Archive for May, 2011

Lana Torre Talks Porches on PSR – Listen NOW!

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Join House & Coyne as they welcome Lana Torre from Evergreen Interiors. Lana brings her unique style to the show and talks about the re-birth of the front porch!

Property Source Radio with Steve Hausmann and Pat Coyne is every Saturday on Sportsradio 950AM ESPN. Listen to this show now.

Homebuilding continues slowly in long winter months

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Local home builders are seeing more traffic in their model homes; however consumers are not yet completing the purchase contract.

“There has been an increase in activity the last month or so despite the cold weather.” said Dan Viola, President of Viola Homes in Penfield and 2011 Chairman of the Rochester Home Builders’ Association. “Part of it is the normal spring market; however the poor cold weather has not inspired the “real” buyers in the marketplace yet.” Viola added.

The Rochester Home Builders’ Association reported a decrease in building permits the first quarter of 2011 compared to 2010. Decreases in Monroe and Wayne County were somewhat explained by a surge of building permits in December due to the changes in a new NYS Energy Code and NYS Electrical Code.

“A new code went into effect in January, so a number of builders took out permits prior to the new code to save their buyers money.” said Rick Herman, Chief Executive Officer of the Rochester Home Builders’ Association. “December 2010 was double that of “normal” Decembers due to the new and more expensive NYS code.” Herman said.

“Many of the builders in our area are still optimistic and looking forward to an increase in homebuilding the second quarter. When looking around the country, we are fortunate that we have been able to maintain the permits we have. Rochester is a very stable real estate market, but we will always have these bumps. ” said Viola.

Patio Play

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

We all have it ! It is one huge case of spring fever. We can’t wait to visit our favorite flower growers. We are excited about power washing the deck and patio, until we uncover our old and mildewy patio furniture.

Think new. There are endless choices in affordable and tasteful outdoor furniture. From tables and chairs to umbrellas and chaises, we can design a new space for your outdoor leisure and entertaining.

Look for resin furniture. It appears to be wicker at first, but this new resin is very outdoor friendly. This furniture cleans quickly with water and soap, and does not hold stains from fallen leaves. Teak furniture is a bit more expensive, but it is ‘green’, renewable and plantation grown. You may have to oil your teak every few years, but as in the case of any natural product, the older it becomes, the more beautiful the patina. Rustproof aluminum is a great choice for a more formal outdoor space. Choose clean and simple designs in powder coated bronze. Chairs, ottomans, coffee tables and sofas can be arranged on the patio to mimic the family room.

After you have selected your base material, the fun part begins. Fabric selection. There are materials made for cushions and pillows that are truly outdoor fabrics. They will not fade or stain and are made of a polyester base. You may know one by the brand name ‘sunbrella’, but there are many more. Available in solids, stripes and many prints from florals to sailboats,.. The choices are endless. You can easily find cushions and pillows made to size on line, as well as furniture covers.

Under your new furniture is the perfect place to use an outdoor rug. These rugs look and feel like wool or cotton. They can be easily hosed down if you should spill your Bloody Mary.

Choose an umbrella. There are new designs that have a  freestanding weighted base, so you can move them around the patio, forgetting the table.

And the cardinal rule?? Always remember to accessorize. Purchase lights that can hang from your umbrella. Place votive candles in mason jars filled with sand and hang with strings from the spokes of the umbrella . Use candle lanterns everywhere. If you are hesitant to use real candles, use the imposters, they can even fool a trained designer

[ who me ? ] Pot up flowers and place them in strategic locations. I always like using one color, so go all red or all pink, and prettiest of all is all white with light green foliage.

Whew ! We are done. So grab your favorite catalog, Better Homes and Gardens, and the latest Property Source. Pare up celery sticks or long thin slices of pepperoni and make a savory pitcher of Bloody Mary’s. Shake off your flip flops and oh so enjoy your beautiful, newly decorated patio.

GRAR® Releases 1st Quarter Residential Housing Statistics & Analsis

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

First Quarter statistics released by the Genesee Region Real Estate Information Services (GENRIS), the information subsidiary of the Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS® (GRAR), reflect the consistent trend of a stable appreciation in home values within the local housing market in the 11-county region.

The median sale price for the First Quarter of $114,900 reflected a 1.7 percent increase compared to last year at this time. Transactions for the First Quarter 2011 showed a 9.3 percent decrease over First Quarter 2010, with 1,634 homes sold, which is most likely due to a more traditional First Quarter this year matched against one spurred by the Federal Homebuyer Tax Credit last year. The number of homes listed was down significantly, 24.5 percent over First Quarter 2010.

“Despite the 9 percent decline in transactions this quarter when compared to same time last year, I am very optimistic of where our market is currently coming off the Tax Credit,” stated Carolyn Stiffler, president of the GRAR Board of Directors. “While we were wondering how much influence the Tax Credit would have on buyers, looking at this past quarter’s inventory, it is abundantly clear that people looking to sell took advantage of listing their home in the closing months of the Credit.”

“Prices have shown growth from 2009, and are at realistic and sustainable levels. Our market remains very affordable and favorable for qualified buyers, aided by low mortgage rates,” said Ryan Tucholski, chief executive officer of the GRAR. “Locally, REALTORS® remain optimistic about the 2011 housing market, especially if both consumer confidence in the economy and access to mortgages for those with good credit improve.”

There were several towns within the region that experienced sales gains this past quarter from the same time a year ago, they include: Gates, Hamlin, Henrietta, Ogden (Spencerport Village), Perinton (Fairport Village) and Pittsford (Pittsford Village). Also, the Town of Victor in Ontario County realized increases in both number of sales and in home values over the same timeframe.

GRAR will continue to support the local residential real estate industry by focusing on the benefits of owning a home and using the services of a REALTOR® when buying and selling a home.

Money Making Open Houses

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

First Things First

The majority of open house Guests are Buyers. There are some neighbors and others. Those open house Guests that are Buyers come in the door already loyal to another Agent..or not. We completely respect those that are committed to another Agent.

A listing Agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the Seller. An Agent holding an open house that is not their listing does not have the same fiduciary responsibility. Either way, to be fair to the Seller, the Agent must determine whether the Guest is interested in the house. This is as simple as asking, “Does this house interest you?” Or, “I promised the Sellers to ask each Guest whether you are interested in the house.  Are you?”

Give Them What They Want

The Guests want to be comfortable and they want information. Greet each Guest with a gracious smile. Welcome them to the house. Offer to answer all their questions. Provide them with more information than they were expecting. On the dining room or kitchen table provide information on the community, and the neighborhood, a fully filled out sample purchase offer and addendums, financing recommendations with advantages of each, and detailed closing cost estimates.Have printouts or preselected switch properties on your laptop that are in the same geographic area, same price range, same size or same style. These are properties that the Guests are likely to be interested in if they showed up at this open.

Ask Questions That Interest Them

As Buyers there are only a few reasons they chose that open house; location, price, size, or a particular feature. So, ask, “This house is in Brighton. Are you looking exclusively in Brighton or also in Penfield, Pittsford and the other eastern suburbs?” Or, “This one is $279,900 is that your price range or are you looking higher or lower than that?” Or, “This one is 2,500 square feet with four bedrooms and three baths may I ask is that the size home you were looking for or did you want something larger or smaller than that? Or, “This one is adjacent to the golf course. Were you looking for a property on a golf course or did you just like this location?”

You will immediately discover those Guests that are loyal to other Agents because they will identify themselves as such. The unattached or loosely attached Buyers will answer you.  They will immediately begin to like you and trust you; because you are asking questions that interest them. These questions demonstrate that you know about other properties that have similar characteristics which mean you can help them. If they answer one of the above questions, follow with the others, taking time to listen, and ask more details if appropriate.

Show Sincere Interest

Then ask, “Why don’t you tell me all the things you would like in a house and I’ll make a note.” Once they have answered the questions above about location, price, and size they will answer this question.  Their trust toward you deepens. Loyalty is yours as long as you continue to show truly, sincere interest in them and what they want to accomplish.

Offer Education and Information

Ask if they have reviewed the current paperwork that is used to buy a home in the area. “Has anyone given you a copy of the contract that you will sign to purchase a home so that you can become familiar with it? I like for people to be familiar with it before you are in the middle of making a $200,000 decision.”

“Are you familiar with the variety of inspections you might want to choose for homes in this area and the roles of the attorneys and other professionals involved in making sure things go well?”

“May I suggest that we get together? I don’t bite. I promise. I’ll go over all of that with you. Give you copies and other information that will protect your interests and make the process enjoyable. No obligation, if we hit it off, and it looks like we will, I’ll help you find a great house. If we don’t, you’ll just be better prepared. Would it be best to meet this afternoon after the open house or early next week?”   The words contract, sign, and decision are used purposely in a way that may make the Buyers realize that they need someone that they can trust to protect them.

Go All the Way or Don’t Go At All

Harold is one of hundreds of Agents who have said to me, “Rich, I do something similar to that and it doesn’t work.” Similar doesn’t work. Part of this language and approach will not work. Go all the way. Work with it until you have it all. Be like Jennifer who builds loyalty through the use of this approach and this language exactly the way it is described above. Jennifer said to me, “That is so easy. It is so comfortable for me and for them. It makes so much sense to them that they answer the questions and just naturally evolve into Clients.”

A True Story

One more reason this approach works is because the experience of most Buyers is being abused or ignored in open houses.  A house was open on my street.  The door was open. I walked in. I walked into the living room, the dining room and in the kitchen the Agent holding it open was reading something on the counter with her back to me. I purposely didn’t say anything and headed into the basement.  Came up, she was still reading with her back to me. I walked past her up the stairs, through the bedrooms, came down, and walked out the door. This is such an unprofessional disservice to the Owners, the Guests, and a clear example of why professionalism and good service will make you stand out.

The approach in this article is proven. It works for many reasons. The main reason is that serious Buyers want to work with an Agent that thinks and acts in the way described. Be different simply by being attentive, sincerely interested, and committed to the success of each Guest.

Rich Levin is a Master Coach and Real Agent Productivity Expert.  He resides in the Rochester area and works with Real Estate Professional across North America.  You can hear him live every weekday on his free Daily webinars.  Register at  For coaching information you can contact him at 585-244-2700 or  If you live in the Rochester area or are willing to travel he will meet with you in person.