Archive for January, 2010

10 Year Stats Summary- Sold and Median

Friday, January 15th, 2010

GRAR® December 2009 Residential Statistics

Friday, January 15th, 2010

GRAR® 4th Quarter Residential Statistics

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Fourth Quarter statistics released by the Genesee Region Real Estate Information Services (GENRIS), the information subsidiary of the Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS® (GRAR) reveal relatively stable growth within the local housing market in the 11county region.

Overall, transactions for the Fourth Quarter 2009 showed a 22.9% increase over Fourth Quarter 2008, with 3,081 homes sold. The overall median sale price of $113,500 reflected a 1.3 percent decrease compared to last year at this time, which is most likely due to the influx of first-time homebuyers who wanted to take advantage of the $8,000 extended tax credit. Pending sales in the Fourth Quarter were down slightly at 4.6% over Fourth Quarter 2008 and decreased 44.5% over Third Quarter 2009. The number of homes listed was up 1.3% over Fourth Quarter 2008.

“We are very pleased with the results we have seen for the Fourth Quarter,” stated Carolyn Stiffler, president of the Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors. “Typically, in any given year, there is a decrease in activity between October through March because people tend to hold off selling or purchasing their homes until spring. As a result, we are not surprised that the overall numbers are down compared to Third Quarter 2009. What is more noteworthy is the increase in sales over Fourth Quarter 2008.”

Typically, the Fourth and First Quarters tend to reflect a slowdown in the real estate market. Resurgence in sales is usually seen toward the beginning of the Second Quarter, which signals the start of the spring market.

GRAR Officials also noted that sales for the month of December 2009 were up 18.6% in comparison to December 2008. Overall, sales for 2009 decreased 1.38% in comparison to 2008, which reflected a relatively flat market. Considering the drastic turndown in the national economy, which began at the end of 2008 and continued in 2009, GRAR considers this year a resounding success.

“The bottom line is that we finished the year strong,” remarked Ryan Tucholski, chief executive officer of the Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS®. “There are not many other cities across the country that can make that same claim.”

Tucholoski added that Rochester has a national reputation for possessing and sustaining a relatively affordable housing market. “For many individuals, homeownership is a part of the American Dream and maintaining and sustaining home affordability is critical to helping people realize their dream.”

The biggest news this quarter was the extension of the $8,000 First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit, which was initially scheduled to expire on November 30, 2009. The new legislation also includes current homeowners who are selling their home and who may be eligible to receive a $6,500 tax credit for the purchase of another principal residence. In order to qualify, homeowners must have used the home sold as a principal residence, consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years. There are additional eligibility requirements that apply for first-time homebuyers and current homeowners. Both must have a written binding contract to purchase by April 30, 2010, which is when the tax credit expires. The purchaser will have until July 1, 2010 to close.

“The extension of the First-time Homebuyers Tax Credit and expansion of the program to include current homeowners was very critical to maintaining the momentum we had going into the Fourth Quarter,” said Tucholski. “We are hoping and anticipate that this will result in a very strong spring market.”

Other good news included the city of Rochester, which realized a 28% increase in homes sold compared to Fourth Quarter 2008. The median price of homes in the city remained flat. There were several towns within Monroe County that also enjoyed sales gains over Fourth Quarter 2008. They include: Gates, Greece, Wheatland (Mumford Village, Scottsville Village), Henrietta, Irondequoit, Perinton, Pittsford, and Webster. Out of the total of 20 towns and villages listed in Monroe County, 10 saw an increase in the median sales price.

GRAR will continue to support the local residential real estate industry through its Time 2 Buy marketing campaign, which focuses on the benefits of owning a home and using the services of a REALTOR® when buying and selling a home.

History of GRAR

Friday, January 15th, 2010

The year 1900 marked the opening of a new era, one of change. The expanding economy brought fresh opportunities in all business. Real Estate transactions had become one of them.

The rapid increase in values and taxes awakened a group of Rochester citizens to rising problems affecting real property ownership. It was at that time that a few serious-minded men who either owned or represented those who had vested interest in property, were determined to keep taxes within reasonable limits, and vigilantly follow all legislation that might become detrimental to real estate ownership.

Since 95% of tax revenues were derived from real property tax levies, government spending of these monies was of prime importance. These gentlemen formed a voluntary membership group, “The Real Estate Protective Association.” It functioned successfully for more than six years until the 1907 depression. By 1910, the real estate business began to improve. Newcomers to the vocation envisioned the future possibilities of it becoming a full livelihood. They invited to membership individuals whom they deemed qualified by integrity, good character, and honorable principles in business. October 6, 1910, the chosen few met together and adopted their name: “The Real Estate Board of Rochester”, and their chairman, W.H. Emery, was elected president.

In October 1960, when the fiftieth anniversary of the then “Real Estate Board of Rochester, N.Y., Inc.” was celebrated, these words were read: “The 2 foundation for a greater and more beautiful city is set firmly. There is no turning back. The REALTORS® of 1960 are young, and they too have their visions for the future.”

By 1989, the marketing of real property had expanded to several counties outside of Monroe County, and the name adopted in 1910, seemed no longer appropriate. It was then changed to the “Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS®, Inc.”

Today, the mission of the Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS® is to provide resources and education, promote professionalism and position our members for success. We support our community through political advocacy of real property rights and by supporting charitable programs to enhance homeownership opportunities.

GRAR will recognize its 100th anniversary with a year-long Centennial celebration in 2010.

New Home Sales Better than Most Areas

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Homebuilders in the Rochester region are slowly seeing building permits stabilize and consumer confidence return to the steady regional market.

The three county regions of Monroe, Ontario, and Wayne have experienced a decline in new home building permits. Monroe County was down 15% with 672 permits compared to 795 in 2008. Ontario County was also down 25% with 232 permits compared to 308 in 2008 and Wayne County was down 19% with 77 permits compared to 95 in 2008.

“The Rochester market continues to out perform other areas of similar demographics to our area,” said Dawn Aprile, 2009 Chairman of the Rochester Home Builders’ Association and President of Premium Development Corporation. “Consumer confidence has stabilized the market as local home buyers realized how stable our market really is.” Aprile added. Rochester has been referred to as the “Steady Eddie” of the new home building industry.

The newly expanded tax credit has helped move the lower end of the market, allowing purchasers to move into the new home market. With the new credit, over 70% of potential home buyers are qualified for some type of tax credit. In New York State, a new Green Building Incentive Program will add more incentives in 2010.Purchasers may be eligible for and additional $5125.00 the new program.

Local builders remain confident. Most believe that we have ‘bottomed out’, and little by little traffic in model homes has increased, meaning new home permits should be on the rise in 2010.

What You Should Know About Post-Contract Activities

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Getting a signed contract when selling your home is a great accomplishment, but that is only half the journey. The typical home sale today involves more than 20 steps after the initial contract is accepted to complete the transaction.

Much of what needs to be done before the closing is the responsibility of appraisers, loan processors, attorneys, and inspectors. The REALTOR®’s role is to help coordinate those responsibilities, helping to ensure that others do their jobs promptly and correctly and that the closing is not jeopardized.

Many steps between contract ratification and closing involve the cooperation of both buyer and seller. Attentive REALTORS® on both sides of the transaction will troubleshoot and keep everyone on track.

The following is Home Selling from A to C (Acceptance to Closing):

Top Tips to Time Management

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

It’s a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.  ~J.K. Rowling, “The Hungarian Horntail,” Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000

Does this ring true for you? Real Estate Agents are challenged in dealing with time.  Prospecting, Marketing, Service, E-mails, Phone Calls, Appointments, Paperwork, the list go on and on.  Here are top tips to help you manage your time better.

Schedule chunks instead of activities. Schedule a chunk of time each day to make and return calls, a chunk of time one day a week to do all of your web update work.
Chunk your service, your ad writing, and your marketing.  Here is the rule.  If you spend a total of more than thirty minutes per week on an activity, schedule a chunk of time on specific days every week for that activity.

Priority Days. For one hour at the beginning of each day focus on the following priorities.  In our Daily Coaching Program Mondays and Tuesdays are prospecting days.  Wednesdays are marketing, web, print, mail etc.  Thursdays are for service to listed Sellers and pending Clients.  Fridays are for planning, what we call a leadership day.  This structure manages your time, organizes your activities and leverages the opportunity to take big chunks of time or full days off on the weekend with more peace of mind and confidence.

Emotional Fitness. We all have a pre-work dance.  That is, activities that we love to do right before we are going to get to work.  Get coffee.  Check e-mails, Twitter, Active Rain, etc.  Play solitaire.  Clear your desk.  So, become conscious of your pre-work dance and work to break the cycle of unproductive time.  Just as you are about to “dance,” pause.   Sit up straight or stand up.  Smile, even laugh at yourself because you know what you would normally do.  But this time, picture how your day is going to go.  Picture what you want to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it immediately.  And get back into action.  No one thing can make you more productive than interrupting your pre-work dance and getting back into action more quickly.

Prioritize your activities and phone calls.  Always, do the toughest ones first.  Do the one thing that you have been procrastinating over, first.  That thing often holds you back, slows you down, damages your motivation, your focus, even your confidence.  Make the tough phone calls first.  Tackle the tough job first.  They are often not as tough as anticipated.  But they get tougher as you delay them, don’t they?

Action motivates. If you’re feeling a little bit lazy but you know you have things to accomplish, action motivates.  Get yourself off the couch, off the chair, take the first step, make the first call, respond to that tough e-mail, or get in the car.  Take the first action.  Action motivates.

Use the 4 D method for prioritizing paperwork.

Do it immediately if it can be done in 20 seconds or less.

Delegate it if you can hand it off to somebody else.

Delay it if you are not going to do it right now.  Schedule a time in your calendar to get back to it.  It may be delayed to one of the time chunks mentioned above.

Dump it.  It is best to do this one more than the others.

Cluster your activities.  Cluster all the things needed to be done at your office.  Cluster your travel.  Take a few minutes, literally, just 2 or 3 minutes at the beginning of the day and before you walk out the door to look at your calendar.  Perhaps you will have to make a phone call or two to rearrange your schedule.  Maybe you will ask someone else to be available sooner or later.  Do that.  So that your use of time makes more sense.  As you commit to this it becomes habitual.  In addition to saving a tremendous amount of time clustering your activities can relieve a lot of pressure, provide a wonderful sense of self-control, and give you the freedom and the opportunity for greater success.

Just say no. Oooh, this one is very hard for some people.  If it is hard for you then simply learn to apologize profusely… and then say no.  Try these scripts.  “Wow, I really want to do that for you.  And I really would.  Only it is killing me to put other people’s requests above my priorities.  So, I am really, really sorry… but, no.”

Schedule time off. Give yourself permission to do nothing or do something you love to do.  Even just sit in front of the TV.  Read a book.  Lay in the sun.  Go for a walk.  Exercise.  Spend time with family.  Sleep in late.  Give yourself permission to do nothing.  You need that time.  You need that energy.  Giving yourself this permission sends a strong message to your subconscious that you are in control of your time.  This adds power to all of the other ideas above.  Cross off one day each week, a half day, an evening, when you schedule absolutely nothing or something you love to do and make that personal time a must, an absolute priority.  If necessary, arrange to have someone handle calls for you or check your emails. This time will truly make you more effective when you are working.

There are tons of systems, tools, and philosophies for managing time.  These are the foundation, a few of the best ideas for addressing an Agent’s biggest complaint.

Choosing a Reputable Contractor

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Remodeling is a process many people are not familiar with until it becomes time to have work done on their home. And even then, there’s a lot to learn about, like which products to use and what procedures best meet individual needs. Therefore, it’s vital to know that you can rely on the contractor you choose to give you good advice about those products and procedures that may be new to you. The key is to find the right contractor for your job so that your project doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

That’s why the Better Contractors Bureau wants to help you in your selection process of the contractor you may be hiring and offers the following checklist. The checklist is designed to help you evaluate the reliability, reputation and experience of contractors you are contemplating to call for an estimate, as well as their dedication to providing you with the best job possible.

A top-notch, professional contractor will be only too happy to supply you with answers to these questions. And, just as it makes good business sense to get three bids on your project, it also makes good sense to ask several different contractors these questions.

“We’ve also outlined some important points to consider as you evaluate the terms of your proposed job contract. Being confident you’ve selected the right contractor will help assure that you get a quality job and that your hard-earned money is wisely spent”, says BCB Executive Director, Carmen Santora.

Evaluating the Contractor

The Better Contractors Bureau suggests that you evaluate your contractor as carefully as you would a doctor or lawyer. It is certain that you will want a contractor who employs capable applicators to complete your project. It is also clear that you will need to look closely at the proposal offered, the products selected and the price/value of the entire package.

But what criteria can you use to decide if the contractor is a true professional who will stand behind his work? While there is not a single, clear-cut answer, there are a number of indicators that you can look for when going through the evaluation process.

Allow yourself an hour, more or less, to sit down with each contractor. You might be speaking with a salesperson or even the owner. Both of you need time to ask questions regarding time schedules, payments, etc. Good contractors take pride in their work, and so should the salesperson representing the company. The sales person should be confident, look professional and be knowledgeable about the products they are trying to sell you.

Checklist to help you select your final contractor—

  1. What is the full name and address of the company? (Do not accept P.O. Box numbers as an Address)!
  1. Does the Contractor have proper liability and workmen’s comp insurance coverage in case of an accident? (Have the contractor show proof)!
  1. How long has the company been in business and have you checked his reputation with the BCB?
  2. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?
  3. What is the company’s product and workmanship warranty?
  4. Does the contractor’s contract meet the requirements of Article 36A of NYS business law?( It must contain your 72 hour right to rescind, that any money given as a down payment or draw must go into a contractor’s escrow account, a start and finish date, specifications and payment schedule among other pertinent information)
  5. Is the contractor a member of the Better Contractors Bureau or other organization? If not ask why not? (The BCB is a non-profit consumer protection agency whose goal is to “Protect & Inform” the consumer and Eliminate the unscrupulous contractors in the area).
  6. Does the contractor bad-mouth his competitors? If so don’t select him!
  7. Does the contractor do the work himself or sub-contract? (Many reputable contractors sub contract their work and there is nothing wrong with it, however you should be made aware of it beforehand)
  8. Are you being high- pressured into signing a contract immediately?

The BCB has provided the checklist to help you in selecting a reputable contractor. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to call the Better Contractors Bureau office at 585-338-3600 and we will be happy to try and answer them for you or go to the BCB web site at

Addressing Ice Damming

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

The snow season is here and the Better Contractors Bureau is receiving many calls from people complaining about leaking roofs. Most are not aware of what causes leaks in the winter and usually attribute it to a poor new roof installation.

“Unfortunately, we have to tell people that the problem they are having is usually not due to an improper roofing installation, but rather from improper ventilation and insulation in their attics,” says Carmen Santora, Executive Director of the Better Contractors Bureau.

Heat loss is one of the major causes of ice back-up and snow damming. When attics are not insulated properly and there are either not enough or no roof vents or soffit vents, heat will heat the ceilings causing the attic to warm up allowing the heat to travel up the roof and the combination of heat and snow causes ice to form. Gutters eventually become clogged with ice, forcing water farther up the roof edges. After the ice backup goes beyond the ice and water shield (usually 3’ from the roof edge) the ice starts to melt and leaks inside the house.

Consumers experiencing ice back-up or snow damming should first hire an experienced contractor who is insured to remove the ice or snow from the gutters and roof edges and then have the problem addressed properly when weather permits. He recommends having an experienced roofing contractor install ice and water shield at least six feet up from the exterior wall edge and in all valleys. He does not recommend just putting a new roof over the old one, as there will be no proper way to install the ice and water shield as recommended, as it should be directly cemented down to the roof sheating.

Before any new roof work is done proper insulation and venting should be addressed, as if not ice damming will continue. For roofing contractors experienced in ice damming prevention call the BCB at 338-3600 or go to the BCB website at