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....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Skaneateles - The Destination Wedding

Alex and Rachel were married this weekend in a marvelous ceremony with multiple parties surrounding the occasion. They had wanted a destination wedding, and while Alex dreamed of Hawaii and Rachel considered Italy, they came home to Skaneateles. And I must believe that after this weekend they are glad they did.

We started with a small family party at our house on the deck. A simple cookout with hot dogs and "not" dogs, Boca burgers and hamburgers. Bob made his famous peach, mozzarella and basil salad - thank you to Freitag's for having the peaches, even if they had to come from South Carolina at this time of year. The bugs stayed away until 9:00 and then we came inside for a spirited practice of the Hora.

People kept coming to stay at the house or move on to the Sherwood, Skaneateles Suites, or one of many bed and breakfasts in the area. I've been told I must mention the lovely accommodations of 10 Fitch Street in Auburn and Pine Grove (with the view of the lake) in Spafford. The discerning guests were extremely impressed with their hosts, the service and the homes.

On Friday evening we went to Rosalie's and the Romano Room for the rehearsal dinner. Alex had been one of the original busboys for Gary so it was like a homecoming for him. The food and wine and laughter flowed all evening. Paolo (I think I have that right) came upstairs and serenaded us to the delight of everyone packed into the tables, eating family style the incredible food. We left room for the chocolate cake, though!

Both Friday and Saturday mornings I was thrilled to be able to serve breakfast to our guests. I made French toast and quiches, fruit salads and eggs to order. I was very content.

And then the wedding. The rain stayed away, Elie the flower girl didn't dissolve in tears as she did a couple weeks ago, Connor, Alex's half brother, remembered the rings, people came early for the cocktail hour (a stroke of genius because we were all ready). Laura Lillie took our family and bridal photos in the park, holding off the other bridal party for a bit.

The rabbi spoke about the ceremony being inter-faith, and how Christians, Jews and Muslims were witness to the exchange of vows. "It's time," he said, "that we put away our differences and become one people." When Alex stomped the cup, the sun came out.

Dinner and dancing followed at the Sherwood. Never being one to read ahead, I was eager to dance "Hava Nagila" with the Kosberg women. When they lifted Rachel and Alex high in their chairs I helped hold Rachel up there, as is the tradition in their family. Susan, Rachel's mother, went up next and I had my hands on the rungs. Then it was my turn and I was totally unprepared for it. They put me in the chair and raised me, Rachel's Aunt Beth focussing me and saying "Hang on tight." I did, despite some rocking and rolling.

Then the other dancing that so engulfed us all. Family lines were blurred, friends became old friends, shoes were discarded. The band played on and on.

I spent a quiet moment with Patience. Her son, Herm, was the best man "in memoriam." He passed away in 2005 from lymphoma and we hadn't had a time to mourn together. Unexpected as it was, the wedding gave us that chance.

There were other moments of healing like that. I still haven't processed it all, but I know just like the cup Alex broke will never be made whole again, the world changed for me that night. I am glad.

Skaneateles passed the destination wedding test. I wish to thank Laura Lillie for her monumental efforts to catch it all, Fleur de Lis for their brilliant flowers, Petra for taking Koko so I didn't have to walk her at 5:00 AM after a late night, Intrepid Janet for helping me to find my dresses at Lord&Taylor and insisting I buy the black dress, too. (Just a note: Cate and Sally, right here in town, had a great selection I discovered afterwards!) Thanks to Vicky Blackwell and Lia Sophia for my blue necklace everyone admired, to Carmen Logan at Carlo's for teaching Trisha how to cut and color my hair, and to my best friend Annie for coming from Saratoga to provide moral support. To Anna Soltyk, whose paintings and cards are featured in the new Imagine That! shop in the village, for her commissioned painting of the sunflower center pieces. And even though I still ache a bit, to Alter Ego for their wonderful dance music and professionalism.

The Sherwood Inn was excellent as a focal point, Rosalie's gave us all smiles, and the sidewalk sale provided a weekend getaway. The people who came up from The City and Long Island to see Rachel and Alex get married also saw a part of New York State they didn't know existed. You did well, Skaneateles, and I thank you!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update (Wedding Edition)

Last night as I pulled out of the driveway and headed to the lake so we could get some sleep I realized that my update wasn't done. Since it was late, I didn't turn around and go back in the house. I apologize.

The world doesn't stop, offers and counter-offers don't end, just because my one and only son is getting married on Saturday. That's the way it should be, in my opinion. Real estate is too much a moment to moment operation - "If you snooze, you lose!" No snoozing allowed. I would hate for one of my clients to lose anything.

BUT! I can be a bit late and cursory with the update, I sincerely hope. This marriage will last so it will be the one and only time I can use this excuse.

There are currently 144 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. There are no new listings - the first time I think that has happened since I began the weekly update in March of 2008.

There are no new sales, either - must be those thunderstorms have kept people away. I've been showing houses and my listings are being shown, some daily, but nothing is official yet. Except two closings that haven't hit the computer....

To date there are 43 homes listed as closed. Two new ones - hooray! - a waterfront, which closed at about 15% below the original list price, and a village home which closed at the list price - under $200,000. I just finished listening to an NPR report on a book about what would happen if the price of gas rose to $20 per gallon. The consensus was that it will in a few years and that smaller towns, urban centers, and villages with dense population would experience a re-birth. Everything contained within a few short blocks. Gee - kind of like Skaneateles!

And that delightful (this year) comparison I love to make - only 21 closings at this time in 2008. I must use that statistic several times a week when people ask me about the market.

So if you are out and about, please check out our tent to the left of the Sherwood Inn. And you may be out and about - the sidewalk sale, aka Curbstone Festival, is in full swing. And there will be the community band at the gazebo on Friday evening, the old cars coming to town from the Nationals at the Fairground, and just a marvelous Finger Lakes weekend. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Closed in Skaneateles! The Second Twenty

The first twenty I reported on April 30th. That was 120 days into 2009. The second twenty reporting occurred only 76 days later - I'd say that's progress, of the very good kind! Homes are selling - if you are thinking about buying, please don't wait because the market will probably increase in speed of sales.

In alphabetical order! As always, further information can be found when updated via

49 Academy Street $625,000

Lot 32 Calemad $345,000

1398 Coach Road $482,500

6497 County Line Road $739,000

1915 East Lake Road $152,000

2599 East Lake Road $1,149,000

51 West Elizabeth Street $152,500

1527 East Genesee Street $150,000

61 West Genesee Street $375,000

16 Goodspeed Place $403,000

4684 Jordan Road $79,500

3802 Knightsbridge Road $261,000

43 Leitch Avenue $315,000

1835 Locust Lane $686,400

2680 Nunnery Road $114,000

1845 Old Seneca Turnpike $122,300

1 Ramble Wood $500,000

1429 Thornton Heights $359,900

23 West Elizabeth Street $152,300

1611 West Lake Road $280,000

Now, go have fun analyzing these - riding around and checking them out. Are there any surprises? And remember, now is the time to BUY!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I ran into an old friend last evening at Boom Boom's in Camillus. If you haven't been there, I highly recommend it. After laughing that the last time I'd seen him was there, he asked how the market was doing in Skaneateles. His house had been listed by another company and hadn't sold, so he was probing for answers. I referred him to my blog - maybe he's reading it now!

I enjoy pulling together the statistics, because then I have them on my tongue. Often when I know I'm going into a listing appointment where I'll be asked pertinent questions I gear my blog towards the answers that week, thus making it possible to do two things at once. Life is short - multi-purpose researching saves time.

So I sit here tonight in the office with the door wide open to the setting sun, people walking by with ice cream cones, kids calling out to each other, cars as always clogging the streets, and look forward to writing the update. The research has been done and proved illuminating. Plus, there's good news for the market.

Currently there are 143 active listings of single family residences listed in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Four new ones came on this past week. A home that was a lot in the town just a few years ago is on the market for under $300,000. A small home, also in the town but close enough to walk to the village appeared in the mid-$100,000 range. An agent finally landed a FSBO (for sale by owner) and listed waterfront over one million dollars. There's also waterfront that's a re-list, with a 10% reduction in price.

Nothing new sold this week - still about 12 properties marked contingent or pending.

But closed - yes! There are now 41 closed properties year-to-date! I will do my update in the next couple days, letting you know what they closed for. The two that finished the list were both village homes. One closed around $400,000 with very little reduction in its original list price. The other was on the market (and off a bit) for almost three years and finally closed slightly under 20% of its original price. The world changed a lot in the past three years -

Every week I am mesmerized by the "most expensive homes sold in Onondaga County this week" box in the Post Standard's Sunday real estate section. The prices do not seem that high to me - but then, I've been dealing in Skaneateles prices. So I thought I'd take a look:

Skaneateles' most expensive home so far (through the MLS - I know of another soon to close in a private deal that beats it): 1.7 million

Camillus has only two homes over $300,000 this year, the highest being $362,000.

Onondaga has 4, with their highest closed home being $490,000, new construction - one presumes with all the bells and whistles!

Marcellus has a home for $390,000 - much reduced over many years and the only one closing over $300,000.

For those of you who follow it, last year-to-date there were only 21 closed homes in Skaneateles. Yuck! In 2007 there were 46, in 2006 there were 54, and in 2005 there were 41 - same as this year. Yes, I do think the market is back to normal - except that I bet the average price of a house in 2009 is far greater than the price in 2005 - but that's another day. Right now I want to get the salmon at Doug's, a quiet dinner at home eating on the deck in the sunshine, and a pleasant evening celebrating Alex's birthday - from afar. (He's eating at the Mesa Grill!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The RE/MAX Show

Tune your sets! Tomorrow (Sunday) at 11:30 is the premiere of the RE/MAX real estate show. It's half an hour from 11:30AM to 12:00 on the local Fox network, channel 68.

I have two listings that will be shown: 117 Victory Lane in Warners and 3862 Highland Avenue in Skaneateles. Both lend themselves to this type of show - HGTV watching is evident in their presentation!

Please let me know what you think so I can change things as need be. Because it's the only show of its kind in Central New York I hope we get people to watch - and then BUY these homes!

I have taped it, just in case it takes longer for Federer to beat Roddick. When I ran through the Guide to find it, I was so pleased to see "RE/MAX" in the time slot.

Enjoy the July 4th weekend!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I have been sorely remiss in my blogging. I apologize. The past week has been filled with life and death, babies soon to be born, friends undergoing incredible surgeries, pets not surviving. Although none are family issues, they still engulf us. It seems like forever since we went to Utica to see Gordon Lightfoot - but it was only 6 days.

I promise better in the future, in part because blogging is so therapeutic for me. This month is the wedding month, and I want to be rested and restored for it. Blogging aids the process.

Plus selling a house or two......

There are currently 141 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 44 are waterfront and since it's the season I thought I'd key in on the lake listings as a whole. Some of course are streams and ponds and even a creekside. Take away about 3 of these, so let's say 30% are waterfront and active.

We did have 4 new - really new, no re-lists! - listings come on this week. There are two in the town, one farther out and in the low $200,000s and one closer and newer (I remember when it was a lot that I sold!) under $500,000. There's another less than a million waterfront and the last is a tiny rehab in the village for under 200K.

Nothing was marked contingent this week, and of the 8 properties only one is waterfront. There are also 6 pending properties of which half are waterfront. So in the next few months hopefully our percentage of closed waterfront from these homes will be close to 30%.

There is one new closing this week which brings the year-to-date total to 39, just bursting to get to 40 when I will do a list. At this time last year there were only 20 closed properties! The new one is waterfront, closing at about 75% of its original price of over 1.5M.

This year there are only 12.5% of the closed properties that are waterfront, as compared to last year's 30%. Prices this year range from 359,000 to 1.7M while last year the numbers were $375,000 to $775,000 at this time.

I was curious to see when we had 39 properties closed last year. It was all the way into the first week of October, 2008! We are well ahead of that mark - I can't wait to see how we end the year!