Capital Region Housing Market Lucrative For Sellers,Tough For Buyers

From The Daily Gazette, June 6, 2021

In the words of a veteran Realtor: “COVID has made ‘home’ more important than it ever was.”

This, and the circumstances surrounding COVID, have lit a fire under the Capital Region housing market, where houses are selling much more quickly and for much more money than before the pandemic.

“Selling was kind of a crazy experience,” said Emily Paulsen, formerly of Delmar. “We actually had people driving past our house 30 minutes after it was listed.” The money in the eventual sale deal was great but the stress was high.

As it turned out, buying the trade-up house in Guilderland would prove every bit as harrowing for Paulsen and her husband. 

Their experiences are likely among the more extreme anecdotes in the local real estate industry, but they are far from alone.

Paulsen and O’Brien were represented in both transactions by Dona Frank-Federico and Laura Murphy, a member of Frank-Federico’s team at Select Sotheby’s in Saratoga Springs.

Frank-Federico said the couple’s experience was more convoluted and stressful than normal, even amid the high-tempo market over the past year.

With the near-shutdown of the industry in March and April 2020 and continued restrictions in May, she thought sales were done for the year. “But it was the opposite — all the things you think wouldn’t happen, would happen.”

She had buyers from New York City, Iowa, California. She had local people who wanted to borrow at low rates to stop renting and start owning. She had people who wanted more and better living space because they were spending so much time at home.

“It was like the perfect storm and it took us by surprise in the beginning,” she said.

“But we did it. I had my best year ever in real estate and it was bittersweet because a lot of my family didn’t have jobs.”

She also lost friends to the virus.

“It was a lot, and it was emotional,” she said.

Some takeaways for Frank-Federico: 

  • Houses with pools sell very quickly if priced reasonably; 
  • Houses without high-speed internet service are a very tough sale, regardless of price; 
  • Some of the people who decided to leave New York City, epicenter of the pandemic, just packed up and left, and stayed in an Airbnb until they could buy a house; 
  • Luxury houses haven’t had as much sales growth because the people buying them often have multiple residences and don’t feel pressure to buy immediately; 
  • Open space around the house is a big selling point; 
  • Saratoga Springs retains its appeal.

Frank-Federico also feels that the upward pressure on prices can’t sustain itself forever.

“I personally believe there’s going to be a bit of a remorse around when it comes time to sell,” she said.

Read more on The Daily Gazette website

Every Bite Counts

From the week after Thanksgiving until just before Christmas, Dona Federico and her team at Select Sotheby’s International Realty, The Dona Frank Team, held a food and more drive to benefit the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. Based in the Albany area, the regional food bank distributes food and more to over 200 of its member food banks across the region.

“We want to thank Dona, who has been a friend and supporter of the food bank for many years, and her team at Select Sotheby’s International Realty, for an incredible drive. We are grateful for this wonderful donation, especially at this difficult time for so many. Every pound of food, paper products, and more, will help feed a hungry family and give them the items they need in their daily lives.” Said Mark Quant, Executive Director of the Regional Food Bank of NENY.

The Dona Frank Team donated over 1,000 pounds of food in four weeks, thanks to neighbors, friends, family and clients, along with financial donations. Items included pet food as well as human food, and much of the pet food will be donated to The Capital District Humane Association, a 100% volunteer pet adoption group that has been close to Dona’s heart for many years. This year she was motivated by the memory of her two best pals, Ralphie and Rocky, two Jack Russell Terriers she adopted from the group over 10 years ago.

Donations are still being accepted at both locations, if you are interested in helping, contact Dona Federico directly at: dona.federico@selectsir.com or 518.421.6753

Housing prices expected to rise, inventory fall in 2021

We have beautiful listings to fit any budget as well as access to every home currently on the market coupled with tons of good info. Interested?

The residential real estate market was rocked in 2020 by the economic shutdowns and changes to doing business forced by the pandemic, but it also had a big rebound experts expect to continue into 2021.

“The overriding rules of real estate still apply and it’s simple: Supply and demand,” said Jesse Holland, president of Sunrise Management & Consulting. “There is now a significant lack of supply, listings are at an all-time low, and a significant issue in the construction world having to do with supply chains, labor, building departments closing — builders aren’t building as many houses and they’re not coming online as fast, therefore prices start to rise. In a seller’s market, there is less advertising and more multi-bid transactions.”

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How Will the Presidential Election Impact Real Estate?

The year 2020 will be remembered as one of the most challenging times of our lives. A worldwide pandemic, a recession causing historic unemployment, and a level of social unrest perhaps never seen before have all changed the way we live. Only the real estate market seems to be unaffected, as a new forecast projects there may be more homes purchased this year than last year.

As we come to the end of this tumultuous year, we’re preparing for perhaps the most contentious presidential election of the century. Today, it’s important to look at the impact past presidential election years have had on the real estate market.

Is there a drop-off in home sales during a presidential election year?

BTIG, a research and analysis company, looked at new home sales from 1963 through 2019 in their report titled One House, Two House, Red House, Blue House. They noted that in non-presidential years, there is a -9.8% decrease in November compared to October. This is the normal seasonality of the market, with a slowdown in activity that’s usually seen in fall and winter.

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Seatbelt Law Takes Effect Monday, November 1, 2020

Signed into law by Governor Cuomo on August 11th, New York’s seatbelt law requires all motor vehicle passengers, regardless of age, to wear a seatbelt. This includes the backseat. Previously, only passengers 16 and under were required to wear a seatbelt in the backseat. The law will take effect on Monday, November 1st. This new seatbelt law will save lives and prevent serious injuries on New York’s roadways.

So remember, when you’re on your way to an Open House, a Broker’s Open, going to a closing or wherever you’re headed – front or back, buckle up. It’s the law!!

The country’s new house-based existence has fueled buyer appetite for more suburban and spacious properties.

Now is the time to plan to list your home if you are considering a move. The survey attached to the article below, from Forbes, indicates a boom in first time homebuyers as a result of the home being the new everything space. Note: first time home buyers aren’t what they used to be. They are looking in price points up to and over a million dollars as well as entry level prices. Get ready! We have so many ways to share how to get ready to list and/ or how to find your next home. I look forward to hearing from you if you’d like some free advice!

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Seasonal Home Listing Tips…Be ready to make your move

When listing a home between October and March, many people find themselves struggling to present the property in the best possible light, due to flowerbeds coming to the end of their life, around the property, very little sun, and lots of dirt. Many homeowners have exit plans, but most do not.  Here is a thought I try to instill in my friends, family, and clients that has helped them if they had to list their homes during those dreadful winter months, for those preparing to list in spring, AND for those who want to be prepared, just in case.

If you have a cell phone, it’s easy as pie to snap high resolution photos of your home when it is looking its best — May, June, and July, August, right through the end of September in many cases. If you have a good digital camera, that’s even better.  Remember, the better the shots, the better the outcome. Pull out your camera right after you mow and edge the lawn. Take shots from the angles that show your yard in the best way. Gardens are always a plus to buyers, so when your flowers are mature and in bloom is the ideal time for those shots. Make sure to shoot both close up and from a distance, to capture the feel of the entire garden and let prospective buyers see the many different varieties of perennials you might have.

Spring, summer, and fall photos are a good idea for inside the home as well.  Flowers from your garden on the table, shots from your big picture window or French doors onto a deck or overlooking water, a pool, or a beautiful yard, are a huge plus. Freshly painting your rooms and redecorating? Take pictures. Renovating a bathroom or bedroom? Take pictures. New kitchen? For sure, take pictures!

It is also a good idea to take interior photos in case you relocate while your home is listed. Things always look better in springtime and furnishings help as well as keeping the spaces uncluttered. That is often the case right after painting or redecorating.

Being prepared is the key.

The more you have to work with, the better. Photos tell the story. If you have the means to have professional photos taken of your home every few years, when you feel the home is at its best, I strongly suggest doing so. If not, do-it-yourself photos work, too. It gives your agent and prospective buyers a chance to better prepare and market your listing.

Dona Frank, The Dona Frank Team
Select Sotheby’s International Realty
Saratoga Springs, NY  518.421.6753
Give me a shout, I’d be happy to help you.