Saturday, December 26, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - Christmas Edition

Ho, ho, ho! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah or are still anticipating your holidays!

Alex and Rachel arrived Thursday via Megabus from the City, just an hour or so after I showed my last house before the weekend. Yes, it was Christmas Eve, yes, the owners were most gracious and home, and yes, it was a very worthwhile showing.

As far as Skaneateles is concerned - no really new listings (one waterfront re-list), no contingencies and no new pending sales. Nothing (officially) closed either, so we are still at 77 for the year. That didn't take long!

I did speak with a builder who told me that in the past couple weeks his phone has been ringing off the wall - hooray! I do think the New Year will bring us prosperity.

It was a very prosperous Christmas for us. Rachel loved her Vera Bradley stocking that Intrepid Janet and I found for her. The peppermint bark that Williams Sonoma sells was also a hit. Alex's theme was "blue clothing" this year - and the blue sweater I gave to both him and Bob (different sizes of course!) they promised not to wear at the same time except for Christmas dinner. Bob made cajun shrimp - Price-Chopper has the best, he says.

Bob also did very well by me and my real estate career. I now have a TomTom system that will get me to my destination whether it's Constantia, Oswego or Auburn. (I can hear the cheers from my buyers from here!) He also took pity on me for my visits to empty, unheated houses: I have a heated by battery vest and a heated seat (which I will gladly hand over to clients when they ride with me!)

I am going now to sell a house - yes, vacant and unheated - then returning to make my famous lasagna while watching football with Alex (go Pitt!)

Enjoy! May your day be merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Ho, ho, ho! Now that the snow is here I am off and shopping! I went with a client to find a house for him and his fiancee and then on to Barnes and Noble. Just a lovely way to spend a snowy day!

There are currently 109 active listings in the Skaneateles area as defined by the multiple listing service. Only one listing came on this week and it's a waterfront re-list in the mid-$500,000 range. I checked median list prices - the number is $359,900.

There were no new contingent sales or pending sales this week. Or even closed properties! Bah, humbug!

However! We have the first sale of a condo this year. One of the units in the newly renovated Seitz Building at the corner of Jordan and Genesee has been marked contingent. This is an excellent sign.

Back to median prices since there is so little news. Year-to-date we have had 77 closed properties. The median list price of these was $325,000. The median sales price was $300,000. So "The Bid" for any house was - not should be - under 10% of the list price. The Post-Standard still shows the average sales price to be slightly under $500,000. But in the new year I will check the median price on occasion - remind me! Now go shopping or baking or playing in the snow - it's that holiday time of year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

This and That

Just a few notes before the day catches up with me and I am gone!

Monday is the deadline to comment about the truck situation in Skaneateles. If you want to add your two cents worth, just email

Help needed! Syracuse Stage needs volunteers for several performances of "Little Women." The houses have been great, reports our friend Tammy who is in charge of the volunteers and a myriad of other things, but unlike other productions she needs ushers. When I called to offer her our services (and get to see the play for free) she told me of her plight. If you have some time over the holidays and would like to see a great musical adaptation of a great book for an hour of your time, just call and ask for Tammy: 443-3275.

A team that needs no help these days is Syracuse University's basketball team. If you missed the Florida (8-0 and ranked 10th) game last night you missed an opportunity to see SU in prime form. They won by 12 points, going away. This may be the year Jim Boeheim gets his second championship. They play like a team - unselfish, happy to be together, thrilled with what they can do. They are a pleasure to watch!

Lastly, just a simple comment. I showed houses last weekend - I won't say where or to whom - but during the three hours a theme developed, as it so often does. This was a sad one. In one house that had been emptied of all but a few dresses we found a wheel chair in a closet. In another it was obvious that a dog had been kept cooped up in a room - the hardwoods had obvious damage, the woodwork was shredded. A third had photos upon photos of the son in the family, including one showing that he had passed on as a young man. Another had all the furniture cleared out except in one room - the owner was ready to go, but until the house sold he was stuck there. My client is not going to buy any of these homes, not because of what we found but because they weren't the right home. But I left feeling so sad - and I can't help but wonder if the home evokes sadness how this must harm - even on a subliminal level - the response of the buyer.

Solutions: Clear out the house, paint and refinish where necessary, open the curtains and wash the windows, remove personal items/photos that are not joyous. I don't believe in making a house totally impersonal because I want it to be welcoming. Bright, warm and happy - there's a reason some agents bake chocolate chip cookies right before open houses! It's a process, as I've written before, of letting go, allowing someone else to start fresh in a house that he/she/they can make their own.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Please forgive the tardiness of this update. I've been in Christmas card heaven for the past two days, with a third day coming right up after I finish this. The cards are an annual tradition. I buy them when the Chestnut family goes to the Adirondacks in the fall to celebrate Mrs. C's birthday. The Old Forge Hardware has a great selection, and I can usually get Lang cards with lovely houses. I get to say hello to an old high school friend who owns the store and tradition rolls on! Then sometime in December I sit down and connect with people who have bought or sold or listed with me over the past almost decade. It takes a while, but I enjoy it. I hope others do, too!

In the past I have set up in a little coffee house, now a yarn store, in Elbridge and watched the snow fall as I write cards and drink mochas. I've been to Creekside, too, sitting in the upstairs and seeing people while I write, lick, stamp and seal. This year the task was huge - wonderfully huge - so I've been spread out on the island and table, with a quick run into the village and Chestnut Cottage and the Pomodoros for more cards when I realized I had underestimated. Yesterday I gathered the first lot and got to the post office when it was still closed for its 90 minute lunch break (saves money, but so inconvenient!) Jim took pity on me and opened up - I love small towns! So if you get your card today, please think kindly of this Elbridge postmaster.

There are currently 109 listings in the Skaneateles area of the New York State multiple listing service. Only one is new - a pretty farmhouse in the Marcellus school district on almost three acres and priced in the upper $100,000 range.

There are no new contingent homes and only one pending altogether in the system.

However! We now have 77 closed single family homes so far this year. Three are new reportings. One is a lake rights home priced originally in the mid-$500,000. But that was last winter, and it just closed in the low $400,000. Another lake rights started in the low $300,000 and closed in the mid-$200,000. A lovely new construction but lived in for a couple years home started in the mid-$500,000 and closed there, too. The question is always how much was gained by waiting for the owners' price? Taxes and interest (presumably) and insurance were paid for two years or more. Only the owners know their rationale!

But let's do it! Before the attorneys take their vacations, before the celebrations start for 2010 - let's close enough to make it to 80 for the year. Or more - why not? There are bargains out there!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Back to work again after a marvelous Thanksgiving break! The last few days have been a whirlwind of offers and counter-offers, getting it all down on paper, crossing Ts and dotting Is. And that's okay by me!

Currently there are 110 (I hesitate to say it, but "only 110" is almost on the tip of my fingers) listings out there under the heading of Skaneateles in the New York multiple listing service. Of these, 26 are village homes ranging from a low of $148,000 to a high of 2.9M (not even on the water!) Four new listings came on this week, half of which are re-lists and both of these are in the town. The other two are new to the market and from their descriptions are both charming homes. One is in the village (around $200,000) and the other in the countryside (around $150,000). I predict that both will be sold within the next two months. The price and the apparent condition (but you never know until you see them!) are my reasons. Stay tuned!

There were two new properties sold this past week, both in the town in the high $200,000 and the mid-$100,000 ranges. Both have been on (and off) the market for a couple years.

We now have 74 closed single family homes so far this year. FOUR - count them! - are new. THREE are waterfront properties, all listing and selling above one million dollars and close to their current asking prices. TWO only came on this past year. The ONE non-waterfront closed home sold at the list price of $149,900, and sold very quickly.

Only 29 more days to go in the year - let's send this year out with a bang!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Bliss of Walking!

We went to The City - no, not Syracuse or Auburn - The City over Thanksgiving weekend. Alex and Rachel have a new apartment, a one bedroom, that of course would fit neatly into our living/family room area. But for them it's huge. I remember Mary Tyler Moore wanting four walls around her kitchen; Alex and Rachel wanted a door to the bedroom. They also got more than one closet! Lovely upper east side apartment - third floor, hardwood floors, windows, "quiet" street near Gracie Mansion.

We were there about ten minutes, not including the half hour it took to find a parking spot, when we went "for a walk." First there was lunch at a diner a few blocks away - oh, the pastrami! Then we toured the park surrounding the mansion and on the river. Then we walked - and walked - and walked.

I say it like that, but it wasn't. As the November day softened around us we saw where Rachel teaches and her mother, now retired, coaches other teachers. We went to her gym for a quick stop. We roamed Central Park and Alex's favorite place, The Ramble. Coming out on the west side they showed us Rachel's parents' condo when they stayed in town - the kids' bedroom is larger than the whole place! But that's okay - the price was right - low $300,000. For that you could almost get a new 3 bedroom home in Parcell Woods!

We took a cab home and I realized how far we must have walked. But I didn't care - we had been engaged in the sights and sounds the whole time. I told Bob I wanted to walk like that, but really there was no place. Alex walks home from work on very good days, Rachel walks to work every morning (14 minutes). They walk to dinner, to shows, for coffee and bagels. There is a purpose to their walking. We say that everyone's thin in New York because they walk everywhere and can't afford to eat.

Back at home we can eat! We walk, too, out in the back on the acreage, in the village up West Street. But there's an aimlessness to it, a too-pointed attempt to be healthy, exercise camouflaged. Bob suggested that I make my walks purposeful. Park at Austin Park and walk to the office, carry letters to the Elbridge post office a mile and a half away, walk to Creekside (I'd have to!) instead of driving...

So I wrote the bills early Sunday morning and walked out to post them. I walked past the cows and saw the sheep on the far hills, I used the new sidewalk just being put in by Sylvan Street in the village. I mailed my letters and then came home again up the hill, meeting new neighbors who had just moved in to one of the five houses I passed. Sorry, it wasn't the same!

I meant to park at Austin the next day when I went in to the village, but it was raining, I was in a hurry, and there was a metered space right outside the office. I did get in my walk at the Dome during half time. It felt better, amidst all those people. I was going somewhere, even if it was just around.

Walking is bliss. I am envious of the kids' chance to live in one of the greatest cities of all time when they are young enough to enjoy it. I am also envious of Bernie and Susan who are able to come in from their country home and see shows, stay overnight on a whim. But I also know I am like them. I wouldn't trade my house, the acres and paths, the dogs or the cats, to live in The City. But thank goodness I can go visit!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I apologize for the delay - there were pies to be made and houses to be sold. For that I am most thankful!

There are currently 112 listings in the Skaneateles area of the new New York State multiple listing system. Three re-lists came on in the past week: a town listing in the high $200,000 that is a reduction from the last time it was on the market; a fixer-upper in the mid-$300,000 range; and a multi-million dollar waterfront home. But think of the numbers! We have much less inventory!

No new houses were put under contract this week. We now have the choice of "Under Contract, but continue to show", or "Under Contract, do not show". Of course, nothing is closed until it's closed, but the process of showing a house over and over is something to consider, especially around the holidays.

We do have two new closings, however. Hooray! Both are waterfront properties. Both also sold without re-listing in under 6 months. One closed at 75% of its original price of about a million, and the other listed higher and sold higher, too. This brings to 70 the number of homes sold this year with 5 weeks to go. I plan on contributing to this figure as I am sure other agents would like to, also!

So go enjoy a very blessed Thanksgiving. I am so thankful this year for family and friends, and how much they have given me. I don't just mean the recipes - my pumpkin pie is made with eggnog and pecans thanks to Summer and Wendy - or Pat's chocolate chip cookies I've inhaled as we charge after houses in the school district - but the friendships they've brought to my life. And the kids - I get to enjoy them like a grandparent, giving them back when we've bought a house for them. Rachel, Emily and Sarah, Ella, Camren and her sisters, all bring a smile to my face. I get to watch them grow up in their houses - I think of Michael and LeeAnn, Danielle. I am privileged and very, very grateful.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Hooray! The conversion from the old http://syr.mlxchange to the new http://nys.mlxchange has occurred and business goes on as usual for us agents and brokers. Mostly. The conversion brings together all of upstate New York into one site. I used to search as far west a Cayuga County and east to Rome. I now can see Buffalo listings as well as Plattsburgh listings.

Our area is lucky. The system we used to use was the one chosen as the model for the new one, with a few tweaks. We don't have to re-learn how to search for homes or what criteria can be used. We do need to remember to put in the county name and use an "S" before each listing. I'm sure I'll discover more changes as the days go by.

The statistics seem to remain consistent with the old system, if more refined. There are surrently 116 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 27 are in the village. Two new listings came on this week, both in the town and both under $200,000. While this number is lower than last week's 128 active listings, the time of year - holidays coming up, snow soon to fly, the school year in full swing - dictates that listings that haven't sold and might not seed to sell would normally come off the market.

There are 6 properties listed as "C" - under contract but continue to show. One new one was marked contingent - a much sought after lake rights property in the village which came on only a month ago. Seven homes are pending closing. The new designation of "U" - under contract do not show - yields no results.

Two properties closed this week. One country house with land closed for about 80% of the original list price, while a small home closed at 90% of its original list price. Both were listed this year.

That brings to 68 the number of homes that have closed in the Skaneateles area. Last year - all of last year - only 66 closed, a mark we reached last week with 50 days still remaining in the year.

I thought I'd look in on the new Syracuse City area designations. Instead of North, East, South and West there are now 26 neighborhoods. Strathmore, Sedgewick, Outer Comstock, Meadowbrook all make sense. Bob knew Skunk City (around the old House of Providence out West Onondaga), but I sure didn't. I was a Westcott neighborhood girl. Altogether we got lost over 5 of the new neighborhoods - and some need better descriptors than the vague "near" adjectives. And Lakefront? Where? Carousel - oops, I mean Destiny! - Mall area?

But in attempting this exercise, I found a very interesting and telling statistic. In Syracuse there are currently 412 active single family homes listed. This year to date there have been 513 closed homes. 412/513. Now compare that with Skaneateles - 116/68 - and you can readily see which is the hotter market. This bears watching - as do the neighborhoods!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Man Caves and for that matter, Woman Caves, too!

The term "man cave" is the current rage in real estate, it seems. I watched an HGTV program that featured several homes with different types of caves while I held open Victory Lane - the high def TV over the fireplace was irresistible!

Within a week I found I was showing man caves all over Skaneateles! The husbands of my clients all wanted some form of retreat, and the wives seemed extremely interested in finding a place that met the man's requirements. And frankly, the man caves we have seen are wonderful!

One is an old barn with a basketball court inside. A serious court, with those incredible high barn walls and of course the hardwood floors. A friend built a court in a pole barn years ago, but this one has much more character and versatility. In the winter it's a garage, and the "men" retreat to the basement and a golf man cave, warmed by the furnace.

Another is again in a barn, but features multi-levels of play: foosball, biliards, a bar, a wood-burning stove, and leather couches for lounging and watching TV. Both of the houses are lovely, but these caves add so much room and give so much privacy. And each was constructed, I would think, with very little ready cash. They are rustic, and meant to be so - antlers (a personal ugh, oh well) are used instead of doorknobs. Air conditioning is provided by spaces between the boards.

Women also have their caves. In my mother's day it was called "the sewing room" and my father and I feared to tred there without permission. A friend gave up her in-town storefront for her own studio on her property. Her carpenter husband created a single room with windows and a front porch, heated it with a wood stove, and Kathy set up her business - antiques, crafts, consignment items, and whatever else she comes upon. You can visit Bittersweet Cottage north of Weedsport November 27th through the 29th, 10 to 5, or by appointment. For directions call 834-6110.

Bob's also working at a house with an adorable Boston terrier who has her own cave, as many dogs do, in her crate. He says she hangs out there most of the day, lounging on blankets or in them, making dog noises.

So while "man caves" are popular and the term new, the need to get away from the world is as old as the hills and not restricted to men or even humans. If I were selling a house, I'd try to find in my staging a way to suggest a play room for adults. I think it would pay off big!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

As the sun beams down on this gorgeous November day we prepare for it to set over the old multiple listing service we've all come to love. (How's that for hyperbole!) I don't know exactly how it will all play out in the next few weeks, but the conversion is next Tuesday. At that point the categories for the different areas will change. For example, a home in the village of Skaneateles will be in a different area than the town's listings. Syracuse will move from north, east, west and south designations to neighborhoods - anyone for Skunk City?

Whatever happens, I know my compilation of facts and figures will somehow be skewed. I hope not, because by comparing numbers to the past we can help to predict the future. If it's as simple as adding the town and village together how lovely that will be! But somehow I doubt it.

There are currently 128 active listings in the Skaneateles area as defined by the multiple listing service we've been using for the past few years. One new/re-list came on - a reduction in price for a home in the town.

Two - hooray! - homes have been marked contingent. One is a mid-$400,000 house with lake rights that started in the $500,000s but has found its buyer at the lower price. The other is a small town listing that has waited patiently through a few reductions.

Although there are no new pending listings, there is a new closed property that came in above list price. Decidedly a fixer-upper - don't roll any marbles on the second floor! - it is one of the lowest priced homes sold this year. This brings to 66 the number of closed single family homes in the area so far this year.

Since it is the last update before the change-over, I thought I'd look at the recent history of Skaneateles, Marcellus, Camillus and Elbridge. Last year at this time we had only 49 closed properties as compared with 87 in 2007, 94 in '06 and 93 in '05. We haven't come back fully yet to the "good old days," but we're at least headed in the right direction.

Marcellus proved to not have the ups and downs of the market. Think of this - with all the economic mayhem that has occurred in the past few years - the town has stayed very, very consistent. between the years 2005 and 2008, the number of closed properties by this date varied between 52 and 55. Honest! This year they reached only 45.

Camillus which seemed to be having major upheavals like Skaneateles had last year has pulled it out. Although not at the high of 2005 when 274 homes had been sold by Veterans' Day, it is now at 230. While a decrease, it is not as bad as the spring numbers might have suggested.

Dear Elbridge, plodding along for years in the mid-40s, has returned to those numbers after a high of 56 last year during tough economic times. The homes are priced lower than the surrounding areas, our coffeehouses have all gone and been replaced by pizza joints, but it alone did very well last year.

I am venturing out today to hopefully write two offers and unfortunately (or not) to pull a sign from a withdrawn property that rented instead of sold. The sun is shining, I have a new front door going in, and Koko is wearing her SU sweater while she's curled at my feet. She will love next week when the new system comes on and I spend many more hours researching for the update.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Halloween came and went, and we had no one come to our house yet again. Every year Bob buys candy and waits patiently for the hordes of youngsters he remembers from his childhood in the city and then at his house on the east side.

We went to our friends' home after a fruitless half hour. They were dressed for the occasion - he as a clown (it's hard to talk to someone with a giant smile painted on his face!) and she as a very pregnant bunny rabbit. Their house and the neighborhood were lit for fun times, kids roamed freely on the quiet street, every once in a while Ben let off a puff of smoke from the smoke machine in his side yard to add to the ambiance. The moon was full. I thanked them for letting Bob have a Halloween with children and gave them half our candy. We ate most of the rest watching the Series, then I asked him to hide the remaining few bars.

Meanwhile, back in the Skaneateles real estate market, 10 homes were expiring. There are currently 130 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service as compared with 143 last week. One "new" home came on, but it is actually a re-list of a lovely 2 bedroom with acreage out in the countryside. (Bet they don't get trick or treaters either!)

A house priced in the mid-$200,000s was sold, or at least marked contingent this past week. When we get the new system, contingent sales will be divided into two groups - 10 under contract, continue to show or 2) under contract, do not show. Hopefully this delineation will help to end some of the confusion. Personally, I think if a home has not had contingencies removed then it really is active, but an accepted offer should be disclosed.

Another house went directly to pending, a lovely watefront home that had dropped a bit in price. It may close before the end of the year to help boost the waterfront numbers.

We now have 65 closed properties this year. A home under $200,000 sold for within 4% of its list price and fairly rapidly. No trick or treaters there, either, I am sure!

With all these houses now off the market, the same existing active houses are being shown over and over. It will be interesting to see which ones sell in the next month, but I believe several will before the end of the year. Or at least be "under contract," in the language of the new multiple listing service due to take effect in a couple weeks. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

We went out yesterday to see a horse Bob had considered buying. I drove out separately, taking Route 20 to Cazenovia. It was one of those days when, if I had been going to Albany, I would have taken Route 20 and then of course regretted my decision when the trip's length increased. But the sky was blue, the hills were fluid, the countryside a Lang calendar photo. I passed "Seabury" and thought of our old theater professor Seabury Quinn, Jr., at Ohio University, and his cat also named "Seabury." How lovely those autumns had been in Appalachia years ago. And how lovely Central New York is now.

While Bob and his friends from the stables where he rides observed the horse, my friend Deb and I caught up on our lives. She was feeling the same exuberance I was, and had just driven out to Bouckville because the day was so inviting. "It's one of those days," she exclaimed, "when you know why you live here and wouldn't live anywhere else!"

Currently there are 143 active listings, a number that seems to have held very steady over the past year, in the Skaneateles area as defined by this multiple listing service. The change comes November 17th, and village will be separated from town then. We've also been told that we MUST enter listings in the correct area, but can search for them in a multitude of ways. We'll see - change is never easy!

There are two new listings, one a re-list with a reduction in the town. The other is a village with lake rights listing that should - famous last words - go rapidly.

The big news is that three properties have sold in the past week. Not closed, but are marked contingent. One is new construction, another is in the village, and the third is a definite fixer-upper just outside the village. They should close by the end of the year - but again, you never know what the contingencies are - to add to our total of 64. The new property that closed was a village fixer-upper that came in about 15% under the asking price.

I took a look at all the categories. One multi-family closed this year so far as well as a commercial property (think Cam's). There were no condos or apartment houses that closed. Five lots/land closed. One property that was under 3 acres but in the village closed for $600,000, while 48 acres in the town sold for $300,000. Location, location, anyone?

Stay healthy and dry, but if another day comes like yesterday, get the bike out or the convertible, and ride Route 20 between Skaneateles and Caz. It's worth it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

After a long day showing amazing houses in the Skaneateles area I can relax here and write this blog. We do have incredible views, fastidious owners, brilliant interiors that you would never suspect from the road. I love this job!

There are currently 145 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing system. Four "new" ones have come on the market, all of which are re-lists. Two have changed real estate brokerages, two are simply being refreshed. That does seem to work unless you are dealing with a buyer's agent. The listing appears to be new, even if it's been listed many times before for several years even. A buyer's agent would point out the discrepancy, the seller's agent would stay mum. The least expensive new listing is $500,000 and the most just under three million.

There are no new sales or pending listings.

However, there are two new closed properties - hooray! Our number year-to-date is now 63. A gorgeous village home closed for around $600,000, well under its original list price of $850,000. At the other end of the spectrum a small home under $100,000 closed for the asking price. We have it all in this area!

Because of all the million dollar re-lists, I looked at what the chances are for them to sell this year. So far there have been four homes that listed at over one million that have sold. Last year by this time there were only two, but last year was a difficult time for everyone. In 2007, at the height of the bubble, 12 homes had closed. In 2006, only five. We do seem to be returning to "normal," both at the high end and all points down the scale.

There are a lot of beautiful homes on the market - may I suggest their purchase please? While rates are great (4.5% for a fifteen year fixed loan!) and sellers are motivated. You never know when they will turn around and decide it is better to stay rather than sell.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

The world has turned to autumn around here. I went to the Sherwood for lunch today and the fire was roaring in the front hall. The piers are down, the Judge is out of the water, the water reflects the grayness of the sky. But the colors on the sumac and maple and oak trees are brilliant. They won't last, just like that Diana Whiting photo of the leaves in the swamp, they will swirl and roll away.

BUT! There are 148 active listings in the current Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Five are new-ish: one is a re-listed lake rights house. The other four range from a re-list and re-imagined waterfront home which prefers to retain some of its waterfront and thus has dropped its price to under 2 million. Another is a former FSBO in the village that has now been listed (happens a lot). A farmhouse not too far out of town is back on the market after a few years of ownership - can't wait to see what they've done to it! The last is one of those grand homes by the water down at the south end of the lake that always remind me of Lake George.

I was interested to see how the new MLS rules may affect us - of the 148 active listings, only 130 are actually in the Skaneateles School District. As far as zip codes are concerned, 135 report the 13152 of Skaneateles - but even the Falls has a different one (13153). November 17th the changeover comes for the mls.

The good news is that there are currently 8 homes marked as contingent. Two are new - a sweet little cottage with a great deal of potential in Mottville, and a ranch on the west side with lake rights. Pending shows 7 homes, so with luck there will at least be 15 more closed homes by the end of the year.

We stay at 61 closed, year-to date. I'll take that over last year's 41 closed sales by this time. Other areas - Camillus, Marcellus, and Elbridge - are all well under last year's sales by 10% to 20%. But then, Camillus and Elbridge both had stellar years last year compared to previous times. As my mother used to say "It all comes out in the wash."

Mortgage Credit Certificate - Please Read This!

I was about the write the update and thought I'd throw in a mention about the Mortgage Credit Certificate now being offered in New York State. As I researched it, I realized how very important it is to get the news out quickly. The savings for first time homebuyers is huge!

The Certificate issued through SONYMA, as I understand it, pays 20% of the interest for the life of the loan. The example they give, which works well with the home I have open this Sunday, means that payments each month would be reduced by $182. The house is on the market for $214,900 - 117 Victory Lane in Country Creek, Town of Camillus. It was built in 2008, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, high ceilings, hardwoods, TV over the gas fireplace included, lovely upgraded kitchen......

So, a first time homebuyer could receive the Federal tax credit of $8,000 if he/she/they close by November 30th (like 47 days from now). On top of that comes the MCC. Take out your calculator - $182 x 12 = $2,184 for the first year. Multiply that by 10 years and he/she/they have reduced their payments by over $20,000! Dang! (Since interest decreases, the $182 would be the high point...) And they say the life of the loan...but I'm not going out 30 years!

Now is the time to buy. If you are sitting on the fence or know anyone else, please bring this to his/her/their attention! It has not been at all well-publicized.

My client closed on a place on Friday. The house wasn't as expensive - think $130,000 - but he is getting the $8,000 tax credit and $100/month MCC. He came in just as this was beginning and may have been one of the first in the state to close.

Go to for more information and to see where I got my numbers. They have a calculator for you to use to find out how much you could save. Remember, only 47 days....and come to the open house on Sunday, too, now that you see what the savings could be!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Closed in Skaneateles! The Third Twenty!

Numbers are fascinating as always. I won't comment on the sales, but I have to comment on something! The time elapsed between the beginning of the year and the first twenty was 120 days. The time between the first and second group (July 15th) was only 76 days. Although it feels as if things have slowed a bit, this next reporting will be a scant 90 days since the last. And there's one in the pot to start the final group.

This time they are arranged by chronological order - the first to close to the most recent.

28 East Street $515,000

1584 Tracy Drive $194,000

10 Highland Street $195,000

1787 Russells Landing $825,000

6821 Glen Haven Road $550,000

111 Jordan Street $250,000

9 Whitegate Drive $415,000

4338 Vinegar Hill Road $153,000

12 Prentiss Drive $665,000

2524 Lake Front Lane $650,000

24 East Austin $267,500

3244 East Lake Road $280,000

52 West Lake Road $650,000

5907 Broadway Road $75,000

38 Onondaga Street $243,000

1889 West Lake Road $209,000

16 Academy Street $370,000

8c Gayle Road $1,990,000

1566 Tracy Drive $228,250

1275 Oak Bluff $1,200,000

This may be the end of reporting the numbers, unfortunately. The multiple listing service is switching to a new system on November 17th. Homes will be divided into village and town, we are instructed to list only in the area in which the house resides, and I am sure there will be other changes that will skew the research. I promise I will try to find a way to complete this year's reporting! So buy houses and close houses before December 31st please! That's 79 days away - let's finish with a bang!

Monday, October 12, 2009


This past weekend my high school class had its second reunion since graduation. We'll get this part of it over quickly - our 40th. Seeing it again in print makes me think how unbelievable that number is - but it is what it is.

As part of the organizing committee I arrived at Saratoga Steaks early to set up. Karen, recently the receptionist-do everything person from our office, now "retired," had sent postcards and produced name tags for us. Simply the picture from the yearbook, the bulldog (Nottingham High School on the east side of Syracuse), and the name. I asked for a larger font, because our eyes aren't what they were. So there I stood, ready to match name tages to faces, and people started to flow in.

I hadn't seen too many people since high school, even the ones still in town. I'd been gone for 20 years and the ties had severed. I knew my small group of women friends from all over the country, but that was it. The first arrivals were hard - who were these people? But then the years literally melted away on faces, the old smiles and eyes emerged, the laughter and I knew them.

I stood there as official greeter for a couple hours until Dean, our principle organizer, pulled me away so I could mingle. I went through the crowd, now able to recognize people easily under the grey hair and a few wrinkles. Some of course hadn't aged. One woman looked the same as she had back in first grade, I swear!

Just as with the 20th reunion, the people who I felt closest to came from my elementary school (Sumner) and junior high school (Levy) days. There was Sammy who had kissed me in kindergarten, Kevin with whom I shared a birthdate, Gail who remembered my Steiff collection, Phyllis who said I had let her borrow my Laura Ingalls Wilder books in 3rd grade and she wanted to thank me. I saw Nick who had been my partner for our 8th grade project on Kenya for Captain Borsky, Jan who reminded me that he sat behind me in 3rd grade, Jeff who was always there and got spanked harder on his birthday than my friend Annie because he was a boy. Or she just had more petticoats!

Everyone talked about the teachers who had changed our lives. Sarah ran for office because Mr. Borsky terrorized her into doing it. We wished Sr. Roraback were still alive so we could thank him. And the Queen (Latin). M. Macko didn't come, but Miss Crouch came with Nicki who kept up with her over the years, taking her down to Florida and including her in her own family.

Food was put out, but I don't think anyone ate. They just talked and talked. We left at 11:30 - surprised at the time. Gloria had lost her voice.

The next night was the dinner at Drumlins where we used to skate and ski. Packed again - over 100 people from a class of 250 with very few spouses or partners. The invocation was given by a man who was always playing pranks in high school and rarely studied, but is now an ordained minister. And again, the talking. Business cards were exchanged - I now have a real estate contact in Colorado, and surprisingly a commercial one here in Syracuse. Joe came over towards the end of the evening, and quite forcefully said how important these two nights were to him and to so many others. I felt it in the air, a sense of relief, and sense of completion.

There were our "stars," Jeff from the entertainment world, Kevin with the 100 million dollar yacht design, Pete who could buy one. A politician here and there, both Democrat and Republican. The woman with the 16 year old daughter and the man with 13 great-grandchildren. The woman who looks so much like my daughter-in-law Rachel that I couldn't take my eyes off her. The two sisters whom I didn't remember very well from high school but who will join my small group of women friends in the future.

There were people missing as well. People who just didn't want to come for so many reasons. People who were too sick to come. People who had died.

At the last reunion I received a hug I will cherish always from my old friend Billy. He was one of the men who died. But that hug meant so much.

The people in our lives are precious. We need to remember them daily, go out of our way to say hello. I say that now, knowing that the feeling will dissipate with the snow and the new listings and sales. But I want to hold on to it, that sense of wonder. "The formative years...." so important in so many, many ways.

And no, I didn't win the prize for having changed the least. That went to Gloria. But I told her I'd beat her at our 60th.

So, dear Readers, call an old friend today or this week. It's good for the soul.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Welcome to the wild and wooly fall weather! I toured some people last week to show them what gorgeous Central New York offers in the fall. They saw rain, and more rain. Eventually my 70 degrees and sunny predictions showed up. I thought that when they left it would turn lovely again, and in a way it has. The wind is amazing out there! If you see a plastic recycling bin and a steel mesh wastebasket flying by, please grab them for us.

Hooray! We've now hit another 20 closings - but more on that later.....

Currently there are 145 active listings in the Skaneateles area as defined by the (current) multiple listing service we use. Four re-listed properties returned to the market. Three stayed basically the same, but the fourth dropped a good deal in price and left the FSBO market for a Realtor who gave sage advice about the possibility of its sale. We'll see what happens (well under $200,000 in the town.) Three brand new homes came on - two village listings, one of which dropped $15,000 the first week! The third is a sweet little cottage in the country for over $200,000.

Three (3!) single family homes were marked contingent. Two are waterfront, one of which has been on the market (and off the market) for three years. Gorgeous multi-million dollar custom-designed home with acreage! The other is under one million but closer to the village. The third to be sold is a doublewide in the Moravia School District.

Although there were no new pending properties, there are six waiting to close. Add that to the 8 marked contingent and we can look forward to a healthy fall season.

Two more homes have closed, bringing the total for the year to 61. This means that at some time before the next update I will publish the list of closings (40 to 60) and their closed prices. Both of these new ones actually closed a while back, but for whatever reason they only now were put in the computer. Both came in 10% under their original list price, and both were outside the village in the $200,000 range. First time homebuyers? Maybe.

I have a closing Friday for a first time homebuyer. Not only is he getting the $8,000 maximum tax credit, but he also has come in under the wire for a New York State mortgage program. I don't know exactly what the final figures are, but he's thrilled. If you'd like more information about that program, please e-mail me at

I did go back and take a look at homes in the past 60 days that have been withdrawn or expired and not reappeared in another form (as in "re-listed.") A small number, 6, have decided perhaps to wait until next year and withdrew their listing. A larger number, 13, waited out the listing period and then let it go. Both of these groups are people who do not have to sell and can wait for the market to pick up again. I can understand their frustration - and they need to know they are not alone.

But we do have 61 closings with more to follow. Let's celebrate that!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Bit of This and That

Here's an idea. You own, say, 20 acres of land, very well-forested, and along comes a company that will pay you for the rights to drill for natural gas on your property. Your neighbors are doing it, the company insists that there really may be a strong vein underneath, and the wells will be full. Their price for the rights: over $5,000 per acre. Once the gas starts flowing the sky's the limit. Would you do it?

Think about it. It's happening here in Central New York but not at those prices yet. In Pennsylvania owners are reaping incredible rewards for having land and giving the companies their chance. They actually write the checks in full. The Beverly Hillbillies are alive and well and living in PA.

I've been doing a lot of driving up north lately. Outdoor furnaces are the rage, burning up wood that owners get for the cost of felling and splitting from their own properties. Entire barns are given over to the wood. I heard that these furnaces contribute to pollution, but I am far from understanding that. So wood simple wood-burning stoves, I would think. But it's interesting to see a boiler sitting out several feet away from the houses.

The Home section of the Sunday Post-Standard contained a lengthy article on an "Art House." This is a home built for sale by Kathy Kotz. She will contribute $10,000 from the proceeds of the sale to Elmcrest Children's Center on Syracuse's east side for their new building. The house is furnished and decorated with art from local artists which will in turn be sold with a portion going to Elmcrest, also. Great idea!

During my driving up north I've listened to NPR a great deal. Somewhere along the way there was a show about peer-to-peer lending. People are eschewing banks and going directly to other people who bankroll their project. Apparently the idea hasbeen taking off in the present financial crisis. Repayment is close to perfect - much more compelling to pay back funds to someone who has helped you out in a bind. I've worked with this concept before when selling land. Banks hate to mortgage land and generally won't do it. They are also not so thrilled with outhouses, especially when a septic system can't be installed. This peer-to-peer lending may be the way for people to help others own property.

And lastly, hooray! Urban Outfitters is coming to Walton Street in Armory Square! Coming in the spring of 2010! Apparently this chain of stores can do for city life what Bass Pro has done for the Finger Lakes Mall. So buy your lofts and condos now - prices will go up once other stores follow. Could this actually be the real catalyst to a new downtown era?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

As Bob left the house this morning wearing a hat and his longjohns, bringing gloves with him, I was reminded once again that winter is coming. I think this weather has more to do with the pro golf tournament being held out at Turning Stone. The weather gods want to keep Central New York pristine, so it dis-encourages people coming to this area. In Seattle there was a popular bumper sticker: "Have you been mean to a tourist today?" Of course, more than half the population had come from somewhere else, and we all knew that Seattle was not the rainy city that has always been promoted. The same with here. A week from now it will be 70 degrees again with brilliant October sunshine. Just have to get those golfers out of here first!

Currently there are 154 active listings in the Skaneateles area as defined by the multiple listing service. Only one new one came on this week, a 3 bedroom under $200,000 in the Jordan-Elbridge School District. No, I take that back. A second property came on and was marked contingent two days later.

More on this. The house had six bedrooms, in the town of Skaneateles but with Marcellus schools, and was priced $80,000 under its assessed value (over $200,000). It looked to be in good shape and sat on two acres. And, as I said, it sold.

Two reasons come to mind. One is that there may be issues with the area and perhaps the people felt it would be devalued soon and they needed to sell quickly. The second that I prefer, is that the agent tried what I call a "California listing." Back in the halcyon days when everything in that state sold for 5 times what it sold for previously, and on the second day of the listing, agents would throw properties on for less than the owner wanted to receive. They then sat back and waited for the offers to flood in, often over 10 the first day. Obviously a bidding war ensued, the owners waited it out, and the buyers set the market price through their bids. The lack of supply of homes dictated the conditions. Of course now there are a glut of homes and prices are falling, these precipitous buyers are "under water" (homes are mortgaged for far more than their worth), and there's a housing crisis. But those were the good old days - always with a price!

California listings didn't work as well here. For waterfront, perhaps, because there was so little for so long. For regular homes, if an agent put the home on the market for much less than the home appeared to be worth, it was suspicious, just as I was suspicious of this sale. And generally because these type of listings weren't done, offers came in under the asking price. We just don't have the oversupply of buyers to create the conditions necessary.

There was another home marked contingent - a beautiful waterfront well over one million.

A new closing brought the year-to-date numbers to 59. We are almost there to our third group of 20 when I will post the addresses and sale prices. The new one was listed for years with different Realtors. When it was a quiet for sale by owner I was told the price was $425,000. The last listed price was in the mid-$200,000 range, but the closed price was almost $30,000 higher. I am sure there's a story there, but congratulations to the owner!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Weekends Away

In the fall Bob's family pulls up stakes wherever they are and journeys to the Adirondacks (usually) for a weekend to celebrate his mother's birthday. This started after his father died in 2002 because she wanted the family around her. "The family" means seven married children with many children, step-children and now great-grandchildren as well. The first year we numbered 30 for Saturday night dinner at a restaurant in Old Forge. We never went out to eat again, en masse!

In other years we've stayed at the incredible Sagamore Great Camp, the past home of the Vanderbilts. After a four mile drive into the estate from Route 28, we took over the lodge for the weekend. We walked, had bonfires, huge dinners with the other guests (meals included but don't be late!) and then toured Old Forge on Sunday afternoon. Accommodations were single rooms in the lodge - you can see footage of it in "The Good Shepherd," a Matt Damon film a few years back.

This time we stayed where we started in 2002, Rocky Point in Inlet, about 12 miles north of Old Forge. These are condos right on Fourth Lake with a pool, spa, tennis courts, and lake frontage. They are wonderful! Each one has three bedrooms with three baths, kitchen, living/diningroom, wood-burning fireplace and decks. All are decorated with the Adirondack theme - lots of moose, bears, bark, red, black and green. And they're new - no mice, as my sisters-in-law would add.
Check them out at

Since we were so close to Old Forge we ventured out early, scraping ice off the car. After breakfast at the Hard Luck Cafe in Eagle Bay we went horseback riding. For over an hour we walked through the trails on a brilliantly clear day. Everywhere we looked the colors were fantastic! We gave Luke, our nephew, a ride for his 14th birthday present. He grinned all the way! We went on into Old Forge for some shopping, then came back for a swim.

Dinner was a family affair, moving between two condos with an eye on the SU game. At halftime "Grandma" and Luke celebrated their birthdays, then back to the game. The younger set - college and into their 30s grandchildren - had a bonfire into the wee hours at the gazebo on the lake. I slept amazingly well both nights, despite our condo being the one with the poker party on Friday night and the late adult revelers on Saturday night.

Sunday we went home through Old Forge with the obligatory stop for breakfast at Keyes Pancake House. Those pecan pancakes! It misted at first, and then downright rained so we never took the top off the Honda del Sol but we'd had a great ride Friday in the late afternoon sunshine. We got home safely and built a fire, the dogs and cats well-cared for in our absence by Frank from "Walk the Dog Services."

I realize that so many people have moved into the area recently and may not know that this great spot is only about two and a half hours from Skaneateles. I was in the midst of a deal that might have required me to return over the weekend. I resolved that I would, obviously, if needed and could easily do it with a few hours leeway. They call at 9:00 - I'm there by 12:00. And there was cell service, if spotty.

When I checked the website for Rocky Point this morning I saw the condos in snow. Great place for cross-country, or winter hiking. We may go up this winter with friends for a weekend.

Suddenly I am ready for fall.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I spent this evening doing a walk-through of a lovely property. Way out in the country, the trees starting to turn, mist rising over the hill being caught by the setting sun. I wanted to pull up a chair and sit on the wrap-around porch and watch the night come in. But I had miles....and go before I sleep...and this update to write as well.

Currently there are 155 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Seven are new. Three are basic re-lists - reductions in price, a "new look and number" in the computer. (An agent can hit a button and come up with the history of the property.) Four are new. Two are town properties under $200,000. One has an amazing almost 200 acres with gorgeous views of the lake - development anyone? Castle? The last one is actually out of the county and in the Homer school district, but has a tremendous view of the lake.

Two homes were marked newly contingent. One is in the half million dollar range and the other well below $100,000 - what took that one so long? It seemed to be such a good deal! Add to that a new waterfront property gone straight to pending, and we can expect more closings in the next 60 days.

But not now! Still 58 single family residences are closed, year-to-date. The tax credit will end soon despite the pleas of every agent working with first-time homebuyers, and the New York State mortgage credit is still being planned, it seems.

Closing on a home, especially one that is a dream home, also brings with it a certain post-partum depression. There's that question underlying everything - is this what I really wanted? And if I did, did the family? What did I leave behind? Every change is difficult, but moving brings both joy and sorrow. Still...."You're never old 'til regrets take the place of dreams." Kudos to the people who act on their dreams!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vacation Thoughts

Last week we went to the Cape for a few days. We've gone in the past. The first time we brought my mother and a hurricane hit while we were there, after hours of being stuck in traffic trying to get there well before the storm. We came back early. The second time it was just us and the dogs. I spent a marvelous September beach day sitting in the sun and strolling the beach. We went up to Provincetown and ate lunch outside (with the dogs lying peacefully under the table) and rambled through the town looking into the shops.

That was a particularly good vacation. Generally wherever we go has extraordinarily bad weather (hurricanes and frosts) while at home it's a week of unseasonably lovely weather or fantastic blizzards we would have enjoyed. So it's always with trepidation that we set out.

This was no exception. Bob went up early - it's a working vacation for him - and I followed with Koko the next day. We ate at a fish place that didn't compare with Doug's, but I did like the scrod with Newburg sauce. We played miniature golf in the wind. The next day Bob's stomach rebeled and although he tried to make it to Provincetown like the trooper he is, we came back quite soon without eating. We did walk through town and Boo became the most popular dog there. While I got pastries from the Portuguese bakery (some kind of sweet potato filling - yum!) Bob told me several people who had met Boo earlier stopped to shake his paw again.

I left them at the house in Harwich and went off with Koko to explore. Eventually I landed in Chatham and the sun came out. We had a marvelous time walking down the street, looking - and being invited in! - at shops. I stopped at a tiny coffee house with an outdoor stone patio and a few chairs and tables and basked in the sun with Koko at my feet. Sipping chai after a crumb cake, I thought I was in heaven.

Yes, the vacation did the trick - four offers, one listing - but none are completed. I missed the salmon at Doug's, my afternoon latte from Vermont Coffee, the soup at the Skaneateles Bakery. The walking was excellent, but I know where to walk to avoid dogs in Skaneateles and I didn't take Koko with me in Harwich. The weather, I heard, was wonderful here. I e-mailed friends from the coffee house while the chai cooled, but it wasn't the same as sitting with them at Creekside. The homes were different - I'd forgotten the Cape's penchant for clapboard on three sides and cedar shakes on the fourth. Especially in Chatham they were well cared for, with colorful doors and shutters. Prices were comparable with Skaneateles.

But there's no place like home. We walked out on our trails last night into that breezy heat with the dogs. We rooted for SU which finally won their first game. Bob split wood from our own trees and I stacked it for the coming winter months on our back deck. We read the morning paper and knew all the players.

I think I love the anticipation of vacations the best. Bob reminds me that they don't always turn out so badly, and we've learned to plan an exit strategy if they do. But home - this wonderful little bit of ever-changing upstate New York - is a vacation every day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

With my cat, Oscar, helping with the keys and Koko providing good quiet assistance at my feet, I thought I'd slip in this update. I've started a major decluttering project (as Linda at the office says, "Didn't you do that last year?") and it's actually quite pleasant to sit in my studio, as I call it, now that there's less furniture.

There are currently 153 active listings in the Skaneateles area as defined by the multiple listing service. A friend said the "active" A should be for the "asking" price. I can't figure out a witty K for contingent, P for pending, X for expired or C for closing. Suggestions gladly taken!

The seven new listings are actually 5 re-lists and two brand new ones. The latter are new construction in the village at Parkside and a mid/upper $300,000 house in the village that apparently is in foreclosure. They are showing it and will review offers after a couple open houses. Interesting.

There are only two homes marked contingent, and they have been marked that way for a long time. I spoke with a Realtor today who talked about pulling up a couple dozen listings under $150,000 in the Westhill School District only to find that the majority of them were contingent. For the record, "contingent" means there's an offer on it and for several possible reasons - home inspection, need for a mortgage commitment, other home to sell - the house is neither fully available or sold. We are supposed to, ethically, tell any other Realtor who inquires about the property about these offers.

Pending means that it has a commitment, all the other contingencies are satisfied, and it is waiting to close. We have five on the computer, one new one that never went the "K" route, a lovely village home that has come down steadily in price over the past 15 months and apparently has found a new owner.

We are getting close to the magic closed number 60 at which point I will compile a list of the last 20 houses sold and their sale price. We stand at 58, with one new closing. This is actually the most expensive house to have sold this year in Skaneateles, a waterfront in the village. Well done! The price came down to approximately 68% of its original price in May of 2007.

That brings to 4 the number of closed single family homes over a million dollars this year. Last year there were only 34 sales and only one over a million, but that one was 2 million. In 2007, the best year for high end properties, 9 closed and of those 4 were multi-million dollar homes (You can readily see that the original price of the house that just closed made sense then in that market.) Between the years 2003 and 2006 the average number of million dollar homes was 3. Interestingly the year-to-date of all closings ranged from 71 to 77 - very consistent. In 2002 there were only 48 closings altogether and no million dollar homes, as was the case in 2000 (36 closings YTD) In 2001 one home closed over a million - 74 (again!) closed YTD.

I love statistics. They show where we've been and point the direction towards where we're going. Horrible year in 2000, average year in 2001. Skaneateles recovers. Unless the lake dries up - heaven forbid! - or the village folds and allows uncontrolled building that destroys it, property values will continue to rise over the next few decades. So go ahead, buy a piece of it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Few Thoughts

I spent the afternoon holding a darling three week old baby. She was born to a couple who had looked for months and months with me for the perfect house. I've written about them before, how hard it was for all of us, how much I despaired that they would ever find something. There was an urgency to it also because the wife was getting older by the minute (aren't we all?) and she wanted to be settled before having another child. The child I held was that dream baby.

There are so many faces to a real estate purchase or sale. These people sold their home with me and their buyer came through me also, right about this time last year. She since has changed jobs and relocated - I hadn't taken the file out of the car before she called to list it! She rented it herself, but what a wild year we've all had.

Yesterday I had lunch with another woman who has become a friend. As we sat at Bluewater - she likes the flatbread veggie sandwich, I love the ahi tuna and avocado salad - she said that I was "the first person she met in Skaneateles." That's true - the Realtor often is. We don't always have as much fun as we had that day, looking back on it, but there are memories always. She now is fully immersed in the Skaneateles lifestyle, has made countless other friends, and is very happy to be here as are her children. And likes her house, too!

I had another call from a woman who will retire soon. She wants to leave the town in which she's lived for years and move up to Syracuse. She has friends and relatives, lived on the lake in the summer, and feels that a larger city will better suit her needs as she ages. But the tug of the known life is hard to break - so between the time she writes me "Yes, I'm ready!" and my response she usually reconsiders. It will happen the way it's supposed to in the end. But as a Realtor I offer options, make more concrete the vision.

I saw a little stone house today as I wound my way through the countryside from Auburn to the new mother's house. I thought how sweet it would be to live on a large piece of property in a small cottage, to tend a garden (I brought her roses for her daughter, Rose) and keep more dogs and cats. I could write then by an open window with a deep ledge....not yet. I enjoy too much what I do, the lives I touch that touch me back.

I am deeply grateful for this experience.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I can't wait to get all the information. It seems as if there was a lot of movement - new listings, listings changing brokerages, price changes - and hopefully some closings! If you missed it, get the Sunday Post-Standard for the House of the Week. Renee Dwyer's RE/MAX listing has had a great deal of attention from my buyers who are not ready yet to purchase but they absolutely love this property. It's a charmer - and well under $200,000!

Currently there are 146 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. We have seven new ones, well sort of new, this week. Three are actually new, all outside of the village and in the $250,000 to $350,000 range. One is on the market but can't be seen until mid-October, but the agent wants some exposure at least. The other four have come on either with new agents, new prices, and one with a reduction marked by less acreage for a quicker sale. There is everything - waterfront, village, town, and real country. Prices are all below $350,000.

There were no new contingent sales or pending sales - seven total that have been waiting to close, always the hardest time for the buyers. The sellers can pack and clean and pack some more, maybe go out on a buying spree of their own, but the poor buyers just have to wait - unless of course they're selling their house, too!

We do have three new closed single family homes, bringing the total to 57 for the year. A gorgeous waterfront property closed well over a million dollars with a ten per cent reduction in price. A village home closed within 6 per cent of the list price thanks to the careful pricing of the Realtor who insisted they not "start high and see what happens." And the third closing was 20 per cent below the original asking price, but it was a quick sale, always a good thing.

Last year at this time we had only 33 closed sales. "How do you know," suggested a seller, "that the market is going to fall apart?" That's the important part of pricing - plan for the quick turnaround because as we've all seen the bottom can fall out. By last fall we certainly knew that things were bad - the year before there had been 66 sales and in 2006 71 by that point. To start high was really not an option, but hope springs eternal, as my mother used to say. Now there's a cautionary tale in the numbers. We haven't recovered yet.

But you need to look no further than across the street from Joe's Pasta Garage for inspiration. An adorable little store opened last Friday evening with very little fanfare but with wine-tasting from Pheasant Ridge streetside. Check it out online: And if you're in the neighborhood, take a taste of the peanut brittle. Or get a latte, or take some tapenade or fruit compote home with you. And the cheeses! Be still my heart! The whole place might put you in a buying mood, so wander down Jordan and into our office, right next to Doug's Fish Fry.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I can't wait! Next week the Fair will be over, the kids will be back in school, and people's minds and hearts will turn once again to real estate. Whether it's buying the first home (or the first one in three years) and claiming the tax credit before it's too late or picking up the lakefront property that is such a good deal or just getting one of the village homes to hold on to, the fall buying season will be upon us! Until then.....

There are currently 141 active listings in the Skaneateles area as defined by the multiple listing service of Greater Syracuse. Over the past week 6 new single family homes were added: 3 re-lists and 3 new. The re-lists feature two waterfront properties that have been reduced substantially over the course of their exposure (that good deal I mentioned). The third is the same house at the same price with a new list number so we don't forget it's out there. Two small village homes came on, both under $200,000 - buy them now, rent them out, save them for your retirement home some day. The third new one is over 100 acres with a house - Jordan-Elbridge Schools, town of Skaneateles.

There is only one house marked contingent and it's been there a bit. We do have eight pending properties, that go along with the media reports of pending properties having increased 3% in July. Two are new ones, having gone straight to pending - both under $200,000 with one in the town and the other in the village.

There is one new closed property to bring our total for the year to 54. It came on at a good price in April and sold within 6% of the list price in July, closed in August. Nineteen of the closed properties this year were listed in 2009 - and I bet we can do better as the year progresses (for a number of reasons...mostly statistical).

Because the new closing was in the high $300,000 I thought I'd look at the numbers for Skaneateles, Camillus, Marcellus and Onondaga. In Camillus, only four houses listed over that magic number closed this year, and two sold for less. In Marcellus one house sold for well over $300,000 - but they originally had wanted over $600,000. Onondaga had a better percentage - of the 109 houses that closed 7 were over $300,000. But Skaneateles - 31 of the 54 homes were listed for over $300,000 and all but one closed over that. We are still the most expensive town in Central New York.

Good or bad? I suppose it means that our values will remain; I am sure, but would have to check of course, that overall the property values have increased in the past 10 years. Dramatically increased, thanks to restaurants like Rosalie's and the lovely Mirbeau Spa and Inn. We are definitely on the map as a destination year-round, and that brings in the investors. As one of them, and I paraphrase, said, "What's not to like? I wake up at 4:20 and just want to run through the village, I'm so happy to be here!" Thank goodness he's a jogger! So get your waterfront home that you've always wanted, buy the small retirement home - prices may dip a bit more, but some day they'll zoom up again!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Zumba and Other Good News

Last winter when I was working out on my stationary bike I ran across an infomercial on Zumba ("Ditch the workout, join the party!"). It intrigued me because I'd had an inquiry on one of my commercial properties from a woman who wanted to lease space for classes. She told me a bit about it, and it sounded like fun. Noisy fun, not the best for the office space available, but fun nevertheless.

As the summer wound down and I felt the need for movement, I looked into it. There's a website - - and when I searched I came up with a place where it was being taught. I considered going - what the heck! - and asked around if anyone knew anything about it.

The woman who does my hair at Carlo's Salon said she went to a class once. She tried to do too much and wrecked up her knee, then when she slacked off the instructor yelled at her. Oh my! Not the best introduction, but forewarned is forearmed.

I checked it out - a class was being held at 6:00 at Dancing Kats ( up in North Syracuse. I didn't have to pre-register, I could just go, so I did.

It was fantastic! For an hour along with 9 other women I moved. I can't say I danced, because I hardly did that. But I moved and sweated and got my heartrate up and most of all smiled. The music is fast and furious and salsa and fun. I constantly went right when the rest of the class went left, I turned when I should have stayed put, I was three beats behind everyone, but no one seemed to care.

Two other women were new, also, and we just laughed. We didn't get yelled at, we were instructed to do as much as we felt capable, and the comfort level was high. A woman stopped me afterwards and told me that everyone had been where I was (new) and that it takes time to feel at ease. She suggested it would take 6 to 10 classes. But the workout, with or without ability to dance, was great!

I went back Monday morning, early. I'll continue to go back because for $7 - yes, $7! - I get to smile and sweat and feel very good about getting fit. The second time I actually jumped when I was supposed to, discovered a few steps I could do, and figured a bit of it out. And the energy! Amazing!

Laughing is good for the soul. I was buying a new birdfeeder because the squirrels ate the last one and as I left Ace Hardware a fairly large - 300 pounds? - man was coming in. He wore a t-shirt that read "I Beat Anorexia." Do you laugh? Acknowledge it? Or just smile.

Driving through the village I saw an elderly woman rolling down the sidewalk in her wheelchair. A dog was trotting out in front, and I could see she held his leash in her left hand. I don't think he was pulling her, I think she was taking him for a walk through the village on a peaceful late summer day. How lovely!

Just a reminder - this week is the Skinnyman (person) Triathlon, Check it out! Then go get some cotton candy and a ride at the Labor Day Field Days in Austin Park.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Mid-summer, dog days and mosquitoes, and I can't quite get excited about the Fair coming up or the opening day for SU football. I still want summer - those hot days and so warm evenings, looking at the stars and watching the moon rise without a sweatshirt in sight!

There are currently 144 active listings in the Skaneateles area as defined by the multiple listing service. Three new ones came on this past week. One is a re-list of a home with a different agency, but remaining at the same price. Another is one of those smaller homes with smaller prices that have popped up recently, a very pretty little thing for $75,000 not far outside of the village. The third is a gorgeous home - well over 1 million - with a few feet of lakefront to boot.

Sorry - no new pendings and no new contingent sales. In fact, the contingent sale from last week returned to the market. Sigh.

We do have three - hooray! - closings and a very mixed bag at that. In the village a fixer-upper closed well under $300,000 which put it at about 85% of its original list price. A little one in the town, under $100,000, closed within the 10% of its list price. The third was waterfront, again within the 10% under list price. Two of these were listed this summer and now have closed this summer.

I received a comment this week about new construction, so I thought I'd give a cursory look at it. We have generally four main developments being sold as "to be built" homes. There are other ones out there, most notably Parkside off West Elizabeth in the village, that have now gone for sale as lots. Single lots are also for sale, dotting the town and in older subdivisions.

Primarily Parcell Woods, Butters Farm, Whitegate and The Enclave are within the Skaneateles Schools and advertised as Skaneateles, even if the first one is actually in Cayuga County. I've been playing a lot of Monopoly lately in the evenings at the lake, so if I may be so bold.....

Parcell Woods - aka Calemad, the name of the road running through it - could be likened to the red cards (Illionois, Indiana and Kentucky). These are mid-range new homes, under $500,000, built for families who like a bit of privacy and acreage to roam. Not too far out of the village, but not walkable.

Butters Farm is very close in (think the green cards) with views and an easy walk to the village. Once completed, this community will be lovely with its emphasis on landscaping. It did not realize its original concept of million dollar homes, but proximity to the village will drive its sales in the $500,000 range.

Whitegate is in the village but off West Lake Road. You can cut down through Prentiss (across the street) on the path to get to West Lake Street and the village. These are smaller, mostly ranch homes with fantastic interiors and larger than they look from the outside. Probably the orange cards...? New York, Tennessee...?

The Enclave was/is a marvelous concept off Rickard Road to the east of Skaneateles. You can see the primary home from Route 20 - you really can't miss it, actually. These homes were designed originally to be like castles with a price tag that reflected the architecture. Thanks to the economy and whatever other factors, it has not become the private showplace that it easily, in better times, could have been and may yet be. Currently there's a semi-completed home that could be finished for upwards of a million dollars. Broadway and Park Place!

Only a few years ago Skaneateles had very few choices for new homes. You, buyers of property, generally bought what was there, fixed it up, or not, and enjoyed the village and town lifestyle. Developments were fought, especially Parkside, and costs went up waiting for approvals. In 2009, we have many options to build in the Skaneateles School district, and I would imagine many builders eager to accommodate buyers. Now would be a very good time to look over one of the 13 listings and roll the dice!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

There is so much to talk about! So much exciting news!

We'll start at the very beginning....a very good place to start. There are currently 143 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Four are new, well, sort of new. A village condo is being listed as single family, which in essence it is, with a reduced price. A home in the town has also come down so it's been re-listed and re-photographed - same house, but a new presentation never hurts! A house that had been under construction is now nearing the trim stage, so instead of a "lot" it is now a real house with a price in the mid-$400,000s. I toured it Saturday - lovely! A large village home has also been listed for the first time - asking price in the low $600,000s.

There's one new property marked contingent, a great ranch that just came on and was priced under $200,000 to sell quickly - and by golly it did!

Another property went straight to "pending" - gorgeous waterfront, well over one million.

AND!!!! There are now 50 closed properties, year-to date. That's an increase of four in the past week - a lot of active attorneys and mortgage people and agents! A village home closed in the mid-$600,000 - could be why the new one came on at that price! It was reduced over time from almost $800,000. Another village home that original boasted 10 feet of waterfront sold the strip, reduced the price, and then sold the house. Original price about a million, sales price (no water!) that pesky mid-$600,000 range. A third village home sold on the low $400,000 having started in the low $500,000, a reduction of about 20%. A home in the town also closed in the high $200,000, down from its original list price of about $330,000.

Two other properties closed that are of interest. One was actually in the Town of Niles although listed in Skaneateles also. When it closed, after a couple years on the market, it had to be counted in Niles - but that sold also close to its asking price in the mid-$500,000.

The second fascinating closing was a lot in the village that contained 2.87 acres. It closed for $600,000. Remember the old "location, location, location" axiom? Truer words were never spoken. Congratulations to the the new buyer and the agent who made it happen! (Not me, unfortunately!)

Last year we had only closed 29 (yikes!) single family homes by this time. You can really tell the difference in the market, and what we went through last year, by referencing 2007 with 63 closings, and 2006 with 66 closings. I am glad the market is turning around - HAS turned around!

There's a new program out there some of you might be interested in checking out. Not much is known about it, and true to form New York State has rolled it out without much information and no forms and no place to apply for it. One of my clients alerted me to it - oh, yes, and no fanfare either! You can access what information there is through and go to the Quick Links on the right of their home page. It's a program for first time homebuyers that I've seen credited with saving up to $15,000 over the course of 10 years. This is on top of the $8,000 (possible) Federal tax credit.

Not only will this impact my client who qualifies and is buying his first home, but also my sellers who have homes that first-time homebuyers might buy. I also had a call from a friend who asked if his daughter, college-aged, could buy a home with funds from the family to make it happen earlier than she had anticipated. I strongly suggest anyone in this position, or with questions, to call a mortgage person. Today. The Federal program demands that the property must have closed by December 1, 2009. There is such a small window of opportunity here to grab both programs that time is truly of the essence. Remember - 60 days to closing is average, from the time the contract is accepted and the documents are signed. You and everyone else will be signing papers on Thanksgiving - if you can find an attorney to work that day!

It's great to see movement!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dreams and Dreamers

I went to a garden party yesterday - really, I did! - and heard the most fantastic story that I want to share. So as the sun streams in with the fresh air, the crowds thin out, and Bob makes dinner at the lake (I hope) I'll tell you.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law had just returned from a weekend on the St Lawrence Seaway. Bruce is a great storyteller, and I'll try to do him justice. Mary Jo disagrees with some of the dates, but I like his version the best.

Back in 1948 a young man paid $5 for a small, small island. It was no bigger than the 8' x 10' deck we were sitting on. Over the years he visited there, and every time he went out to it he brought rocks. After many, many years, he had a real island.

As it was then large enough to support a house, he built - stone by stone - a small cottage where he could stay with his family in the summer. He added a dock for the boats, got a flat raft-like thing he called the "rock boat" and was able to bring more rocks from the mainland. He then erected a shed with a sleeping loft where guests stayed in dormitory fashion.

All this from his dream and $5. I was mesmerized by the tale! The true tale!

I thought of all the people I know who dream large. I've written about them before - the people who wanted waterfront so they could fish, and land to play on. The family is now increasing in size, the fish are jumping in the creek, and he's put in a four hole golf course on his ten acres! They weren't willing to settle, and they are glad they didn't. Of course, I get kidded about the fact that I never thought they'd find what they wanted. (It took 18 months or more - and how many houses...?)

Then there are the log cabin people. They've found their dream home, perhaps a bit earlier than they expected (they are the balance to the previous clients), and are going forward. From a subdivision to the wilds of upstate New York. It's going to be a HUGE learning curve, but then dreams usually are.

I also know of a gentleman who quietly told me that he's always seen himself going out to tend flowers at a pond. Since he was a little boy, it's been his vision. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Today I had lunch with Intrepid Janet who reminded me that to move on and pursue their dream of living in Skaneateles they had to be aggressive sellers. They moved up here on a prayer, and have never looked back. Horses, music, friends and family - they're dining on the lake as I write - and their dreams have come true.

It sounds unoriginal, sort of South Pacific-y, but in order to have a dream come true you first have to have a dream. These people did, from the man who saw an island with stone cottages to the woods and a log cabin, to Janet in the village she loves. Not such bad images on a hot summer night in Skaneateles.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

These are the "dog days" of summer. I have one dog under my feet as I write, another stretched out on the cooler flooring of the kitchen. Neither one has moved in a while. Outside nothing else seems to move, either. Except maybe the waterfall in the pond. It's artificial, but everything else where water could flow is running. Such rains! But the humidity, lack of a breeze, and warmth have put everything to sleep.

Even the listings. Well, actually the sales.

There are currently 143 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Seven "new" ones have come on the market in the past week. Actually, the phrasing should be "have returned to the market." Some have come with a reduction in price, others with a change of agency. Three waterfront, three town properties, and a village one thrown in.

There are no new sales - or pending sales - or closed properties. "Dog days."

I opened my yahoo home page this morning to find an article from SmartMoney written by Anna Maria Andriotis about the red flags you would find in your neighborhood that indicate property values will plunge.

The first was that properties are falling into disrepair because people can't afford to keep them up. Not in Skaneateles!

The second was a substantial increase in foreclosures. While we've seen a few, there is nothing like some subdivisions around the country in which the crows and cougars camp out, so not in Skaneateles!

Unemployment increases - the major company in the area moves or closes its doors - is another indicator of hard times in the housing market. Although WelchAllyn says it won't hire as much, it is in no way near to closing and actually is quite a healthy company. And the waterfront isn't going anywhere, so.....not in Skaneateles!

The last part suggests that homes linger longer on the market than they did in the past. That's certainly true. But the suggestion that the most vulnerable homes are those purchased between 2003 and 2008 is definitely not (always) true in Skaneateles! I've sold them - and profits were made.

What is certain is that prices are coming down. Today when I opened my hotsheet, the list of changes in the multiple listing system that occurred since the last time I checked, 17 homes had been listed while 23 had a reduction in price. Usually the ratio is the other way around. But I sell everywhere, and check many towns, so it's not all Skaneateles.

And besides, these are the "dog days" of summer.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

It's been an odd day. I've been working on the computer or around it most of the day. I don't usually sit this still, but Boo is on prednisone and needs to be walked a lot, so I decided to stay around the house and take care of him. I sent off listings and explored ideas. I checked my Facebook page which I don't usually do on a regular basis. Good news there - I re-connected after many, many years with my best friend's first husband with whom I shared travels in Ireland. Also, Rachel has the honeymoon pictures up on her page - they look so happy!

Tonight I'm showing houses to a friend of a friend of the son-in-law of one of my most prolific clients. I love referrals like that - it lets me know I'm doing a good job.

Until then -

Currently there are 139 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Three new ones came on this week, all higher end. One is a waterfront re-list in the 2.5M range. Another is also waterfront, but new at under $800,000. The third is a town listing for mid-$500,000.

One of the areas I explored was the reduction in price. I check my hotsheet frequently for all the changes that have occurred in the areas I watch on a regular basis. I took a phone call and clicked wrong - always a positive thing, it seems - and seemed to be getting reduction after reduction. They were - I had hit that category! So I checked to see the listings in the Skaneateles area that had been reduced. An impossible task, what with the sheer number of active listings and all the re-lists. But in a global sense, of the houses listed in the past 60 days only 1 (1!) has dropped the price. I went back to homes listed in the first 3 months of the year and half of them had lowered the list price, but two have actually raised it.

In the system there are only 2 properties marked contigent at the present time. There are, by contrast, 10 pending homes. Two of these are new sales, going straight to pending, and both are village properties.

There are now 46 closed homes this year. The one new one is also village, but had been on the market for a couple years. It closed at 62% of its original list price. I would wonder, if I were a buyer, why other homes haven't reduced their prices. Not, perhaps, by that much, but certainly the old rule of after four weeks if there hasn't been an offer the price should drop; it is one of the few things in the seller's control.

We do seem to be slowing down. A while back the numbers from last year in closings were 50% of this year. Now we have closed 46 and last year there were 27 at this time. Contrast that with 59 in 2007 and 64 in 2006! But remember, in all of last year there were only 66 homes that closed. We will get there and beyond that mark in 2009.

For those of you who are circling properties, indecisive and wondering what else might be around the next corner, I suggest you buy something, preferably my listings, of course. I can see an autumn filled with multiple offer situations if you don't!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Mini-vacation

It's 83 degrees out with brilliant sunshine. The moon will be full tomorrow evening and rise over the lake. There's the feel of a thunderstorm or windstorm in the air. I went grocery shopping happily this afternoon. When I finish blogging, I'll go out and mow.

I took a mini-vacation yesterday and this morning. Last evening I had a lengthy listing appointment followed by a lengthy conference call. I took the latter at the lake, watching the moon rise and enjoying the darkness. Bob had kept the dogs in at the house in Elbridge with him, so I was free. I spent the evening reading one of my favorite authors, Dick Francis, eating ice cream and then falling asleep with the wind from the lake sweeping up to the camp.

In the morning I got up late - no living alarm clock Koko to get me up at dawn - and went kayaking. I took off well, proud that I could lift the kayak off the dock and get in it without tipping it. I went up the lake towards "Footprints" and the Narrows, hoping to make it into the bay. As I got away from the point the wind grabbed me. I could have surfed to the north end, but getting home would have been dicey. I hadn't had my coffee yet.

I stayed close to the shoreline and easily paddled home, actually going beyond the camp into our cove where I'd spotted a turtle over the weekend. What a difference the cove makes, especially when the wind is from the south! I docked, threw the paddle up onto the seawall, and shoved the kayak onto the dock then tied it on. The breeze had that chaotic feel of a late afternoon storm brewing.

I made breakfast - over easy egg with ham slices, a small OJ, peaches over cottage cheese and the necessary coffee - and ate it out on the deck. The poplar at the seawall filtered the sun, so I had the advantage of breezes without the heat. I made some phone calls - yes, we can get into the two family we've been trying to see for a week; no, relocation doesn't have the answers yet; yes, it looks like the owner will be amenable to some kind of radon mitigation; no, the offer we expected may take until the end of the week - and drank my second cup of coffee. I did the dishes languidly, then read some more. The Dick Francis was an old one, and a good one, that I had found at the Skaneateles Library sale a month earlier.

After a while it got too hot and I decided to take a swim. This is momentous, and rare. I am not a proficient swimmer. I do the breast stroke and push through the water and that's about it. Several of my neighbors swim for a long time every morning and/or evening. Not me. But today I enjoyed my brief lap around the neighbor's raft. Cool, refreshing, and then I could sit in the sun (with a hat on, of course).

I finished the book, checked e-mail and made a few more calls, and then packed up for home. Boo is on steroids and drinks a ton and needs to go out (handy euphemism) a lot more than usual. He needed me to be home by 1:00.

I was. Rested, relaxed, ready to do the work of keeping up two houses while working full time (and more). No "away" vacation, but one valued as much as two weeks in the Bahamas. Well, maybe.

The point is that that's what camp does, it allows you to go away while staying here, if that makes any sense. It's time used efficiently and well. As a young mother I took summers off from teaching, and now I realize how precious those years were. I never had any money to go away, just the camp I'd inherited. None of the other mothers did either, but none of our kids minded.

So now when I look at waterfront I see it differently, as a way for families to create homes that are special places for memories and offer more opportunity for making daily living a vacation. And a great getaway for hard-working Realtors, too!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I think summer came this week. We were able to spend a couple really lovely days at the lake, at least in the evening. I could bake away my summer cold in the sun. The grass grew and I mowed it without having to work around the rain.

Today I showed waterfront. There are some great deals out there - some left from last year (and the year before) and some new ones. Until I pulled the actual listings, I couldn't have told you how "cheap" some of these are.

Currently there are 142 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Nine - count 'em! - nine new listings came on this week. Two were re-lists - my $799,000 Carlton's Cliff listed as a residential single family home (yes, a barn can be a home!) instead of just as a lot (nine plus acres with waterfront.) The other has lake rights and a significant reduction in price.

Three more were waterfront also, but new. Two are in the low $200,000s - think of that! The other is a truly lovely 1.1M. Two more small town properties came on, both listed at under $80,000! (Yes, I called my client who is looking for something like that.) Two others are in the mid-$100,000 area. Bargains galore!

There is a new contingent property - a village fixer-upper. It will be interesting to see what the closed price is in a couple months.

It being after 9:00 and "America's Got talent" is playing in the background, I made a mistake on the computer and came up with only 14 closed properties this year in the Skaneateles area. I re-worked it, and there they were - still only 14! Finally I realized that I had hit the wrong key and I had brought up the 14 properties listed this year that had also closed this year. I thought that fairly interesting, because we've had 45 closed properties, so 14 was about a third of all the listings. Quickly listed - quickly sold? In some cases, yes, but several were re-lists. Still, a "mistake" that gave valuable information.

Of those 45 closed properties year-to-date, 7 are waterfront. Last year there were 25 closed single family homes - and 7 were waterfront, also. So this is not the best year for waterfront despite all those bargains. Yet!

As long as I was doing percentages, I checked the sale of lots. Currently there are 66 active listings - and only 4 that have closed, 3 of which were basically the same property divided into parcels. Then I went on to condos - 17 listed and no sales. Yet!

Rates are low - 5.1% crossed my screen today. Home equity lines are around 3%. Cash is always king - and can be invested in those waterfront properties in need of improvements while you're enjoying them. Remember - summer just started!

By the way - tune in to our RE/MAX tv show on Sunday on Fox at 11:30. They are also sending listings to Facebook and youtube soon. When I know how, I'll share. Trust me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

How lovely today was! I worked at home, giving myself a day to relax and recuperate - plus do all the wash from our many guests, clean out the refrigerator, chase a couple offers around and line up walk-throughs and closings. Yes, even in the summer, homes do close!

There are currently 139 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Three "sorta/kinda" new ones came on the market. All are re-lists with changes - brokers and prices and reconfigurations. Two are waterfront (well, actually they are the same waterfront with and without land across the road) and the other is a small town home that has been reduced about 12% and re-entered into the system.

One home has been marked contingent - a lovely village home that my buyers considered at one time. Priced realistically, it sold in under three months. Another home - great village waterfront - has gone straight to pending. Waterfront is starting to catch up.

There is one new closed property - again, waterfront - to bring the total number of closed properties to 44 for the year. This pretty camp's original price a while back was well over half a million, but it closed closer to the half million mark, a reduction of about 25%. Still, it's closed.

Last year at this time 23 single family homes had closed. Are we slowing down? I can't see it if we are. I called on two properties today to show them and both had recent contracts on them - before I'd had my second cup of coffee!

Just a note to first time homebuyers - you need to have your purchase in the pipeline by September 1st to feel sure enough of closing before the November 30th deadline. If you are at all considering buying, and can qualify, get started today! I've got some suggestions if you need them....