42 years in business.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Median Sales in Irondequoit

The median sale price is dropping as well as the number of sales in Irondequoit for 2009. Why is this if Rochester area sales are supposed to be steady?

Upon speculation I can come up with two reasons. The first is that Irondequoit is very affordable and generally attracts many first time buyers. They generally buy a property that costs under $110,000 or even under $100K. The majority of these sales normally happen early in the year while the "move up" sales ($150,000 and greater) tend to happen in the spring and summer.
The second reason for lowered sales prices in Irondequoit is the first stimulus started in the fall; some people took advantage then, and those deals who included many first time buyers closed January-March 2009.

Both of these factors are bringing the median sale price up until now. Watch it go up as we get further into the year, especially if the economy started to level off and people feel more secure about their jobs.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Economic Stimulus- Higher Loan Amount

The stimulus package also includes a raise of the conforming loan limit to that of last year. The higher loan limit will permit more home buyers and homeowners to access lower interest rate loan as Fannie and Freddie will now be able to buy those loan. Jumbo loans (loans in the amount of $500K and up) yield very high interest rates. More people getting the ability to refinance at a lower rate and more people able to lock-in lower interest rate loans for home buying is great news for those in the higher-end of the market.

The high-end market had been stalled and some relief (at least up to the new higher loan limit) is now underway. The higher loan limit is likely to raise home sales on the high-end by 150,000 qualified home buyers in 2009.

*info provide by NAR

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Career in Real Estate

Walther REALTORS is looking for new agents.

Why is now a good time to begin a career in real estate? The market has slowed down but real estate transactions never cease. Life changing events such as relocation, expanding families, death, and the need to downsize continually occur; thus, houses go up for sale and people are in the marketplace looking to buy. The mortgage rates for loans have dropped to historical lows and may continue to drop. The tax credit for first time buyers has motivated new buyers to consider buying a home. For those that have been indecisive about buying a house, now is their opportunity. We have seen it working already. The spring market is opening up and people will be buying and selling.

If you have lost your job and are close to retirement but cannot afford to retire, being a real estate agent is a great alternative to supplement your income. If you would like to work at a second career part time and earn extra cash, real estate is also the perfect alternative. The independent contractor status allows individuals the freedom to make their own hours and build their business according to how much time they want to put in. The flexibility of hours also makes it appealing to many stay at home moms as well.

It is important to understand that building a career in real estate can take time.
Taking advantage of a slower market to build your name and get experience will work to your benefit. When things turn around, you will be ready to go with more knowledge and hopefully a
good client base. We have been in business since 1971. Our expertise and and reputation make us a great company to work with. We provide one on one training and on the job training where new agents "shadow" a more seasoned agent accompanying them to open houses and meetings with clients.

For more information please email us: info@waltherREALTORS. Put "career" in the subject line. We can outline how to become an agent and expenses involved in the investment of building a career in real estate. Consider now to be the time to take advantage of beginning a great career.

If you already have experience as an agent and would like to consider affiliating with us, please call or email us today. 585.266.5941. Ask for Erica Walther.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What is a short sale?

Short sales are becoming a popular way to get out from under the debt of a mortgage without completely ruining your credit. The bank holding your mortgage agrees to receive a payoff amount that is less than what you owe on your mortgage allowing the bank to retrieve some of its investment. It is beneficial to the seller because it prevents them from going into foreclosure and completely ruining their credit. And, the REALTOR and lawyer are able to get paid for their services.

If you know that you owe more than your house is worth (or you even suspect that you will not receive a high enough sale price to cover your expenses), and will not be able to pay your REALTOR, attorney and other closing costs, a short sale should be investigated with your attorney before listing your home with a REALTOR.
Not all short sales are approved. The following is the list of items the bank requires in order to seek short sale approval.

Some of the steps below should be done ahead of time like collecting data regarding pay stubs, tax returns and talking with a lawyer. Other steps happen once a signed contract is received for the property. The bank wants to see that the buyers are credible and the price is competitive with other sales in the area.

A checklist for short sale foreclosure:
  1. Cover letter on law office letterhead
  2. Copy of summons and complaint
  3. Copy of default letter with arrears and legal fees
  4. 2 most recent pay stubs
  5. Hardship letter that is handwritten
  6. 2 most recent bank statements
  7. Most recent tax return
  8. Worksheet with gross monthly expenses
  9. Listing agreement
  10. Contract of sale
  11. Copy of proposed settlement statement/ closing statement (HUD-1)
  12. Appraisal of property
  13. Signed Retainer agreement
  14. Signed authorization
  15. Repair estimates with photos
  16. Comparables
  17. Proof of funds/ pre-qualification letter

For more information on Short Sales, visit the National Association of Realtors website

If you have any further questions or comments, please post a comment below and we will answer in a timely fashion,

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Where Rochester Ranks Nationally

Our market is labeled as stable because Rochester never saw the skyrocketing prices like other places in the country. Forbes Magazine listed Rochester as #15 out of 25 on their list of strongest markets. Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany join Rochester on the same list. There were hundreds of markets analyzed and none of them are expected to see a rise in values. Rochester's median price is expected to lower in 2009 but see an upswing in 2010; this is not expected in the vast majority of U.S. markets. The big cities seeing the largest decrease in median price are Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Tax Credit for First Time Buyers

How the tax credit works:
  • must be a first time home buyer (haven't been a homeowner in the past 3 years)
  • it is a clean refundable credit. If the &8,000 is greater than the tax you paid, then you will get a refund check for the difference. Example: you owe $2,000 in taxes on April of 2010. But, if you bought a houose before the stimulus expiration (Dec. 1, 2009) then you will get a tax refund check for $6,000 from the IRS. Some individuals variations will apply, so consult with a tax expert.

Even if you are not a first time buyer, this tax credit can have a positive affect on the ability to sell your home in a soft market. If you own what is considered a move up home, you too should feel the affects of this stimulus on the sale of your home. If the buyer who want to purchase a more expensive home need to do it subject to the sale of their current property, they may be relying on the tax credit to bring more buyers to look at their home. Hopefully this large tax credit (that does not need to be paid back) will give first time buyers confidence to purchase a home. The lower interest rates also make buying a home more affordable. Buyers have to make sure that their credit is in good standing or it will be nearly impossible to get approved for a mortgage. However, there are many potential buyers out there who have been holding off on purchasing real estate because of fear of losing their jobs. They have good credit and savings; they need a boost of confidence to make the move.

For those that need or want to buy a bigger home and/or more expensive home, this may be your opportunity. The lower interest rates can give you more buying power, and it may be easier to sell your current home if there is an influx of buyers coming into the marketplace.
Something to keep in mind is the deadline of the tax credit. The property must close by December 1, 2009. That seems far away now ,but it will close in fast if buyers don’t begin to get out in the marketplace soon. If there is a long line of contingencies starting with a first time buyer, the time needed to close all of these transactions can be lengthy. It may be a good idea to get your house on the market sooner than later. If it takes you 60 days to get a contract on your home and it is contingent on the sale of another property, it may be another 60-90 days before it closes. That is five months from now.

Use this tax credit to your advantage whether you are a first time buyer or a seller looking to find the buyer. But, the government put a deadline on it for a reason- to boost the economy and restore consumer confidence. Don’t wait until June to put your house up for sale because you just may lose out on the benefits of the tax credit.

Irondequoit's Real Estate Market

I have seen numerous cycles in the real estate market since 1971. Irondequoit is attractive in the down cycle because it is affordable. Irondequoit is good for move up homes and first time buyers. We are a very diverse community ethnically and economically. The schools are excellent,and it is a great place to raise a family.People often ask us why our values don’t increase more and yet our taxes continue to rise. Home values in Irondequoit rose steadily in the booming real estate market in 2002-2004. During today’s down turn, we are still seeing a small rise in value while other suburbs are either stagnant or experiencing negative growth. Our tax rates are high because we have little industry and commercial property in Irondequoit. We are unique in the fact that we are a closed in suburb - surrounded by water (which is an attractive asset to our community). A suburb like Henrietta has lower taxes because of the amount of commercial property in that area. Irondequoit is growing and prospering with many projects in the works including The r\River and the Lake and the Bay in the Seabreeze area. Another factor to point out as we move ahead is that Irondequoit has already renovated most of its schools, while other communities are now trying to find ways to pay for these projects.

Is Bigger Really Better?

We have seen stocks plummet on Wall Street over the past few grueling weeks. Big national banks and financial institutions are going bankrupt or being bought out. However, smaller locally owned banks and credit unions that have been serving the public for 50-100 years are still going strong, lending money and keeping their customers happy. There is a lesson to be learned about smaller businesses in general; in order to have continued success they need to work harder to keep your business. Customer service supersedes everything, and it is the key to longevity. Small to medium businesses build their reputation on performance and word of mouth. Walther Realtors has been in business for 37 years helping people make wise decisions about real estate transactions Anyone can spend a ton of money building their “brand.” However, trends show that the television market is fractured because digital cable offers hundreds of options for people. Surveys done by the National Association of Realtors reflect that the Internet is often times the first place buyers find the home they purchase or they find it through their agent. Print advertising is no longer an effective way to market a home because fewer people are paying attention to that medium to find homes for sale. In economic times like this what really sells homes? Success is attributed to the skill and experience of real estate agents & their office. Deals are harder to make and keep together. Time on market is extended and Walther REALTORS will guarantee the same high level of service throughout the entire listing period.We get paid for performance!
Contact us today for a consultation: 585-266-5941 or email us at info@waltherrealtors.com.

Buying Up in a Down Market

It seems obvious that a first time buyer can take advantage of getting more bang for their buck in this real estate market. But, if you are looking to purchase your second or third home, how can you take advantage of a down market when selling? It is possible.
All prices go down, but not always equally. If you are looking to purchase in the same area then the values are most likely reflecting the same down-turn (or up-turn). The value of real estate tends to decrease or increase in percentages. For example, in today’s market we are seeing a 10% decrease in value of properties. If you want to upgrade your home, you too can take advantage of getting a good deal on a home because of the decrease in overall sale prices. You may receive less money on the sale of your home, but you will receive a bigger savings on your purchase. For example, if your property sells at $100,000-10% less than what it would have sold for at a loss of $10,000, and you purchase a home for $200,000 (a house that potentially would have sold for $220,000 in a different market) what you are gaining more than you are losing on the sale of your house.
When you are a buying and selling, you can take advantage of a “buyer’s market.” Interest rates are lower and sometimes the inventory is greater; therefore, you will have more houses to choose from. However, you must be the best possible buyer in order to receive that “deal” you are seeking. This means being able to go non-contingent. If you are approved for purchasing a home without selling your house first, that is the best way to compete. Or get your house on the market! Be realistic and price it competitively! Get a firm purchase contract, and then put your offer on the new property.

A Cyclical Business

In the real estate market there are two different kinds of cycles where we see a slow down in the market, seasonal and economic. Seasonal cycles happen around the same time every year- July when people are vacationing and December due to the holiday season. These vary depending on the price range of properties. After the first of the year first time buyers start looking because their leases generally end in early Spring and they want to become homeowners. But, contrary to public opinion the mid-winter months are still a good time to put your house up for sale.
The cyclical economic slow-down is based on consumer confidence. As of now people are wary of making any large purchases. And, Rochester is also now facing the tightening of the credit market. Many people who once qualified for a mortgage are finding themselves deadlocked and unable to purchase a property. We have not seen a real estate market similar to this since the early 90’s prior to the first war in Iraq. But, even then the market bounced back fairly quickly. It seems as though this economic slow down in the real estate market may take a longer period of time to work itself out.
If you have to sell there are two key elements to try and maximize your sale price and ability to get a purchase contract: 1. Price according to the market; remember buyers determine the value of a property and 2. It is worth taking the extra time and a few dollars to spruce up your home. Buyers are very picky because they can be. If they don’t like one thing about your home, they can move onto the very large selection of other properties for sale.
At Walther Realtors we have seen the various cycles of real estate over our 37 years of business. We know how to handle buying and selling properties during a fickle real estate market. Call or e-mail today. 585-266-5941 or info@waltherREALTORS.com

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

The public is often misled regarding the best way to choose a REALTOR. Often times they choose their agent based on ads in the paper or internet and much of the time, because they had no prior knowledge of that agent, they end up disappointed. Choosing a REALTOR, like most other professionals, should be based on receiving a referral from someone you trust. This can ensure that you will receive the service and results you hope to find when hiring an agent. Equate this decision to choosing other professionals such as a pediatrician. Would you choose your doctor based on an ad in the paper? When selling your home, most likely your largest investment, you need to be in the hands of a REALTOR who has longetivy for serving their clients with expertise and professionalism. A reputable agent will work hard for their clients because they want to continue receiving referrals, which makes up a large portion of their business. And, they receive many referrals because they have a long history of pleasing their clients and producing positive results. Walther REALTORS has been in business since 1971. We have prospered for 36 years due to our knowledge of the marketplace, honesty and professionalism.

Adding Value to Your Home

Many homeowners wonder what improvements will add value to their home. It is wise to also think about what will be a good return on your investment and not “over improve” your home and price yourself out of the market. Even if you have no plans of moving, life’s unpredictability may find you selling your home unexpectedly. There are certain improvements that will almost always add value to your property, but keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to get a 100% return. While the Rochester area is not experiencing a decrease in property value, the market is stagnant and some areas of Monroe County are not seeing more than a small increase if any at all. Irondequoit was published as a 3% increase in 2006. Even if you purchase a “fixer upper,” be careful of overspending on your home improvements.If you are thinking of adding on to your home, give careful consideration to design. Many homeowners assume that more is better and that any addition that increases floor space will provide a great return on original investment at the time of sale. However, while prospective buyers may welcome additional square footage and amenities, they also pay careful attention to aesthetics. If an addition does not seamlessly blend with the original structure in terms of proportion, style and materials, it may actually be detrimental to a sale. A home addition should harmonize well with the original structure and neighborhood. Before building any addition or starting any remodeling be sure to consider the affect on value. At Walther REALTORS we can discuss possible additions and remodeling before you make a decision. This will help prevent you from wasting time and money on a project that will not increase the home’s value. We also know local architects and engineers whose services may be beneficial to you. If you would like to set up a consultation, give us a call 585.266.5941.It is essential to keep in mind that buyers do not consider new roofs and furnaces as improvements but necessary maintenance. Making these repairs and updates does not normally increase the value of a home dollar for dollar. When mechanicals are outdated and the exterior has peeling paint, etc. it is considered deferred maintenance and buyers expect to pay significantly less.Some of these repairs and improvements will help to get a quicker sale but do not always mean a higher price. They will allow your home to remain competitive against other listings. The “big budget” improvements such as kitchens, baths and additions may allow you to sell your home for top price, but even they are not a guarantee. Keep in mind that a home’s value is determined by many factors including location and current market conditions.Do not forget that minimal expenditures can still improve your chance of selling. This includes removing old wallpaper, touching up chipped paint and scuff marks, cleaning out closets, de-cluttering surfaces, removing extra furniture to make rooms appear larger, deep cleaning, washing windows inside and out, fixing odds and ends that may seem cumbersome to buyers such as missing outlet covers, etc. Changing hardware on cabinets and buying some new inexpensive light fixtures can also greatly improve the appearance of a home.