Stereotyping Sellers-Buyers & Brokers

Hope is an abiding attitude in the real estate business.

Sellers “hope” their house will sell.  They want a quick purchase, at the highest price.  Delayed maintenance shouldn’t impede negotiations and a comparative market analysis doesn’t mean pricing at current market value.  As in”  “I want to net out at this number, can’t or will not lose money, will not cut the grass, paint, or complete any fixes that will help sell my home.”

Buyers “hope” they can buy a home of their dreams, that it’s truly affordable, the school system is perfect, the local park is a few blocks away, and the taxes are “reasonable”.  “I need a seller’s concession to help with closing costs, a fire place, and finished basement.  “If you can’t find that for me Mr. Broker or Agent, I’ll find someone who can.”

Broker’s “hope” their seller understands proper pricing is the number one reason why one home sells more quickly than another similar one down the block.  The CMA, Comparative Market Analysis, pinpoints recently sold properties within a short distance of the one to be sold, adjusts some for positive features like an in ground pool, special or extraordinary interior or exterior features (water front-100 acres included-rentable chalet, and so on) or a negative adjustment for substantial delayed maintenance, mold, no landscaping, buried oil tank, etc..

Broker’s “hope” their buyer clients understand you can really only accomplish two primary goals regarding home ownership within a budget-LOCATION AND PRICE or PRICE AND LOCATION.  Any additional factor like more acreage, great school district, pool, deck, finished basement, wine cellar, high end appliances are a true bonus.

No one should ever lose hope.  But-Sellers and Buyers need to realistically evaluate a broker’s guidance on how best to sell or buy real estate.  This advice isn’t about inflating your broker or agent’s ego.  It’s about your money and how best to use your real estate professional’s years of experience to get what you want.

These buyer/seller/broker hopes are somewhat stereotypical snap shots.  Individual sellers, buyers, and broker/agents vary in great degree.  Putting people in boxes does little to forward the real estate process.

If you, the seller or buyer develop the trust and confidence in your real estate professional, stick with that person and listen critically.  Then, ask the needed questions, get the answers, and get on with moving in a positive direction toward closing.

Survey Says: Homeownership Is a Sound Investment�If You Can Afford It

This information is brought to you by

John Kavaller

Catskill Country Real Estate

The majority of Americans believe in the wealth-building potential of home ownership, but many are struggling to reconcile the outcome with its cost, according to a new survey by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
84 percent of Americans see home ownership as a good investment, according to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey. (PRNewsfoto/National Association of Realtors)


Eighty-four percent of survey respondents in NAR’s 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey view owning a home as “a good financial decision,” but 60 percent are also concerned about costs, now and in the future. Affordability, in fact, was identified by respondents as one of their top five challenges, ahead of employment security. Forty-four percent of respondents report the lack of affordable housing in their community as a “big” or “fairly big” issue. Markedly, non-white and unmarried respondents were more likely to label the issue “big,” as well as low-income, renter and young women respondents.

Concerns are being magnified by current housing expenses, and the myth that significant savings are needed for a down payment. Forty percent of respondents report that their mortgage or rent is a burden, and an identical share, particularly older individuals and those in larger locations, believe they need to put 15 percent or more down on a home.

Eighty percent of survey respondents, however, view owning a home as an avenue to equity, and 50 percent view it as a means to ensure a stable environment for children, as well as a secure neighborhood.

“Despite the growing concern over affordable housing, this survey makes it clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own,” says NAR President Bill Brown. “Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home.”

For more information, please visit

Buying A New House? 5 Things To Check Before Moving In

By Kara Masterson

Presented by John Kavaller:  Owner-Broker of Catskill Country Real Estate

Buying a new house is an exciting process that marks a new chapter in life. For many people, it’s fun to shop around and tour different properties. When you’re serious about purchasing a home, there are a few important parts of the property to check before you move in.

The Neighborhood

You should feel comfortable with the quality of the neighborhood, which will influence the value of your home. Look at the condition of the other homes and check to see if people are loitering at different times of the day. The house should also be in proximity to your job or nearby schools if you have children. Some individuals who don’t have a family may want to purchase a home in a good school district due to the impact that it’ll have on the value of the property.

Storage Space

The storage space that is available in the home influences how much clutter will be left out in the open. Look for plenty of storage space that is available in the bedroom closets or in the kitchen to ensure that you can comfortably fit everything that you own without feeling cramped.

Plumbing System

Run the faucets to inspect the water pressure and ask the owners if the pipes are insulated. Hire professionals to check if the radiators are working and if the hot water tank needs to be replaced soon.

The Roof

The roof is one of the most costly features of the home and protects the interior setting from damage due to environmental elements. Hire a professional roofer to determine the lifespan of the roofing material and if it needs any repairs. The tiles or shingles should be secure on the roof deck, and there shouldn’t be any leaks present.

Sufficient Drainage

Many buyers make the mistake of overlooking the drainage on the property, but the feature can cause issues if they’re not in good shape. Insufficient drainage can lead to severe structural problems in the building.

Although it can be easy to fall in love with a house, there are several areas to check before making an offer to ensure that you won’t run into problems down the road. By taking the time to inspect each part of the property, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re making a good investment.


Funny Man With The Bushy Eyebrows

It’s Christmas Eve day and warm for late December in Otisville, New York.  Well not quite Otisville, actually Mount Hope.  That’s sort of true, Catskill Country Real Estate is in the Town of Mount Hope, but our office address is actually Middletown, NY 10940.

It’s not easy having a difficult address to define or having bushy eyebrows.  Marilyn keeps trying to sit me down for a haircut and calm conversation.  Clippers out, comb, scissors and that awful buzzing sound fill my ears—oh—they need a buzz cut too.

TMI—yes I know.  Nobody really cares about haircuts these days—especially earcuts.  Well maybe barbers do, but I’d have to go to Facebook in that there seems to be a good deal of interest in photos of just about anything.  Updating status must include personal information about personal grooming—hold on, let me check Twitter too ……………………………………………

Yep—just as I suspected.  All the social network platforms show the broker with the bushy eyebrows is trending and may go viral.  There seems to be an unusual amount of static about busy real estate brokers, interest rates moving upward, and the Polar Vortex simmering down.

It’s been a very busy year for Catskill Country.  We’ve closed many transactions, formed more solid relationships with other real estate firms and REALTORS®, helped a number of folks get into homes, and expanded our services to a multi county territory.

Our reviews are moving steadily upward as we seek to maximize our relationships with new clients, referrals, and our advertising venues.  Our budget allows us to profile thousands of homes on our two websites making it easy for consumers to research and review almost too much information.

The one key difference between Catskill Country and our competitors centers on my absolute commitment to immediate contact with anyone wanting more information about real estate.  We welcome all questions and respond almost as soon as we are contacted so you aren’t waiting around for answers.

I  have bushy eyebrows  but– I understand how to listen and bring your real estate goals into focus, and accomplish the mission of helping you buy or sell property in the Mid-Hudson and Catskills Region of New York State.

5, 10, 20 Percent or More? How to Determine How Big of a Down Payment You Need

Down PaymentWhether or not you’re new to real estate, there’s little doubt that you’ve heard the term down payment as it relates to purchasing a home. There’s a lot of different information out there in regards to how much this figure should be and it can be hard to determine exactly what the importance of this payment is. If you’re trying to determine the ideal amount to put down, here are some things to consider.

Explaining Down Payments And Why They’re Important

The down payment is probably one of the largest single payments you’ll make for anything, and this is why so many people save for years. When you buy a home, the down payment is the amount of money that goes into the initial home investment, and this is taken off of the cost of the house. In essence, while this money qualifies as an asset, it is tied up in paying off the total cost of your home.

The Differing Amounts For Down Payments

It’s often the case that many figures are thrown around in regards to the ideal down payment percentage, and they generally vary from 3-20% of the home’s cost. If you are paying a percentage on the low side of the scale, this can unfortunately mean that you will have fewer mortgage options and will be stuck with an increased interest rate. The amount you should pay depends on your financial health and purchasing commitment, but the larger the down payment is, the more minimal your monthly payments will be.

Deciding The Perfect Percentage

Saving up 20% of a home’s total price may seem like a lot of time and effort, but this can be the ideal amount to put down. In addition to lowered monthly payments and a better interest rate, you’ll also be able to avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which is required if you put down less than 20%. There is no right answer to the question of how much to put towards a down payment, but you may end up spending less in the long run if you can invest more in the beginning.

There are many figures thrown around when it comes to real estate, but the amount of a down payment should be economically feasible for you and enable you to make your monthly payments consistently. If you’re planning on purchasing soon and are looking for home options, you may want to contact me for suggestions on mortgage professionals we work with. They can fill you in on all you need to know regarding down payment amounts to consider when applying for a loan.

U.S. Residential Housing Update

Market UpdateThe following information was distributed by:

Nicholas Michael Papajohn
Home Mortgage Consultant
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

701 Westchester Avenue
White Plains , NY 10604
914-285-1477 Office Ext.
914-714-8433 (Mobile)
866-665-1535 (Fax)

NMLSR ID 404042

  • Existing home sales jumped 14.7% in December from November to reach a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 5.46 million units. Sales in 2015 numbered 5.23 million units, a 6.3% increase over 2014. 1
  • The months’ supply of existing homes dropped to 3.9 months, meaning that it would take just under four months to sell all the homes currently on the market at December’s sales rate. That’s the lowest monthly ratio of housing inventory to sales in more than ten years. During 2015, the average months’ supply was 4.8 months. 1
  • The median price of existing homes sold in 2015 was $219,900, a 6.4% increase over the $206,700 median price for 2014 sales.1
  • New home sales climbed 10.8% in December to a 544,000-unit annual sales rate. An estimated 501,000 new homes were sold in 2015, a 14.5% increase over sales of 437,000 units in 2014.2
  • The median sales price of new homes sold in 2015 was $293,600, a 3.8% increase over 2014’s $282,800 median price.2
  • Business investment has hovered near $70 billion per month since 2012, as measured by orders for capital goods excluding defense and aircraft. Orders for the fourth quarter of 2015 were 3.5% below orders for the same quarter a year earlier.3
  • The homeownership rate was 63.7% in the fourth quarter of 2015, up from 63.6% in the third quarter. A year ago, the rate stood at 63.9%.4
  • For households headed by an individual 35 years old or younger, the homeownership rate in 2015’s fourth quarter was 34.7%, down from 35.3% a year earlier. 4
  • The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in Freddie Mac’s survey was 3.79% during the week ending January 28, down two basis points from the previous week. That’s four consecutive weeks of declines since the 4.01% average posted during the last week of 2015. The January average was 3.87%, down from December’s 3.96%. All rates quoted have fees and points averaging 0.6% to 0.7% of the loan amount.5

Are You Struggling to Close Buyers for Your Home? It Might Be Time to Look at Your Price

Buyer's MarketSince most homeowners would like their home to sell at a reasonable price and in a reasonable time, one of the struggles of putting a home on the market is determining the perfect price. Whether your house has been on the market for a while or you’re just readying yourself for what comes next, here are some reasons that it may be time to re-consider your price.

How Long Has It Been?

A house that has been placed on the market will attract the most attention within the first 21 days in most normal markets.  In slower buyer markets like Sullivan County, that time frame moves out to about 60 days While no offers within this 60 day time frame doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to lower your price, you may want to revisit the cost other houses in the area sold for and decide from here how much longer you’ll wait before receiving an offer.

Is It A Buyer’s Market?

When putting your home on the market, there will certainly be a value in mind that you will want to sell it for. However, if you’re currently in a buyer’s market and there is a lot for sale, it’s possible that the price you’re looking for is not something you’re going to be offered. For this reason, it’s important to look at what the market is like in your area.

Do You Have A Timeline In Mind?

Homeowners often have a timeline for when they want to sell their home by, but life can sometimes get in the way and make for the necessity of a swift sale. Whether family issues or a new job have appeared on the horizon, lowering the sale of your home can be a good option to get your house off the market more quickly. You may not get the exact price you were hoping for, but there are situations where waiting for the extra money may not be worth it.

If you’re selling your home and are re-considering your price, it’s a good idea to stay on top of market trends and determine your circumstances before sticking to your original estimate.  Correct pricing and property condition out weigh just about all other factors relative to making a sale within a reasonable time frame.

Catskill Country Real Estate provides comparable sales analysis to sellers with no obligation.  Just contact us to find out what your property should list for in today’s buyer’s market.

Sullivan-Orange & Ulster Home Sales Experience Sharp Increase

Uptrend Sullivan-Orange-UlsterThe Times Herald Record reports large home sale increases in Sullivan, Ulster, and Orange County.  This overview presents a few points about the increase and factors holding back local economies. Perhaps the two largest determinants are jobs and taxes.  Reduce taxes, create jobs.  Although easy to write and talk about, it’s far more difficult to accomplish.

Our area is finally enjoying some fruits of a better national economy, improvement in lending to application ratios, and seller price capitulation. Selling prices are more in line with market realities and foreclosures still factor into median prices which have declined–that’s good for buyers, not so for sellers.

Resort/Casino development continues to be the leading edge of interest in Sullivan County.  Neighboring Orange and Ulster continue to create a commuting area whereby metropolitan folks make the trip into Penn Station via train or brave the 17/86/87 corridor.  The extension of bedroom communities is a long time trend and will continue for the foreseeable future.

All in all and for the moment, Sullivan Orange & Ulster are places to consider if you want to beat the rat race.  Consider allowing us to offer guidance for your next move up to the country.  Thanks.

Free Pizza for Life’ and Other Crazy Home Sales Gimmicks from Across the Nation

Pizza BWith the real estate market going through constant fluctuations, it can sometimes be a matter of strife to sell a home. Some will take the familiar road of staging and hope the offers come in, while others will do some crazy things to prove their home is worth buying. While you may not want to take the risk of making these bold moves yourself, here are the unusual things that some people did in hopes of getting their home off the market a little sooner.

The Perk Of Added Incentives

While there are a variety of goods that can be an added incentive to purchasing a home, one homeowner in Virginia Beach offered a 42-inch flat screen television to the lucky person who would make them an offer that couldn’t be refused. While this owner managed to sell in just a couple of weeks, other offers like expensive cars and gift certificates have long been attached to houses in the hopes of getting a more spontaneous sale.

A Real Ingenious Raffle

In the state of Maryland, log cabin owners Tom and Diane Walter opted to host a raffle so they could raise enough money to pay off the loan on their home. While the winning raffle ticket buyer would go away with a new home for only $50.00, the profits from the raffle would go to a local non-profit and the Walters loan fund. With the toughness of the real estate market, it’s a tactic that has gained popularity given the excitement of getting a house at a very economical price.

Testing Out The New Home

It’s certainly the case that being able to test something out might lead to more sale success, but a local builder in Portland, Oregon took it a little bit further than usual. Instead of offering up a staged suite, potential buyers were provided with a stay in a home at Atwater Place that was free of charge and included restaurant gift certificates, a gym pass and a lovely view of Mount Hood.

Staging a nice home at a reasonable price is always a great way to achieve selling success, but some have gone out on a limb to offer things that went well beyond the benefits of a new home.   Before trying any of the ideas above, contact your attorney to make sure you’re allowed to legally use these approaches. If you’re interested in things you can do to increase your chance of selling success in the market, you may want to contact John for more information.  He has more ideas on how to boost the chances of selling your property.