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, August 31, 2006

Making a decision about landscaping your yard? The advice from Money Magazine about raising your property's value is to plant trees rather than shrubs or flowering plants. Experts Money consulted indicated that trees do historically increase the value of a property. The best trees to plant for future value according to these folks are hardwoods like Oaks and Elms. They suggest that you diversify your selections, so that if disease or blight strikes, you will have other varieties which are not impacted. While hardwood trees take many years to grow to maturity, they are solid additions to the beauty and, potentially, saleability of your house. Flowering trees take less time to develop, and mature to heights of 20+ feet, while the hardwoods grow to 40-50+ feet.

Planning your landscaping with your property value in mind is a Smart Move! Looking for other insights about improving your property's value? Give us a call. We're here to help.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Start planning for your sale by letting your friends and family as well as your neighbors know that you are going to be selling your house. Your advance notice to people who know you and your neighborhood will bring advance information to those your contacts know who may be the most likely potential buyers for your property. If you are a member of an association, or club or religious community, you may also let those people know of your plans in advance.The more exposure and interest you yourself are able to generate in your place, the more activity will develop once the house is available for sale. Your realtor can help with other suggestions and ideas about how to do some advance advertising on your house. We're here to help. Let us know how we can.

Have a great day!

Friday, August 25, 2006

When you are in competition for the purchase of a house, you might want to provide a letter to the seller sharing the reasons for your interest in and apprecation for the house. Beyond the monetary offer you have made, a seller is sometimes moved to reconsider an offer based on a letter in which a buyer provides some compelling personal reasons for their desire to buy their house. Ownership of a house is often an emotional issue, and so owners sometimes really do appreciate knowing that a prospective owner will care for and value their house as much as they have valued it in the past. Give it some consideration when you learn that other bids are being placed on the same house you are interested in. Your realtor can give you other suggestions which may help to make your bid more competitive.

As realtors, we're here to help. Give us a call.

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The national news often proclaims the state of real estate sales with comments about a "bubble bursting" or the market being, for example, down, stable or up. Really, you should not pay much attention to the national proclamations about the real estate market, but you should focus more attention on the market in your particular location and area. The specific information on your area is more relevant to your interests than is the broad, national commentary.

If you would like to know how your local market is doing, you should not hesitate to contact a realtor and ask how sales and the market are going in your region and, additionally, your own neighborhood. Don't be hesitant to utilize the resources a realtor can provide. We're here to work for you. Give us a call or drop us a line.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

When you sign any agreement or contract, whether it is a listing or buying agreement or a mortgage contract, you really should take the time to read it carefully and thoroughly so that you know and fully understand what it says. Highlight areas which are unclear to you and ask your agent or,preferably, your lawyer to help explain or clarify the meanings and potential implications of the portions of the contract you are uncertain about. Too many sellers and buyers discover those meanings after they have signed an agreement, when it is too late to amend or alter them. You cannot be too careful when it comes to putting your name on a legal agreement. In this hurried society we tend to feel rushed through and sign things before we really know what they say. Take the time you need. Ask questions. Make sure you are comfortable with what you are agreeing to.

Your realtor can give you some guidance on who to contact about any other questions you may have. Give us a call or drop us an email.

We're here to work for you. Have a great day!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Make certain when you begin the search for a new house that you have a prequalification letter or notice from your bank or lender. That way, when you find a place that you would like to make an offer on, you have a back-up letter and reference from a credible source endorsing your ability to finance or purchase it. A prequalification letter can be the deciding factor in a seller's decision as to whether to accept a given offer on their house. Likewise, if you are selling your house, make certain that you receive a prequalification letter from buyers who express interest or make an offer on your house. A realtor can help you obtain a prequalification letter.

We're here to work for you. Give us a call.

Have a great day!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Making an addition to your house? Remember to keep all of the receipts and guarantees in a safe place, so that when you get ready to sell the house you can complete the property disclosure with the most thorough and complete information possible. The more detail you can provide, the better. Buyers will appreciate the information but will also recognize that you have done your best to keep your house in good repair and in a timely fashion. They'll also know who to contact about the work that was done if they buy the property and need to follow up on those improvements, additions or repairs at some future time. Don't underestimate the investments you have made in your house. They should pay off when you get ready to sell. A realtor can give you some other tips for preparing your house for listing and sale. Give us a call or drop us an email. We'll work for you!

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

When an Open House is held, many of those who come to the event may be your present neighbors. While this may seem to be nothing more than "nosiness" it may actually be highly beneficial for your neighbors to take a look at your house. Your neighbors may have friends or relatives who they would like to see move closer to them, and they may help to "spread the word" about your house's location and benefits. Who knows the neighborhood better than those who already live there? You can ask your realtor to create a "sign in" sheet for those attending the Open House, and this way you can see exactly who came by to take a look during the Open House hours. As Martha Stewart would say, "its a good thing" to let your neighbors know your house is about to be or listed as on the market. A realtor can give you other key insights about why Open Houses are "a good thing." Give us a call. We're here to work for you.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Are you thinking about a reverse mortgage? If so, you need to thoroughly inform yourself about the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage before signing up for one. You should really consult your financial advisor or talk with several knowledgeable professionals about the advantages and/or disadvantages for you and your particular situation before you decide a reverse mortgage is right for you. While there are some true advantages, particularly in certain situations, there are also some real issues which may give you pause and invite some further consideration and evaluation. Don't rush into this decision based on "hearsay." A realtor who works with a professional financial advisor can put you in touch with someone who can give you perspective in order to make your decision.

We'll work for you. Give us a call or send us an email.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When you are getting ready to list your house you might want to consider having a Pre-listing inspection done by a certified and licensed inspector. Doing this in advance and on your own initiative may give you a "heads up" professional opinion on certain details of your house which could present problems or issues once a buyer's inspection takes place. Doing an inspection prior to listing will give you the time to know about and address or improve/remedy any "defects" or "shortcomings"your house may have in advance of showing it to buyers. If you can or decide to provide the your own inspector's report to serious prospective buyers that is another great benefit and advantage to the buyer as well. The buyer may or may not then decide to conduct their own independent inspection, but you will have given the buyer the option and opportunity to save some of their own time and money by having provided a professional inspection report to them. A realtor can give you some assistance on this. Give us a call and let us know how we can help.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Dateline NBC just aired a program (August 13, 2006) about scams perpetrated by unlicensed home contractors in California. You might want to check the Dateline website at for more detailed information about some of the concerns the program raised. If you need work done on your house, make sure that any contractors you may hire (for everything from tree trimming to home renovations) come with excellent references. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau and/or your local Chamber of Commerce to find out if the contracter you are considering hiring is listed with these organizations. If someone comes to your door suggesting you need to have something repaired or fixed, don't accept what they say or them at their word. Check them out! Make sure you are going to be getting professional and reputable work from them if you do decide to give them a try. Ask for references and follow up with your own research in order to make a smart decision.

A realtor can be a good resource for information. Give us a call. We'll work for you!

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

If you have had an appraisal done on your house some time ago, remember that the figure you were given at that time was based on sales in your area and assessments of your home's value at the given point in time in which it was done. Given this, you should not believe that the figure you were given at that earlier time represents the value of your house in the present market. The market is "time-bound" and determined by the recent and current sales of houses in your neighborhood. The market value of houses is always in a state of flux, just as are the financial markets, so nothing is firm or settled when it comes to housing values. A real estate agent can provide you with ways in which to help determine what the current value of your house may be. Give us a call or send us an email. We'll work for you!

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thinking about becoming a For Sale By Owner? There's a lot to consider. The promise of retaining more of your money by doing it all yourself does come at a price of more involvement and investment of your own time, energy and effort. You can get a number of books at your local library or bookstore on what generally is involved so you can become more informed about the range of investments you may have to make in order to make this work for you. While the promised benefits for selling on your own are intriguing, you do really need to know what kind of responsibility you will need to take on by yourself if you decide to go this route. A professional salesperson in the field of real estate can tell you the number responsibilities you will have to handle as well as the number of advantages you may have by using a realtor. In fact, homes sold by realtors often sell for more than those listed as For Sale By Owners. Inform yourself by asking us some questions at no cost to you. You will then make a more informed decision either way you go, so why not give us a call and let us know
how we can help. We'll work for you.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Looking for buyers and wondering where to find them? Your local realtor has a number of them they are working with. One may be looking for a house just like yours. Listing your house with a realtor gives it the greatest possible exposure to the greatest number of buyers in your area. Agents are always reviewing the inventory of available properties on the multiple listing service in order to find and select those which they believe most fit the needs of their buyers. With a number of houses on the market now, you need the exposure you can get through a realtor. Other questions or comments? We'd love to hear from you. We'd love to help. Give us a call or drop us a note.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Make certain to have the deed to your house available before you contact an agent. You will want to familarize yourself with the specfics of the deed and be clear on the parameters and boundaries of your property. You will also need to give the deed or a copy of it to your agent and to your lawyer so that they can review it prior to transfer and sale of the property to a buyer. If you cannot locate your deed you will have to contact your local government office far enough in advance to receive a duplicate copy of it. There is sometimes a backlog of work that piles up in these offices, so allowing plenty of time to receive what you need in a timely manner is important. If you need more specific information or guidelines give your realtor a call. We're here to help. Give us a call.

Have a great day!