National Radon Action Month, Realtors Give Back in Their Communities

  

Lance Evans

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated January as National Radon Action Month.   The EPA notes that “Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure. If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family.”

   Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can seep into your home from the ground.   It is the second most common cause of lung cancer behind smoking.  Basements or any area with protrusions into the ground offer entry points for radon.  Radon tests can determine if high levels are present.

   The EPA suggests testing your home for radon during January.   You can purchase a kit and do it yourself or hire a professional.   In New York state, the Department of Health (www.health.ny.gov) has a list of certified radon testers on their site.  In addition, state residents can fill out a form and mail it with $11, to the department and receive a test kit in the mail.   There is other radon related information on the site also.


   During December, both the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors and the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors raised money and awareness for local charities.

    In the early part of the month, both held their annual holiday parties that included fundraisers for their respective community service funds.

    On December 8, the St. Lawrence County Board distributed $2100 to the Neighborhood Centers in Canton, Gouverneur, Massena, Ogdensburg, Potsdam, and Waddington.   The Centers are overseen by the St. Lawrence County Community Development Program.   Each center has a food pantry and assists with food and other emergencies such as utilities, fuel, and shelter.   They work with families in the area of family development, budgeting, education, and job search. Similarly, the funds raised from the Jefferson-Lewis Board’s event went to support the Salvation Army, the Watertown Urban Mission, and other area charities.   In addition, offices served as collection points for toiletries, food, and clothing that were distributed to the Jefferson County Children’s Home, Salvation Army, and Urban Mission.

   On the 13th and 14th of December, Realtor members from both associations assisted at several area events.   The St. Lawrence County membership volunteered their time at the seventh annual “Lights on the River” in Lisbon on December 13th.   While there, they collected donations of canned goods and cash and helped direct the visitors viewing the displays.   Contributions from the visitors go to about a dozen food pantries throughout the county.   In its first six years, the event raised more than $100,000 and contributed approximately 28,000 pounds of food to area pantries.

   December 14th saw Jefferson-Lewis Realtors brave the winds and snows to man some of the Salvation Army kettles in Watertown and LeRay.   Members were helping the Salvation Army reach its goal of $115,000.

   As you can see, Realtors do more than just work with buyers and sellers.   They live in the communities and give back to the communities too.   In addition to these charitable efforts, Realtors work all year volunteering their time and energy with various charities and community organizations.      


   During the respective holiday parties, the 2017 Board of Directors of each Association was installed.   The role of the Board of Directors is to oversee the Association and set overall policy and direction.

   The St. Lawrence County Board will be led by Debbie Gilson. Other officers will include Cheryl Yelle (Vice President), Doug Hawkins (Secretary), and Amanda Kingsbury (Treasurer).   Directors will be Gail Abplanalp, Joel Howie, and Richard J. Wood.  Rounding out the Board are Brittany Matott, State Director and Korleen Spilman, Immediate Past President.      

     Leading the Jefferson-Lewis Board will be Vickie Staie.   The rest of the officers will be Alfred Netto (President-Elect), Britt Abbey (Vice President), Mary Adair (Treasurer), Nancy Rome (Recording Secretary), and Lisa Lowe (Corresponding Secretary).  Directors include Tyler Lago, Elizabeth Miller, Gwyn Monnat, Cindy Moyer, and Randy Raso.

 

NAR releases 2016 buyers profile

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

In November, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the 35th edition of its survey of buyers and sellers. This yearly sampling was based on homes sold between July 2015 and June 2016 and had 5,465 responses.

The median age of all buyers was forty-four and had a gross household income of $88,500. Two-thirds were married, seventeen percent were single females, seven percent were single males, and eight percent were unmarried couples. About a third of all buyers had children at home and fourteen percent owned a second home.

This year’s survey convincingly proved once again that the two most popular resources for buyers remain the internet — 95 percent — and real estate agents — 92 percent. Despite a record high 51 percent of buyers saying they found the home they purchased online, most buyers who used the internet still ended up purchasing their home through an agent — 90 percent.

Of interest to residents in our area, nationally 2 percent of all buyers or their spouses were active duty military and 18 percent were veterans. The active duty buyer is 35 years old, most likely to buy a previously owned home, and half were first-time buyers. Fifty-seven percent rented a house or apartment immediately prior to their home purchase.

Buyers who were military veterans had an average age of 59 and 82 percent had owned previously. However, only 36 percent owned a home immediately prior to purchasing. Eighty-two percent bought a detached single-family home.

In terms of sellers, 89 percent of respondents used a real estate agent. Additionally, 85 percent indicated that they would definitely or probably use their agent again or recommend him or her to others. The typical seller is 54 years old, with a household income of $100,700, and has owned their home for 10 years.


Members of the Jefferson-Lewis and the St. Lawrence County Boards of Realtors joined nearly 20,000 colleagues, industry leaders, and real estate experts from the U.S. and abroad at the 2016 Realtors Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida from Nov. 3 to 7.

This year’s conference theme, “Educate, Innovate, Celebrate,” encouraged Realtors to educate themselves on market trends and key real estate issues, learn about the latest technologies and innovations affecting the industry, and celebrate another year of positive growth. Realtors had the opportunity to make professional contacts from across the globe, as well as attend educational and informational sessions featuring nationally recognized presenters, trainers, and industry experts.

Among the panelists and speakers were Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, who shared the latest outlook for residential and commercial real estate markets; Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Jim Parrott, former economic adviser to President Barack Obama and senior fellow at the Urban Institute; Brian Montgomery, former Federal Housing Administration Commissioner and vice chairman of the Collingwood Group; Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com; Howard Fineman, global editorial director at the Huffington Post; Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group; and senior staff from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Flood Insurance Program. One of the highlights was the keynote given by retired U.S. Army Gen. Colin Powell.

Throughout the week, Realtors participated in 100-plus conference sessions, workshops, forums, and classes on a broad range of real estate issues to help prepare themselves and their businesses for 2017. This is one of the many ways Realtors raise their professionalism and skills through specialized knowledge and expertise. Tri-County attendees were Sue Brashaw, Carolyn Gaebel, Debbie Gilson, Lisa L’Huillier, Brittany Matott, Randy Raso, Sue Raso, Jennifer Stevenson, and me.

During the conference, Bill Brown, a second-generation Realtor from Oakland, Calif., was installed as the 2017 NAR President. “In 2017, Realtors will work to keep the issues affecting homeownership  —  whether it be defending the mortgage interest deduction or fighting for more affordable financing  —  a priority on our nation’s public policy agenda,” said Brown. “Realtors are here to encourage our leaders to put forward policies that put the American dream of homeownership within reach for every American whose goal is to own their own home.”

 

LANCE M. EVANS is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. Contact him at levans@nnymls.com. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.

November Real Estate Roundup: A century of the Realtor trademark

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the term “Realtor” by the National Association of Realtors. It was trademarked in 1916 to identify members of the association, a revolutionary group of individuals deeply committed to integrity, community and protecting the American dream of home ownership.

The terms “Realtor” and “Realtors” are trademarks that, along with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013, set members apart from other real estate licensees. Realtors subscribe to NAR’s strict ethics code as a condition of membership.

The term Realtor is not a generic term. It is not synonymous with “real estate agent.” There are more than 1.84 million active licensed real estate professionals in the U.S. with 1.1 million of them as members of NAR. Realtors work in residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry.

Realtors have access to advanced educational opportunities and training in residential and commercial real estate specialties. Members are industry innovators. They’re on the cutting edge of technology to better serve consumers, and they have helped bring real estate technologies into the home-buying and selling process to facilitate and streamline today’s real estate transactions.

The more than 500 brokers, appraisers and salespeople who are members of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors are members of NAR as part of their membership. Remember, not everyone who sells or appraises real estate is a Realtor, only those who are members of NAR can claim that distinction.


The Tri-County (NY) Women’s Council of Realtors chapter held its sixth annual Jefferson-Lewis “Top Producer” event sponsored by Carthage Federal Savings and Loan, Community Bank, N.A., Gouverneur Savings and Loan, Homestead Funding, Key Bank, the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and Northern Credit Union on Oct. 20. Members were honored in sales and rental categories based on the number of units sold or rented between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016.

The chapter honored Rob Moyer as the Realtor who sold the most units and Rhonda Rogers as the Realtor who was the top rental agent.

The rest of the Realtors in terms of units sold, alphabetically, were: Britton Abbey, Roger Abbey, Mary Adair, Lois Aubin, Joy Baker, Marcia Brooks, Sara Bulger, Vicki Bulger, Patricia Calhoun, Walter Christensen, Libby Churchill, Kathy Cook, Katherine Couch, Melanie Curley, Linda Donaldson, Carole Dunbar, Randy Durham, William Elliott, Kenneth Erb, Cathy Fiacco-Garlock, Jennifer Flynn, Matthew Garlock, Joan Gerni-LaLone, Lori Gervera, Marsha Gibbons, Janet Handschuh, Les Henry, Jeffery Jones, Amy Kenney, Suzanne Krouse, Barry Kukowski, Jacqueline Ladue, Lisa L’Huillier, Donna Loucks, Lisa Lowe, Brenda Malone, Amanda Mattimore, Erin Meyer, Amanda Miller, Elizabeth Miller, Gail Miller, Gwyn Monnat, Cynthia Moyer, Bambi Norman, Timothy Nortz, Lorie O’Brien, Doris Olin, Deborah Peebles, Karen Peebles, Lori Porter, Jeff Powell, Tammy Queior, Maxine Quigg, Desiree Roberts, GaylaRoggie, Nancy Rome, Jill Rosette, Jason Smith, Vickie Staie, Nicholas Sterling, John Stevens, Barry Stewart, Nancy Storino-Farney, Bernard Sturr, and Jennifer Waite.

In addition to Ms. Rogers, the top Realtors for rentals, alphabetically, were: Clifford Bennett III, Daniel Conlin, James Conlin, Sonia Conlin, Carolyn Gaebel, Joan Gerni-LaLone, Daniel Gibeau, Michael Hall, Nicole Lajoie, Micah Matteson, Sandra Rowland, and Lisa Spear Woodward.

 


Nina Amadon, New York State Women’s Council of Realtors governor, and Lisa L’Huillier, state president, installed the 2017 Tri-County (NY) Women’s Council of Realtors chapter officers during the Top Producer event. Leadership includes Carolyn Gaebel, Bridgeview Real Estate, president; Alfred Netto, Weichert Realtors Thousand Islands Realty, president-elect; Wendy-Jane Smith, Cross Keys Real Estate, vice president of membership; Jumana McManus, Hunt Real Estate ERA, secretary; Lance Evans, Board of Realtors, treasurer.

Where do buyers really want to live?

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

When someone buys a home they aren’t just buying the house, they’re buying a neighborhood as well. But what exactly are potential homebuyers looking for in a new community?

According to the National Association of Realtors “2016 Home Buyers and Sellers Generation Trends” report, how old buyers are impacts the type of neighborhood that they want to call home.

The stage of life a person is in life heavily influences the type of location in which he or she wants to live and what is considered important. A young, childless couple is going to look in different neighborhoods compared with a family of four or a couple searching for their future retirement home.

There are features each generation considers important when choosing a potential neighborhood.

Millennials — 35 and younger

“For younger buyers, being close to work is the most important factor when choosing a neighborhood to live in,” said Debbie Gilson, president of the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. “Millennials want a short commute, even if it means living on a smaller lot.”

The price of the homes is also important. Specifically, millennials are looking for affordable homes. Fifty percent of millennials said that the overall affordability of homes was an important factor in choosing a neighborhood.

Gen X — 36 to 50 Years old

When Gen-Xers look for a neighborhood, they are most likely to concentrate on school districts. “When children are in the picture they tend to become the driving force behind major decisions,” according to Randy Raso, president of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors. “Thirty-four percent of Gen-Xers said that convenience to schools was the deciding factor when choosing a neighborhood.”

Young boomers — 51 to 60 Years old

Young boomers were the most likely to say that the look of a neighborhood was an important factor in deciding where to live. “These buyers aren’t looking for a starter home, they are looking for a dream home and with that comes a beautiful neighborhood,” Raso said.

Twenty-eight percent of young boomers said that neighborhood design was a significant factor in picking a place to live, more than any other generation.

Older boomers 61 to 69 years old

Twenty-four percent of older boomers say that they are looking for a neighborhood that is convenient to entertainment and leisure activities.

“These buyers tend to be considering retirement and are looking for a neighborhood where they can see themselves spending their extra free time,” Gilson said. “They want to move to a community with lots to do, and they do not want to have to go far to do it.”

Silent generation — 70 to 90 years old

Homebuyers who are either near or in retirement care are most concerned with being close to family. Fifty percent of the Silent Generation who participated in the survey said that convenience to friends and family was the factor most likely to influence where they want to live.

If you are interested in selling or buying a home, contact one of our local Realtors. You can find our members at jlbor.com and slcmls.com.


The Tri-County, New York, Women’s Council of Realtors Chapter held its second annual St. Lawrence County “Top Producer” event Sept. 20. It was sponsored by Community Bank, Elite Home Inspections, Fairport Mortgage, First Niagara, Gouverneur Savings & Loan, Key Bank and North Country Savings Bank. There were 37 St. Lawrence County Realtors honored. Awards were based on the number of units sold between Aug. 1, 2015, and July 31, 2016.

The chapter honored Lucille Kassian, Erin Meyer, and Jennifer Stevenson as the top three producers.

The rest of the Realtors, listed alphabetically, are: Gail Abplanalp, Sharon Alford, Christine Amo, Tracy Bernard, Penny Bogardus, Allison Chadwick, Nikki Coates, Patricia Collins, Philip Collins, Rick Cutway, Randy Durham, Sarah Franklin, Cathy Garlock, Matthew Garlock, Rowena General, Debbie Gilson, Karen Gurrola, Michael Hall, Janet Handschuh, Marcia Henry, Michael Kassian, Suzanne Liberty, Brittany Matott, Martha Morrison, Timothy Post, Brenda Powell, Doreen Radway, Margaret Sherman, Scarlett Slack, Lori Snyder, Vickie Staie, Nicholas Sterling, Scott Woods, and Cheryl Yelle.

LANCE M. EVANS is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. Contact him at levans@nnymls.com. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.

 

August 2016: Real Estate Roundup

Student debt’s impact on home ownership

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

A survey on student loan debt and housing released in mid-June showed that 71 percent of non-homeowners with student loans believe their debt is stymieing their ability to purchase a home and slightly more than half of all borrowers expect a delay in buying a home by more than five years. [Read more…]

July 2016: Real Estate Roundup

Top real estate questions and answers

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

I recently spoke to the Watertown Rotary Club about a number of real estate issues, including housing statistics and took questions from those assembled.

Is cash is king?

There is an expression that “cash is king.” However, is that true in real estate? During my talk I noted that cash transactions normally make up about 25 percent of residential sale transactions nationally. For 2016 so far, 35.7 percent are cash. Locally, this year Jefferson County cash sales have accounted for 33.3 percent of residential sales (22 percent in 2015), 35 percent in Lewis County (26 percent in 2015), and 25.8 percent in St. Lawrence (22.6 percent in 2015). While St. Lawrence County as not followed the national trend, why have Jefferson and Lewis counties? Looking at the median price — the price where half the prices are lower and half higher — the cash sale median is $50,000 while the median for non-cash properties is $140,000. Many of the cash sales were due to foreclosure. In fact, about 55 percent of the residential listings that sold for $50,000 or less were foreclosure sales. [Read more…]

June 2016: Real Estate Roundup

Realtors meet members of Congress

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

From May 9 to 14, the National Association of Realtors held its Realtor Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. Approximately 8,500 attendees from across the country and around the world attended the annual conference. The week included about 200 meetings and events that covered many real estate topics and allowed NAR members to take an active role in advancing the real estate industry, public policy, and the association. [Read more…]

May 2016: Real Estate Roundup

A final word on property disclosure forms

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

In March and April, I wrote about two state-required real estate forms. The first was the Agency Disclosure form, which is used by real estate licensees every time they work with a new client or customer in a residential real estate transaction. This includes a provision for advanced consent for the firm to represent both the seller and buyer in the transaction. There is a form for the seller/buyer transaction and a separate one for the landlord/tenant transaction. The other form, used in almost every transaction that involves the sale of a one- to four-unit home is the Seller Property Condition Disclosure. [Read more…]

April 2016: Real Estate Roundup

Property condition a required disclosure

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

Last month I wrote about the agency disclosure form that New York state mandates all real estate agents present to buyers and sellers of one-to-four family homes, condominiums or cooperative apartments. This is a licensing obligation. [Read more…]

March 2016: Real Estate Roundup

Understanding residential transactions

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

In the coming months, I will discuss some common forms a buyer or seller encounters during a real estate transaction starting with the Agency Disclosure Form. This is the one form you should see in any transaction involving real estate agents and sales of property ranging from single-family residences to four-family homes. Remember that all parties should always be given a copy of any contract or form that is signed. [Read more…]