ERA Team VP Agent Awards Luncheon

On Tuesday, March 8th, ERA Team VP Real Estate hosted an Agent Awards Luncheon at the Ellicottville Inn in Ellicottville, NY.  Realtors® from all ERA Team VP offices were present representing Ellicottville, Chautauqua County and all surrounding areas of the Southern Tier of New York State!  ERA Team VP Realtors received awards in various categories based on their hard work and production in 2010.

Some of our Award Winners - pictured in front of the Ellicottville Inn

Congratulations to all of the Realtors of ERA Team VP Real Estate.  Everyone worked hard to build and strengthen their businesses and we are looking forward to an even more successful and prosperous 2011!  We’re already off to a great start!

Check out this video for some of the highlights from the awards luncheon:

Here are our award winners recognized at the Agent Awards Luncheon:

Team Pritchard (Cathy & Melanie Pritchard) – Team Category
#1 Gross Commissions (Company Overall & Ellicottville Office)
#1 Closed Transactions (Company Overall & Ellicottville Office)
#1 New Listings (Company Overall & Ellicottville Office)

Karen Goodell
#1 Gross Commissions (Company Overall & Chautauqua County Office)
#4 Closed Transactions (Chautauqua County Office)
#5 New Listings (Chautauqua County Office)

Tina Dillon
#1 Closed Transactions (Company Overall & Ellicottville Office)
#1 New Listings (Company Overall & Ellicottville Office)
#3 Gross Commissions (Company Overall)
#1 Gross Commissions (Ellicottville Office)

Jane Grice
#2 Gross Commissions (Company Overall & Chautauqua County Office)
#4 Closed Transactions (Company Overall)
#2 Closed Transactions (Chautauqua County Office)

Mary Beth Holt
#2  Closed Transactions (Company Overall)
#3 New Listings (Company Overall)
#1 Closed Transactions (Chautauqua County Office)
#2 New Listings (Chautauqua County Office)
#5 Gross Commissions (Chautauqua County Office)

Linda Wolfe
#2 New Listings (Company Overall)
#1 New Listings (Chautauqua County Office)

Jeff Fellows
#3 Closed Transactions (Company Overall & Chautauqua County Office)

Greg Spako
#3 Closed Transactions (Company Overall)
#2 Closed Transactions (Ellicottville Office)
#4 Gross Commissions (Ellicottville Office)
#4 New Listings (Ellicottville Office)

Dale Sandberg
#4 New Listings (Company Overall)
#3 New Listings (Chautauqua County Office)

Amy DeTine
#4 Gross Commissions (Company Overall)
#5 Closed Transactions (Company Overall)
#2 Gross Commissions (Ellicottville Office)
#3 Closed Transactions (Ellicottville Office)
#3 New Listings (Ellicottville Office)

Wayne Reimondo
#5 Gross Commissions (Company Overall)
#3 Gross Commissions (Chautauqua County Office)
#5 Closed Transactions (Chautauqua County Office)

Andree McRae
#5 New Listings (Company Overall)
#2 New Listings (Ellicottville Office)
#5 Closed Transactions (Ellicottville Office)
#5 Gross Commissions (Ellicottville Office)

Sandy Goode
#3 Gross Commissions (Ellicottville Office)
#4 Closed Transactions (Ellicottville Office)
#5 New Listings (Ellicottville Office)

Becky Colburn
#4 Gross Commissions (Chautauqua County Office)

Wayne Weaver
#4 New Listings (Chautauqua County Office)

Special Awards:
Most Improved (at least doubled their production from the previous year)
Dale Sandberg (Chautauqua County Office)
Sandy Goode (Ellicottville Office)

Rookie of the Year (based on production of newest agents to the company)
Wayne Weaver language translate . web services israel domain list ip owner schedule cloud .

Ellicottville Mardi Gras Parade & Celebration!

Saturday March 12 & Sunday March 13 come to Ellicottville, NY for the FUN and crazy Mardi Gras Parade in the village and Winter Carnival at Holiday Valley!  This is a great weekend filled with events for the entire family!  The Mardi Gras Parade will occur at 6:30 right in the village!  Other fun events include music, contests, food & lots of costumes!  Click here for the full weekend schedule!  This is a weekend you don’t want to miss.  Look how much fun all of the Realtors® and staff at ERA Team VP have had at past Mardi Gras weekends in Ellicottville!

Dave and Bill of Team VP, ready to join the Mardi Gras Parade!
ERA Team VP marching down Washington Street!

This is a weekend you don’t want to miss!  If you’d like to rent a condo or chalet in Ellicottville for the weekend to enjoy the festivities with your family and friends, call Team VP at (716) 699-4800 and a reservationist will be more than happy to help you plan your weekend getaway!  Check out our WEBSITE to browse all of our rental properties online… you can even book your reservation ONLINE… how easy is that?

Here is a sneak peek at some of our rental properties available for Mardi Gras weekend in Ellicottville:

2 Alpine Meadows TownHomes (#31 & #42) – sleep 8 or 9 guests.  Walk to the slopes at Holiday Valley!  Easy access to the Village of Ellicottville!
Click HERE to learn more about these properties

Casa Amici – sleeps 12 guests.  Stunning NEW built chalet with all of the luxurious amenities you could hope for, including a hot tub!  Views of the Yodeler Lodge & ski lift at Holiday Valley! 
Click HERE to learn more!


We also have some village homes available for rent!  Call us today to find out how we can help you! (716) 699-4800

Wells Fargo Says Credit Score of 500 OK

According to, “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.”

Have you started the property search?  Why not begin your search now with ERA Team VP Real Estate – the area’s leader in Real Estate technology! secure web hosting

President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival in Mayville, NY!

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 Weekend in Ellicottville & Surrounding Areas!

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!

If  you are visiting the Ellicottville area, or if you’d like to plan a romantic weekend getaway with your Valentine, call a reservationist at Team VP today! (716) 699-4800

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!

Offering a Higher Level of Expertise Enables Agents to Meet the Needs of Today’s Buyers and Sellers

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.

Bill Soffel
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.

Winter Fun in Chautauqua County!

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!

ERA Team VP Real Estate Receives Award Nomination!

ERA Team VP Real Estate has been named 1 of 5 finalists for the 2010 Gene Francis Memorial Award.  This award, given by ERA Franchise Systems LLC, is named for the late ERA Real Estate co-founder and executive vice president Gene Francis.   The overall winner will be announced at the 2011 ERA International Business Conference this March in Las Vegas, NV.

As stated by ERA Franchise Systems, “This award recognizes the ERA company which best exemplifies excellence and integrity in our profession.  It is our system’s highest honor for companies, with its winner reflecting Gene’s standards of ethical conduct, strong business sense, consistent growth and a commitment to their community and the ERA brand.”

ERA also states the award requirements: “To be eligible for the Gene Francis Memorial Award, companies must be ERA system members for at least five years; other criteria include total performance and growth over past five years; participation in the ERA Select Services® programs; participation in ERA Mortgage; home warranty production through the ERA Home Protection Plan® and application of ERA system and tools. In addition, to emphasize the importance of community service to the ERA philosophy, MDA fundraising and/or community support is also a requirement for this award. One winner and four national finalists are chosen each year and honored at the International Business Conference, with the responsible broker also invited to join the influential ERA National Advisory Council.”

We are very proud of our entire team at ERA Team VP and all that we have accomplished together!  Many of our Realtors will be attending the 2011 ERA International Business Conference this March.  This will be a great opportunity for us to connect with ERA Realtors from all over the world, learn about great new innovative tools that ERA has to offer and learn from each other and other real estate experts so that we can apply it to our own market and help our company continue to help YOU!

You may have noticed that one of the requirements for this prestigious award is fundraising for MDA and community support.  Last year we held our first annual Agents of Hope Golf Tournament and were thrilled to raise over $15,000 for the ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Division of MDA.  We are already planning for next year’s tournament, which will be held in August at the Chautauqua Golf Club.  Keep your eyes open – we’ll have more details coming soon! who is .

Share the Chautauqua Experience!

Friends & Family of Team VP: To celebrate the national premiere of the PBS documentary, “Chautauqua: An American Narrative,” Team VP is presenting a special Chautauqua Vacation Rental offer to our customers who refer new customers!

Here’s How it Works…

Guests*: Receive 10% (up to a maximum of $300) off the rental charge on your next reservation with us when you refer a new guest that books a reservation with Team VP!

Owners**: Refer a new guest to Team VP and if they book a reservation with us, you’ll receive a gift certificate equal to 10% (up to a maximum of $300) of their rental charges** to be used towards housekeeping and maintenance services provided by Team VP!

For additional information on this offer please call: (800) 344-2198 OR
(716) 789-9298 or email:


*To qualify for promotion, guest must not have rented with Team VP – Vacation Properties in previous years. Discount will be computed based on rental charges of qualifying new guest excluding taxes, fees and insurance. Promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. web hosting server . Offer excludes weeks 3, 4 and 6. Not valid on existing reservations. Offer ends 3/31/11.

**To qualify for promotion, guest must not have rented with Team VP – Vacation Properties in previous years. Gift certificate amount will be computed based on rental charges of qualifying guest excluding taxes, fees and insurance. Promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. web hosting server . Offer excludes weeks 3, 4 and 6. Not valid on existing reservations. Offer ends 3/31/11.

What Is Chautauqua Institution?

For those of us living in the area of Chautauqua Institution, this may be a difficult question to answer when asked by someone who has never been here.  Chautauqua Institution is such a special and unique place, that it is almost impossible to explain everything it has to offer unless it can be shown in person.  How do you explain a community where people from all over the world gather to teach, learn, perform, relax, listen and enjoy arts, education, religion and recreation…?  This January all of us who love Chautauqua will have the opportunity to share the “Chautauqua Experience“.

Save the Date!  On January 31, 2011, at 10 pm, PBS will feature a documentary about Chautauqua Institution, called ‘Chautauqua: An American Narrative’.  You can view the trailer below (provided by Chautauqua Institution)


According to the official website of Chautauqua Institution, “The documentary, which was filmed at Chautauqua during the 2009 Season, uses personal testaments from a series of individuals and emphasizes Chautauqua’s four pillars of the arts, education, religion, and recreation to capture the Chautauqua experience. Those interviewed include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, historian David McCullough, the Rev. Otis Moss III, and pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk, as well as Chautauqua’s own Tom Becker, former board chair William Clinger, and artistic directors, faculty and students.”

All of us at Team VP – Vacation Properties would like to encourage you to watch this documentary on PBS and share Chautauqua with all of your friends and family!  We’d also like to let you know that we are here to answer any of your questions about real estate in Chautauqua Institution and the surrounding areas, or the state of the real estate market in our area.  As Chautauqua’s leader in Real Estate since 1983 any one of our Realtors® is just a phone call away!  Here are a few words about Chautauqua from our Chautauqua Institution Real Estate Specialists:

We are very blessed to have Chautauqua Institution in our wonderful county. It truly is a ” Cultural Gem” and really represents a dynamic cross-section of our world with a desire to “Live, Love, and Enjoy” all that life has to offer through Education, Religion, and the Arts” – Dale Sandberg

I often hear customers and clients of mine expressing the fact that Chautauqua Institution is an experience as well as a vacation. I feel Chautauqua Institution has done an excellent job conveying that message” – Jane Grice

Don’t hesitate to call  (716) 789-2600  OR  (800) 789-2600 and ask to speak with one of our Chautauqua Institution specialists!

Team VP also has a full service vacation rental management department, so if you are interested in visiting Chautauqua we can help you find a place to stay!
(800) 344-2198

For more information about Chautauqua Institution and their programs for the 2011 season visit their official website.