The Annual Barn Dinner at the Neversink Farm outside of Claryville is a hugely popular event, and tickets to the sit down dinner sell out quickly. (Last year, they sold out in two days!) Well, folks, they went on sale yesterday. The cost is $110 a head, and it's worth every penny. From the email…Details
The Pig Mountain Pig Roast & Veggiefest food event is back, bigger and better than ever. It's happening this Saturday, August 11th from noon to 4PM in Narrowsburg. 10 top chefs, 10 pigs "and more veggies than you can shake a stick at." The event benefits Farmhearts, an organization deduicated to supporting family farms in…Details
A flashing sign, "Expect Delays Ahead", can bring dread to drivers on the Thruway heading upstate. A similar sign could be flashing right now over most real estate purchases. In late spring, I was confidently telling clients that they could expect to close within 60 days of an accepted offer on a straight (not short) sale with mortgage financing if there weren't any unexpected glitches (usually with survey or title), and possibly even quicker. Recent experience then was that every step moved very quickly. If a buyer was using a local lender, the appraisal appointment would happen within 3 or 4 days of a completed mortgage application. The bank would usually get the appraisal report within a couple of days after that, and the underwriting review would be complete in a week or at most ten days. When the buyer's attorney ordered a survey, the survey was often complete and back within a week.
Then the market picked up, with a surge of new deals starting in May and continuing into the summer, with the volume of new purchases in the pipeline compounded by a huge flow of refinancings to take advantage of the sub-4% mortgage rates. The 'system' capacity was geared to the volume of the past couple of years, and has struggled to keep up with the sharply higher activity. Many lenders downsized their underwriting departments and shaved the number of closing attorneys. Some surveyors cut their assistants, and some appraisers left the business. There is just less capacity to handle the higher volume, resulting in a backlog and delays.
Many lenders, for example, are giving estimates of 60 days to close from the time of mortgage application (which is something that happens about two to three weeks after a deal in struck, after contracts are fully executed.) A 7 to 10 day lead time for an appraisal appointment is not uncommon now. The initial underwriting review can take two or three weeks. Surveyors can be backed up a couple of weeks. And once a file is cleared to close by the lender, the first available closing slot from the lender can be 10 days out. (Just a few months ago, when the buyer's attorney would call the lender to schedule the closing, the lender's response was typically "When do you want to close?", not "The first available opening we have is …"
A bit of extra time at each step — a few days here, a week there — may not seem like a lot, but it adds up. Right now, from accepted offer to closing, a buyer using mortgage financing is probably looking at closer to 90 days rather than 60. If the volume increase continues, the key players in the process will ramp up capacity, hiring more underwriters, bringing on more closing attorneys and bringing back assistants. But that won't happen overnight. So for the time being, we're stuck in this traffic jam and there isn't a magic detour.
Steps Buyers Can Take to Speed Up the ProcessDetails
One of the biggest challenges I have in working with buyers is ferreting out their unspoken assumptions. Buyers often make assumptions that seem logical, but aren't necessarily correct. For example, you're looking at a house on 20 acres — so of course there's plenty of room to add a guesthouse or build a second home…Details
Sullivan County finally has it's own contemporary boutique-style hotel. The former Lodge at Rock Hill has been transformed into The Sullivan, (www.the-sullivan.com), a slick and chic full service hotel with two adjacent restaurants, Bernie's (Asian-American steakhouse) and The Crust (Italian fare and pizza). The shuttered Lodge at Rock Hill was purchased earlier this year by…Details
I just tweaked in under the wire, getting the July Current Market Conditions report posted before the calendar turns over to August. For the past few days, I was thinking that this might be the first month I've missed getting one out since I started doing this about 8 months ago. Yes, it's been that…Details
Earlier in the week, the NY Times had an article "Beyond Borscht – Rebranding the Catskills" that's been the talk around dinner tables around these parts. The thrust of the article is that the Catskills are hampered by out of date borscht belt connotations, and there needs a to be a region-wide effort to rebrand…Details
I just posted my latest monthly Market Conditions Report for Sullivan County real estate. There are some bright spots in the picture this month. Sales volume of single family homes was on par with the previous year, after showing modest year over year declines for the previous 4 months. Prices, while down from the previous…Details
Big news this morning on the gas drilling / fracking front. The NY Times is reporting this morning that the Cuomo administration is considering a plan to liimit hydrofracking in NY to primarily areas in five counties along the northern Pennsylvania border -Broome, Tioga, Steuben, Chemung and Chenango – with further limits to only towns…Details
Yup, I know my May Market Conditions Report for Sullivan County Real Estate is coming out pretty late this month. But I did get it up under the wire, before the calendar flips over to June. But the reason I'm late this month is part of the story. I've been crazy busy with buyers since…Details
A few years ago, buyers looking for houses to buy for the summer generally shopped from January through March, cut a deal and closed sometime in May, in time to be in the house by Memorial Day. The pattern has changed, with buyers shopping later, in April and May, but with the expectation of having…Details
Summer is off to a big start, if the crowds at the Callicoon Farmers Market this morning are any indication. I can't remember ever seeing such a large crowd, or having to park two blocks away to do my weekly locally grown food shopping. The market runs from 11 to 2PM on Sundays, and I…Details
"Very busy" isn't a phrase I've used a lot over the past couple of years, but it's a phrase I would certainlyuse to describe the last few weeks. Since the beginning of May, I've written four offers — two have come together into deals, the other two are in negotiation. What's particularly noteworthy is that…Details
In late April, the Town of Bethel passed an ordinance to ban gas drilling using hydrofracking, joining Tusten and Lumberland, which passed similar bans earlier this year. The Town of Highland is currently considering a similar ban. (In a related development, on April 26th the Sullivan County legislature unanimously passed a resolution requesting New York…Details
One of the most popular spring events in Sullivan County is happening this coming Saturday, May 5th. Foodstock, a benefit for WJFF Community Radio (90.5fm) brings together 60 local food and wine producers for an afternoon of sampling and tasting. It takes place from 11AM to 3PM in the tennis building at the Villa Roma…Details
My latest Current Market Conditions Report for Sullivan County Real Estate is up with sales data through March, 2012. For the first quarter of 2012, sales volume was down 16% from the previous year, but sales prices (both median and average) held steady from the same period a year earlier. Interest and demand among buyers…Details
It seems that the long running dispute over the second public access point to Toronto Reservoir (at the southern end of the reservoir, near the dam, reached from an easement road at the end of Pine Grove Road) may be finally over. In 2006, the developer of the Chapin Estate, which surrounds much of the…Details
I live on a beautiful road in the Beechwoods, with one downside. There's no cable or DSL service to my house for high speed internet access. Satellite and Verizon 3G wireless are my only 'high speed' options. I've had Hughesnet (formerly Direcway) as my satellite internet provider, backed up more recently with a Verizon 3G…Details
It was a heady couple of weeks for casino boosters here in Sullivan. First, Empire Resorts and Entertainment Property Trust (EPT), the owner of the lion's share of the former Concord Hotel site in Kiamesha Lake, unveiled their plans for redevelopment of the site for Town of Thompson officials. (Press release including a link to…Details
I just posted my latest Current Market Conditions Report for Sullivan County Real Estate with sales data through February 2012. Sort of a mixed picture this month, with sales volume down about 5% over the same period last year, while prices are showing an overall upward trend (although down from January, due to a couple…Details