Tag Archives: North Salem

North Salem

The Baby Boomer housing sell-off | North Salem Real Estate


When Arthur Nelson, a professor at the University of Arizona, went shopping for a home in Tucson recently, he found plenty of senior citizens trying to sell their homes — but at prices far more than what they were worth. “I was amazed at the number of homes that were overpriced by about 25% where the owners were seniors,” he said. These seniors would barely counteroffer, taking so little off the asking price that it wasn’t worth negotiating, Nelson said.


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New Mortgages Fall to 14 Year Low | North Salem NY Real Estate


In yet another sign the recovery is hitting a wall due to strict lending standards: in February monthly mortgage originations dropped to the lowest level in at least 14 years as credit standards have not shown signs of loosening, according to latest Mortgage Monitor Report from Black Knight Financial Services.

“February’s data showed the continued trend of declining origination activity we’ve been observing since mid-2013, with monthly originations falling to their lowest recorded point since at least 2000,” said Herb Blecher, senior vice president of Black Knight’s Data and Analytics division.

“In spite of this decline, residential real estate sales have remained strong due at least in part to investor activity and the fact that cash sales account for almost half of all transactions. In addition, while total transaction levels were flat on a year-over-year basis, traditional (or “non-distressed”) sales were up almost 15 percent from last year as the share of distressed transactions continues to decrease.  Credit standards have shown little sign of easing — only about 30 percent of 2013 loans went to borrowers with credit scores below 720 — which indicates that significant opportunity to expand mortgage origination activity is available, if risk appetites allow.



Instagram for real estate | North Salem NY Real Estate


Did you hear that Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform globally, increasing its users by 23 percent in the last six months? What about the fact that Instagram is proactively trying to work with businesses now and has started an Instagram Handbook for Brands? Do you know that many of your kids didn’t stop actively using social media? All they did was move from Facebook to Instagram. If none of those questions piqued your interest, there’s no need to continue reading, but if you haven’t adopted a strategy to implement this social network into your business yet, here are five reasons you should. (Please note: These items are intended for the advanced beginner and may not be suitable for someone who does not already have an Instagram profile.)

1. People want to see “behind the scenes”: Real estate is interesting to most people — just look at how many reality television shows are based on our industry. Share your experiences preparing one of your listings before it goes live. Capture the lifestyle of a local community that you’re privileged to be entrenched in. Show how happy your clients are when they find “the one” or when they’re leaving the closing table. As hectic as our jobs can be, they are NOT mundane, and there is beauty in most of the activities and places that are encountered throughout your day.

2. Facebook’s algorithm: It’s proprietary and it seems like Facebook changes it every day, so I can’t prove this point, but Instagram is Facebook’s baby, as evidenced by the $1 billion acquisition of the photo-sharing network in April 2012. Through the Instagram app, you have the option of also sharing your photo to Facebook (on your profile OR business page).





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Mortgage rates hit three-month lows as stocks dip | North Salem NY Homes


One upside to the downturn in the U.S. stock market is a sharp drop in mortgage rates. Those rates follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond and on pricing in agency mortgage-backed securities; as investors rush to the comparative safety of the bond market, yields fall and so do rates.

It’s not a perfect correlation, however, since there are other factors weighing on today’s lenders, such as new regulations.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed conforming mortgage hit 4.34 percent Friday, down from 4.50 percent just a week earlier, according to Mortgage News Daily. Lenders haven’t offered rates that low since November.

“This correction is bigger than I would have expected,” said Matthew Graham, COO of Mortgage News Daily, who points out that this week’s jobs report could send rates right back in the other direction.




Home sales in October weaken more than forecast | North Salem Real Estate

Home sales declined for the second consecutive month in October, while prices continue to rise given a limited supply of homes for sale, the National Association of Realtors says.

Total existing home sales fell 3.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million in October from 5.29 million in September. They are 6% higher than the 4.83 million-unit level in October 2012.

Economists’ median forecast was for an annual rate of 5.25 million for last month, according to an Action Economics’ survey.

A flattening trend is expected, says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

“The erosion in buying power is dampening home sales,” he said. “Moreover, low inventory is holding back sales while at the same time pushing up home prices in most of the country.”

Recent housing data shows that the market “has come off the boil,” says Paul Diggle, economist with Capital Economics.

Home builder confidence moderated in October and there have been signs that price gains are slowing.




What to Do in Winter to grow your garden | North Salem Real Estate

What are you growing in your garden this winter? This is not a trick  question. When you work an organic food garden in ways that bring out the best  in your site, your soil and your plants, winter is an interesting and useful  stretch of time. In most regions, you can enjoy spinach, Brussels sprouts,  sunchokes, kale, carrots, parsnips and other cold-hardy crops all through the  winter. Gardening is a very rewarding hobby however, it can take up a lot of time. If you find it difficult to keep up with your house work and garden don’t settle! Give Maid2Match cleaning in Toowoomba a call so you can focus on your garden.

To help you brush up on your cold-season gardening skills, let’s tick through  the simplest, most sustainable ways to address the three main winter gardening  tasks:

  • growing cold-hardy edibles
  • using compost, cover crops and mulch to radically improve soil  quality
  • enhancing habitats for hard-working beneficial insects and wildlife

No matter where you live, you can make use of climate-appropriate techniques  to bring spinach, kale, chicories and other hardy vegetables through the winter  (see Grow Great Salads Year Round, August/September 2006). You  will need an attached greenhouse in Zones 2 to 4, but in Zones 5 to 7 you can  get by with a tunnel covered with one layer each of row cover and plastic (the  plastic comes off easily for ventilation). Support the tunnel with an arch of  heavy-gauge wire fencing to make sure it can stand up to accumulated ice and  snow, like a green igloo.

Protect Fall Crops

If you have carrots in the ground, take this tip from Eliot Coleman, author  of Four-Season Harvest. In early winter enclose the carrots in  a cold frame, and sprinkle an inch of compost over the tops of the plants. Add  enough straw to fill the frame and close the top. Pull carrots as you need them,  and be prepared to be amazed at their sweet flavor — what Coleman calls “carrot  nirvana.” Parsnips need no protection to make it through winter, but a thick  mulch (or a garbage bag stuffed with leaves) makes it easier to find them and  keeps the soil from freezing. In any climate, early winter is the best time to  harvest Brussels sprouts and sunchokes, both of which benefit from exposure to  freezing temperatures.

Mulched soil doesn’t wash away in heavy rain, but the biggest advantage of  winter mulch is that it moderates soil temperatures, slowing the speed at which  the soil freezes, thaws and freezes again. Because water expands as it freezes,  shallow roots are often torn and pushed upward — a natural phenomenon called  heaving. Winter mulches reduce heaving around winter crops, decrease compaction  from heavy rain or hail, and enrich the soil with organic matter as they  decompose. They also look nice.

Fall-planted garlic, shallots and perennial onions are priority crops for a  4-inch winter mulch of hay, straw, chopped leaves or another locally abundant  material. Mulch kale, too, but wait until after the first week of steady  sub-freezing weather to protect the latent flower buds of strawberries with a  4-inch mulch of hay, pine needles or shredded leaves. Shroud the bases of  marginally hardy herbs such as rosemary with a 12-inch-deep pyramid of mulch to  protect the dormant buds closest to the ground. If you’re really pushing your  luck by growing figs or other plants that cannot tolerate frozen roots, surround  them with a tomato cage and stuff it full of straw or chopped leaves. Use this  technique to safeguard the graft union and basal buds of modern roses, too.

Once you’ve done what you can to maximize the productivity of hardy plants,  either gather up dead plants and surrounding mulch and compost them or turn the  residue into the soil. This will reduce pests such as squash bugs and harlequin  bugs, which overwinter as adults in plant debris, as do Mexican bean beetles and  some other pests. Old mulches can harbor cabbageworm pupae, but these and other  pests seldom survive winter in the wild world of a compost heap or when mixed  into biologically active soil. To be on the safe side, you can create a special  compost heap for plants that often harbor pests or diseases and seed-bearing  weeds.

In spring, after the heap has shrunk to a manageable size, mix in a  high-nitrogen material such as manure, grass clippings, alfalfa meal or cheap  dry dog food (mostly corn and soybean meal) to heat the heap to 130 degrees — the temperature needed to neutralize potential troublemakers.

With this housekeeping detail behind you, think about what next year’s garden  will demand of the soil. Sketch out a plan for where you will plant your  favorite crops in spring and summer, and tailor your winter soil care practices  to suit the needs of each plot’s future residents.

In areas to be planted with peas, potatoes, salad greens and other early  spring crops, cultivate the soil, dig in some compost, and allow birds to peck  through the soil to collect cutworms, tomato hornworm pupae and other insects  for a week or two. Then rake the bed or row into shape and mulch it with a  material that will be easy to rake off in early spring: year-old leaves or  weathered hay, for example. Spring planting delays due to soggy soil will be a  thing of the past.

In the space you will use in early summer for sweet corn, tomatoes and other  demanding warm-weather crops, you may still have time to sow a winter cover crop  such as hairy vetch, Austrian winter peas or crimson clover (see 8 Strategies for Better Garden Soil, June/July 2007). Cover  crops make use of winter solar energy, energize the soil food web as their roots  release carbohydrates down below and amass large amounts of organic matter. The  deep roots of hardy grain cover crops such as cereal rye will spend the winter  hammering their way into compacted subsoil, and nitrogen-fixing cover crops can  jump-start soil improvement in new garden beds and save time in spring.

For example, if you get a good stand of hairy vetch growing in fall, simply  cut the plants down in mid-spring (or pen your chickens on the bed), allow the  foliage to dry into a mat and plant tomatoes right into the mulch.

For all those “to be determined” spots, you can enrich the soil and prevent  winter erosion by tucking beds in with compost, mulch or a hybrid of the method  I call “comforter composting.” Piles of organic matter in any configuration will  turn the soil’s surface into a compost factory. Several 3-inch layers of dead  plants, chopped leaves, spoiled hay and other mulch materials will compost  themselves when placed atop unemployed soil.

If you would rather make a mountain of compost from autumn’s haul of yard and  garden waste, why not locate the pile in a place where it will travel across  cultivated soil as you turn it every few weeks? A “walking heap” leaves a trail  of organic matter in its wake, and nutrients that leach from the pile at various  stopping points go straight into the soil.




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Foreclosure filings creep up a slight 2% | North Salem NY Homes

Foreclosure filings crept up 2% in the most recent weekly survey, but still declined 28% from year ago levels, RealtyTrac reported Thursday.

In all, the data firm recorded 133,919 filings in October.

For the 16th month in a row, judicial foreclosure auctions increased from year ago levels, with 30,023 foreclosure auctions nationwide in October, up 10% from the prior month and up 7% from last year.

Overall, there were 58,939 properties that started the foreclosure process for the first time in October, rising 2% from September, but down 34% from last year.

This marks the 15th consecutive month where foreclosure starts have declined on an annual basis, the data firm said.

Individually, Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Florida witnessed the largest annual increases in scheduled judicial foreclosures. In particular, Maryland and Delaware shocked with dramatic ‘judicial foreclosure’ increases of 177% and 142%, respectively.

“The backlog of delayed judicial foreclosures continues to make its way through the pipeline, with many of these properties now being scheduled for the public auction after starting the foreclosure process last year or earlier this year,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac.