Friday, March 24, 2017

When considering your next real estate transaction

When considering your next real estate transaction and looking for real estate representation call us.   Keep in mind that we will do everything possible to make your buying or selling experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.  With our experience in assisting with home buying and selling you can be sure you are receiving the best representation possible.

Owning property is one of the most exciting investments you can make, and it should be a fun and rewarding experience.  If you are moving out of the area or downsizing, and need to sell your home, we can help you prepare your home for sale, pricing your home right and marketing it effectively.

If you have questions and would like to talk, please give us a call 518-392-8484.  We are conveniently located in Old Chatham, New York.

Visit our website:

                           Your Hopes, Your Dreams...Our VantagePoint

Saturday, March 04, 2017

8 Issues You Must Address if You Plan to Retire in Place

Wanted to Share this Article that was shared by SRES and written 
byDave Hughes

February 23, 2017

It's fun to imagine the possibilities for exciting and exotic, yet affordable places you can live after you retire. But most people don't actually follow through with a move to a new place. According to an AARP study on aging in place, nearly 90 percent of people over 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible, and 80 percent believe that their current residence is where they will always live.

Just as there are good reasons to move after you retire, there are several compelling reasons to stay right where you are. You may love your current home and have a strong emotional connection to it. Perhaps you want to remain close to your network of family, friends and support systems rather than start over with making new friends, learning a new area and finding new doctors and other service providers. If you are planning to start a business, you will need the network you have built up over many years. Sometimes moving is not financially feasible. Or perhaps it boils down to inertia and it's easiest just to stay put.
If you want to remain in your current home for the rest of your life, here are several considerations that will help you decide whether this is the best choice for you.
1. Does your current community have good infrastructure for supporting seniors? This includes good public transportation or perhaps the availability of city-sponsored transport vans, good health care and a strong senior center that provides activities as well as support services. You should also consider whether you live close enough to public transportation and if the places you visit regularly are on transportation routes.
2. Is your house adaptable to meet your needs as you grow older? A one-story floor plan, or at least a floor plan with a bedroom and all necessary facilities on the first floor, will make it easier if you should require a walker or wheelchair during your later years. You might need to make other adjustments, such as replacing door knobs with lever handles, adding ramps and retrofitting your bathroom with handrails. If you or your spouse should someday require a wheelchair, you should evaluate whether doorways are wide enough and if countertops, cabinets, closets and bathroom facilities will still be accessible.
3. Are your house and yard small enough to maintain as you get older? This concern can be managed if you have nearby family members who are willing to assist you or you can afford to hire people to help you with cleaning and maintenance. Keep in mind that family members may move.
4. Is your current house in good condition and energy efficient? Depending on your house's age and condition, you may incur costs to repair or replace an aging furnace, air conditioner, carpet, appliances or roof. Occasional home maintenance tasks such as repainting or removing dead plants may become things you can no longer do yourself.
5. Are most things you need available within a reasonable distance? Driving all over town and maneuvering on high-traffic freeways will become more challenging as you get older.
6. Are the amenities you wish to enjoy during retirement close by? While you worked, you were probably most concerned with living a reasonable distance from your workplace. After you retire, your work commute will be replaced by trips to play sports, take classes, hike and participate in other activities that you select to be part of your retirement lifestyle.
7. Will your neighborhood still be safe? As you get older, safety will become an increasing concern. While it is impossible to know what transformations your area of town may undergo in the coming years, you may be able to assess whether your surroundings are improving, holding steady or declining.
8. Does your area have good assisted living or nursing homes that you would want to live in? It may be decades before you need them, and a lot may change over the course of those years. When you reach the age where you will need to move into such a facility, your search will probably be limited to your current area. Try to determine whether your local facilities are pleasant and affordable and if there is a long waiting list for spaces.

Questions please call me:  Stephanie W.  Samuelsohn at 518-392-8484

Check out our website:  Columbia County Homes

Your Hopes, Your Dreams, Our VantagePoint

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Add Value to Your Home

A few suggestions that add value to your home:

1) Clean, Organize, and Neutralize Your Space: Unclutter your house to make it look bigger and cleaner.  Buyers need to be able to envision their own belongings in the home, so avoid using bright colors and too many personal effects.

2) Keep your lawn green: Get your lawn in shape. A patchy lawn takes away from the home's overall appearance. Your local hardware store has supplies to re-seed those unhealthy areas.

3) Add insulation to save energy: The most inexpensive way to increase your home's energy is to add insulation which can reduce heating and cooling costs by more than 25%.

4) Update Kitchen Appliances: The kitchen is often the room that buyers gravitate towards first, and an updated kitchen can help sell your home. You don't have to remodel your kitchen to give it a new look. Updating your appliances to the current standard and replacing cabinet doors and hardware can make a big impact at a relatively low cost.

5) Update those bathroom fixtures: A little change can go a long way when it comes to the look of your bathroom. Updating simple fixtures such as your sink and faucet can give any outdated bathroom style. And, according to, minor bathroom remodels typically return over 100% of the initial investment.

6) Build a fence: If you're trying to sell a house, the appearance of a fence adds value to the home overall. Buyers with children or pets will appreciate the privacy and security of an enclosed backyard.

7) Repair the gutter: Ensuring that your gutter is clean is crucial in protecting your home against water damage.

8) Light up the outside: An easy and inexpensive way to increase your home's outdoor space is to add lighting. It makes it more appealing and safer.

9) Store and organize: Ample storage space is a plus, especially when it comes to garages and closets.  Efficient closet structures can help keep your clothes organized  and can save space.

10) Polish off the basement: Rather than adding an additional room, it is more cost-efficient to remodel your basement. This adds value and usable space.

Your Hopes, Your Dreams...Our VantagePoint

Call Stephanie Samuelsohn, at VantagePoint Reatly at 518-392-8484

or e-mail her at:

Check out our Website:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Would You Remove Your Own Appendix...

Would You Remove Your Own Appendix...much less overhaul your vehicle's engine? The fact is that, whether a Doctor or a Car Mechanic, most people turn to those with professional experience to get the results they want. In the case of selling a home, there is too much riding on the outcome to hope that a homeowner can do the job himself or herself. 

While potential FSBO's (homes 'for sale by owner') nearly uniformly focus on saving money, experienced Real Estate agents usually pay for themselves by getting higher prices more quickly. They do this by setting a realistic asking price, advertising the property thoroughly, networking more effectively, qualifying buyers better, and negotiating a better selling price, circumventing potential problems.

I am fully licensed in both NY & MA and bring with me the skills for service & dedication.

Your Hopes, Your Dreams...Our VantagePoint

HINT: From getting a property ready for market to negotiating with buyers, experienced real estate agents take the emotion out of the home-buying process and produce bottom-line
Columbia County Homes

Friday, January 13, 2017

Three Steps to Find More Listings This Winter

By Mark Mathis, General Manager, Agent and Broker Sales,

You may be busy preparing your home, family or even wardrobe for winter, but don’t forget that you should be preparing your business, as well. As the market slows down during the colder months, it may be more difficult to generate new listings. Because of this, now is an opportune time to look for FSBO and expired listings to work with.
Statistics show that nearly 92 percent of sellers who try to market a home on their own fail and many expired listings eventually go back on the market, which presents a lot of opportunity for you to find new listings. It’s up to you to show the value you offer in a selling situation. Here are three steps to help you prepare to meet with this kind of seller.

Plan Your Approach
When a listing expires, it’s often because the property wasn’t marketed or priced properly. This is an optimal opportunity to show sellers how you’re different (and better) than their previous agent.
 Create a marketing plan and present it to the seller, showing them how you would market their home. Include points about establishing a strong web presence, your use of social media, sample advertising ideas, etc. Your marketing plan should show how you can connect with potential buyers and create opportunities to sell.

Similarly, the No. 1 reason someone chooses the FSBO route rather than hiring an agent is because they don’t want to pay commission fees. However, these sellers rarely understand the time and effort agents put into a transaction. Sure, those FSBOs may be saying they don’t want an agent now, but that mindset may change once they start to see how much work it takes to sell their home. Just like sellers with expired listings, approach FSBOs with a marketing plan that shows how much work you’ll put into selling their home.

Develop a Script
Before making contact with the seller of a FSBO or expired listing, prepare exactly what you’re going to say. Remember, rather than focusing on the logical reasons these people want to sell their properties, try to find the emotional reasons, and use that information to turn them into a client.
For example, if you’re working with an expired listing, plan to ask the sellers about their previous experience. If they worked with an agent, ask questions about what that person did to try to sell their home: did they take high quality photos of the interior and exterior, use social media to promote the listing, advertise appropriately and recommend staging options? If it’s a FSBO property, ask the sellers why they didn’t work with an agent the first time: was it a financial issue, did that have a bad experience previously or are there any other factors influencing their decision?

Contact the Sellers
When you’re prepared, it’s time to contact your prospective clients and let them know you’re here to help. Start by sending the sellers an email highlighting your qualifications. For FSBO properties, explain how you can take away the stress of home-selling, sell their home more quickly, and likely get a better price than they could on their own.
When you’re able to speak with these sellers in person or over the phone, put your script into play. Build trust and discover why they’re looking to sell, then go for what Chris Smith, author of The Conversion Code, calls the “trial close” with a “here’s what happens next” question to keep the process moving forward. For example, you could ask “Does Wednesday or Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. work better for my photographer to come by and start taking pictures for marketing materials?” This will help the seller understand what you are going to be doing for them and make them feel more secure in the final steps of the process to list their home.
If sellers aren’t prepared for the trial close or insist that they want to work alone, wish them the best and give them some advice that could help. As time goes on, if they aren’t able to sell, they’re likely to remember you as someone who offered encouragement and call you for help.

If you’re looking for ways to connect with transaction-ready sellers in your local market, check out Local Connect. Local Connect positions you in front of active sellers in your target markets with branding that showcases your photo or logo, phone number and endorsements. Call us at 888-651-8956 or send an email to to learn more!
For more information, please visit
For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark 

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Must-Have Home Features? It’s Your Call

Wanted to share this post from - Hope it will be helpful.

Must-Have Home Features? 

It’s Your Call

Posted on Nov 30 2016 - 11:58am by Maria Patterson

An outdoor kitchen. Double sinks in the master bath. A wrap-around porch.  Solar panels. There are just so many things we want our new home to have.
However, when shopping for our dream home, it’s essential to steer the dream a little bit more toward reality. No home will have every single feature you desire, so before you set out on the search, sit down and think hard.
Also think long-term. While certain features may not matter to you, they may weigh heavily in determining your home’s resale value. According to a recent report by Kiplinger, there are seven features that will help sell a home faster: a laundry room; exterior lighting; energy efficient appliances and windows; a patio; hardwood floors; garage storage space; and an eat-in kitchen.
For most of us, our must-haves are rooted in practicality – a classic case of needs vs. wants. Which would explain why some of the most unwanted features in a home, according to a National Association of Home Builders study, include a pet-washing station, an elevator and a wine cellar. Some important musts, therefore, often involve:
  • The number of bedrooms and/or potential to turn a room into an additional bedroom – are you planning on children? Need space for an in-law to move in?
  • The master bedroom – is it big enough for your king bed and does it include a master bath?
  • The number and condition of other bathrooms
  • The yard - how much space and privacy do you need to be happy?
  • The kitchen – do you need a new kitchen with high-tech appliances or are you willing to update down the road?
  • Closet space – is there adequate storage for your current belongings with room to expand?
  • The school district – an obvious factor if you have or are planning to have children, but also important if you don’t as it will affect your home’s resale value
  • Proximity to work – are you willing to commute or is a walkable community a high priority?
  • New construction – are you looking for a maintenance-free environment or the charm of an older home with DIY options?
Of course, your musts are very unique to you and, therefore, may vary from the above. The key factor in determining a must-have from a nice-to-have is whether it is something that can be cost-effectively and efficiently accomplished down the road, such as crown molding or a fire pit. Musts should be those features that are difficult and costly, if not impossible, to handle on your own, such as a bigger garage or a new roof.
Remember that above all, your “dream” home will be the one that grabs you for some intangible reason or for a combination of unexpected features you never knew you wanted until you saw them. So try to keep your must-list to a minimum and your open mind to a maximum—and most of all, enjoy the process.

Friday, October 07, 2016

A Make or Break Decision – The Right Price

Part 2

The second toughest decision in the process is next – deciding upon a price.

Often home sellers base their property’s sale price on emotion and sentiment. A home represents a lot of special memories to the seller and they respond accordingly by overpricing.

This is where your real estate agent’s cool head and vast experience comes into play.

First, a real estate agent will visit your home or property making careful notes on its pros and cons that will contribute to a selling price. Next, the agent will carefully study prices realized from comparable homes in your area and determine its current value. Once sharing that with you, your real estate agent will develop a strategic marketing plan, customized to sell your home.

Depending on the condition of your home, your real estate agent may recommend some upgrades or modest cosmetic changes that enhance the attractiveness of your home. Trust in their suggestions because having worked with a variety of clients whose homes or properties range in size, style, age, and value – they know what sells. 

Call Stephanie Samuelsohn at 518-392-8484 to learn more.

Also check out our website: Columbia County Homes