2018 Real Estate Market Forecasts Are In: Should you buy, sell or both this year?

Erin - Real Estate Market - Blog
The 2018 real estate market forecasts have been released. In 2017 we saw significantly low inventory and fierce buying competition; leading to a challenging market for buyers but a fruitful one for sellers. This year the scales are expected to tip a little bit, but to who’s benefit still seems a little up in the air.
If you are a prospective buyer, you may want to consider starting your search early this year as mortgage rates are expected to rise throughout the year. Also, home prices are expected to rise throughout the year. While competition is fierce right now, it could save you some money to start your home buying experience early in 2018 versus later. However, if you do choose to wait, you could be rewarded with a larger selection of inventory.
If you are a prospective seller, the current market conditions are in your favor of getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar. As the year moves on, we will see an increase in home value but also an increase in listings, giving buyers more options. Couple that with mortgage rates rising, it may be in your best interest to list sooner rather than later.
No matter what your real estate goals are, 2018 is looking like a shift in the market is on its way. Depending on whether you are buying or selling, narrowing down that perfect time is going to be a challenge, given the predicted market changes.
Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Clifton Park, NY. Erin enjoys working with buyers and sellers throughout the Capital Region and strives to provide the best service possible to her clients. “Whether you are buying or selling, I would love to help you make your next move. Reach out with any questions or to talk about the services I use to get your home sold or to get you into the home you have been looking for.  I can’t wait to chat!” Visit Erin’s website and check out her reviews on Zillow.
Further reading on 2018 Real Estate forecasts –

Frozen Pipes Can Be a Homeowners Nightmare

Erin - Frozen Pipes - Blog

Winter has arrived in the Capital Region and it has brought a major arctic freeze with it. Many concerns come with this type of weather and if you are a homeowner than frozen pipes should be on your mind. Frozen pipes can cause a huge, costly mess. Fortunately, frozen pipes can be avoided and there are some ways that you can get them thawed without causing more damage.

Preparing pipes for cold weather in advance is best, but there are things that you can do once the cold weather actually arrives. While not every frozen pipe situation become a leaky disaster, you should always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Here are some steps to take to keep your home’s pipes from freezing.

  1. Insulate pipes – This can be done very easily with insulation sleeves and they work great on easily accessible pipes that are in areas with poor heat circulation, including basements or along exterior walls. Coming in foam rubber or fiberglass, each sleeve is curved to wrap around the pipe, meeting flush to surround it completely. Creating a barrier between the pipes and the unforgiving cooler air temperature is a simple and easy DIY project. You may also consider adding insulation to your walls or on your basement ceiling to protect pipes, and as an added bonus insulate your whole home better!
  2. Heating Tape – An awesome “in a pinch” option to keep pipes from freezing is electrical heating tape. This tape wraps around your pipes and is plugged into the wall. Electricity then heats the tape to keep pipes nice and warm. There are many different types of this tape and they are found at major retail hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot, as well as general hardware stores. Heating tape can also be used to thaw frozen pipes.
  3. Heat It Up – An arctic freeze is not the time to get stingy with your heating. When a home is occupied the temperature is something that is very important to the comfort of those living in it. However, if you leave a home for a vacation or own a property that is vacant, including seasonal residences, you want to maintain a temperature that will make sure your home’s mechanicals stay in working order. If you own a property that is vacant it may be in your best interest to just have it professionally winterized. If you own a seasonal residence and plan on visiting during winter months you may want to consider keeping your heat at 55° or warmer. In all homes, interior doors should remain open to keep a good flow of air and if necessary open cupboard and access doors to keep pipes warm. Portable heaters can also be handy at keeping pipes from thawing, especially in uninsulated or poorly heated areas;  make sure to use them as instructed and keep them away from water.
  4. Faucets On – Keep your faucet on at a trickle or drip. Leaving the faucet on can keep pipes at a steady temp above freezing and if they should freeze the line is open so the pressure should not burst any pipes.

Be diligent when it comes to keeping an eye on the pipes in your home. A broken pipe can cost you thousands. Take the precautions to make sure your pipes don’t freeze and save yourself a major hassle.

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Clifton Park, NY. Erin enjoys working with buyers and sellers throughout the Capital Region and strives to provide the best service possible to her clients. Erin received the HUNT Rising Star Award in 2016 and recently received a Listing Agent of the Month award. Visit Erin’s website and check out her reviews on Zillow.



HUNT Mortgage 2nd Look Program For Homebuyers

If you are looking to purchase a home, your first stop should be to speak with a lender. Getting your finances in order BEFORE you begin shopping is imperative for a few reason.

  1. You will be able to get advice on what your credit report looks like and how you can make it better, possibly opening up access to different loan types or better rates.
  2. It will help you to set a shopping budget for your home purchase.
  3. Sellers and agents are expecting any buyers who request showings have already been pre-qualified with a lender.

There are many loan types out there and lots of lenders to choose from. Product type and rates may differ from lender to lender. Buyers should speak with a few mortgage consultants to compare products and services, kind of like when you consider purchasing a car from a dealership and they each have their own financing products to help with your purchase.

I always suggest my clients speak with Bob Tuttle and Pat O’Connor at HUNT Mortgage; not because there is some incentive for me to do so, but because I have worked with them on several occasions and they have gone above and beyond to ensure my clients’ purchases went smoothly. I have also seen them secure mortgage commitments and clear to close status in record time. They do a great job and are excellent resources for buyers, especially first-time homebuyers who have never gone through this process before.

One of the benefits of HUNT Mortgage is their 2nd Look Program. If you have been pre-qualified with a lender and would like to compare that financing with what HUNT Mortgage can provide, you should speak with Bob or Pat. They will review rate terms to see if they can do better. Fun story: Over the summer I was working with a client who ran into a snag with his financing through another lender. I directed him to speak with Pat and after doing so my client ended up with a better rate and a better loan type. He also got his mortgage commitment in 10 days!!!

Also, by having one of the HUNT Mortgage experienced consultants review your financing you will receive a $50 Gift Card! The best part – if HUNT Mortgage can’t beat the rate from the other lender you still get to keep the gift card!

So what do you have to lose? Have Bob Tuttle or Pat O’Connor at HUNT Mortgage take a look at your financing. It means $50 more in your pocket today and possibly huge savings down the road!

Bob Tuttle –
Direct: (518) 416-4431
Email: robert.tuttle@huntmortgage.com

Pat O’Connor –
Direct: (518) 312-0181
Email: patrick.oconnor@huntmortgage.com


NOTE: HUNT Mortgage is an affiliate company of HUNT Real Estate ERA. You are not required or obligated to utilize HUNT Mortgage services in order to work with a HUNT Real Estate ERA Licensed Salesperson. You may opt to use any financing or lender for your home purchase. This blog is intended only to inform you of the services provided by HUNT Mortgage. Bob Tuttle and Pat O’Connor are both New York State licensed mortgage consultants servicing the Capital Region.

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Clifton Park, NY. Whether you are listing your home, buying a home or both, Erin would love to speak with you about the services that she and HUNT Real Estate ERA provide to support you with your real estate adventure. Visit her website and find her on Zillow.



Being a Buyer in a Seller’s Market

 Erin - Sellers Market Blog - In Post Image

Looking for a house is an exciting time, it can also be a stressful time. If you are shopping for a home in a seller’s market, listings can be scarce and competition can be fierce. It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time homebuyer or shopping for your 4th home, shopping in a seller’s market can be a frustrating and disappointing experience. The good news is, there are things that you can do as a buyer that will prepare to be the strongest buyer you can be.

Having a strong, competitive offer is only one part of being a successful buyer in a competitive market. Below are some tips that will help you conquer the unforgiving landscape of a seller’s market.

  1. Save, save, save – Cash is your greatest asset when buying a home. Even if you choose to use financing that requires nothing down or a low-down payment amount, your savings will come in handy in off-setting concessions for closing costs. Your offer can be made stronger if you can cover your own closing costs. It also makes the offer more attractive as a concession can raise a purchase price and that can mean trouble when it comes time for the mortgage appraisal. Cash is king! The more you save the more you will be able to play in a competitive real estate market.
  2. Get financing in order before shopping – Speaking with a loan officer can help sort out finances and identify the right financing for you. It’s also expected that you are pre-qualified before beginning your home search and going on showings (open houses are the exception to this, they are open to everyone). Having a pre-qualification means your finances have been reviewed and you are ready to roll as soon as you find a home. It also helps set your budget; it stinks when you find the perfect house, only to find out that you can’t get a mortgage to purchase that home. Knowing your financial limits will help you narrow down your options in the market.

SIDE NOTE: There are many fantastic mortgage companies in the Capital Region with great products. I have worked with many of them and I have yet to come across one that I have had a bad experience with. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to give a shout-out to 2 awesome loan officers at HUNT Mortgage – not just because it is a HUNT affiliate company* or because they are my office colleagues, but they both rock at their jobs. Bob Tuttle & Pat O’Connor are great guys who have helped several of my clients purchase their homes. They bring an enormous amount of experience to the table which has only benefitted my clients, and myself. They take time to educate buyers and are wonderful communicators, making the process smooth and keeping everyone in the loop. Additionally, HUNT Mortgage is now providing a Pre-Purchase Commitment that commits to loan approval for a buyer with the only condition being a home passes the bank appraisal. That means a buyer can offer on a home and show their financing is ready to commit as soon as an appraisal is approved. A pre-purchase commitment, along with an attractive monetary offer, shows a seller that you are a serious buyer and want to own their home. It can make your offer stand out in a multiple offer situation as well.

Moving on…

  1. Be realistic on what your budget will buy you – If you find yourself in a seller’s it may limit your buying power for something that meets your needs. Even in a buyer’s market you may have to reduce wants ex) you get 2,000 square feet, 4 beds and 2 baths, but you will have to put in some elbow grease to make that diamond shine. If you are looking for a steal in a seller’s market chances are your low-ball deal might fall flat. Consider reviewing your wishlist and defining what your needs versus your wants are. You might also want to investigate some other areas or neighborhoods that can provide you with the same conveniences or atmosphere you are looking for at a more wallet-friendly price. At least you are widening your inventory pool giving you more options to consider.
  2. Be ready to write an offer – A market with lots of buyers and few listings can be a nightmare if you are one of those buyers. New listings may not last long before going pending. Heck! I had one receive multiple offers in less than 24 hours back in October (2017)! The market is not going to wait for you to make up your mind and there is a lot of truth to the realtor.com®  “Not You” commercials – the you may nail down the house, but look at all those not yous that lost out. Don’t be a not you.
  3. Brace for disappointment – It sucks to lose out on a house. As an agent, I hate it when my clients get beat, I truly feel the blow. It’s easy to get discouraged, but it happens and it can happen more than once. This includes buyers with above average budgets too. Remember to breathe when things get overwhelming. When you can’t even get past the finding a home phase it can be frustrating. Be prepared to face a loss when buying in a seller’s market, hopefully, your offer is accepted without a hitch, but you will be ready for the news if it doesn’t.
  4. Learn from your mistakes –So, your first offer situation didn’t go according to plan – what now? Talk with your agent; ask questions about what went wrong and what you should do next time. They are there to help guide you, good communication with your agent will only lead to success. Every offer is different because every home and buyer are different. Learn from each failed offer to better your next one.

No matter who the market favors, buying a home is an adventure. If you find yourself shopping in a market that favors sellers, be the strongest buyer you can, be prepared to fail, and learn from your mistakes. Surround yourself with a team that can guide you on your journey – your agent, your loan officer, and your attorney should all have your back through your purchase. Be prepared, be competitive, and be confident; you will find yourself a winner in a high-stress market and nab that perfect home!

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in the Clifton Park, NY office. She is also a member of the National Association of REALTORS® . Erin enjoys working with buyers to find their perfect new home. If you are looking for an agent to help in your Capital Region home search, contact Erin, and check out her reviews on her website at www.homeswitherinmiller.com


*HUNT Mortgage is an affiliate company of HUNT Real Estate ERA. There is no obligation to utilize the services of HUNT Mortgage in order to work with a HUNT Real Estate ERA salesperson. The opinion on the services of HUNT Mortgage and the mentioned loan officers are those of the writer and in no way imply any client is required to work with this lender.

Spring Home Maintenance 101

Home Maintenance Blog

Spring has sprung! Longer days are here, warmer weather and sunshine. Even after a mild winter, by Northeast standards, it’s time to start those spring home upkeep projects.

After any winter, no matter how mild or harsh, you should check over your home’s exterior and address any damages that may have occurred over the cold winter months. Spring is also a great time to update curb appeal and give your home a face lift.

Suggested maintenance to-do’s:

  • Inspect your roof – make sure all shingles are in place and in good condition. Check for damage left from ice dams and correct those issues as they can cause major leaking. Also address mold or bacteria growth in shady spots.
  • Clean out your gutters – remove debris from gutters and downspouts to encourage proper drainage. Also address where the water exits the downspout and guide it away from the home.
  • Check caulk on windows and reseal any imperfections. This will help with heating and cooling efficiency; especially during the hot summer months when air conditioning is running.
  • Trim trees, bushes and shrubs – not only will your lawn look fresh and cleaned up, removing branches and stems near your home’s exterior will decrease the risk of damage.
  • Up your curb appeal – add new landscaping or refresh existing gardens with new flowering plants. Adding color to green space can really make a yard pop!
  • Take care of your deck and porches – reseal or paint wooden decks and porches to help protect them from the elements.
  • Paint it pretty – maintain the home’s exterior woodwork with a new coat of paint. If you have a wooden clapboard or shingled home consider giving it a real face lift with a whole new color scheme! Spring is a great time to change up the exterior of your home, so if you have been considering vinyl siding now is a great time to look into it.

Spring home maintenance is a great way to get out of the gloom of winter. By working on these projects you are maintaining the integrity of your home, giving your body the exercise it has missed all winter, and take in some wonderful fresh air. Plus by paying regular attention to these items you can save yourself a lot of money by preventing big problems. Being proactive can really pay off when you are a home owner!

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Saratoga Springs, NY. In the past Erin has worked in the field of marketing, focusing in social media and internet marketing. She also holds excellent customer service skills and enjoys working in the community. Erin is looking forward to blending real estate and her other skills to provide a great experience for future clients in the Capital Region. Visit her website http://www.homeswitherinmiller.com


Meet My Latest Listing

OK, it has been a long few months since I last updated this blog. My apologies, but I promise it has been for good reason and I have been very busy. Plus the holidays, I am sure you can all understand how easy it is to get sidetracked during that season. Speaking of which, I hope you all enjoyed yours and have been having a most excellent New Year!

I’ve been working with many buyers but was fortunate enough to be brought in on a listing in the wonderful city of Glens Falls. I did my college internship in this beautiful, historic upstate NY city and I was elated to be brought in on a listing in that area.

I would like to introduce all of you the Condos at 93 Maple Street! These luxury condo units are move in ready and are perfect for the first time homebuyer, empty nesters looking to downsize, or as vacation property. After all they are just a short drive away to Lake George, Saratoga Springs and the Adirondack Park.

Building 93 Maple

The Condos at 93 Maple Street – Glens Falls, NY

One of my favorite things about the units is that each one is different. Layouts may be similar but each unit has been professionally designed by Paula McCormick Interiors and all have their very own personalities. The high-end finishes really bring life to each space and the unique individual feel allow buyers to pick from tastefully done units rather than accepting a standard cookie cutter build.

But don’t just take my work for it. Here are a few photos:

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I encourage you to check out the condos for yourself. If you are fortunate enough to be in the Glens Falls area, around the Capital Region or traveling to Upstate New York stop by on Sundays between 11 and 1. We hold a weekly open house. Of course you can always make an appointment, just submit an inquiry on the contact page of our website. You can visit The Condos at 93 Maple Street here.

I can’t wait to find these units the perfect homeowners they have been waiting for, maybe it will be you….

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Saratoga Springs, NY. In the past Erin has worked in the field of marketing, focusing in social media and internet marketing. She also holds excellent customer service skills and enjoys working in the community. Erin is looking forward to blending real estate and her other skills to provide a great experience for future clients. Visit her websitehttp://www.homeswitherinmiller.com



TLC Properties: Renovation or Rehab – Smart Investment For A Must-Have Home

Renovations and Rehab Blog

Wow! It’s been a while since I was able to sit down and write. It has definitely been a busy few weeks. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family.

My weekend before Thanksgiving was filled with home showings and my very first open house. Ok, so it wasn’t really MY open house, but I got some very valuable real estate experience by helping one of my contemporaries.

For today’s post though I really want to speak about my experience working with some great buyers who have entered my world. Like I did a few years ago, my buyers are looking to make a long-distance move and get back to their family, who are located here in the Capital District. This particular couple really knows what they are looking for, which to my surprise were serious fixer-upper properties.

I love fixer-upper properties. You have a chance to make something your own, you can help preserve the original nature of a historic home, you can save lots of money. My buyer has built & redesigned homes before and enjoys the process. Because of this we looked at some really fabulous homes, though many of them weren’t in what one might call fabulous shape. Actually there were some that no one would call fabulous shape. However, with my buyer’s ability to see what could be, I quickly found myself ready to get a hammer and nails and start the work myself.

All too often many beautiful homes go overlooked because they require work. Not every home is salvageable but, when you find a gem that has weathered decades or even centuries and still maintains it’s structural integrity, in lies an opportunity.

An opportunity to make a home your own. Seriously, you don’t need a brand new build to get what you want in a home. In fact, sometimes people invest in new builds and the homes still don’t necessarily meet all of your wants and/or needs. Not saying buying new is a bad thing, for some people it makes all of the sense in the world, but with a little ambition and creativity you can bring a relic into the current time. The best part, you can increase your equity rather quickly by choosing a distressed property and making the proper, cost effective, renovations to it. Always think about resale and market value when doing renovations. Spending money you don’t need to or you will never see a return on is silly, unless you have a generous budget and feel like spending.

I know, I know – renovations? Nobody has time for that. It’s true, renovations can seriously cramp your everyday style. But! Getting exactly what you want in a home, building equity, and having that feeling of pride with every project completion can be very rewarding for home buyers and owners.

My buyer’s and I stumbled upon a Craftsman, out of the original area we were looking but very close to their family. It had fallen into foreclosure and was in sad shape for how pretty you could see it had once been. It was dirty, had a top to bottom red kitchen, and the furnace was totally broken but the bones were in good shape. The “ah-ha!” feature was that none of the traditional Craftsman touches had been messed with. The original woodworking and structural elements were intact. The only exception was the peculiar red kitchen. The icing on the cake? The home was priced way below budget. When adding the estimated total cost of renovations to the listing price the figure was still way under budget – granted most of the labor cost would be offset by my buyer’s hard work. I will have to wait and see as no decisions have been made yet, but it left a lasting impression on me about distressed properties. Not only can they be a place you really feel is your home, with your personal must haves, they can also be a really solid investment for both you and the property.

Renovations and rehabs are certainly not for everyone. They are time consuming, they can end up costing a fortune, and they can make you regret ever thinking one was a good idea. But when that work is done and your home is exactly how you want it, with extra money in your pocket, that run down, dirty, red kitchen property will be a home again. There are countless tv shows out now with famous faces that feature these types of projects –  Nicole Curtis on Rehab Addict, Jonathan and Drew on Property Brothers, Flipping Virgins with Egypt Sherrod…the list can go on and on. There is tons of inspiration and education out there. Just look at Pinterest! Make sure you have a few hours if you go on Pinterest for DIY ideas, you may be on there for hours – I know from experience.

If you are ambitious enough and not scared away by homes in desperate need of a family to love them then you may find great pride in the challenge. It can really be a great investment and you just might learn a thing or two about yourself. 🙂

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Saratoga Springs, NY. In the past Erin has worked in the field of marketing, focusing in social media and internet marketing. She also holds excellent customer service skills and enjoys working in the community. Erin is looking forward to blending real estate and her other skills to provide a great experience for future clients. Visit her websitehttp://www.homeswitherinmiller.com

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Home Sweet Home Blog Graphic

Buying your first home is exciting! You have probably spent a lot of time saving and working on cleaning up credit. Perhaps you have been looking at available properties in the areas you are most interested in. You might even be looking forward to this huge transition in your life.

Even with the most positive of attitudes being a first-time homebuyer can get overwhelming, and it can become overwhelming very quickly. The house hunting part is the easy part, it is everything that comes after. The paperwork, the dozens of people you will communicate with at any given time, inspections, extended deadlines – the list of components to buying a home can go on and on.

This list of tips is designed to help you ease through the process of buying your first home. While it won’t solve every roadblock you may run into, it will give you an idea of what to expect next and what to work on preparing with your team.

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers:

  • In advance of applying for financing, review your credit report and clean up any blemishes. Work on putting money away and building your savings.
  • Apply for a pre-qualification or a pre-approval with a trusted home loan lender. There are a variety of choices that you can go through to obtain financing, take your time looking at all of your options and choose the right one for you.
  • Understand your budget. Your pre-qualification or pre-approval will give  you the maximum you could be financed for. But that doesn’t mean that it should be your spending budget. Remember to factor in things like property taxes, homeowners insurance, fees associated with homeowners associations, condos or co-ops. Then there is also monthly utilities and maintenance to consider. While none of these are factored into your possible financing amount, they are all part of the cost of owning a home. Working with these numbers can help you determine what you can actually afford regardless of what you are financed for. This will also help you to narrow down your home search.
  • Select a real estate professional to work with during your home search. I know this tip seems somewhat self-serving, but hear me out. A licensed real estate salesperson holds the knowledge and resources to help you navigate a market of endless possibilities. This can help cut the time of your home search and allow you to make better, educated offers on the property of your choosing.
  • Create a list of needs and wants. This will help identify properties that in theory will work for you. Now of course, we know not every property you look at will be the one, even if it has all of your wants and needs. You also may need to make concessions. If you are dead set on a location and that particular location sells at a premium, you may need to make concessions to get into that neighborhood. This could mean losing a bedroom or bathroom off your your list. However, if the property speaks to you, you may not actually care about that one element coming off your list.
  • Always have an inspection done! You should never purchase a property without having a home inspection done not only to make sure the home is a sound investment but also for safety reasons. Any major problems that arise can be identified ahead of purchase and possibly negotiated for in the sales price. In New York State if certain issues total above a certain amount the buyer can actually terminate the purchase contract. Either way, an inspection puts everyone on the same page about the condition of the home. Your real estate professional should have some suggestions of who to hire or seek out your own inspector by interviewing some options.
  • It is highly recommended that you use a real estate attorney to ensure all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. Also, there is a lot of paperwork, it is possibly the most overwhelming of everything you will deal with during the buying process. Your attorney will keep track of deadlines, expiration of clauses, and they will be able to be in contact with the seller’s attorney to make sure the process is moving along from their end. While each buying situation is different, some can be really tricky. When you are a novice at something you are bound to make a mistake, but having someone on your side to make sure that the process is legal is reassuring. It also takes a lot off of your plate so you can continue with your daily life as opposed to living and breathing buying a home.

Those are just a few things you can do to make sure you are successful in the purchase of your first home Of course there are many other components to buying a home and things that you could never prepare for. The best thing you can do for yourself is surround yourself with a group of trusted professionals who will help you with the right steps to success but also educate you as you go.

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Saratoga Springs, NY. Previously she has worked in social media and marketing, with a strong background in customer service. Erin is looking forward to blending real estate and her other skills to provide a great experience for future clients. Visit her website at www.homeswitherinmiller.com.