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The best cities for first-time home buyers | Katonah Real Estate


In the rush to get in on the bargains of the housing crash, first-time home buyers were largely left out. Investors swarmed the most distressed markets, spreading their cash like fertilizer and pushing home prices up far faster than most expected. In less distressed markets, first-time buyers were still hampered, as the pendulum swung hard from loose lending to too-tight credit.

Now, as the spring season brings more listings to the national market and as investors seem to be pulling back a bit, first-time buyers are testing the water again. Some markets, like San Francisco, will likely be cost-prohibitive , while others, like Philadelphia, could offer easier entry to home ownership.

“First-time home buyers were put at a disadvantage against all-cash buyers, but with interest rates still staying low, with the marketplaces having risen fairly decently, you’re seeing the opportunity where it’s less of an investment for investors but a good opportunity for first-time home buyers,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move Inc. operator of Realtor.com.

Realtor.com ranked the top 10 markets for first-time buyers, using five factors to judge the best: market popularity, prices, inventory, time on market and employment. Pittsburgh, Tampa, Fla., and Philadelphia , ranked highest, mostly because their prices have not spiked much and their unemployment rates are lower than the national average.





September Regional Reports: Prices, Sales Drop Sharply | Cross River Real Estate

Fall came faster than expected to Western and Midwestern markets in two new September market reports from online brokerages.

For the month ended Sept. 15, median list prices in 24 metropolitan areas were 14 percent above pries a year ago but down from a nearly 16 percent annual gain in August. Median price increases shrank in 19 out of 24 markets. The median sale price of about $272,000 in mid-September was also about 2% lower than in mid-August 2013, according to Lanny Baker, CEO and President of ZipRealty.

“Further moderation in trends was evident in sold-to-list price ratios, new listings volume, pending sales volume, and days on market data for mid-September,” said Baker. “The median number of days on market inched up from 28 in mid-August to 30 in mid-September, though houses are still selling faster this year than last year in every city except Phoenix.”

In September, home sales, prices, and inventory all dropped from August, according to Redfin’s analysis of 19 largely West Coast markets. Prices had their third consecutive month-over-month drop, falling 2.2 percent. Home sales dropped 18.8 percent from August, and inventory fell 3.4 percent. Year over year, prices are up 15.9 percent and home sales up 8.1 percent.

September 2013Month-Over- Month ChangeYear-Over-Year Change
Median Sale Price$330,470.00-2.20%15.90%
Total Homes Sold73,781-18.80%8.10%
Total Homes For   Sale234,670-3.40%-17.50%

Redfin reported that

  • Eighteen of the 19 cities measured saw home prices increase year over year; eight saw month-over-month increases.
  • Las Vegas led the price gains with a 30.3% year-over-year increase. Philadelphia was the only market without a year-over-year gain; prices were flat at 0.0 percent.
  • Chicago saw the biggest sales gains, with home sales up 25.9% from September 2012.
  • Sacramento’s sales volumes took the hardest hit with a 8.9% drop from a year earlier.
  • Inventory came in at 234,670 total listings across the 19 metro areas studied.
  • Las Vegas had the largest inventory drop at 46.6%. The only market with a yearly increase in homes for sale was Phoenix, with a 1.7% bump.

According to ZipRealty, the top 10 markets based on percentage median price growth as of Sept. 15 were:

MetroYear-Over-Year Price   Growth
2)Las Vegas31%
3)Los Angeles26%
4)San Francisco Bay   Area25%
7)San Diego21%
8)Orange County20%


The 10 ZipRealty markets with the greatest number new listings as of Sept. 15 were:

MetroYOY Increase in   New Listings
2)Tucson &   Orange County15%
4)Washington,   DC/Northern Virginia & Richmond, Va.11%
5)San Diego &   Seattle10%
8)Chicago &   Orlando7%
9)Houston &   Sacramento6%
10)Los Angeles5%







7 Content Marketing Tips: Your Audience Attention Cheat Sheet | South Salem NY Realtor

I won’t lie: content marketing is hard. But  most of us make it harder than it needs to be. We  pour energy and resources into minute gains, instead of focusing our attention  on the simple changes that make a huge difference.

Today, I’d like to talk about 7 content marketing tips that will get you so  much more with so much less. It’s about working smarter, not harder.

Let’s get going.

#1. Start with the headline

Most content marketers and bloggers start with a post idea, write it up, and  then try to come up with a viral headline that will blow people away. This is  all backward.

Think about it:

  • People don’t read blog posts because they know the blog post is going to be  good. They read blog posts because the title catches their attention.
  • Blog posts don’t go viral, headlines do. It’s the headline that people share  on Facebook. It’s the headline that people talk about at the water cooler.  Complex ideas do not go viral. Viral ideas are simple, yet impactful.
  • Headlines set the expectation for the rest of the article. If you put the  blog post first, only to realize that the idea can’t be summed up into a viral  headline, you either settle for a crummy headline, or you write up a misleading  one.

The secret to writing headlines

The importance of a headline for content marketing

What’s the secret to writing headlines that people just can’t ignore? Well,  there are two ways to approach this:

  1. Copy headline structures that work
  2. Use the basic principles of viral attention

I would advise doing both.

That first one can mess people up, so let me explain. How many times have you  seen a title that went something like: “[X] Things Your [Trusted Person] Will  Never Tell You” or “[X] [Subject] Mistakes You Never Realized You Were  Making?”

Those look familiar, don’t they?

Headline hacks

Well, pick up a copy of Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks (it’s free) and prepare to be  amazed. Pretty much every viral headline you’ve seen has been in circulation for  at least half a century, with a little bit of updated language and a healthy  dose of mad libs to keep things current.

I strongly advise you to take a look at the most viral headlines on the web.  Just copy the headline, and swap out a few words to make it relevant to your  industry. If there is only one thing you do to improve your headlines, (not to  mention your entire content marketing strategy) do this.

Trust me, those very headlines have been written thousands of times before.  Nobody is going to care.

6 principles of content that goes viral

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’d like to address a few basic  principles of viral attention that are going to keep coming up throughout this  post. First, Dr. Jonah Berger’s 6 principles of viral sharing:

  1. Social Currency – People only share things because it helps them improve or  maintain their social standing. It doesn’t matter how much we love a piece of  content. We won’t share it if doing so doesn’t help our relationships or help us  define who we are to other people.
  2. Triggers – Context and associations shape how likely we are to share  something. Votes held in churches are more likely to be for conservative  politicians. Think of peanut butter and you’ll probably think of jelly. Play  French music in a grocery store and people will be more likely to buy French  wine.
  3. Emotions – Intense emotions like fear, anger, humor, and awe beg to be  shared. Disaffecting emotions, like sadness, do not. Of all emotions, awe is the  most powerful. When we learn something new, or learn to see it in a different  way, we are compelled to share the experience more than anything else. Humor  takes the silver medal, which is of course closely related to surprise, which  is closely related to awe.
  4. Public – This is about our inherent trust in the wisdom of the crowd. If  others have taken an action, we are more likely to follow them, especially if it  seems to be a crowd of like-minded people. In other words, it takes a seed of  sharing activity for something to go viral.
  5. Practical – Content marketers already know this one. Actionable content begs  to be shared.
  6. Stories – Humans are hard-wired to listen to and tell stories. Stories are  about facing struggles and solving problems. They are purposeful, not merely  descriptive. There is a reason why most people will say “what was the point?” to  a Cohen brothers’ film. When we listen to stories, we expect people to struggle  with problems and either succeed or fail tragically. We don’t expect a series of  purposeless events.



Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/10/11/7-content-marketing-tips-your-audience-attention-cheat-sheet/#3IHq282PmgLXoCFP.99

Claims Cause Hefty Hikes in Homeowners’ Premiums | South Salem NY Real Estate

Insurance claims can cause significant increases in on homeowners’ policies according to the state where they are located according to a new study commissioned by insuranceQuotes.com

Using a hypothetical two-story, single family home covered for $144,000 with a $500 deductible, the study revealed that how much annual premiums can rise following the filing of a claim for  fire, hail, liability, medical, theft, vandalism, water (non-weather related), weather (except for hail and wind) and wind.

According to the study, U.S. families who file a single homeowner’s insurance claim can expect their annual premium to increase 9 percent (or about $150). However, premium increases varied greatly by state.  Homeowners who file a single claim in Minnesota can expect their annual premium to increase, on average, by 21 percent. Conversely, filing a single claim in Texas won’t result in any premium increase.

According to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the average cost of home insurance increased 36 percent between 2003 and 2010, which is almost twice the rate of inflation.   The study’s findings come at a time when most U.S. families are already experiencing an increase in their homeowner’s insurance premiums across the board.

The following five states showed the greatest average premium increase as a result of filing one claim:

1. Minnesota – 21 percent increase

2. Connecticut – 21 percent increase

3. Maryland – 19 percent increase

4. California – 18 percent increase

5. Oregon – 17 percent increase

Meanwhile, the following five states, on average, showed the smallest percentage premium increase as a result of filing one claim:

1. Texas – 0 percent increase

2. New York – 1 percent increase

3. Florida – 2 percent increase

4. Vermont – 2 percent increase

According to the study, premiums in 31 states and the District of Columbia increased by an average of 10 percent or more after filing a single claim. What’s more, only 18 states fell below the national average increase of 9 percent. 5. Massachusetts – 2 percent increase

“For homeowners in states where premiums are going up by more than 10 percent for a single claim, that’s a bit troubling,” says Bob Hunter, former Texas Insurance Commissioner and current director of insurance at the D.C.-based Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocacy organization.

The reasons behind why there is such a disparity from state to state are varied and nuanced, says Chris Hackett, director of personal lines policy at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, an insurance trade association. According to Hackett, rate swings between states come from several factors, including the nature and severity of claims filed in a given state, as well as the different ways in which insurance is regulated from state to state.




Great news! Shadow inventory drops to 1.9M homes | Cross River Real Estate

It’s a staggering number: The “shadow inventory” in July– properties that are seriously delinquent, in foreclosure or in lenders’ REO inventories (but not yet listed for sale on a multiple listing service) — stood at 1.9 million homes valued at $293 billion, CoreLogic said today.

But you have to put things in perspective.

That’s a 22 percent drop from a year ago, and 38 percent from the 2010 peak of 3 million homes.

Plus, that’s the national picture, and all real estate is local, right? If you break it down to the state level, the five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of mortgaged homes were: Florida (7.9 percent), New Jersey (6.2 percent), New York (4.9 percent), Maine (4 percent) and Connecticut (3.9 percent). Source: corelogic.com



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Late Summer Sales Keep September Prices Hot | Lewisboro NY Real Estate

Home price gains in September rose over record August levels, evidence of residual summer buying activity, according to the first market report of the month to be released.

All regions saw small up-ticks in yearly price gains as Clear Capital’s Home Data Index (HDI) Market Report said September prices rose to 10.9% year-over-year.  In August, national yearly home price growth reached 10.2%, the last time Clear Capital reported double digit yearly price growth since the middle of 2006, the height of the bubble.

Clear Capital’s August prices remained 32.5% off their previous highs and only in line with 2002 prices.  Additionally, the low tier price segment of the housing market saw quarterly gains of 2.0%, the lowest since April 2012, indicating the sector that kick started the recovery is already on a path of moderation. From its peak rate of growth in April 2013, rates of growth for the low tier segment, or home sale values in the bottom 25th percentile, have fallen from 4.1% to 2.0%.

“While national and regional rates showed more of the same in September, an interesting dichotomy is unfolding beneath the surface,” said Dr. Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “Strong performances in San Francisco and Detroit remind us that in a dynamic market, the only constant is change. For about a year and a half now, we’ve been focused on First-In, First-Out recoveries characterized by hard hit markets attracting investor interest, like Miami, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Now as the recovery matures, we see homebuyers re-engaging in markets that haven’t fit the typical investor profile.

“As demand calibrates to local economic environments, markets will start to find their natural equilibriums with moderating gains ahead. This should invite new markets, such as San Francisco and Detroit to share the spotlight as their recoveries continue to evolve,” he said.

Highest   Performing Major Metro Markets

Qtr/Qtr Rank

Metropolitan   Statistical Area

Qtr/Qtr % +/-


REO Saturation


San Francisco, CA –   Oakland, CA – Fremont, CA





Detroit, MI – Warren,   MI – Livonia, MI





Sacramento, CA –   Arden, CA – Roseville, CA





Las Vegas, NV –   Paradise, NV





San Jose, CA –   Sunnyvale, CA – Santa Clara, CA





Atlanta, GA – Sandy   Springs, GA – Marietta, GA





Birmingham, AL –   Hoover, AL





Los Angeles, CA – Long   Beach, CA – Santa Ana, CA





Chicago, IL –   Naperville, IL – Joliet, IL





Riverside, CA – San   Bernardino, CA – Ontario, CA





Miami, FL – Ft.   Lauderdale, FL – Miami Beach, FL





Bakersfield, CA





Columbus, OH





San Diego, CA –   Carlsbad, CA – San Marcos, CA





Oxnard, CA – Thousand   Oaks, CA – Ventura, CA





Lowest   Performing Major Metro Markets

Qtr/Qtr Rank

Metropolitan   Statistical Area

Qtr/Qtr % +/-


REO Saturation


Charlotte, NC-   Gastonia, NC – Concord, NC





Louisville, KY





Raleigh, NC – Cary, NC





Hartford, CT – West   Hartford, CT – East Hartford, CT





Rochester, NY





St. Louis, MO





Dayton, OH





New Orleans, LA –   Metairie, LA – Kenner, LA





Virginia Beach, VA –   Norfolk, VA – Newport News, VA





Dallas, TX – Fort   Worth, TX – Arlington, TX





Baltimore, MD –   Towson, MD





Pittsburgh, PA





Richmond, VA





Philadelphia, PA –   Camden, NJ – Wilmington, DE





Providence, RI – New   Bedford, MA – Fall River, MA




The Clear Capital Home Data Index Market Report is built on information from recorder/assessor offices, enhanced by adding the company’s proprietary streaming market data. It reflects nationwide coverage of sales by aggregating this data at ten different geographic levels, including hundreds of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and sub-ZIP code boundaries. It includes equally-weighted distressed bank owned sales (REOs) from around the country.





How to Grow Your Business Network With Social Media | Katonah NY Realtor

Is your business or company struggling to find new customers?

Do you know how to build your business network on social media?

Before you can sell, you have to create a trusted relationship with your future customer.

In this article, you’ll discover four ways to use social media to find and establish relationships with new prospects and leads for your business.

#1: Join a Conversation on Twitter

Tweet chats are great for person-to-person networking on Twitter and they can act as one of the single best lead generation tools in social media.

You can consult a number of lists to quickly locate chats that are relevant to you. These lists include hashtags and other key information like date, time and the name of the host or owner of the chat.

A tweet chat example.

The best thing about tweet chats is that while almost everyone starts out a stranger, over time the participants begin to know one another and develop relationships that extend beyond the regularly scheduled chat.

During the chat, you’ll find people who ask questions you can answer. Your replies will be limited to 140 characters, so they’ll need to be as concise as possible. Use the opportunity to let participants know you’re open to accepting a follow and a direct message from them and carrying the conversation further by phone or on another platform.

#2: Participate in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups hold a lot of opportunity for networking with people who fit your prospect profile.

There’s an easy way to find the groups you are interested in. Hover on Interests in the header navigation and click on Groups. From here, click on More>> in the Groups You May Like box.

From here, use keywords specific to your industry to search for and find groups relevant to your business. You can filter your search results by Relationship, Categories and Languages.

Use the search function to identify the right groups for you to join.

Next, check out each of those groups and join one or two that are made up of people who could be interested in what you offer.

This isn’t a place to sell. Be nice, be helpful and focus on providing service to the other members. Answer questions, give advice and share your knowledge.

Pay attention to who likes your posts and comments. Similar to Facebook, you can click on the Like button to see a list of people who have liked your comment.

Follow the people who like your comments.

Visit the profiles of those folks and see if any of them fit your prospect profile. Follow them on LinkedIn to get to know them better and when the opportunity arises, ask them to connect with you.

Use tags to sort your new contacts into one of two groups—prospects and strategic partners who can refer prospects. The tags will make it easier for you to keep track of the relationships as they evolve.

If there’s not an existing group that fits your needs, create one to network with your current prospects and attract new ones.

#3: Share Insights From an Event

When you attend trade shows or conferences, share the highlights and notes with people who can’t attend and you’ll attract people interested in the same niche.

On Twitter, share your notes in real time with your followers. Use the official event hashtag in your tweets so they are included in the larger conversation, and they’ll be visible to people who don’t follow you. Make sure you pay attention to new follows during this time, as they could well be new prospects for you.

You can accomplish the same goal with your company’s website. A tool such as Storify will help you consolidate your notes into a blog post with a rundown of all of the most important points made during the conference.

This event recap blog post was created using Storify.

Pay attention to the folks who follow along, comment or retweet your information. This is a simple way to surface invisible prospects that you might otherwise miss. Connect with each person on the platform or network that makes the most sense, and when the time is right, reach out and offer your help.









Many Markets Still Underpriced and Primed for Growth | South Salem NY Homes

Prices in half the 315 markets covered by Local Market Monitor were flat through the first half of the year, but the slow takeoff only means most homeowners can expect steadily higher home prices during the next few years.

Part of the reason is that many markets are still under-priced relative to local incomes, some by 25 percent and more. In these markets, prices fell too far and buyers can now get a lot of house for their money.

Foreclosures still cloud the data in places like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and a good number of California and Florida markets. The value of the average home bears little relation to the bidding wars for cheap foreclosed properties.





Fall Is Calling: What to Do in Your October Garden | Waccabuc Real Estate

like having options  — from which flavor of tea to drink after lunch to which route I’ll take to walk home. Gardening this month is no different. Whether you’re after garden chores or perhaps some seasonal puttering, it’s all about picking your own path.
You can prep soil for spring planting, divide grasses and transplant perennials, even tuck in more cool-season edibles. Alternatively, you can just enjoy fall’s splendor and put off some of the season’s more tedious tasks. Let fallen leaves provide hearty mulch for your lawns and hold off, for now, on cutting back spent summer and fall plants. Instead, take some time to sit back and watch the leaves change. It’s your garden, so enjoy it. Here’s what you can do in your garden this October.
Find your October garden checklist:
California | Central Plains | Great Lakes | Mid-Atlantic | Northeast
Pacific Northwest | Rocky Mountains | Southeast | Southwest | Texas

traditional landscape by Le jardinet

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Northwest. “Refresh your container gardens with a selection of winter-hardy evergreen shrubs, perennials and seasonal color spots,” says landscape designer Karen Chapman.
For a festive fall arrangement, she says that “small conifers, bright spurge (Euphorbia spp) and evergreen sedums are easy candidates for containers — especially when dressed up with a few cheerful pansies.”
It’s also time to plant spring-blooming bulbs — even in containers. “Dwarf daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses are just a few of the possibilities,” Chapman says.
Shown: ‘Princess Irene’ tulips are stunning with ‘Peach Flambe’ coral bells (Heuchera).
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traditional landscape Pomegranate Tree

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California. Garden editor Bill Marken suggests potting trees and shrubs for a permanent and festive seasonal touch.
“Pomegranates symbolize fall in Mediterannean climates,” Marken writes. “Like early Christmas ornaments, the fat, round red fruits hang heavy on spindly branches along with small leaves turning an autumn yellow. For a container, look for a dwarf variety such as ‘Nana’, displaying fall foliage and tiny red fruits if you’re lucky.”
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mediterranean landscape by Donna Lynn - Landscape Designer

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Southwest. Water management is still important this month. “Continue to monitor and reset the timers on any controllers you may have, especially in the low and middle zones. As temperatures decrease, reduce the water needed,” writes New Mexico landscape designer David Cristiani.
“If you are planning a landscape for a barren area or for an area outside plant roots, create water harvesting opportunities to benefit plantings and some visual interest by installing subtle basins, swales and berms away from structures, where lush plantings are desired,” he says.
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Information overload to blame for fewer home sales? | Cross River Real Estate

Forget about inventory shortages, tight mortgage underwriting and the lack of affordability in many markets.

The real reason home sales remain below historical levels is the “explosive growth of real estate websites and online homebuying tools,” says Qazzoo founder Michael Urbanski.

“Potential homebuyers search the Internet for information to purchase a home and miss out on the valuable counsel of Realtors, who are the real estate experts in that area,” Urbanski says.

“Often, potential homebuyers become overwhelmed by all the information they collect online and the process ends there.”Urbanski says Qazzoo “improves the house-hunting and homebuying experience by connecting interested homebuyers and Realtors in their area.”

Translation: Qazzoo sells the contact info of consumers visiting the site to real estate brokers and agents (“for less than $2 per lead“).Which pretty much describes the business model of every listing portal on the Web, including the big three: Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com. Source: prweb.com



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