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

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

Rhinebeck? Which Rhinebeck are you looking for?

If you are looking for a property in or around Rhinebeck, you’ll want to be aware that there is more than one Rhinebeck because some Rhinebecks might meet your needs and some may not. Here in the Hudson Valley, in northern Dutchess County, Rhinebeck is a village, a town, a school district, and the 12572 postal zone. There are plenty of great reasons buy property in and around “The Jewel of the Hudson Valley.” Just be sure to check the details to get what you are looking for.

The post office for 12572 is located in the village of Rhinebeck and serves the entire village and most of the town, but also serves parts of the towns of Red Hook, Milan, Hyde Park, and Clinton. The Rhinebeck Central School District matches the postal zone pretty closely and extends into the adjacent towns at the same points. Some of the far corners of the Rhinebeck postal and school districts are farther away from Rhinebeck village than points inside adjacent districts such as Staatsburg (12580) and Red Hook (12571). For that matter, Kingston and some areas across the Hudson River are closer to Rhinebeck village than these outlying points.

The hamlet of Rhinecliff has its own post office (12574); located on the Hudson River just one mile west of the village of Rhinebeck, Rhinecliff is also the local Amtrak stop and is the one place where someone can own a home within walking distance of a New York City commute.

You can always check the exact municipality, school and postal district for any property at the county’s online database. Dutchess County properties are at http://geoaccess.co.dutchess.ny.us/parcelaccess/parcelaccess_map.htm and Ulster County properties are at http://gis.co.ulster.ny.us.

Of course, when you are ready to start browsing homes and land in Rhinebeck, 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)

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