EDMESTON – A man who was a lover of life: passionate, devoted, creative, articulate, genuine, an inquisitive intellectual who pursued all his endeavors with great zeal.
Tim was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; a graduated from Marcellus High School, NY where he had been a proud member of the wrestling team. He received his BA from SUNY Geneseo.
Tim’s professional career included employment by the Syracuse DSO for over 20 years and Madison Cty. ARC. He also worked as a real estate agent. His greatest love was nature photography. He was proud to be the sole proprietor of “The Image Makers Photography Gallery and Frame Shop. Tim’s artistic capabilities in Photography have been exhibited in numerous galleries and exhibitions in Central New York: including The Cazenovia Artisans, and Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, NY.
My son Jonathan called me the other night to tell me he missed the old house in Brooklyn. He had lived there his whole life, as I did mine, except for the Army and my longest winter in Richfield Springs.
I told him I missed the house, too, and described my last days there. We had sold to a builder, so I knew the old Victorian was going to be demolished. In the meantime, we rented a one-room studio apartment only a block from the school where my wife Alice was finishing up her last year as a teacher. Both our kids were away working or at school. All of the furniture had been moved into the studio or up to the recently purchased farm, but I was still holding out at the house, sleeping on a mattress on the floor and using cardboard boxes to replace tables and such. Alice stayed at the apartment, but old Rufus, our yellow lab, was an outside dog all his life and I didn’t think he’d do well in the confines of our temporary digs, so I stayed at the house for as long as I could. It was late December, a few days before the closing date, when I had the gas, electric and telephone turned off. The main water valve, I could close myself.
The real-estate market in Margaretville and Andes, in southern Delaware County, are “on fire right now,” said Michele Stoeger, executive officer, Otsego-Delaware Board of Realtors. “Everyone’s working for downstate people.”
And the flames are lapping into southern Otsego County, said veteran realtor Joan Fox. “I haven’t seen demand like this – ever.
“We have agents in four counties – Otsego, Delaware, Schoharie and Chenango,” she continued. “Across the board, primary- or secondary-home market, the demand is incredible, and it’s outstripping the supply of houses available.”
Even Cooperstown, four-plus hours from Manhattan, is feeling the heat. “It’s almost like a little frantic,” said Amy Stack of Stack-Page Properties. “People are trying to get into places. There are no places to show them.”
Veteran realtors liken what’s happening now to what happened after 911, when urbanites fearing a repeat of the Twin Towers’ attack moved Upstate from New York City.
Margaret Savoie, owner of Cooperstown’s Don Olin Agency, agreed with Stack that “there’s a low inventory, but some houses have been on the market and not selling. We can accommodate them.”
With landlords used to serving the 13-week Dreams Park market, “there are no rentals” for people looking to rent year ’round. However, “interestingly, some people are looking for land.”
And, by the way, today everyone also wants high-speed Internet and cellphone access. “If a property has access to high-speed Internet service, it’s very attractive,” said Fox.
Until Monday, June 1, Governor Cuomo’s emergency declaration closed real-estate offices, and many local real estate offices added photos to their online listings, even virtual tours.
ONEONTA – If lockdown has you feeling like the walls are closing in, you can look for a new house – without ever leaving yours.
“The only way we can show homes is by doing it virtually,” said Betsy Shultis, Benson Realty. “We go into the house and give a tour either through Zoom or Facetime.”
In areas where internet service isn’t available, she said, realtors will film a video and post it on the home listing.
“I’ve had several inquiries on the internet for various properties,” said Rob Lee, a Benson Agency agent. “This is a time when people have the time, they’re driving by and seeing a property for sale, or they’re calling and inquiring about summer homes.”
After talking by phone or email, Lee sends a link to a virtual tour of the interior and exterior. “They also have the option to do a drive-by to complete the picture.”
Shultis prefers to give a personalized tour to each buyer. “Facetime is great because people can ask me questions about something they see in the house,” she said. “In one instance, my clients could hear the traffic in the background, which is important to a potential homeowner.”
Melissa Klein, manager of Howard Hanna, even offers 3D tours of their properties, similar to Google Earth. “You can ‘walk’ through the house,” she said.
And it’s worked.
“This area is really the sweet spot for people who, because of the virus, want to get out of Long Island, the city or even Westchester County,” said Klein. “The Catskills are getting crowded, and we’re not so far from the city that you can’t travel back down for a weekend.”
While realtors across the state have seen a significant drop in sales, Klein said that her agency, which has offices in Oneonta and Cooperstown, has seen a rise in pending sales.
“The majority of people looking right now are from out of town,” she said.
According to Lee, he’s seeing an uptick in buyers from downstate looking for summer homes. “They’re looking forward to the time they can come up and use it,” he said.
“They want space from other people,” said Klein. “They’re looking for a house with a few acres of property, not being elbow-to-elbow with anyone.”
Addi-tionally, the increase of telecommuting has given employees more flexibility about where they live. “Seeing that people can work from home is going to really affect commercial real estate downstate,” said Shultis. “So people are looking for year-round housing.”
“I’ve been getting inquiries about people who are interested in relocating,” said Lee. “They’re all renting now.”
And rates are very low, she noted. “If you’re doing a short-term loan, you could get an interest rate under three percent,” she said. “And our housing prices are already reasonable.”
All the contracts can be signed electronically, and buyers can put a clause in that allows them to withdraw their offer without penalties if a physical walkthrough doesn’t meet their standards.
“However, Shultis noted, housing stock is low. “A lot of people are waiting to list until after the pandemic,” she said. “Our supply is way down.”
But that just means it’ll be a seller’s market in a few months, said Klein. “If you’re thinking about selling your home, now is a good time to do it,” she said. “When all this ends, it’s going to be a very busy market.”