Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Open House Alert! 149 North Main Street - Jordan

What a gorgeous weekend this is going to be!  The Jordan Fall Festival will be ongoing from Friday to Sunday with all sorts of fun events.  Check it out at

149 North Main Street
Village of Jordan
Meanwhile, a short distance away in the Village of Jordan, I will have the beautiful home at 149 North Main Street (ML#S296384) open on Sunday, from 1:00 to 3:00.  It was built in the mid-1800s and they certainly knew how to erect homes that lasted back then.  The walls are thick, and the owners are amazed at how little the utilities cost for over 3,000sf of living space.  The bedrooms are large - something that is usually only seen in master bedrooms these days.  The kitchen has a walk-in (and around) pantry, plus there's a small office just off the living room.

I love the porch and deck...Just sit on the front porch (accessed only from the house) and watch the world go by!  In the rear the decks overlook Skaneateles Creek.  Buy this house, and you own 5 acres plus have the pleasure of fishing from your own back yard.

I look around at the old homes on my way to the house and try to imagine what it must have been like when the house was new, and surrounded only by other homes as glorious (or almost!) as this one on the far NW side of the Village.

So come to see it please - you will be pleasantly surprised by all the updates. My personal favorite is the second floor laundry - but then again, the walk-up attic has even more potential.  Remember - 1:00 to 3:00 this Sunday!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Third Twenty

Below are the list of closings (in no particular order) and the published closing prices.  These single family homes were listed in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service and closed between June 28th and August 7th.

184 East Genesee Street - Village of Skaneateles - $170,000

23 Calemad Drive - Town of Sennett - $480,000

21 East Lake Street - Village of Skaneateles - $260,000

718 Sheldon Road - Town of Skaneateles - $430,000

782 Franklin Street - Town of Skaneateles - $168,400

2111 Terrace Lane South - Town of Skaneateles - $430,000

1983 Collard Road - Town of Spafford - $355,000

1275 Oak Bluff - Town of Skaneateles - $1,150,000

179 East Genesee Street - Village of Skaneateles - $244,900

2671 East Lake Road - Town of Skaneateles - $585,000

50 West Lake Street - Village of Skaneateles - $816,000

10 Goodspeed Place - Village of Skaneateles - $157,000

2445 East Lake Road - Town of Skaneateles - $975,000

3187 West Lake Road - Town of Skaneateles - $996,000

3 West Austin Street - Village of Skaneateles - $400,000

3543 Lost Hollow Road - Town of Skaneateles - $440,000

111 Twisting Lane - Town of Niles - $342,000

2987 East Lake Road - Town of Skaneateles - $2,835,750

871 Franklin Street - Town of Skaneateles - $222,500

3900 East Street - Town of Skaneateles - $280,000

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Six-Week Update

I am not going to bore you with what came on and what sold.  A lot came and went, and there are more single family properties waiting to close than Village listings.  I can summarize though.

Currently there are only 103 listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service.  Of these, 24 are in the Village and 30 are waterfront.

There are 26 homes waiting to close.  Of these, 8 are in the Village and only 4 are waterfront.  Village for a second year remains highly desirable.

So far, year-to date, we have 71 homes that have closed.  Of these, 25 (40%) are in the Village and 13 (18%) are waterfront.  The total number of closed homes compares with 2012 when by this date there were 81 sold and closed homes.  Not as good as last year, which was record-setting, but certainly better than 2011 when we only had 50 homes closed.  The trend is upwards, the Village is booming, and the prices have increased also.  The median list price increase is only $10,000, to $300,000.  But there were only 2 homes listing over a million that closed in 2012, and 8 (count 'em!) in 2013.  So far!

Update - All Summer Long

I opened up today to finally write an update.  I took an unprecedented two months away (although it hasn't seemed that long).  I wrote to a friend that I wasn't going to let real estate consume my life - but it did this summer.  This blog falls somewhere between personal and business....I love writing, always have, but like much of my non-professional life it has to take a seat behind the pressing needs of seeing, showing, and selling homes.  This can wait.  And has - way too long!

What was missed in the past couple months?  Personally, I can say the biggest change in my life was the birth of our second grandson, Oliver, on August 2nd.  I was taking photos of my new listing in Jordan (see above, and more on that later) when the call came that maybe we should think about heading down to Manhattan.  Bob came back from his job down the lake, I called for "dog support," and we left around noon.  A few minutes later we learned they were at Mt. Sinai.  An hour later the texts stopped.  At the Scott exit on Route 81South we stopped for a minute - and got the text the Oliver had been born.  We were in the City and able to hold him by 5:00 - amazing!  He is dark-haired (for now) and has a lot of it that sticks straight up.  Smaller than Liam, we know he will hold his own.

The week before my poor little Fiat was smashed as I showed a house on Orchard in the Village.  Never seen, it was sent flying over lawns to rest in the street.  No one - thank goodness - was hurt.  The driver experienced the opening of air bags and walked away, refusing medical assistance.  I was able to drive away (sort of) and after 5 long weeks in the Elbridge Summit body shop, am back on the road.  I doubt I will park on a Village street again - and think, please, before you do!  It's the second time I've been hit while parked.

Many of my listings have been sold and closed, with new ones coming on for the fall season.  The beauty above is in the Village of Jordan, at 149 North Main Street.  Huge house with huge bedrooms, a grand deck, sittable front porch, walk in and around pantry, second floor laundry, newer windows and a remarkably low utility cost.  The roof and furnace are basically new - what's to do but enjoy?  Oh yes - you can fish, too - the five acres is bisected by Skaneateles Creek!  An amazing property - listed for $245,000.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Switch

If you're one of the four hardy souls who visit this abandoned dump on a regular basis, I can only assume you're suffering from Alzheimer's. Only someone without a memory could keep returning to read the same post day after day without update. If that's you, you've already read this yesterday.

Now I can't even remember why I started this obnoxious site. I recall getting a little annoyed with BS real estate media reports. Something that may have been noticeable at one time or another. Initially, I had nothing more than mild contempt for the media. It has grown.

It was fun for a while. People talked on forums. Came to visit. Occasionally left a comment. Even babes writing for respectable publications referenced me in their work. The impact had some Tasmanian media peeps actually being more measured in their spruiking. And fewer real estate goons were prepared to take ice-cold stats and pimp them in the media as scorching hot. Someone was watching.

But why did it all dry up? The crash I predicted never came and I gave up? Journalists and real estate agents were hunting me and I had to seek asylum in a foreign embassy? Tasmania's mould ridden housing stock finally destroyed my respiratory system? I bought a house? As I was accused of doing.

Less exciting. It was dead set boredom. How many times can you say the same thing over and over again? I never predicted any crash (well I don't think I did). I said things would get bad. I highlighted the risks and the lies that tried to minimise them. I highlighted those already trashed and the potential to get trashed. There's been no respite in Tasmania's housing market. Sales creeping back to already depressed 2010 levels may tighten the front side of some vendors' pants, but there's still a big hole in the back side of those pants. 

Take the house featured in my clumsy first post. I couldn't script a more perfect way to tie the current identity of this site up. Three years to the day and the joint is finally under offer. Over 1000 days on and off the market. Placed with various agents who stumbled in their attempts to move it. It sold for $450k in 2008...

Yep. Five years and a $121k face value loss later.

While the size of the loss is slightly uncommon, the listed/pulled/relisted game continues in earnest. Houses disappear for six months, only to relist with another agent, before being pulled again. Sure, there are horndogs out there who'll snap a house up they'll like, but there's not enough horndogs to make a healthy market. The agent who first listed this place is now offering great deals on a new Holden Cruze.

There's all manner of theories as to why this happened. All dumb as rocks. The most conveinent, lazy and stupid? The Greens made you overpay for your house, buy that new SUV and got you laid off from your job at a multi-national mining equipment manufacturer. If you believe it was someone else's fault, like the commercial told you, "you deserve it!"

And this brings me to the end. Sometime next month this site will have a new name and a new paint job (and it won't be green). I'll be talking about saving money, saving your mind and how to keep your arse out of trouble, no matter what.

Why? Us cheapskate money saving degenerates who ruin economies because we don't spend need somewhere to go and feel loved.

Seeya next month.

Monday, 12 August 2013

100 ways to acquire real estate

This is the best time to purchase real estate whether you are a first home buyer or an investor before the market turns around and properties start becoming unaffordable again. There are many different ways to acquire, finance and sell real estate whether you have cash or not. Having money helps you negotiate a better deal because you can close quicker and eliminate financing fees.

The following are 100 ways to acquire real estate:

  1. One of the favorites for investors is for sale by owner (FSBO.) As a buyer you negotiate directly with the seller and are able to find out his needs thus getting a better price
  2. Having bird dogs that scout for properties for you to review and purchase and pay them a specific amount when the deal closes. These can be friends, fellow investors, neighbors and others
  3. Rental homes are another source of houses for sale. Most landlords are willing to sell a vacant property rather than wait to put another tenant in.
  4. Knocking on doors to ask owners if they are interested in selling their property in the future is another way. You may get a call down the line when the owner is ready to sell
  5. Probate properties are another great way of acquiring real estate. Find out from your probate department where these properties are usually listed
  6. Estate sales can found through antique dealers who may have great contacts
  7. Government Auctions can have cheap properties
  8. Expired Listings can get you sellers that are motivated
  9. Some investors sell deals at wholesale prices
  10. A good relationship with an investor real estate agent can lead you a good deal
  11. Buying the remainder interest of a life estate and have the owner deed you their rights
  12. Signs out on the road can lead motivated buyers to you
  13. Flyers are very inexpensive and can be distributed to homes in the area you want to invest in
  14. The more traditional way of driving neighborhoods can help you locate homes that are in bad or desperate condition where the owner might be considering to sell
  15. Door hangers in your neighborhood can generate calls from sellers
  16. Fire damaged property can be a great deal if you have rehab experience
  17. Divorce can force a couple to sell their property
  18. Relocating owners are very motivated sellers
  19. Judgements that the owner cannot afford can force him to sell his property
  20. Out of State owners are more motivated to sell their properties
  21. Model Homes can be purchased and then leased back to the developer
  22. Vacant Lots purchased can be used as down payments to acquire other properties
  23. You can put down reservation on lots and sell them later for a profit
  24. Great deals can be found in abandoned home if you are able to track down the owner
  25. Bug controllers can refer properties to you that they worked on and have found out the owner want to sell
  26. Sheriff’s Sale also have good deals on properties
  27. With so many properties on the market, real estate auction companies have become popular and some houses are sold at very good prices
  28. IRS also sells homes to recover unpaid taxes
  29. The county also sell homes that property taxes are unpaid
  30. Estate Sale
  31. Veterans Administration also has homes for sale that have been foreclosed on
  32. Bank Owned properties are also another source and can be very profitable if the are sold for less than their fair market value
  33. Eviction courts have names of landlords who might be considering selling their property
  34. Properties with code violations may have owners who do not have funds to correct them and wants to get rid of the property
  35. Properties with mechanic liens are also another source of motivated seller
  36. Foreclosed properties can be great if you are able to negotiate with the owner
  37. Lawsuits can also force an owner to sell his property to free up some cash
  38. Partnership liquidation that owns real estate can help you secure great deals
  39. Trading homes can be another way of acquiring a property
  40. Private lenders can sell you their bad loans or let you take over properties that have been foreclosed on
  41. Some people prefer to own a nice car and would prefer to sell their home to purchase it. Car sales men can be a great source of who is wanting to sell their house
  42. Reverse mortgage can help you take possession of a property by paying the homeowner until he moves out or passes away
  43. If the owner needs cash you can give it to him for part of the equity in the home
  44. Assumable loans is one of the ways to acquire a property with little cash down
  45. Inheritance is another source of finding great deals on properties. Most children do not need them and can be great for seller financing if they are free and clear
  46. Investor bundles are properties being liquidated by investors because they investing in something else
  47. Large companies with high a turnover can make great referrals for owners wanting to sell
  48. With the world going online a lot of good deals can also be found on the internet
  49. Natural disasters can lead to an inventory of homes that need little work to be sold for large profits
  50. Other liens placed by the city or county can let you acquire the property if you pay off the lien
  51. Tax notices for increased taxes may force owners to start considering selling their homes if they cannot afford the payments
  52. Right of redemption can be purchased from the owner after the property has foreclosed and you can purchase that home for yourself at the cheap auction price
  53. Title companies can also be a great source of properties that fell through escrow for various reason and you can go acquire them at a great cash price
  54. Insurance companies can let you know properties that they do want to pay claims for and you can acquire them for a good price
  55. Carpet cleaners can also give good referral for properties going for sale
  56. Newspaper Carriers know and see a lot in the neighborhoods and can be a great source
  57. Postal workers get move in and move out notices and can provide you with many referrals
  58. City Inspectors may know properties that owners may want to sell
  59. Divorce Attorneys can refer you clients who want to sell their homes
  60. Bankruptcy Attorneys can also refer you clients who want to sell their homes
  61. Remodeling Contractors are usually used by owners getting ready to sell
  62. Missing Meters can mean utility companies have shut of power  and the owner may be selling his home
  63. Bail Bondsman sometimes have properties placed as collateral that are for sale
  64. Homeowners Association have liens, deed restriction  and code violations that may force the owner to sell
  65. Landlords with section 8 tenants may want to unload at low prices
  66. Local Investment clubs have other investors who may also have deals
  67. Landscape Companies are can also lead you to great properties
  68. Police may have property that need to be auctioned
  69. Gambling dealers are also a great referral source
  70. Pizza Delivery also see a lot in the neighborhoods and can be a great source
  71. You can pay an owners car payment to prevent it from being repossessed for an option to purchase the home
  72. Bankers have a lot of contacts and can lead you to some great properties 
  73. Funeral Directors may choose to offer your services to bereaved family members
  74. Bartender hear a lot and may be a great source of motivated sellers
  75. Marriage Counselors may have a divorcing couple who want to sell their property
  76. Dentist and Doctors have lots of contacts and can be a great referral source
  77. Accountants may have clients who want to sell their properties
  78. Subcontractors learn of sellers when performing their contract work and can refer their clients to you
  79. Handymen are called for repairs before the sale of the property and also can give you great leads
  80. Building Inspectors know of sellers who would prefer to sell than correct a violation
  81. Local cable companies provide their service on a move in or move out and can be a great source
  82. Private investigators can provide useful owner information on abandoned properties
  83. Moving companies can let you know on owners moving and planning to sell their home
  84. Churches and charitable organizations receive property as donations and can be a great source of great deals
  85. Furniture Rental Stores’ customers usually move eventually and sell their properties
  86. Retirements homes have retirees who need to sell their property
  87. Foundation and Concrete companies know properties that cannot afford their services and the owner may be willing to sell it
  88. Rental Management Companies know when property seller wants to sell and can notify you
  89. Hardware store clerks are in touch with owners making some improvements before selling
  90. Parent Teacher Associations know a lot about who is moving out of town and you can offer your services to purchase property
  91. Window washing companies may also be a great source for leads
  92. Garbage men see a lot and can give you good leads
  93. Rent to own gives you the opportunity to control the property with little cash down and purchase it at a later date.
  94. Flood zones can make an owner uncomfortable with the high insurance payments and may consider selling
  95. Water and Sewer hookups can let you know who is moving in or out for owners that may sell their home
  96. Check cashing companies can also be a great source for leads of owners with financial trouble that need to sell their home
  97. You can offer to pay for roof repairs for an option to purchase the owners home
  98. You can also offer to pay college tuition for someone else for the option on the owners property
  99. Contractors can refer properties that have rejected their bids as the owner may decide to sell instead
  100. Properties with encroachment may not be fully insured by the title company and the owner may consider selling

Sunday, 11 August 2013

20 Ways to Rent Out Your Home Faster

While running a successful rental marketing company and renting out my numerous rental properties. I have picked up a few tricks along the way.

Below are 20 ways you can rent out your home faster 

(There are plenty more ideas and if you have some please comment and I can add to the list):

1) Pricing Matters
There are many ways to price your home competitively in the marketplace. Some tools to help you along the way are:, and

2) The time of the Month Counts
The best times to gain a tenant are March, April, May, June, July and August. These are the main months when renters move due to seasons, schools, etc.

3) Throw some Make-up On
Have you ever toured a model home for sale? What do you notice? Are there magnets on the fridge? Are there clothes in the hamper? Are the walls scratched? The answer is no. Why? This is what sells homes. Touch up with paint and remove all clutter and you will see a big difference.

4) Replace Light bulbs and Fixtures
A rule of thumb is more light is better than less. Make sure all lights actually have light bulbs. If you were like me, I had 1970’s fixtures. Do you still wear 70’s clothes? I hope not. Your old fixtures should go too.

5) Good from Far, Far from Good
When you went on your first date, did you wear the same dirty old sweatpants as you do now. Don’t worry,
I still wear mine. We all know first impressions count and people DO judge a book by its cover. With that said, make sure your address numbers are hanging straight, you touch up the paint, you mow the lawn and pull the weeds. Add a few fresh plants, it won’t kill you but it will help rent your home faster.

6) The Internet is Dead
Actually it is far from dead. The internet is the most cost effective way to advertise your property. There are many great sites to post to including some favorites like RentVine, RentalHomesPlus, Craigslist, BackPage and others. Go here for a list of comprehensive rental websites and utilize Rent Marketer as a rental advertising resource. Rent Marketer takes the pain out of posting to many rentals sites as they do all of the posting for you to currently over 80 rental sites.

7) Would you Like an iPod with That?
A trick from apartment communities is to offer an incentive to sign the lease now. Some ideas on incentives are offering 1 month free, receive a free iphone or other electronic goodies, free pizza certificates, etc.

8) My Granite, Stainless Steel Beauty
Doesn’t the sound of ‘Beautiful”, “Charming”, “Great Location”, “Spacious”, “Attractive”, “Gorgeous”, “Fantastic” and “Lovely” feel like nails being dragged down an old chalk board. According to Steven D. Levitt, the author of “Freakonomics“, he suggests that homes that tend to not have many specific attributes worth describing, like those above, correlate to a lower sales / rental price. “‘Spacious’ homes are often decrepit or impractical. ‘Great neighborhood’ signals a buyer that, well, this house isn’t very nice but others nearby may be.”

What are some of the words or adjectives that are used to help increase the value of ones home and decrease vacancy rates for rental properties? Here’s the breakdown: Granite, State-of-the-art, Stainless Steel Appliances, vaulted Ceilings, Maple, Gourmet, Corian, Wood Floors.

9) Clean Your Room
Did your mom ever tell you to keep your room clean? It wasn’t for sanitary reasons but rather just in case she left your father she would be able to sell the home faster. I need to stop projecting. No, in all seriousness, be sure to dust and clean everywhere, including behind the fridge. You never know where people might look.

10) Toilet Paper (not the kind in the airport bathrooms)
The small things count. Women in particular like it when the toilet paper is rolled nicely and if it has a triangular shape towards the end like you see in hotels. Men are just glad it has a bathroom.

11) You Smell Good
Fragrance is extremely important when a tenant is touring the home. View 10 tips on making your home smell better.

12) Photos are Worth, well You Know
Adding photos to your online and offline ads are very important. Studies have found that photos can increase lead generation by more than 400% as compared to not having photos at all. All of the suggestions within the top 20 need to be applied when taking photos. No clutter, clean, lots of light, etc.. Top rooms tenants are most interested in when viewing photos are front of property, kitchen, living, master, bathrooms and backyard if it has one.

13) Virtual Tours Make Momma Happy
We are not quite to the futuristic virtual tour I proposed here but virtual tours are becoming better. You can use a professional service or do one yourself and upload it to youtube.

14) I am old and Don’t have that Internet!
Those young whipersnappers with their internet thingie. If you don’t have access to the internet and you just don’t care to learn, there are some off line tips you can do to generate more awareness for your property. You can add a sign in your front yard. You can add an ad in the local paper. You can send out flyers to all of your neighbors. You can add flyers to your local grocery store.

15) Water the Lawn
A dead lawn is a dead rental close. Don’t attract the bad tenants with a dead lawn.

16) Clean the Windows
Windows get dirty over time. Windex them before a showing to enhance the properties look and feel.

17) Let There be Light
A mistake when showing a property is to not open the blinds up enough to let light in. This is an easy way to let more light in.

18) Are you Going to get That?
According to the National Association of Realtors, 50% of email leads are never even opened. A majority of phone leads go unanswered. Studies also show that if you respond to emails immediately and answer phone calls, you are much more likely to get tenants to fill vacancies.

19) Get a property manager
I personally use a property manager to manage all my properties. This makes it much more easier for me to concentrate on other things like acquiring new properties. A property manager has lots of contacts and past tenants that they can contact to help fill your vacancy faster. Total cost of a property manager is usually 1/2 of first months rent and then 10% of gross rent each month after that. For more information on property managers go to NARPM.

20) Rent to Own Option
A rent to own option could be a good way to get quality tenants into your home. Each month a percentage of their rent can go towards their down payment to purchase the home at a predetermined amount over a predetermined amount of time.