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Thursday, December 29, 2011

ERA Team VP Real Estate Expands Ranks

ERA Team VP Real Estate Expands Ranks
Christy Wiser & Wendy O’Neil Join Firm Focused on Growth

[ELLICOTTVILLE, NY] (12/27/2011) — ERA Team VP Real Estate recently announced the addition of Christy Wiser and Wendy O’Neil to its team of real estate sales professionals serving consumers in the Ellicottville area and Southern Tier of Western New York.

Christy Wiser has been an assistant to Tina Dillon (Licensed Salesperson with ERA Team VP and a top producer in Ellicottville) for over 3 years, which gives her a strong foundation to begin building her own business in real estate.  Now that Christy is a fully licensed Real Estate Salesperson with ERA Team VP she will continue to work as a team with Tina Dillon.

Wendy O’Neil joins ERA Team VP with over 20 years of experience in residential, recreational and commercial real estate experience in the Ellicottville, Salamanca and Cattaraugus County areas.  She has consistently proven to be a top Realtor in the Ellicottville Area Real Estate market.

"In today's market, growth is the only option, and attracting top talent is a surefire way to achieve that goal," said Bill Soffel, Broker/Owner of ERA Team VP Real Estate.  “Unwavering commitment to clients has been critical to the success of both Christy and Wendy, and ERA Team VP’s culture of collaboration, innovation and knowledge sharing combined with our reputation for superior service will not only enhance their careers, it will enhance the experience of their clients as well,” said Soffel. "We are thrilled to have professionals of Christy and Wendy’s caliber join our firm."

As part of ERA Team VP Real Estate, both Christy Wiser and Wendy O’Neil will be able to offer homebuyers and sellers a wide variety of innovative and market-relevant products and services, such as the ERA® Sellers Security® Plan and the ERA® Gold Star Property program, as well as robust online marketing programs, extensive listings distribution partners, and related services including mortgage, title and home warranty.

For more information about ERA Team VP Real Estate and the real estate market in the Southern Tier of Western New York visit or call one of the main office locations: (716) 699-4800 Ellicottville; (716) 789-2600 Chautauqua; (585) 968-2113 Cuba.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I was reminded recently of the many amazing things our Western New York REALTORS® do. Besides helping people daily with all their real estate needs, local REALTORS® are out in our community lending helping hands whenever they can.
For this week's article,  I wanted to share a letter from Debbie Norman, Communications & Corporate Affairs Director at the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®, BNAR. Her letter explains briefly some recent good deeds your local REALTORS® have been up to:
When you think of a REALTOR®, you probably think of the person who will help you find your dream home or assist in selling your current home. This is certainly true; however, your neighborhood real estate professional does much more in the community and many of those activities are behind the scenes.
You may have heard the great news that West Side home values are increasing.  This is due to the coordinated efforts of the West Side Community Collaborative and the marketing skills of the REALTORS® working in this historic area. Did you also know REALTORS® helped build and rehabilitate housing with Habitat for Humanity and participated in many tours to reintroduce themselves to various unique communities of the City? 
Other activities participated in would be; The Empty Bowls Campaign (Artists Helping Feed Western New York).  REALTORS® were able to assist the Friends of the Night People and Food Bank of WNY by serving food at the event.  As a side note, the BNAR also continue's to collect food monthly for the Food Bank. So stop by with your donation!
WNY Realtors® participated in Buffalo Citybration, Niagara Rises, as well as the Preservation Conference to showcase our City and served as hosts to visitors. Other's painted homes as part of Brush Up Buffalo.  Some participated in the United Way Day of Caring, washing windows, cleaning parking lots, planting flowers, and continuously maintaining a garden on Connecticut Street in the city’s West Side.
Realtors® aid the homeless through programs with the City Mission and support the Salvation Army, serving food to the needy, sorting holiday toys and even painting barrels for use in their upcoming holiday drive!
You probably didn't know that Realtors® provide a list of charitable organizations to home sellers so when selling and cleaning up their house, they have the option to donate items instead of putting them out to the curb.
And last, but certainly not least, WNY Realtors® raised money to benefit Mercy Flight Central through several events and also supported Re-Tree by selling leaves and planting seedlings to replace those that were destroyed from October 2006's, “Surprise Storm”.
So as you see, REALTORS® work and live in your community!  They are our friends and neighbors.  Whether you're buying or selling a home, or need extra hands at the bake sale, call a local REALTOR®, they are there for you.
As always, thanks for making 2FindYourHome and, your premier sources for everything real estate in Western New York, both in print and online!

John B. Leonardi, RCE
CEO, Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®,  WNY Real Estate Information Services, LLC

Monday, December 5, 2011


Representatives from the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors (BNAR)  joined 18,000 other Realtors and guests from across the country at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo held in Anaheim, Calif., November 11–14. 
 The year’s meetings encouraged Realtors to “seize the day” for the real estate industry to defend and support the rights of homeowners and real estate investors across the nation.  Attendees participated in forums and shared their insights into the challenges and opportunities of local markets across the country, examined how changing political and economic landscapes are likely to affect the real estate industry, and networked with colleagues from across the U.S. and around the world.  
“Concerns about the general economy and state of the nation’s housing market have led some to question the value of owning a home,” said Alice Miranda, BNAR President. “Realtors know how important homeownership is to individuals, families, communities and our nation’s economy. As the leading advocate for private property rights, homeownership and housing issues, Realtors are committed to keeping housing first on the nation’s public policy agenda.” 
Throughout the week Realtors participated in forums, classes and workshops to gather the resources, information and skills necessary to help them positively influence their local communities and community leaders and help them effectively serve their buyer, seller and investor clients.  
National Association of Realtors 2011 President Ron Phipps, praised his fellow members for their resiliency in the face of a challenging year.  “Realtors are the future of real estate. This year’s conference has further solidified our commitment to keep the American dream of home ownership alive and accessible for future generations,” said Phipps.   
During the conference, Moe Veissi was installed as the 2012 NAR president.  Explaining his theme, “Realtors are at the heart of the deal,” Veissi said that in today’s climate, Realtors can be relied upon to fight for and defend consumers’ rights and opportunities to buy, sell and own real estate.  
“Realtors also had the chance to explore the latest industry innovations and stay up to date on how new products are transforming the real estate business, as approximately four hundred exhibitors showcased the newest real estate products and services for the industry during the trade expo,” added John Leonardi, BNAR’s Chief Executive Officer.

The BNAR is one of 1,600 local boards and associations that comprise the National Association of REALTORS®, the largest professional organization representing 1 million members and the Voice for Real Estate.  For a list of real estate professionals contact the BNAR at 636-9000 or visit <>

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advice from a Millionaire

When it comes to advice on buying a home, I like to refer to the experts.  Multi-billionaire John Paulson, the investment genius who made a lot of money in the business of short subprime mortgages a few years ago, recently spoke to a standing room only crowd in New York City about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to investments. 
Since this is the best time in 50 years to buy homes, Paulson advised his listeners to take out 30 year mortgages to buy a home since “your debt and interest payments get locked in at record lows, while the price of your home will rise.”  Paulson recommended “If you don’t own a home buy one” and added “if you own one home, buy another one, and if you own two homes buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy a home.”
Not only do I wholeheartedly agree that now is a great time to buy, I also strongly recommend that you contact a REALTOR® to assist you in your home purchase.   They will help you navigate the various options and gain perspective for both a buyer and a seller.  You will benefit from a REALTORS® knowledge, experience and personal care.  Let a professional help make the entire process much easier. 

John B. Leonardi, RCE
CEO, Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®, 
WNY Real Estate Information Services, LLC

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A time to give Thanks,

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in Western New York for embracing 2FindYourHome and making it a huge success.
Both 2FindYourHome in print and online are invaluable resources for home buyers, sellers and agents.  The print publication is often distributed at open houses to prospective home buyers, and the website offers shoppers a great way to search for the perfect home.
 Speaking of home buying, mortgage rates are still at historically low rates. In fact, US News and World Report recently published “5 Ways to Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates”*, and we’re happy to say “Buy A Home” was number one on the list.  We couldn’t echo this sentiment more.  When you combine low rates, an amazing availability of homes, and the ever changing Western New York market, all these factors make it the perfect time to buy a home. 
 From my family to yours I hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable!  Thanks again for making 2FindYourHome and your premier sources for all your real estate needs.

John B. Leonardi, RCE
CEO, Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®
WNY Real Estate Information Services, LLC

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Five Great Things about Homeownership

For this week’s edition I have decided to use the article Five Great Things about Homeownership by Carla Hill.   I feel she has hit all the key points and have deemed it a perfect fit and must read:
 If you've been on the fence about homeownership, now is the time to take a leap! Don't let the negative press deter you from one of life's greatest joys.
Take a look at five short and sweet reasons that homeownership is great!
1. Equity: When you pay rent, you never see that money again. It is lining the landlord's pocket. Yes, buying a home may come with some hefty initial costs (downpayment, closing costs, inspections), but you will make that money back over time in equity built in the home. Historically, homes appreciate by about 4 to 6 percent a year. A home bought for $10,000 in 1960 is most likely worth 10 times that in today's market.
2. Relationships: Renters tend to see their neighbors come and go quickly. Apartment complexes also tend to have less common shared space for people to meet, greet, and socialize. Homeowners, however, have yards, walking trails, or community pools and clubhouses where they can get to know each other. Neighbors stay put much longer (at least three to five years if they hope to recoup their closing costs). This means more time to develop relationships. Research has shown that people with healthy relationships have more happiness and less stress.
3. Predictability: Well, as long as you have a fixed-rate term on your mortgage it's predictable. Most people buying homes today know that a fixed-rate is the way to go. This means your payment amount is fixed for the life of the term. This allows for people to budget and make solid financial plans. The sub-prime crisis meant many homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages saw their monthly payments rise and then rise some more. Homeownership, though, generally comes with a predictable table of expenditures. Even the big purchases are predictable.
4. Ownership: Okay, this is a given. Homeownership means you "own" your home. That comes with some incredible perks, though! You can renovate, update, paint, and decorate to your heart's desire. You can plant trees, install a pool, expand the patio, or do holiday decorating. The bottom line is this is your home and you can personalize it to your taste.
5. Great Deals: It's a great time to buy. Interest rates are at historic lows. We're talking 4.0 percent instead of 6.0 or higher. This means big savings for today's buyers. Home prices have also taken a dip since the recession, which means homes are more affordable than ever. If you have steady income and cash for a downpayment, then be sure to talk to your local REALTOR® about what homes in your area could be a fit for you.
Homeownership can be a real joy. It's time to get off the fence and into a home that is right for you!
From my family to yours I hope your Thanksgiving is enjoyable!  Thanks again for making 2FindYourHome and your premier sources for all your real estate needs.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good luck from 2FindYourHome!

Two local realtors are in the running for People’s Choice Award for Inman News Top Influencer on the Real Estate Industry, Colleen Kulikowski of Keller Williams Realty and Merle Whitehead of RealtyUSA.

It's time to vote for a leader who you believe has had the most substantial impact on the real estate industry in the past year.
One individual will be recognized as the "People's Choice" Most Influential Real Estate Leader based on a popular vote of Inman News readers. This Reader's Choice recognition is distinct from the Inman 100 list of Most Influential Real Estate Leaders, which is selected based on reader nominations and an internal review and selection process by Inman News. (The nominations process closed Nov. 1 for the Inman 100 list.)
The Inman 100 list recognizes those whose voices and actions have the power to change the industry. Among them are individuals who embody strength, common sense, innovation, ingenuity, perseverance and progress. They include the industry's brain trust and dealmakers, and those outside the industry who impact the business of buying and selling homes.

Deadline is Dec. 1 to cast your vote for a real estate leader

To vote and see full list of nominees visit 

Essex Homes’ Shadow Woods in Clarence Center

The roads are in, the ribbon is cut…let the building begin.  Essex Homes presents their new “Shadow Woods” neighborhood in Clarence Center, conveniently located off Goodrich Road between Roll and County. “We’re pleased to add “Shadow Woods” to the list of popular neighborhoods where Essex is building,” stated Jeff Jones regional sales manager for Essex Homes.

“The attraction to this new Clarence location is that the 36 home sites back up to a protected area or pond, and all of them will enjoy the privacy of having no homes directly behind them. We already have build orders and are very excited about the overwhelming response to this exclusive neighborhood,” stated Jones.

The entrance to Shadow Woods offers great curb appeal with an impressive stone sign and professional landscaping, welcoming you into this beautiful setting.  In addition to the natural beauty and privacy of Shadow Woods, this new community is within walking distance to Clarence Center’s 4 corners and offers convenient access to Transit Road’s shopping, dining and entertainment; and you are just minutes from Clarence Town Park.  Children from this neighborhood attend the highly regarded Clarence Schools.  “Clarence is a family oriented community featuring the Clarence Recreation Department, walking and biking trails, and a beautiful local branch library.  The opportunity to own an Essex home in this Clarence neighborhood shows our commitment to building homes people will love, in the neighborhoods where they want to live; that’s what makes real value,” stated Jeff Jones.

    Shadow Woods will also be showcasing 2 brand new house designs, the Easton and the Wilshier. The Easton will be our new model home and will be professionally decorated & landscaped, and the Wilshier, featuring a first floor master suite is available for purchase and will include a new home warranty!

While our new model for Shadow Woods is being built, you can visit our Madison model home, located at 9160 Via Cimato, open Saturdays & Sundays 1-5pm; or by appointment.   (To get there; take Clarence Center Road to Heise to Via Cimato.)  The “Madison” model is one of the most popular homes in our “Values That Matter” series.   It features 2738 square feet in a very practical layout designed for your family’s lifestyle. This home has 4 bedrooms and 2 ½ baths with a spacious kitchen, cozy sunroom and loft.  The secondary bedrooms are all generous in size and the upstairs loft could easily be converted to a 5th bedroom.  The flexibility and design of all our Values That Matter series make these homes a great choice for you and your family.  Homes in Shadow Woods will start in $290,000’s.

To see what goes into every Essex home and to learn more about Shadow Woods, visit our Clarence model at 9160 Via Cimato.  You can also visit Jeff Jones at our fully furnished and decorated model located in Lancaster’s Cross Creek at 10 Tranquility Trail located off of Pleasant View between Stony and Pavement. This model is open daily 1 – 5pm; closed Fridays. For more information call Jeff Jones at 681-2513.

New Loan Limits Could Impact Housing Recovery

By E. Alice Miranda, BNAR President

On October 1, Congress allowed conforming loan limits to revert from 125 percent of the local area median home price to 115 percent of the local median home price. That has effectively reduced the size of conforming loans for many home buyers across the country. According to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors®, these new loan limits will have a big impact on our nation’s housing market. 

The new loan limits mean fewer people will have access to affordable mortgage loans, and the loans that are available will be more expensive. The National Association of Realtors® predicts that five to 10 percent of consumers will face higher mortgage rates as a result of this change, at a time when housing is still in recovery.

The lower loan limits will impact 669 counties in 42 states and the District of Columbia, with an average Federal Housing Administration loan limit reduction of more than $68,000.

The fight isn’t over. Realtors® are continuing to work closely with members of Congress and a coalition of industry partners to reinstate the higher loan limits as soon as possible, because we want to make sure that homeownership is more affordable and accessible for hard-working families across America.

The BNAR points out that home buyers aren’t the only ones who will feel the effects of the new loan limits. The lower loan limits will reduce the number of qualified buyers, which means homeowners would have a hard time selling their homes.

The FHA mortgage loan limits are critical to providing liquidity in today’s housing market, especially since the private market has yet to return. The FHA mortgage programs have played an important and vital role in the housing market’s recovery and we cannot do anything to jeopardize that process. Our nation’s economy and well-being rely on the full recovery of the housing market.

For decades, many first-time home buyers have relied on FHA-insured loans to purchase a home, especially since in many cases only a 3.5 percent down payment is required. The BNAR estimates that one-third of recent buyers purchased their homes with an FHA-insured mortgage.

As the leading advocate for homeownership, Realtors® are working hard to make sure anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home will have the opportunity to pursue that dream. Mortgage availability remains a top concern and we are determined to reinstate the higher loan limits as quickly as possible.

Thank Our Veterans

On this Veteran’s Day, we pay tribute to all who served defending our liberty and freedom.

I want to thank all our veterans, active duty military and their families for their service to our nation. Please know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifi ces that you have made to keep our country free.
Thanks for making 2 Find Your Home and your premier sources for all your real estate needs.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


2FindYourHome would like to congratulate Natale Builders on their latest project, Rivera Greens! 

      “On Wednesday, November 2, Natale Builders held a ribbon cutting ceremony at their new neighborhood Rivera Greens in Clarence. After 3 years of preparation they ARE EXCITED TO GET THE BUILDING OF HOMES STARTED. Natale hired a local arborist to preserve the natural trees, pond and also received a Wildlife Certification for the neighborhood. They partnered with WNY Re-Tree, and donated a portion of the development for tree plantings. Natale Builders had researched all environmental and low Carbon footprint aspects that go into a Green Development and today they cut the ribbon. It was announced on November 1st that they have received from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) their Official Certification that they are the 1st in NYS to achieve this prestigious 4 out of 4 star award.

     Angelo Natale, President and Owner of Natale Building Corp., building custom homes in WNY since  1969, welcomed the 40 guests to this event. He began by thanking his staff, for all their hard work and dedication , and for all the officials in attendance. Officials present included Erie County Executive Chris Collins and Clarence Supervisor Scott Bylewski. Also in attendance were Natale’ business partners: Jeffrey Palumbo and Chris Cardillo, Damon and Morey LLC and James Rykowski Evans Bank VP of Commercial Lending. Angelo’s vision for Natale Builders and Rivera Greens is to not only be the 1st and experts in this Green building, but to improve Eco-friendly homes and healthier living environments. They will be building 35 homes in Rivera Greens with 6 models to choose from. These Ranch and 2 story home designs will be using many recyclable “green” materials, local suppliers and trades, Geothermal Heating systems and Solar panels. “These are just a few of the many options buyers can choose from. “

     County Executive Chris Collins congratulated Angelo Natale for being the “First” in the state to achieve this goal and proclaimed Thursday November 2nd 2011 as “Natale Builders Rivera Greens Day”! Clarence Supervisor Scott Bylewski thanked Angelo for bringing this concept to Clarence. He also thanked him on behalf of the tax payers,  for using an alternative energy source ie: windmill that will generate the necessary energy to power the street lights and landscaping lights, saving town taxpayers money.

     Natale plans on starting their first models and customer homes this week, with a build time of only 3 to 4 months. Being a “full service” quality builder, Natale prides itself on being green experts as well as being the most efficient to detail. They strive to make the process easy and comfortable for their clients. They have always provided their homeowners with an undeniable value. They are offering early lot discounts and free upgrades for the newest 10 buyers at Rivera Greens and are promising spring move in dates. You can find out more by calling Natale’ VP of Sales Lisa Norman at 583-1877, office 580-3318 or visiting their website, and “  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanks for visiting!!!

2FindYourHome and prides itself on being your best source for real estate in Western New York.  Whether you're buying, selling, or even looking for decorating ideas, you can be sure that 2findyourhome will be your most up-to-date resource!  Visit us online 24/7, or find our print piece weekly at nearly 400 locations including Wegmans, Tops Markets, Dash's and Anderson's! Follow us on Twitter, @2FindYourHome, and "Like" us on Facebook!