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.)

 

Beware Real Estate Advertising Statistics

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted a note that showed how numbers could be manipulated in ways that were truthful but either unhelpful or misleading (or both) when it came to comparing individual real estate agents. Recently, the following advertisement comparing offices in Rhinebeck caught my eye; and I can’t resist discussing it in the same context.

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The ranking and statistics as reported in the advertisement are correct. According to this advertisement, it’s “Good to Know” that a certain office in Rhinebeck had a larger dollar volume of sales than any other. But does that help a prospective house seller or buyer?

Number of Sold Units More Important than Dollar Value

If I were going to sell my house, I’d be less concerned with which office had the most business in dollars. I get that many dollars indicates a high level of activity. And many sales dollars generates many commission dollars. But does that activity benefit the individual seller? In terms of dollars, I might be more interested in how close sale prices were to listing prices.

More than that, however, I’d want to know which office sold the highest percent of its listings, because actually getting my house sold is my highest priority. And so I divided total number of sales by total number of new listings to derive a percentage. Based on that criteria, the Rhinebeck office ranking for 2015 changes quite a bit*:

Rank Office New
Listings
Sales Percent
1 Paul Hallenbeck RE 132 50 39
2 C21 A. Ferri 33 12 36
2 Berkshire 183 65 36
3 J. Ettenson RE 53 18 34
4 Northern Dutchess 72 24 33
5 H.H. Hill 60 13 22
6 Paula Redmond 59 12 20
6 Staley RE 60 12 20

Based on percent of listings sold, Rhinebeck has a different leader. Tied for second and alone in third, are two offices that didn’t even make the dollars list. A third office is added to this group because it is statistically even for the number 6 ranking.

Success Rate of Individual Agents More Important than Office as a Whole

The office that supports your prospective agent is a valid consideration. But does the sheer number of office sales mean that much? I wonder which office contains the most productive individual agents because those agents — or one of them — will be primarily responsible for my listing. In the following table, I divide total new listings and total sales by the number of agents listed for each office in the MLS roster. Then I divide the resulting number of sales per agent by the number of new listings per agent to obtain a rank by percentage:

Rank Office Agents New Listings
Per Agent
Sales Per Agent Percent
1 Fraleigh & Rakow 3 4 2 50
1 G. DiMauro RE 5 4 2 50
2 Northern Dutchess 14 5 2 40
3 Berkshire 22 8 3 38
3 J. Ettenson 7 8 3 38
4 C21 A. Ferri RE 10 3 1 33
5 Paul Hallenbeck RE 9 26 6 23
6 H.H. Hill 4 15 3 20
6 Paula Redmond 4 15 3 20
6 Staley RE 3 20 4 20

Based on this ranking, we now have two new leaders among the Rhinebeck offices, neither of which appeared in the original advertisement or in my first table. Third and fourth spots still belong to two offices that did not make it into the original advertisement.

Focus Numerical Analyses on Individual Agents

Not only do I believe the numbers that reflect actual sales are more important and useful to prospective property sellers and buyers than sheer dollar amounts, I also believe that numbers pertaining to individual agents are more important than numbers pertaining to offices or brands. But even those numbers should be scrutinized, as I showed in last year’s post on Dutchess County sales numbers. To begin, each office is organized in unique ways and contains unique agents.

Imperative to Go Beyond the Numbers

Knowing that statistics can be massaged and manipulated, how does one choose a real estate agent? There are so many considerations — for now, I suggest that you Google “How to choose a real estate agent?’ As you read through the many pages that will come up, jot down the your concerns and the agent characteristics that matter to you most. Then have a conversation with more than one agent before you decide who to use. When presented with statistics always ask, what do these numbers really mean for me as I am considering this individual to help me buy or sell a property?

*Data sourced from Mid-Hudson MLS, the same source used in the advertisement. All fractions and percentages rounded to nearest whole number. Number of agents on roster comes from MLS at the time of writing.

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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

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

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.

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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)

Buying or selling in the Hudson Valley or Catskills? Study the process first!

It’s only natural. If you are thinking about buying or selling real estate in this beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley — or anywhere, really — you are likely to start by looking at houses or land to which you are attracted (if you are a prospective buyer) or that are similar to yours (if you are selling). But buying and selling real estate are complicated activities; that’s just one reason that you engage a real estate broker or agent to assist you. These days, many people are going online to search for homes and to get educated about the real estate buying or selling process. By studying the process, buyers can make preliminary assessments about how much money they will be able to afford and what are the true costs of home purchase and ownership. Knowing these costs can help sellers price their properties realistically. Knowing the process will help sellers anticipate certain actions and expenditures that they may have to take to get their properties to the closing table.

To study how real estate transactions happen and to begin to learn where you should start, check out the My New Home Channel from Chase Bank on YouTube. There are about 55 short videos taking about 90 minutes altogether. I am finding them to be informative, straightforward, and comprehensive — a good place to start.

(I am not recommending Chase Bank for your mortgage, though I commend it for providing this information in such a convenient format. If you are working with me, I will be happy to tell you about the many local and the few non-local mortgage brokers who I know and with whom I have worked.)

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Of course, when you are ready to start browsing homes and land in the Mid-Hudson Valley, 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)

Homes with Catskill Mountains Views For Sale in Rhinebeck and Red Hook New York

Back porch view of farms and Catskill Mountains

Back porch view of farms and Catskill Mountains

If the idea of enjoying a lovely mountain sunset from your own porch appeals to you, let me recommend the towns of Rhinebeck and Red Hook, NY, where we have many homes for sale with delicious Catskill Mountain views to the west. Those fortunate enough to live here, and points nearby, are treated to glorious Catskill sunsets on a daily basis. You don’t have to own such a viewshed to enjoy it. From the Rhinebeck hamlet of Rhinecliff to Red Hook’s Poet’s Walk and Bard College campus, there are dozens of spots from which to catch a Catskill view. For example, it’s just a short walk from my home in Red Hook Village to the Red Hook High School, where I can meditate on the mountains in the distance while enjoying a beautiful track and grounds.

This is the very back porch that belongs to the previous photo. This property is located just north of the Town of Red Hook in southern Columbia County.

This is the very back porch that belongs to the previous photo. This property is located just north of the Town of Red Hook in southern Columbia County.

If owning such a view appeals to you, you will find properties available in a wide range of prices. I recently visited 7030 Route 9, which is listed at $2,350,000. This is a luxurious and private retreat on 30 acres. There is a pair of more modest listings at $369,900 and $335,000 on Rockefeller Lane in Red Hook. All three of these properties, and there are many others, offer excellent Catskill views. NONE of these are MY listings, by the way, but it’s my job as a REALTOR to know the features of my community, as well as the local real-estate market, and I will be happy to show you any home in the region.

Even with limited mobility, people are able to get close to the Hudson and enjoy the Catskill Mountain vista on the other side.

Even with limited mobility, people are able to get close to the Hudson and enjoy the Catskill Mountain vista on the other side.

Contacting a REALTOR in the area in which you wish to shop for a house or any other property is the best way to get good guidance for a property search. The online profile of many properties may seem to suit you, but a knowledgeable agent can confirm or correct your impressions.

This is an actual backyard view from a home located on the northern edge of Red Hook Village.

This is an actual backyard view from a home located on the northern edge of Red Hook Village.

To look online for mid-Hudson Valley properties with Catskill Mountain views, especially in Rhinebeck and Red Hook, I invite you to try the Map search at my website, www.Ask-Marty.com. Enter some basic criteria and then focus the map on the western parts of these townships (next to the Hudson River). When you find properties you like, contact me or any agent based in the region for more information.

One of my favorite view spots is Burger Hill in Rhinebeck. It's a 20-minute climb up a slope that enjoys the protection of Scenic Hudson and the Winnakee Land Trust.

One of my favorite view spots is Burger Hill in Rhinebeck. It’s a 20-minute climb up a slope that enjoys the protection of Scenic Hudson and the Winnakee Land Trust.

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)

Catskill Mountain Sunset over the Hudson River and the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge from Poet's Walk, Red Hook

Catskill Mountain Sunset over the Hudson River and the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge from Poet’s Walk, Red Hook