Buffalo Real Estate Bargains Real Estate

Lake Erie Cottage Bargain

I occasionally write about real estate bargains throughout WNY.  There are some that perplex me a bit when they sit on the market for a while.  The following listing is located in Portland NY within a small community named “Green Hills”.  There are only about 15 or 20 other cottages in Green Hills. This lake front cottage was built in 2007 and is only asking $139,000.

Take a look at the listing yourself.

I can personally attest to the amazing sunsets.  We have a place about a mile down the road.

lake erie cottage bargain

Real Estate

Renovations That Yield the Best Return on Investment – Short Term

sell your house People who are selling their homes often ask me what improvements they should make before listing (selling) their home.  It always surprises me that Realtors aren’t more forceful with their clients when it comes to a listing and the simple changes that would help it to sell quickly.  There are some common sense items that many homeowners won’t even consider when selling, however, they will help a home sell in a matter of weeks rather than a matter of months.

I cannot stress enough that most people cannot see through certain things.  It is shocking how many people will base a house decision on a paint color.  I often hear sellers state that, they can just paint it any color they want.  Guess what?  They cannot see through your paint color in their own imagination.  You would be shocked, but $100 fix will tip the scales in the favor of an alternative house.

If you had 2 identical homes, or condos, and one had purple bedrooms, where the other had neutral colors in the bedrooms, which do you think would sell first?  Assume your are competing with a house that is equal to yours, but neutral.

If you EVER find yourself discussing how the new homeowner “can just…” stop right there and DO IT!!!!  I cannot stress this enough.  Don’t leave something simple and inexpensive undone because you feel it would be easy for the “new homeowner” to do.  They don’t want to do it and will only focus on those little things.  They wont see past them to see the good in your property.

Here are the steps to take with some examples of situations you might have in your own home.Neutral walls, white trim

  1. Declutter!

    You might not even be able to see your clutter after living with it for years. Ask for an independent opinion. The biggest suggestion that I can give is to clear floor space. Do you have a magazine basket on the floor near a doorway or chair? Remove it. Are there items leaning against a wall?  Clear the floor space to make a room feel much larger.

  2. Remove Personal Touches

    A number of years back, my own wife almost refused to do this when selling our first home.  She commented that “I still have to live here”.  I remarked that she could keep it if she wanted to continue to “live here” or she could remove it and we could move on to our nice new house.  Take down your personal photos, kids art, report cards, etc.  Many people will see this as a sign that you are ready to move. This often isn’t a conscious action, but they will feel like they are taking something away from you.

  3. Get rid of STUFF!

    This is essentially reiterating items 1 & 2. Get rid of stuff. I don’t care if you have to put it in a relatives home for a short time, or a storage unit, but clearing out clutter and “stuff” is a big help.

  4. Remove dated finishes and wallpaper.

    This gets into the more “heavy lifting” type of work, but if you are having a hard selling your home, making changes that date a place will make a major difference.  If you have a room with dark paneling from the 70’s, consider painting it!.  You might be surprised at how good painted paneling can look. The grooves in the paneling can start to feel “custom” with a nice neutral paint job.  Wallpaper is a trouble spot. It dates a home quickly and people don’t want to deal with it.  If possible, remove dated wallpaper and paint the walls with a neutral color.


    Did I mention paint?  You may love that pink room with the lace and twig sculpture, but MOST buyers won’t.  You can wait for the 1 out of 20 that appreciate that style, or you can cater toward the masses with neutral paint.  If the woodwork is in bad shape, consider going with a bright white trim and a neutral color on the walls.  I have had people say that they are sick of the look and all of the builders do that. Think about it.  All of the builders do it.  Think there is a reason for it?  There is. White trim with “builder’s beige” on the walls allows potential buyers to see their own design in the home.  It could be their furniture, or decorating taste, but a neutral background is a nice clean start.  When I do a renovation, I work with colors that are just outside of my base “neutral” for most of the rooms. I will paint each bath a nice “color”. Nothing too strong, but something that gives a crisp “spa” feel.  In the kitchen, I will often stick with a “food color” that is a smooth transition from the primary neutral throughout the house.  For the entire house, there are essentially 5 paints

    1. White Trim (semi-gloss sheen)
    2. Bath 1 (eggshell sheen)
    3. Bath 2 (eggshell sheen)
    4. Rest of house (satin sheen)
    5. Kitchen (food color)

If you are selling, you should take some time and watch the show “Sell This House” from A&E. This show has been on for many years and can turn a house around for about $500 (in most cases). These are real DIY projects and the show preaches some basic advice that anyone looking to sell their home should consider.  It is an unbiased view since they bring potential buyers through prior to making any changes.

Not Selling?  Here are some long term improvements to consider.

If you are a homeowner who isn’t selling, but wants to get an idea of the long ROI that a renovation can have, check out the article below.  US News reviews the investments that can return the most money over the long haul.

Renovations That Yield the Best Return on Investment – US News and World Report.

Real Estate

Hire a moving company or not?

The decision whether to hire a moving company to do your move for you or to try to move yourself has always been a big dilemma for every family or homeowner that is facing relocation. Like any other decision, the best option is different for every person. Some families prefer to pay a bit more but to get a really good, professional service and move within their ideal time frame. Others choose to do a DIY move and thus save up on all the services, tips and extra charges. Both ways have their pros and cons, so if you need to decide it is best to weigh the advantages and disadvantages first. When you are only facing a local move, you can hire a moving truck and do the move on your own. If you are only moving a small flat or a one-bedroom house, even a man-and-van service might be enough for the move. When you start weighing the pros and cons, keep in mind your most important factor – is it money, convenience, time or professionalism. So here are the things to consider before you make a decision:

Moving Van

  1. How big is your move?
    Depending on the number of bedrooms, you will need to choose the right size for the moving truck. If you only have one or two bedrooms a 14’ size of a truck will be enough for the job. However, if you have 3 or more than 4 bedrooms you are looking at a size between 17’and 26’.
  2. What is your budget?
    No house move is cheap, but there are some services that add up so much to the bill that it may look like a total waste of money, especially if you can manage with them on your own. Determine your top budget and try to work around it. If you can’t afford special tools for packing or unpacking services, then you should deal with the tasks yourself. If you can hire a few movers to do the loading of the truck, it will be much easier and faster. This will mean that you need to do all the packing on your own though.
  3. How long is the distance of the move?
    Fuel, long haul charges, flight charges – you need to consider all of these parts of your move and weigh your options. A long-distance move is not one of the cheapest services.
  4. Can you move some things in your vehicle?
    If you own a nice big car, you can do a few trips and carry some of the valuable or fragile items. Glassware, china and electronics are not only fragile and expensive, but they are also heavy which adds up to the overall cost of the move too. Same applies to books – if you can move them yourself you will lower the weight load considerably.
  5. Do you have big equipment or oddly-shaped items that need special handling?
    If the answer is yes, then you should definitely hire movers for that task. Don’t burden yourself with the packing and carrying and loading of these, as it may take ages and cause damage.

Whether to hire movers or not is entirely up to you – be realistic about your budget, needs, household specifics and your skills. A house move requires plenty of physical labor. If you are not ready for that simply trust the professionals.

Real Estate

Should I Be Relying on a Zestimate?

Of course not.  Zestimate’s are computerized estimates of your home’s value that fail to take into account a LOT of factors.  However, if you don’t have a handle on estimated values in an area, they can give you a somewhat reasonable gauge as to overall values.

Do you know when I WILL rely on a Zestimate? When it is WILDLY in my favor, that is when.  I will promote it to anyone who will listen.  I will buttress my SMART purchasing decision with this Zestimate of value.

Are zestimates accurate?

TANGENT: I am an online developer and marketer by trade and I often consult clients during an advertising purchase with this fact.  If a metric is not in the companies favor, they will not disclose.  “Q: How many clicks does the advertiser who currently pays for that space receive?  A: We don’t track that!”.  What they meant to say is, “the numbers are so poor, we wouldn’t dare publish them.  If we did no-one would buy the space for the rate that we are attempting to sell it to you for.”

Consider a Zestimate as such (I won’t even get started on assessments in this article).    The following Zestimate is for a property that we purchased last July.  The Zestimate jumped a considerable percentage.   As such, I am writing to let you know what a fantastic decision we made.  Just kidding.  Take Zestimates for what they are worth.  Not much at all.  The Zestimate was not correct in July and it is probably not correct now.


Real Estate

Squirrel!! There are Squirrels in the House

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