Real estate, Uncategorized

A “Quiet” Day on the Farm

It is not yet 10 AM. Four men are on our roof. Five more are on the ground outside the window. I can’t see them because plywood sheets are covering that window.

Scraping and banging above my head has kept a steady rhythm for the past two hours.

Ah, the quiet life in the country.

We have lived in this house for four months. It is, I hope, our very last move. We love it here. But moving and unpacking is just the beginning.

Consider this a word to the wise.

We knew we needed a new roof. That’s a huge investment, but one that will last for the rest of our lives. We are, after all, at “that” age.

A generator also seemed a wise investment. This is well and truly the country, and on a mountain at that. We toughed it out many times in our suburban ranch on that cul de sac a mile from a grocery store. Now it’s a fifteen minute drive to the grocery store. And anyone who takes winter in the deep Catskills of New York lightly deserves to have their pipes freeze, in my opinion.

So there are two massive investments right up front. And that is over and above the problems we discovered once we were here.

The riding mower that prior owner so kindly included in the deal? It need to be rebuilt. The flat tire was just the beginning.

Lights in the entry and the closet had shorts, making ominous crackling noises. Enter the electrician.

The well pump is a tribute to antique machinery. It, and the pressure tank, must be replaced. That is going to be pricey, and tricky as well. It isn’t worth taking the time to describe the well setup to you. Just trust me – it’s the weirdest thing any of us have ever seen.

The water in the basement isn’t the slight problem we were led to believe. It’s a “Get down here and start pushing this water toward the drain or put on your waders!” problem.

And did I mention we are creating a music studio for my partner in crime?

Be prepared, home buyer. No matter how great the results of your inspection, buying a house is just the start. There are changes you will want to make. There are repairs you will HAVE to make. And there are changes you desperately want to make (I’m talking to you, dropped ceilings, excessive quality paneling and avocado tub) that will have to wait.

The sexy changes have to wait. First, you’ll have to make things right. It’ll be worth it. But for now, I’ll be decorating the upstairs bath with colors that complement avocado green.

 

Real estate, Uncategorized

Real Estate and the Deep Catskills

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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
price.
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!