Getting ready to buy a house

Here’s a compendium of advice for first-time home buyers from HouseLogic, a website produced by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). Even if you are a second or third timer, it couldn’t hurt to review these basic principles. Give me a call (845-532-1204) or email me (marty@ask-marty.com) to discuss buying or selling your house this spring! And check out Ask-Marty.com to search for your next home and for other pearls of real-estate wisdom from yours truly!

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2018 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Should I list my house in the fall or winter? Update.

A year ago I addressed the question “Should I list my house in the fall or winter?” In that post, I examined closings in January, February, and March* — most of which would have been on properties that received offers in November, January, and Fenruary — and concluded that “it seems certain that there’s enough activity in the fall and winter months to stay open for business!

The same conclusion gets only stronger when you look at closings for these three months over the past 4 years:

  • 289 in 2014
  • 317 in 2015
  • 427 in 2016
  • 467 in 2017

Activity during these months has increased every year! Again, it seems clear to me that those who stay busy during the winter months will profit!

And so, I invite sellers who really want to sell — and buyers who really want to meet them — to reach out to me soon.

*Mid-Hudson MLS, single family detached homes.

Thanks for reading. If you are thinking about selling your home, please contact me. I can tell you what I bring to the table as a listing agent, and help you decide when is the right time to list.

When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com.

Because I am a member of THREE MLSs — Mid-Hudson MLS (Dutchess County), Hudson Valley Catskill Region MLS (Ulster County), and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS — you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. The site provides a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Zillow Zestimates in Red Hook, NY

Real estate buyers and sellers often refer to Zillow Zestimates to get a first impression of the value of a property they are considering for sale or purchase. Zillow itself advises that Zestimates should not replace professional appraisals, and that they should be taken only as a starting point to consider a properties value. The problem from my perspective is that first impressions are often very strong. And most consumers do not read the fine print. Instead, the Zestimate takes a privileged space in the deliberations that follow.

These two charts compare the actual sold value of properties to their current Zestimates. The first chart covers sales for one month in the Red Hook Central School District. The second chart covers sales for one year in Linden Acres. Both charts show that the Zestimates are generally much higher than the actual sale price. Occasionally, a Zestimate is too high.

Comparison: Sold price vs. Zestimates – Red Hook Central School District, May/June 2017

The take-away? Expect a Zillow Zestimate to be only an approximation; around Red Hook, probably on the high side. Actual sold prices of comparable properties (Comps) are your best guide to the probable value of a property.

Comparison: Sold price vs. Zestimates – Linden Acres June 2016 – June 2017

Zestimate errors in the School District range from $176,434 to –$9,684, and average $21,690. In Linden Acres, Zestimates were wrong by $73,718 to –$6,935, and averaged $25,475.

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Thanks for reading. If you are thinking about selling your home, please contact me. I can tell you what I bring to the table as a listing agent, and help you decide when is the right time to list.

When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com.

Because I am a member of THREE MLSs — Mid-Hudson MLS (Dutchess County), Hudson Valley Catskill Region MLS (Ulster County), and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS — you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. The site provides a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Should I list my house in the fall or winter?

Whether to list in the “off-season” is a common question.

House for-sale sign in winter.

House for-sale sign in winter.

Whether to list (or re-list) a house in fall or winter is an important question faced by would-be home sellers. On the one hand, they’ve heard that sales activity slows in comparison with spring and summer. They question the effort to keep the driveway cleared and the house presentable when “almost no one” will be coming around. On the other hand, they’ve heard from their real estate agent that properties do, in fact, sell during the slow seasons, and may even benefit from having less competition and more motivated buyers. I can’t deny that showing a house in fall or winter may require some special effort, but I am one of those who does think it’s worth it to get or keep a house listed in the fall and winter.

The numbers say …. LIST!

To support this choice, I examined February and July residential sales in Dutchess County from 2016 back to 2002, as far back as reported in the Mid-Hudson MLS. The chart below shows the results.

Unquestionably, the market slows down in the fall and winter. Closings in February have run on average about 56 percent number of closings in July. Moreover, the percentage of inventory sold is usually higher in July (average 11 percent) than in February (average 8 percent), though the gap between both months in a single year is usually not very large.

But it’s clear, as well, that substantial activity takes place during the fall and winter. February 2016 closings represented $37,416,548 worth of business. And while this July’s total was much higher, the average and median prices were pretty close:

Total sales Average Price Median Price
February 16 $37,416,548 $287,820 $256,000
July 16 $60,065,193 $303,360 $255,000

I’ll chart dollar amounts back to 2002 at another time, but to me it seems certain that there’s enough activity in the fall and winter months to stay open for business!

feb-julsales

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Thanks for reading. If you are thinking about selling your home, please contact me. I can tell you what I bring to the table as a listing agent, and help you decide when is the right time to list.

When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com.

Because I am a member of THREE MLSs — Mid-Hudson MLS (Dutchess County), Hudson Valley Catskill Region MLS (Ulster County), and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS — you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. The site provides a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Appointment-Required Real Estate Listings

I have written before that the use of the word “exclusive” in real estate advertising is usually misleading. While driving past yard signs that included sign riders with the phrase “By Appointment” or “Appointment Only,” it struck me that this phrase is also misleading — and for the same reasons. Upon further consideration, I can see the issue is not so very simple, though the potential to mislead is real..

Why add the appointment phrase to a for-sale sign?

New York State tresspass law states “A person is guilty of trespass when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises.” There are varying levels of violation and penalty, but the bottom line is that unauthorized entry into or onto a property is unlawful entry. Given New York State law then and perhaps to allay seller/owner concerns, a real estate agent may wish to make it clear that although the property is for sale, it is private property, and even potential buyers do not have the right to walk on or in the property without permission. That seems to me to be a legitimate use of a sign or sign rider that indicates that prospective buyers must have an appointment.

Two reasons the appointment phrase on a for-sale sign can be misleading

First, it is misleading to the extent that using the phrase might be seen as an indication that this property listing was somehow different from most others. It’s not, virtually all showings for any for-sale property must be by appointment.

Second, and more importantly, it is misleading because, like all for-sale signs, only the listing broker/agent is identified. I believe that adding the appointment phrase without additional instructions reinforces the idea that prospective buyers must contact the listing agent/broker. That’s a common misperception that’s simply not true, as I have pointed out before.

Best practice

I believe the best practice is to provide as much clarity and detail as possible on the for-sale sign and other advertising. My listing signs have always had words to the effect “for appointment, call any agent” or “call Marty or any agent,” etc. The practice may occasionally cost me a prospective buyer, but it serves us all — buyers, sellers, the public, the profession, and myself — best by virtue of being clear.

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs — Mid-Hudson MLS (Dutchess County), Hudson Valley Catskill Region MLS (Ulster County), and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS — you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Red Hook, NY, Real Estate Sales, 2000-2015

 

The following are sales charts and analysis for the real estate market of the town of Red Hook and for the villages of Red Hook and Tivoli. They cover total number of transactions and dollar amount of those transactions, as well as median and average prices. Figures pertain to single-family detached houses as reported in the Mid-Hudson MLS

Town of Red Hook

Though actual sales activity seems to be returning, analysis of a decade’s worth of sales of single-family detached houses in the Town of Red Hook indicates that the depression of 2007/2008 has left its mark in the form of reduced valuation. The big slide in prices lasted through 2009. Although prices did not return to these low levels, they did drop again slightly from 2014 to 2015. Taking the long view — the dramatic rise and fall of real estate prices between 2000 and 2008 notwithstanding, if you purchased your property in 2000 it is probably worth about 30 percent more now.

I believe buyers are starting to be satisfied that the worst is over as far as declining values are concerned and are hunting for properties that are priced well below what they might have fetched in 2005/2006. This mindset accounts in part for increased activity in 2014 and 2015. Another reason for increased volume is probably pent-up demand. First-time and vacation buyers alike felt priced out of the market when it was high and became afraid of the market when it was sliding downward. As we enter period of relative stability, their confidence is returning, as is their dream of home ownership in our beautiful town and villages.

Another reason for increased volume is probably pent-up demand. First-time and vacation buyers alike felt priced out of the market when it was high and became afraid of the market when it was sliding downward. As we enter period of relative stability, their confidence is returning, as is their dream of home ownership in our beautiful town and villages.

Town of Red Hook, NY Single-Family Sales, year 2000, and then annually 2005-2015.

Town of Red Hook, NY Single-Family Sales, year 2000, and then annually 2005-2015.

Red Hook Village

The real estate market in Red Hook Village paralleled that of the Town, including the increased volume and the price dip of 2015. Average real estate prices run much lower in both villages than in the town generally — not suprising given the relative vintage of most properties inside the villages and the relatively smaller lots. But the villages have their own charms and may well provide an affordable entree into the region.

Village of Red Hook, NY Single-Family Housing Sales, year 2000, then annually from 2005 through 2015

Village of Red Hook, NY Single-Family Housing Sales, year 2000, then annually from 2005 through 2015

Village of Tivoli, NY

In 2011, a Hudson Bluffs property in Tivoli Village sold for over $4-million. Of course, that sort of sale will skew the average for most municipalities in this part of the Hudson Valley. To capture the normal experience of a location, one could argue that such statistical outliers should be deleted, and yet, the fact is that we do have some marvelous luxury properties in our town and their changing ownership is part of our real estate landscape.

Single-Family Home Sales, Tivoli, NY, year 2000, then annually 2005 through 2015

Single-Family Home Sales, Tivoli, NY, year 2000, then annually 2005 through 2015

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs (Mid-Hudson MLS [Dutchess County], Ulster County MLS, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS), you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Negotiating buyer-agency fees

How the buyer agency fee is usually set

This topic of negotiating buyer-agency fees is not discussed as much as negotiating listing-agency fees because buyer-agency fees are usually specified in the listing agreement. Most listings include an offer of cooperation to buyer’s agents. The offer for a specific amount or for a specific percentage of the sale price is made by the listing broker and approved by the seller. The amount is part of the listing contract between the seller and the listing agent.

Why you might want to negotiate

Here in the Hudson Valley and lower Catskill Mountain region, the most frequent offer of cooperation is a specific percentage of the sale price. Occasionally, the offer will be a half percent less and occasionally it will be a half percent more. So, let’s call those typical offers 1 (for less), 2 (for most frequent), and 3 (for more). As a buyer, you might agree that offer 2 is reasonable, but you might take issue when your buyer agent gets 3 or more. After all, those are dollars that are taken out of the sale proceeds — if the seller didn’t have to pay them, he or she might have accepted a bit less. The price range in which you are shopping and the level of service you require might also influence this decision.

How you might negotiate a fee that has already been set

If the buyer is willing to enter into a buyer-agency contract, one part of that agreement could be to set limits on the buyer-agent compensation. Buyer and agent could agree to a specific dollar amount or to a specific percentage. If the buyer-agent compensation is greater than agreed, the difference could be credited to the buyer or the seller at closing and the buyer could bring that many fewer dollars to the closing table.

However, the arrangement can cut both ways — if the buyer-agent compensation is less than agreed, then the buyer will be expected to make up the difference at closing. Remember also, compensation will not be discussed in a vacuum. Your buyer’s agent will grant you compensation limits and the obligation to perform specific duties, but he or she will also have expectations for you that could include your loyalty and cooperation.

If you think you might want to negotiate buyer agency fees, be sure to do that at the same time you ask a buyer agent to show you a property or search for listings. Buyer agency contracts are a good idea — they specify expectations and obligations, including compensation, that are often taken for granted by agents and clients alike.

What usually happens

Partly because buyer agency is often undertaken without a formal contract, most buyer-agents simply accept the offer of cooperation specified with the listing, and their buying clients do not attempt to negotiate that figure. It can be a significant disruption when either buyer or agent attempts to negotiate a figure that has already been specified or that should have been negotiated earlier.

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs (Mid-Hudson MLS [Dutchess County], Ulster County MLS, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS), you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Affordable Homes to Buy in the Hudson Valley and Catskills

NYC Urbanites Are Looking at Properties in the Hudson Valley and Catskills

In “Buying a Second Home First,”New York Times Real Estate writer Michelle Higgins noted recently that many New York City renters who can not afford to purchase in the City are finding homes that they can afford in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, and other nearby regions. If you are reading this post, you are probably already familiar with the region and know its extraordinary features and potential for a high quality of year-round or vacation life. Click on this sentence if you’d like a little inspiration.

Early Fall Scene, Pasture near Burger Hill, Rhinebeck

For Many, the Move Makes Financial Sense

Higgins correctly points out that there is a wide range of properties available — literally something to suit just about any budget or taste within easy commuting distance of New York City. And, as real estate prices in the region remain depressed from their post 2006/7 highs while rental and purchase prices in virtually all parts of the City are zooming upwards, a purchase in the Hudson Valley or Catskills regions just might make good economic sense. Now that the excess value has been purged from all these lovely properties, is a good time to pick up something that will appreciate in value while providing a refuge just a short way from the hustle of the City.

You Can Get There From Here

I love living in the Hudson Valley where the Catskills in my western view create spectacular sunsets almost every evening. My Red Hook home town is a pastoral paradise — home to busy farms and restaurants, and world-class performing arts facilities at Bard College’s Fisher Center. But I go all over the region, crossing the Hudson River weekly, to do business and meet friends from Woodstock, Saugerties, Stone Ridge, Rosendale, and High Falls to Rhinebeck, Staatsburg, Hyde Park, and Germantown, and to the cities of Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and Hudson. Red Hook is centrally located to all of it. It’s an excellent location in which to search for a vacation home or from whence you can explore properties in the entire region.

Buyers and Sellers — Act Now!

Aside from the fact that historically low interest rates must rise sooner or later, the fall is a wonderful time to experience the Hudson Valley and Catskills. Buyers, a well-organized property-shopping trip could include several showings with your buyer’s agent while leaving time to experience some of the region’s favorite activities. Sellers, a nicely maintained property will look all the better surrounded by the glorious colors of fall. Call me to get started or log on to www.Ask-Marty.com to get started.

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs (Mid-Hudson MLS [Dutchess County], Ulster County MLS, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS), you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Historic Red Hook House, Modern Barn & Garage on 3.6 Acres For Sale

Click anywhere on this message to be taken to the property website.

Own the Rockefeller House on Rockefeller Lane in the heart of rural Red Hook in the Hudson Valley. Offered at $475,000.

DSC_0500

Total package offers so much! House is 19th century (possibly 18th century) center-hall two-story farmhouse with 9-foot ceilings, wide board floors and other original details retained. It has been thoroughly upgraded and is currently divided to include a separate complete apartment (access via exterior or center hall). Property includes heated garage, three-level barn (heated 1st level has concrete floor, commercial electric) — all on a pretty setting with 3.6 manicured acres and privacy enjoyable from 2 large decks and classic wide front porch.

This house is on the property purchased from Jacob and Ann TenBroeck by P.I. Rockefeller in 1833. It is identified on several mid-19th-century atlases, and labeled “Pine Grove” belonging to P.I. Rockefeller on the Dutchess County map of 1867 published by Beers. On some copies of the Thompson map of Rhinebeck, which included Upper Red Hook in those days, there is an indication that a house was on this spot — or close to this spot — by 1797-98 when the map was prepared. And there is at least one TenBroek on the Rhinebeck tax rolls for 1799. What a great history project for a Red Hook High School student!

For more detail, contact your own broker/agent or the listing broker:
Maarten Reilingh (Marty)
Licensed Real Estate Broker
Serving Dutchess, Ulster & Columbia Counties
48 E. Market St; Red Hook, NY 12571
www.ask-marty.com
marty@ask-marty.com
845-532-1204 (voice)
720-625-6543 (fax)

For Hudson Valley real estate, try my website on your mobile device

Whether you are actively seeking to purchase a house or just happen to stumble upon a For Sale sign or a neighborhood in the Hudson Valley that inspires your interest, you should know that my Search app will provide details about all the listed properties in any neighborhood in Dutchess, Ulster, Columbia, and Greene Counties.

Try Ask-Marty.com on your mobile device

So long as you are looking in Dutchess, Ulster, Columbia, and Greene Counties, you can use my website’s Search Feature on your mobile device. 1) Go to Ask-Marty.com on your phone or pad. 2) Bookmark the page. 3) Place the bookmark alongside the App icons on your device. Then, when you drive by a place that interests, simply hit the bookmark icon. After the page loads, hit the Find Me button and the map will center right where you are. So long as the property you are looking at is listed in any regional MLS, it should appear right at the center of your map.

Ready for more detail?

Once you have the price and other listing details, if you want more information or to visit any property you find, then you can call on me or on an agent with whom you are already working. Using my webpage does not obligate you to use me as your agent; you are supporting me, which I appreciate, simply by using my system. (Click here to see why I encourage you to call someone other than the listing agent — even if the listing agent is me!)

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs (Mid-Hudson MLS [Dutchess County], Ulster County MLS, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS), you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Maarten Reilingh (Marty)
Licensed Real Estate Broker
Serving Dutchess, Ulster & Columbia Counties
48 E. Market St; Red Hook, NY 12571
www.ask-marty.com
marty@ask-marty.com
845-532-1204 (voice)
720-625-6543 (fax)