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®

Search online, but call a local agent first!

Shop local, get better service

To keep more of your commission dollars in the local economy and to get service from an agent who is truly in touch with your local market, you should call a local real estate agent and a local mortgage agent before you connect with any agent or agency that you encounter online.

Non-local offers everywhere

Whether buying or selling, of course you’re going to search for properties and mortgage rates online. And you’re not going to wait to speak to a local agent before you do so. Online brokerages and mortgage companies know this; and they spend large sums of money trying to reach out to you before you contact someone local. As you search, you’ll be bombarded with advertising from real estate and mortgage agents and agencies. But consider, are those agents and agencies truly local? Online real estate and mortgage brands will advertise to you even if they do not have agents anywhere near your town.

Problems with non-local offers

So, what’s the harm in calling these advertisers to see what they have to offer? Here’s the answer. Once someone has your name, they will offer to put you in touch with their own agents or with agents to whom they are selling leads. Either way, once those agents become your agent, a part of your commission dollars is earmarked for the referring company — which in our region, means far, far away. It’s just one more way that corporations are draining money from local economies — it’s literally part of their business plans and it’s a pervasive aspect of the real estate trade. And you still don’t know if the referring company put you in touch with the best agent for your needs.

Action — call a local real estate and mortgage agent directly

Online searching of homes and mortgages is here to stay, and for the most part, it’s a great benefit to buyers and sellers — and their agents — to have all those listings and rates at our fingertips. Especially if you are buying or selling close to where you live, do consider calling your local agent directly before reaching out to the national brand. If you do call them, and if they offer to put you in touch with a local professional, consider saying “No thanks,” and  call a local pro directly.

Full disclosure

I know referrals work because I do accept them. If someone has given permission to a major lender or broker to refer them to a local agent, I might as well take the referral as see that business go to someone else. But I know that anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of my commission will have to be paid to the referring agency. (I also decline such referrals when I know I can’t help someone, for example someone shopping outside my market area.)

 

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

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

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)

Real Estate Buyers and Listing Agents

A professional real estate broker will always take the time upon initial contact to clarify the issue of agency and insure that the new contact knows the options. (In fact, New York State mandates this procedure and provides an acknowledgement form for prospective buyers and sellers to sign.) Buyers should not be misled by for-sale signs that use the word “exclusive.” Buyers have a right to be represented by their own agent, and in most cases that agent’s fee is already rolled into the asking price. This message is for real estate buyers, and for those who have some influence with buyers.

Who is the listing agent & agency working for?

Imagine you are at an appliance store or an auto dealership. You are greeted by a salesperson who asks if he or she can help you. Do you – for an instant – ever think that person is working for you? Of course, there must be many honest appliance and car salespeople who are truly interested in the satisfaction of their customers, but it pays to be aware of their conflicting interests. The same is true when a prospective home buyer calls upon the listing agent or listing agency in order to see a property. The buyer must know that the listing agent and agency both have fiduciary obligations to the seller. These obligations are legally mandated responsibilities that preclude the listing agent from providing complete loyalty to the interests of the buyer.

Dual agency

Because so many buyers do contact listing brokers and because so many listing brokers are able, willing, and even eager to work directly with buyers, New York State does acknowledge and permit dual agency. Under dual agency both seller and buyer give up the loyalty that they are owed by their agent in order to expedite the process. They also give up certain insider knowledge that the agent may know by virtue of his relationship with the other party. New York State allows such arrangements so long as both buyer and seller have given their informed consent. The New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR) has published this document to assist agents to explain dual agency to their clients. A buyer’s signature on this document would indicate that they (the buyers) understand and agree to dual agency.

Dual agent with designated sales agents

A special status exists for such cases in which a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent work for the same company. Under supervision of their broker and with both parties consent, a dual agent with designated sales agents status allows agents to work for their respective clients. They must take special care to not collude while they are in their office and loyalty remains compromised. NYSAR has also published a document to assist agents to explain dual agent with designated sales agent status to their clients. A buyer’s signature on this document would indicate that they (the buyers) understand and agree to dual agent with designated sales agent status.

Reasons for buyers to use listing agents

Buyers may elect to consult listing agents for various reasons. A listing agent may have a quicker and more comprehensive knowledge of the property than other agents. By calling listing agents directly, buyers can avoid creating long-term relationships before they are ready to do so. Undeniably, quick responses and anonymity are powerful inducements these days.

Better reasons for buyers to use their own buyers agent

I believe it is wise for a buyer to engage the services of a single buyer’s broker. Find an agent that knows the market in which you are interested and let that agent insure that you get to see all the properties that might suit you. There’s no better way to insure that you are making the best possible choice. You’re buying a house, after all, not a candy bar or a pair of shoes! Set about the process in an orderly way and engage a pro to help you.

Also, be aware that when you call a listing broker, you may get short shrift from a listing agent who doubts your interest or a long sales pitch from an agent who wants your business. Agents with many listing, often will steer buyers to their junior colleagues, automatically creating the dual agent with designated sales agent status. If you end up buying a different house from a different agency, the listing agent may yet collect a referral fee from the junior agent.

I do it too!

Go back to the beginning of the previous paragraph. I can’t tell you that I don’t welcome the opportunity to meet a buyer who has interest in one of my listings. Such a person is a potential new neighbor and an ongoing source of referrals. I also can’t tell you that I’ve never given short shrift to a buyer “prospect” — mostly the kind who demands admittance to a property immediately without knowing a thing about it. But I am always scrupulous about a buyer’s right to have his or her own agent — and the ease with which such an agent can be contacted and engaged.

But doing dual agency is extra work. I have to be very careful to give each side full service while treading the loyalty line. And when I do receive inquiries about my listings from a buyer’s agent rather than directly from the buyer, I am free to concentrate on selling the property and to not worry about conflicting loyaties. That is why my for-sale signs say “Contact Marty or any broker.”

How’s the Market? — Conditions at the Start of 2015

It’s been a tough several years in real estate. The pattern of reduced sales and reduced prices is ubiquitous, both locally and nationally. Looking back, we can see the market crested around 2006, stalled for a while, then began its downward plunge through 2007 and 2008. The downward plunge leveled out around 2009, but there has been no great comeback in sales volume or pricing. We still have not returned to the prices of 2005 and 2006. Regional figures for 2013 and 2014 show a glacial market, with 2 or 3 listings for every sale; any signs of a thaw are tentative.

One ignores the market at his or own peril (especially with regard to decisions relating to price), but I think it can be a mistake to let the market be the principal driver of the decision to buy or sell a home. If your circumstances and goals make the sale or purchase of a property desirable now, you should consider acting now. Few of us expected the down market to last as long as it has, and I think that it is still as difficult as ever to predict even the shorter-term future. Buying or selling — there’s no guarantee that you will be able to get a better price next year. Still, understanding how the market is working today can yield certain advantages to buyers and, even in this slow market, to sellers.

In this blog category (How’s the Market?), I will focus on how buyers and sellers can use current market conditions to their advantage. At the same time, I am going to concentrate less than I did last year on weekly variations in market statistics while still describing major trends regionally. For now, let’s not kid ourselves; regionally, I think “glacial” is as good a word as any to describe the market pace. Anyone want to talk to me about how to use that news to their advantage? Please call!

All good wishes,

Marty

I Welcome Your Business & Referrals in 2015

I became a real estate agent in late 2006, encouraged to do so then by the widespread public perception that real estate was a booming business. My little joke around 3 years in was that “I had never known the good times,” but that has long since become a stale line. But I have persevered; I became an independent broker in 2011 and, despite the gloomy face of the real estate market generally, I have just finished my best year ever.*
With this note, I am asking for your consideration or your recommendation. I have shown consistently that I can get the job done — for buyers and sellers — even in this “interesting” market. As we enter 2015, you may well be thinking that this is the year you will buy or sell some property. Perhaps you are thinking of doing both. Or perhaps you know someone who is thinking of buying or selling — maybe a friend from downstate who has been contemplating purchasing a vacation home up here. I’d love to get a call from you, or from someone to whom you’ve mentioned me.
Please check out www-ask-marty.com. If you have the interest, you can set up searches to monitor listings in any part of Dutchess, Ulster, and Columbia Counties. I am one of a very few local brokers/agents who provide access to the listings of three contiguous MLSs — Mid-Hudson, Ulster, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess — on his or her own personal website. At my website, and also at my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AskMarty), you can subscribe and comment on my own market commentaries.
* See related post “How’s the Market? Conditions at the start of 2015”

With thanks — and best wishes to all for a prosperous and healthy new year,

Marty

Single-Family Houses Market in the Red Hook Central School District (Red Hook, NY; Rhinebeck, NY; Tivoli, NY; Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Barrytown, NY; Milan, NY; Clermont, NY)

Houses ARE selling and the market appears to be picking up, but this is still a buyer’s market, as single-family home sales numbers for the first quarter of 2014 for the Red Hook School District show.

On this date, April 21, there are 125 fully-available single-family properties in the Red Hook School District listed for sale in the Mid-Hudson MLS. Another 22 are tied up with accepted offers or contracts. There were 20 closings since January 1, 10 of these were in the last month.

The increased number of closings in the past month is a positive sign. Yet if we divide the number of fully available properties, 125, by the number of closings in the past month, 10, we get a current ABSORPTION RATE of 12.5, which suggests 12.5 months to “absorb” the properties currently on the market. Generally, an absorption rate of 5-7 months is regarded as balanced. A higher rate shows more houses chasing fewer buyers; a lower rate show more buyers chasing fewer houses.

Of course, when you are ready to start browsing homes and land in the Red Hook Central School District, or anywhere else in the Mid-Hudson Valley and lower Catskills Mountains around  Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my website, www.Ask-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!

Thanks for reading,

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)