Smart Moves for Seniors

An Open Resource and Meetingplace for Seniors Thinking About Moving On With Their Lives and provided by Lois Patton, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson and Certified Buyer Representative with Albany Realty Group, Albany, New York. Also visit us at or call 518-459-4564.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Interested in learning more about real estate? Many buyers as well as sellers become interested in a career change at some point, and often express interest in the real estate profession. It is an interesting and often stimulating line of work, and we would encourage you to give it some consideration if you have any interest. We would be glad to answer any questions you may have as you sift through the possibilities for your next career. Albany Realty Group can provide you with the insights and answers you want and need in order to make some decisions. Give me a call or drop me a note. We're here to help. We'll work for you.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

In a "Buyers Market" you have to do all you can to make your house as appealing as possible. What makes your house "special" or "unique" and more saleable than others? Point out these features to your realtor so that he or she can give plenty of visability to their value. You might also want to ask others--friends or neighbors--what they see as most unique or special about your house. Bringing in the perspectives of others may be enlightening for you and their insights and comments may help you to sell your house more quickly when many others are being listed alongside your own. Talk with others and listen to their thoughts and comments.

Talk with us! We're here to work for you.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

By the time some listed homes are shown on those TV channels and programs which air, they have often already been sold. The shows really generate interest in listings with a given agency, and so they are helpful in attracting viewers and prospective buyers to other listings which may be held by the agency. The shows are a marketing tool for the agencies more than a venue to show certain houses, though some may in fact be on the market and sell as a result of this exposure.

Often sellers want their homes broadcast and shown on these programs, but placing a house on the multiple listing service in the region is probably much more effective in obtaining buyer interest. On the MLS agents representing buyers can search and identify the houses which are mostly likely to be of interest to them and often they can email those listings for buyers review and consideration.

Working with a qualified realtor can put you ahead in the process. We'd love to help you achieve your goals. Give us a call.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 24, 2006

You may have a signed contract for a bid placed on your house and believe the deal is done, but there are often some general conditions incorporated in a contract which permit a buyer to cancel and pull out of your deal. For example, if an inspection is part of the agreement, you should note what terms or developments (according to the contract) will allow a buyer to terminate the contract. If repairs noted by an inspecter (contracts usually incorporate an inspection as an essential component of the terms of the sale) are estimated to exceed a given amount, the seller may have to cover those expenses or the buyer may also perhaps opt out of the contract. In some instances your buyer may not qualify for the mortgage the deal was based on, given subsequent developments or issues in his or her financial history and which were not earlier disclosed to or discussed with a broker. Each situation is different and there are no circumstances which apply generally.

Read the terms of your contract carefully and closely to make certain that you are well aware of the possibilities. Hopefully, nothing will interfere with the sale, but its good not to be caught off guard when and if something does.

A realtor can help with a "heads up" about the issues you should be aware of and need to know about. Give us a call. We'll work for you.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 21, 2006

I was once in a bidding war with another buyer for a house I really wanted. I had the sense that the other buyer wanted the house as much as I did, so when we both turned in sealed bids I made mine an odd number (actually, ending in "6s" above what I thought the other buyer would bid. As I recall, my bid was $176,666 (I believed the other buyer's bid was $175,000) and I got the house. My agent at the time asked how "in the world" I came up with that bid. If you really want a house, and you have to bid against other buyers for it, it sometimes makes all the difference to turn in a bid that is not in round numbers or obvious price breaks. Keep that in mind when you put in your next bid.

An agent can give you other suggestions which you may want to include as part of your bid. Ask a realtor. We're here for you. Send us a note and we'll get back to you asap.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Qualified buyers are those who are preapproved for a mortgage up to a certain limit. These are the buyers you seek to interest in your property. You may receive offers from buyers who are not prequalified but tell you that they are able to obtain a loan for the required amount or that they will be approved for it, but, in fact, you run a great risk by engaging in conversations and dealings with buyers who are not prequalified. You may, for example, sign a purchase agreement with a buyer who is not prequalified, and subsequently your deal may "fall through" because they cannot deliver on their claim of ability to purchase. In the meantime, you have had your property off the market for a period of time and in that time you may have lost an opportunity of selling to those who would have been able to purchase and "make good" on the deal.

A licensed real estate professional can make certain that only prequalified buyers review and present offers on your home. That alone can save you time and money in the process. Give us a call. We have buyers who are prequalified and looking to buy.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

For awhile when houses were shown at "open houses" realtors would encourage sellers to bake bread or light candles to give buyers an appealing sensual experience that hopefully would linger and entice offers. Then, for awhile this trend faded and agents would occasionally just drop some spices into a pan of boiling water to do the same. Regardless, our sense of smell goes "right to the gut" when it comes to buyers considering/previewing your home.

You may not realize it, but your house may have a particularly strong odor that may be unappealing to prospective buyers. The strong smell of smoke which has built up over the years can curtail interest nearly immediately when a buyer who is sensitive walks through your door. Likewise, the smell of pets, whether cats or dogs, can immediately discourage interest in buyers. Before we look or hear what the advantages and benefits of a house are, we sensually experience it through our sense of smell.

Give it some thought. You might want to buy some charcoal to put around the house to absorb odors, or try some of those Wallflowers sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond for a more uplifting, fragrant touch.

We'd be glad to come and give you our sense of your house's advantages and potential disadvantages (and smells!). Give us a call!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A pest inspection is an important option to include when you purchase a new home. Some inspectors cover this in their basic inspection charges, but for others it is an additional charge. Regardless, you need to know before you reach the closing whether there are infestations of termites, or other pests which could impact your new property and cause additional expenses. You can keep a lookout for wood shavings, sawdust, and dead insects along the edges of walls, porches and in basements, but an experienced and qualified inspector can also recognize signs of infestations that the layperson may easily miss. A realtor can give you the names and numbers for qualified pest inspectors in your area. We're glad to help put you in contact with the professionals who know their business. Give us a call.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 17, 2006

When you list your house and contract to work with a realtor, you can be a great help by either letting your friends and contacts know you are selling or by asking your realtor to contact them for you. Your own circle of friends and acquaintances as well as your neighbors most likely know your neighborhood well and can help to guide other potentially interested buyers to it. Listing a house on the Multiple Listing Service does give a house maximal exposure, but there are often so many houses included there that it may be even more effiencient to follow up with your own network of colleagues. It certainly can "drive" more people to the listing on the MLS if you give them the listing number and tell them who your broker and agent are. Do what you can to support the process and ask questions about other ways in which you can help gain more visibility and exposure for your listing.

Let us know how we can help. We'll work for you. Have a great day!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Negotiating a price with a seller returns when a market turns to favor buyers. While a seller lists a desired price for his or her house, when there are more properties available in a given area and/or price range, buyers have more leverage to bargain with sellers. Its a calculated guess as to what buyers should be offering for a specific property and what a seller of that property may actually accept. Essentially, a buyer's offer must be attractive enough to engage the interest of a seller, or it may be rejected outright if it is too far below what a seller has listed the house at. Buyers often ask a realtor if a seller will take less than what the list price of a house is. A realtor may or may not know if this is the case, but if the agent is working for the seller, and not the buyer, the realtor has a responsibility to protect the best interests of the seller and not reveal this information to the buyer. This is an example of the legal requirements of "agency" law and it is another reason why a buyer should at the outset clarify who an agent is representing in a real estate transaction.

Give us a call and ask us about agency law if you have other questions. We'll work for you!

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Signing an agent to work for you as a "buyer agent" means that by New York State Law that agent owes you loyalty,confidentiality,honesty and representation as your agent. Your buyer agent is, as a result of that agreement, legally bound to work for you and for your best interests as you direct him or her with regard to your interest in and purchase of a house. Without an agency agreement an agent is legally a representative of the seller, and she or he must, as a result,represent the best interests of a seller. Buyers sometimes wonder why they are asked to sign an acknowledgement that an agent showing them a house is representing a seller unless the buyer opts to sign that agent as a buyer agent. It can be confusing and give one pause to be asked to sign a legal document early in the initial search process. But in fact, New York State requires that an agent disclose their representation to a prospective buyer so that a buyer is clear from the beginning and outset of their search that an agent is working for the seller unless a buyer agency agreement is signed.

Some years ago while living out of state I made an offer on a house through the agent I had been working with. She had not disclosed to me that she was the listing agent for the house I was putting a bid on, and I didn't realize that she therefore had the best interests of the seller, not my own, in the transaction.

Make sure you know how agency law works in your next purchase. We can help clarify it for you further if you would like to give us a call or send us a note.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Have you decided what you are looking for in your next move? Less work and responsibility? More freedom? A different location? Why not take the time to get down on paper the ten most important factors you would like to have as priorities in your next move or location. Once you have listed these, write a few words on why each item is important to you. Next make three categories: A-most important; B-fairly important and C-less important. Take the most and fairly important items and place numbers indicating your top to bottom prioritized items. Being clear on exactly what matters the most to you will clarify your needs so that you can focus on them with a clear intention to obtain them. Once you are clear on your list of priorities you will be in a better position to begin your research for your new situation. Its a simple task but it yields big rewards in terms of your focus and energy. Give it a try.

Certainly your next step is up to you. Once you are clear on what you are looking for, an experienced realtor can help you to move forward toward your goal. Give us a call. Send us a note. We're here to help. We'll work for you!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I once noticed a book entitled, Nothing Never Happens. Really, though it may seem that nothing is happening, below the surface there is something happening. This reminds me of another book entitled, Joy: Expanding Human Awareness, which, as the title suggests, shows that by looking beyond our usual vision to a broader perspective, we can more accurately see something we are missing or overlooking. Its a matter of perspective and what we bring to the way we look at things. Another friend used to say, "check assumptions." She often felt that many mistakes in judgement occur because she incorrectly assumed something that others did not take as a "given."

When it comes to listing or selling your house, its a good idea to check your assumptions. Would a prospective buyer really like to have all the bushes trimmed or removed from the front of the house? Would that drip under the kitchen sink not really matter? Does that noise the air conditioning makes when it comes on so routine that you don't notice it but a new buyer might? Check you assumptions and ask your realtor or an objective friend to give you their assessment of the situation.

We are here to give our perspective at your request. Give us a call or send a note.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 10, 2006

A real estate company now advertises in a commercial on TV that their agents are "agents of change", and it is true that an agent can certainly help in times of transition with listings as well as purchases, but real change takes place before you hire an agent. You are the change agent when you make the decision to move ahead with your life by deciding "what's next" in your life. You initiate the discussion and the questions and the actions which put change into effect. You can change your life and living situation by beginning to investigate the possibilities which you would most like to explore. Invite possibility into your life and broaden your expectations for yourself and your next move. That's a smart move. Give yourself credit and authority to make your next move.

We'd be glad to be your "sounding board" in the process. We can assist in many ways with insights and experience, but we know that you are the real "change agent" in your life. Give us a call. We're here for you.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Make connections with helpful resources and tools which provide information on your interests and locale as you plan your moves. The Albany Realty Group website includes links to some of the best and most complete resources for local and professional sites which may help you as you make your plans. Click on the site,, or copy and paste this link into your browser and follow the link which interests you. If you have specific questions or concerns you would like to discuss I'll be pleased to hear from you and will guide you to the resources which may be most helpful. Give me a call. Send me an email note. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Chinese character for crisis also stands for opportunity. Another way of putting it is, "when life gives you lemons make lemondade." Yet another is "when one door closes another opens." Change is inevitable. Each life stage and change brings new challenges, but also opportunities. The glass is truly half full or half empty, depending on how we look at it. Change is the only constant. Making a move is a complex process.

Considering a move requires a good amount of energy. It is sometimes easier to just keep things the way they are. We are comfortable with what is familiar. Why change? Because life is change. Sometimes the most difficult part of a change is just accepting that, and moving ahead. Making a change is also about flexibility and the willingness and ability to open a new door and consider some new possibilities.

When you are ready to talk about the possibilities and new options for your next move we are ready to listen and talk with you. We recognize that its a complicated process with many ramifications. We respect and appreciate the opportunity to work with you toward your best outcomes. Give us a call or send us an email. We're here for you. Open to some possibilities.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Neighborhoods are constantly in flux. Last Summer the neighbors behind our house removed some of the largest most beautiful trees on the block and they put up the largest garage on the block. It looks like a barn, in fact, and "See Rock City" might easily be displayed on it.The view from our backyard was once serene and private until these changes occurred. Now the question is how many trees or shrubs will it take to soften the view from our yard.

The new folks, having lived there for about a year, now have the house on the market. They are advertising their "improvements" and have set the list price 25% higher from the price they paid last Summer. We don't know them, but we will live with the consequences of their brief time here for years.

How do changes affect your house's value? A realtor can give you a good sense of what buyers are generally looking for. What's happened on your street and in your backyard? Let us hear from you. We'd love to hear from you.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 03, 2006

I had never seen "The Money Pit" until last night...if you have seen it you'll know that its about a young couple which impulsively buys a beautiful mansion in the New York suburbs for "a steal." Unfortunately, the house has serious problems and everything from the staircase to the stove fall apart and blow up. The mansion becomes a "money pit" with each passing moment and there are some very entertaining sequences with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long as they keep trying to see the best and the good in the house regardless of its structural problems.

Perhaps the writers of the story or the screenplay for "The Money Pit" had a bad experience with the purchase of a house. Clearly, the characters in the movie failed themselves miserably by not securing the services of a good home inspector. The old saying "penny wise and pound foolish" could apply if a buyer is resisting paying for the services of a professional to take a good look at a house before buying it. I once was under contract for a house I thought was in great shape, but an inspector pointed out problems with the plumbing, the roof and he asked some important questions about the next door owner (this was a two family unit in Philadelphia). There were enough questions and issues with the place that it would have cost a good amount to fix it up and I cancelled the contract. A realtor can put you in touch with the services of qualified home inspectors (some states now require that inspectors be licensed, and New York is one of them). Give us a call and let us know how we can help you to stay up to date with the issues in the real estate market.

Have a great day!