses in Rochester differ from those in the Netherlands and was quite interested in their answers.  They live near the coast and the area is quite densely populated.  As a result, much of the housing is row houses.  They live in a modern house, built in the 1980's, yet one of the most striking differences is it was built with no closets.  Most clothing is stored in armories and other furniture  and when new clothing is purchased, old clothing is given away.  Basically, Europeans just don't have as much 'stuff' as Americans.

While my clients are looking for an attractive and well maintained home, their interest is all about the view.  In the Netherlands, there are miles and miles bicycle and walking paths and lots of parks and gardens.  As they looked at houses in the Rochester area, they went from room to room to look out the windows and take in the view.  So far, their most favorable reaction was to a condo along the Erie Canal but we'll see what next week brings.

In the Netherlands, the housing market is still suffering from the 2008 global mortgage meltdown and house prices are again dropping after a modest increase in 2010.  They were delighted to see how strong the Rochester market is.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What is "Broom Clean" Condition?

The purchase contract used in the Rochester, NY area requires that a home be in 'broom clean' condition at the time of possession.  After a recent final walk through in which the floor was clean but the rest of the house was a wreck, I figured it was time to chat about this subject.
Moving day is stressful, both for the people moving out as well as the people moving in.  And even thought there are months to prepare for moving day, life tends to get into the way and most families end up packing and moving all within a couple of days, leaving little time and energy to clean afterwards.   And those families that have just packed their life belongings to move into your former home don't want to start that event with cleaning up your mess.   And so, along with the shortage of time and energy, most movers also have a shortage of tolerance and patients.

'Broom Clean Condition' is not a literal description of how a house should be left.  It's a generic term and my best piece of advice is to leave the house in the same condition that you would like to find your new home.  I often get calls from sellers asking if they have to patch walls where they removed art work and my response is always the same.   When I ask my sellers how they would feel about nail holes in their new walls, they almost always respond with, "Good point!  I'll see if I can find the matching paint!"

Along with sweeping and/or vacuuming, the seller should plan to sponge clean counters and the inside of cabinetry and drawers in both the kitchen and bath.  Appliances should be clean, including the oven and the inside of the refrigerator.  Bathtubs, toilets and sinks should also be clean.  In the summer, the lawn should be recently cut and in the winter, the driveway and walkway should be clear of ice.

Yes, you've been up all night packing and your exhausted.  But chances are good, so have the people that are moving into your home.  If every seller would leave their house in the same condition that they hope to find their new home, moving days would be a tad less stressful and there would be less animosity at the closing table. 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Music to My Ears

I had a client say something to me yesterday that I don't hear very often.

"Gee, this house looks better in person than it does on line."

Why are those such rare words?  Well, too many homebuyers decide not to look at anything that does look great on-line.

Unfortunately, photos sometimes lie.  And while many of us get lured in by a stunning on-line presence of a so-so house, there are many great houses that get totally ignored simply because the agent didn't have a wide angle lens or didn't know how to shoot a room with lots of daylight streaming into the viewfinder or other photography skill.

The house that my client looked at wasn't the right house for them but I was so pleased that they took my advice and looked beyond the poor images.  It is just a matter of time till we bump into the right house.

Monday, January 30, 2012

10 Real Estate Markets to Watch in 2012: Rochester, N.Y.

I love talking to reporters but often cringe when I read what they write. This article didn't give me any reason to cringe. It's nothing but good news for Rochester. Enjoy the article!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rochester's Strong Real Estate Market

The Greater Rochester Association of Realtors reported this morning that the number of accepted purchase offers in the fourth quarter of 2011 were up 93 percent, signaling a strong start to the market this year.

Generally, purchase offers result in a close the following quarter.

Home sales in the fourth quarter were up 5 percent over the same quarter of 2010 with 2,243 closings.

I personally am having the busiest January I can remember.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rochester is Great!

It sure seems that the whole world is learning what we've know for quite some time....Rochester, NY is an awesome place to call home.  Just this week, the city was ranked by The Street, a financial news website, as being poised for greatness in 2012!

In the past six months, Forbes ranked Rochester first on the "Best Places to Buy a Home" list.  MSN says Rochester is at the top of the nation when it comes to "Most Livable Bargain Markets."  And Core Logic, a provider of consumer, financial and property information, analytics and services to business and government, recently released information indicating that Rochester had the fewest number of Underwater Home Owners!

Way to go Rochester!  I'm happy to call you home!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Feb 1st Deadline for Sr Citizen STAR Tax Exemption.

If you are a senior citizen, aged 65 or older and own and occupy a house in the city of Rochester, you may qualify for a reduction in your school taxes.  This year, the senior tax exemptions will range from a 50 percent reduction for those with 2010 incomes of $29,000 or less, to a 5 percent reduction for those who didn’t earn more than $37,400. Applications must be in the City Assessor's Office by Feb. 1, 2012.  

Seniors renewing should already have received applications in the mail. Additional applications can be obtained by calling the City Assessor’s Office at 428-6994, going to City Hall at 30 Church St., Rm. 101A, or by downloading the application at and clicking on “Residential Property Exemptions” in the menu to the left. 

City Assessor Thomas G. Huonker reminds residents that Enhanced STAR, New York’s school tax cut program for seniors 65 and older, is also available. Enhanced STAR is offered in addition to the City’s Senior Property Tax exemption. Seniors will automatically receive the Enhanced STAR exemption if they are approved for the City’s Senior exemption. If a resident doesn’t qualify for the Senior exemption, he or she may still be eligible for Enhanced STAR if they did not earn more than $79,050 in 2010. The deadline for Enhanced STAR is also Feb. 1, 2012.