5 Adjectives You Should Look For In Your Real Estate Agent


Who you choose to represent you when you buy or sell your home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during your move. Your real estate agent can make the process easy, quick, and painless – or long, expensive, and painful.

Here are 5 adjectives you should for in your real estate agent if you want to get the most out of your sale or purchase:

1. Tenacious

Real estate is a tough world. There are seemingly endless challenges to navigate: the house you love was snatched up by someone else, someone put a bid in on your home and then pulled out at the last minute, there’s issues with the neighbors or zoning or construction. That’s why you need a real estate agent who is tenacious, never gives up, and doesn’t stop until you have successfully bought or sold your home.

If you work with a real estate agent who gives up when things don’t go as planned, you’re never going to buy or sell your home. The best real estate agents are the ones who not only have plan B, but plan C, D, and E ready and waiting. When things fall through, the don’t let it get them down. They keep pushing and coming up with creative solutions to close your real estate transaction – no matter what.

2. Honest

Honesty is always the best policy, but it’s especially important when it comes to real estate. You need to be able to trust your agent: to negotiate the best deals, to tell you the truth about your properties, to give you the right advice when it comes to buying or selling. If you work with an agent who bends the truth, withholds information, or – worst case scenario – flat out lies, you’re going to end up losing time, money, and patience throughout the process.

3. Savvy

There’s a lot to know in the world of real estate, and as a buyer or seller, you probably aren’t aware of about 95% of it. Your real estate agent should be savvy, smart, and able to help you navigate everything you don’t know about real estate.

Look for an agent that can walk you through the entire process from A to Z. You want someone who is an expert in your area, who specializes in your type of transaction (buying or selling), and who can break down complex real estate jargon into easy-to-understand terms so you know exactly what’s happening at every stage of your purchase or sale.

4. Persuasive

Every great real estate has the heart of a salesperson – and the persuasive skills to match. There are tons of instances in which you’ll need your real estate agent to turn on their persuasive charm- their ability to show all angles. Real estate agents have to use persuasion to negotiate the best offers, to convince sellers to accept your bid by pointing out why the contract is a win-win for both sides. They need to show potential owners that your home is the right buy for them. If your real estate agent doesn’t have any sales skills, the buying or selling process is going to be long, drawn out, and never get to the close.

5. Thorough

Buying and selling property is an involved business: there are papers to sign, inspections to schedule, documents to process. You want to work with a thorough, detail-oriented real estate agent who will ensure that every i is dotted and t is crossed.

In addition to managing the transactional portion of your real estate venture, you want a real estate agent who’s so thorough they ensure that YOU don’t forget anything on your end. A thorough real estate agent will come armed with a checklist of not only what they need to do to process the purchase or sale, but what you need to do on your end in order to tie up any loose ends.

It’s easy to spot a thorough real estate agent. Do they send you calendar reminders for home showings? Is their day planner meticulously organized? Do they jokingly refer to themselves as “type A?” If so, you’ve got a winner.

The right real estate agent is essential in making the process of buying or selling a home quick, easy, and a financial win. And when you lock in a real estate agent with all of these adjectives, you’re well on your way to real estate success.

Why You Actually Need to Hire a Buyer’s Agent When Purchasing a Home

When you first start looking at houses to buy, you’re probably looking to find the best house possible…not looking for the best real estate agent possible.

It usually begins innocently enough…

Maybe you see a house online. So, you reach out to the agent with the click of the button. Or send a quick e-mail. Perhaps even pick up the phone to ask a few questions, or schedule a showing. Next thing you know, you’re being sent listings by e-mail, and going out to see houses with that agent.

Or, maybe you go to open houses and meet a bunch of different agents, and eventually just find yourself working with one of them. (Or several of them at the same time.)

You might be a little bit more deliberate about finding an agent, though. And you might choose to work with one who you have seen who has lots of signs, ads, or billboards. It might boil down to choosing an agent because everyone seems to use that particular agent.

But too many people just sort of stumble into working with a real estate agent by chance.

It’s not the best way to “hire” a real estate agent when you’re buying a house, but it’s pretty typical. Life is busy, and there isn’t any true process to finding the very best real estate agent.

So, the point is this: for most people, stumbling into a relationship with a real estate agent is just how it goes.

So, what is the point of the article then? What is the solution? What should you do?

First things first…

Make a concerted effort to find and choose the real estate agent you work with to buy a home… before you actually start looking at any homes.

While it’s natural to be excited to find the home you want to buy, when you do that first, you are skipping a worthwhile step.

Instead, you should ask friends, family, coworkers, or whoever else you know, for recommendations and referrals.

Then, meet with, and speak with a few agents. Get a feel for how they work. Determine whether you trust them, and whether they seem like they know what they’re talking about and doing.

Once you find one, actually hire the agent…

When you find one you like, hire that agent. Commit to the agent. Work solely with that agent.

Too many people feel like they should have several agents helping them find a house. Yet, all the agents have access to every home on the market. Every agent can get you in and show you the houses.

But not every agent can represent you, your needs, and your best interests the same. Some are better at handling the ins and outs of the process. And better at analyzing values, and advising you. And, of course, some are better at negotiating.

It isn’t about having several agents out there looking to find you some needle in a haystack. Or an agent who is willing to jump to show you a house the minute you call about one. It’s about having one that is solid and skilled representing your interests with their knowledge and skills, once you do find the right house.

And an agent that good isn’t likely to spend a whole lot of time or attention on you if they don’t feel that you are being loyal to them, or aren’t serious and committed to them, and the process of buying a house.

The best way to show them you are all of that, is to literally hire them. Sign a buyer’s agency agreement with them. Show them you are committed to him or her, and the process, by committing to them.

Why should you?

Most people, even some real estate agents, may tell you that you should never sign a buyer’s agency agreement and thereby hire a specific agent.

And you don’t have to. So many agents will work without requiring you to do so. You can get the milk for free, as they say…so why buy the cow?

Because…you aren’t “most people”. You know better.

If you don’t specifically find, choose, and hire a specific real estate agent to work with, you will possibly find one representing you by default.

It could be one that you meet at an open house. You just go to see the house. You love it. You want to make an offer. And, boom, the agent that was there is now representing you and your best interests.

Maybe that agent will be great. Maybe not.

And even if the agent is good, it isn’t like that agent will have a whole lot of background with you, or insight into you and your needs.

This can make the whole process not so great. You can find yourself feeling at odds, or working with someone who doesn’t seem to be fighting for you, so much as convincing you to do what they want you to do so they can make the sale.

That isn’t necessarily going to happen. But it can…and does…to so many people. To “most people”.

And then “most people” complain about how horrible their experience was buying a house.

Here’s the kicker…

The reason why people complain that their home buying experience is often not great, is because the client and the agent do not have a committed relationship!

The lack of commitment actually causes mistrust, and less than ideal dealings.

Yet, most people go about it that way.

So, solve the problem most people have by actually seeking, finding, and hiring the best real estate agent you can find to help you buy your house.

Don’t just stumble into a loose relationship with someone you need to trust to get you the best house, at the best price and terms.

Why Do Real Estate Agents Asked If You Are Pre-Approved?


Have you ever walked into an open house, or called a real estate agent about a listing, and within minutes, they’re asking you if you are “pre-approved” for a mortgage?

If you haven’t, then you have never walked into an open house or called an agent. Or at least enough of them…

Just wait. It’ll happen.

And you’re going to feel like it’s pretty pushy for them to ask that.

It’s like a joke.

It makes you feel like telling real estate agents this knock-knock joke…

You: Knock-knock.

Real estate agent: Who’s there?

You: Nunya.

Real Estate Agent: Nunya who!?

You: Nunya business if I’m pre-approved or not! Just show me the house, and I’ll get pre-approved if I even like the house. I can definitely get approved for a mortgage. Probably way more than this stupid house anyway. So, stop asking if I’m pre-approved.

Try it…maybe the agent will laugh! Or, maybe not. Depends…

But it’s no joking matter.

It depends on the agent. Agents have different personalities. They all come across different ways. They all handle how they meet, greet, and chat with consumers in different ways. There’s no one way to “be”, as a real estate agent.

But every single real estate agent should be asking you if you’re pre-approved. But many do not. Because they feel like it is a bit pushy and forward. Because he or she worries about offending you. But they should ask…

…because it’s entirely relevant for them to know.

…because it’s entirely important for you to be pre-approved.

It might come across as a pushy, or invasive question. Maybe that is because of how an agent asks the question. Or when the agent asks the question. Or, simply because you don’t know that it’s a question that should be asked.

But it is not a joking matter.

And you should expect the question, be prepared to say that you are pre-approved, and…you should actually want the agent to ask you that question.

It’s not like a first date.

If you were going on a first date with someone, and one of the first things the person asked about was how much money you make, and can you afford the date, you’d feel like that was pushy and weird.

Rightfully so. You don’t go in for a kiss the minute you meet each other, let alone ask for a hand in marriage. There’s some build-up.

Beyond that, there’s some time that needs to be spent together before probing questions about finances are asked. That kind of stuff comes way after even the first kiss, because finances are a pretty private, intimate subject. Even more intimate than a kiss…

Which is why it seems so invasive when an agent you’ve just met asks you if you’re pre-approved. It feels like they’re asking you some pretty private, intimate stuff that’s none of their business.

But asking for a pre-approval isn’t like going in for a kiss. It isn’t a marriage proposal. And it isn’t probing on the part of the agent.

It is a necessary question, and an important piece of information for the agent to know. And for you!

Why does an agent ask you if you’re pre-approved?

Agents aren’t asking you if you’re pre-approved because they’re looking to size up how much you can spend. (At least not most agents…)

They want and need to know that you are serious, and qualified to buy a house.

And they certainly have their reasons for wanting to know…

  • Real estate agents need to make sure they’re working with someone who can actually buy a house. They don’t get paid until and unless the person they’re working with buys a house. So, this is a matter of being careful about who they spend their time with. It might sound selfish…but you can’t fault them for that. They’re in business. Nobody cuts them a paycheck. And showing people houses is not a public service or charity work. Even working with someone who is pre-approved doesn’t guarantee them that they’re going to make any money. But at least it’s an indication that the person they are working with can do something.
  • Agents also need to know how much you’re pre-approved for in order to advise you as well as possible. Picture an agent showing you houses for weeks, and months. You finally find “the one”! You get all excited about the house, and you want to make an offer, only to find out then that there’s no way you could afford the house. This leads to heartbreak and aggravation…for both of you. It doesn’t do either of you any good to go through all of that only to find out you can’t afford the houses you were looking at…or even buy one at all.
  • And, to a degree, this is a safety precaution. You might not believe this, but agents are in a pretty risky position. If they just say OK to every person who calls and asks to go see a house, with absolutely no proof or verification of who the person is, that puts them at risk. Sure, a pre-approval won’t necessarily stop an evil person from doing something, but this is a pretty basic precautionary request.

Why you should want an agent to ask if you are pre-approved.

Even if you have just started browsing for a home just a little bit, and haven’t gotten pre-approved (yet)…at least expect the question. Don’t be offended when you’re asked if you are.

In fact, pay closer attention to the agents who do ask if you’re pre-approved! The ones who ask make it easy for you to find a great agent to work with.

Because if they’re asking that question, it’s a good sign that they are thorough and thoughtful about how they do their business. That’s the type of agent you want to have on your side when you’re buying a house — one who’s careful from the get-go. One who pays attention to the details. One who isn’t going to waste your time any more than their own. Or allow your heart to be broken when you fall in love with a house you can’t do anything about.

And if you want to get some really good attention and service from the best agents you come across, don’t even let them have to ask if you are pre-approved…

Get pre-approved before you even start looking. And let the agent know you’re pre-approved before they even ask. You’ll set yourself apart from almost every buyer the agent has ever met.

Shop Local- Simply New York

Shop Local, Shop Small Business is more important than ever. The Simply New York store encompasses all that this philosophy entails. The store was established in 2010. In 2013 Rick and Judy Fuller bought the business from the original owner and have been thriving since.

Their products include books by local authors, pottery, jewelry, soaps & jelly- just to name a few.

Their website says it all under Why Buy NY?

“Whether you are an ardent “Buy American” enthusiast or not, every purchase you make at Simply New York has a positive impact on our neighborhoods, cities and state and helps keep a New York company open and New Yorkers employed. And that’s a good thing for all of us that call New York home. If nothing else… remember this one fact: For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 goes back into the community – and our tax base. For every $100 spent at a chain store, only $14 comes back. Why not put your money where your house is?”

The owners attend 3-4 wholesale fairs a year- one being Adirondack Days. The products in Simply NY are not only made from vendors in NYS but the materials they use must also be made in America. 40% of their products come from the Finger Lakes Region and are within 60 miles of Rochester.

Simply New York is located in the Seabreeze District of Irondequoit: 4364 Culver Road, 14622


Visit their website www.simplynystore.com

Do This ONE Thing To Get The Best Return On Your Home Improvement Project

Before we get to the “one thing”, answer this question:

Do you know which home improvement will bring you the best return on investment?

Don’t look at me. I can’t tell you off-hand.

And don’t go by hearsay, either.

Just because you heard some guy at a party say that remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is the best return on investment, doesn’t mean it is true.

Don’t even go by one of those articles you read online that claim this, that, or any other thing will bring you the best return on your investment.

Because, the best return on investment for any home improvement depends a whole lot on so many factors…

  • Where do you live?
  • What is the market like in your area overall?
  • What is the market like for houses like your specific house?
  • Are you doing the improvement specifically to make more money on the sale of

your home in the very near future?

  • Or will you be selling some time down the road?

But, I can tell you, without hesitation…

No matter where you live…

No matter what the market is like…

No matter what your house is like…

Or when you are going to sell it…

There is one, hands down best return on investment.

You would think any project will increase the value…

I mean, if you remodel your kitchen, that’s certainly got to improve the value of your home, right?

Or taking that 80’s looking bathroom for a trip into the new millennium will definitely get you more money when you go to sell the house.

And going all out and putting on an addition should add tons to your eventual list price when you go to sell.

How about painting the entire house? New carpeting or wood floors? A new furnace?

And you’d be right… to a degree.

You’d definitely add value… make your home worth more… regardless of what home improvement project you do.

But let’s face it, while the options are limitless, your budget is not.

So, you’re smart to stop and consider which project will bring you the best return on your investment.

But the reality is… most projects cost more than they return.

Most home improvement projects you choose to do are not going to make you any money.

Sure, they will raise the value.

But most of the things you could choose to spend money on, will not actually improve the value more than it cost you.

Quite often, the improved value is somewhere in the 60%-70% range of what you spent.

For instance…

You spend $1000 and improve the value, say $600 – $700.

Or, you spend $10,000, and reap the rewards of maybe $6,000 – $7,000.

And, that’s a shock for way too many people… once it is too late.

At least, for people who don’t take advantage of something that will provide a huge return on investment.

If only everyone did this.

But most people don’t, because…

The problem is…

Too often, people just decide to do a project and presume that it will raise the value more than it costs.

No harm, no foul if they did it and were staying in the house for years to come.

But a lot of times, people are doing renovations because they’re thinking of selling soon, and figure it makes sense to do whatever project strikes them as the most bang for the buck…

… without speaking to a real estate agent first.

Then, they excitedly invite an agent over. They want to list their home and can’t wait for how impressed the agent will be.

And, the agent is impressed!

But, the homeowner is not impressed with the value the agent comes up with. Seems the project wasn’t worth the money spent.

So, the agent becomes the enemy. The agent becomes the scapegoat. The whipping post.

Like they don’t know what they are talking about… or don’t see the value… or just want the owner to price it low so they can make a quick sale.

The best things in life are free…

Real estate agents are often villainized for making too much money. Or being pushy. Or out to make a quick buck… (Let’s not even get into those misperceptions here…)

But the reality is, agents are undervalued and underutilized.

To just go ahead and do a home improvement because you think, heard, or read that something is “the best return on investment”, is a huge mistake.

Going the opposite route, and not doing a particular project because some yearly report you found online says that a home improvement only returns 53% of the investment, could be just as big a mistake.

It totally depends on your area. Your home. Your plans.

And a local real estate agent can help you figure out which home improvements will actually add value to your home and be worth the money you spend…for your home, in your area, given your plans.

Yet, way too often, a real estate agent isn’t called until the moment someone wants to put their home on the market… when they could have been, and should have been, called before the project was done. And they would have come out for free.

I will repeat that…

… for free.

So make sure you do this ONE thing…

Simply pick up the phone and call your agent before you do anything, or spend anything on improving your home.

This is undeniably the best thing you can do to get the best return on your home improvement project.

Your agent is going to be the best source for the best advice as to what your best return on investment will be for your situation.

It might be doing your kitchen.

It might be remodeling the bathroom.

It could be as simple as painting. Or a good cleaning. Or decluttering.

No article or report can tell you… and the guy at the bar can’t tell you, either (unless he or she happens to be a local real estate agent and knows your house, your market, and your situation.)

Housewarming Gifts They’ll Actually Use!


Does someone you love need a house warming gift this holiday season? If they closing on their new property in the next few weeks or shortly thereafter, then you want to mark the occasion with a great gift whether it’s a first house or a house for a new chapter in life. Check out the following sites for some great potential gifts they will actually use! Some ideas include personalized ornaments, return address stamps, clever doormats and house planters.

6 Personalized Pieces from Etsy

10 Housewarming Gifts Homeowners Will Actually Use

28 Great Gift Ideas for the Home

For the Wine Lover

Perhaps you want to give a more sentimental gift such as a handmade ornament or cookies. Check out these lists for some inspiration:

DIY Ornaments

66 Best Christmas Cookie Recipes

The Many Values of Neighborhood Associations


The town of Irondequoit recently completed an initiative to create or revive neighborhood associations. Some of the associations have been around for generations, but most of them are newly created. The town has encouraged residents to step forward and get their neighborhood group up and running; 11 new groups were formed over the summer.

The Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP) aims to beautify neighborhoods and create a greater sense of community. The NEP  is funded through the proceeds of a fine levied on the former owner of Medley Center.

Neighborhood Associations are a great way to build up a community. For prospective new residents they can be a great asset and provide the feeling of community that many people desire. Neighbors working together to beautify their community and creating helpful programs such as Neighborhood Watch, garage sales and charity work for local causes enhances the value of that neighborhood in many different ways.

Click on this article to learn more about the benefits of neighborhood associations.

To learn more about the Neighborhood Associations and how to get involved, visit Irondequoit.org. Some groups are already formed and others need to find volunteers to bring the group to life.

Many of the associations have websites and facebook pages. For all info visit Irondequoit.org.



Important Tips for a Successful Sale

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Help Ensure Success When Selling

 *Price Competitively

An agent can do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine the correct list price for your property based on recent sales in your area. The properties should have similar criteria and be in similar shape. Pricing a home competitively from the beginning (instead of starting higher and having to adjust the price later) will create a buzz from prospective buyers and may lead to a quicker sale for a higher dollar amount.

 *Do Repairs Before Listing

It is always better to make repairs prior to listing a property rather than waiting to see if a buyer makes a request as a result of their home inspection. Sellers will almost always leave money on the table if they let a buyer determine how much less to offer on a home based on repairs that need to be made. You wouldn’t pay $5000 to replace some old trim & repaint scuffed walls. But a buyer will calculate the cost of repairs at a much higher rate and proceed to take it off the top when making an offer. When determining which repairs to make, it is good to fix anything where health and safety would be an issue. And, small    repairs can go a long way towards giving your home the finishing touches that impress a buyer. Some examples are: new switch plate covers, new doors, and  new light fixtures.


Buyers have a hard time with cluttered and cramped houses; they become too overwhelmed with the “stuff” and cannot see the size of the rooms or the architectural features. They also have difficulty with empty houses because they don’t show furniture placement and the starkness doesn’t give a warm and inviting feeling. Staging creates a visually appealing room that allows a prospective buyer to envision themselves in the home and to better see it’s potential. There are different degrees of staging and depending on your home you may need more or less. For some it means removing most of the contents of the house– storing furniture and personal affects– to create more space and allow the buyer to see the rooms. If the house is empty, it is a good idea to add in some furniture such as a dining table or chairs and rugs. According to CRS Magazine 67% of seller’s agents believe that staging homes increases the dollar value a buyer is willing to offer.

 *Give Buyers Privacy

It is best to stay away during showings and open houses. Buyer’s like to have privacy to view a home with their Realtor. They may feel uncomfortable about asking questions or making comments with a seller present. It is also a good idea for a seller to have limited contact with a prospective buyer to ensure that they don’t say anything that will compromise their   negotiating power. If a seller reveals anything about their motivations, a buyer can use this when writing an offer and negotiating a deal.  And because the seller is more emotionally invested in the transaction it’s best to leave the communication to the Realtor.

 *Open Mindedness

While a Realtor can help anticipate potential problems that may arise in a sale, they cannot predict everything. A real estate transaction is a very complicated process involving many different parties– buyer, seller, usually 2 Realtors, lawyers, mortgage lender. The real estate market can shift with no warning and buyers and sellers may need to shift with it.  Also, if an offer comes in on your home that is not what you’d hoped for, it’s always best to consider all terms of the offer and make a counter offer instead of turning it down completely. You never know what the other party is willing to agree to.




Seniors Real Estate Specialist


A Seniors Real Estate Specialist can help!

Our clients always want to know what is happening in the real estate market. As part of your financial team it is our

responsibility to keep you informed as to the general and specific real estate market conditions, good or bad.

For most of us our equity may be the most valuable asset we have. Unlike stocks and securities, whose current

value can be determined daily, real estate values are created over a longer time span. We need to regularly

review the recent market sales of similar properties and the trends in the neighborhood to bring your equity value


Most of us love where we live and do not plan on moving. However, if unforeseen circumstances force a decision,

it is important to have a good plan that will protect as much of your equity as is legally possible.

Our services are a wonderful tool to give you the peace and security of having something in place for just such a


An SRES is a REALTOR who has received extensive training in helping 50+ home buyers and sellers. They

understand the decision to move can be difficult and can help you navigate your choices and want to serve as a

resource and guide. An SRES will help you throughout the process from beginning to end making the transaction

less stressful and more successful.


Erica Walther Schlaefer

Associate RE Broker, SRES, CRES


What Do Prospective Buyers Do First?

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When a prospective buyer decides they want to purchase a home, what is the first step they take? The following link reveals the 2016 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends. This data shows what actually happens during the process of someone buying a house vs. what is often portrayed on Reality TV.

Buyers don’t automatically end up at a private showing with a REALTOR. The study shows that 42% of all buyers and 38% of millennials say their first step in the home-buying process is looking for properties online.

For 13% of all prospective buyers and 18% of millennials the first step is seeking out relevant information on the home-buying process on-line. It is after this step that they contact a real estate agent.

Buyers reported taking on average two weeks for the search process before contacting an agent. For millennials, the average was three weeks. This is why open houses are still important; they make it easier for buyers to access the property on their time. They do not want to align with an agent until they feel more acclimated with the process.

Additionally, websites are used throughout the process by 89% of buyers and 93% of millennials. It is important to note that 71% of millennials are specifically using phones or tablets to access data during the process