Real Estate Leap

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The Ground Hog says spring will arrive early. Of course, he has been wrong before. Remember when a Prosecutor in Butler County, Ohio tried to bring charges again Punxsutawney Phil for a “misrepresentation of spring?” Luckily a Pennsylvania firm came to his aide and the case was thrown out of court.

With this winter’s brevity has come a surging real estate market. The lack of bone-chilling temperatures and knee- high snow drifts has buyers out and ready to get a jump start on their home-buying plans. Sellers are noticing quicker sales at higher prices.

Take a Leap of Real Estate faith during this Leap Year and get your jump-start on the spring market. #realestateleap

Call or email us today for a no-obligation Comparative Market Analysis or Buyer’s Agent Interview today.

erica@waltherrealestate.com or leave a comment below.

585.266-5941

 

 

 

photo credit: : Businessman Running Across StreetID: 221309

Walk the Extra Mile

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The 2015 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey, a national poll of 3,000 adults in the fifty largest metro areas, states that Americans ages 18-34 are 12% more likely to walk than drive. The survey was conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Portland State University. It found that this age group also likes to live within walking distance of shopping and restaurants, more than any other generation.

The Millennial generation may have the higher numbers in this survey, but 48% of the American population overall prefers to live in communities where the yards are smaller and within walking distance of amenities.

Irondequoit is well known for its walkable, well established neighborhoods with beautiful tree-lined streets. The town fits right in with the reports finding. 85% of the participants said that sidewalks are a positive factor when purchasing a home. 79% place importance on being within walking distance of amenities and transportation.

The Irondequoit Mall- Past, Present and Future?

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 Irondequoit Mall Grand Opening – February 27, 1990

Irondequoit  Council- Chamber of Commerce- Irondequoit Sesquicentennial Ball

Officers and Directors- F-L-R back row: Nancy Carlson-VP (Kaleidoscope Toys), Susan Roe (Keenans), Steve Walther-President (Steven G. Walther, Inc. REALTOR), Mary Quinn, Susan Zande-VP (Irond Press)

F-L-R front row: Susan Masters, Fred Lapple-VP (Wilmorite), Mary Kay Rodenhouse (Hidden Treasures)

 

Big news for the former Irondequoit Mall. Angelo Ingrassia who formerly owned Irondequoit Dodge purchased the mall and its adjoining parcels for $100,000. Ingrassia is responsible for developing and revitalizing much of E. Ridge Road including LA Fitness and Depot Plaza. An answer to the long debate of the Mall’s future may be on the horizon.

Practically every Irondequoit resident has hopes for the now-vacant building. For those residents who were part of the Irondequoit Mall’s opening and hey day, it would be wonderful to see something equally as exciting for Irondequoit.

There have been many nostalgic images floating around the internet of the early days of the Irondequoit Mall.

Here are some pictures from the Grand Opening brochure from March of 1990. Do you remember the mall’s slogan?

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It’s New! It’s You! It’s Exciting!

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The following link provides a gallery of pictures of the current condition of the mall. The photos were taken last month.

 

Top 5 Reasons to List Your House in the Winter

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Don’t let the cold temperatures keep you from putting your house on the market. Here are the top 5 reasons to list now:

  1. Low Inventory– Because many sellers are waiting for the weather to warm up, there is a lack of inventory. When the supply is low and the demand is high, it can equal a quicker sale for more money.
  2. Buyers Are Buying– Many first-time-buyers get right out there after the holidays. And for those who are renting, they are looking to purchase a home by the time their lease ends which typically happens mid-year.
  3. Low Interest Rates – Low rates continue to attract more buyers into the marketplace. Analysts are constantly predicting the future economy, whether the rates will rise or fall. However, we can only count on what we know today. People are out there buying homes because they get more bang for the buck. Review current rates at bankrate.com.
  4. Less Exterior Maintenance – No mowing, mulching, gardening and raking. This saves your time and money.
  5. Because Real Estate Happens 12 months a year! – Cycles can predict when more buyers are looking to purchase, but life events are constant and unpredictable and drive home buying and selling decisions.

Navigating the Home Inspection Process

The home inspection serves a couple of purposes in the home-buying process.

  1. It is an opportunity for the buyer to learn about the property they are trying to purchase. They get to spend a couple of hours with a licensed home inspector going from basement to attic and all around the exterior investigating the nuances of that particular house.
  2. The home inspector will help educate the buyer on any repairs that may need to be made. They usually categorize these repairs as either imminent (having to do with safety or severe damage) or alerting the buyer to budget for repairing or replacing something in the near future.

88% of homebuyers have said that home inspections increase their confidence about the condition of any property.

*American Society of Home Inspectors

As a seller, what should you be aware of when it comes to the home inspection-

Before listing the house it is essential to fix any repairs that may be considered a health and safety issue once a buyer does a home inspection. This will save you hassle in the future and help you avoid scaring off nervous first-time buyers. If you have an older furnace or boiler, it is a good idea to have it cleaned and serviced by a reputable company so that the buyer can see that it is in good working order. Big-ticket items such as the roof, windows and HVAC are very important to prospective buyers. They do not want to have to invest a lot of money in repairing or replacing these items.

As a buyer, what should you be aware of when it come to home inspection-

Hire a home inspector with a good reputation. You can even ask your Realtor or mortgage lender for a few names. The home inspectors job is not to alarm a buyer but to educate them. Keep in mind that unless you are buying a brand new house, there are going to be things to repair. No house is perfect. The report may unveil a hidden defect such as a leaky toilet or tub not draining properly. You have two options: either ask the seller to fix these items or ask for a credit at closing to repair them once you move in.

The following is a list of some of the most common issues that home inspections uncover:

  1. Roofing- missing or rotted fascia, inadequate ventilation, curled or missing shingles
  2. Windows- broken sash cords, windows painted shut
  3. Electrical – open junction boxes, double tapped circuit breakers, outlets with reverse polarity
  4. Heating- dirty furnace, blocked chimney
  5. Exterior- improper grading, crumbling masonry
  6. Plumbing- rusted or corroded pipes, leaky sinks or toilets, slow drains

(Source: Inside Job by Gwen Moran crs.com)

ROI- Return on Investment

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When making home improvements, it is always smart to think about Return on Investment (ROI). Homeowners want to increase the value of the property as well as make improvements that suit their needs.

People often ask how much value a new kitchen or bathroom adds to the potential sale price of the house. They also wonder what other improvements such as refinishing hardwood floors, adding a deck or patio or finishing off a basement will do to their property value.

The answer is never a simple one. There are too many variables to consider and each property and neighborhood is different. However, it is safe to say that most buyers today would like to see all of these types of upgrades. Buyers typically do not want to make improvements, but rather find a property that suits their needs right away.

A different aspect of home improvement is what we call deferred maintenance. Upgrading and fixing mechanicals and exterior work is essential to home value and competitiveness in the marketplace. Examples of mechanical maintenance are roof, HVAC, exterior paint or siding, electrical & driveway/steps/sidewalks.

Fixing, improving or replacing any of these items is not cheap but necessary if the homeowner hopes to receive top price for their home. But it is important to understand that keeping up with the maintenance of the property does not necessarily increase it’s value.

Putting in a new driveway does not raise a potential list price, it does not guarantee the seller will receive any more money in their pocket when they go to sell. What it does is helps them to find a buyer more quickly and perhaps receive a better price closer to the actual list price. Again, every property is different, but it is important to understand this when thinking about what improvements to make and when.

I put in a driveway this spring. My previous driveway was in great disrepair and looked terrible. The pictures tells it all.

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Replacing a driveway of this length (and we widened it) was quite expensive but completely necessary on many levels. This project did not increase the value of my property. It did, however, make it  look more appealing and presents the property as being well taken care of. Like many houses mine is a work in progress. It is a good idea to plan a major improvement to a property once a year. And, keep in mind major doesn’t have to mean big dollars. Often times hard work and time can increase the value of a property exponentially- painting every room, putting in organizers and lights in all the closets and landscaping are just a few examples.

As our real estate market continues to recover the biggest lesson of the Great Recession is that real estate is not the investment it once was. Most people are not going to utilize the sale of their residence as part of their retirement. The greatest value comes in quality of life and enjoying your home. Keeping up with maintenance and making improvements big and small will make the home an enjoyable place to live and cut down on the stress of life.

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Pool Safety

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Summer is under way, and if you are lucky you own a pool or know someone who does. Rochester summers are not that long, but they can get pretty hot!

So, now is the time to brush up on pool safety. Backyard pool drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children- kids 5 and under are at the most risk.

The following are some important statistics:

– 300 children under the age of 5 drown in swimming pools each year.

– 69% of those children were not expected to be in or near the pool, but were found drowned or submerged in the water.

– 77% of the accident victims had been missing for 5 minutes or less when they were found in the pool.

The American Red Cross offers advice on pool safety. Click here to read the article.

If you are buying a house with a pool and are new to owning a pool, it is a worthwhile investment to hire a professional to not only inspect the pool and its equipment, but to educate you on how a pool operates and all possible safety measures you can take to keep kids safe such as pool safety covers and pool alarms. Newer technology offers a bigger defense in keeping kids safe around pools.

 

 

*image Cook_FloatingMat

 

 

Top Maintenance Issues to Address

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Before putting your house on the market it is best to take care of certain maintenance issues that would turn off prospective buyers. Taking the extra time to repair and spruce up areas of your home and yard will pay off when it comes time to market your property. Each item a buyer notes that needs to addressed makes them think dollar signs, and that money will come off the top when they sit down to write an offer.

The following links offer advice on some of the most common and most important deferred maintenance issues to address when selling your property:

1) How to fix a sliding glass door.

2) How to replace a threshold

3)How to get rid of rotted wood

4) How to remove ivy from a house

5) How to repair stucco

6)How to revitalize a lawn

7)How to remove roof moss

8)How to clean windows most effectively

9) How to power wash a walkway

10)How to repair vinyl siding

Happy Sprucing!

 

 

*image Traditional Door Detail by Jose Fuente

 

Millennial You

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Life, Love & Work

If you are born between 1980 and 2000, you are the “it” generation. Your numbers have surpassed the Baby Boomer generation by 11 million people. And by 2020 1 in 3 American adults will be a millennial.

So, how does the world impact you and how do you impact the world?

The Millennial generation is the most diverse. Americans ages 18 and 34 are the most racially diverse generation in U.S. history. of Millennial adults are nonwhite, the most of any current or previous generation. This is compared to baby boomers at 72% and Generation X is at 61% white.

You are socially conscious. You are the recycling generation who learned about mans impact on the environment. You also promote and invest in companies and brands that give back to charities and have a social conscious.

Despite high rates of unemployment due to the Great Recession, Millennials are optimistic about the future feeling that America’s best years are yet to come and that their future is bright.

Millennials would rather make $40,000 a year and live a happy, balanced life than $100,000 working 80 hours a week.

Millennials are getting married at a later average age, taking time to find themselves and to pay off debt. Despite waiting to marry, a record number of you are cohabitating. According to Pew Research Center only 22% of Millennials are currently married, compared with 29% of Gen Xers in 1997. In the meantime, cohabitation rate (the portion of adults who are living together without being married) among 18- to 29-year-olds has increased to 9.2% today, from 5.8% in 1997.

Every generation has their generalizations that through research and analyzation seem to ring true for the majority. As a millennial, do you feel this is an accurate description of your generation overall? Your numbers are staggering and your impact on the economy, politics and social change is a phenomenon.

 

*Photo credit “Good News” Andres Rodriguez 

Spring Cleaning Tips

Squirt!

Cleaning a house in preparation of a sale is one of the most important things a seller can do to promote less days on market. Spring cleaning is another way of saying deep cleaning, and when putting a house on the market, “spring cleaning” is always the best way to clean.

After the house has been prepped and put up for sale, it has to remain clean for however long it takes to get under contract. This part can be tricky for those sellers that are still living in their home when it is being shown.

Having the house tidy for last minute showings and keeping up with day to day messes can be difficult when balancing work and life’s responsibilities.

The following tips are from House Logic on how to help keep your house cleaner, longer! To read the entire article click here.

1. Dust Be Gone- you can eliminate dust in the home by adjusting the humidity level.

2. Seal and protect natural stone counter tops.

3. Change out your light bulbs-  “Daylight” bulbs brighten things up by mimicking natural light. This makes the house look brighter and cleaner.

Real Simple Magazine offers short cuts to make your cleaning time more effective. This is quite helpful when a deadline is looming to get your house ready to show.

Here are 5 of their tips. To read the entire article click here.

1. Instead of scrubbing the stovetop it’s faster to soak a cloth in warm, soapy water and lay it over the dirty spot for 10 minutes; then wipe clean.

2. Fast lampshade cleaning- run a lint roller over the inner and outer surfaces, and use a hair dryer to blow dust out of the seams.

3. After cleaning and drying blinds, rub down with a dryer sheet. The residue repels dust so you can get away with cleaning less often.

4. After getting out of the shower, give the glass door and sink a speedy wipe-down ensuring less soap scum to deal with later on.

5. Let disinfectant sit because waiting 10 minutes will make it easier to wipe up the grime.

 

*image by Jason Smith, “Squirt”