Latest Settlement News

Extensive media coverage has highlighted the impending settlement by The National Association of Realtors, leading to confusion among buyers and sellers. The final settlement details will impact real estate agent’s practices, with many states still ironing out the specifics of how to implement these changes.

For sellers, the significant change is that offering compensation to a buyer’s agent will no longer be mandatory. However, it is advisable to heed your agent’s advice on local norms to stay competitive in the market. Commission rates have always been negotiable, contrary to rumors suggesting otherwise.

For buyers, a major change is the requirement to sign an agreement with a buyer’s agent before viewing a property. Only by signing this agreement, which outlines compensation can an agent show you a property.

A preliminary approval was granted on April 24th, with a final hearing set for November 26, 2024. Though court case timelines can be uncertain, the potential approval of these changes is believed to benefit both buyers and sellers.

Your reliable Realtor is the best source for up-to-date information. Armed with accurate knowledge, sound decisions can be made about real estate transactions. For immediate inquiries, feel free to reach out to one of our agents.

NAR Settles Case

There has been widespread media coverage of a recent case settled by The National Association of Realtors. However, much of the information circulating may not be entirely accurate, leading to confusion among consumers.

The settlement is pending court approval, which is expected to happen in the coming months, although the timing of court cases can be unpredictable. If approved as presented, I believe it will ultimately benefit both buyers and sellers.

Rather than discussing the proposed changes now, it is advisable to wait until they are accepted and then assess how they will personally impact you. Your trusted Realtor can provide you with accurate and timely information. With the right knowledge, you can make well-informed decisions regarding any Real Estate transactions.

Our team has been closely monitoring the settlement and is ready to address any questions, so feel free to reach out to any of our agents.

The American Dream

Lately we are hearing that the American dream of owning your own home is no longer a reality. That is simply not true! It however may take a longer time to happen as compared to years ago.

That dream is still alive, providing you write a plan on what you’ll need to do in advance. Many younger people now believe they will never be able to own their own home. Typically, first time home buyers are in their mid- thirties before they are able to afford to buy their first home. Your age doesn’t matter, being prepared does.

Here are some of the steps that should be in your plan. Get your current credit score, if there are two of you, get both, they are available for free online. A credit score of at least 640 is usually sufficient to meet credit requirements. Set up a method tobAmerican Dream of House Ownershipe saving at least 10% of your earnings each pay period, if possible set it up so it is automatic to minimize temptations.

Typically for an FHA loan you’re going to need 2 to 2 1/2 percent of the purchase price for closing cost. So for example on a $500,000 purchase it would be between $10,000 & $11,250. No matter what your current financial situation is, a meeting with an experienced lender or mortgage broker is extremely important, even if you don’t feel even close to being ready. They can help you design your plan and provide you with the additional steps you’ll need to accomplish.

The American Dream is only dead if you stop believing it can happen. Also, another free resource is any one of our professional Realtors. They are ready and availably to help you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to any one them. You can go to the meet the realtors page to read their bio’s and see who might be the best fit for you.

New Year – New Location

Here’s hoping the new year is filled with good health and good times. After 13 years, Beach & Bartolo, Realtors, has a new location.

Our new office is still within the village of Chatham, at 25 Hudson Avenue. The space is large, bright, and airy plus the street level location provides a wall of windows looking out at the historic ChathamNew Location train station building. Parking is also far easier for all our agents and clients. We are very pleased with our new space, and are planning to have an open house in the spring to invite all our customers and clients to visit.

In the mean time feel free to stop by anytime and say hello and have a cup of coffee.

Happy New Year to everyone!


So often, buying, selling, or even renting Real Estate involves some of the biggest and most important decisions we ever have to make in our lives. For many buyers, sellers, and tenants, it can also become some of our most stressful moments. Is there anything we can do to minimize these conditions and concerns? After over thirty six years in this business, I have concluded that there are. It starts like many other tasks we have to take on, plan ahead. Start by writing a set of realistic objectives and expectations. If you are a couple, it’s imperative that each of you have input. Both people being on the same page has proven to be essential later on in the process. Where there are differences, work on a compromise in advance. If you’re a buyer, get your finances in order before even considering to look for a house. Choose a professional experienced mortgage broker as part of your team. Stay away from the attraction of lower rates offered by online loan companies. You will need to communicate with a professional throughout the loan process. Don’t just contact Real Estate Agents at random, whether you are buying or selling, or seeking to rent, do some research, ask for referrals and interview potential agents. You need to hire a professional to lead your team to a successful conclusion. The same standard applies to Real Estate Attorneys, don’t just hire the least expensive one. Surround yourself with a team of the best people and your stress level will be dramatically reduced. Wishing you a Happy & Healthy Holiday season!

Economic Volatility

A word of caution… Can the war in Israel impact our Real Estate market? Historically, wars are not a good time for Real Estate.Typically as oil and gas prices tend to rise, and as consumption increases and often supply chains are disrupted, oil production can drop. As we need to spend more money to support both Israel and Ukraine, we also increase our national debt, and inflation becomes more of a threat to our own economy. If the war were to continue over a prolonged period, we could very well see home prices start to drop. Fear and uncertainty are never good factors in any market. Let us collectively hope that a peaceful and short time solution can bring this war to an end quickly.

The Road Ahead

Many very well respected economists have given their opinions as to what direction the economy is heading and how it will impact the real estate market. Of course, no one knows for certain. As I see it locally, there are a number of different factors that continue to influence us here in Columbia county. Some are positive, while others certainly don’t help. First and foremost is that in any economy, higher interest rates will always be responsible for keeping a large pool of potential buyers on the sidelines, simply because of affordability. The percentage of first time home buyers across the nation continues to fall, especially here in Columbia county, where currently the median selling price for residential property has hit an all time high of $495,000. A figure far out of reach for the bulk of our local buyers. The major reason we are still seeing sales activity in our local market is primarily due to the influx of out of town buyers, many of whom are leaving major metropolitan areas due to the many social problems plaguing big cities. Until the threat of continuing inflation in reduced, the Federal Government has not taken off the table the possibility of increasing interest rates. Until the rates come down, many current home owners do not want to move and lose their lower interest rates on their mortgages. This remains another reason why our current inventory is so low. Also, as we approach a Presidential race in 2024, historically potential second home buyers tend to want to wait to see if there is going to be a change in administrations before electing to buy a second home. In the end uncertainty is never a good thing for any market.

Wishing you all well in the coming months!

Zillow Zestimate

Zillow claims to have a tool on their site, called Zestimates that can provide homeowners a means to determine the current market value of their home. How accurate are the values? In reality, not very accurate at all. Why is that? To begin with, many factors have to be considered to come up with a true value. The data that Zillow relies on comes, for the most part, from local information it gathers from local town records. These records for example tend to not reflect information about upgrades that may have been done by the home owners, which certainly add value. It also takes into account local assessments of the property, again these figures do not take into consideration that they may have been done years ago, and don’t account for the current market conditions. Banks who provide the funding for mortgages, would only rely on independent appraisers who have access to recently sold properties in order to provide the banks with far more accurate data on true market value. You don’t need to hire and pay for an appraisal. A smarter approach for home owners is to connect with a professional agent in the area of your interest, and have them work for you as your agent and advocate. They know the area, properties, and have direct knowledge of the neighborhoods, and current market conditions. They can preform a comparable market analysis, using many of the same techniques and tools used by bank appraisers. This is too big a decision not to have a knowledgeable and professional agent on your team.

Good luck!

-Charles “Chuck” Bartolo

Is An Investment in Real Estate A Good Idea?

People will often ask, “Is this a good time to consider buying investment property?”. Aside from owning your home and perhaps a second home, maybe adding an investment property to your portfolio is worth considering. There are quite a few advantages to do so. Unlike a traditional portfolio, Real Estate is a tangible asset, that is you can actually feel, see & touch it. Typically, you will enjoy long term appreciation, as well as a great hedge against inflation, while also having a steady rental income. If you’re new to being a landlord, there are a number of excellent property managers who can take that part of ownership out of the equation. All though interest rates are high now, they are expected to come down as inflation woes lessen. The demand for housing continues to remain strong, and as a result rental prices have continued to rise. The wealthiest folks throughout history have often attributed the owning of Real Estate investment properties as the very foundation that helped create their wealth. So give it some thought, there are lots of good reasons to do so.

Big Brand Doesn’t Mean Better

It’s often a good idea for anyone considering listing their home or property to interview a few agents. Lately, prospective sellers have been drawn to include big National brand names in this process, thinking that would be a better choice. However it’s important to note, that when it comes to choosing a Real Estate Agency, the individual agent that you select matters far more than a brand’s national coverage.

You, as the potential client, need to trust the agent regardless of the agency that they work for. Personal relationships matter far more than the brand of the agency.

Often agents from these large brand name agencies come from outside your community, and as such are not nearly as familiar with the area as are local agents who live and work nearby. When showing properties to buyers, agents are often asked for local recommendations and resources, so having personal knowledge of the area is a great asset.

Many clients have found that these larger brand name agencies tend not to have the flexibility that a smaller agency will often have. This means the smaller independent agencies are more apt to customize their services to meet your special needs and circumstances. It’s important to remember in any client relationship, that the person you will be dealing with throughout the process is one of the most important considerations you have.

Choose wisely!