Realogy : ERA REAL ESTATE NAMES ERA TEAM VP REAL ESTATE WINNER OF GENE FRANCIS MEMORIAL AWARD FOR TOP ALL-AROUND COMPANY

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 (www.ERA.com) 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 www.ExploreERA.com.

Media Contacts:

Marie VanAssendelft
973-407-2209
Marie.vanassendelft@teamera.com

Randi Rispoli
973-407-5241
Randi.rispoli@teamera.com

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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

PHOTO CREDIT: ALDRICH AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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!

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 www.erateamvp.com.

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!

Welcome Back to Chautauqua!

A Look at Week One and What’s Ahead for Week Two

Its been a year like no other but along with the rest of the world, we’re thrilled to see some sort of normalcy this summer, especially in one of our favorite places: Chautauqua!

Its hard to believe we are already have half of Week One behind us and although it looked a little different than most years in Chautauqua’s history, it was delightful to see smiling (and some masked) faces around the grounds. Our Vacation Rental Team welcomed over 40 families to Chautauqua and surrounding areas this week, some of which included Team VP owners that hadn’t been to their property in over a year!

Chautauquans have been enjoying some great events and activities this week including Sailing Lessons, Yoga, several concerts, and much more. This week’s theme is China and the World: Collaboration, Competition, Confrontation?

Next week, we look forward to Chautauqua Theatre Company’s Blood at the Root, Chautauqua Cinema Under the Stars: Monsters Inc., and Jumbo Games in Bestor Plaza to name a few. The theme for next week is New Frontiers: Exploring Today’s Unknowns.

When reflecting on the 2021 Chautauqua Season, Rachael Wiley-Steffen of ERA Team VP commented, “We are thrilled to be back on the grounds! Thrilled for the programming! And, thrilled for the interaction!”

Our Vacation Rental Department has limited availability this season, so if you’re looking to visit Chautauqua, contact them sooner than later! Call 716.413.0201 or visit www.myteamvp.com.

What Does it Mean to be in a ‘Seller’s Market’?

According to the National Association of Realtors the inventory of homes for sale in our nation is still very low, while the demand of buyers continues to climb. The current housing inventory is sitting at just a 2 month supply, while a typical, “neutral” threshold is a 6 month supply. What does this mean for you if you’re thinking about selling? It means that due to the astonishingly low inventory and increase in competition amongst those looking to purchase, buyers must step up their game when it comes to submitting offers, putting more money in the pockets of home sellers.

In addition to the already high demand of buyers, mortgage interest rates are at an all time low – making it even more affordable and attainable for them to make their purchase dreams come to life. This makes the pool of buyers seeking a home even larger, while market inventory has continued stay low.

Overall, this has lead homes to appreciate, allowing sellers to get top dollar for their property in today’s competitive market. With the increase in competition, its common to see multiple offers, bidding wars and cash deals when possible. Therefore, now more than ever, its crucial to team up with an experienced real estate agent to help navigate this process, whether you’re looking to buy or sell! For more information about ERA Team VP or to connect with an agent, head to www.erateamvp.com.

Overcome your home selling fears

Remember when you learned how to use the jungle gym rings in grade school? If you wanted to get anywhere, you had to build up enough courage, motion, and strength to let go… and trust you would be able to grab onto the next ring, getting you one move closer to your goal!  

Buying and selling a home can be a lot like learning how to get across the jungle gym. You might miss your next ring, but you won’t get better if you don’t try again. You might dangle for a bit, until you have the right help come along and give you a nudge in the right direction. You might, however, get it the first time and ‘nail the landing’!  

The Repair Dilemma:

Sellers have never been more fearful to try their luck at the real estate ‘jungle gym’, and here are three major reasons why: 

We understand that putting your homes best ‘foot forward’ is to ensure it is looking its absolute best when a potential buyers walk through! Also, people don’t want to put a lot of money into fixing up their home just to turn around and sell it again… Especially knowing what kind-of a market their walking into! Let’s review a couple of different approaches that could be taken. 

  • Sell as is: If you are at peace with selling your home as is, then do it! Fix the basic items (replace lightbulbs, repair screens that may be ripped, tighten hinges on cupboard doors, etc.) and make sure your home looks cared for. Potential buyers will still see the love you have given your home even though you might not want to splurge to have that big deck put on for someone else to enjoy. Also, if you’re looking for a few affordable and fun projects, check out 5 easy ways to upgrade your home.  
  • Pick your investment: While you might not be interested in fixing every little item, you might want to invest in the most important ones. If you have spoken with a real estate agent…, they know what to look for. They will be able to advise you on what will have the biggest impact on your home’s sale price. The greatest agents will have terrific advice that will not break the bank but will get your house ready for the market! 

The Market:

In the housing market, the seller and the buyer are, in many cases, the same person – the existing homeowner. To buy a new home, you must sell the home you already own, and then find a home you like better. With the market being as tight as it is in today’s housing market, the risk of selling, if others do not, prevents many existing homeowners from selling. The result? Prices are further bid up by competition for the increasingly short supply. 

Sellers also think their home might not be worth as much as what they need in order to buy a home in a market like this. This is the ‘nudge part’ of the jungle gym analogy. The hesitation is understandable, but that is why relying on a great support system, for example, the agents at ERA Team VP Real Estate will give you the nudge in the right direction. With a free CMA [Comparative Market Analysis], these professional and knowledgeable agents can help capture the value of your home, which in this market will likely sell for more than you would expect! For a free valuation of your home, contact one of these qualified agents in your area. 

The complexity of the process is overwhelming:

There is no doubt that this process is complex….and at times overwhelming! From the beginning of packing up your house, going through the emotions of excitement and sadness to the elatedness of finding your dream home and looking forward to moving in… it is a lot to process, a lot to do, and a lot to keep organized! The right Real Estate Agent is key to eliminating stress and complexity while providing peace of mind throughout the entire process. Finding an agent who recognizes the value of your home, who communicates well and genuinely cares for your needs is crucial in making an overwhelming process a walk in the park. 

‘Travitude’ is a mood

Isn’t it finally time to get away? Your local oasis awaits!

We can all agree that it has been a tough year! We have been distanced from our loved ones, our routine lives, and we have lost opportunities to travel to our favorite vacation spots.

Have you ever heard of the term Travitude? No, well we have…, and we’d love to share what it means with you…

Travitude is ‘when you get grumpy and sassy due to of a lack of traveling’. (Don’t check that with Mr. Webster, he may not agree with us). This year, we feel pretty confident that many are suffering from a little bit of Travitude, if you will (insert wink here)!  So, if you are “chomping at the bit” to get out and about and make some travel plans, be sure to add the sweet hometown of Ellicottville, NY to your destination calendar! And, book your home away from home today!

  • Do you love hiking, biking, and all things outdoors? ✔️
  • Are you hoping for a much-needed get-away for you and your significant other? ✔️
  • Are you looking to decompress, window shop, and unplug from the everyday? ✔️
  • Are you hoping to create the most amazing memories that will make you want to come back year after year? ✔️💯

If yes, then read on, friends!

Elkdale Country Club

Nestled in the rolling hills of New York’s Southern Tier, Elkdale Country Club offers a challenging 18-hole golf course, beautiful scenery and complete restaurant and lounge facility. The front nine at Elkdale was built in 1927 and is cut through varied terrain and mature trees. The back nine was added in mid-1960’s and is a bit longer with larger greens. The 6132-yard par 70 layout is designed to provide an interesting challenge for players of all skill levels. Our modern tee-to-green watering system insures maximum playability through-out the season. The course includes a challenging 555-yard par 5 followed by a 215-yard par 3. The course men’s rating is 70.2 and the slope rating is 122.[1]

Holiday Valley

Fill your days at the Sky High Adventure Park: 13 courses (largest in NYS and 3rd largest in US), 142 platforms, 170 elements, 43 ziplines, tallest platform is 68 feet & the longest zip line is 350 feet![2] If that doesn’t get your heart racing, I’m not sure what will! If that seems a little too extreme, check out the biking options and journey on one of the several trails via mountain bike or rent an e-bike for the afternoon! Finish your day with a challenging game of golf. The course is a pleasing blend of a mountain and flat terrain.

Rock City Park

A piece of history and a local hidden gem, Rock City Park is the perfect opportunity to take the family for a day of hiking through giant rock formations and trails that descend into crevices. There are spectacular views of the area to enjoy, and events planned all throughout the summer!

Griffis Sculpture Park

450 acres located eight miles outside of Ellicottville, Griffis Sculpture Park is not only a tremendous regional attraction, but holds the distinction of being one of America’s largest and oldest sculpture parks. The park features over 250 large scale sculptures dispersed through miles of hiking trails. Each sculpture was placed with the natural setting in mind, creating a truly unique experience between art and nature.[3]

Holimont

Now if you have heard anything about Holimont, you might think if there is no snow, there is nothing happening there. Let’s talk about biking and trails in this gorgeous area! Access to a fun and flowy, 1 mile trail from the top of our Greer slope to the main chalet area. Recently added is a trail that connects the top of Sunset to the top of Greer. This trail can be found by climbing up the HoliMont multi-purpose trail or from the 30+ miles of single track in the McCarthy Forest. HoliMont has direct access to some of the best trails in Western New York. Whether you like to hike or bike, the single-track trails in McCarthy State Forest has something for everyone. There are over 40 miles of IMBA Epic trails to ride in EVL and surrounding area.


After exploring the area, you are going to be ready to pamper yourself with a fun night out. Vacation calories do not count, right? So, while you are here, make sure you visit one of the 23 eateries or pubs in town. Just to mention a few favorites:

  1. Dina’s Restaurant, rated #1 by TripAdvisor and a fan favorite in I LOVE NY’s Restaurant Challenge. For a more refined palate, check out their extensive wine list and pair it to their filet mignon or their lobster ravioli.
  2. Ellicottville Brewing Company, ranked one of the best bars and brew pubs in NY State. They also serve a mean menu; tasty dishes range from ‘loaded brewer tots’ to Persia Salmon and NY Strip Steak.
  3. The Gin Mill, a house favorite of Bills running back #34, Thurman Thomas. He and his wife say they have, “the best fries around”[4].
  4. Katy’s Café, lighter fare and a morning option for early risers. Come enjoy the local artwork while sipping on a made to order espresso, grab a breakfast bagel or sit and enjoy some homemade French toast. If you get a hankering for something sweet after perusing the town all day, head back here for ice cream or a milkshake.
  5. Villagios, another favorite of Thurman Thomas, Bills running back #34!  Fine, Italian cuisine working with local growers, farmers, and businesses. Winner of 2016’s Taste of Buffalo: Pat Sardina Memorial Award for Best Comfort Food — Meatball.

Enjoy your adventure, you deserve it!


[1] Elkdale Country Club | Salamanca, NY – The Course (elkdalecc.com)

[2] Holiday Valley: New York Canopy Ziplines Aerial Adventure Park

[3] Griffis Sculpture Park » Griffis Sculpture Park (griffispark.org)

[4] Bills Legend Thurman Thomas’s Guide to Buffalo and Greater Niagara (iloveny.com)

5 Easy Upgrades!

The amount of time a home spends on the market before going under contract is an indicator of how competitive the housing market is. Currently, homes are spending an average of 32 days on the market. The longer homes spend on the market, the more control homebuyers have in this ‘game of roulette’.  

Here are five easy ways to keep your house out of the seller’s limbo by adding perceived value (and actual value) to your home.  

  1. Upgrade your Mailbox 

It may seem like a silly thing, or something you might not even notice anymore when you drive into your driveway. But a weathered or outdated mailbox can be an eyesore for the potential homebuyer, especially when wanting to make a great first impression. It is also one of the easiest home improvements you can do! 

  1. Paint your Home Inside and Out 

Remember the time your kids insisted on bright purple or orange when painting their room? While that’s fitting for your family, a potential homebuyer might not have the same appreciation for those energetic colors, and it could distract them from seeing the true potential a room has to offer. Help buyers envision themselves in your home by painting rooms a neutral color. 

In a similar vein, if your house has always been known as the “pink” house on the street even though it was originally red, painting the exterior will also help with potential buyers. Painting the exterior of your home can be pricey, when done by professionals, the process has a very quick turnaround time, and the result will be sure to leave a lasting impression on potential buyers. 

  1. Clean, Declutter and Stage your Home 

People touring your home like to look not just at the larger rooms, but also poke around in closets or nooks and crannies to make sure their stuff will fit. If your closets are overflowing with the winter jackets, or you have too many pieces of furniture in a room-your home may not be ready to show off the qualities that make it truly unique. Nothing turns potential buyers off more than an unkept and cluttered home.  

  1. Fence in your backyard 

Sixty-seven percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).  Over half of potential buyers coming to tour your home find a fence necessary, and the other 33% find it to be an extra perk, so it is a win-win!  

  1. Reinvent Interior Doors 

During all these other updates you’re working on, don’t forget to give those creaky, non-lockable doors a little TLC too. You know, the ones that are warped and stick to their frame from temperature changes. It’s amazing what a difference installing new doors in your home can make, and it’s even more amazing when you choose a beautiful doorknob style to complete the look!  

Happy Homesteading!