Lewis County property sales – September 2013

The following Lewis County property sales were recorded by the Lewis County Real Property Tax Service for the month of September 2013: [Read more...]

St. Lawrence County property sales – October 2013

The following property sales were recorded in the St. Lawrence County clerk’s office for the month of September 2013: [Read more...]

Sell with a Realtor for better outcome

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

Recent media reports have touted selling your home yourself, more commonly called for sale by owner or FSBO. It seems like a nice idea: sell your home yourself and save the price of a commission. After all, how hard can it be to sell a property that you know so well?

It turns out that it is not as easy a task as you would think. There is more to the process than simply putting a sign in front and sitting back and waiting for offers to roll in.

Before a property is put on the market, sellers are required by law to fill out numerous forms, whether the property is listed with a real estate broker or if the owner is selling it by him or herself. Some of these carry penalties if not filled out and available to a buyer at the time the buyer submits a purchase offer. Realtors are well versed in which forms are needed for each type of transaction.

Sellers also often underestimate the amount of time required to market and show their property, overestimate the value of their property and then have to deal with security concerns as a result of strangers having access to their home. [Read more...]

Peak sustainable living: Aubertine & Currier designs unique straw bale house

Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors has designed a unique straw bale home in Henderson with a variety of other sustainable features as well. Straw bale insulation dramatically cuts heating costs. Rendering courtesy Aubertine and Currier

Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors has designed a unique straw bale home in Henderson with a variety of other sustainable features as well. Straw bale insulation dramatically cuts heating costs. Renderings courtesy Aubertine and Currier

Melanie D. O’Brien, originally of Staten Island, acknowledges that both she and her husband Robert M., “by our nature think very long-term.”

Coupled with the pair’s environmental consciousness and intrepid spirit, it’s a patience that will serve them well as they reap the energy savings on what could be the north country’s first ever straw-bale home on Route 3 in Henderson, which they plan to start building this spring.

That’s straw, not to be confused with livestock-edible hay, and lots of it. Five hundred, 18-inch thick by 14-by-36 bales of straw, to be exact.

“Straw is basically rot resistant, insect resistant, moisture resistant,” said Brian A. Jones, one of two architects at Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors, Watertown, who have spent the past three months designing the house for the O’Briens, researching innovative techniques and soliciting their input on aesthetics.

Straw bale houses are popular in drier climates particularly in California and the Southwest. In the north country’s wetter climate, the design required careful position of the straw bales above the floor, insulation that the designers say is likely to slash heating costs at least in half. Straw will rot if left directly in water for extended periods of time. [Read more...]

Taking a green path: From Watertown to Massena, businesses design to LEED

The new performing arts center at SUNY Potsdam, slated for completion in December, is one of many buildings in the north country that was designed to LEED specifications. The firm Pfeiffer Partners Architects used a special insulation technique to achieve maximal energy efficiency. Melanie Kimbler-Lago/ NNY Business

The new performing arts center at SUNY Potsdam, slated for completion in December, is one of many buildings in the north country that was designed to LEED specifications. The firm Pfeiffer Partners Architects used a special insulation technique to achieve maximal energy efficiency. Melanie Kimbler-Lago/ NNY Business

In recent years, a crop of green buildings has been sprouting up in the north country. From Watertown to Massena, environmentally friendly buildings are incorporating the latest in sustainable technology and achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in the process.

This designation, established in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizes sustainability and efficient use of resources by building designers and owners. And according to area architects, it’s becoming increasingly common in Northern New York.

“We are definitely seeing more people interested in it,” said Brian A. Jones, LEED-certified architect and partner at Aubertine and Currier in Watertown. “I believe it’s going to be a wave of the future and eventually a requirement for all buildings. Energy’s not going to get cheaper, and it’s going to be more vital to conserve our resources. People are realizing they’re going to have to live and build differently to afford living here.”

Aubertine and Currier’s most recent LEED-certified project was the 7,800-square-foot Land Port of Entry facility at Cannon Corners for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs, and Border Protection. This $7.5 million building, located in Mooers Forks, achieved silver certification after it was completed in January 2012. It includes a rain catchment system that collects rainwater for reuse in toilets and washing machines, solar panels that provide energy for hot water heating and a variety of green materials in its construction. [Read more...]

Jefferson County property sales – October 2013

The following property sales were recorded in the Jefferson County clerk’s office for the month of October 2013: [Read more...]

Lewis County Property Sales – August 2013

The following Lewis County property sales were recorded by the Lewis County Real Property Tax Service for the month of August 2013: [Read more...]

Jefferson County Property Sales – September 2013

The following property sales were recorded in the Jefferson County clerk’s office for the month of September 2013: [Read more...]

Building activity shows uptick in ’13

After a somewhat sluggish 2012, construction activity in the Watertown area has picked up through the first half of 2013 but still lags in comparison to the past five years, building permits show.

Total declared value in construction permits filed in the City of Watertown Bureau of Code Enforcement, including new structures, additions, alterations, repairs and maintenance, totaled 3,278,356 over the first two quarters of 2013, while that figure was 1,942,067 through the first half of 2012. Total declared construction value for 2012 reached just 16,326,074, down about 63 percent from a high over the last five years of 43,882,327 in 2011.

Major projects including renovations at Samaritan Medical Center and the construction of the Creek Wood Apartments off Mill Street contributed to the spikes in the third and fourth quarters of 2011.

So far in 2013, the largest single building project in declared value according to permits filed was the addition of a 60-by-100-foot shell at 1340 Washington St., North Country Neurology, valued at $800,000. The practice expanded from about 3,600 square feet to just over 10,000 square feet to accommodate an expanding pool of clients and additional neurologists, a project begun in late spring and completed this fall by Lunco Corp., Carthage, which also designed and built the original structure. [Read more...]

Re-register for STAR by year’s end

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

Homeowners who receive the Basic STAR exemption need to re-register with the New York State Tax Department in order to receive the exemption in 2014 and subsequent years. There is no need to register to receive the 2013 STAR exemption or to re-register every year. Based on the information provided, the Tax Department will monitor homeowners’ eligibility in future years. Registration ends Dec. 31 and can be completed by clicking on “Register for STAR” at www.tax.ny.gov or by phone at (518) 457-2036.

Senior citizens who receive the Enhanced STAR exemption are not affected by the new registration requirement. They must, however, continue to apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program. [Read more...]