Category Archives: Real Estate 101

Amherst Virtual Tours Can Be Shot with Your Own iPhone

A newly-updated NAR survey confirms that 51% of agents with smartphones use iPhones. This fact is hardly startling, since these phones have been such a boon to the real estate business. Today’s agent can use apps to quickly scan and electronically sign documents, instantly get property details for clients, access key boxes—it’s almost hard to remember how we got along before!
But what about the 9% of homeowners who choose to go the FSBO (For Sale by Owner) route? As many a do-it-yourself home seller has learned, just planting a sign in the front yard does not constitute much of a marketing campaign. For those who will be selling an Amherst home this fall, creating a virtual tour is an all-but-indispensable way to take advantage of all an iPhone has to offer. For anyone who would like to shoot a virtual tour as a market aid, here’s the lay of the land:
•    An Amherst virtual tour doesn’t need to be an all-out professional Hollywood production. You can keep matters as simple as possible using nothing more than your iPhone’s camera.
•    More ambitious self-producers can invest in devices like the GoPano. This attaches to your phone: its curved mirror collects light and streams it into the camera as you walk. The free app converts the image into a moving scene which allows viewers to pan in any direction.
•    If your Amherst virtual tour will be assembled without any add-on equipment, it’s still possible to meld your photos into panoramas using one of the many apps devised for that purpose. Just make sure the results meet your quality standards—not all apps are created equal.
•    Follow the conventional tips for video shooting: in motion, walk slowly, keeping the iPhone as steady as possible. For stills, an iPhone tripod is a valuable addition. Not only does it prevent hand motion blurring; it also allows you to rotate the camera for a 360-degree view.
•    Free or low-cost apps allow you to assemble your virtual tour from stills and video. Search for “real estate virtual tours” in the app store for a comprehensive list. Look for apps that have high ratings—especially those that score well on the ‘user-friendly’ scale. You can also find services through the app store that will take your uploaded images and create the tour for you.
•    After you have made your Amherst virtual tour, if at all possible, preview the result on an iPhone, iPad, PC, and an Android device. It’s an unfortunate fact that a virtual tour that plays well on one device does not necessarily display the same way on the others. If you used an app to create panoramas, you should definitely watch it on a PC before releasing it to be sure the image quality is adequate on a larger screen.
Virtual tours in Amherst listings are just one part of an effective Amherst real estate marketing effort. Of course, the easiest way to have a professional-looking production is to forget about FSBO altogether and just call us! After all, it’s our full-time job to create and assemble a comprehensive marketing plan that gets your home sold for top dollar.

Does Assessed Value Matter When I Set The Listing Price for My Wheatfield, NY Home

The answer to this question depends on the market. If the market is appreciating as most are now, our answer would be, “Sure!  As long as you are comfortable with selling your home for less than what it is worth and thereby leaving money on the table.”  If it is a declining market, we would say, “Sure!  If you are okay with not selling your home.”

Forgive us for being a little bit flippant in the above paragraph but in the vast majority of cases like those above, that is exactly what will happen.  In order to fully understand this, we need to fully understand how your tax assessment works.

Your property tax assessment is a value put on your Wheatfield home by your local government.  This value is used, based on the tax rate, to compute how much you owe the local government in taxes.  Most localities divide this tax amount into 2 payments broken out over the course of the year.  These funds are used to pay for the services your government provides.

What most people do not know is that the assessed value of your Wheatfield home is typically computed every other year.  So how does this relate to where to price the home you are selling?

When a buyer buys your home, their lender is going to require an appraisal of your property to determine what its current value is.  An appraiser will only use comparable sales from the last six month or less.  This is where the condition of the local real estate market comes into play.

In an appreciating market where the values are rising, home sales will most likely sell above their assessed value.  If you remember, the assessed value could be as much as 2 years old.  If the homes have been appreciating since the last assessment, a seller who sells at the assessed value may be leaving a lot of money on the table.

Conversely, if the market is depreciating and home values are dropping, home sales will most likely sell below their assessed value.  In this scenario, a home seller who prices their home based on an old assessment takes a major risk in not selling at all.  Buyers will base their offers on current market conditions, not an old assessment that might be currently inflated.

When it comes time to pricing your Wheatfield home for sale, please take note that your tax assessment will typically run behind the current market place.  Pricing a home is truly an art.  When interviewing agents, ask how they came up with a price for your home.  Using the assessed value is one small part to determine home value.  If the agent used it exclusively, find another agent.

If you’re looking for the right agent to help direct your sale every step of the way, we hope you’ll give us a call!

Buying a Vacant Youngstown Home Can Mean No Disclosures

Suppose that in the course of buying a home in Youngstown, your eye is drawn to a bank-owned home, or a home held in a trust. There are many reasons why you could find yourself buying a Youngstown home that’s currently vacant—which can also mean that the usual owner disclosures are not to be had. There are perfectly innocent reasons why this situation develops. Suppose the sellers of the property have just inherited it. How would they know that water tends to pool under the house during a strong rainstorm? Or that unpermitted repairs were made to the electric wiring in the kitchen?

If thoughts like these cause beads of sweat to pop out all over your forehead, don’t fret. This summer we can find you plenty of alternatives in Youngstown’s traditional housing market. But before you automatically pass on a vacant home because of unknowns in its history, you should know that, with due diligence, you can still end up with a home that is worth your money and a safe place to live!

When you consider a vacant home, the most reliable information will come after you’ve arranged an inspection. The inspector’s report will let you learn what you’re getting into before you buy—and whether it’s in safe and livable condition. Most homes that fall vacant due to circumstances like divorce or a move are well cared-for and in decent shape; others, long abandoned, are more likely to have fallen into disrepair. Without any owner disclosures, you’ll be on your own to discover potentially major issues like leaking pool equipment or pest problems.

Even after you’ve had a thorough inspection, there is still a good chance you will encounter at least some surprises. There are some elements of a home that can’t really be properly inspected—like what lies under the floorboards or behind attic walls. Since there is no former owner to sound a warning, there is always a chance that you could run into unplanned-for expenses. Truth to tell, though, this can also hold true for a traditional home if the sellers have no prior knowledge, either.

Although buying a home with no disclosures can be a great way to get a wonderful deal, it’s still a good idea to leave some extra budget for the most likely potential costs. In addition to things like insurance, unexpected repairs, and maintenance, there are other costs you might also need to cover—such as a vacancy endorsement on your insurance policy if the house will continue to stand vacant for more than 30 days after the sale.

The bottom line? If you’re considering buying a home in Youngstown with question marks in its history, be sure you apply some energetic diligence before signing on the dotted line. You’ll be a lot more relaxed after the fact.

Thinking of buying a Youngstown home this summer? Then it’s time to give us a call!

Ways to Disprove One Common Wheatfield Home Value Myth

Especially when it comes to major decisions like buying or selling your home, human nature seems to tilt toward delaying action until it’s the end result is absolutely certain. After all, nobody wants to make a life-changing move that turns out to be anything short of fantastic!

So even when you’ve outgrown your current home…or found yourself in a daily long-distance commute because work has moved…or any number of other reasons why you know you should be looking for a new house…it can be difficult to commit to such a looming decision. Adding to that is one of the most common assumptions many Wheatfield homeowners believe: that they have to spend a boatload of money to increase their home value.

The truth is: it ain’t so! You can strategically update your Wheatfield house before you put it on the market without cratering your bank account.

Items that only seem to require costly fixes:

· Make it Spacious

Adding space to a room increases any Wheatfield home value. Tearing out walls isn’t necessary when there are so many other ways to achieve the same thing. Simple options include removing built-in shelves, enlarging windows, or (the simplest) just removing “stuff” that’s hogging perceived space.

· Go Green

More and more, you can improve your Wheatfield home value by installing modest “green” upgrades. Today’s buyers may not necessarily be eco-focused—they may simply have a good sense of the increasing cost of water and power. “Going green” as a way to add  home value to your area property can be no more costly than switching to low-flow toilets, adding a wifi thermostat with “smart” technology, or putting in a low cost drip watering system.

· Window Update

Have a room that comes across as outdated…or just plain ‘blah’? Consider how much extra home value a new window treatment might add. It could be as simple as installing a stylish valence over a window or two.

· Change the Doors

Remember your first apartment with its flimsy, hollow doors? A quality door can make a disproportionate difference to a property’s perceived home value. Changing out your front or back doors for more a more weighty or modern selection can be well worth the expense.

· Paint

Paint is the number one way to alter the look of a room inexpensively. Instead of painting the entire room one color, another option is to make a “statement wall” in its own neutral color that compliments a painting’s or picture frame’s palate.

These are just a few suggestions that can increase the value of your home in Wheatfield without a straining the family finances. Even in an older home, many times it’s the little touches that can make the greatest difference.

Looking for specific suggestions to improve the value of your Wheatfield home before listing it for sale? Call us today for an in-home market evaluation!

Remodel or New Home in Wheatfield? The Pros and Cons are Significant

Last week’s Rasmussen Reports survey reported that the majority (52%) of Americans consider their home to be a family’s best investment at the same time that the number of people who are choosing to remodel their home is on the rise. According to the Houzz & Home survey, the number of people who planned improvement projects rose a dynamic 12 % last year. Of those, 40% wanted to remodel their home or build an addition.

While remodeling may be becoming more popular, there are still plenty of advantages to the alternative route: purchasing a new home in Wheatfield. Here are some of the pros and cons of each route:

    •          Before you start your remodeling project you should take a personal inventory. Do you have the experience and skills to manage the project…and is the prospect appealing? Remodeling your home will require that you deal directly either with tradesmen, contractors, architects— or the whole bunch! It may be the greatest advantage to purchasing a new Wheatfield NY home: getting the additional space and amenities without the work.

 

  •          The loss of privacy during a remodeling project is not something to be underestimated. Depending upon the scope of the project, it may be months before the dust settles and you have the house to yourself again. There is also the inconvenience of not having access to multiple areas of your home while work is proceeding

 

 

  •     For most of us, there really is no place like home. If you’re like us, even when you’ve been on a terrific vacation, eventually you begin to yearn for the comfort and familiarity of your good old home base. Although one or two irksome features of your current house make moving seem like a no-brainer…before you commit to a move, be sure that you really want to leave. History, a sense of community, and the roots you’ve established in your current neighborhood are all reasons to opt for a remodel rather than a new home.

 

 

  •          Selling your existing home and buying a new Wheatfield home is a sizable financial commitment. Moving costs, transaction fees, commissions and taxes are part of the equation to weigh against remodeling costs. A sharp pencil is definitely in order before the dollars and cents can be realistically reckoned—particularly if your finances have improved, and the remodel is meant to bring your home up to an improved standard of living.

The danger lies in overcapitalizing a property in a location where the resale won’t support the expense. Even a great home will still fetch a price that’s relative to other properties in the neighborhood, obliterating the wished-for ‘investment’ value of extensive remodeling.

While it’s important to be informed about the factual tradeoffs of your decision, it’s likely the end choice will also be influenced by what just feels right—as it should be. Whether you’re considering a remodel or a purchase, if you’d like to run some numbers, call us today for a confidential price evaluation!

First-Time Home Buyers in Lewiston Have a Familiar Question

Lewiston NY first-time home buyers in 2014 are faced with a question that hasn’t changed for generations: is it more practical to buy right now, or to continue to rent?

Over the past few years, buying has been the easy choice. Nationally, in 2013 it cost 35% less to own a home than to rent according to that year’s study by real estate website Trulia. That despite rising house prices and mortgage rates. But that was last year, and the experts have been pretty unanimous in predicting that interest rates will continue to rise—ending up somewhere near 5.5% by 2014’s end (per the National Association of REALTORS®).

In the face of higher interest rates and house price tags, will 2014 be the year when renting becomes more affordable than buying?

While first-time home buyers in Lewiston are faced with increasing house prices and mortgage rates, renters also find another national trend: higher rents. Rents have been on the rise for the past few years, with continued increases expected throughout 2014. According to Axiometrics, the folks with the latest data, apartment rents are on course to rise by 3.04% in 2014. Research firm Reis puts the expected rise at 3.15%— and both say the causes are the potent combination of tight supply and rising demand. Whenever the economy improves, each incremental gain puts even more pressure on rents—which acts as an offset to any financial benefits of renting versus owning.

Where does that leave our typical Lewiston, NY first-time home buyers? Most recently, national averages show it is still about 21% cheaper to own rather than rent. According to the Trulia study, by fall of last year, the earliest tipping point at which it would have become more expensive to own rather than rent would have been expected to occur if interest rates hit 5.2%—but only in San Jose, California—and only if rents had remained fixed (which didn’t happen, even in San Jose). Nationally, out here in the real world, Tulia admitted “mortgage rates will not tip the housing market in favor of renting over buying until rates hit 10.5%…”

Lewiston first-time home buyers can be a bit more confident as they take in one more piece of information from the real world of April 2014 (no matter what the experts predicted): over the past few weeks, national mortgage interest rates have been edging down instead of rising! That may well change direction again (probably will), but for now at least, we have to say that it’s a pretty clear call in the spring of 2014: time to get pre-qualified!

That’s the first-time home buyers’ Step One…it also happens to be an ideal time to give us a call!

Lewiston Rental Property Gains Make Selling Tempting

It’s one of the skills a successful Lewiston rental property investor needs to cultivate: if or when to sell. With property prices on the rise, some Lewiston landlords may in fact be asking themselves whether now is the time to cash in. Especially for most everyone whose rental property investment was made during the last few years, it’s already been a profitable gambit. According to the Case Schiller Index, by last year’s close, property prices across the nation had risen at the fastest rate in the previous nine years.

But if—and then when—to sell a Lewiston rental property can be a tough call. As a relatively illiquid investment, it takes a great deal more commitment than the decision to sell a stock or cash in a bond. But sometimes there are circumstances that can make the decision a little easier. For instance:

-Cash flow

One clear reason why you might choose to sell is if the rental property is losing money. The rental may have been vacant for too long, or the rent level may not have been sufficient to cover expenses. In many cases, other real estate investors will be willing to lose money in the short term on a property they believe will appreciate in the future. It’s also possible that a full-time rental property professional may be able to tap economies of scale that are not possible for every individual investor.

-Greener pastures

Your Lewiston rental property may be doing fine—making money and showing substantial value growth—but now an unusually promising alternative investment has appeared. With the strong spring market, it may make sense to sell now to reinvest the profits elsewhere.

-Taxes

Everyone’s tax situation is different, and the tax environment is subject to change. Even if that weren’t the case, there are some years when personal finances mean that a sale would be a much better idea than others. As with any substantial financial decision, your accountant or other financial adviser will have the relevant input.

-“Landlorditis”

Being a landlord is not for everyone. Sometimes a professional property manager can alleviate nearly all the stress for an investor who doesn’t relish the vocation, but even then, there can be other chores: bookkeeping, manager management, a leak-through of tenant personality issues…that prompt a landlord to decide he or she would rather direct energy elsewhere. Opting for more passive forms of investment is always a possibility.

Lewiston has already benefited from some of the fruits of the national real estate recovery – but that alone doesn’t answer whether this spring is an opportune time for you to consider selling your Lewiston rental property. Call us today for a comprehensive property evaluation—the key piece of information that will help you decide!

 

Keeping Youngstown Real Estate Sales on Track

The slick, entertaining formats of HGTV’s many buying and selling programs makes for great entertainment – but, as anyone who has ever actually bought or sold a house knows, they tend to leave some key information on the cutting room floor. Sure, real estate sales in Youngstown can in fact involve elements of creativity, presentation, personality, all of which make for interesting television viewing. But in real reality, successful real estate sales are largely based on contracts, disclosures, inspections, contingencies, and time. They may be less telegenic, but can be dramatic, especially when you’ve done everything in your power to make sure that a deal works out smoothly, only to be faced with last minute surprises that threaten to prevent you from closing (or cost you a bundle!).

 

Here are some of the major issues that can impede Youngstown real estate sales—and how to prevent them from happening:

 

  • Not Weighing the Comps

When you are in the process of making a major decision, it’s natural to seek the opinions of the people who are closest to you. When it comes to real estate sales, however, personal opinions from well-intentioned non-professionals can create distractions that wind up doing more harm than good. In the realm of contracts and negotiations, it’s important to give weight to the opinions of experienced real estate pros. They know how to provide unbiased guidance based on comps and statistics rather than emotion.

  • Verbal Agreements

Whether you are selling or buying, it’s essential to get any agreements about repairs or updates in writing. Parties will often discuss repairs or credits and assume that a verbal agreement will suffice. Not true. Not only can a repair come back to haunt you later, but certain repairs left uncompleted can delay the close of escrow.

  • Last Minute Changes

Whether it’s taking out a loan on a new car or holding one final goodbye party at the house, last minute actions by buyers and sellers have an uncanny ability to hold up a deal. When you are in contract for a property, keep your eye on the prize: if you’re the seller, don’t do anything that increases the risk of damage to the house. If you’re the buyer, don’t make sudden changes in your financial life until you are the legal owner of that property.

 

Buying and selling property is more intricate than a 30-minute TV show, but the end of the episode should feature the same broad smiles and satisfied handshakes—particularly if you don’t let an innocent move derail the purchase. Real estate sales in Youngstown, NY are our business; call us anytime or visit Great Lakes Real Estate!

 

Google’s Move into ‘Unloved’ Buffalo Homeowner Devices

Right at the start of the year, Google announced a surprising move. It said it was purchasing a home appliance maker most of us had never even heard of…for $3.2 billion in cash! It was a gambit that every Buffalo homeowner should note, because it signals where some very smart money is headed: right where we live!

Remember, Google isn’t just famous for its search engine; it’s also frequently in the news for its forays into any number of futuristic enterprises (those mysterious barges, for instance). The appliance maker that now has Google’s billions in its pocket is called Nest Labs, Inc. Nest makes smart devices that reinvent the traditional ones every Buffalo homeowner has to deal with, like thermostats and smoke detectors. “Unloved but important devices” was how the press announcement put it.

The unique feature of Nest’s products is that they collect “user behavior” data (i.e., homeowner actions) in order to provide a more tailored response. Google CEO Larry Page explained, “They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe.”

The move of Google into the realm of smarter homes is part of a broader trend. In the most recent American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey, there was a dramatic increase in the use of technology solutions in the home. The survey noted an increase in requests for entertainment, security and energy management systems. Energy management systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated as households are given the ability to manage their lighting and temperature over a wireless network. As electronic cars become more prevalent, electronic docking systems in the garage may also become commonplace.

How does this affect the average Buffalo homeowner? As the minimum price of these systems decline, automated homes will eventually become the norm. If today it costs around $2500 to automate your home, it’s all but inevitable that similar features will fall in price (and grow in sophistication). Then, when it comes to buying a Buffalo home or listing your own for sale, the amount of smart automation is bound to become a key selling point—trust Google!

The ability to operate and manage your house from a wireless devices such as your smartphone or laptop is already here…and Nest’s learning technology signals a future where our home and appliances are able to learn from our behavior and predict our needs. Keeping an eye on the future is a good idea for any Buffalo homeowner, especially when you’re thinking of replacing one of those “unloved but important” devices— and most especially when you’re contemplating listing your home anytime soon. If that’s in your future, why not give us a call? As Google is in the habit of demonstrating, it’s never too soon to prepare for the future!

 

Lewiston, Wheatfield, and Suburban Apartment Building Appeal Grows with Demo Shift

Lewiston real estate investors come from every kind of background, but all share a common trait: they like to think ahead. For that reason, investors eyeing Lewiston apartment building prospects may want to take a close look at what’s going on with the Millennial generation.

For those of us who are a bit uncertain about which group is considered “Generation Y” and which are “Millennials,” there’s a reason for that. Both terms refer to the same group—everyone born between 1977 and 2000. And whatever you call them, they are a very important demographic. According to some statistics, they are 80,000,000 strong! That makes them a larger demo than Baby Boomers, and 20% larger than those who come next: the Gen X’ers.

PWC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLC), the widely-respected financial and business advisers, have come up with some interesting generalizations about Gen Y that could affect the prospects for apartment owners and investors. According to their 2014 Trends Report, members of Generation Y are more likely to live in either a medium-sized or big city than previous generations. Generation Y’ers also plan to stay there for the foreseeable future—40% of Gen Y’ers say they want to be living there in five years. This compared with only 23% of generation X’ers and 14% of Baby Boomers.

Some other profile characteristics fall in line. Generation Y’ers are the least car-friendly of any demographic. Two years ago, CNN reported that there had been a 30% drop in the share of new car purchases by 18 – 34-year-olds. When asked about the community features they thought most important, 82% thought living within walking distance of work and school was highly important; and Gen Y’ers are also more likely than other generations to walk or use public transit.

Generation Y’ers are also significantly more likely to be on the move over the next five years. Approximately 63% fell into that category, compared with to 42% of the overall adult population. A full 38% plan to move into an apartment, duplex, row house or townhouse.

For suburban Niagara County apartment building investors seeking rental income, there is more reason to be interested. According to a study produced by the non-profit Urban Land Institute, the majority of Gen Y’ers do not intend to purchase over the coming decade. That sounds like a reassuring note on the demand side.

Real estate website Trulia had a final piece of the puzzle, this one due to the slowly-building economic recovery. Their 2014 housing predictions report forecasts that apartments will be the first stop for young adults who are finally able to move out of their parents’ home.

All in all, investment housing in Niagara County is already hot this spring and only going to get hotter! This includes purchasing and renting out a home, we are experiencing very low supply and very high demand. Interested in learning more? Call us today!

 

Piggyback Loans in the Niagara Region Stage a Comeback

It’s another after-effect of the rise in housing prices: piggyback loans in Lewiston, NY and the rest of the Niagara region are making a comeback. According to a recent American Bankers Associations Report, the number of piggyback loans originated across the nation more than doubled within the past year.

 

A piggyback loan involves taking out two mortgages simultaneously, with a home equity loan (aka “second mortgage”) ‘piggybacking’ on a first mortgage. In Niagara and Erie County home purchases, piggyback loans typically come into play when the buyer is unable to provide a full 20% deposit. Normally this would necessitate the buyer having to take out private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can be pricey. By going with the piggyback loan alternative, the Loan to Value (LTV) ratio can be reduced to less than 80%, the threshold below which PMI requirements vanish.

 

A standard piggy back loan is structured as a “80-10-10”—meaning that 80% of the purchase price comes from the first mortgage, the next 10% from the second loan, and the final 10%, the deposit.

 

One major downside to piggybacking is cost. The interest rates charged on piggyback loans are significantly higher than those for first mortgages, so it may prove less expensive to pay for PMI for a short period of time. This is more likely in a rising market, since the Loan to Value can shrink below 80% before long. Another problem can crop up when it comes time to refinance. In order to refinance, the second mortgage lender has to agree to remain in a subordinate position. This agreement (known as re-subordination) may, in some cases, be hard to reach. Lastly, homeowners with a piggyback loan are unlikely to be able to take out a third loan should they want to access their home equity. Nowadays, thirds are rarely granted.

 

Between 2000 and 2006, it made a lot of sense to take out a piggyback loan. The interest on piggyback loans was tax-deductible, while mortgage insurance premiums were not. When property prices were rising as sharply as they were between 2000 and 2006, lenders also considered piggyback loans a good bet because the growth provided ample equity ‘cushion.’ But when real estate prices dropped in 2007, piggyback loans fell out of favor. By 2010, the percentage of piggyback loans fell to just 1.7%.

 

Today, with house prices on the rise, lenders are again growing more comfortable granting  piggyback loans in this area—but with a bit more caution. Lenders usually ask for a FICO score of at least 700 and a debt-to-income ratio that’s below 43%. Increasingly, they want to see that a borrower has cash reserves in case of unforeseen circumstances.

 

If you are considering a piggyback loan in Niagara County or Erie County this spring, you will want to run the numbers to see if it’s the solution that makes the most sense. In some circumstances, it can be the best way to get into a home you can afford even though you can’t furnish a full 20% deposit. Call us today to discuss how today’s market meshes with your needs!

Staging Approaches to Boost any Lewiston Home Sale

 With spring already upon us, we stand at the threshold of Lewiston’s first major selling season of 2014. If you are preparing to add your own property to the Lewiston home listings, the International Association of Home Staging Professionals would like to draw your attention to some statistics that bolster their members’ proposition. None is more compelling than this one: non-staged homes remain 79 days longer on market than their professionally-staged neighbors. Continue reading

What’s Hot in Lewiston, NY Luxury Homes Luxury Homes for Sale Tips for Buyers

Luxury Homes for Sale in Lewiston
When it comes to Lewiston Luxury Homes, Charlie Chaplin always managed to mix a good measure of insight in with the silent movie knee-slappers. It was “The Little Clown” who once said, “The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.” One way or another, we Americans have come up with a singularly surefire way to overcome that problem: we just constantly redefine what comprises “luxury”!

luxury home in lewiston

Luxurious hillside home overlooking Niagara River

 
Luxurious hillside home overlooking Niagara River

Continue reading

Buying a Lewiston NY House: Is Buying New the Best Choice?

When it comes to buying a house in Lewiston, almost the first thing most of us do is to check the online listings to see what’s out there that catches our eye. That quick first look will usually reflect some preferences most of us don’t even bother to think about (that is, until we’re buying a house). Continue reading

Latest Lewiston Home Design Ideas Focus on Kitchen Updates

Keeping your Lewiston kitchen looking up-to-date doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Contemporary home design in Lewiston is all about knowing what the latest trends are and which to choose when regular maintenance calls for a change in appliances or décor. Continue reading

For the Self-Employed, Getting a Loan Takes Planning

You don’t have to tell anyone who is self-employed that there are extra costs that go with the benefits. In addition to the long hours and weight of responsibility that come with the job description, getting a home loan has always added special challenges. Now that we are into the new Dodd-Frank era of federal oversight, some of the changes warrant an early heads-up. Continue reading

Get Started

Get an education about the buying and selling process right here.  We have several articles to help buyers and sellers as they traverse the complicated process of buying or selling a home.  Everything from getting prequalified by a bank to purchase a home right up to getting the keys!

Loads of information for home owners thinking of selling their home.  How to figure out what your home is worth to knowing what you should do to prepare your home for sale.  The Western New York real estate market is ever changing.  From Buffalo to Lewiston and Youngstown we have some of the best real estate values in the country.

First Time Home Buyer

If you are a first-time home buyer in Lewiston, NY, or Western New York it is easy to get overwhelmed by the process. However, if you have an idea of what to expect it can make the process much more enjoyable. Let’s face it, this is one of the most exciting things a person will do in his or her life. So, don’t be overwhelmed by the number of items listed or their complexity. Continue reading

What is Pre-Qualification?

One questions many buyers ask is “how much can I afford”?  In the real estate industry this is referred to as “pre-qualifying” a buyer. You might think this is a complex process but in reality    it is actually quite simple and only involves a little math. Continue reading

Does Your Home Have “Curb Appeal”?

First impressions do make a difference when selling  your home. Often times, before making the call to schedule an appointment, a homebuyer will drive by your home to determine               if they may be further interested. If the house presents a good impression, then you receive the phone call for an appointment.  Many homes are eliminated from a potential homebuyer’s list    because they do not give a good first impression. Continue reading

Setting the Sale Price

The single most important task involved in selling your house on your own (or with an agent for that matter) is to set the sale price correctly!  There is nothing more exciting for a seller than to have multiple offers on their property. And, by having multiple offers you can actually end up selling your house for more than your original asking price when bidders fight for your home. Continue reading

What is a HUD Home

Question 1:What is a “HUD Home”?

Answer: When someone with a HUD insured mortgage can’t meet the payments, the lender forecloses on the home; HUD pays the lender what is owed; and HUD takes ownership of the home. Then the home is appraised and a real estate broker is hired to sell it at market value as quickly as possible. Continue reading

What is the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

By now you have probably heard the term “MLS” and you have probably seen several references to the MLS or the Multiple Listing Service. So, what is the MLS?

Definition: Multiple Listing Service- An MLS is an organization that collects, compiles and distributes information about homes listed for sale by its members, who are real estate brokers. Continue reading

Top 5 Home Selling Mistakes to Avoid in Lewiston or Youngstown

If you are ready to list your Lewiston or Youngstown home for sale, set yourself up for success by avoiding these 5 common selling mistakes:

1. Putting your home on the market prematurely.

Presentation is everything when it comes to selling your home. So, before you place your home on the market, address any and all needed repairs, de-clutter, depersonalize and consider staging. Continue reading

Kitchen Remodeling Trends in Lewiston, Buffalo and Western New York

Almost half of all new homeowners in  update their home with some sort of home improvement project. Most new homeowners will partake in a remodeling job within a few months of buying their new home. Kitchen remodeling projects are among the top remodeling projects for homeowners in Lewiston, NY and other surrounding neighborhoods. Continue reading

How to Stage Your Lewiston New York or Buffalo Home When Selling

If you’re thinking of selling your Lewiston or Buffalo New York home the most important thing you can do aside from selecting an experienced real estate specialist is to properly stage your home for sale.

Staging your Lewiston, NY home for sale means making sure that your home’s best assets ‘pop’ so that a potential buyer sees them right away. Continue reading

Home Loan Assumability is Making a Comeback to Western New York

As interest rates slowly increase, we’re starting to see more and more buyers in Buffalo, Lewiston and Niagara Falls taking advantage of assumable home loans to make the purchase. Mortgage assumability is a feature that enables homebuyers to take on the loan previously obtained by the seller. The catch here is that the buyer has to pay interest at the same rate as the seller did. Continue reading