When Is it Time To Consider Downsizing?

Today, many seniors want to age in their own home, often having been comfortable there for many years. However, there are other things to consider.
Here are five of the most important.

1. When you find you have far more space that you are actually using.
2. Your total total monthly budget that you are spending for housing costs exceeds 30% of your monthly budget.
3. Your repair and maintenance cost are a burden, and you are having to pay others to do some of the work.
4. Your house no longer fits your needs, for example, too many stairs to manage, too much lawn to care for, or maybe your walkway or driveway are too long, which can be a problem in winter.
5. You may want to be closer to family as you age.

It’s never an easy decision to make, however it’s one you should make for yourselves rather than have others make it for you at some later date.
Good luck, in whatever you decide.

-Charles “Chuck” Bartolo

Double Edged Sword.

Our local market continues to adjust. As inflation woes continue to escalate, the federal government will continue to push interest rates higher in an attempt to slow down the ongoing threat. Mortgage rates have now exceeded 7%, while threats to even higher rates loom. We are also seeing inventory of our local residential properties slowing climbing, as fewer buyers are remaining active. We have seen a drop in sales activity from last year, where in the first ten months, 706 residential properties sold, while this year only 566 sold. That’s nearly a 20% drop in total residential properties. While total sales transactions are falling, the median sales prices are rising, again due to limited inventory for those still active in the market. The average days on the market, for those properties priced realistically, thus far this year is only 43 days. If you are thinking of selling, my advice don’t hesitate. The market continues to remain active due to increase demand, so I don’t see any drastic change in the near future. If you are thinking of selling, don’t hesitate. Good luck whether you’re a buyer or seller!

Should A Seller Do A Pre-listing inspection?

Very often Real Estate transactions go smoothly until a home inspection is done. Suddenly issues that even the seller was perhaps unaware of show up. Now the buyer becomes concerned and what was moving along nicely hits a major bump in the road. Buyers seek estimates, sellers tend to push back, and now we are faced with problems. Many a deal has ended at this stage. What if the seller had done a pre-listing inspection? First, they could address any problems and correct them, perhaps at a lower cost than a buyer might want. In addition, these corrections could be used in the agent’s marketing campaign as a selling point. We have found transactions to go far quicker and smoother when this is done. Often Home inspectors will even discount the cost from a regular home inspection. I believe a truly smart move for would-be sellers.

First Time Home Buyer Tips.

As the real estate market continues to shift, it will allow more renters, who are now paying a premium for rent, to seriously consider home ownership.
The first step is to create a plan.
Here are some steps to utilize in your plan.
  1. Start with a savings plan, even having a small amount taken out automatically from your paycheck is a great beginning.
  2. Check you credit score, you are entitled to a free report every year. Check with either Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union.
  3. You can also check with State of NY Mortgage Agency. They offer affordable loans as well as down payment assistance.
  4. Explore other Mortgage options through a local mortgage broker.
  5. If need be, ask family for assistance with a down payment.
  6. Engage a local and experienced buyer’s agent to represent you.
Best of luck in your endeavor to own your first home!

The Tide Is Changing

We have been talking about the possibility of a changing real estate market for quite a while now and we are seeing a once hot market starting to cool off. What has happened is a series of events that continue to challenge all consumers. First, the increase by the Federal Reserve has push interests rates to near 6%, thus forcing many would be buyers to step away from the market. Spiraling higher costs for gas and just about all goods and services is making owning a home substantially more expensive. Many second home buyers, who had been buying homes with profits from their investment portfolios, have had to put the brakes on due to the recent downturn in the stock market. As inventories are starting to increase, and prices softening, this could put buyers in the near future to be in stronger position to get back in.

Buyer Beware

Often buyers will go to look at a house and simply look at the amenities and the setting. It’s reminds me of a car buyer who is drawn to the gleaming shine. Aside from the obvious things to observe, an astute buyer should be looking for signs of deferred property maintenance. If a home owner has neglected basic routine care, then bigger problems may be lurking. To start with, are the grounds well maintained? Are there signs of rooms in need of painting? Do the windows look like they are all in good working order? Is there water in the basement, or cracks in the foundation that could lead to bigger problems later on? Ask your agent to get a list of what maintenance issues the home owner has taken care of in the last year. Remember not to get caught up in the presentation, lift the curtain to get a real peak.

Where is Our Market Headed?

That’s a question I’m often asked, but no one can know for certain. As long as the existing supply of homes for sale remains this historically low while demands continues to surge, then history tells us it should remain a strong seller’s market for at least the foreseeable future. That should continue to drive home prices higher. Unfortunately, the rising interest rates will always be an obstacle for the housing market, especially to those buyers seeking to own their first home. As of May 1, 2022, there are only a total of 152 active residential listings in all of Columbia County. Not very many when you consider that includes every price range.

The Perfect Storm

After a review of the first quarter sales results, it appears we may be headed towards the perfect storm. For example this year, 121 homes sold in our county through our local Multiple Listing service, compared to 168 that sold last year for the same period. First explanation is that existing inventory is at an all time low of only 119 residential home available for sale. The second reason is that interest rates are climbing higher and are getting ever so close to 5%. This is leaving more potential buyers on the sidelines. Home prices are continuing to go higher with the current median price here in Columbia County reaching $437,500. In order to slow down the rate of inflation the Federal Government will resort to continuing to raise interest rates & what generally follows is that demand will decrease, and that could lead to a cooling down of our market. That’s why watching trends is so important.

6 Tips For Home Buyers

  • Get Prequalified For A Mortgage Before You Shop
  • Find An Experienced Agent In The Area That You’re Interested In
  • Don’t Hesitate To Make An Offer Quickly
  • Find Out What Is Most Important To The Seller
  • Limited The Number of Contingencies In In Your Offer, Keep Home Inspection
  • Remain Flexible Should You Need To Negotiate

Where Is Our Market Heading?

This is a question I’m often asked and there are no simple answers as there are many factors that impact all markets. Most impactful is our limited inventory of residential properties. Many would-be sellers continue to question where they would go should they decide to put their homes on the market. Home prices have risen in just about every market in the US. What we are certain of is that there doesn’t appear to be any conditions where we can expect a surge of new properties coming into the market any time soon. I do believe we will see fewer buyers enter the market as mortgage rates continue to move higher. However, for at least the near future, I see the market to remain a strong sellers market.