According to www.REALTOR.org/realtormag, “In a long-awaited shift, Wells Fargo is providing FHA mortgages to borrowers with credit scores as low as 500. The move comes after the National Association of Realtors® and FHA Commissioner David Stevens, among others late last year, criticized the country’s major banks for requiring credit scores as high as 650 in some cases before making loans. At NAR’s annual conference last year in New Orleans, Stevens said banks’ credit policies were out of sync with the FHA and artificially restraining home sales by as much as 20 percent. Under its new policy, Wells Fargo will accept borrowers with credit scores of 500 to 579 if those borrowers can make a down payment of at least 10 percent; gifted funds or other down payment assistance is not allowed. For borrowers with credit scores of 580 to 599, borrowers must put down 5 percent, with the same restriction on gifts and assistance funds. Borrowers with credit scores of 600 or higher can make a 3.5 percent down payment. The new policy took effect Jan. 15.”
This weekend, February 18 – February 20, come to Mayville, NY for a fun filled Winter Festival for all ages! The festival is on, no matter the weather, so come enjoy all of the great activities that have been planned!
The main attraction is always the Ice Castle, which is built by many volunteers who cut blocks of ice out of the lake and spend many hours constructing their masterpiece. Eventhough we’ve been experiencing some warmer temperatures, they are already taking precautions to protect the ice castle. Today, the volunteers are focusing on protecting the castle with plastic, in case of rain. View a video of the volunteers building the castle HERE provided by the President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival Facebook page and WICU12 Erie.
Winter Festival (Mayville, NY) Schedule of Events:
Grand Lighting Ceremony: Friday February 18, 6:00PM
Kids Slide: Friday February 18 – Sunday February 20
Broomball Tournament: Saturday February 19, 10:00AM
Chili Cookoff: Saturday February 19
Polar Bear Swim: Saturday February 19
Tug of War: Saturday February 19, 1:00PM
Cold Water Rescue Demonstration: Saturday February 19
Horse Drawn Rides: Saturday February 19
Teen Chill Dance: Saturday February 19, 8:00PM
Kids Corner Activities: Saturday February 19 – Sunday February 20
Dodgeball Tournament: Sunday February 20, 1:00PM
Ice Hockey: Sunday February 20 – Monday February 21
Click HERE for more information on these great events and a list of all of the sponsors who are making this Winter Festival possible!
This is the 25th Winter Festival in Mayville, NY! If you have great memories of this festival and would like to return, but aren’t living in the area, don’t hesitate to check out last minute accomodations! website loading test
This Valentine’s Day Weekend a lot of fun winter events are occuring in Ellicottville, NY and the surrounding communities! We still have a lot of snow, so instead of feeling the winter blues, go outside and take advantage of some of these great adventures! You may be wondering, what is there to do in the Ellicottville area besides ski? …. Well find out below!
Sleigh Rides – The Crosspatch Horse Ranch in Salamanca, NY is offering sleigh rides through February 26th (weather permitting). Take your Valentine, or you whole family on a sleigh ride and enjoy the snow in this beautiful area! Call the Crosspatch Horse Ranch 716-938-6313 for more information.
Girls Night Out – Chocolate Indulgence – Pamper yourself, or treat your Valentine to this great event! On February 11 and February 18, L’image Salon and Spa in Allegany, NY will be hosting Girls Night Out – 3-6pm or 6-9pm. Choose two spa services for $20. Call the salon 716-373-6414 for reservations. FREE hors d’oeuvres, (chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate) wine & non-alcoholic beverages.
Boarding for Breast Cancer – Holiday Valley Mountain Resort in Ellicottville is hosting a Boarding for Breast Cancer event all day Saturday, Feb. 12th. This is a nationwide event, providing a fun day to raise awareness of breast cancer. There will be many ways to donate & many opportunites for winning prizes provided by top companies in the snowboarding industry, along with a park clinic for women, demos by Burton and a rail jam contest. Visit Holiday Valley’s website for more details!
Introduction to Snowshoeing – On Saturday, Feb. 12th from 10AM – 12PM learn how to snowshoe at the Pfeiffer Nature Center in Portville, NY. Instructions and a guided tour provided by Paths Peaks and Paddles. Call 716-933-0187 for more information!
We offer fully furnished & equipped vacation rental homes, chalets and townhomes! You may start your search here, and even book online! Let us know how we can help you make your weekend getaway perfect!
By Nick Caruso
RISMEDIA, January 20, 2011—Today’s real estate customers and clients have access to much more information than they did in the past. As their access to information will continue to increase with the introduction of new technology, real estate professionals must stay ahead of the curve to offer a greater degree of value to meet the needs of today’s customers. Here, Bill Soffel, president and CEO, broker of ERA Team VP Real Estate in Chautauqua, New York discusses how he is giving his agents the tools they need to be the experts in today’s market, and well into the future.
President & CEO / Broker
ERA Team VP Real Estate
Chautauqua, New York & Ellicottville, New York
Regions served: Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties of New York
Years in real estate: 28
Number of agents: 50
Average listing price: $175,000
Average days on market: 151
Best advice for real estate rookies: From the very beginning, conduct your real estate practice as a business and spend considerable time on market research, budgeting, goal-setting and performance tracking.
Key to staying profitable: Formal business planning is the key to profitability, and never more so than during a challenging market like we find ourselves in right now. Profit must be budgeted and planned for. A solid business plan provides the foundation or template from which to make adjustments as market conditions change.
What is your biggest challenge in today’s market and how is your company taking it on?
Our greatest challenge is offering the right type of training and support to our agents so they can successfully navigate through this tough market. Many of the tools and strategies they used when the market was at its peak just aren’t working anymore. We need to help them adapt, and at the same time, help them refocus on the basics.
How are you keeping consumers educated about today’s buying opportunities?
We are certainly moving away from the traditional methods, like print advertising, and focusing more on new technology. Since over 90% of buyers start their property search on the Internet, we are pushing our listings to as many real estate websites as we can, constantly updating and refreshing our own website, and are jumping heavily into social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
What have been some of your most effective strategies for working in today’s market?
Inventory management has been a real focus and it has yielded results for us. We are updating our CMAs for our sellers more frequently, recommending price adjustments accordingly, and frankly, are more willing to decline listings that cannot be properly priced. When sellers have followed our advice on pricing their properties ahead of the market trend, we have seen a higher list-to-sale price ratio and a reduction in days on market.
How do you determine your marketing spend?
We break down our marketing budget into two components: one for the money we will spend as a company to build our image and brand recognition, and one for money we will make available to our agents for their self promotion and promotion of their properties. We require that our agents submit a business plan if they want to access these company-provided marketing dollars, and we determine the allocation amount for each agent based on past production and the strength of their plan for the upcoming year. This allows us to direct our resources to the agents who can provide the best return on our investment.
What do you tell sellers about this market?
Seek out the real estate agent and company with the most knowledge and expertise in your local market, and follow their advice on the best pricing strategy for current market conditions. Too often, sellers insist on setting an asking price based on old market conditions or based on factors unrelated to the market, and end up overpricing. Buyers have many resources available to them with today’s technology and are very educated on the market. They don’t respond well to overpriced listings.
What is essential to your company’s ongoing success?
We have to be successful in providing a greater degree of value in order to meet the needs of the new age of buyers and sellers. Our customers and clients are very knowledgeable by the time they connect with us; we have to offer a much higher level of expertise than they are able to obtain on their own. At the same time, we have to find better ways to attract young, tech-savvy agents into our profession.
Have you heard about RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN)? RREIN is an elite network of leading real estate companies dedicated to providing consumers and their agents with leading real estate information, and committed to the belief that Information Share Equals Market Share. Having only launched this past June 2010, the RREIN network is already comprised of 40 leading brokerages, which make up 575 offices, 30,000 agents, 167,000 closings and represents over $41 billion in transactions.
Copyright© 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.
There are a lot of fun activities to choose from this weekend (February 4 – February 6) in Chautauqua County! Take advantage of all of the snow that is still falling and do something to celebrate winter in our beautiful area.
Wine & Chocolate Weekend (February 4, 2011 – February 6, 2011)
Visit the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail for a wonderful weekend of wine paired with delicious chocolates. According to the Lake Erie Wine Country website, “This Valentine’s treat is especially for you. Wineries will pair their own splendid chocolate creations with a delightful wine accompaniment. A perfect match!” Even Hours are: Friday 12-5 PM and Saturday/Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM. You may order tickets online!
Snowshoeing (February 5, 2011)
This Saturday explore the winter wilderness of Chautauqua County while snowshoeing with Evergreen Outfitters! Guided tours will lead you through the beautiful winter woods. Call Evergreen Outfitters (716) 763-2266 for reservations.
Chautauqua Winter Games (February 5, 2011 – February 6, 2011)
Come enjoy this FREE event at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena! Saturday 9 AM – 8 PM & Sunday 9 AM – 2 PM, this fun figure skating competition will include Freestyle Dance and Pairs Competitive events. Call the Ice Arena (716) 664-6609 or visit their website for more information.
Snowflake Festival (February 5, 2011)
Held this Saturday at the Jamestown Audobon Center from 10 AM – 4:30 PM. Lots of indoor and outdoor events will be fun for the whole family! According to the Jamestown Audobon Center, “Outdoor events will feature eagle caregiver Linda O’Brien answering all those questions you’ve always wanted to ask about Liberty, our resident Bald Eagle; snowshoeing with Evergreen Outfitters; cross country skiing; sleigh (or hay, weather dependent) rides with Dennis Wright; and winter camping and cooking demonstrations by Fluvanna Boy Scout Troop #169. Andrea DiMaio will return with the ever so popular Tails of Tundra Siberian husky rescue, highlighted by scooter and kick sled races. New this year will be 3 Seas Recreation and Suri Alpacas.” Admission is only $5 and children under 12 are FREE. Sleigh rides are $5 for adults and $2 for school aged children.
If you’re interested in visiting Chautauqua County this winter, remember Team VP provides full service vacation rentals and real estate sales. Visit our website to view all of our rental properties, and even book your reservation online! Call (800) 789-2600 for any questions you may have about real estate, rental properties or our beautiful area!