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Lisa J Champagne's Blog

By Lisa J Champagne | Agent in Albany County, NY
  • December Numbers

    Posted Under: General Area  |  January 26, 2010 9:11 PM  |  1,376 views  |  No comments
    Greater Capital Association of Realtors released housing statistics for single family homes in the month of December. This includes new construction and resale. Please see below for stats & summary:

    Entire Capital Region MLS Compare to   Dec., 2008
    • Residential Pending Sales (455) +28.5%   (354)
    • Residential Closed Sales (644) +5.7%  (609)
    • Median Sales Price $180,000 -2.2%     (184,000)

    Average Days on Market 92 Days

    Albany County
    • Residential Closed Sales (142) -15%   (167)
    • Median Sales Price $193,000 +1.8%    $189,500

    Rensselaer County
    • Residential Closed Sales (100) +23.5%    (81)
    • Median Sale Price $172,450 +0.8% $171,000

    Saratoga County
    • Residential Closed Sales (179) +11.9%   (160)
    • Median Sale Price $231,500 -7.8% $251,000

    Schenectady County
    • Residential Closed Sales (102) +8.5%     (94)
    • Median Sale Price $160,999 -3.6%     $167,000

    Schoharie County
    • Residential Closed Sales (15) +25%   (12)
    • Median Sale Price $124,030 +9.3%    $113,500

    Montgomery County
    • Residential Closed Sales (26) +36.8%   (19)
    • Median Sale Price $88,000 -24.8%    $117,000

    New Construction (Entire CRMLS)
    • Existing Home Sales (84 ) -2.0%       (82)
    • Average Price $322,874  -9.0%      $357,322

    Capital Region: 2008/2009 Comparison

    2009     2008
    Pending Sales (8,475) +3.0% (8,227)
    Closed Sales (7,998) -4.9%     (8,406)
    Median Sale Price $183,500 -4.7% $192,500

    New Construction
    Closed Sales (759) -21%    (966)
    Avg. Sale Price $332,300 -4.3%     $347,179

    For the month of December the Capital Region showed a 5.7% increase in closed home sales as compared to December, 2008. Rensselaer County had the largest increase of 23.5%. In addition, pending sales increased for the seventh straight month with a 28.5% increase from last December. The median sale price decreased slightly (2.2%) to $180,000 this month but the dip is largely attributed to the $8,000 first-time home buyer’s tax credit which brought out first-time buyer’s who typically purchase below the $250,000 price point.

    The Year in Review:
    Overall, 2009 got off to a slow start but ended on a much higher note. There was a 3% increase in pending sales for 2009 and although closed sales are down by 4.9% from last year, the last few months of 2009 showed a steady increase with the $8,000 tax credit and low interest rates helping to keep the momentum. The median sales price also dropped from last year by 4.7% to $183,500, but the large number of first-time home buyers can be largely attributed to the drop.
  • November Numbers

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Albany  |  January 6, 2010 10:38 AM  |  1,437 views  |  No comments
    Greater Capital Association of Realtors released housing statistics for single family homes in the month of November. This includes new construction and resale. Please see below for stats & summary:

    Entire Capital Region MLS Compare to   Nov., 2008

    • Residential Sales of Contract (544) +10.6% (492)

    • Residential Closed Sales (804)   +36.3% (590)

    • Median Sales Price $178,000    -6.3% (190,000)

    Average Days on Market 85 Days

    Albany County

    • Residential Closed Sales (195)   +21.9% (160)

    • Median Sales Price $195,000    -2.3% $199,500


    Rensselaer County

    • Residential Closed Sales (124)   +74.6% (71)

    • Median Sale Price $164,950     -10.8% $185,000


    Saratoga County

    • Residential Closed Sales (195)  +26.6% (154)

    • Median Sale Price $237,400 -4.5% $248,500


    Schenectady County

    • Residential Closed Sales (149)     +28.4% (116)

    • Median Sale Price $159,000    +4.3% $152,500


    Schoharie County

    • Residential Closed Sales (17)   +6.3% (16)

    • Median Sale Price $135,000    -11.1% $151,900


    Montgomery County

    • Residential Closed Sales (39)  +56% (25)

    • Median Sale Price $109,250   +60.7% $68,000


    New Construction (Entire CRMLS)

    • Existing Home Sales (73 )    +.013% from (72)

    • Average List Price Sold $306,412   -14% $356,067


    Overall the Capital Region experienced a 36.3% increase in closed sales for the month of November in comparison to the same time last year. Rensselaer County faired extremely well with a 74.6% increase while none of the six counties listed dropped this month. While the increase in closed sales is positive, the contracts of sales increased in the month of November for the sixth month in a row. There were 544 signed purchase agreements in the month of November, up 10.6% from a year ago.

    The median sale price for most counties has dropped across the board but the overall softening can be attributed to the first-time home buyers tax credit and the large number of first-time home buyers.
    Posted by Lisa J. Champagne at 10:45 PM
  • Come on Down

    Posted Under: Home Selling  |  December 8, 2009 6:52 AM  |  1,339 views  |  No comments
    As a kid I loved the game show The Price is Right. The excitement never ended from the time Bob Barker called down a new contestant until the major prizes were won in showcase. Showcase showdown was my favorite round. This is the game that occurs at the end when two players have the opportunity to guess how much vacation packages, cars, appliances and all sorts of other cool stuff cost. I scoffed at players who misestimated prices. At the tender age of 12, I was certain I could guess the right price, and angry nobody would take me to Burbank, CA so I could take a stab at it. Years later, I’m a real estate agent and my days of watching The Price is Right are long gone, but pricing a home in a competitive housing market is much like showcase showdown—if you don’t get it right, the game is over.

    Pricing is the single most important factor when selling a home. I’ll say it again- pricing is the single most important factor when selling a home. Location is important, condition is important, advertising and promotion are imperative; but if a house isn’t priced properly and is entirely out of sync with what’s considered fair market value, it won’t sell. In fact, you’ve just done your competition a favor. Their buyers will think they’re getting a pretty good deal compared to your expensive home. In addition, the longer a house sits on the market without any offers; the more potential buyers begin to think there’s something wrong with the property. Have I mentioned the hundreds- if not thousands- of dollars wasted on advertising and promotion? If you’re a real estate agent, you’re foolish to take an overpriced listing; and if you’re selling without representation, you’ll be waiting a long time for a buyer. My advice- price it right!


  • October Numbers

    Posted Under: General Area in Albany  |  November 30, 2009 7:41 PM  |  1,421 views  |  No comments
    Greater Capital Association of Realtors released housing statistics for single family homes in the month of October. This includes new construction and resale. Please see below for stats & summary:

    Entire Capital Region MLS  Compare to
    Oct., 2008

    • Residential Sales of Contract (792)  +9% (608)
    • Residential Closed Sales (824) -4% (791)
    • Median Sales Price $174,500  -8% (189,500)

    Albany County

    • Residential Sales of Contract (176)  +7% (164)
    • Residential Closed Sales (199)    -1% (202)
    • Median Sales Price $192,000 -2% $195,900

    Rensselaer County

    • Residential Sales of Contract (113) +33% (85)
    • Residential Closed Sales (110)    -3% (113)
    • Median Sale Price $168,000  -6% $178,000

    Saratoga County

    • Residential Sales of Contract (210) +24% (169)
    • Residential Closed Sales (196)   -8% (213)
    • Median Sale Price $237,300 -5% $250,000

    Schenectady County

    • Residential Sales of Contract (139) +35% (103)
    • Residential Closed Sales (144)   -21% (119)
    • Median Sale Price $148,500  -8% $166,723

    Schoharie County

    • Residential Sales of Contract (21)  +91% (11)
    • Residential Closed Sales (19) -46% (13)
    • Median Sale Price $130,000 +16% $112,500

    Montgomery County

    • Residential Sales of Contract (17)  -11% (19)
    • Residential Closed Sales (39)    +56% (25)
    • Median Sale Price $96,500  +7% $89,900

    New Construction (Entire CRMLS)

    • Existing Home Sales (84 ) -2% from (97)
    • Average Sale Price $366,783   +5% $349,034

    Overall the Capital Region experienced a 4% increase in closed sales for the month of October in comparison to the same time last year. Schenectady faired well with a 24% increase while Saratoga dropped 8%, Rensselaer 3%, and Albany County dropping a modest 1%. While the increase in closed sales varies from county to county, the contracts of sales increased for the fifth month in a row and Schenectady County leads the way with a 35% increase.

    The median sale price dropped by 8% across the entire Capital Region with Schenectady County seeing a 7% decrease.
  • T'is the Season

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Albany  |  November 24, 2009 11:03 AM  |  1,424 views  |  No comments
    Thanksgiving is a few days away and Friday marks the beginning of the Holiday season. Everyone is gearing up for what’s arguably the busiest time of year. While I’ll admit this probably isn’t the most convenient time for a seller to put their house on the market or a buyer to search properties, but it’s definitely the time of year when houses and their neighborhoods are looking festive and fantastic. Couple that with the extension and expansion of the $8,000 tax credit, along with interest rates hovering around 5% and this may be the best holiday ever to buy or sell a home!

    If you’re thinking about waiting until after the holidays to make your move, you might want to think again. As a seller, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the vast number of first-time or repeat home buyers looking to cash in on the $8,000/$6,500 tax credit. And as a buyer, this is a great time to view decked-out homes and tour these properties with the holiday cheer they deserve!

  • Understanding Agency

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Albany County  |  November 17, 2009 7:16 AM  |  1,431 views  |  No comments
    Understanding agency and the different types of relationships is really important when you decide to work with a real estate professional. Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you need to know the basics. Who represents your interest and who doesn’t?

    Buyer Agency
    When buyer agency exists, a real estate agent represents the home buyer and has a fiduciary duty to work on their behalf and in their best interest.
    • Negotiating the best pricing
    • Protecting buyers interests
    • Disclosing pertinent information that might influence the buyers decisions.
    • Working with all buyers, without bias, regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, color or national origin.

    Seller Agency
    When seller agency exists an agent is working in the best interest of the seller. Surprisingly, even the buyer’s agent who draws up a contract and presents that offer on behalf of the buyer represents the best interest of the seller.

    Responsibilities of a seller’s agent are nearly identical to that of a buyer’s agent. Protecting buyer’s interests, obtaining the best pricing and disclosing important and influential information to a seller are all part of the agent’s duty.

    Dual Agency
    Dual Agency exists when a company has a relationship with both the seller and the buyer. This can occur when a home buyer chooses to represent themselves and not seek the help of a buyer’s agent.

    When an agent represents both the seller and buyer, there must be informed consent; in other words, the buyer must understand that the agent is working on behalf of both the seller and buyer. The agent/broker responsibilities include:
    • Non-disclosure of how much the seller will accept or how much the buyer is willing to pay.
    • Disclose information to one party that might put the other at a disadvantage.

    Dual Agency With Designated Sales Associates
    This type of agency relationship is similar to a Dual Agency in that one company or broker has a relationship with both the seller and buyer and there needs to be informed consent. Typically, one designated sales associate is assigned to represent the seller and another to represent the buyer; in other words, both the seller’s and buyer’s agent work for the same real estate company. However, each have a fiduciary duty to the buyer and seller, respectively.

    It is important to note that neither written nor verbal agreement is necessary to establish an agency relationship and compensation is not required for a relationship to exist
  • Congress Extends & Expands the $8,000 Tax Credit

    Posted Under: Financing in Albany  |  November 9, 2009 9:17 AM  |  1,479 views  |  No comments
    Last week Congress voted to extend the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers and expand the bill to include move-up or repeat home buyers. If you’re currently under contract and worried about closing by the November 30 deadline, you’re in the clear. These are the latest revisions and stipulations including income restrictions, credit amounts, purchase price limit, as well as the new filing requirement and revised expiration.

    Q Who can take advantage of the newly revised tax credit?

    A First-time home buyers defined as individuals or married couples who haven’t owned a principal residence within the past three years. First-time home buyers may have ownership rights in an investment property and will still qualify for the credit provided the property has not been used as their principal residence.

    Move-up buyer’s who own their home provided it was used as their principal residence consecutively for five out of the past eight years.

    Q How much are the newly revised tax credits?

    A First-time home buyers are eligible for 10% of the purchase price of a home with a maximum of an $8,000 tax credit ($4,000 married filing separately); while move-up buyers could claim $6,500 ($3,250 married filing separately) on their federal tax return.

    Q What are the revised income restrictions?

    A Individuals earning $125,000 and married couple earning $225,000 are the updated income limits. If candidates earn more than the allotted dollar amount, there is a $20,000 phase-out amount. Incomes that fall within those parameters will be eligible for a portion of the tax credit.

    Q What is the purchase price limit?

    A Purchase price limits have been set at $800,000. Therefore, if the property purchased exceeds this amount the buyer(s) won’t be eligible for the tax credit.

    Q What is the Anti-fraud Rule?

    A Buyers are required to attach the HUD 1 settlement form (closing statement) to IRS form 5405 when filling their Federal tax return.

    Q When do these new rules take effect? Are they retroactive?

    A The revised rules are in effect for purchase offers written after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010 (or purchased by June 30, 2010 with a binding sales contract signed by April 30.)

    (**As a side-note, I advise all home buyers to speak with a tax professional and confirm eligibility for the credit prior to making a purchase offer.)
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