Now About That Burning Question…

Nowadays we hear this one question more and more – and still more. Are we there yet — has the housing market finally bottomed out? Answering that question fairly means more than just following a Media known for its appetite for negative  news.

It means looking past that Media to many positive developments in recent months that have often gone unreported altogether. In fact, all major indicators suggest we have more than hit bottom — we may be on the way back up. Good news indeed, and backed by reliable evidence.

One supporting example: sales of existing homes nationally over the past six months have increased 13% compared to the same period last year. Still another indicator: the rate of foreclosures and short sales has begun to slow down, thereby reducing the amount of existing inventory.

Historically low prices and interest rates have created a remarkable buyers market in many areas, and a lot of smart money is now moving in a positive direction.

While it’s perhaps a little early to start celebrating, a gentle smile would seem quite appropriate.


How Does The Laws Of Agency Work In Real Estate?

New York State law requires all licensed Real Estate Agents & Brokers to advise in writing to all potential buyers, sellers, tenants, & landlords of residential properties, who they will be representing in any subsequent transaction. This requirement is to be done at the first substantive meeting of the parties. Despite all the written material on this subject I find it amazing that many consumers are still unaware of the options and choices they have when choosing a Real Estate professional. Quite often, a decision on purchasing a home may be one of the most important ones we will make in our lifetimes. You need to become an educated consumer, learn all you can about your choices. For example, learn how you can have your own agent, one who will work on your behalf.  You owe it to yourself.

Hudson: Now More Happening than you think

Perhaps it all started when the Club Helsinki opened its doors, giving once-sleepy Hudson the beginnings of a vital new dimension.

For many years this small city was notable mostly as a major Antiques center. In recent years increasingly fine – even City class – restaurants began popping up, as have a handful of art galleries.  And now comes…the ‘Sound of Music’, and a kind of rhythm simply not heard here before.

Today, famous Rock band members most often seen in such as the Big Apple, Las Vegas or L.A. are now showing up in the ever-more-happening city of Hudson.  Just one example that comes to mind is Tommy Stinson, a member of the iconic Guns & Roses band, who now calls Hudson home for he and his family.

Always a small city but equally one with an amazingly diverse history, Hudson is now in the process of staking a powerful artistic claim to the 21st Century. Come take a long look.  Go antiquing…have some dinner…catch some music…and you might well wonder if, just maybe, Hudson is now a place where you can imagine putting down your stakes.

Take the Guesswork out of determining Home Values

Today more than ever before, buyers and potential sellers are innocently going on line expecting a time-saving path to an accurate measure of a home’s worth.  I call this the ‘On Line Pitfall’… and few pitfalls are more useless or misleading than this one. On line sites generally draw data from three sources: the property characteristics, the tax assessment, and recent transactions as recorded at the County Clerks’ office. The first pitfall? Information that is often neither current nor accurate. The second, simply enormous pitfall?  Critically important, even irreplaceable information including Location and Condition are simply missed or overlooked altogether in these so-called evaluations. The bottom line? There exists no reliable substitute for the opinions of an experienced appraiser or, even better, those of your Real Estate Broker or Buyers Agent. Both come heavily armed with intimate knowledge of the local market and the property itself, having explored first-hand its every nook and cranny inside and out – and likely more than once.  So…if you do have some fun going on line, fine, go right ahead.  Just remember to bring along that proverbial ‘grain of salt’ – on second thought, a whole pound might well be in order.

And Now For A Little Optimism

In this view, a rekindled optimism about Real Estate is due and overdue. With the Press taking an overall ‘National’ view, it drones on and on about foreclosures and falling prices — simply ignoring the fact that conditions vary widely from market to market.  This ‘broad brush’ smear encourages uncertainty and a profound caution about buying, though this makes sense in many areas, it doesn’t here in Columbia County.

With interest rates still at historic lows, the stage is beautifully set for highly profitable long term investments for first time and second home buyers equally. Other positive recent signs include our Commerce Department reporting new home sales up 5.7% in September, the first such upward swing in months, and current homeowners now benefiting from the Administration-sponsored relaxation of refinancing rules.

All in all, If you set aside your fears for just a moment…you’ll realize that huge buying opportunities are right in front of you, right here – and right now.

Really Good News For Columbia County

Just when you thought good news was an endangered species, it pops up in a big and meaningful way.

After floundering for years, we New Yorkers now have something to be proud of – a Governor Cuomo who realizes that creating opportunities requires strong leadership, this combined with a clear vision of a better future.

And through his efforts so far, some five major high tech companies are coming to our State. This will mean about $4 billion dollars in new revenue (possibly leading to lower taxes), plus some 2500 new high tech jobs and 1900 new construction jobs – most high-paying.  And more may be on the way.

The majority of all this activity will happen right here in our own backyard, the Capital Region.  Beyond the thought of reduced taxes, another result will be more and more people who can afford to buy homes.  Given our location/proximity, wonderful country feeling and affordability, Columbia County will very likely see more new Real Estate activity than any other.  Indeed, really good news.

Thanks, Andrew, we needed that…

The ‘Buyers Market’….Explained

It’s a familiar terms, but what does it really mean?  How does it happen? And, most important, how can it be best exploited to your advantage?

Put simply, a ‘buyers market’ exists whenever market conditions heavily favor the buyer.  The situation typically begins with reduced housing demand…leading to reduced home values and prices. A gradual reduction in sales puts ever more homes on the market, and for longer periods of time.  This in turn leads to a still further drop in demand…and round and round it goes, for some unknown length of time.

Exploiting the present situation to the buyer’s advantage is all about a single factor – timing.  Many savvy buyers now agree that the very best time has arrived and are making their moves; in fact, they know that waiting can indeed be very, very costly because the market can turn with surprising speed.

So don’t wind up waiting too long – then missing and regretting forever – what may well have been your bargain of a lifetime. As the song goes, ‘These are the good old days…’ And indeed they are.

Gold, Silver…and Real Estate

Beyond the monetary appeal of currently high prices for gold, silver and other precious metals, I strongly suspect another, very powerful factor may explain the sell-off. Gold is tangible, offering the security of something solid you can hold and touch; by razor-sharp contrast, stocks and bonds seem little more than vague abstractions. Investing in Real Estate provides all the satisfactions of precious metals — and much, much more. It is a Safe Haven, an investment under whose broad, protective wings you can live and love. With the average homeowner staying in their homes seven years I am confident that, over that period of time, Real Estate will out–perform Gold while providing countless pleasures…and the memories of a lifetime.

Interest Rates – The View From Here

Our Government finally cut a deal saving us from default, but then Standard & Poors downgraded our credit rating.

How might this affect you and me — and the housing market?

Some consumer interest rates will likely begin tracking higher.  However The Federal Reserve in a response to the lower rating just guaranteed its interest rates for the next two years, a positive move for all of us.

So, if you’re now shopping for a home – or even a car — moving quickly could well save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Historically, Real Estate has proven the single best place to invest your money long term. I remain convinced that today it remains just that.

Money Talks Once Again

  ‘Money talks’ is a very old  expression, and one whose truth is often demonstrated – but only very occasionally in a truly startling fashion.

Thumbing my way through a current issue of USA Today, I spotted a Real Estate Report that some 30% of existing home sales in a recent month were all cash transactions, a pattern now seen in markets all across America.  Certainly a shocker, it in fact has a simple explanation: savvy investors taking advantage of today’s major Real estate opportunities.

This trend is showing up right here in Columbia County as well – fueled by super attractive prices and still low mortgage rates, neither likely to stay that way much longer.  For some, the Buying Opportunity is here, and now.  Don’t miss it.

And with the beautiful weather we have been having here in Columbia County, it is a perfect time to come and check out the area.  Visit our  About Columbia County page to find out more about the area.