Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The above is a quote from an Italian Art Newspaper article about a retrospective of the painter Jerome Witkin held at ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse. It loses a lot in the translation but gains in absurdity.
One of the things that is both sad and beautiful about my city is the decaying industrial infrastructure. It inspires me as an artist, the old factories of crumbling brick, rusty smokestacks, parking lots full of puddles and weeds.
As a real estate person, I see a lot of promise. The broken down factory would be great loft apartments, maybe with some retail on the bottom floor.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Come see it - newly remodeled with a finished basement. Updated kitchen with new appliances, ceramic floor and granite counters.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Please give me a call if you'd like to come check out the property! 315-908-2287
Click the link below to get more info about the house.
|BEFORE "What is that??"|
|AFTER "Nice kitchen"|
|AFTER "Look at all the counter space!"|
Friday, November 11, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
This is the graveyard in North Syracuse. It's right by my office. I've been meaning to go out there and take some photos of it because the fall colors have been spectacular. So yesterday I finally walked over there and realized that all I had was the camera on my phone! I just took the one picture. I think it turned out good for a camera phone.
Friday, October 21, 2011
I've called it Responsible Property Management, which was the fourth name change. Now I have a DBA (doing business as) which lets me use that name on my bank account. There's no going back!
I drew the logo for it myself. It's the first artistic thing I have done in a long time, except for taking photos. I've been neglecting other stuff too, like cleaning my house!
I'm doing a rehab of a 3 unit building on the northside. It's had bad tenants and been really neglected. It's nice to be able to be in charge of a project like this, where I can find someone dependable to do the work. It will be done this weekend and I'm going to start marketing it and find some good tenants.
I've hired someone for a few hours a day to help me keep track of my schedule and all the things I have to do. This is the busiest I have ever been and I am enjoying it.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
I'm in Lincoln Park. I love this time of year when all of the sudden it really starts to look like fall. Windy and rainy today.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
|No, I wasn't driving when I took this!|
I've been busy with real estate stuff. First, we have a lot of sales. I have also a lot of photos to take of new listings. I have spent the last two weeks recovering from a sinus infection and cough.
The big news is we have a new property management company. It's called Clyde, which is named after my grandfather who was a real estate agent. I'm not sure if it will be Clyde Properties or Clyde Asset Management. I like Clyde Properties better but there is one in Scotland already. I want to have the name of the company as the web page.
It was hard to chose a name. I liked the name Access Syracuse but wanted to choose a name where it was not limited to Syracuse. I wanted to call it 315 Properties, as that is the area code in all the areas I would be able to consider managing from a distance perspective. I figured as soon as I did that we would get a new area code around here!
We have clients already, we are managing 32 units! One of the buildings we have almost no idea who lives there, what rent they pay or if they have paid any rent. So it's my job to get all that straightened out. The other buildings we know who is in them at least.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
|It's fall and the kitty statue on my back porch has a new friend.|
I got a lot of apples and way too many tomatoes. I will have to make them into sauce and freeze it.
It's definitely the start of fall. Here you can tell it by more than just the stores having black and orange Christmas trees for sale. There is a nip in the air, trees are just starting to turn and it just feels different. I'm not a big summer person and I suffer in hot weather so it's a relief to me. I want Fall to last as long as possible.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Around this time of year a lot of people plant frost hardy mums and decorative cabbages because when the frost hits the summer plants will turn brown and die.
I have a big flower bed in my yard that is overgrown and crowded, but still has lots of nice perennial flowers in it. I hate to dig it up because I don't know what is what. It would probably be much better off if I just got rid of everything and started over.
Monday, September 26, 2011
I really did almost nothing with my garden this year. Next year I resolve to be a better gardener. There's still plants left from when the last people had it, but they are growing into a jungle.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
On the plate is Kadi Pakorda Gujarati (vegetable dumplings in a creamy mild sauce), Tandoori Chicken (cooked in a clay oven), Raita (yogurt sauce) Saag Paneer (Cheese the texture of tofu in spinach) Chicken Vindaloo (very hot) Vegetable Pakoras (vegetable fritters).
Buffet costs $8.95 per person.
I liked being able to get Raita and Tamarind sauce with the meal. Raita is yogurt and it is good to eat alongside spicy foods. Tamarind sauce is a slightly sweet sauce I like to put on the Pakoras.
Most of the food here was pretty mild, with the exception of the Vindaloo which was hot, and the Saag Paneer which I would say was a medium spice.
The buffet is a good value and gives you a chance to try small amounts of dishes to see what you like.
I prefer the buffet at Sahota Palace in Liverpool because there are more than twice as many selections, so I'd probably be more inclined to eat there. They have a buffet for both lunch and dinner.
I would come back here to try it again, especially if I was in the Westcott Street area around lunchtime.
What I really need to do is spend less time obsessing about Indian food and more time at the gym.
Review of Taste of India Syracuse dinner
Friday, September 23, 2011
So much new in 33 Edgewood Drive, Baldwinsville! Brand new appliances, bathroom fixtures, carpet, lights, kitchen cabinets. New paint from top to bottom, including garage and basement floors. In desirable Candlewyck Neighborhood. Baldwinsville Schools.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
|This was taken before it opened!|
I forgot to take a new one last night.
We were hoping to have buffet because we didn't have that much time. Buffet is only for lunch though. We decided to stay and have dinner.
We were quickly seated in a comfortable booth. I ordered a Mango Lasi, a drink made from yogurt, milk and sweetened mango pulp for $2.95. I always get this in Indian restaurants. They are a good companion to spicy food -- if something is too spicy they also take away a little of the burn.
We ordered the taste of India Special Appetizers for two at $6.95, Plain Paratha bread for $2.95, Lamb Biryani at $11.95 and Chicken Shahi Korma at $9.95.
Our order was taken fairly quickly. The food did not arrive quickly, though certainly within an acceptable amount of time. A pleasant young woman apologized for the delay and informed us that our food would be there in a few minutes. I appreciate when places do this as I don't mind waiting but want to know that they are working on it and that the food isn't sitting there getting cold.
|Note TV on left side!|
The appetizers were my least favorite part of the meal. They were very fried. However, my dining companion enjoyed them and was happy to eat most of my share.
The main courses were served in little brass pots, with a dish of rice. My dining companion at first said he didn't like the biryani, then changed his mind and said he liked it a lot. I thought it was a good basic biryani.
He ordered it medium spicy and we thought it was mild, so if you want spicy food here you might tell them that you really do want it spicy. They tend to adjust for upstate NY palates at many restaurants here, and though many people will have no problem with super-hot Buffalo wings they seem to be scared to eat spicy Indian or Thai food.
My dining companion said the korma looked like chicken pot pie filling and it did somewhat. I liked the korma, it was mild and creamy with cashews and was perfect over the rice.
|Biryani and Chicken Korma|
We were unable to order most of what I would have wanted because my companion hates tomatoes, cheese and yogurt, and a lot of things I would have liked have these ingredients. I will have to come back for lunch and try some more things.
Note: We went back on Friday and had the Buffet Lunch. Click to read review of Taste of India Syracuse Buffet
This restaurant is a welcome addition to the Westcott area and I'm glad they opened.
Click for Taste of India Syracuse Menu
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Sunday, September 11, 2011
An assessment is the value that a home is taxed on. It's set by the assessor's office.
An appraisal is an opinion of what the property should sell for, given by an appraiser. That is someone paid to analyze property values based on features of the property and comparable sales in the area.
Many times in Syracuse Real Estate ads you will see "Priced Under Assessment". That doesn't mean it's a bargain, it just means that it is over assessed.
Similarly, sometimes people are alarmed that they may be paying more for a house than it is assessed at. That doesn't mean the house is not worth the asking price. It means it probably hasn't been assessed for a while. What you have to watch out for here is that the assessor may re-assess your house and your taxes will go up.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
|The Elders. One of them is so elderly that he is in fact, a ghost.|
|I forgot the name of this band but I really enjoyed their music. Someone tell me in the comments, please!|
Thursday, September 8, 2011
|London Broil Sandwich|
It's a place where you order at the counter and they bring it to your table. I got the house specialty, a London broil sandwich for $6.95. It comes with sauteed onions, bell peppers and mushrooms on top, though you can easily leave any of those off. There is a small container of au jus gravy. This is what I would call a French Dip sandwich. It was a guilty pleasure. I loved it. Meat was tender, the peppers, onions and mushrooms were cooked just enough that they were nice and mellow. Bread soaked up the juice nicely. I would go here again.
They also have a full bar!
A lot of people get takeout here, while I had lunch they were doing a steady business.
They have a web page Second North Deli which is pretty good. It's actually a blogger blog, and they just have photos, their menu (in HTML), their hours, their location and phone number. That is important because if you are on your phone you can still read the menu and call them!
They have a link to their youtube ad and their facebook page. The photo slide show on the first page takes a little too long to load but other than that it's perfect.
The other thing that is perfect is this local commercial for them, which shows people who probably really eat there and gives you a very good idea of what it is like.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
This is up the street from my new office in North Syracuse. I was enticed in by the sign that said Pumpkin soft serve ice cream. I had the pumpkin and vanilla swirl. Next time I would just get the pumpkin because it was so good!
Our whole office is moving. We are going to be the McKenzie Group at Syracuse Realty Group. So instead of being a tiny stand-alone company we will be a team in a small office. I think it's a great new step for us. Nothing else will change, Christopher Moreland and I will still work together and I will still be in charge of marketing our listings. I will continue to work with buyers in the same way. I'll just have a fancier office with more parking!
Friday, August 26, 2011
Taste of India Syracuse is now open - click here for Taste of India Syracuse Restaurant Review
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Most buyers can't wait that long or deal with the uncertainty. Anyone who is moving to a new area or has a lease needs to have a set date range where they can expect to take possession of a house. This means that short sale properties are mostly bought by investors. If the banks were forced to get their act together and had a time limit to reply, owner occupants could purchase short sales easier. Since they usually pay higher prices than investors it would actually benefit the banks.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Property has an offer on it and is now pending!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Don't get too attached to any house until you have closed on it and the keys are in your pocket.
If you are too attached it's easy to rationalize away any defects or problems. You can end up making a decision based on emotion instead of logic and financial sense.
Almost exactly three years ago, I was so excited about our new house. Our offer was just accepted and I was already planning what I would do to it.
In New York State most contracts have a home inspection contingency. That means you get to hire an inspector and they will give you a report on the condition of the house. If the house has problems, you can ask the sellers to fix them or to give you money off the price of the home.
So we had the home inspection. First we find out that the roof was bad. It had 5 layers of previous roofs on it, and they would all have to be removed and then a new roof put on.
But the real deal killer was the two story garage. The top floor of it was totally unstable, to the point where it shouldn't be walked on. It also needed a new roof.
We didn't think the sellers had been honest about the condition of the property. There were a lot of places where they had tried to cover up problems like water stains.
We were already suspicious of them because there was a city code problem with the sidewalk. You are not allowed to put asphalt over your sidewalk, though many people in Syracuse do. Somehow, these people had gotten tagged for that and the city was requiring them to put in a new sidewalk, which was several thousand dollars. They neglected to tell us this for the first week, though they had known for months. They did not intend on paying for it so basically it added the cost to the price for the home. This is something that should have been disclosed in the listing.
We opted not to buy the house and used the home inspection contingency to cancel the contract.
It's not that far from my current house and I always wonder what it would have been like if we bought it. I think not buying it was a good choice and I'm glad I wasn't too emotionally attached to it.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
The Mountain Goats are a band, I haven't started a new career as a goat herder. They are opening up for Bright Eyes at the Papermill Island Ampatheater. Theres a couple of other bands before the bands I want to see so i'm just going to stay in my hotel room for a while. We are at the Red Mill Inn which is right by the venue. The photo is the view out my window. I was hoping i'd be able to hear it from my room but all we can hear is rushing water.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Many HUD homes in Syracuse have had frozen pipes. The water is shut off, and if the PCR says there’s plumbing problems you are not allowed to turn the water on for an inspection. So you really have no way of knowing the extent of the damage.
You are allowed to turn the power and gas on for a home inspection, but you will probably have to give a deposit to the management company.
You put in a bid through a HUD certified broker. This is entirely online. Then, like a regular offer, they can accept, reject or counter offer.
If they counter, you have one day to get your bid in again. If your bid is rejected, you can bid again.
After a bid is accepted, your agent has 48 hours to get the contract to HUD. They are very picky on the paperwork, and there is a lot of it. Paperwork must be filled out in blue pen with no mistakes. There has to be an original letter from the lender signed in blue ink. If it is cash you just need proof of funds. A certified check or money order must be sent in with the contract. If it’s under 50k, check is for 500. Over 50k, check is for 1000. The contract is usually sent by overnight mail.
You don’t send the contract to HUD, it is sent to one of their many management companies. The various management companies may have slightly different policies.
This is the point where it differs according to the various classifications of houses.
There are three types: Uninsured (U), Insured with Repair Escrow (IE), and Insured (I). IE is the most common type that I see here in Onondaga County. I haven’t been keeping records of it, but right now we have 10 houses on the HUD list, and 8 of them are IE and 2 are UI. There are no insured houses right now and I can’t recall seeing one.
It’s hard to find out this information on their site. It would be nice if they would just say on the listing exactly what the classifications mean.
Uninsured is in very poor shape. This is pretty much for cash buyers. Uninsured buyers do not have a chance to get out of the contract due to a home inspection, though they can have one if they want.
Insured with Repair Escrow is much more complected. If you are getting a loan, it is a 203b with repair escrow. The repair escrow is an amount of money that the buyer must deposit into an escrow account with their lender. Some lenders require 1.5 times the amount of the repair escrow. Then you have to complete certain work within a certain time period, and they will give you the money back from the repair escrow. You must turn in bills from a contractor.
You can also get a 203K loan, which is a more common type of loan. They loan you the money for the purchase and the repairs. They have a list of what repairs will be done, and you will have to get each stage of the project approved before they will give you more money.
For this type of property, if you are an owner occupant you have a 15 day window from when the contract was signed to get a home inspection done. You can get out of the contract if the home inspection finds serious problems in the roof, mechanical, plumbing or foundation. However, the water is not allowed to be turned on if there are plumbing problems so usually you wouldn’t be able to use that.
If you are an owner occupant with a loan, you may be able to use not being approved for your loan as a reason to get out of the contract with your deposit back.
You are allowed to have a mold inspection, but cannot use the presence of mold as a reason for getting your earnest money back.
Here is a list from one management company - there may be slight differences in other management companies policies.
Uninsured Sales: 100% of the deposit will be forfeited to HUD for failure to close regardless of the
Insured Sales: 50% of the deposit will be forfeited to HUD for failure to close if the purchaser is
determined by HUD to be an unacceptable buyer.
100% of the deposit will be forfeited to HUD if the sale fails to close for any other reason.
Return 100% of the deposit when:
• There has been a death in the immediate family (purchaser, spouse or children living in the same
• There has been a recent serious illness in the immediate family that has resulted in significant
medical expenses or substantial loss of income, thus adversely, affecting the purchaser's
financial ability to close the sale.
• There has been a loss of job by one of the primary breadwinners, or a substantial loss of income
through no fault of the purchaser.
• For an FHA insured sale, HUD (or a D.E. underwriter) determines that the purchaser is not an
• For an uninsured sale, the purchaser was pre-approved for mortgage financing in an appropriate
amount by a recognized lender and, despite good faith efforts, is unable to obtain mortgage
financing. "Pre-approved" means a commitment has been obtained from a recognized mortgage
lender for mortgage financing in a specified dollar amount sufficient to purchase the property.
• There is other equally good cause, as determined by management company, in keeping with the spirit and intent of the above policy.
Return 50% of the deposit when:
For an uninsured sale, despite good faith efforts by the purchaser, there is an inability to obtain a
mortgage loan from a recognized mortgage lender.
Forfeit 100% of the deposit when:
• No documentation is submitted.
• Documentation fails to provide an acceptable cause for the buyer's failure to close.
• Documentation is not provided within a reasonable time following contract cancellation.
I have never seen or dealt with an Insured property, so I’m not going to write about them.
I think that HUD homes are probably best for people who are experienced rehabbers and able to take a gamble with the condition of the house. It’s really not a good choice for someone looking to buy their first home, especially if they have no experience in home repair or plumbing.
If you are an experienced contractor who is used to rehabbing properties, you may be able to get a great deal on a house.
If you are looking to buy a house and want to get a good deal on one but have it be in better condition, contact me. There are bank foreclosures, short sales, and other deals to be had out there which are a lot easier to deal with and carry much less risk.
Call Melissa at 315-908-2287 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, July 25, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
They have done a nice job on the interior. Sorry for the terrible camera phone photos!
On our last visit, we had a curry and a salad. I can't find these items on their online menu, I think we ordered from their special items menu which is not online. The curry was amazing.
My husband and I have eaten here three times and we have been happy. The people here are friendly and the service was attentive. We plan on coming back frequently.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
These are the salads that come with dinner.
So if you are looking for comfort food in an old fashioned place with good service, head over to Smorals.