Exploring Chestnut Ridge

Are you looking for a day trip? Looking for an adventure? Right in your backyard is Chestnut Ridge county park in Orchard Park, NY. There are so many things to do at this park you’ll be coming back for more. The park is approximately 1231 acres and includes many hiking trails and stunning woods to explore.

In the summer months you can sit on top of the sledding hill and enjoy stunning views. There are numerous trails to hike including the famous eternal flame trail. From frisbee golf to tennis courts to a playground for the kids, there are plenty of things to keep you busy all day. You can also take your bike for a ride for a challenging workout. If you’re thinking of having a party or gathering, the park features shelters you can rent. There are plenty of opportunities for bird watching and just taking in all of nature’s beauty.

In the winter months you can enjoy sledding, a toboggan chute, snow shoeing and winter hikes. The park also features the casino with a nice warm fire to help take the chill out of the air. Over the course of the winter the county also holds different events, such as a winterfest and a day with Santa for the kids.

Whether you’re looking for an escape from city life or looking to get in touch with nature, Chestnut Ridge is a wonderful place to just relax and get away. It’s a wonderful thing having this beautiful park in our own backyard. So take a day and get out and explore!

For more information feel free to visit the park website at http://www2.erie.gov/parks/index.php?q=chestnut-ridge


photo credit: http://www2.erie.gov/parks/index.php?q=chestnut-ridge

5 things you can do to freshen up your curb appeal

There are many things you can do to freshen up your curb appeal, but here are 5 important and relatively simple ones. A fresh exterior is a welcome sight and will attract more potential buyers.

First, you want to be sure to clean out your flower beds and plant fresh flowers. This not only adds beauty to the front of your house, it also adds a pleasant aroma for people coming for a showing. Once planted you want to make sure you maintain the beds, adding mulch can be a great way to keep the weeds down. Be sure to choose a mulch that compliments the color scheme of your home.

Secondly, you’ll want to freshen up your window sills and shutters with a fresh coat of paint. Make sure to remove any loose or flaking paint and give them a good cleaning before adding fresh paint. You’ll want to make sure you pick a neutral color that adds a nice accent to your home. Be sure to avoid “loud” colors that may deter some buyers.

Next, one of the things you can do is to add a coat of paint to your front door. Ensure that the color matches the shutters and compliments the exterior of your house. You can choose a bold color for the front door, but keep in mind this isn’t always helpful and may deter some buyers. You’ll want to select a color that will attract the eye but not overwhelm it.

The fourth thing you can do to freshen your curb appeal is to power wash the siding on your home. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or get the water up under the siding panels, as this can cause damage and add an unexpected cost. Just giving your home a good washing can make your home stand out against the others in the neighborhood.

Finally, updating the light fixtures on the outside of your home can completely transform the look of your home. After all, nothing says welcome home like a clean updated light fixture without the insect infestation that comes with outdoor lighting.

Just making these changes can greatly improve your curb appeal and will have buyers excited to view the inside of your home. For a free consultation of your home feel free to give me a call at 716-809-0300 or by email at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com

The Spring market is here

The birds are chirping. The snow is melting, and the green grass is starting to return. This means that the spring real estate market is upon us. You’ll hear Realtors talk about the spring market and how it is the perfect time to sell your home. This is true, the time is now.

While buyers are out all winter too, the spring market is when the real estate world really heats up. People enjoy seeing the landscaping on homes come to life, and how pretty the backyard is while sitting on the deck. Let’s face it, homes and yards are just more beautiful in the spring and summer months.

One thing to remember if you’re getting ready to sell your home this spring is to do your yard clean up. Even the little things can make a big difference when selling your home, such as raking any residual leaves and freshening up your landscaping. You may want to give your driveway and sidewalks a good washing too to clear up any residual salt and debris.

With the sun shining and the days growing longer you can also take advantage of longer showing hours. People enjoy seeing the house they’re considering in the day light to really get a feel for it. This also brings to light any cosmetic defects that may be present, so you’ll want to make sure your paint is refreshed and your gutters and roof are in good shape. Not only do these things add to the visual appeal of your home, they help the buyers see that you maintain your home and help prevent any issues from popping up during the inspection.

Open houses are a huge part of the spring market. Buyers on their Sunday drive (yes people still do that) will often frequent open houses. This can be an enjoyable process for a buyer, having their windows down, music turned up, cruising neighborhoods looking for their new home. You’ll want to take advantage of this benefit of the spring market.

While selling your house in the winter is certainly doable there is nothing better than a hot spring market, and the real estate market is heating up now. If you’re considering selling your home this spring feel free to give me a call today at 716-809-0300 or email me at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com

How important is an open house?

One thing your real estate agent is going to ask you when listing your home is can we hold an open house? Your answer should be yes and here’s why.

Open houses are a great way to get traffic through your home without having the hassle of setting up appointments. When properly advertised an open house can attract many buyers to view your property, and maximum exposure is key to selling your home.

What happens at an open house? Your agent or an agent they pick will be at your home usually for a couple hours to welcome buyers through and to answer any questions that they may have. This is a great opportunity to highlight the features of the property and allow buyers to casually make their way through and envision living there. Your agent will have everyone sign in so it’s easy to follow up to ensure any further questions are answered.

Should I be home for my open house? While there is no rule against you being home for an open house (or showings) it is a good idea to leave for the time slots. You not being home makes buyers more comfortable because they don’t feel that they will offend anyone by commenting on the house. Also, it gives them the freedom to explore the house without the owner’s eyes watching them. We want buyers to feel as comfortable as possible and picture themselves living there.

What should I do to prepare for an open house? Preparing for an open house is simple. You want to make sure your house is clean and tidy, and that you have removed any valuable items such as expensive jewelry, medications, and firearms/weapons. Yes there are some people in this world who scour open houses with bad intentions, so taking a few precautions will help protect your belongings. While an agent will keep an eye on the buyers touring the property you don’t want to take any chances with your valuables.

In conclusion, holding an open house is a great idea for marketing your home and attracting buyers. If you’re on the fence about holding an open house, as a Realtor I highly recommend it. After all, to sell your home you want the most amount of traffic through it.

For any real estate questions or needs I can be reached at 716-809-0300 or by email at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com

328 Brookside Drive-Featured property

This week I am featuring an awesome ranch in West Seneca at 328 Brookside Drive, Buffalo NY 14220. The home features 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, but don’t let that deter you. There is a nice kitchen with an island. The living room features a porcelain tile floor and built in speakers. You’ll find a formal dining room with hardwood floors and hardwood floors in both bedrooms. The bathroom was updated within the last 5 years and features beautiful porcelain tiles. Also, this home has a full basement for ample storage. A full fence encloses the backyard and a natural gas grill is included. This home is a must see and will have an open house on Sunday, March 19th from 1-3pm.

For any questions regarding this home feel free to contact me at 716-809-0300 or by email at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com

MLS# B1031167

Western NY, the land of four seasons

Living in Western NY has many advantages if you enjoy the four seasons. You can enjoy an array of activities such as: hiking some of the most beautiful trails in the world, skiing some great slopes, fishing on the great lakes, lounging on some beautiful beaches, enjoying the original Buffalo wings, and exploring various museums and cultural centers.

Western NY should be high on your list of desirable relocation areas with a booming housing market and the rise of the city of Buffalo there are many benefits to living here. The Buffalo waterfront is currently experiencing much new development. For example, Canalside features concerts in the summer, outdoor games for the kids, and many other fitness and group activities; along with the beautiful view of the Lake Erie shoreline.

If you venture further into the southern tier of Western NY you will find some the nicest ski resorts in the state. They feature many different slopes as well as lodges for warming and entertainment. Yes the snow can accumulate rather quickly but if you’re looking for a home close to many winter sports, the souther tier may be for you.

Western NY also features many agricultural districts with a variety of farms offering shares in the summer months. Along with large dairy farms you always have the option of obtaining the freshest food possible.

If you’re looking to explore museums and art galleries the city of Buffalo features both. Located within the city are the Buffalo Museum of Science, the Buffalo Zoo, Albright Knox art gallery, and the Burchfield Penney Art Center. These sites offer hours of fun for all ages.

The Buffalo area also features professional and semi professional sports teams, such as: the Buffalo Sabres, the Buffalo Bills, and the Buffalo Bisons (AAA baseball). So if you’re looking to be a part of the best fan base in professional sports, Western NY could be for you.

Finally, the fall foliage in Western NY is hard to beat. With the rolling hills of the south towns and southern tier you will see an array of orange, red, and yellow that is simply breathtaking. With the mild spring and summer Western NY is hard to beat.

If you have ever considered moving to Western NY give me a call today at 716-809-0300 or by email at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com and let me show you around the area.

Photo credit:nyfallfoliage.com

Are my student loans hurting my mortgage chances?

Throughout the course of a week I hear multiple times, what impact does my student loan have on me getting a mortgage? Luckily I was able to sit down with Sharlene Bauer of HUNT Mortgage to discuss this question with her.

The first point is that regardless of whether your loans are in deferment or forbearance they still count as a debt, and they weigh just as heavily as an auto or mortgage payment. The bank will look at what your future monthly obligation will be and will include it in your debt load.

Secondly, how can I find out what my monthly obligation is going to be? The best way to know is to call your loan servicer (i.e. Sallie Mae, Navient, etc.) and ask them to calculate your future payment. If you are unable to obtain this information your mortgage lender will do their own calculation, and that can sometimes be worse.

It’s important to know what your monthly obligation is because sometimes your student loan payment can be as high as a mortgage payment. That is another reason to get prequalified before looking for your future home. The impact that your student loans have will dictate your home buying ability.

While student loans are unfortunately a necessary part of a college education, they may not totally disqualify you from obtaining a mortgage.

For assistance with a preapproval and to see how your student loans may impact your ability to get a mortgage you can reach Sharlene Bauer at 716-481-7010 or by email at sharlene.bauer@huntmortgage.com

Please feel free to contact me for help with all of your real estate needs. I can be reached at 716-809-0300 or by email at michael.devlin@huntrealestate.com