Monday, January 31, 2011

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Bi-Monthly Update

So here we go! I am glad I am doing this only twice a month...the winter has taken a heavy toll on closings and activity, so there is very little to report, unfortunately. I shouldn't say "activity" - I do think people are out there showing homes and getting ready for spring listings, but memorializing them on the computer - not yet!

There are currently 106 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listings service. Of these, 31 are in the village. We had four new listings come on the market in the last couple weeks. Three of these are slightly altered re-lists: a village home now listed under $400,000, a town Victorian with a substantial decrease in list price to under $350,000, and a village "to-be-built" now listed as a home rather than simply a lot, also in the $300,000 range.

The one new property is a waterfront home, or camp, as we say here, for slightly above $400,000. Great location, fairly flat - not my listing either, though I wish it were. Spring is right around the corner and then summer!

There is one new house marked contingent, a listing in the country in the 200K range. Pretty house, pretty land - nice!

We have 3 marked contingent now, and 6 "under contract, but do not show", and 3 marked pending.

There are absolutely no closings, just like last year in the month of January. The year before which turned out the be the low point there were 3, so it's not a clear indicator of what is to come. Of course, in 2008 there were 7 closings...before it all fell apart. But I predict that before the end of the month we will have closings that will spark the market!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Come to My Open House!

One of the things I do as a Realtor is hold open houses. This weekend I am having one and everyone is invited!

My listing is at 105 Golden Eagle Drive in Camillus, ML#S245960. If you look it up on or or you will be able to see more pictures and a further description. Try my website, too: It is really a lovely home!

Some agents don't do open houses, but I love them. I love sitting in my listings and soaking up the atmosphere. Especially in winter, in a home like this one, I can sit by the fire and watch the kids play outside. I was speaking with a friend today whose home is listed on Otisco Lake, and we laughed about my first open house there that took place in a driving rainstorm. Not a window shook, and it was almost eerie being inside and watching the world blow by outside, like in a movie. Think The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy sees the Wicked Witch riding by....

The open house this weekend is especially exciting, because the house really is priced to sell. Everyone who has seen it says that the price is right - $279,000 - and the owners are very realistic in their expectations. It's not much over the assessed value or that much more than they paid for it a few years ago. They realize that the world has changed, and prices have come down.

So come along on Sunday, from 1:00 to 3:00. It is very easy to find - Route 5 in Camillus to Ike Dixon, then one mile exactly to Falcon Nest (don't you love the names?) Turn left, and enter the driveway from Pigeon Roost. I'll have signs up to point the way. Tell me you read about this on my blog and I will be thrilled!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Day in the Life

It occurred to me that I started this about my life as a Realtor. I have written about parts of my life - my home, my friends and family, the world around me in general - but not really about what I do day to day. As I walk more and take time to reflect, that might not be a bad thing to do on occasion.

So - the last 24 hours are done, so....

Yesterday afternoon I drove up to the GSAR offices on Taft Road in North Syracuse. They are newly built and really quite lovely. I must say I preferred the old ones on Seventh North simply because they were close to India House and I could swing by there for something to eat or take home for dinner, but that's a personal preference. I drove all the way up there for a class that had been recommended by others at RE/MAX - a tutorial in the MLXchange, the system we use for our listings.

The instructor, Bill Roesser, was great. There were only 8 of us, each with a computer, and he took us through the steps (this was the advanced class) with an ever-present eye to what we wanted and what we could do (monitor and adjust). I learned how to do prospecting searches, set up a website through the mlxchange, restructure my pages so the information I wanted (waterfront, for example) was front and center and not far down the page. I found out how to access their statistics - what an easy update this will be in the future! Now, the trick is to remember all of this!

Another reason I take these courses besides the learning is to be part of the bigger picture. I like seeing people from all over; this class I saw people from the old neighborhood - Mimi and Chris. Last week at the Standards and Procedures class I sat with people from Cayuga County with whom I talk, but never see. It's good to be social and compare notes.

Lastly, I must admit I am there to get continuing education credit. Every two years we must renew our licenses, so we must take classes. If you miss the actual classes, the information can be found online - but that doesn't give you the instructor or the give and take of an actual class. My license must be renewed by August, so I will go to classes this month and next.

After class, which went long because everyone was so interested (amazing!) I answered texts and made calls to try to finalize an offer. By the time I got to the mall, it was done and my clients/friends got the signatures from the seller. Hooray!

I walked at the mall for 45 minutes - that's the main floor and the second floor, through Macy's and down both sides. Hardly anyone was there, so it was easy to keep up a decent pace. I looked like a shopper in a hurry.

Bob had promised me dinner when I got home at 6:00 but there was nothing cooking. He wanted to see a movie so off we went to Mario's in the Elbridge Plaza (salad and a slice) then on to as we call it "Cheap Seats" in Sennett. The MoviePl_X (no "e"). We were the only ones in the theater for The Green Hornet in 3D. It was fun for a while, then I fell asleep.

Back home I checked my e-mail - a referral from a RE/MAX agent had come in plus another from a friend. Nice! I sent off e-mails about contacting them the next day, as it was late by then.

Thursday morning: up early with the dogs, a breakfast of cottage cheese and Fiber One, a couple pots of tea and the newspaper, then off to work. You've seen the picture if you've kept up with my blog of my desk. I spent the morning pulling listings for Saturday showings, scheduling appointments, and doing general e-mails. I also checked the hotsheet - nothing to send to anyone. Our deal seems to be holding together, and everyone is pleased. I texted Rachel - she had her first snow day of the year in Manhattan!

Lunch - more cottage cheese and fruit this time, plus seltzer flavored with cran-raspberry (light). Koko and I left for her grooming appointment early so we could get my sign and lockbox at 2 Green Street in Camillus. Sigh, it went to relocation. The two signs that are buried in snow will have to wait until it melts some!

While Koko was groomed by Ann-Marie at PetSmart, I walked Fairmount Fair. All the way up and down, in and out, through snow and more snow. Wegman's has a cafe that has an upstairs, I found out, overlooking the produce. I checked Iams Weight Control dog food (for Boo) there - cheaper than PetSmart, but the cheapest was at Target. Cell phones are marvelous inventions - I checked voicemail, texted and set up a showing, heard about another, and generally could do business as if (almost) I was in the office.

After a couple hours, Koko was ready to come home - and so was I!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Closed in Skaneateles! The Last Fifteen!

I have waited well into January for all the closings to be released, so I must imagine all of them are here. We ended up at 75 total for the year - respectable, but certainly not on the high side. I had a fantastic December, and everyone with whom I spoke said they did as well. Amazing, with the snow and more snow...! So without further adieu, these are the last fifteen, in order of their closing.

1340 Laxton Lane - Town of Skaneateles (waterfront) - $375,000

OFF West Lake Toad - Town of Skaneateles (waterfront) - $530,000

4530 Vinegar Hill Road - Town of Skaneateles - $136,000

692 Franklin Street - Town of Skaneateles - $320,000

118 Orchard Road - Village of Skaneateles - $440,000

792 Britcher Road - Town of Skaneateles - $127,000

64 Onondaga Street - Village of Skaneateles - $155,000

2637 East Lake Road - Town of Skaneateles (waterfront) - $1,800,000

942 Hencoop Road - Town of Skaneateles - $265,000

21 Lakeview Circle - Village of Skaneateles (lake rights) - $150,000

2444 Winding Way - Town of Skaneateles (lake rights) - $205,000

54 East Lake Street - Village of Skaneateles - $260,000

1962 Cherry Valley Turnpike - Town of Skaneateles - $76,000

2793 Rickard Road - Town of Skaneateles - $440,000

4059 Franklin Street Road - Town of Skaneateles - $144,000

I wish all the newcomers to our area welcome! You are privileged to live here and enjoy the beauty that the lake and its surroundings offer! Congratulations on your new homes!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Bi-Monthly Update

So here we go! I feel as if it's been ages since I did an update - and it's actually the first time in almost two years I haven't done a weekly one...but looking at the numbers, I can see why I've changed this. "Monitor and adjust" - it's the only way!

There are currently 109 active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Of these, 33 are in the village. Another 28 are waterfront, which leaves 61 plain old town or non-waterfront homes for sale. And many of these are hardly "plain!"

Four "new" listings came on the market - but all are re-lists. I've re-listed the waterfront plus 3,000sf ranch plus 50 acres property now at $700,000 with 78 feet of waterfront, and $950,000 with an additional contiguous waterfront building lot which brings in another 75 feet. (It's an amazing deal! sorry - just had to say it!) Also back on the market is a lovely home with an incredible view on the east side - think high $200,000 range. Plus there's a village home that has been re-listed and I'm not sure why because it was only listed the previous month.

There are two properties marked contingent to start the new year and one of them is new, a lake rights home listing in the mid-$400,000 range. There is also a new "U" - under contract, do not show - from the town list, around $200,000. This brings the total to 6 for "U" properties. Three others are marked P for pending, but none are new.

None have closed this year - so far!

Last year another property was added to the closed list just at the very end - New Year's Eve, to be exact. It's an old property that's been there for a bit and found a buyer who brought in a successful offer about 10% off the list price.

I will, in the next few days, put together the particulars of the last 15 homes that have sold to bring the total to 75 for 2010. Not the worst year, but also far from the best. But that's true about almost anything financial - and real estate is a huge part of the overall financial health of the country.

Hey - help it along - check out the homes for sale, make an about some waterfront? Summer is a scant six months away!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A RE/MAX Meeting at the Century Club

When I first started this blog, I stated my intention of writing about what I did as a Realtor. I have faded more into the real estate of Central New york and specifically Skaneateles, of course. But I still think it's interesting to chronicle a bit of my life. When I started real estate, I knew nothing about the process and remember asking my then-manager Mary MacKaig "What do you do all day?" She cordially told me about a week in the life and I greatly appreciated it.

One of the things that makes RE/MAX different is our lack of regular meetings. Most of the other agencies pull everyone in an office together each week or so to talk about what is happening, give kudos where they are due, allow other interested persons to present their businesses (mortgage people, inspectors, etc.)

RE/MAX prefers to have agents out there, doing what they do best - selling, listing, networking, and other profitable endeavors. We share when we are in the office, but most of our work is done elsewhere - for me, it's home, at this computer or on the phone.

However, once every three or four months Dave Cramer, our broker, calls everyone together to go over industry-wide information and basically to touch base. We have two offices - Fayetteville and Skaneateles, so it's good to see other agents and at least put a face to a voice we hear on the phone.

This past Friday we met to go over advertising possibilities, with two presentations. We decide as agents what we want to do for advertising as a group. We get national and statewide exposure, but our franchise's marketing is a group effort. We met this time at the Century Club in downtown Syracuse.

The Century Club is a huge home that was a residence built in the 1840s before it became a club. In 1866 it was incorporated as the Onondaga Club and that gave way to the Century Club in 1876 and so named for its 100 charter members. In 2007 it was renovated and just glows!

We met upstairs in the Directors' Room and shared a breakfast around a large table which accommodated about 30 people. It was truly lovely, a room in which you could feel the presence of past Presidents (Hoover and Ulysses S. Grant), all the men and now women who played a part in the growth of Syracuse.

For more information, please go to The pictures are magnificent! Or drive by and take a peek inside - 480 James Street. It is a treasure worth preserving!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update (sort of)

I have decided that it is time to change the weekly update into a twice a month format. I will publish information about the real estate market close to the 15th and 30th of every month. In that way you will have a better feel for actual movement in the marketplace, I hope, and I will be forced to write more about other things.

Monitor and adjust - it's the only way!

I will continue the every twenty closings list....and I know I owe for the end of last year because we didn't quite get to 80. I want to make sure that all the 2010 closings are reported - and sometimes there is a lag of a few weeks.

Please let me know if there are other areas you would like to see me cover. I have access to marvelous statistics and I want to meet the needs of my readers.

Sad news to report: Mr. Walsh, as he was known to me and my family, and former Mayor of Syracuse and Congressman for Central New York, passed away Saturday morning. He was 98. We bought our camp the year he became Mayor. I was very young (of course) and saw a sign on the road that read "Walsh." I wondered out loud if that could possibly be the new mayor...and he was. I grew up with his kids, Alex grew up with their kids, and my grandchildren will grow up with his great-grandchildren. His family provided the extended family Alex and I needed - and yes, he was the patriarch of it all. He will be missed greatly.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Atta Boy, Sean!

In today's Post-Standard, Sean Kirst wrote about the challenge of his desk and de-cluttering it. I direct you to for his article.

I have long talked the talk about de-cluttering, and last fall I was able to go through the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen in a three day binge, but my desk has always been a problem. Not my desk at the office - that is always neat as a pin (on top) because I sit front and center so the desk is seen by anyone walking through the door. When I worked at Gallinger, I was down below and, like Sean, my desk spilled over into an unused area and up the wall. When I left, I boxed it all up. And when RE/MAX moved out of the Camillus office to Skaneateles, I boxed that up, too. Both boxes reside in the apartment, to be gone through some day in the future.

The photo is of my desk at home. It's really only where the computer resides - I couldn't work there! I use the island in the kitchen for my notebook and phone work, the old cabinet in the front hall as repository of all my coming and going files, the apartment for storage of old files, and the garage for signs.

My "desk" is my old dining room table, the one piece of furniture I bought and brought from Seattle. I love it, even if it's not a real desk. (Bob took my parents' desk and keeps it very neat - oh yes, I use those drawers, too, I forgot!) My heated vest is on the back of the chair, close to the plug-ins on the old cat condo that still sits there even though the cats have moved on. I have photos as well - me as a 3-year-old, Alex at 210 pounds and then 6 months later at 160 when he decided to lose the weight, the dogs, Anna and Sebastian. There's a picture from a 2006 Skaneateles Journal of a friend's daughter with her very chubby face and Christmas glow. Hermes' photo is on the printer - he liked to sit on my old computer so I keep his photo close.

I can look out the window into the apartment and watch the birdfeeder, or gather wood from the woodpile on the deck. The sun is streaming in right now, making it feel like spring is right around the corner.

There is a sign I use when Jolanta cleans - "Please do not touch my desk - I know it's a mess!"
I am very afraid that she will move something and I will be left internet-less. Consequently, it's rather dusty as well. A cobweb or two reside on the window ledge.

But I just entered a wonderful listing here - ML#S245960 in Camillus - and I am enjoying this blog. Sean showed his desk cleaned. I won't do that yet. I don't lose things, and it's really not that bad. At this time I have a way of working that I like and has proven to be successful. But some day I will get to the living room, and then I'll share the new desk.

For now - congratulations to Sean for making the transition!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome to the New Year!

I thought for this year I'd be a little more innovative and colloquial. I have gotten stuck with the update, almost as if writing it at least once a week means I do not need to write in-between. I've also been busy, but I do enjoy writing...maybe I need more to write about, not just real estate....? But every where you turn real estate is central - I hear it when I get my hair done at Carlo's, or in the Big M, Green Planet, Tops or Kinney's, in all the shops and's not just because I'm there. Listen in movies and to conversations - sooner or later real estate emerges. Our lives focus on it - and why not? Shelter is one of the most important needs - without a place to live and call home, nothing else follows.

So - here's a different type of home for you to contemplate. Yesterday we went to the Syracuse University basketball game in the Carrier Dome. For those of you who do not follow sports, this is the year you should follow SU basketball. We will get there, to the Final Four, as long as there's no major injury or team breakdown. And one of the reasons will be because of SU's "home."

It holds more people than any other venue in which college basketball is regularly played. The record is in the low 30,000...a record that will be broken this year, I predict. They will find a way to sell more tickets to more people - even if they can't actually see the game!

Yesterday Notre Dame put up a great effort. The students were gone, there were no cheerleaders or band or dance teams. It was left to the 23,000 fans to yell and scream and encourage the team to win. Someone behind us (and we sit in the very upper section under the scoreboard) has been leading the cheers. For whatever reason he gets it going - "Let's go O-range!" and soon all over people pick up the chant. The guys next to me do the defense call "DE-FENSE!" and that resonates. We had a huge "wave" in the second half...but SU was pulling away by that time. It's a noisy home - and what it must be like for the opposing team to come in there and try to win!

But it is home, it is shelter. We have made friends around us and were thrilled to find a young couple back again this year. We don't go to all the games and somehow we had missed them. We knew she had lost her teaching job last year and we though they simply weren't back. But they are - and fun to share the game. Home.

So get out there if you can - it is truly an experience. And "Go Orange!"