42 years in business.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Step in the Right Direction?

There was an article published yesterday in the Democrat and Chronicle covering where Irondequoit stands in economic development and community projects. The article entitled  "Irondequoit May Be at a Tipping Point" written by Justin Murphy begins by offering two scenarios for Irondequoit's future- that the town will succeed in advancing the business and social community or it will fail. Speaking about the town board's proposal for a new joint library on town hall property he writes that the project will come to fruition and benefit the town  "or it will fall victim to the same bitter resistance to change."

It is discouraging to read this because it points out once again how the public views the town of Irondequoit. While there is optimism in the article as well, it is frustrating that the town is viewed as obstinate to change and unwilling to compromise and move forward with progression on all levels. This negative image needs to be changed. We need people, including our current residents, to feel confident again. We cannot afford to continue on with this negative image.

The article reflects the critical stage of different proposed projects for the town of Irondequoit and how they will impact the town as a whole. More importantly it points out how badly we need positive changes to bring Irondequoit back to life. I don't want people to view our town and it's government as incapable of making decisions that will lead to development. I don't want people to view our community as resistant to change and unable to move forward for the better of the majority of the citizens who are screaming for change and progress.

The last week has been full of positive news for economic growth in Irondequoit. I was invited to last Thursday's workshop with the town board regarding the I-Square Development. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the town board initiated a decision to have the lawyers representing both parties get together and hash out a plan, inferring that the 25 year PILOT may be a go.

My optimistic side believes that I-Square is back on track, that the proposed new library will be the spark to finally get that unresolved conflict closer to a conclusion, and a feeling of progression may turn Irondequoit's image around. But I need to see results.

2103 could be the year the Irondequoit community has been waiting for. It could mean breaking ground at I-Square and seeing the new Cooper Road Extension built. We could witness the future of our town take shape and look forward to all the great advances that will come with building our community up once again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Annual Referral Trip Giveaway

We drew the name for our annual Referral Bonus Program.

We are happy to announce that Mark and Traci C. won a NYS Spa Getaway Weekend.
They can choose from: 

Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneatlas
Otesaga Inn, Cooperstown
Mirror Lake Inn Lake Placid

Thank you to everyone for giving us referrals. 
We wish you peace and prosperity in the new year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Home-Showing Disasters

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." This phrase can be applied to not only people but house showings. It is crucial to make sure that your property is in top-notch condition when a prospective buyer is taking a tour. We are currently in a buyers market- there is generally an over-supply of houses v. prospective buyers. If a property does not show well, it is very easy for a buyer to dismiss it and move on to the many other options waiting for them.

It can be difficult for sellers to look at their own home through the eyes of a buyer. However, this is critical. When a Realtor makes suggestions about improving condition, it is to ensure that your house sells.

What do you think is most likely to turn a buyer off when viewing a potential home?

The follow list is from an article in REALTOR Magazine.

The Top 10 Worst Home-Showing Offenses

1. Leftover home owners

By far, one of the top offenses cited by buyer’s agents was home owners still lingering around when agents arrived with clients to preview the home. Awkward encounters ranged from buyers finding sellers taking a shower, asleep in the bed, to even the “stalker sellers” who liked to follow buyers and the agent all over the home to see what they thought.
With the exception of the “stalker seller,” many of the home owners who were still at home blamed their listing agent for not giving them enough advance notice about the appointment prior.

2. Pets and their messes

Numerous agents also cited the not-so-friendly dog and kitty encounters as a top offense. Even pets left in a crate can pose a distraction since they might make noise the entire time others are in the house. Plus, if they seem mean, the buyer might not even step in the room.
Vicki Robinson, ABR, CRS, broker with Fonville Morisey Realty in Raleigh, N.C., says she recently was given showing instructions from a listing agent who told her the family’s “friendly dog” would be at home. But when Robinson unlocked the front door with her client for the showing, a pit bull was staring down at them from the top of the staircase, growling. “We closed the door and left!” she says.

3. Bad smells

A displeasing smell can really turn buyers off. Common offenses include cooking smells lingering around the home, such as garlic, fried bacon, or fish. Also, watch for cigarette smoke and animal smells, agents say.

4. Critters running wild

Wild animals and pests roaming around is a surefire way to send buyers running. Agents described worms crawling on the floor and bats and raccoons lounging in the attic. “I showed a house in Utah once with a baby alligator/crocodile [in a cage] in the dining room,” Kristi Hutchings, ABR, SFR, with the Wendy K Team The Real Estate Group in Utah.

5. Odd home makeovers

Do-it-yourself disasters were also prevalent, like doors opening the wrong way or unprofessional paint jobs. Also, rooms not being used for their intended purposes can confuse buyers, such as an office being used as a bedroom even though it has no closet, says broker Elaine Byrne with Elaine Byrne Realty in Austin, Texas.

6. Dirt and clutter

There were a number of offenses cited when it came to cleanliness: Dirty laundry piles, unflushed toilets, dishes on the counter or in the sink, unmade beds, clothes scattered about, soiled carpets, dirty air conditioner filters, and overflowing trash cans.
“One of the worst things I have seen is piles and piles of clothes in every room,” says Chris Leach, ABR, with Medel & Associates Realty in Riverside, Calif. “It was like an obstacle trying to walk around the mess.”

7. Personal information left in plain sight

Sellers should be careful not to leave in plain sight important documents that may pique buyers’ curiosity. Some agents say they’ve seen personal information like bank and credit card statements—even mortgage payoff notices—left on the kitchen counter.

 8. Too dark

Dark or dimly lit houses aren’t showing the home in the best light.
“Particularly [homes lit with] CFL bulbs,” says Yvette Chisholm, ABR, CRS, associate broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Rockville, Md. “By the time [the bulbs] light up, the buyer is gone.” Energy efficient bulbs need time to warm up before they are at their brightest, so staging professionals usually recommend agents arrive early to a showing to turn on any light fixtures with CFL bulbs at least 10 minutes prior.

9. Keys missing from lockboxes

All too often, agents arrive at a listing appointment with their client only to find there’s no key to get in. “I actually had a [seller’s] agent who wanted me to open the door for my clients by going through the dog run as a large dog barked like crazy,” says Hutchings.

10. Distracting photos

Watch the photos displayed on the walls too, agents warn. Tara Hayes, ABR, e-PRO, with Rector-Hayden, REALTORS®, in Winchester, Ky., recalls showing a family a home that had life-sized, nude photos hanging, which left her clients racing for the door covering their eyes.

To read the complete article visit REALTOR On-line Magazine

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Progress - Property Values - Community Morale

Before the second meeting and final vote for the I-Square PILOT, I wrote an email to the Irondequoit Town Board members. I decided to share the letter publicly now that some time has passed. It is copied below. I did not receive a response from any of the board members.

 A lot has happened in the past couple of months.  A new town board member was elected, Irena Skrobach-Scoglio . She makes promises to help with the progression of the I-Square project. There has been a public workshop and video developed by I-Square to educate the public on the PILOT and why it is beneficial to them but ultimately to the town and its citizens as a whole. You can view the information and sign a petition on their website by clicking here.

There was a lot of outrage expressed when the PILOT was not passed. There has been a ton of discussion from both sides about what is best for the town. Regardless of what you think about the Nolan's seeking PILOT approval, the fact that we have something to discuss as far as economic and cultural progress in our town is amazing in itself. 

The letter I wrote reflects my opinion as a real estate broker and a life-long resident of Irondequoit. It is important for everyone to understand the present and FUTURE impact that a project like I-Square will have on our community. Some of the benefits Irondequoit will reap in the future are: retaining residents, obtaining new residents, rise in property value, job creation, boost in morale for community, a community gathering place, spending money in Irondequoit vs. other suburbs, supporting our residents small businesses.

  I was also inspired to share my thoughts when I saw the large pine tree standing in I-Square where the new road will eventually lie. They are having a tree trimming party December 1 from 10 am to noon. What a great opportunity to create new town traditions. I envision the lit up tree with the finished buildings in the background, benches, street lights and tons of people gathered together. Our own Rockefeller Center.

While it's true that none of know exactly what the future holds, we should have some faith and see this opportunity for what it is- a gift we have been waiting for.


To the members of the Irondequoit Town Board and Supervisor D’Aurizio,

I am a real estate broker. Our company has been based in Irondequoit for 41 years.

Over the past decade I have helped people buy and sell their homes in Monroe County. Most of my business is done in Irondequoit. A lot of my past and present clients are long-time Irondequoit residents. In the past several years I have seen many native Irondequoit residents decide to leave our great town to make a life in another suburb of Rochester. There are several reasons, but the most prominent is that Irondequoit  does not have a shopping district, a town center, restaurants, and other amenities that are found in different communities. The younger generations want to see progress- change with the times. They want to have a quaint area for strolling, shopping, and gathering. And now that prices have come down, many first time buyers are able to afford homes in other areas. Irondequoit is still a very affordable place to buy a home, despite our taxes. If people choose to start their lives here, when it’s time to move up, many are deciding to buy their second or third home somewhere else. I recently worked with someone I went to high school with. They sold their West Irondequoit home and  moved to Penfield. They felt that Penfield had more to offer them and their growing family.  It saddens me to see our town continually lose its roots. We used to be such a deep rooted community and now more than ever we are becoming a transient community.

I-Square is the hope that I have been looking for to revitalize our town. We have so many wonderful features- water, parks, schools, and pretty neighborhoods. But we are missing the final piece of the puzzle. We need to see more shops, restaurants, arts and businesses. The location of I-Square was such an eye-sore. It was run down and looked horrible and did not leave a very good impression of our town. It screamed negligence and lack of development. And young people do not want to see that. They have plenty of other places to live.

I-Square will bring people in and will keep people here. The completed project will add value to our town and will help sell our community to those who want to be in Irondequoit and those who are just discovering Irondequoit. This value will filter over into our property values. Over time assessments will be raised creating more revenue.  Hope will be restored that Irondequoit will get a second wind. We sell many homes of residents who have lived in their homes 50+ years. We sell the homes of parents of classmates, either my generation or my father’s generation. The sad part is that as these folks leave or pass away, we are not seeing their children remain residents of the Irondequoit. Please let the Nolan’s continue on with their endeavor to breathe new life into Irondequoit. LET PROGRESS HAPPEN!

People keep saying that you were burned by the Medley Centre. You’re being cautious. Let the “precedent” be that if someone wants to invest their own money into the town, government and citizens alike will be supportive.  Mike and Wendy Nolan are the real deal. Who else would invest 13 million dollars of their own money, without asking for a dime from anyone, to create a project that will better our community? It will create jobs, create a buzz, fill a HUGE void in our community. I grew up next to the Nolan’s. The Walther family knows them personally. They are upstanding members of society and completely legit. Look what Mr. Nolan did with his own business. Take a look at his beautiful home on Kings Highway North. He built it from the ground up on a vacant piece of land so his family could remain in this great community.

Mr. Nolan will follow through on his plan and then some. He’s a no nonsense, straight shooter who is looking to make this project a complete success. He has been fully prepared for any and all meetings. He has looked to you for help in making the development portion go more smoothly and with a hands-on, work-together approach.

The PILOT is essential to making I-Square and all its beautiful plans become a reality. It will enable the Nolan’s to keep rents lower so that small businesses can afford to a be part of I-Square and not get pushed out.  Let’s finally seem some reality in all the talk for making Irondequoit a better place to live and raise our children. I want my children to grow up in this town feeling all the great things I felt as a kid. I want them to have a Casey’s toy store, a book store, a venue to watch plays and hear music. I want them to love all that is Irondequoit including this beautiful town center.

Do what is right and vote YES on the PILOT. What the Nolan’s are doing is a gift. They are private citizens investing their own money into our town. What are you waiting for? This opportunity will never come around again. Please make this happen and let the Nolan’s continue on with their project. I want to see people moving back into Irondequoit. I want to see residents put their house on the market in order to purchase a bigger home in Irondequoit. I want to hear people say, the way they used to, that they will never leave this town- that there is no better place to live than Irondequoit, NY.

Erica Walther Schlaefer

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Small Business Saturday

Have you seen the advertisements for Small Business Saturday sponsored by American Express?

What a great initiative to get Americans to shop small. Entrepreneurship is the key to America's success. And even more essential is the small business. We are the backbone of the American economy. Our success is dependent on the American people investing and taking the time to frequent our shops and utilize our services. Many small business do not have a physical storefront but a virtual storefront, and it is imperative to take a little effort to find out where and how you can support small business.

Small Business Saturday is a positive step toward promoting the necessity of maintaining the businesses owned and operated by our neighbors. These are the individuals that dedicate their lives to their product and community. And they take on the risk of operating a business, especially in a tough economy.

Without the local hardware store, the florist shop, the real estate office or gift shop, our towns and communities would lose their individualistic and unique identity. Our homes would be settled in a sea of big box labels and we would have no namesake reinventing our own communities.

Visit the website and find out how you can support your local small businesses.

Have a great Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hurdles for Home Sellers

The world of real estate is ever-changing. Lending regulations are changing all the time; there are cases where a buyer was pre-approved at the beginning of their house search but get denied when they finally want to write an offer. It is important to double check a pre-approval letter to make sure it is up-to-date.

In this market we find that lenders care more about the buyers credit rating than ever before. But it is also important to note is the ability of a home to be financed. In the past if the value of the home was agreed upon by the bank, then things looked good. Now, however we find that underwriters place significant important on the condition of the property, not wanting to finance homes with pre-existing problems. For example, if the appraiser notes a wet basement on the appraisal report, the lender may require that waterproofing be done prior to closing.

There are other maintenance issues that can be taken care of before listing the property. A REALTOR can point these out to ensure the seller has a smoother transaction.

The list of potential hurdles goes on. We often tell clients that getting the purchase offer is actually the easiest part despite the fact that this is a difficult  market. There are so many things that transpire after that point- home inspection, bank appraisal, etc.that need to be negotiated.

This is our 41st year in business. We are your real estate consultants.

Call us today! 585.266.5941

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bang for Your Buck

The National Association of REALTORS conducted a survey to find out which home improvement projects will get the biggest return on investment.

Here are the top 5

1. Siding replacing
2. Entry door replacement
3. Attic bedroom addition
4. Kitchen: minor remodel (see next paragraph)
5. Garage door replacement

To spruce up your kitchen without spending too much money here is a list of improvements that greatly impact the overall look of a kitchen.

1. Switch out the old hardware. This gives cabinetry a whole new look.
2. New faucet.
3. Lighting-  an LED under cabinet light adds a great effect
4. Organization- Practicality wins out with many buyers. Use baskets in a pantry, stack able shelves for cabinets, drawer organizers, over-the-door-hooks.
5. Counter tops- A new laminate counter top gives a contemporary feel.

Two Amenities Buyers LOVE-

Separate laundry room.
A first floor laundry is especially popular. However, if the laundry room is in the basement it will bode well with customers if it has good storage and organization. Installing new cabinetry and shelving and a place to fold and store the laundry will make an average laundry room over-the-top. Good lighting is also essential.


A mudroom is super popular for today's buyers. And a mudroom with storage is even better. Towers or cubbies for each family member will help de-clutter a high traffic area. If there is not a separate "room" but an entry area, organization is key. Baskets and bins are also good for keys, mail, leashes, etc.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

5 Noteworthy New Real Estate Laws

The following are five new real estate laws. Quite interesting.

1. In an attempt to stem the problem of unwanted manure left in front of residential properties and businesses, Watertown, NY is considering a law requiring horses to wear diapers.
(Watertown Daily Times, January 18, 2012)

2. Residents in Illinois (excluding Chicago) are now permitted to paint their trees purple in order to keep trespassers off their property. (Associated Press/ Chicago Tribune, August 31, 2012)

3. Hedges that encroach on sidewalks must be kept trimmed in Plattsburgh, NY. The new law allows the city to trim overgrown hedges and bill property owners. (Plattsburgh Press Publication, November 3, 2011).
Similar laws in Lockport, NY and Harlingen, TX, allow the town to mow residents' lawns when grass grows over one foot. (Buffalo News, September 8, 2011;Harlingen Valley Morning Star, July 3, 2011).

4. "Toy ranches" in Pitkin County, Colorado are no longer considered agricultural property. A property is considered a toy ranch if the property around the house is used for grazing but the house itself isn't integral to the ranching operation.

5. Home owners in South Carolina who want to recycle copper pipes must obtain a permit from their local sheriff's office. The goal is to curb illegal stripping of copper for cash sale to recyclers. (CBS News Channel 7, Spartanburg. June 20, 2011).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

SOLD On the Idea

The most common type of listing agreement, the "Exclusive Right to Sell," is also likely to be the most effective. It entitles the listing agent to a commission regardless of who sells the property. If another agent comes up with a buyer, he or she splits the commission with the listing broker.

As far as the seller is concerned, this type of agreement assures that the agent (who is guaranteed a commission when property closes) will make a diligent effort on his or her behalf to find a buyer. Full service of this type involves analysis/research, advertising/marketing, displaying, counseling, and negotiating. The reward for both seller and agent is a sale within a reasonable period at the best possible price.

At Walther REALTORS our goal as real estate professionals is to help you be truly happy with any real estate decision you make.

Note: With an Exclusive Right to Sell, the owners cannot sell the property themselves without paying a commission unless an exception is noted in the contract.