catskills, country life, farm, Real estate, upstateny

Of Ants and Grasshoppers

Remember that old story about the ant and the grasshopper? The ant worked while the grasshopper played. And the grasshopper scoffed all summer, telling the ant he was wasting time that could be better spent enjoying himself. Winter was a different story, and the ant was warm and dry while the grasshopper shivered in the snow.

I’m trying to be like the ant.

We live in the real country now. Not suburbia. Out on a country road, twenty minutes from a supermarket (yes, you veteran country dwellers, I know you’re scoffing but that’s not the one mile walk I was accustomed to), and a healthy hill or a small mountain to get over in any direction.

We got our roof replaced. It needed it. I may have cried a little as we paid the bill, but it’s the kind of repair that will pay us back for the rest of our lives.

We got a generator. Our power went out all the time at the last house. But that short walk to a store and a mighty wood stove kept us going. The power was never out more than three days, as I recall. I suspect if it goes out here, it could be awhile before the power company gets to us.

We stocked ourselves with wood for the wood stove, got the furnaces cleaned, even had extra insulation put into the attic.

The snowblower is serviced, the salt is ready for the walkways.

We’re as ready as we’re likely to be.

It’s already snowed here, just a little. I’m not sure if I’m excited or nervous about the first real snowfall. This is the Catskills. It snows here. It can snow a lot.

What will I do to entertain myself once winter arrives?

I’ll be working. That’s a sure bet. Real estate may slow down in the winter, but it doesn’t stop.

I’ve been taping the sheetrock in my partner’s music studio. It’s a skill I’ve always wanted to have and it’s satisfying to put some work into the job. I’ve put in four or five full days so far, and the control room is, I think, ready to sand. I started taping in the live room today. It’s small and it’s going to go faster. That’s fine by me.

Once he’s back to work in his own space, there is paneling I could remove in the house….boy, is there paneling. But I have a book to write, too. Maybe I’ll take a break from construction this winter and focus on that.

Come spring, there’s a garden to expand, some painting to touch up outside, and we’ll be back to mowing that lawn that takes a full day, even with a riding mower to help with the meadow.

It feels different, this life in the country. The weather matters more. We watch the forecast and plan our activities around it. And people matter more, too. I’m loving the new neighbors, my new town.

This is what I always hope for my clients — finding the place that feels like home.

I got lucky. I found mine.

Real estate, Uncategorized

Real Estate and the Deep Catskills

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Susan and I am a realtor with Select Sotheby’s International Realty.
I work with buyers and sellers in the upstate New York’s Catskills and the Leatherstocking Region, also known as the Cooperstown area.
I’m also a writer. And a journalist. And lots of other things but that’s plenty for now.
I’ve been blogging for years, but on another platform (ahem, blogspot.) Follow that link if you want to read back issues of my musings on real estate and life in the country.
Okay. Enough about me.
Let’s talk about you, potential buyer or seller, and the questions I most often hear from new clients.  It’s a crazy time and the market is definitely tough to predict. But I’ve got a few opinions and I’m happy to share.
So here, without further ado, are some Real Estate in the Catskills FAQs.
How long will it take to sell a house in this market?
A lot depends on the choices you make when you list it. The truth is, it can take up to a year. Or more, depending on where your property is and whether you price it right. That’s why having a GOOD market analysis and then pricing it right is so important. It makes all the difference.
I know there’s a lot of interest in upstate from NY buyers. If I price it tight, am I selling myself short?
There is, indeed, a flood of upstate buyers streaming up the Hudson River. Kingston is the latest beneficiary of that buying frenzy. 
It’s why I moved to Franklin! It is getting crowded!
That tide is rising up the Rt 28 corridor, too. Andes, Margaretville, even Delhi are beginning to see more interest from those NYC buyers. But those buyers are still fixated on mass transit. It’s more than four hours on the bus to Oneonta! And anything over a two hour drive feels excessive to them. 
It is still a buyers’ market in Otsego and most of Delaware County. They’re not focused here yet.
If you overprice, you sit.
Price it right, it sells. Maybe quickly. And you may get multiple offers.
Today’s buyers want a perceived “good deal.”
Can’t I just use Zillow to market it myself?
Absolutely. And you’ll get what you pay for. You’ll appear on web searches with 
no one to filter who contacts you, no targeted outreach, no professional advocate when Zillow tells your buyers your property is worth far less than you know it’s worth (Zillow’s market analysis is close to useless in rural areas) and no one to 
negotiate for you if you get a potential sale.
Aren’t all realtors and real estate companies the same?
No. They really aren’t. 
Real estate companies are wildly varied in how they operate, how they market properties, and how they compensate their agents.
Most important for you, as seller, should be how an agent will market your
property, how enthusiastic that agent is about your property, and how accountable they will be to you. 
You want your listing seen as widely as possible, marketed as creatively as possible. You want your agent to communicate with you. A good agent will give you feedback after showings, will respond to you quickly and will give you sound advice.
The biggest agency isn’t always the best. The agent who collects listings but
doesn’t service them isn’t doing their best.
Am I going to have to stage my property?
Do you have to pay a stager to come in and clean out your house? 
Probably not.
Will your house sell more quickly if it is neat, clean, uncluttered and fresh- looking? 
Yes. Unequivocally, yes.
Look at your house as though you were a buyer. Does it look as bright, spacious,
and attractive as possible? Does it need fresh paint or a touch up? 
Clean your carpets. If they’re worn, rip them out.
It’s hard work getting a house ready to sell. But the payoff is a bigger sale
I don’t have the time or energy to prep my house for sale. Do you know people who can do it for me?
I do. And I’m happy to share them with my clients.
What are the professional tricks to get houses sold?
Tricks sound underhanded. I don’t do tricks. But I definitely have tips. And I know they work because I used them and sold my last house in one day to the first person who saw it.
For full price.
How? I’ll save that for my next post. Come back and visit again!