Thinking About Buying or Selling on Your Own? Think Again.

You’ve heard it time and time again; the current real estate market is hot and its a great time for homeowners to consider to cashing in and selling their home if they haven’t already taken the leap. Buyers are also taking advantage of the record low interest rates despite the competitive conditions created by low inventory. This has created a fast moving market with many moving pieces to consider when partaking in the transaction process. Some home buyers and sellers make the choice to attempt to fly solo on their transaction to avoid paying a commission to a real estate agent, but many find out the hard way that now is not the time to go that route.

According to the National Association of Realtors, “FSBOs accounted for 8% of home sales in 2020. The typical FSBO home sold for $217,900 compared to $295,000 for agent-assisted home sales.” That’s nearly an $80,000 difference; much more than the owner would have paid their agent in commission had they listed and sold with an agent.

ERA Team VP Real Estate Agents also have some insight regarding the topic. According to Jerod Zahn, top producing Licensed Real Estate Agent with ERA Team VP, “Most sellers are purely thinking profit. They’re number one complaint is paying commission. They have a hard time grasping that when offering their property for sale to only their ‘private market’ they’re missing out on an opportunity to offer to the entire world. The small traffic they produce from minimal marketing will miss thousands of qualified home buyers.”

Denise Whipp, ERA Team VP’s Director of Agent Support and Associate R.E. Broker also notes, “Stories of how much people and making on their properties with multiple offers does make it sound easy but it’s actually even harder to navigate the process under these crazy market conditions. Pricing is harder, the handling of multiple offer, buyers having remorse, etc. makes things difficult. You shouldn’t go it alone! Agents are more valuable than ever!”

Deryle Pinney, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with ERA Team VP, adds, “Real Real Estate agents have access to the most up to date information & availability of properties & have a legal obligation to be fair & honest where many websites do not.

When discussing whether a home buyer or seller should use an agent or not, Tonya Studley, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with ERA Team VP simply asks if the buyer or seller has experience in all of these areas: inspections, negotiations, appraisals, closing details, warranty, disclosures, escrow, contract contingencies, mortgages, surveys, repairs, and much more. If not, then the answer is pretty easy!

In summary, here are the top reasons to use an agent in today’s market, whether you’re buying or selling:

If you’re interested in learning more about the real estate market in your area, or thinking about buying or selling a home, visit

5 Ways to Increase Value and Drive More Bookings in your Vacation Rental Property

Looking to increase bookings and entice guests to come back to your property for years to come? Its imperative that you keep up to date on your property’s value and offerings. Here are just a few easy ways you can do so, without breaking the bank.

  1. Keep Up With The Times: Why do people go on vacation? For most, it is to escape reality, unplug and relax. Therefore, when travelers are booking a vacation rental, they expect the same amenities they have at home, if not, more. The best vacation rental property owners keep up with the times when it comes to design and décor, amenities, and technology access.
  2. Boost Curb Appeal: Nothing sells (or rents) a property like eye catching, attractive curb appeal and it doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive! Keep a freshly mowed lawn, clean gutters, and simple, low maintenance landscaping to show your property at its best from the time your guests arrive.
  3. Focus on Kitchen & Baths: It’s no secret in the real estate world that kitchens and bathrooms are what sells a house; and the same is true for vacation rental properties. If your rental’s kitchen or bathrooms look outdated or are missing necessary gadgets or tools, the value of your property will decrease significantly. Several features guests tend to love include updated light fixtures, trendy backsplashes, stainless steel appliances, soft water shower heads, and fun kitchen tools like espresso machines, ice cream makers, or electric mixers. Also be sure to have plentiful dishes, silverware and bakeware. Folks often elect to book vacation rentals opposed to hotels for the convenience of having a fully stocked kitchen… don’t make them regret it!
  4. Monitor Your Pricing Strategy and Adjust when Necessary: Its imperative to do your research and ensure your pricing is on point when going live with your property, and don’t be afraid to adjust when necessary. If your vacation rental has high vacancies during periods that your competitors are booked, its usually due to pricing.
  5. Consider Partnering with a Professional Vacation Rental Manager: Managing a vacation rental property can be a full time job and if you don’t have the time, energy or resources to dedicate to your property, you may be missing out on bookings and ultimately, rental income. When partnering with a full time, professional vacation rental manager, in most cases, everything from marketing to housekeeping and maintenance is taken care of by the manager. They will monitor your pricing, perform inspections, ensure your property is at its best before and after all guests, and so much more. This can be a real game changer for many vacation rental owners!

Interested in learning more about ERA Team VP’s vacation rental management services or interested in receiving a free vacation rental property analysis? Contact our vacation rental team today!

Top 5 Reasons to have a Wedding in Ellicottville

Ellicottville, NY is a charming village located in Western New York that has become increasingly popular as a wedding destination. With its picturesque scenery, vibrant local culture, and wide range of amenities, it’s no wonder that couples are choosing to tie the knot in this beautiful location. Here are 5 of the top reasons to select this as your wedding destination in 2023:

  1. Stunning Natural Scenery: One of the most significant reasons to choose Ellicottville as your wedding destination is the natural beauty of the area. Surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains, Ellicottville boasts breathtaking views in every direction. Whether you’re looking for a mountain backdrop, a scenic lake, or a beautiful forest setting, you’ll find it in Ellicottville. The area’s natural beauty provides an ideal setting for outdoor weddings and stunning photo opportunities.
  2. Vibrant Local Community: Ellicottville is a tight-knit community that welcomes visitors with open arms. The village has a friendly, small-town feel that’s hard to find in many other locations. The locals are proud of their community and happy to share it with visitors. When you have your wedding in Ellicottville, you can expect to be welcomed with warmth and hospitality.
  3. Excellent Amenities: Ellicottville offers a wide range of amenities for weddings of all sizes. There are numerous venues to choose from, including rustic barns, elegant chalets, and scenic outdoor spaces. You’ll also find a range of lodging options, from quaint cottages to luxurious chalets and condos. Ellicottville is also home to some of the region’s top restaurants, providing excellent catering options for your wedding.
  4. Year-round Appeal: Ellicottville is a year-round destination, with something to offer in every season. In the winter, the area is a popular ski destination, with Holiday Valley and HoliMont ski resorts located just minutes from the village. In the summer, there are endless opportunities for outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to golfing and fishing. The fall foliage in Ellicottville is also a popular draw, with the hillsides ablaze with vibrant colors. From outdoor recreation, to shopping and dining, there’s truly something for everyone in the quaint village of Ellicottville.
  5. Convenient Location: Despite its secluded feel, Ellicottville is conveniently located just a few hours from major cities like Buffalo and Toronto. This makes it an easy destination for guests to travel to, while still providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The area is also easily accessible from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, making it a great choice for destination weddings.

In conclusion, Ellicottville, NY, is an excellent choice for couples looking for a wedding destination with natural beauty, welcoming locals, excellent amenities, year-round appeal, and a convenient location. Whether you’re planning an intimate gathering or a grand celebration, Ellicottville has everything you need to make your special day unforgettable!

Photo Credit: HoliMont

Bill Soffel, Broker/Owner of ERA Team VP Real Estate, Appointed to ERA® National Advisory Council for 2023

ERA Team VP Real Estate & Vacation Rentals announced today that Bill Soffel, Broker/Owner, has been appointed to the ERA® National Advisory Council for 2023. This nationwide group of brokers was selected based on a specific set of criteria, including leadership success and business acumen.

As members of the NAC, each broker will be responsible for providing critical input and constructive review on various matters related to the continued success of the ERA® brand.

“I chose to be affiliated with the ERA brand nearly 20 years ago because of their leadership, collaboration, and innovation, which has carried all the way through today. I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues nationwide to build a brand that is bigger and better than ever before.”

Soffel will serve along with 12 other brokers/owners, CEOs, COOs, and presidents of ERA companies across the nation. Soffel has been in the real estate industry for over 40 years. In 2021, ERA Team VP Real Estate was the recipient of the 2021 Gene Francis Memorial Award, the highest-level award offered by the franchise, and is also a contender for the 2022 award.

About ERA Team VP Real Estate

ERA Team VP Real Estate knows that real estate is as local as it gets. We believe that our core values of integrity, education, collaboration, excellence, and attitude are needed now more than ever. As a local leader in the real estate industry for nearly 40 years, the ERA brand features a powerful network of like-minded entrepreneurs supported by the brand’s game-changing technology, products, and powerful lead generation.  

ERA Team VP Real Estate includes roughly 90 agents throughout 8 offices in Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania. To learn more about our company and/or to view current properties listed for sale, please visit


Join us for Vacation Rental Week!

March 6-10, 2023

All week, we’ll join vacation rental professionals around the globe in spreading awareness about the positive impact that professionally managed vacation rentals have on guests, property owners, and local economies!

Enhanced Safety:

Vacation rentals have very few common areas and offer minimal interaction with staff and other guests, allowing for a safe and socially-distanced stay. They are also maintained with the highest cleaning standards, in accordance with national, state, and local guidelines.

Endless Options:

More available properties, more variety, and more destinations worldwide to choose from.

Comforts of Home:

Create a more personalized, memorable vacation experience with the comfort and convenience of an actual residence.

Great for Groups:

Multiple bedrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and easy access to local entertainment.

Head over to to view property availability and pricing and to lock in your next stay! Have questions or prefer to book over the phone? No problem! Call our office at 716-413-0200 to speak with a Vacation Specialist!

ERA Team VP Real Estate & Vacation Rentals Raises Over $16,000 for ALS Association


Contact: Hannah Raynor,  

(Chautauqua, NY) – The 13th Annual Agents of Hope Golf Tournament, hosted by ERA Team VP Real Estate & Vacation Rentals and sponsored by The Post-Journal, raised more than $16,000 for the ALS Association, a record high.

The event, held at Chautauqua Golf Club on August 24, has raised over $130,000 to date for the cause. Broker/Owner of ERA Team VP Real Estate & Vacation Rentals, Bill Soffel, has been affected by ALS in several ways which have ultimately driven his commitment to finding a cure, including the passing of his grandmother and the spouse of a long-time employee. Bill is also a current member of The Association’s National Board of Trustees.

“This cause is so important to me, my family, and our team of staff and agents. The support we receive from the community every year is astounding and essential. It really illustrates to the local families battling this debilitating disease that they are not alone in this fight,” said Soffel. “We can’t thank the community enough for their continued support of this tournament and our cause.”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, causes progressive destruction of the motor nerve cells that contract muscles and inevitably ends in paralysis and death. There is no cure for the disease.

The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS. ALSA covers all the bases — research, patient and community services, public education, and advocacy — in providing help and hope to those facing the disease.

The ALS Association (National Office and the Upstate New York Chapter) operates under a shared mission: to help people living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and to leave no stone unturned in search of a cure.

For more information about The ALS Association, specifically the Upstate New York Chapter, please visit



Brokerage receives brand’s highest honor exemplifying excellence and integrity across the real estate network

MADISON, N.J. (March 21, 2022) – ERA® Real Estate, a global franchising leader within the Realogy family of brands, has named ERA Team VP Real Estate based in Chautauqua, N.Y., as the winner of its Gene Francis Memorial Award for Top All-Around Company.

The award, named after ERA Real Estate co-founder Gene Francis, is the highest honor given to an ERA® affiliated company and reflects the qualities most respected throughout the global ERA system and the real estate industry. Known for his forward-thinking business acumen and philanthropic spirit, Francis established a defining culture of service to which all ERA companies aspire. Factored into the award selection are high customer satisfaction ratings, strong brand engagement and use of the ERA brand resources and company growth.

Serving their clients and communities for over 25 years, ERA Team VP Real Estate specializes in residential and resort properties, vacation rentals, property management and real estate development. Headquartered in Chautauqua, N.Y, and home to 82 agents, the company has eight offices and covers Western New York’s South Tier, and Northwest, Penn.

William “Bill” Soffel started the company in 1990 and joined the ERA network in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, ERA Team VP Real Estate has achieved Top Affiliate status over the years, which is given to the top 20 companies in units and volume. The company has also been a three-time finalist for the Gene Francis Memorial Award for Top All-Around Company. Additionally, the company has been a finalist for the Jim Jackson Memorial Award 1st in Service Agent and a two-time finalist for Office Coordinator of the Year.

ERA Team VP Real Estate finished 2021 in the Top 15 among the ERA network of brokerages of similar size, with more than $290 million in sales volume and 1,584 transactions, an increase of 49 percent and 21 percent, respectively, in the last year alone.

With a focus on providing each client a personalized service experience, the company successfully leverages ERA’s innovative technology and programs to help agents develop meaningful and long-lasting customer relationships. This philosophy has been a driving force behind the company’s high customer satisfaction ratings and agent productivity.

Bill and his team at ERA Team VP Real Estate also have a passion for being good corporate citizens and giving back to the communities they serve. For the last 12 years, the company has hosted the Annual Agents of Hope Golf Tournament, raising over $100,000 for the ALS Association, the ALS Division of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and local families affected by ALS. Additionally, the company has hosted the Bags & Brews event, which gives back to the local Roswell Cancer Institute, Back the Blue 5K Race in support of the local Bradford City Police Department and Habitat for Humanity in Chautauqua, N.Y. All these organizations and local community efforts are near and dear to hearts of the team members and agents that make up Team ERA VP Real Estate.

“ERA Team VP Real Estate is a shining example of ERA’s continued commitment to service, performance and growth,” said Sherry Chris, President and CEO of ERA Real Estate. “We are thankful to Bill for ensuring that the indomitable spirit of Gene Francis remains at the forefront of the way his company works with the communities it serves. The company’s leadership, agents and staff embody the ERA culture of collaboration and commitment to being the best at what they do and having fun while doing it. We are honored to stand alongside this incredible company as they continue to uphold the highest standards of performance.”

“We are honored by this astounding recognition and overjoyed to be able to continue the amazing legacy set by Gene Francis,” said Bill Soffel, broker/owner, ERA Team VP Real Estate. “At ERA Team VP Real Estate, we have a passion for building relationships and changing lives through the power of homeownership. Our team of affiliated agents demonstrates professionalism in all aspects of their businesses. We strive to create an environment driven by ERA’s collaborative culture and support systems designed to prioritize the success of our agents. The efforts of our agents, staff and leadership are paramount to company’s growth. We are thrilled to receive the ERA network’s highest achievement.”

About ERA Real Estate ERA ®Real Estate knows that real estate is as local as it gets. We believe that our core business values of collaboration, innovation, diversity and growth are needed more than ever. As a global leader in the residential real estate industry for nearly 50 years, ERA features a powerful network of like-minded entrepreneurs supported by the brand’s game-changing technology, products and powerful lead generation.

The ERA Real Estate network includes more than 39,000 affiliated brokers and independent sales associates and approximately 2,350 offices throughout the United States and 33 other countries and territories. ERA Franchise Systems LLC ( which operates the ERA Real Estate system, is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global provider of real estate services. ERA Real Estate information is available at

Media Contacts:

Marie VanAssendelft

Randi Rispoli


Top 5 Things We’re Thankful for in Ellicottville

  1. Sense of Community – Whether you’re a local or a visitor, we’re sure you and your family will feel right at home when you’re here. From friendly smiles when passing folks on the street, to collaborating to raise money for a great cause, our community comes together like no other and we’re always welcoming new faces!
Bags & Brews Fundraiser – Sponsored by ERA Team VP

2. Four Season Fun – Ellicottville is known for being a top ski destination in the East, but did you know there are tons of great things to do here year-round?! Go kayaking at Spruce Lake in the summer, go for a hike at HoliMont in the spring, golf and visit Sky High at Holiday Valley in the fall… the list goes on! You won’t be bored regardless of when you visit Ellicottville!

3. Variety of Dining Options – Whether you’re looking for casual, fine dining, quick and simple, breakfast, lunch or dinner… you’ll always find something delicious in Ellicottville! Our village offers a variety of options equipped to give you and your family a unique, fresh dining experience during your visit! Our favorites include Villaggio, Monroe Street Brick and Brew, Dina’s and Ellicottville Brewing Company (just to name a few!)

4. Pet Friendly- Bring your furry friends along with you! Not only is our Village a great place to bring your dogs to, but Team VP also offers several pet friendly vacation rentals! No more boarding your pet while your family vacations. Allow your pet to enjoy Elmer’s Dog Park, get groomed, or just explore the village!

5. Fun Events – You may have visited Ellicottville during one of our bigger holiday/event weekends like Fall Festival or Mardi Gras, but there are even more great events happening throughout the year that your family is sure to love! A few of our favorites are Winter Blues Weekend, Jazz and Blues Weekend and A Taste of Ellicottville. Or, come during an “off-weekend” if you’re looking for a more low-key experience. Either way, we know you’ll have a great time!

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or all season long, during the summer or winter, bringing your family or just getting away with your spouse, Ellicottville won’t disappoint! See you soon!

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Ellicottville this Fall


Ellicottville, NY is of course known for its two phenomenal ski resorts; Holiday Valley and HoliMont. People from all over the north east visit the village frequently throughout the winter months, but have you visited during the fall? If not, here’s why you should!

  1. Fall Chairlift Rides – Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage from up above! Fall chairlift rides run on weekends through the month of October, weather permitting.

2. Pumpkinville – A local favorite and for a good reason! Designed to keep your whole family entertained for hours with children’s games and attractions, helicopter rides, baked goods, chicken barbecue, and new this year, a beer garden!

3. Hiking, Biking and Walking Trails – They speak for themselves! You’ll be sure to enjoy the beautiful fall scenery when you take advantage of the dozens of trails our area has to offer! Check out the trails at Holiday Valley, HoliMont, the Arboretum, and many other local favorites!

4. Golfing at Holiday Valley – According to Holiday Valley’s website, “The 18 hole par 70 “Double Black Diamond” golf course is challenging and well maintained with breathtaking scenery from every hole. The Double Black Diamond was nominated by Golf Magazine ’09 as one of the best redesigns in the country.”

5. Ellicottville’s Fall Festival – October 8-11. One of Ellicottville’s biggest events of the year is back and you don’t want to miss it! If you still need accommodations, we have very limited availability so book today!

A Look at the 2021 Real Estate Market So Far

Its no secret that the pandemic has taken a toll on many industries; some for the better and some for the worse. The real estate market has been no different, but the effects have been much different than what most expected at the start of the pandemic. Let’s take a look at some stats outlining figures for January-June 2020 in comparison to the same figures for January-June 2021 in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Wyoming, Warren, McKean, Allegany, and Erie counties.

Its interesting to see the average sale prices of homes significantly increased across most of the counties in the report. For example, there was an average YoY increase of 31.81% in the average sales price of single family homes across New York counties (Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Wyoming and Erie), with Cattaraugus County seeing the largest increase of 55.76%. Notably, the town of Ellicottville, which is one of Cattaraugus County’s largest vacation home markets, saw an astonishing 105.72% YoY increase in average sales prices of single family homes which was a major contribution to the county’s large increase.

The Pennsylvania counties also saw a spike in average sale prices. McKean County had a 31.90% YoY increase in the average sale price of single family homes, while Warren County had a 23.07% YoY increase.

When it came to the average number of days on the market, each county saw a decrease, meaning homes sold quicker than they did this time last year. The largest decrease took place in Allegany County, with the number of days on the market decreased by 32 days. Take a look at the stats for all of our New York counties:

The Pennsylvania counties saw an even more dramatic difference! In McKean County, the average days on the the market fell by 113 days in comparison to 2020, while in Warren County, the average was decreased by 63 days; proving once again that homes are selling much more quickly than this time last year.

Its very apparent that the overall trend in all markets shown is that homes are selling for more money in less amount of time, creating a great time for homeowners to consider listing their home for sale. Of course, this does create a much more competitive market for buyers, but with the help of a knowledgeable real estate agent and solid financing, buyers can still get into their dream home. For more information about the current real estate market, contact ERA Team VP today!

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