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!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I love real estate, in that each day can be radically different from the day before. Yesterday I left the house early, ran into the city for an appointment and then up to Liverpool to have lunch with a friend/client. After I flew (wish I really could!) out to Auburn for a home inspection then took lovely Route 20 to Caz and beyond to see a house. We came back by way of Pompey. I stopped in the heavy rains high on a hill on Route 20 to take phone calls and a moment to relax. Fortified, I went to the office to do paperwork where I opened a sweet thank you note from people who had visited. I got home in time for Bob's shrimp feast.

Today I have hardly left the computer since early on. And there's still more work to be done!

Currently there are 143 listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service, of which 26 are in the village. Ten are new this week. I expected to see many re-lists but there were only two -one a perennial favorite now for around $300,000 and the other coming off a rental for $200,000. The new ones have something for everyone - higher end waterfront properties, three of them ranging from $500,000 to a million. Three existing homes all up from $500,000 are new, too. The last two are simpler homes, one for about $200,000 and the other for $300,000-ish. Summer is usually a slower time - these might be wanting to take advantage of the lower rates or the vacationers who fall in love with Skaneateles.

Only 10 homes are marked under contract - and only one is newly contingent. Eight in the area are pended, getting ready to close some day soon, I would hope for their sakes!

We now have 26 sales for the year, up two from last week. Both are smaller homes, not in the Skaneateles School District, and together they don't reach the $200,000 mark. But they sold at list price or slightly over.

Because they were outside the district, if only just outside, I thought we might have a preponderance of non-district sales, but actually only 19 of the 26 fit this description. Two of the closed homes are in the village - just another fact to drop into conversation.

Because I have people interested in lots for sale in Skaneateles, I looked at those. There are 62 for sale, 58 of which are in the district. They range from the low $40,000 to multi-million dollar acreage. Six have closed this year, all but one within the two closest communities, Butters Farm and Parkside. New homes will be going up soon - just as others come on the market.

And what awaits me tomorrow in the world of real estate? I honestly don't know - and that's all right!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Tale of Two Listings

Recently I had the pleasure of reviewing several homes for listing possibilities. I am combining appointments and responses so that the issues will seem more black and white, plus it will protect the confidentiality of the owners. In fact, let's just say these are un-real estate properties.

I was invited into one home that I had sold to the owners many years ago. I remember at the time when we drove around looking at houses that we had a discussion about clutter. I was in my getting rid of it all phase, when it bothered me that we had taken in three and a half (Alex) households under one roof - and probably only Bob was willing to part with anything.

The couple told me that their parents were like us, and now found themselves taking things to the dump that they hadn't looked at for years and now, with downsizing, they had to get through and be through with it all. They weren't going to be like them! No, sir! So they bought a big house and settled in nicely.

I saw it a few months later and was amazed. It was also filled and filled again with a lot of things. The basement held what wasn't being used, and every nook and cranny (I might exaggerate some) was full.

When I questoned them about our past conversation, they said they "brought it anyway!" Oh my!

Now they are moving. When I walked into the basement I cringed inside. Without my saying anything, they immediately assured me that everything was in the process of being packed up, thrown out, and stored. The basement would be clean and neat and ready for the listing that will happen some time. They asked about colors for painting, showed off the updates they had made to the house, had all the receipts for everything they had done. They want to move, and move quickly.

The "second" house also is filled with many, many years of enjoyed life. Some has been cleared out by people who have left the home, but enough remains to be problematic in my eyes. This is not the case for our imaginary homeowner, however. He/she thinks that the clutter does not matter, that the family will continue to live there so it will be shown that way. As a matter of fact, he/she does not want to be reminded that the house is on the market at all, so no sign will be allowed. Of course it needs to be priced high to allow time for it to sell and the owner to pack for his/her next home.

I always wonder in situations like the latter if the person truly does want to sell. It may not even be apparent to him/her, but generally when people are ready to move on they do everything in their power to make it happen in a timely fashion. It's like going shopping and not bringing any money or credit cards to make a purchase. All the right things are done - driving to the store, looking at items, deciding which one would work, but then not having the capability of following through. Sometimes the money is left at home by mistake. At other times it's done wilfully, to prevent decisive, irrevocable, action.

The joys of real estate!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I went to Saratoga yesterday to visit friends for the day. Yes, yes, an offer went out and another one came you have learned over the years, it always happens when I am on "vacation." While I was leaving town (Saratoga) I got a bit turned around because of all the new construction and ended up on side streets. There on the corner was a "For Sale" sign reading "Vintage Cottage." But there was also a back hoe and a pile of dirt where the cottage had stood. I hope we don't come to that.

There are currently 132 (count 'em!) listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Twenty-seven are in the village. Eight new ones came on this past week. Three of these are re-lists, the waterfront home with a new price. The other five are split between waterfront - low $500,000 - to a high of a million, and two "to be builts," one at the $500,000 mark (in the village) and the other just outside for $400,000.

Sorry, no newly contingent homes - either to be continued to be shown or not shown. Houses have to sell elsewhere, I'm afraid!

We do have two new closings, continuing the upsurge that started about a month ago. Both homes closed under $200,000 - one near its assessed value and the other at about 75% of the assessed value. Try explaining the rhyme and reason of these values to out-of-towners - it is very difficult, especially when faced with issues like these. And both sold at what the market would allow - and that's the true value of the home after all.

There is movement out there - go see some of these homes this weekend! It is a treat to live and work in this area!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Closed in Skaneateles! The First Twenty

The last time I wrote about the closings was in January - and those were the list of the final 20 closings for the year 2009. It's been a while, but we are definitely picking up steam.

In alphabetical order:

1937 Amnaste (Town of Skaneateles) $217,000

31 Calemad (Town of Sennett) $310,000

34 Calemad (Town of Sennett) $345,000

101 Carlton's Cliff (Town of Niles) $344,250

2866 County Line Road (Town of Skaneateles) $325,000

3887 East Street (Town of Skaneateles) $190,000

1541 East Lake Road (Town of Spafford) $270,000

104 East Lake Street (Village of Skaneateles) $260,000

4829 Foster Road (Town of Skaneateles) $156,800

1058 Lacy Road (Town of Skaneateles) $150,000

32 Lakeview Circle (Village of Skaneateles) $386,880

1646 New Seneca Turnpike (Town of Skaneateles) $183,000

2672 Nunnery Road (Town of Spafford) $199,900

103 Orchard Street (Village of Skaneateles) $426,000

33 State Street (Village of Skaneateles) $235,000

789 Stump Road (Skaneateles Falls in the Town of Skaneateles) $260,000

2392 Wave Way South (Town of Skaneateles) $795,000

6 West Elizabeth Street (Village of Skaneateles) $370,000

66 West Elizabeth Street (Village of Skaneateles) $100,000

2935 West Lake Road (Town of Skaneateles) $223,500

Now, let's get started on the next 20!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Before I forget - refinance now if you are going to do it! The rates are now around 4.875% for 30 year conventional loans with good credit, and I got a 4.25% for 15 years rate. It will save us about $45,000 over the life of the loan, or more importantly almost $300 per month. I am not an expert on mortgages - talk to your bank or mortgage person - but I know the value of a lower rate. The cost of refinancing will be paid off before the end of the year, and then we can put more towards the principle. And we went from 5.675% - which I thought was pretty good at the time!

Currently you can get that rate (hah!) by buying one of these active properties in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing system - there are now 127, of which 25 are in the village. Only one new one - I went back and checked, because that seemed quite low! - this past week and it was my re-list. Think about it - 50 acres, a 3,000 sf ranch, 78 feet of waterfront - for $750,000. There's no sign - it's down West Lake Road, actually in Cayuga County, but I would love to show it to you. We reconfigured the listing, removing another 75 feet of waterfront and separating the listings. The lot is now $275,000 - and you could build a camp on there and get the whole thing for under $500,000. Bargains to be had!

This week a house was newly listed as "contingent, continue to show". Under $150,000 - the house has been there a bit and I'm glad to see it sold. "Under contract, do not show" is a waterfront listed around $800,000 that's been waiting a year for a new owner. Pended is a small, sweet little house under $100,000.

There were three new closings bring the year-to-date number to 22. In the next few days I will write out the 20 houses and their addresses and prices that have closed this year. The three new ones are a small house with plenty of land surrounding it priced to sell - and sell it did for an 18% discount. A lake rights house that needed some work came in around $300,000, down from its original price of around$400,000. One of my favorite houses out there also was reported closed. It started in 2007 above $300,000 and closed in the lower $200,000 after masterful staging and a change of agency.

There is so much to be said for aggressive pricing these days! You can't "try it" any more and hope to sell - it must be priced to sell if you really do want it sold. Often I speak with people and I can tell they are not 100% ready to let go of a home. Buying and selling are such emotional issues, so stressful, that it is worth the price to "git 'er done" as quickly as possible.

Enough preaching!

The closed figures are much better than they were. At the beginning of May we were only at 35% of the year-to-date in 2009. Now we are at 65% - a much better place to be!

While I was looking at the closed properties, I looked at agencies who listed them. Eleven agencies had listed properties that sold in Skaneateles. The bigger ones - RE/MAX, Williams, and Realty USA - each had 4 sold listings so far this year. As far as sales go - Williams and "other agencies" tie for the most. It will be interesting to see what the summer brings!