Friday, February 25, 2011
I was listening to the international weekly round-up on Diane Rehm's show (http://thedianerehmshow.org) and of course hearing about the Middle East. Pressure there, all right. Who would believe that the people could rise up after all these years and throw out ruthless dictators. It continues to amaze me.
Then the story from Rolling Stone (www.rollingstone.com) about the general who ordered his men to use psychological weapons (!) on Senators (!) to get them to approve funding. Now supposedly this was a balanced man who had come up through the ranks, and as they said on the show, was seen as a great candidate for future promotion. But here's where the pressure comes in. He was expected to perform, and he could not allow Senators to cut funding after seeing his troops. So he went around the law - until he was stopped.
The school unions in Wisconsin are another example. Teachers staying home and leaving classrooms untended, schools closing...all to apply pressure to their legislators. And then in the middle of the night, the legislators, feeling the pressure, took a very strange up or down vote to cut them off. It won't work in the Senate there....12 state senators are "in hiding" so they won't have to vote! Pressure.
So then we come at least to real estate. My seller and I lost a deal this week because the buyer (not my client) felt the pressure of buying too soon, in his/her opinion. No one put the pressure on the buyer, but when the offer went in the reality bells started to toll, and the offer was withdrawn. Too much pressure - to buy a house, to sell a house, to finalize life-style decisions. So much of real estate, when you come down to it, is a leap of faith. Of course grounded on sound reasons, but major changes nonetheless.
So from the Middle East to Skaneateles - just thoughts....
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Currently there are 108 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 30 are in the village. Eight properties came on the market since my last report on January 30th, but only three were new listings. The others ranged from two in the mid-$100,000 to two waterfronts in the 1 million plus category and a large estate valued just under three million dollars. The three new ones were a ranch listed around $200,000, a small home for just over $100,000 and a lovely village colonial in the mid-$600,000.
Four properties are marked contingent with one new one joining the other three. This is a lake rights home in need of some work and priced accordingly. There are no new "under contract, do not show" properties. One very lovely new construction home, marketed in the mid-$400,000 and actually outside of Skaneateles but in the school district was sent to the pending list. I know of at least two families who tried to buy it, but their homes did not sell in time.
Three - hooray! - homes closed in the past couple weeks. A waterfront property sold at a "let's get it done" price came in at 60% of its original list price. Another waterfront home closed in the mid-$700,000 after being listed in the $800,000 range. A small house outside Skaneateles sold close to its list price in the mid-$100,000.
We are off and running towards a good year! Last year by this time only two homes had sold. There are some wonderful homes out there somewhere beneath the snow just waiting for spring and the traffic that will once again come to Skaneateles!
Monday, February 14, 2011
This is entitled "Most Common FHA Repairs." I will paraphrase in some places, but for the most part it will be the sheet we received. It comes from Forsythe Appraisals' website:(http://www.forsytheappraisals.com).
An FHA appraisal seeks to determine if the house is able to be mortgaged by the Federal Housing Authority. As agents, we sometimes dread theses appraisals in older homes because they are super-critical it seems, at times. Reading this list, any mortgage appraiser would be looking at the same things, I think. The suggestion from Forsythe is that by using this list you will be forewarned, and therefore can make the repairs prior to even marketing the house, much less getting as far as an appraisal.
- If the home was built prior to 1978, chipping peeling paint must be scraped and painted.
- The roof should have 2-3 years of useful life and no more than 2 layers of shingles.
- The cause of wet basements should be cured.
- Abandoned inoperable wells must be capped and sealed.
- Infestation of any kind should be exterminated.
- Damaged or inoperable plumbing, electric and heating systems should be repaired.
- Structural or foundation problems must be repaired.
- Flammable storage tanks must be removed and the filler cap sealed from the inside (e.g. buried oil tank).
- If there is a crawl space or attic, it will be the homeowner's responsibility to make this area accessible so that it can be thoroughly inspected.
A lot to do here - and I would wager that for many older homes some of these items are not completed and the appraisal still goes through. The one thing - besides the lead paint issue - that FHA appraisals are known for are railings on steps as safety issues, but it wasn't included here. Food for thought!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
To start, Aaron Moss has teamed up with Nothnagle out of Rochester and will become part of their company once the state gives its okay. This has been in the works for months; in the meantime Aaron and Steve Ansteth and their agents are open next to Sweetwater on Genesee Street.
Jerry Morrissey and agents Sara Collins and Betsy Barrett are opening an office at 44 East Genesee Street in the old Quinzi and Quinzi Jewelry Store. The name of their new company is Finger Lakes Realty Partners. The office is not open as yet, but signs are going up around the village and town. Michael Falcone is also involved as a partner although I do not have much more information than that. I have been told - rumor alert! - that they are working out of his Pioneer Company offices.
Mike DeRosa has become part of Sotheby's (Select Sotheby's International Realty) whose offices are listed as my old stomping grounds on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. Rumor has it that Sotheby's is coming to Skaneateles and will open an office, but where precisely that will be is undisclosed as yet - or when. In the meantime, another rumor has it that Sotheby's will only allow their signs to be placed on properties listed at $500,000 or above. Again, I stress this is rumor...
Change is good - keeps everyone on their toes. We will see how this all plays out - we currently have five open offices in the village with approximately 40-some agents. Six years ago we had the same number of offices and about 60 agents. Two brokerages combined, two new ones opened, and one dropped out of the area. Change. Houses still were listed and sold - as they are and will continue to be even if the cast and settings change. Skaneateles will always be - I predict! -a highly sought-after area in which to live and vacation.