Where Are We Heading?

With the arrival of the new vaccine, finally, we are seeing some signs that our lives may begin to return to some form of living as we once knew it. The impact of this virus will in some ways change our lives forever. Now living near our place of employment may no longer be the most important reason for us in choosing where we call home.

Affordable housing, more space, and living in less congested surroundings suddenly influences where and how we choose to live.

Lots of folks, who left the city during the height of the pandemic to go to their second homes found that living in the country has had lots of additional benefits. Some have already decided to make these homes their primary homes. Others are continuing to look for homes in the county. Lots of challenges remain, with local availability of residential homes at historically low levels at only 350 currently active on the market. Not knowing what our future will be, owning a home in the country sure sounds like a smart investment, and a safer option, for many of us who wonder what will come next.

-Charles “Chuck” Bartolo

Where Is Our Real Estate Market Heading?

With the current surge in home prices and the median price for a residential property now at the all-time high of $377,000, along with historically low interest rates and current residential inventory hitting the lowest level that I have ever recorded at 291, our market remains a sellers market in the new year. There are however some possibilities with a new administration impact our local Real Estate Market. A looming threat of continuing increases to our national debt could cause increases to our personal taxes. A sluggish economy could also see a reduction in the number of home buyers. What can savvy buyers be doing right now? Get pre-approved early, hire a good agent to do the leg work for you, and when you see a buying opportunity act quickly in order to avoid being put in a bidding war. If your a seller, get your home ready to go on the market now, don’t wait until spring. Price it correctly. Don’t wait, all markets can change very quickly. No market can continue to go up indefinitely. Good luck to all , and may 2021 be far better year for everyone.

Smart Real Estate Moves 2021

With the current surge in home prices this year, the median price for a residential property is now at $333,500. This is far above what most people living here in Columbia County can afford. The result of this is that many first-time home buyers are having to put their plans to buy a home on hold. This will push the demand for rentals to a new level, thus pushing rental prices even higher. Investing in multi-family homes would be a wise move to consider. As mortgage rates remain at historical lows, banks are more willing to finance investment properties which also reduces their risks. Another option to explore if possible, is to live in one of the unit’s for at least one year, thereby being able to qualify for an FHA loan, as an owner occupied property. You also would benefit from the even lower mortgage rates, as well as smaller down payments. Under the right circumstances you may enjoy the additional benefit of living rent free, if there is sufficient income to cover your expenses. Owning Real Estate as part of your portfolio can provide some insulation against the possible uncertainty of the stock market. Good Luck in the new year!

How The Pandemic Impacts Real Estate

People ask “How has the Pandemic changed the way consumers shop for Real Estate?” There is no doubt that the virus has effected all of our lives in so many ways. First and foremost, fear of contracting the virus remains for all of us, our most serious concern. Buyers, Sellers, and Real Estate professionals continue to follow the sound guidelines of the health experts. Fortunately, the internet has become an even greater vital tool for consumers to get all the information that they need as they begin their search. Lately, they have come to rely more on a local agents who can do all their leg work. They can preview potential homes, and make sound suggestions and recommendations. Also, as a result of so many people now being able to work remotely, there is no longer any urgency to live near one’s place of business. More and more people are making major lifestyle changes, including moving to areas like ours. As long as the virus continues to be a real threat, and social unrest becomes a looming concern, it appears to me that these trends will continue well into 2021.

Elections and Real Estate

History tells us that presidential elections can cause all markets to stall and take and a breather. This uncertainty can cause buyers to hesitate when making a decision to purchase a home. When a new president be elected, a “wait and see” attitude could develop. Consumers want to see what policy changes may be put into place that could effect their decisions. Policy changes to tax laws, deductions, credits, and such will often have buyers waiting on the sidelines until those decisions are finalized. The other aspect of this uncertainty is the overall condition of our national and local economy, as well as the pandemic and wether we will see a safe vaccine sometime in 2021. All in all, keep in mind that all markets, including Real Estate, don’t react well to uncertainty, and right now there is a lot we all are not feeling certain about.
Good luck in the days ahead.

All Real Estate Is Local

I’m certain over the years you have heard the expression, “All Real Estate is local”, so what does it really mean? Well, to begin with what goes on in one part of the country or state doesn’t mean it’s happening everywhere else. Look at what has happened to our local market since this terrible pandemic fell upon our shores earlier this year. No one could have predicted just how bad things would become for all of us. So, here we are still struggling to get back to some form of normalcy. What we didn’t realize is that as conditions worsened in the metropolitan area, that folks would rush to the Hudson Valley to escape. Add to that the fact that companies and individuals learned quickly that working remotely was not only possible, but also very productive. What we are seeing is the single largest surge in Real Estate transactions and rising prices. All too common buyers are having to pay above the asking price in order to secure their safe haven. How long will this trend continue? No one can safely predict. As I have been advising many of our seller clients, if you were ever thinking of selling, do it now because there is no telling where this will all end up.

Good Real Estate Agents Don’t Just Sell Houses

Over 95% of all Real Estate transactions in the US involve a Licensed Agent or Broker. Why is that? It’s simply because they are problem solvers and fixers. Like in every other field, they are not all the same. Some are far better than others at what they do, and how they go about doing their jobs. It’s not wise for the consumer to just go online, find a home they like & then call that agent. Instead, once you have decided on the area you’re interested in, do your homework & find the names of that area’s local Real estate experts. The agent or broker you select will become your front line resource. They should have been doing their job in the area for a long time and have a successful track record. They will be your eyes and ears on the ground. You need their expertise, they have the answers, & if not, they know where to go find them. Later, during the buying process, when you run into issues or problems, which most transactions have, they then become your fixer. It’s what they do everyday, so there experience really counts. Making a wise decision right from the start will not only lead to a smoother transaction, but could also save you quite a bit of money.

Happy House Hunting!

A Message From Chuck Bartolo

As you may be aware, our office in Chatham has been temporarily closed for over 3 months due to the pandemic. After implementing the safety guidelines designed by NY State, we are happy to announce our office has reopened in a responsible and limited capacity.

Our primary goal is to ensure that our office is a safe environment for our staff, agents, customers, and clients. In order to maintain social distancing requirements, we have established a limitation on the number of people that will be allowed to work in the office at any given time. Each time our staff and agents enter the office, we will be required to have temperatures taken, and answer a questionnaire regarding potential exposure to the virus.

To all clients and customers who would like to meet with an agent or staff member, please make an appointment directly with that person, or call the office at 518-392-2700. Should you simply need to drop off paperwork, there is a drop box located immediately outside the office door.

In addition anyone entering the office will have to adhere to the following rules.

-Do Not Enter if Sick
-Wear a Mask, & Gloves (we will provide, should you not have your own)
-Take a Temperature Check
-Sign In and Sign Out

If you have any questions, or need contact info for an agent, you can email us at beachbar@beachandbartolo.com, or find a full office directory on our website.

Thank you again for your patience and understanding, and your continued business with Beach & Bartolo, Realtors, Inc.

Tips On Buying A Home As Inventory Drops

The impact of this pandemic crisis has drastically reduced the level of existing residential houses for sale throughout the county. One reason being that many would-be sellers are fearful of having buyers who may be from outside the area come into their homes and unknowingly be carriers of the virus. When you combine that fear with the desire of many people wanting to leave the metropolitan area for a safer environment, the net result is a historical limited number of homes to choose from. We have seen an increase in the number of multiple offers, often just as soon as a property comes on the market. What can buyers do to help protect themselves from this happening? First, start by getting yourself pre- approved for a price range you are comfortable with and can afford. Not just pre-quailfied, there is an important difference. This document indicates you have already gone through the approval process with a lender or mortgage broker. Second, hire your own real estate agent, that can begin the search for a home while you get your paperwork in place. Be sure that your agent knows the market and has the experience in successfully representing buyers. Third, be realistic with your wish list. Include those items you must have from those that you would like, knowing it’s unlikely you can them all. When you do find the right match, you are going to have a true competitive edge as your agent presents your offer, with a pre-approved buyer. Good luck in your search!

Rethinking Where To Live

As a result of the Coronavirus, so much has changed for all Americans. No one could have imagined in such a short period of time how all of our lives would be so dramatically altered. New York State, being the hardest of all states to suffer, with the highest cases and fatalities in the entire nation. Now, as many New Yorkers are rethinking not only where they live, but also how they will live their lives in the future. In the past working remotely was limited to only a small percentage of the working public, out of necessity that has all changed and appears to be an option that both companies and individuals will be adapting to as part of the new workplace landscape. Keeping our love ones safe and secure for the most part never needed our daily attention. That is no longer the case and moves to the top of our priority list. We are experiencing an unusually high number of inquires from families seeking to consider an alternative to living in or around a large city. Some have already secured short term rentals, which will allow them time to look for a permanent home. They are asking for homes that are somewhat private, with perhaps a few acres that are close to some form of public transportation like Amtrak or Metro North. Thus providing easy access back to city, should they need to get back quickly. Their other requirement is good internet access. We are also witnessing buyers making offers on homes that they haven’t actually visited, except through a virtual tour. That pressure, on top of an all ready limited inventory, currently there are less than 400 residential properties active on the market in Columbia County. This is sure to drive home prices higher in the coming months as more buyers compete against each other. Good Luck in making sound decisions for you and your loved ones, and above all stay safe.