Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

The trees are all in bloom here, the tulips and lilacs coming and going, peonies popping out all over! A grand time of year for the Finger Lakes! Wait until the weekend when it will get into the high 70s and beyond!

There are currently 117 active listings in Skaneateles of which 21 are in the Village. Five new ones came on in the past week. Two are re-lists, one of them with a price increase of $10,000. I have a friend who tells me that if you raise the price, the house automatically sells. I'll watch this one. There are three brand new homes (sort of) that were just listed. Two of them are close to the village and in the $200 - $300,000 range. The third has directions: "Take rowboat to property. No joke!" Also a price tag under $200,000 for waterfront. And presumably the rowboat.

Nothing new was marked contingent or pending. There was a house I know of that sold with multiple offers, but that is still marked active. It was "Grand Central Station" at the house but because of the circumstances only two offers actually were written. People are looking - and looking for a deal!

There is a new closed property to bring our number for the year to a paltry 11, but with 21 homes waiting in the wings marked contingent in some manner. The new one sounds like a deal - selling for 66% of the original list price.

Onondaga County is going great guns - there are now 785 single family homes sold so far this year with approximately 2,200 homes on the market. Because the price range includes homes in the very, very low numbers (the cheapest was listed at $2,500!) there was probably a push to get contracts written under the April 30th deadline for the first-time homebuyer tax credit. We'll see if the numbers hold up without that incentive. The most expensive home sold and closed was over $700,000 - and no, it was not in Skaneateles.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Average Price of Homes

Last week I heard a blurb on the average price of a home in the United States as a whole. The price was $214,000. I just went back to verify where it came from via the internet and ran into a piece on the average price being $264,000 - in October 2004! Oh my!

I wanted to see what the current $214,000 price would buy in this area. I surmised (much loftier than assuming) that buyers could get a better quality home in Syracuse than Skaneateles, for example, with Manlius being comparable to Skaneateles. Auburn I thought would have a grand Victorian for that price - actually they do, but for a lot less.

What I found in some ways surprised me.

Syracuse: You can get a 3 BR, 2.5 bath contemporary home with a one car garage on the east side - almost 2000 square feet, built in 1959.

Geddes (as in Solvay): Very similar, but this time a colonial with a two car detached garage.

Manlius: There is a 4 BR, 2.5 bath home, colonial, with a 2 car attached garage built in 1978 with 2500 sf for about $214,000.

Marcellus: Build it now! 1700 square feet, but only 3 BR, 2.5 bath village colonial with a 2 car attached garage.

Camillus: Again 3 BR, 2.5 baths built in 2001 and 1,766 square feet - cape - 2 car garage.

Skaneateles: 3 Bedrooms, and in our bathroom challenged community only 2 full baths, colonial, built in 1890 and under 1,400 square feet - but in the village with a 2 car detached garage.

Elbridge: The same as Skaneateles, only a ranch on 1.5 acres and built in 2003.

Auburn: Well, actually on Cayuga Lake but showing up in the Auburn listings....for $230,000 you can get 2,600 sf, 4 Bedrooms, 3 full baths - built in 1951 and yes, with over 100 feet of waterfront right at your door.

I think this shows that we have a decent range of homes and styles and ages and $214,000 can buy you a wonderful home here in Central New York!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

We are back from vacation, and yes, true to form, I sold a house! This year being what it is, it was only one house but it gave one of our newer agents, Sara Collins, the chance to practice writing a contract. The new buyer is in the midst of the home inspection as I write! I hope it all works out - he's a first time buyer and he will get the tax credit if all is well by April 30th!

Currently there are 112 listings in the Skaneateles Town area of the multiple listing service. Six are new this past week. Two are "to be builts" ranging from almost $400,000 to almost $600,000. Another is pretty waterfront in the low $500,000s while there's a re-list in the mid-$300,000 (with an outhouse that could be converted to a holding tank, I believe). Two more are town re-lists. In the village two are re-listed (one with a sizeable reduction) and one is new in the mid-$300,000, bringing the village-only total to 20.

The good news is that there are 10 properties listed as under contract, continue to show. Two of these are new sales (once more of the contingencies are lifted.) There are also 8 under contract that don't need to be shown any more or which 2 are new. Well done!

There is a new sale - a home in the town that had been on the market for two years. It sold for about 20% of its original price, but sold and closed it did! I showed it many, many times and I wish the new owners well! They will have a marvelous view of the lake from their decks.

This brings to 10 the number of closed sales this year in the Skaneateles area. Last year I wrote my first report of 20 homes about this time. I sincerely intend to do something about this! I will be holding open a new house, one of Kevin McCormick's "almost built" homes in Parcell Woods on Sunday from 1:00 to 3:00. It's on the market for $449,900. I count it as five bedrooms and 3 full baths, with gorgeous walkout capacity into the trees. Although it's still a bit unfinished, you can choose your granite and carpets and other non-installed items that would go with the cherry cabinets. Come visit - please! Staying and buying would be great, too! Off Route 20, County Line Road to Franklin Street Road to Parcell - then follow my signs.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Vacation Version

As quick as can be, these are the highlights:
  • There are 2,171 active listings in Onondaga County
  • 112 listings are in the Town of Skaneateles
  • 27 listings are in the Village
  • New listings include: a Village ranch for under $300,000, 3 re-lists
  • New Town listings include: 2 "to be builts" on County Line Road (my lot listings, now ready for building @ $400,000 and $479,000 by Kevin McCormick!); a Butters Farm "to be built" - under $600,000; 2 re-lists; and a lovely waterfront for 1.6M
  • 20 homes llisted as contingent (shown or not shown) or pended
  • 4 new contingent sales including a waterfront and 3 under $200,000
  • Still only 9 closed sales but 1 that will be posted next week - stay tuned!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Ghost Writer

I had wanted to see the movie for a while, so I bought Bob dinner at El Canelo out on the Boulevard and we went to Shoppingtown to see it. Despite the film literally burning up and the ensuing 45 minute wait to get it right again, then the superimposition of the previews an hour later for a bit, it was great. We also got 4 vouchers for future movies - they didn't quibble in the least!

One of the features of the film was this great house out on Nantucket, I think. They never actually said, but the ferry and Massachusetts plates, etc.... The house was a character in itself, at least for me.

My first comment was that it looked like the mall that is sitting on Hiawatha Boulevard, waiting for....Godot? Bob suggested Frank Lloyd Wright. But once they were inside - oh my! The wind and rain tried their best to get in, but the poured concrete walls and huge windows kept them out. The view of the beaches and sand dunes beyond - wow!

I know a builder here who uses poured concrete as walls and builds gorgeous homes that deserve special settings like the house in the movie. But that's the issue - he builds his homes in woods and on hills overlooking Ontario Lake - and yes, they are solid enough to withstand the north country winds. Nary a rattle!

If you see the movie, see the house, too. It's staying with me today...

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Blog

Negativity is a nasty thing. I once worked for someone who said all Realtors were by nature negative. I disagreed, but could hardly get a word in edgewise, the man was so certain!

There is a lot to be negative about at times. I've heard just today from an agent who told me a long story about one of her experiences that made her question why she continued in the business. It was truly a very sad tale of woe!

We all have these sad tales, and there are more and more issues these days. A friend says that when times are tough economically, the anger and greed in people comes to the fore. I think it all comes from fear, that when the basics are threatened the normal response is to lash out at the world. I saw that a lot with the kids I worked with for years.

But what I did with the kids I think in some ways can be translated into the world of adults. Every day I taught I asked them, "What did you learn today?" It was a chance for them to reiterate a fact or process, thereby practicing it again and sharing their learning with others. Not my idea - that had come from my student teaching days back in Seattle and my wonderful mentor, Phyllis. I remember the moment when a young man said with tears running down his face that his learning that day was that math was never going to come easily for him since his car accident and the subsequent neurological damage. He had the courage to share that with a roomful of kids his own age.

Every day, it seems, something happens that makes my day better. I say very often "You made my day!" Those brief moments of excitement need to be commemorated, I think. To that end I have started another blog: I hope to add to it on a daily basis and I encourage everyone reading this to join in through the comments.

Maybe together we can accentuate the positive things that happen, share them and smile.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Well! Things have picked up over the last week - must be all this warm weather!

Currently in Onondaga County there are 2,111 homes for sale. Last year 595 homes had closed by this time as compared with 610 the prior year. Going back to 2008, the worst year for Skaneateles' sales, there were 813 closed properties.

But still properties are on the market with more coming on. There are currently 107 town listings and 24 village listings. Four new village listings came on this week but all are re-lists, and like last week have new agencies representing the houses. The really new listings came on in the town - four of them! Two are in Marcellus school district and are in the low $100,000 range. Another came on closer in, but is still unable to be shown. The last is a "to be built" - price over $500,000. When I just checked this to be sure, I discovered that 45 of the active listings are priced over $400,000 in Skaneateles.

The good news comes from what has sold -sold, but not closed, but certainly on the path. Three new properties around the $200,000 mark have been marked contingent and continue to show. Another (over the magic $400,000 mark) is under contract and unable to be shown further. A fifth went straight to pending - minutes after I showed it (but not my client, unfortunately....). This means that buyers are out there, for everything from the smaller properties to the larger ones. I know of two others that have also gone under contract but are only word of mouth so far - and they are in the higher prices, too!

Alas and alack, there are still only 9 closed properties in the Skaneateles areas, village and town, year-to-date.

Maybe the National Association of Realtors open house weekend will change all this. Sunday many homes will be open - if you look around Skaneateles you will see the signs. I will be at 109 Snowberry in Scenic Meadows, Camillus, from 11:00 to 1:00 then catching the breezes to fly over to 1 Wood Hollow in Owasco for 2:00 to 4:00. Stop by, please!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bones, Feet and Shoes

I hope this heading caught your attention! I just want to tell you about a few people and their entrepreneurial projects. These are people I've met through real estate and I want to give them plugs, and also give you, dear Readers, the chance to know what's happening before others do!

Rick McIntyre is opening Natural Solutions for Your Health in Marcellus at 6 West Main Street on Tuesday. His hours will be 10:00 to 5:00, Tuesdays through Fridays. That first evening, 6:30 to 8:00, he is offering for FREE an informational class on osteoporosis, and will repeat it on Wednesday morning from 10:00 to 11:30. Rick is a certified nutritionist and holistic nutritionist. He has previously worked at Natur-Tyme in Dewitt. For information about his shop and the classes, please call 673-3949 - or just drop in and say I sent you!

Summer DiFraia is now giving pedicures and manicures at Bijou just a couple doors down from the office on Jordan Street. I can testify that she chooses color brilliantly and has made my feet feel ready for the summer! Check out information through She's only there a couple days a week, so book now!

The grand opening of Once & Again, Petra Erbes' new consignment shop is set for May 1st, but you can start getting spring/summer women's and children's clothing to her soon. She will be housed in the old Frog Alley/Adirondack Store in the Johnny Angel's mall, again right on Jordan Street. Enter from the public parking area and the store will be on your right. Call her at 315-398-4747 or e-mail: I plan on having several pairs of size 7 (or so) black sandals for sale there.

See you around the Village and the town!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I started this weekly update over two years ago, March of 2008 to be exact. Since I haven't missed a week, I guess I've written 108 or so blogs about the market in Skaneateles. Although I can access the archives of the multiple listing service, it was fun to go back and see what was happening back then. Actually, not much was! It's time to turn this trend around!

There are currently 2,290 active listings in Onondaga County. So far 543 properties have closed this year, suggesting that there is a four month inventory out there.

In Skaneateles - the town - there are 106 active listings. Three are sort of new - one re-list and two new properties, both around $200,000. In the village there are 28 active listings. The three that came on this past week are all re-lists and in each case the agency has changed.

Two homes also were marked contingent. One only came on a couple weeks ago. When it sold before, it never even made it to the multiple listing service - and the price is over $600,000 and it's not waterfront or village! Fascinating!

Two homes also closed. One was reduced from around $300,000 to the mid- $200,000 mark at closing, therefore about 20% off the original price. The other sold quickly in the fall - also for about 20% off the price. We now have 9 closed properties so far this year.

Back in 2008 - there were 94 active homes and 13 properties had closed. It wasn't a particularly good year, either.

But the sun was amazing today, summer is coming for the weekend, rates are still extremely low, and Bob just told me Doug's was packed. He took out the Del Sol and has brought me salmon! (Remember, Doug's will return to 1982 pricing for a day on Monday!) You know where Doug's Fish Fry is - to the right of RE/MAX!