Friday, December 31, 2010

Predictions and Resolutions - Plus an Update

Over the past 9 days or so, we had no snow and New York City got it all - as well as Boston and Philadelphia and points in-between. Alex and Rachel came and went uneventfully and we had a marvelous Christmas. The cookies aren't all eaten, but they will be by midnight tonight. Our presents are still scattered around the livingroom, the sweaters I bought for the men taken back and exchanged, and Bob is settled in to read by a just-cleaned hearth while I write.

The update: no new listings - none! - in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. One waterfront was marked "under contract, do not show" (at this time of year, no less!) There simply are no properties marked contingent, either. Two homes closed - one large place recently listed in the mid-$400,000 range and another well under $100,000. That brings us to 74 for the year - but probably not all closings have been entered...the final tally will be next week.

But New Year's Eve is upon us - and so is the need to write predictions and resolutions before the ball drops or the bell tolls or the fireworks sparkle.

I predicted last year that there would be over 90 homes closed in our area...but we fell short of that number. For 2011 I predict again there will be 90 homes closed...I think we can do it!

I resolve to write more. I did enhance my blog with a few pictures and I resolve to do more. I'd like a House of the Week feature, complete with at least one photo. It doesn't have to be one of my listings - it could be anyone's, or even a house not on the market.

I resolve to spend more time exercising and staying fit. I realize the importance of this - not only for fitness' sake but mental health, too. We have a gorgeous lake and a lovely town - I want to walk it often.

I predicted last year that Syracuse football would have a winning season - and by golly they did! The Pinstripe Bowl played yesterday was not just fun to watch for Syracuse fans, but a great game as well. The old days are back - Carter ran almost 200 yards and passed Larry Csonka in the record books. I predict this year will be even better!

I predict that SU basketball will go to the Final Four because they are a team. No superstars, just a team working hard together. Lovely!

I resolve to sell more homes this year than last, both as a buyer's agent and as a listing agent.

I resolve to stay in better contact with everyone. I believe I do an excellent job of this, but it can be better. All it takes is organization and prioritization...and "my people" need to be my priority. Without you my business is not what I want it to be. I don't sell houses - I like to think I sell homes, as gloppy as that might sounds.

I resolve to appreciate every day - the people I meet, the homes I see, the weather I tromp through. I resolve not to rush, to take the time to enjoy this too short life we are given.

Thank you, dear Readers, for another wonderful year of blogging!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - Christmas Edition

How lovely to end on a high note! Christmas is coming and the world outside looks very Christmasy...certainly we may be the snowiest area in the country, but also the prettiest.

There are currently ONLY 119 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. One lovely village 5-bedroom home came on this past week and the agent bravely scheduled a broker's open. It's listed in the mid-$300,000 if you are interested in a last minute gift.

The total number of homes waiting to close is down to 10, and nothing new was marked contingent this week.

But because there are so few waiting, that means that three closed just in time for the new year, bring us to 73 sold and closed for the far! A lake rights property closed around the $200,000 mark, down about 20% from its original price. A pretty village home sold and closed rather rapidly and came in within 10%. The third encompassed a single family home, commercial and as currently used multi-family in the village - between 10 and 20% off the original price. There's no rhyme or reason to this all...just what people are willing to pay and when the sellers are ready to let the homes go.

I know closings at this time of year and they are difficult to bring off - so kudos to those agents, attorneys and banks for getting these closed. Buyers and sellers as well!

A very merry Christmas and happy holiday season is wished to everyone, from my house to yours!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I learned something new today - that I've always known but every once in a while I need a little refresher.

I went to my dentist on Onondaga Hill, Dr. Randal P. Swartwood, and he worked on my root canal tooth that remarkably was the same tooth I had just broken - hey, that's good news! While I was waiting (I got there early, usually there's no waiting!) I told Gail the receptionist about all; the snow we had. She stopped me cold - "I live in Lafayette," she said. "Oh." She then told me Syracuse had made the big time being featured on Good Morning America - actually the parking lot at the Fairmount Wegman's. You can still see it online through

Anyway, Gail said she couldn't wait to go out her back door and go cross country skiing. It sounded heavenly, and she was determined to do it even if she had four feet on the ground, which she might.

So I went home after going to the office and went out skiing with Boo. (Bob was exhausted from fighting a broken snowblower...) He plowed through the snow on the faint trail that was still there from yesterday's walk. I was able to stand and basically walk on two feet of snow, with another two feet of fresh powder. But on the way back to the house I was able to glide a bit, and on the third and fourth tries it was really a ski trail!

I was tired - my arms and lungs especially. I made lunch - fruit, cheese and crackers - because I wanted something healthy. I didn't do that amount of exercise to put junky stuff into my system...and that's what I learned. The more I do right by me, the more I will continue to do right by me. Hooray for the snow!

Now on to the update....Nothing much happened this past week. Only one "new" listing came on and that was a re-list of an unfinished property which probably seemed like a good idea at the time and now needs someone to take over the project. Nothing new was marked "C", "U", or "P" except properties already in the system and moving along the usual progression.

There was one closing - a lake rights house which started in the $400,000 range closed in the mid-$100,000. I saw it last week and knew there must be a story behind it, so I called my "Person Who Knows Everything" and by golly he did! It was a family matter, as they say, he assured me. The world had not gotten that out of whack!

So here we sit with lots of snow and 69 closed single family homes year-to-date in the Skaneateles area. But it's beautiful out there!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snowy Day

I am sitting at my so-called desk watching my dirty white cat Oscar watch the birds at the feeder. Occasionally he makes a sound as if in comment. "Like that junco!" "See the wings on that cardinal?" "I'll remember to stay away from the woodpecker's beak..." Then he winds his way back to me, curls his tail around his body, and waits for me to use the mouse. He likes to pounce, grab my hand and hang on...always a challenge, blogging.

Yes, it is snowing, and as Rachel so aptly put it "You guys are getting KILLED!" Manhattan has had not a lick of snow, she tells me. Well, we have... The weather channel guaranteed us a white Christmas this year. Really.

I wrote the short blog about the bird in December, got 4 of the lines correct but in the wrong order, and forgot to attribute it to Oliver Herford. But then, my version came from my mother.

I said when I started this blog I would write about my life as a Realtor in Skaneateles. I've been so busy this past fall that I haven't had time, and now things have slowed. And it's all a part of the job. After three closings in two days and all the attendant work that comes with getting to the respective tables, it's hard not to stop and re-group.

When I first started, an agent told me that in situations like this it's difficult to "not rest on your laurels." Beware! Three months from now there won't have been any closings, unless I get to work again quickly...60 days (or more!) to close.

But I can take a day or two, especially with this snow, to think about what can be different going forth. "Monitor and adjust" - what did I learn from my very busy summer and fall? What can I do to better balance life and home and work? What did people not understand that could have been explained in a different format? FAQs?

The flakes are heavier and seemingly falling faster. I need to play in the snow, not with Oscar. Boo needs a run before the snow gets too deep....quickly, before lunch...

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Heard....

I heard a bird sing in the dark of December,
We are nearer to Spring than we were in September.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! We are buried here under about 40 inches of snow and I've been enjoying it from afar. Bob has been out skiing, Boo runs because if he stops it will be over his head, and Koko finds places on the deck to pee. I've heard from my cousin in Guam when she saw Brian Williams extolling the woes of Syracuse, and learned that our beautiful landscape reminds people of Denver. Lisa in the office describes it as being in a snow globe and has learned the joys of shoveling. And houses have sold and closed in the past week!

There are currently 119 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service, of which 34 are in the village. Only two "new" ones came on, both re-lists with substantial reductions in price (around 10%). We are getting into that time of year when people do not want to hold onto homes, so what seemed so promising in July is now discounted in December.

There are no new houses marked contingent or under contract and do not show. There is one new pending house, the foreclosure on the lake which was scooped up. It was listed originally with acreage for well over a million, and then more recently about 200K above the current list price. Time to let it go, and it went.

The big news, the good news, is that 5 properties have closed. One is a small house that sold basically at its low $100,000 range list price. Another that will probably be torn down came in at 60% of the original price. New construction in the village stayed in the mid-$400,000s, while a country home with acreage closed within 10% of its original price. A beauty on the lake ended up within striking distance of its multi-million dollar list price!

We now have 68 closed properties for the year, a mark that while less than we all would like is still respectable. There are so many other places in this country where homes are crumbling for lack of ownership, where banks hang on to the foreclosures so as not to flood the market with them. We are lucky - and that luck was paid for by keeping the prices reasonable. Who knows - maybe the higher taxes which keep the prices down served a purpose after all?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Actually, this will encompass two weeks and as you will see, nothing much happened over the Thanksgiving weekend. Things are slowing down, houses are being taken off the market for the winter, people are settling in for the holiday season.

HOWEVER! I still have buyers looking for homes, and as I've told them, people who put their houses on the market in the winter know that only those truly looking, not thinking about looking but really ready to buy, go out in the winter cold. It's a great time to list - fewer homes for competition, real buyers, and if your home has that cozy, warm feel it can be easily demonstrated. So list, please, so my buyers can buy!

Currently there are 120 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. That's only 120 - the numbers are down. Of these, 35 are in the village and 31 are on the water. Six are new. One is a foreclosure, and a waterfront foreclosure at that but priced to sell around $300,000. Another is a very sweet little village home priced just under that, while one in the country, a to-be-built, came on in the mid-$300,000. Then there's a waterfront re-list of a home previously priced much higher and now in the mid-$400,000 range. And let's not forget another re-list priced in the low $100,000 and located in the town.

And then.....drum roll, please! There's the gorgeous village listing of over four acres right down to the water with the most beautiful of boathouses. The price is over 4 million. This would make it the highest priced property sold in the Skaneateles area through the multiple listing service. What "would"! "Will"make it the highest priced......

One house was marked contingent over the two week period - a just listed home in the country with acreage and character - and listed for over $400,000.

Two homes closed, bringing the total of closed properties to 63 for the year. One was a lovely old home again with character that started close to $700,000 and closed in the low $300,000s. It is just difficult to attract buyers who are concerned about the cost of maintenance and heat, as well as the cost of upgrading an old home, even if it oozes with charm. The other home was smaller, in the town as well, and closed for about 15% under its list price in the mid-$100,000.

There are currently 19 properties under contract - let's get some more closed before the end of the year! I doubt we'll do as well as last year because we are 14 under as of December 1st. At least we are ahead of the 56 in 2008...nowhere near the 93 in 2007. As several recent sales have indicated, there are deals out there that won't come again once the economy turns around. And it will!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Actually, this is the Thanksgiving edition!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Go make pies and devour them, chase the kids around the yard, watch out that the dog doesn't eat the gouda, and sleep in front of the fire (in the fireplace, please!) Visit with your guests and relatives, listen to them tomorrow on National Listening Day, buy the one great thing you want at half price - and enjoy your home or home-to-be dreams!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I had a wonderful time this Tuesday at brokers' opens. I toured with a friend and saw two new listings. When her money comes in, she promises to buy one of them - probably the gorgeous Village home. We had lunch at Joe's Pasta Garage - the pumpkin cheesecake was marvelous - and then ran through the rain to the Chamber to buy Skanopoly games before they run out. It's always fun to share the lovely Skaneateles homes, good talk, and cheesecake.

Currently there are 125 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 34 are in the Village. Five "new" listings came on this week - three are actually re-lists with a musical chairs of sorts with agents, plus minimal reductions in prices. The two new ones are magnificent and priced in the upper levels - close to a million and no waterfront, just Village. The one we saw really shows what a solidly built, well-decorated home should be, with excellent use of space throughout. And the price reflects it, too.

There are no new homes marked contingent. Neither are there new "U" and "P" homes. One waterfront home closed in the low $500,000, about 10% under its original list price. It had the most remarkable address, too - "OFF West Lake Road" - because the owners didn't want the usual drive-by viewings. And even with this strategy, it sold!

Houses are still being shown, remember, even though the weather is rainy one minute and sunny (sort of) the next. Today I showed three houses and all were being shown after me. So if you have a Village home, three large or four bedrooms, an open floor plan, and a dry basement built after World War II and it's not on the market yet, please let me know! I have two sets of buyers who might be interested. And I know other agents do, too! Oh yes, one other thing, please keep the price under $500,000...thanks!

Closed in Skaneateles! The Third Twenty!

We have now reached that marvelous time when I can report on the third set of closed homes in Skaneateles. It took us only 79 days to get to this point from the second twenty, as compared with twice that - literally! - for the first twenty. I said in the last blog of listed homes that we were "picking up steam" - we certainly did!

In order of closing, this time:

108 East Lake Road - Village of Skaneateles - $175,000

2969 East Lake Road - Town of Skaneateles - $1,475,000

2629 East Lake Road - Town of Skaneateles - $1,649,000

1014 Ten Mile Point - Town of Spafford - $140,000

54 West Genesee Street - Village of Skaneateles - $380,000

856 Franklin Street - Town of Skaneateles - $264,800

888 West Genesee Street Road - Town of Skaneateles - $88,000

843 Crow Hill Road - Mottville - $345,000

600 Irish Road - Skaneateles Falls - $110,000

2816 East Lake Road - Town of Skaneateles - $265,000

51 Fennell Street - Village of Skaneateles - $155,000

60 Jordan Street - Village of Skaneateles - $230,000

1148 Jewett Road - Town of Skaneateles - $165,000

179 Five Mile Point - Town of Spafford - $500,000

28 Firelane 6 - Town of Niles - $405,000

7 Day Lane - Village of Skaneateles - $460,000

4205 NW Townline Road - Town of Skaneateles - $169,900

27 Griffin Street - Village of Skaneateles - $246,000

79 West Elizabeth Street - Village of Skaneateles - $275,000

1340 Laxton Lane - Town of Skaneateles - $375,000

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The New Trend

I read today on the web that there are several new trends out there in home-buying. The buyers tend to be either empty-nesters who are down-sizing, or first-time homebuyers, generally younger. In both cases they are looking for the same things: smaller homes that are within walkable distance of services and towns.

It all makes sense. The suburbs are not the residences of young professionals or retired couples or singles as much as they are the neighborhoods of families. The two groups cited want to be able to walk their dogs, walk into town (or village) easily to a dinner with friends, go shopping on weekends without piling into cars. Exercise is not found at the gym as much as on the streets of their village, in company with other like-minded individuals.

All you need to do to check out these theories is walk around Skaneateles on a sunny fall day. There they are - the people with their dogs, the older couples entertaining their visiting grown children, the lines at Doug's and the waiting time at Bluewater. The shops are busier than ever, and not just with tourists. (We all know to buy now - Dickens is coming and there will be a lot more people in the village!) Then there are the committed walkers who are able to conduct business on their cells while trudging up State Street.

I thought it would be interesting to see which houses meet the criteria of the article. I looked for village homes between 1700 and 2100 square feet, their limits. Five existed, all represented by different agencies. Prices ranged from a low of $279,000 to a high of $405,000 - not that wide a range, and dependent on the condition of the homes for its variability. Two are listed as four-bedroom homes; two have only one-car garages. But all are easy walks to the village and the lakeside shops and restaurants.

The article also stated that people want fewer bathrooms because they "don't use them all." As anyone knows who has searched for homes in Skaneateles, enough bathrooms are hard to find. Two of these homes have only one - all have half-baths though.

I wish there were more homes in Skaneateles that met this criteria. Going slightly higher to 2300 sf nets two more homes, and between 1500 and 1700 sf brings in four more. Using these calculations, there are 11 homes that basically meet the criteria of this article....not such a bad thing for a beautiful village that is highly walkable, liveable, affordable and has a magnificent lake as its backdrop. Nice to know that we are part of a trend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Too busy! I just got off the phone with a friend I haven't seen in months. We made plans for lunch next week and both of us agreed that we had been too busy - she with family obligations, me with real estate and family also. How does it happen? The time flies by and we don't take the time for important things, like Zumba with Lisa, or walking Koko in the Village, or going to India House with Bob in the convertible. Camp isn't closed yet for the winter - the grass needs one last mowing because it had the audacity to grow some more - my database needs updating to accommodate my new buyers (wait! that's business related!) I must learn to smell the flowers - some day.

Currently there are 125 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service waiting to be sold, so no rest here! Thirty-two of these are in the village - and I plan to sell at least one this weekend. Four new listings came on this past week, and one re-list, a pretty renovated farmhouse with a slightly reduced price. A gorgeous home overlooking the lake with acreage but no waterfront came on at over 1.5M. A lovely old farmhouse was also listed at less than half a million. Another older home with 3 acres seems like a bargain at just over $200,000. A modern edge-of-village home was listed at over $400,000.

Two properties were marked contingent. A farmhouse in need of some work and priced accordingly (and one my people were interested in seeing, mind you!) can still be shown as well as a lake rights property. These are two potential closings before the end of the year - well done!

Now the very good news. Two more homes closed and brought the number of closings to 60 for the year. This means that at some point in the next week I will write about the third twenty homes, reporting addresses and prices which are matters of public record.

One of the properties was a village home in the high $200,000 range, closing within 10% of the original price. The other was waterfront, closing (as pointed out by an agent in another office) after four years at one of the largest discrepancies between assessed value and sale price - from under $700,000 (original price) to under $400,000 (sale price). I can also report that the new owners are thrilled with their camp and eager for next summer to start.

And I guess that explains in part why I've been so busy - because I enjoy this so much. I get to see lovely homes, settle families where they want to be, make new friends and yes, keep the old.
Not such a bad life.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

On this grey day with the rain coming down I'm reminded of winters in Seattle. It wasn't always like this, and it was nice to not wear boots and winter gear, but I missed the snow. I remember sitting with friends from North Dakota and our pining for the brilliant days of winter, when there's new snow and everything sparkles. But not yet, please!

There are currently ONLY 122 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 31 are in the village. This is good news for home-sellers - fewer houses to choose from makes the choice easier for people who have to buy. Also, since the inventory is down it will take less time to deplete it - properties will move faster and be replaced by new ones. There was only one new listing in the past week, and that was a re-list of a village home, but with a $30,000 reduction.

There are four new properties marked contingent. One was in the village, another has lake rights, and a third is suitable as a single family, commercial building, and a multi-family dwelling. Also, a small one that got a lot of attention in the Marcellus school district because of its very low price was included in the "continue to show" list.

Under the "we're all done mostly" list is an old beauty that has been on the market for a few years and now has a potential new owner plus a new construction home in the village. Another one that was listed both as a lot and as a home in need of major repair is pended.

Think of it - that's 7 homes that may close before the end of the year!

AND - three new ones have closed! A small village home that sold almost immediately closed not far from its original asking price. A home in Marcellus schools but Skaneateles township did the same, but under $200,000. The third one had been on and off the market for years with renters in-between, and that finally sold about 10% under its current price. We now have 58 homes closed this year.

So even if Skaneateles is doing its Seattle imitation today, you really should think about buying and selling once again. I know my clients are determined to be settled by winter - so please put your homes out there for us to see!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I've been spending the last week or so in the company of people from outside the U.S. Our fall weather has been perfect - 60s and sunny, that wonderful wind that stirs up the leaves, warm nights and a full moon. Our area is so rich with colors now and everyone remarked on them. We are different here - and until you have experienced the Finger Lakes region in the fall I don't think it can be fully imagined. I remember being in Seattle and traveling out into the mountains in a long, long line of other foliage seekers, only to see yellow and more yellow - where were the reds and oranges I had grown up with? There's no place like home!

Currently in the Skaneateles area as designated by the multiple listing service there are 131 active listings, of which 34 are in the village. This may not be totally accurate - some agents place listings in both the village and the town so they won't be overlooked. Of these 131, 31 are noted as "waterfront." I would think lake, but this also encompasses anything on any type of water - the creek, a pond, like the listing out on Mandy Rue - but I believe there are only 2 like this currently.

Four new listings came on this past week - all brand-new. The number of homes being re-listed has dropped considerably in the past couple months, as has the number of listings, possibly due to people just waiting for spring. A large Village Victorian came on listed under $500,000. Another large home with lake rights was also listed, but well over $500,000. A third house - Village and just built out of the old foundation - is selling now for over $500,000. The last new listing is a tiny little house on a pretty lot in the Marcellus school district marketed for - wait for it - under $50,000.

There are no new contingent homes, leaving three in this category. Five are listed as
"under contract, do not show," which generally means that the owner is satisfied and doesn't want to be bothered, but they do not have a mortgage commitment as yet. The ones with mortgage commitments are tagged "P" for pending - and there are 11 of them at this time.

The good news is that we now have 55 closed single family homes for the Skaneateles area, and three of these are new. As a matter of fact, all three have waterfront! All of them came on in the past 12 months, they all sold in the $400,000 range, and all dropped their original prices considerably from the $500,000 level to make the sales. It's interesting that the quicker the house closed, the more the price was dropped...but the others still paid taxes and presumably mortgage payments while they waited for offers closer to their list prices. Interesting to see all three at the same time.

Of the 55 closed properties this year, 13 are waterfront. This is over 25% of all the sales in the area. Last year, the number was 16% and the year before 30%. I think the lesson here is that waterfront will always sell, even in a recession - and possibly for less - but it will still sell.

So take a trip around the lake this weekend. Choose one of those remaining 31 lakefront properties. Think about spring and next summer - and put in an offer. There is nothing like being on the lake in July or August - or seeing it crystal clear and glass-still come the fall, reflecting all those colors!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I know at least one Realtor out there who always comments on my blog to me when I speak with him. He's amazed I can keep it going with the pace of our deals and dealings. I wish I could do better - write more often, pithier perhaps. I enjoy writing, and would love to work it in to a daily schedule. The New Year is coming up - but I welcome ideas!

Until then - there are currently 132 listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service, 32 of which are in the village. Three new ones came on, all totally new not re-listings. One each for village, town and waterfront. The town home is a very small one in the the mid-$100,000 just over the village line. The village listing is one of those quite stately mansions - no waterfront, just an extraordinary view and under one million dollars. The waterfront is under two million and gorgeous, not that far from the village.

There are no new contingent properties, and only 18 marked U or P - that means.....

Yes! Three properties were posted as closed this week! Two are village and one is lake rights. One of the village homes came on in July and sold for about 5% under the original list price. The other village home was first on the market in late spring, 2008, right before the crash. It was on and off the market for a while, and now has finally sold for 75% of the original asking price. The lake rights property sold in less than 6 months for 15% or so under the original list price.

We now have 52 closed single family home sales this year, as compared with 65 at this time last year and 44 the year before. Our listings are lower, so we can move more inventory with fewer choices. People are looking, too. Rates are phenomenal. Prices continue to come down. No excuses! It is time to buy into Skaneateles!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Creative Financing - or - Getting it Done!

Tomorrow I host an open house at 6070 East Lake Road in the Town of Owasco. This is a gorgeous home - very well built in 1992 and maintained since then. It has four bedrooms and three full baths. The first floor master is large enough for a sitting area with lake views; the bath has a jetted tub and huge walk-in closet. Upstairs there are the other three bedrooms - but wait! One has its own bathroom as well! Another master, that in another home would be the master. Add in 1.84 very flat acres, hardwoods throughout, dining room, living room, family room with fireplace, no maintenance decking on the front porch, close enough to Skaneateles (15 minutes), Syracuse (35 minutes), Ithaca (40 minutes) and Auburn (7 minutes) to make living in the country easy!

All well and good, but what about the price? We just reduced it to $310,000 - that's about $100 per square foot! The lot next door, about half the size, is on the market for $70,000.

So what we've got here is a great home, on a great piece of land, in a great location and the owners recopgnize that they need a buyer to take advantage of this great deal!

What is stopping people today? Money, of course. Other homes aren't selling, banks are being very judicious with their loans and not giving bridge loans really at all, and some people just aren't certain enough of their job situations.

The owners, being the brilliant people they are, therefore have devised several ways to make the house accessible. They will hold the mortgage for 15 years. Now when I heard that at first I was skeptical, having just completed a sale in which the mortgage was held by the owner. At 7%, that is. Who would take that rate unless it was commercial or there were credit issues?

"Oh no," the owners said. "We will beat the bank!"

They are offering 3.5%.

Not only that, they will take that mortgage even with a house to sell on the new buyer's side. Circumstances have to be right, but this is a possibility.

What about those job uncertainty issues? Rent-to-own! Go ahead! Rent this lovely home for two years and then buy it - maybe with owner financing again.

Creative - yes! I love it when sellers see the challenges of the market clearly and take steps to help themselves.

If you want to see this remarkable home, it will be open tomorrow, Sunday the 17th, from 1:00 until 3:00. The ML# is S241297. Come say hello - and tell me that you read about it on my blog!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Since nothing much happened this past week according to the statistics for Skaneateles, I thought I would take a moment to write about my mother. This would have been her 90th birthday today. She passed away in 2006, having lived the last 4 years with us in a most marvelous in-law suite.

She was born in 1920, in Syracuse, a city where she always resided until moving out to Elbridge. She was raised during the Depression by a single woman with two older children, having lost one to polio. They were poor - very, very poor. She tells a story about giving away her one true possession, a string of fake pearls, to a girl who had invited her to her birthday party. Unable to come up with a gift, she gave her the pearls. The girl looked at them and threw them away in front my mother - "They're fake!" she scorned.

My grandmother tended a florist's shop. I always liked that detail - my grandmother was tiny, barely five feet tall, and still spoke a bit of German. She had been charmed away from her New York home by a man who brought her to Syracuse and then abandoned her after the birth of the four children. (My biological grandmother also loved flowers and had a shop.)

My mother eventually went on to be the Valedictorian of her high school, a vocational school. She was timid - she told me she used one ribbon for the typewriter all the way through school because she was too afraid to ask anyone how to change it.

She met my father, already an executive at Carrier Corporation, at a dance at the "Y" when she was 23 and he was 36 (but he told her he was only 34). They married and bought a house for $5,000 on the east side of Syracuse. Their mortgage payments were something like $5.65/month - I found the receipts from the checkbook when she moved out.

I was adopted when she was 32, and she became the ultimate homemaker. My costumes for Halloween were always handmade and elaborate - I was a black cat one year and scared our cat terribly. My last year at Sumner Elementary I was Santa Claus, with the costume donated afterwards to the school. I never learned how to cook because she was an excellent cook. I did learn to bake because sitting around that tiny kitchen was a wonderful experience.

After I left for college she and my father settled in to a life of dog-walking, reading by the fire, and going out occasionally to the symphony. He took her to England, finally, in 1973. They were planning a trip to Seattle for Alex's birth when he fell ill with prostate cancer and died that fall.

My mother then became almost a recluse, although the dogs (first Missy, then Dulcie) always got two walks a day in Thornden Park, rain, shine or snow. She read through the winters with a cat or two close by, gardened some in the summers, and enjoyed her music and books.

She also loved her sister, Grace. Grace lived in Florida most of the time until Hurricane Andrew wiped out her home and life. She returned to Rochester to live near her husband's family and visited my mother on occasion. Their visits were always filled with laughter and memories - Gracie was always good to be around. When Grace passed away in May of 2005 we knew it wouldn't be too much longer before my mother joined her.

So this blog is meant to honor her quiet life, and remember her with some compassion.

And the update - for you who have been so patient - there are 140 single family homes of which 32 are in the village listed as active in the Skaneateles area. None were marked contingent, two were moved from contingent to pending, and none closed this past week. A quiet time - my mother would have enjoyed it!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

The Apple Fest is this weekend - so beware driving down Route 20 around Lafayette! The trees are magnificent this time of year - always are - and the sun feels so good after a day or two of rain.

This is really a slow week, as I look at the numbers. There are currently 142 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service, of which 32 are in the village. Not a single home came on the market this week - I have to believe this is a first since I started this blog well over two years ago! Nothing was marked contingent, but a very lovely home out in the town with acreage was listed as pending. There are altogether then 26 homes waiting to close, some of which have been waiting a very long time, according to my records.

Two properties closed this week - hooray! One was a lovely place - with acreage - that came down in price tremendously until it found its selling price in the mid-$300,000. Another property - also with acreage - found it right away and sold within a couple weeks of listing. In both these cases, the closed price was about 75% of the original list price.

I had a request from a loyal reader (let's call her LR) to examine the median price of homes sold in the area. This isn't the average, but the middle price. Same number below as above. I searched looking for the list price - but as you can see, the more accurate number would have been the sales price, but this will have to do.

In Skaneateles this year, the median list price of a sold property is $239,000. Last year at this time it was $325,000. In 2008 the number was $387,500. Obviously a great change - but then Skaneateles is different, as we all should know by now.

In Camillus which is having a difficult year (162 ytd) the median list price is $135,000. Last year it was $132,500 and the year before $139,900 on 227 closed sales. Remarkably similar!

So is Marcellus - 2010 $158,900 on 54 sales (more than Skaneateles!), 2009 $162,900 on 43 sales, 2008 $157,000 on 51 sales.

Elbridge is very interesting. This year is their off year - only 25 sales with a median list price of $88,000. The last two years the list price was $119,000 with sales of 37 homes and 47 homes respectively.

Skaneateles is a market unto itself. Certainly none of the other towns had sales of over a million dollars, so a mean price would be vastly different. It is still by far the highest priced area in Onondaga County - I would imagine all of Central New York. And on a brilliant fall day like this one is turning out to be it is clear why people spend the money to be here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Who knew? Right after we advertised my pretty and unique 1153 Old Seneca Turnpike for rent as well as for sale, the calls started coming in fast and furious. All but one person talked about renting to own. It was amazing.

We are leased now for two years, the signs are down and the lockbox is off the door, and yes, there is talk about buying it after the lease is up. I met a lot of wonderful people, and hopefully will get them settled elsewhere. The majority were simply not ready to buy, had bought and lost a home in the past, or were waiting for more confidence in their positions and life situations.

Was it the house? As sweet as it was, I don't think that was it. The price? $218,000 - not a lot by Skaneateles standards, but people came from all over.

I must conclude that there are a lot of people out there looking for rentals. We have some rentals in Skaneateles, but not a great number. However, I would say that we have more than most communities. There are always several that rent for the season - the school season that is. People want to keep a foothold in Skaneateles and not give it up in the summer, but they go south for the winter. Many return in the early spring, but renting for the school year is also done quite a lot.

When we were in Saratoga we rented a lovely cottage on a large estate. We left and lived in our camp on the lake for the summer while the owners of the "big house" lived in our cottage. They rented out the main house and grounds for enough to carry them through the year. Or at least that was the plan. For seven years we moved in and moved out (kept the clutter down!) but they used it only once as a summer home for them.

So investors - take note! There are plenty of small houses that people would like to rent that are already on the market. Lease them - with all the potential hazards that involves - but maybe make a sale at the same time.

And I want to thank the owners of Old Seneca for the opportunity to enjoy their home through an open house and a few showings. It was a treat!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I write this as rain pours down outside. I let Koko out for a minute and realized that our small fish pond is higher than it's been in a very long time. The downspouts are streaming water - and have been for at least a couple hours. Check your basements, everyone! Beware of water on the road! This is a gully-washer!

The other night was vastly different as I drove home late from an appointment. Yes, I was showing houses in the dark again, I'm afraid! I caught part of a discussion on NPR about micropolises - not megalopolises, but the opposite. The idea was that small areas with all the amenities would flourish in the new age to come because of energy concerns primarily. People would want to walk to the grocery store and buy locally, doctors and lawyers would be nearby as well as private homes. "The wave of the future!" I drove down Route 20 right about that time into Skaneateles. I think the definition of micropolis must include "village."

There are currently 152 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 33 are in the micropolis. Five new listings came on this past week - two are re-lists with new prices, one going up (new construction) and the other coming down. The three new ones include waterfront, lake rights across from a home in the town, and a lovely village property for under $300,000.

We still have only 4 homes marked contingent and there are 21 listed as "U" and "P," which means they are just waiting to close. Forty-seven homes have closed this year, a number we've had for almost a month now.

I was asked how sales are going several times this week, specifically in the surrounding areas. "Is it picking up?" is the general question. One of the best things about writing this blog is that it forces me to learn and know the statistics of the area.

My theory, as I started, was that Skaneateles is higher end so there will be fewer sales, as I already knew, but the other towns would have held fairly steady in the past three years. Here is what I found:

Elbridge - In 2008 there were 45 closed properties by the end of the third quarter. In 2009 there were 35, and this year there are only 23. (That's a 49% decrease over the three years.)

Camillus - In 2008 there were 220 sales; in 2009 there were 193, and this year there are 156 homes that have sold. (29%) I smell a pattern.....

Marcellus - In 2008 - 50 homes. In 2009 - 40 homes. This year - 53! So much for patterns! An increase of 6%!

Auburn - 147 in 2008, 138 in 2009, now 128. (13% decline) Okay, back to the pattern.

Syracuse - 699 in 2008, 610 in 2009, and 570 this year. (19% decline) Same pattern.

Skaneateles - In 2008 we had closed 35 homes by the third quarter. In 2009 the number was 61. This year that pesky 47 is our number....but wait! That's actually an increase - 26%?! Wow! (Sort of, because I'd rather it were the 61....)

And all this goes to show that Skaneateles is different, there is no predicting - however I will predict that next year the numbers will shoot up again because some of these homes will just sell because they need to and others will buy because they need to. But aren't statistics interesting?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Ah, the moon! I was up early this morning to walk Koko and as I got to the end of the driveway I looked down the hill and saw the moon. It took my breath away. Absolutely full, with clouds drifting past, seemingly closer to earth than normal. As we walked down the hill and the sun came up it receded. But I told Bob at breakfast that I don't think I've ever seen it like that, in the morning. We live in a wondrous place!

Then I went out to see a house way out on the country with an old friend. Nine years we've known each other and he still hasn't bought a house! But we see plenty of places, he leaves my card at open houses, and we've been involved in each other's families. Bob reminded me I haven't made a red cent off him yet - but so what! Today we saw the most beautiful view - and I've been seeing many beautiful views of late! The opposite hill seemed unreal - so close you could almost touch it, move the tiny tractor and tiny cows around the hillside. The green of the pastures, the surrounding color in the trees - unreal. No, he didn't buy this house and its 10 acres with a pond, either. Some day.

But there are currently 150 single family homes listed for sale in the Skaneateles area. One is new - out in the town for around $200,000. Two village properties were re-listed also. (I sent my friend two now that he is seriously looking again.)

There were no new properties marked contingent, but there are 22 homes listed as "U" or "P" which means they do not need to be shown any more. Of these one small house is new as is a waterfront home.

We still have 47 closed single family homes - I don't see how that figure would go down but I would certainly like it to go up. There seem to be too many choices - good choices - and it's difficult to make that decision. But it's time - before the rates go up again. Remember the old adage: "You snooze, you lose!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Help Needed, Please!

Over the past few weeks I have been searching for property for my clients. I've talked about it before - the log cabin on acreage, the stream with acreage, the acreage without a gas lease, homes for parents and children on the same property - all dreams that people have that within their price ranges I don't think they will find. But they do - and when they do it is amazing.

Recently people who have been looking for two years have found their dream home. We moved swiftly and secured it - but of course, we know that it isn't closed until it's closed, so I am sorry but I can't tell you more. There are happy endings to tales - and the happy endings are still continuing.

But I need help, and as I have in the past, I will put it out there to see if someone has or knows of a property that will make a family - and an agent, I admit - quite happy. It's not listed, I do know that.

We need:

Skaneateles Schools
Acreage, or access to acreage from the property that can be used for recreation
Home in good condition

I can be reached through

And by the way - if you come across 100 acres - no less! - that could be developed for a camp, I could use that too!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

So I spent a couple days last week de-cluttering. It was marvelous! I found old photos I thought had been misplaced, Alex's great Garfield tape from second grade, and let go of tons of things that didn't measure up to those findings. We made barely nothing on the garage sale and took a load to the Thrifty Shopper store in Sennett on Grant Ave. They keep a clean and neat place, and I felt good giving things away. But after 48 hours with some time to rest I only made it through our bedroom, my bathroom, the "Adirondack room" guest bedroom and closet, and the kitchen. That was it. I will have to do the rest another time.

On to what else happened this past week! There are currently 148 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. The village has 31 of these listings, and there are 35 waterfront properties. Five new homes came on the market this past week. Two are in the village - a sweet 2-bedroom for the mid-$200,000 and a pretty 4-bedroom for slightly above $400,000. An over a million dollars waterfront also came on the market and another one was re-listed, well under a million. I put on an absolutely adorable not-as-little-as-you'd-think cottage for $218,000. Open this Sunday, 11;30 to 1:00!

Six homes are marked contingent with one new one that was previously commercial space. We have 21 marked "U" or "P" which means they are ready for closing, or almost. Of these, 7 are in the village and 6 are waterfront.

So far this year we have 47 closed homes. One is new - a rare foreclosure on the edge of the village which sold for above its low listing price. Five of the 47 closed properties are in the village and 8 are waterfront. That makes the waterfront percentage about 17%. Last year it was similar (10/60 or 16.6%). In 2008 even though there were only 34 closed homes by this time, 9 of them were waterfront - approximately 26%.

I've been showing and showing all week, and as I speak with other Realtors they tell me that indeed, showings are up. Interest in one house sparks interest in others - and there are a lot of houses out there! Go see them this weekend! Buy them next week!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I am so looking forward to de-cluttering the house in the next few days in preparation for a garage sale this Saturday. When I placed the ad, Lisa asked what I had for sale. All I could say was "stuff" because I really don't know. I know some items - clothes, furniture, the ubiquitous "collectibles" - but I do not know what I'll find as I start the grand rummaging. And I am talking only about the house - not the apartment (probably won't get there) or the basement (that's another three days!) or the garage. But it will all be pulled out, looked at, organized, thrown out or given away or stored as nostalgia I can't part with - yet. It's de-nesting, and it feels good.

So, short and sweet - a tweeted update blog? - and we are off and reading!

There are currently 147 active listings in the Skaneateles area, 29 of these in the village. There are two new village listings - one that is re-listed (and I think a pretty good deal) and another that has been reclaimed over the course of a few years. It's beautiful, and at close to $900,000 (no waterfront, sorry!) it really should be. The kitchen is now open and huge, you don't get lost in the rear bedrooms, plus it feels light and bright. The third listing is in the town and is being marketed around $200,000.

Two new properties were marked contingent - a large one over $500,000 and a small village property at half that price. Nothing appears to be new in the pending category, but there are 19 there either pended or not being shown any more because of contracts. Bodes well!

Forty-six have now closed so far this year. Two are new and both were listed within the past five months. A tiny waterfront closed at about 80% of its original price, and a town home closed within 10%.

I know buyers are out there - and it's September, a very good time of year to buy a home (as if any other time isn't good, too!)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

This is the "hot" edition. I do not remember another summer as warm as this one, ever. I remember pockets of heated days when it seemed to stay near 100 degrees and then would break with incredible thunderstorms, and the world would be fresh again. I always thought I liked the heat, but I feel as if I am bathed in an least it's cool here in my office at home, Koko curled up on the rug next to me, Boo stretched out on the kitchen hardwoods. If we keep the windows closed the heat stays out. But not the way I want to live in the summer!

Enough whining, on to important matters! There are currently 147 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 29 are in the village. One-third are under $280,000 in price, the second third climbs to $495,000, and the last moves up from there to three million, or thereabouts. Interesting exercise. I'll do it again with the closed properties.

Two new single family homes came on the market in the past week - one is a re-list under $250,000, another is waterfront under 1M, and one I particularly like at that. Not my listing, unfortunately, but I will certainly attempt to sell it.

Nothing new has been marked contingent, but one property - waterfront under 500K - has been pended.

We now have 44 closed properties in the area, two new ones just this week. One was waterfront listed in July of this year closed at about 70% of its list price. Another village property that listed two years ago just closed about 24% under its original price. Both are cautionary tales of listing competitively right at the start or willingness to negotiate.

Applying the same divisions as I did in the active listings, I can say that the first third list price of sales was $194,000. The second third went up to $350,000, and the last stopped at 1.5M. Those are interesting ratios, frankly - the first two come in right around 70% of the active list thirds. I always wonder what is happening when numbers collide like that - must be the heat!

Soon it will be fall - crisp days, new apples, cool evenings - and this long hot summer will be but a pleasant memory.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Closed in Skaneateles! The Second Twenty

When I published the first twenty homes closed in Skaneateles on June 7th, I said we were "definitely picking up steam." And we were! It took 158 days to get to writing about the first 20, and it's only been 84 days since then. We are also well on our way to the next 20 with 4 having closed in the meantime.

So, in no particular order, but with seller concessions subtracted from the reported price because that gives you the net to the seller, here are the Second Twenty single family homes in Skaneateles:

4388 Chapman Road - $82,000

8 Lakeview Circle - $310,000

48 East Elizabeth Street - $197,000

3826 Highland Avenue - $155,000

1394 Coach Road - $415,000

674 Stump Road - $74,900

4362 Chapman Road - $116,900

3943 Highland Avenue - $230,000

4547 Jordan Road - $128,000

3374 East Lake Road - $315,000

1269 Oak Bluff - $1,150,000

3960 Jordan Road - $125,000

598 Stump Road - $80,000

3899 Highland Road - $500,000

3833 East Street - $204,000

1018 Butters Farm Lane - $657,500

870 Franklin Street - $146,000

2493 Nunnery Road - $119,900

1491 Stump Road - $44,000

40 East Elizabeth Street - $197,000

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

The weather is wonderful, warm but not too warm, a breeze blowing in, low humidity and plenty of sunshine. I am planning on taking pictures this afternoon if it holds. The Fair starts today - so summer is waning.

There are currently 148 (or so) active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 31 are in the village and 33 are lake waterfront. I say "or so" because two are listed twice - once for the village and another time for the town. Our service is new, and the village separation is part of the upgrade. However, once is enough - they appear both in the town and the village if cited as village. Of course, the opposite is true - one listing is not placed in the village, which it is, and so only appears in the town. Sigh.....better to be seen twice than not at all! It just messes up the statistics a bit.

So five listings are actually new, not simply re-submitted in a new category. Two are re-lists of homes previously on the market - one increased the price about $20,000 and the other decreased it. We'll see which sells first. Both of these are in the town and under $300,000. The other three new ones are also town listings in the same price range, but slightly lower.

There are 10 homes marked contingent, two of which are newly reported. One is a small home in the town like the new ones just cited. The other is glorious waterfront listed well over one million dollars. It's taken a few years for both properties, but they do have contracts. Congratulations!

As well as these 10, there are 17 marked under contract, do not show, or pending. The listing price range is $70,000 to $800,000. All of a sudden everything will start to close!

We now have 42 closed properties year-to-date. A waterfront estate, listed well over a million dollars but selling rapidly, closed 8% under the original listing price. A village home closed at 15% under the list price, but again was not listed for an extremely long time.

These 42 closings compare with 54 by this time last year, so we have a bit of catch-up to do. However, we are far ahead of the disastrous 2008 when only 30 properties had closed and the slow-down had seriously impacted Skaneateles. Compare that to 65 in 2009 and it is apparent we are on our way back, just not there yet.

To finish on a positive note - I hope you saw that Syracuse was cited by as the most affordable city in the United States! They made this claim because 97% of the population made enough money to afford the median home. It's a different market, to be sure, than Skaneateles - the median in the city is about $84,000. But it does bring attention to all the reasons to live, work and invest in Central New York.

Energy Savings?

(Okay, so I broke with my own "wisdom" of the past three years and added a photo to the last blog. It just seemed so right - and frankly, I like it!)

Last night Bob and I attended one of those free dinners - free, as long as you listen to what the presenter presents. I was assured it would be short and since it was on energy savings I thought I could possibly learn something. I knew we were going to be sold a product but it was at the Inn Between on Route 5 between, as it happens, Elbridge and Camillus and I knew the food would be good. Why not try it?

Bob was not so convinced. He reminded me of a time when his sister and brother-in-law went to a "party" and they were the only ones there. Bruce insisted on being polite and staying for the three hours; Mary Jo still can't believe they did this. But it must run in the family. Bob's niece just got married - being very young and very poor the honeymoon consisted of going to one of those "check out our time-shares in the Caribbean on us for two days!" We haven't heard how that turned out yet.

The food was excellent: salmon, risotto, summer squash, a lovely salad, coffee and strawberry ice cream. There were probably 24 people there, the presentation was indeed short, and we went away talking about it and the possibilities. We did not schedule an appointment to have the material installed free of charge only today, however. The material was mylar, like in the balloons or emergency blankets that you keep in the car that are so lightweight. Used by the space program, too!

The contention is that the material wrapped around the hot water heater will keep the temperature more constant. Installation over the attic insulation - what they were selling - would reflect heat downwards in the winter and out in the summer. The result would be a 25% to 60% savings in energy and thus money. Ta-dah!

If anyone knows more about this, please write in - I'd love to hear from builders who use this, because I don't know of any. I checked with one who had no idea what I was talking about. in the meantime, I think I'll go buy one of those blankets and wrap it around the water heater...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2220 Glencove Road

I don't generally do this - highlight a listing, that is - but this one is special. Not because of the price $500,000, but because of the house. The home. The camp. The memories.

I grew up on this private road on the west side of Otisco Lake. We bought our little camp many years ago for $10,000 one snowy January day. Getting the camp triggered getting a dog, Penny, and many friends who became my family. They are still with me.

In the summers there were about 20 of us kids within about 10 years, with my age being the median. We had one of those idyllic childhood experiences on the road. It was safe and secure, both from people and traffic. Mr. Funck put speed bumps on the dirt road and yelled at everyone who went by going over 5 miles per hour. Everyone knew everyone. Need to get a drink of water? Walk in to a camp and get one! You never knew who was in the bathroom - the door would slam going in and going out with a loud thank you from some kid.

Idyllic, like I said.

We swam almost every day, and laughed and listened to the radio while tanning ourselves on the docks. We had paddleboats - long things we stood on and yes, paddled. The boys hunted carp in the swamp, the girls watched them and giggled. The little ones ran around naked.

We skied, too. Long slalom ski adventures down the lake or just around in the cove. We sailed on sunfish, tacking back and forth for hours.

Several times a summer we went to the glen, an incredible natural playground of waterfalls and natural gas wells, slate and crumbling hillsides. We walked back along the road, a ragtag bunch of kids with an assortment of dogs. "First one in the lake!" we'd yell, running down the long hill, exhausted from hours of hiking.


Ah, you say - that was then. But it was also true for my son and his friends, the four boys who were born the same year and became fast friends. That exact life was still there for them.

It's still there now, but the camps are bigger and we don't currently have a crop of kids growing up together. It's an in-between time.

One of the things we did on hot summer nights was a challenge to "ring Gehring's bell." This was a brass bell that hung on the back door of the Gehring camp, farther down the road than most of us lived. The challenge was to sneak up and ring it loudly, then run like hell before Mr. Gehring caught you. I never had the nerve to do it. I'm glad I didn't - years later, when I was the mother of a little boy, Mr. Gehring brought around dahlias for everyone on the road.

It's Mr. Gehring's house that I have listed. The old farmhouse/camp that they owned evolved into a beautiful year-round lakehouse with a two car garage, a playhouse, and just lovely landscaping and flowers. His "everything yellow" home is now three stories with windows everywhere, three bathrooms, and four baths. The property was purchased in 1922, the first of the lots on Glen Cove (as I always wrote it).

The bell was there when I took the listing, but the owners have taken it down - it won't convey. The home is open Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00 - it's time for them to move on.

Can that idyllic summer be replicated for future generations? I hope so, I think it can. I know there are young ones on the road, and my son's best friend came and asked if I had anything to go to the dump on Saturday - just like his grandfather used to do. The glen is still there and pristine, the cove protects from the storms, the sun still shines. Many of the same families live there, although we'll say good-bye to the Gehring clan soon. But the memories will always remain, theirs and ours.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I want to correct one possible misconception in my last blog post. I spoke about Realtors being the facilitators after the purchase has been made but before closing. This does not mean that we set the closing date and time. That is left to the three attorneys - buyer's, seller's and the bank's (if there is one). Only they know when all the paperwork has been filed and the numbers are ready. And those numbers change - the tax amount to be paid back or ahead, for example, is computed on a daily basis. I do wish at times we had more control over closings, but we don't - we can listen to sellersand buyers, make sure the paperwork does come to the appropriate places, and speak with attorneys - but they set the date.

Phfew! That could have easily provoked a discussion!

Now! There are currently 151 active listings for single family homes in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 32 are in the village - a relatively high percentage. Six new listings came on between the 11th and the 18th - four are around $200,000, while the other two are well over a million dollars each. One is basically a lot on the lake and the other is a gorgeous home on acreage but not on the lake.

There are 9 properties listed in the "C" category - continue to show but under contract. Four new ones joined the other 5. One of those very sweet village homes found its selling price. Two waterfront properties also were placed in this column. Another one in Marcellus Schools was also marked contingent.

Sorry - no new pendings!

There is another closed village house, purchased well under it's original list price. That brings to 39 the number of homes sold in Skaneateles so far this year.

The past week I've kept a record of my hotsheet because I saw that several times the number of new listings was less or equal to the number of reductions. During other times the ratio shows usually a good deal more new listings than reduced ones. For example, one day there were 10 new single family homes, and 7 (in the areas I check) were reduced. Another day the number was the same: 20. Still another day 10 were newly listed but 16 were reduced. I then went back and checked the Skaneateles area. Rather than go through all 151 homes, I looked at the 27 properties under $200,000. Fifteen of them had been reduced (one went up!). It's hard to make absolute statements because some were taken off the market and then re-entered into the system, but reduced at that time.

Overall conclusion - prices are coming down, the rates are still very, very low, and now is the time to buy!

Closing Arguments

I couldn't resist the play on words once I'd thought it. I am going a different way with this, but in some ways it is true.

Buying a home should be a wonderful experience, and I try mightily to make it so. Hassle-free, everyone thrilled - both buyers and sellers - and a Mercedes in every garage..... Like the Mercedes, it doesn't always work out that way.

This summer I have been consumed by closings, which, as Bob says, is a good thing, considering the alternative. There are still more to go, but I have a moment to breathe and reflect and express some frustrations here.

I've always said that closing is like birth - there's a due date, but nothing prevents the baby from coming early or late, and it always seems like a surprise when the little one actually arrives. There's a lot of running around, a bit of chaos, but in the end a child is born and the pangs are forgotten.

Closings this summer seem to have been especially painful, not just for my clients, but with most other Realtors with whom I've spoken recently. We lamented all spring that it's not like the old days in selling - see five houses, choose one, go to closing (with or without the buyer's house selling). Between the mortgage issues and title issues, nothing seems smooth. (Just got interrupted by a mortgage broker to tell me about issues.....honest, I did!)

So take a very hot summer, add three attorneys, two buyers, two sellers, two agents, and spice it up with the reasons everyone is moving - death, divorce, new job, addition to the family, loss of job - and the pot is stirred. Risk-taking is minimal - everyone wants assurance that all will be well, no one wants the responsibility of things not being 100% accurate - and the pot is boiling over. Add to this the uncertainty of when the actual closing will be - when will that soup be done and we can eat? - and phone calls and e-mails abound.

Everyone I firmly believe does the best he or she can, but between the corporations and the government it is more difficult than it used to be.

Solutions. I've read in our Realtor journal that assuming that the closing will take longer is the first step. The sale probably took more time than expected ("My house will sell in the first week!" - those days are gone) so will the closing. I've quoted "60 days to closing" since starting in this business - but I am going to start saying "90 days to closing." I will ask sellers and buyers to accept that time-frame. If both sides want to make accommodations because of this - pre-possession, for example - then let's look into it earlier, not when everyone is frazzled.

The second step is to begin title searches as soon as the attorney feels comfortable doing it. If there are issues, then they can be dealt with before there's a ready, willing and able buyer needing to close ASAP.

Interrupted again - but that's okay! The caller and I discussed a sale that will close soon, but first we need to deal with potential problems with the house, so we set a time to walk-through together prior to the actual walk-through. These days everyone is counting every penny, so taking all precautions is necessary.

Most importantly in any transaction is communication. The calls I took were important - but communication is difficult with so many people involved. I see my job as the facilitator after the sale is made. In one deal I had the attorneys just couldn't make contact, so issues were left uncommunicated to their sellers and buyers. Once the agents were informed of the problems, we got them resolved rapidly. We have more time - and yes, we are ready, willing and able to take and make phone calls. We just need to know there are issues!

To close this blog - the long hot summer may be waning, but there is still that magnificent fall selling season to come that will produce many more closings. The rates are at historic lows, sellers are anxious to move on, and buyers need to buy. I plan to say "90 days to closing" from here on out and look for problems, tell buyers and sellers to prepare for hold-ups ("Where will you live if it doesn't close by September?"), and keep the lines of communication open as best I can.

Then when properties do close and the process that got them there fades, I plan to celebrate with them!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

My vacation has been such a busy time and I so wanted to write more - but no, getting home at 8:30 seems to prevent the creative juices from flowing. It's all I can do to eat Bob's wonderful meals - on paper plates, because it's still vacation! - and then read half a page...

Currently there are 154 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. A total of 34 are in the village, and 42 are listed as "waterfront" - more on this later! The lowest priced home is $74,500 and the highest 2.9M. There are 18 single family properties listed at one million or over, and 29 are under $200,000. In the actual Skaneateles School District there are 149 active listings.

Here's where it gets tricky. The Central New York listing service is trying to get agents to list in the actual towns and counties where the properties are located. There are three counties and several towns that touch the lake, but many people put properties in the Skaneateles area to gain attention. If it's the school district it might actually be Cayuga County - but better seen in Skaneateles. If it's on the lake on the south end in Cortland County, better to make it Skaneateles.

Back to the stats first:

Six new listings came on the market. Three are re-lists - properties that either lost a deal or want to be noticed with a new price. Two of the really new listings are waterfront over one million, and the other is a home in the town for under $200,000.

There are no new sales - either marked contingent or pending, and nothing closed. The number for the year is still 38 sold single family homes.

Using "Skaneateles Lake" to search I found a total of 69 properties. Seven were in Niles and 1 in Sempronius (Cayuga County) and 4 more were in Spafford. There was also a lone one out there for Elbridge which frankly has nothing to do with Skaneateles - but it's either a mistake (most likely) or a way to get noticed. Adding the criteria of "waterfront" the number drops to 48 from 69. I must only presume that the 21 listings that make up the difference list the lake because of views - or something. The moral being - check the lake not the town, and then read carefully. Better yet - enlist a Realtor to help sort it out.

But whatever you do, if you are thinking about buying, please do so - it's a great time to do it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Since I am on vacation - see the last blog - I have all the time to write freely. I thought I would, but the vacation in my mind does not equal the vacation on the clock. I have had a wonderful time in the last couple days getting a listing and putting it online. I am pleased with it, for many reasons. And I also am learning - did you know that if you make your listing price an even number then it will be caught by people going up and going down in price. For example, if the property you have listed is $299,900 then it will be missed by people looking at $300,000 and up. But at $300,000 (this isn't WalMart!) you catch the people at 300K to 400K as well as 200K to 300K....Such a small point - but it's about how people search.

And as long as I am having this lovely conversation with myself I must inject a word about what people search for. I remember our esteemed broker-emeritus, Mary McNeill, wondering why her fabulous 4 bedroom, 1.5 bath home wasn't being shown regularly. Turns out people needed to see 2 bathrooms or they wouldn't "see" the house on the computer. So she added a bathroom - at least the plans for one - and it sold. The new owners never put in the bath, she said, but they saw it.

I know someone else who is looking at square footage. The price per square foot must be a certain number. The quality of the home doesn't matter, but the price per square foot does. An interesting concept - the idea being that the interior can always be changed, but to add size to a property means an additional cost and therefore the price per foot would be too much.

When we bought our house we looked for an in-law apartment. We never actually looked - I remembered this one from a serendipitous brokers' open day. I literally just happened down the road, saw the sign, and decided to check it out. Not at all looking for us - just because it was there and I had time. But when my mother called and said she was moving in, it came to mind.

Down to business. There are currently 147 active single family homes listed in the multiple listing service of Central New York under Skaneateles. Thirty-three of these are in the village. I think that's actually a record of some sorts. Six are new - three in the village and three in the surrounding town. None, surprisingly, are waterfront. Square footage price - I wouldn't go there in Skaneateles!

Five properties have a "C" label and one is new - waterfront listed under $500,000. There are no new "U" homes (under contract do not show), but there are 4 in this category altogether. Twelve are pended, just itching to get closed, I am sure!

We are up to 38 closed properties in the Skaneateles area. The latest is a HUD home, a house that fell on hard times and was virtually stripped and left to critters and rain. A very adventurous man who happens to be my client, bought it and is looking forward to fixing it up.

Last year there were 46 homes closed by this time - I had written two 20-properties synopses. But the year before when it all fell apart there were only 27 sold. This compares with 2007 when there were 59 homes closed by this time. Sigh...those were the good old days! Still - the rates are great - go buy a house!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vacation as a Concept

It's August already. The brilliance that was July is fading. The Fair will soon be here, and I've been working and working. So has Bob. Saturdays have found us putting in 10 hour days - he takes Sundays off, and I haven't been able to. The last couple Sunday evenings have found me totally depleted and in bed by 8:30. I saw the full moon come up last week over the hills at the lake, then crashed.

It's time we took a vacation. But then, we can't really go anywhere because of work. It's still there - maybe not as intense, but I wouldn't give it up for anything. I called an agent this past week to request a showing of a house and the message was that she was out of town and another capable agent would take her place - please call her instead. I can't seem to do that - and besides, I want to be here in the summer.

So we are taking a vacation conceptually. It's all about wrapping your head (as they used to say) around the thought of what a vacation really is. What do we do differently than we usually do when we're on vacation.

In general terms, it's just different actions and choices. We see new places or re-visit familiar ones we enjoy, eat out more, see friends and make the effort to do so. I walk more, taking the time for exercise as pleasure, not for sanity's sake. We leave it behind - the chores, the worries (although I have real difficulty doing that!), the constant computer checking. We do things we don't generally have the time for in our 80 hour work weeks.

Yesterday was the first day of our conceptual vacation. We had stayed at the lake, so even though the dogs got me up early I took the time to walk them - both of them, a rarity for me. Bob left for home and I snoozed on the couch instead of fighting through the morning with coffee. I woke up refreshed.

In the afternoon we went to the arts and crafts show in downtown Syracuse. We hadn't gone in years - what a marvelous show! It had grown into truly a premier event. We wandered around and ran into friends we hadn't seen, Bob bought a book on Rod Serling and the Twilight Zone, and rated the sidewalk art. One of my favorite exhibits that will stay with me was the paintings of Elginia McCrary - I was fascinated with her work.

We wandered back in the sunshine, of course having taken Bob's new red Mazda Miata to the show. We had found $3 parking in a garage, too, for it, and felt like we didn't want the afternoon to end. I had been curious about Green Planet, the new healthy foods grocery in Fairmount that Bob had raved about, so he took me there. Just wonderful! Aisles and aisles of great food - healthy food. He had found his vegetarian hot dogs there a couple weeks ago. I loved the many types of flour in bulk, the beans and rice. Also all those great traditional medicine teas that help me get through the winter. It's just across from Fairmount Fair on West Genesee Street and definitely worth a look.

Bob took a nap after finishing a couple samples for a church, so I decided to take Koko and be a tourist in Skaneateles. We had a great walk, looked in store windows, walked out on the pier, pretended we were new to the village. I hadn't taken her into town for a very long time, but the concept of vacation pushed me to do it. I would have walked before dinner on the Cape or in North Carolina, where we'd taken the dogs previously - why not in gorgeous Skaneateles?

We ate dinner outside and I even cooked! I made garbanzo delight using the zucchini from Bob's garden and very few plates so washing up was easy. Instead of getting ice cream later, I "made" cottage cheese with fresh blueberries and topped it with whipped cream and nuts. A healthy sundae!

Our vacation will last two weeks, I've decided. It's a state of mind - so yes, the closings will all happen, my buyers and builders and sellers will be served, but I will have a vacation state of mind - kind of a Margaritaville in Elbridge. It's definitely worth a try!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I went back and looked at last year's blog for this week. "I think summer came this week." That was my first line. What a difference a year makes! We've had the warmest July on record, I bet!

There are currently 147 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service, of which 31 are in the village. Two (only) are new, both having been FSBOs before engaging the services of a Realtor. One is in the village and a newer (!) home - only 50 years old! It is listed around the $300,000 level. The other is actually in Spafford, down the East side of the lake, for over $500,000.

Two properties "sold" this week - in other words, were marked contingent but with issues still to be worked out - one for under $200,000 and looking like a good deal, and the other a waterfront in the 1.5M range. When it closes, if it closes near to its list price, it will be the highest so far this year for the area. Another mid-$100,000 property also sold - and sold enough to be marked "do not show." Still another one - new construction - went directly to pending. Things are happening!

We now have 37 closed single family homes in the Skaneateles area. Two are new this week, both closing in the low $100,000 range. One was on the market for a year, the other for slightly less. They came within 15% of their original list price, too.

The Post-Standard has been listing the sales and the average price of homes in the Sunday paper. It shows that Skaneateles is now under the $500,000 mark and has been for a while. I checked the sales - yes, $250,000 is the median. There has only been one sale closing over one million so far this year. Prices are indeed coming down. But a word of caution here - the towns surrounding the lake - Niles, Spafford, and Sennett - post listings in the multiple listing service in the Skaneateles area (much to the dislike of the service). The newspaper posts them to the actual towns.

Bottom line - homes are selling, the rates are extraordinarily low, and as we all know the market can change rapidly - so buy now!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I opened up our hotsheet today to check on the new listings. I do it every day - to miss one day is to possibly miss a new home that would be perfect for one of my clients. I check several areas - to do them all would not be efficient. Obviously I look at Skaneateles, Marcellus, Elbridge and Camillus. Spafford, Niles, Owasco and Aurelius give me a view of waterfront for Skaneateles, Owasco and Cayuga Lakes. Other places like Sennett, Brutus and Auburn I just like to watch. Dewitt is in there for comparative purposes, plus mutli-families that several of my clients enjoy buying.

The purpose of this rather lengthy paragraph is to give you a sense of what I do, why and to set up what happened today. Today there were 8 new listings since the last time I checked (yesterday morning). But there were 16 revised prices - kind of gives you the idea of how the market is progressing. People are getting anxious and want to sell. This is a signal, buyers, to buy and buy now!

There are currently 148 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 30 are in the village - a higher number than we've seen in the past since "village" became a separate entity earlier this year. There are also 43 properties tagged as "waterfront." Almost a third of all the listings therefore....

Six new properties came on, of which half are waterfront - or at least lake rights. Two others are "to be built" on town lots. The last is a village home with almost an acre of land. Prices are above the average - ranging from the mid-$300,000 to over 1.5M.

Four homes are marked contingent, continue to show. One new one was "sold" - it had listed in the mid-$100,000. Three are under contract, do not show, while 11 are pended, verging on closing.

So far this year 35 properties have closed. Of these, 4 are waterfront. This compares with 7 each of the last two years and 9 before the market dropped. The number of closings is not as low as 2008 nor as high as 2007. It's fallen off sharply from last year - only one closing in July so far.

That closing was high for not having waterfront or being in the village. Almost new construction (not that old) it closed in the mid-$600,000 range. The owners redeemed what they paid for it which is always good news. Of course a profit would have been nice, I am sure, but right now I will bet they are satisfied.

I have been busy, and I am guessing everyone else has been, too. I have been in the office virtually every night this week attempting to finish everything before going home to a great meal. That Bob will have made, I should add. I do believe the tide has turned and homes will begin selling rapidly - and what sells today will close in September. We'll see!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ramapo for Children

Last Tuesday Bob and I skipped out of town to just outside Rhinebeck, New York. You know Rhinebeck - where Chelsea Clinton will be married in a few days.

We were going to Ramapo for Children, a camp for children with special needs. It has been run for the past twenty-five years by Bernie Kosberg. Last Tuesday the Camp held an official "Hats Off to Bernie" Day. Everyone was invited - the Board of Directors, past counselors, friends of the Camp, and of course the kids and counselors. Bernie's family, too - of which we are proud to be members through marriage. Alex married Bernie's and Susan's daughter in a tent next to the Sherwood a year ago.

By way of disclosure, I must say that Alex is now the Director of Business Operations at the Camp and its New York office. I am also an old special education teacher, with many summers working with kids behind me.

The Camp was incredible and I found myself in tears often at what they had accomplished. Please look it up: From the lake to the cabins, the pools to the new challenge barn - amazing!

Everywhere there were kids, playing, talking, swimming, always engaged with each other and their counselors. They have so many counselors it could be one-to-one. The kids stay for two or three week sessions over the summer. And we're not talking about local rich kids, but kids from the City mingling with kids from the suburbs and even out-of-state. The cost to me seems more than reasonable, too - a thousand or more per week. For what they get...!

As they moved through the day I remembered my days at the Waldorf School in Saratoga. Every step of the way was important - every change from one spot to another. They sang, they danced - no walking in line and getting told to stand up straight - they moved. Yes there were some who had difficulties, but not that many. We sat in an outdoor amphitheater for a brief ceremony - more singing, a skit or two, some talking, a poem. And there were over two hundred kids with special needs like autism engaged. The energy was palpable.

I am proud that Alex has found a way to combine his degree and interests with the not-for-profit world of special kids. I am happy to be extended family with the Kosbergs who have given the Camp so much over the years. I wish there were a way to send kids from Central New York to the camp - two weeks of fun and learning and total acceptance. Outside! How wonderful. I'm told that kids come back year after year and some progress to being junior counselors. How lucky they are.

So hats off to Bernie and what he has accomplished!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Such a lovely day! It's hot outside as it's been most of the summer, but inside Boo and Koko and I are enjoying a quieter day than it has been recently. I ran out this morning and heard a presentation by an architect, managed aspects of a sale, put Open Sunday signs on 2 Green Street in Camillus for this weekend (1:00 to 3:00!) and then placed a most glorious SOLD sign on 109 Snowberry. The commitment came through this morning - thanks to fellow RE/MAX agent, Don Gendron - and we are getting ready to close!

But there are currently 144 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service that have no offers on them and are ready to be explored. Of these, 28 are in the Village. Seven new ones - well, sort of - came on this week. Actually 6 are new and one is a village property that will now be sold because, in part, of its reduced price - I hope! Two others in the village are priced around $200,000 and offer pretty streets and front porches. Two waterfronts ranging from $800,000 to 1.6M ae also new to the market. If you want new construction you can find it in a "to be built" in Butters Farm for around $400,000. Another property in the J-E school district has been one I've admired - mid-$100,000 with acreage, too!

Sorry, only 7 single family homes are marked contingent and none are new. However, there are 12 pending properties. Two are new - one for under $100,000 that was just listed last week and another that has gone from above $300,000 to around $200,000 over the course of time.

Nothing new has closed - too darn hot, I think!

My Seitz person is back, wondering about those condos - nothing new to report, I'm afraid! But Moro's has opened in Auburn at the former location of Bistro One and hopes to someday open in Skaneateles. Besides the Seitz building, there are 5 other condos in the village, ranging in price from just under $200,000 to just under 3 million. Oh BTW, Seitz friend - we can change the numbers if you'll only come and buy one!

But there are sidewalk sales to peruse - and gorgeous weather to do them in!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In Case You Missed It -

It's been a very tough week around Skaneateles for the Chamber members and friends.

I was stunned to hear of Karen Foltz from Pomodoro Too's passing. I knew she had been sick, but I always believe people are on the recovery track or there will be another new drug or trial. Thursday afternoon at the Sherwood friends and family celebrated what Karen had meant to them. It was a very important occasion, I believe, for everyone to get together, and I'm glad they did.

John Yuhas' calling hours were Tuesday in Marcellus. He was a real estate attorney for years, brother and son of Ann and Babette Yuhas, both Marcellus Realtors. When I bought my house in Skaneateles 20 years ago he had been my attorney. I remember he congratulated me on getting a 9.5% home loan for it. He fought through ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) for years and years, but the fight, not the disease should define him.

Jan Loveless from the Kreb's and Bob Herman from the old Skaneateles Savings Bank also passed away in the past week. I thank Sue Dove from the Chamber for keeping us all updated - it's been a difficult task for her so give her a hug. Hopefully her e-mails can stop now.

On a lighter note, Andy Ramsgard, one of the fine architects from Skaneateles, purchased a castle in the Adirondacks that had been featured in the Post-Standard a year ago or so. He is amazed at the engineering of it - concrete block and solid - that the untrained builder accomplished. I can't wait to see what Andy will accomplish there, using the core structure. It will truly be a castle!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update has been having issues, so I'm going to get this in while I can! I know it's the heat!

There are currently 139 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service, of which 25 are listed as village properties.

Only one new listing came on this past week - and it's a "three-for." It's listed as a single family home (which it could be, with a great carriage house) or a multi-family, or as it's zoned, commercial. All this in the village for under 400K.

There are only 5 properties listed currently as contingent, continue to show, but three of these are newly contingent. One each in the village, the town and on the water. Nothing new in the "under contract, do not show category" though - 4 in all waiting for a new status.

Pended is another village property that has been out there for a much higher price for a while - congratulations to them!

We now have 34 sold single family homes, year-to-date. Two are new - one of my favorite properties in the town that I have swooned over and shown many times and which deservedly came close to the list price when it sold, and a cute little thing in the town which closed around $200,000. It was available years ago when I came to Skaneateles and was one of the properties I considered. And no, it was not listed anywhere NEAR that number - Skaneateles is a good investment, I tell you!

Stay cool - this heat will pass - last year we were all griping about how rainy it was! And if you see my son, Alex, tell him a very Happy Birthday!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update (Busy,Busy Edition)

Synopsis time! Buyers everywhere, making choices - listers listing. Home after dark! Visitors coming for the weekend - camp not cleaned yet - yikes!

There are currently 141 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Twenty-four of these properties are located in the village.

Eight new ones came on this past week - three are re-lists for similar pricing as before. There's also new million dollar plus waterfront, a village one-level for mid-$300,000, a small older home in the low $100,000, a distressed home in the mid-$200,000 and a very pretty country home above the half million mark.

Two newly contingent properties came to light - one in the village and another in the country. Nothing new in the do not show or pending categories.

There are now 32 closed properties this year - the halfway point. One is in the low $100,000 and has come down tremendously over time, the other two came in close to their list price. We are getting there!

Have a happy and safe Fourth! Enjoy the lighting of the lakes on the Third!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

As a friend goes off to search for a house in another part of the state, I've found that since I can't access the area via the MLS, I must use the sites available on the web. She used Prudential at first, then, but today she discovered As did I! Another friend had raved about it, saying there were ways to add more criteria than the other sites would allow, especially when looking for land. I agree!

Currently there are 139 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Twenty-seven of these are in the village. Five (sort of) new ones came on this past week. The one truly new one is in the village in the low $400,000. The other four are either reconfigurations or reductions in price. By reconfigurations I mean listings that add or delete what is offered, or placed in the Skaneateles area when really they are in a different town. These two are waterfront, while the other two are town single family residences.

One new property - waterfront and over a million as listed - was moved to the "continue to show" status. There are four "C" properties in all. Five are solidly under contract - do not show. Another 9 are pended.

Three more(!) were added to the sold column, bringing the number of homes sold this year so far to 29. The three sold were each within striking distance of their list prices - one each in the $100,000 - $300,000 range. Length of time on the market varied, but the two lesser priced homes came on and sold wthin a month. The median price of the listings for the sales year-to-date is $250,000.

Last year at this time there were 39 sales, with the median price $330,000. In 2008 there were only 19 by this time, but the median list price was around$300,000. In 2007, the last year before our mini-bubble burst there were 41 closings and the median price was $330,000. Just to compare, and see where we are in the grand scheme of things....

A friend mentioned that he thought homes were selling for around their assessed values. I chose five closed properties by random to check this theory. In actuality, three of the homes closed about 15% higher than their assessed value, while the other two closed 15% to 30% under it. But it's an interesting comment, because generally we have had in the past huge discrepancies between the assessed value and the sale price. I invite a discussion of what this means!

But in the meantime - go out and buy a new house or refinance! The rates are still incredible, but could go up quickly at any time!