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Friday, September 12, 2014

Forbes Capretto Homes Opens New Furnished Model in Holly Ridge Estates

Forbes Capretto Homes is proud to announce the grand opening of the “Oxford” at 6 Holly Ridge Lane.  Located in the upscale community of Holly Ridge Estates, this distinctive home is set in a professionally landscaped yard.  The home is ready for a new owner and will be available for viewing every Saturday and Sunday from 1pm-4pm, as well as by appointment. Call Anthony Rijos for more details at 716-243-6994.

The home welcomes you and your guests with a stylish exterior featuring cultured stone and vinyl siding, Featuring just under 4,000 square feet of furnished, professionally decorated living space, the two story “Oxford” includes 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

The opulent grand foyer is flanked by a formal living room on the left and a formal dining room on the right. We’ve added touches of formality and elegance to the dining room with immaculate decorative trim, including crown molding, painted box panels and a chair rail. 

Also located on the first floor is a state-of-the art gourmet kitchen highlighting an abundance of granite counter tops, gleaming hardwood floors, a center island and walk-in pantry. The dinette overlooks a sunroom with ample windows which offer stunning views of the backyard and patio and opens to an expansive family room featuring a custom slate-trimmed fireplace and coffered ceiling. Adjacent to the family room is a private den with French doors and hand-crafted built-in bookcases.

The custom-built flared staircase leads up to the second floor, which boasts a luxurious owner’s suite with decorative tray ceiling and a covered balcony. Also included in the owner’s suite is an elegant, private spa bath featuring double pocket doors, a Whirlpool tub, a separate shower, water closet, double sink vanity and his-and-hers wardrobes.

The second floor also features a possible guest room with a private bath and large closet. Each of the family bedrooms are connected by a jack-and-jill bathroom and feature extra large closet space. Rounding out the second floor is the conveniently located laundry room, which includes a linen closet for additional storage.

Holly Ridge Estates is an exclusive, luxury home community located off Braunview Way and close to the Village of Orchard Park.  Homeowners enjoy large home sites in a quiet, cul-de-sac setting.  They have access to a private nature reserve with walking trail and gazebo.  For more information and reservations, please visit or call Anthony Rijos at (716) 243-6994.

For more information about Forbes Capretto custom-built homes in our exclusive Western New York communities or on your own land, please visit or call 716.651.HOME.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Get My Agent on the Phone

As a first-time homebuyer, you should seriously consider getting your own agent. Although the Internet makes some aspects of finding homes easier than it was 20 years ago, a good real estate agent has access to lots of market information not available to the public, including the confidential selling prices of comparable homes in the area (referred to as "comps"). A good agent will help you use that knowledge to strike a savvy deal that benefits both you and the seller — a win-win situation.
Three things to know about agents:
1) A buyer generally does not pay any money out of pocket for the services of a real estate agent. Agent commissions are typically paid by the seller; the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent split the total commission.
2) A buyer’s agent protects your interests. Using the seller’s real estate agent does not protect your interests. Agents who represent buyers only are known as exclusive buyer agents, and you can find one through The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents at
3) You can go it alone. We don’t recommend you negotiate for the first time alone, but maybe you’re quite familiar with the real estate market, and you have some professional experience negotiating legal contracts. If so, and you want to fly solo, that’s certainly feasible, but we recommend you hire a real estate attorney to approve the sales contract for peace of mind. (It generally costs you an hour or two of the attorney’s time.)

By Karin Beuerlein, 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

St. Luke's Mission of Mercy is the designated charity of the Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® for 2014.

St. Luke's has provided care and hope to the less fortunate of the East side of Buffalo since 1928. It is a glorious church with a stunning architectural dome, spectacular glass windows and hand carved ceilings reminiscent of the churches in Rome, Italy. 

St. Luke's was abandoned and closed by the Diocese in 1991. People of tremendous faith stepped up to purchase the church from the Diocese. I call the co-founders, Amy Betros, Norm Paolini and Michael Taheri the "Good and Faithful" in our community.
Through the generous donations of caring people, St. Luke's was restored to its original beauty and once again open for public worship.
The landscape around the mission has changed over the years. Abandoned homes were purchased by St. Luke's and renovated through the help of local contractors. Today these homes provide shelter to homeless families.  It is the philosophy of St. Luke's to keep families together through a difficult time in their lives.
The children of theses families attend Our Lady of Hope school for free.  The school has been in existence for 8 years and provides education to Pre-K through 8th grade. Although faced with many socioeconomic challenges, this school and other educational programs on St. Luke's campus continue to thrive and its students enjoy great success.
The graduates of Our Lady of Hope school succeed at many different academic levels including making merit and honor roles at their respective high schools and going on to earn college scholarships at Trocaire and Canisius College.
In 2009 the school expanded its educational support by offering tutoring and mentors for high school students who attended school in the City of Buffalo. This is known as the East Side Prep Program.

Volunteers from all walks of life offer academic support and mentoring services to students enrolled in the East Side Prep Program. Education is a big component at St. Luke's. 

Providing food, shelter and clothing is an additional component. Everyday St. Luke's provides lunch for more than 100 people in need. This past winter St. Luke's opened its doors 49 Code Blue nights to homeless people offering them food, warmth, a bed, and most of all, a safe place.

St. Luke's has a mini-mall providing free clothing and recently opened a baby store that provides young mothers with new born necessities.

I have personally met with the staff and co-founders, along with dozens of the volunteers who come in great numbers to assist St. Luke's. Over 6,000 families were given food and toys to help during last years holiday season.

What is amazing is the tremendous gratitude by staff and volunteers to everyone that offers helps to St. Luke's.  The size of the donation doesn't matter. 

The Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS® is using all its resources to assist St. Luke's. The BNAR is currently collecting school supplies and backpacks for St. Luke's through the end of August. Please be generous and deliver your donations to the BNAR or call Debbie Norman at 716-636-9000 for pick-up at your location. Used furniture is also needed and can be donated by calling St. Luke's directly at 716-892-4728. Pick-up of furniture can be provided.

Something to remember, St. Luke's never turns anyone away who come to their door in need. 
Thank you for your support!

Christie Rothschild, 2014 BNAR PRESIDENT
Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®,  Real Estate Associte Broker
501 John James Audubon Pkwy, Amherst, New York 14228  •  ph 716.689.7800 •

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mortgage Lending Drops to 17-Year Low as Rates Curb Borrowing

U.S. mortgage lending is contracting to levels not seen since 1997 — the year Tiger Woods won his first of four Masters championships — as rising interest rates and home prices drive away borrowers.
Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the two largest U.S. mortgage lenders, reported a first-quarter plunge in loan volumes that’s part of an industry-wide drop off. Lenders made $226 billion of mortgages in the period, the smallest quarterly amount since 1997 and less than one-third of the 2006 average, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington.
Lending has been tumbling since mid-2013 when mortgage rates jumped about a percentage point after the Federal Reserve said it might taper stimulus spending. A surge in all-cash purchases to more than 40 percent has kept housing prices rising, squeezing more Americans out of the market. That will help push lending down further this year, according to the association.
“Banks large and small are going to have to adapt to a new reality because mortgage origination volumes going forward aren’t going to support the big businesses they’ve had in place for the last few years,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “They’re going to have smaller, leaner operations, and we’re seeing them make that shift.”
At Wells Fargo, home-loan originations exceeded $100 billion for seven straight quarters, ending in June 2013. The figure plunged to $36 billion in the three months through March, the San Francisco-based bank said April 11.

Rising Rates
Wells Fargo’s results show the shift in the housing market away from refinancings as interest rates climb. Just 34 percent of its originations went to customers refinancing loans, compared with 69 percent in the same period of 2013.
Timothy Sloan, Wells Fargo’s chief financial officer, said a combination of forces, including tougher standards following the housing crash, account for the falloff in lending.
“It’s too early to call it a secular shift,” Sloan said in an interview. “This recovery has just been more complicated because of the impact of rates being low, and now they are backing up a little bit. We’ve had a lot of regulatory changes, we’ve had a change in underwriting standards that the market is getting used to.”
The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.34 percent last week, up from 3.54 percent a year ago, according to a statement from Freddie Mac.
Cutting Staff
Lenders also are tightening credit standards, requiring higher FICO scores. More than 40 percent of borrowers in 2013 had scores above 760, compared with about 25 percent in 2001, according to a Feb. 20 report by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts Hui Shan and Eli Hackel.
JPMorgan originated $17 billion of home loans in the first quarter of 2014, lower than at any time during the housing crash. The New York-based bank made $52.7 billion of mortgages a year earlier. Marianne Lake, JPMorgan’s CFO, cited severe winter weather as among the reasons for the first-quarter drop.
“We view JPM and WFC’s mortgage banking results as lower than expected,” Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts led by Frederick Cannon said Friday in a research note, referring to the bank’s stock symbols. “Mortgage volumes and applications were down materially.”
The lenders are cutting staff in the slump. JPMorgan said it reduced the number of jobs at its mortgage unit by 30 percent, or 14,000 positions, since the start of last year. That includes 3,000 reductions in the first quarter. Wells Fargo said it got rid of 1,100 jobs in its residential mortgage business in the first period.
Cash Deals
JPMorgan projected on April 11 that it will lose money on mortgage production this year because of the drop in demand.
All-cash purchases, dominated by investors, are surging as lending drops. Deals in cash accounted for more than 43 percent of U.S. residential sales in February, up from 20 percent a year earlier, with the most in Florida, New York and Nevada, according to data firm RealtyTrac.
Wells Fargo said last week that it’s seeing more cash buyers in the housing market.
“Some of those cash buyers were investors, both individuals and private equity firms and the like, and that had an impact on home prices,” Wells Fargo’s Sloan said. “If you look at the year-over-year increase in home prices being in the low teens, our folks think probably a third of that increase was due to the impact of investors as buyers.”
Institutional Landlords
Private-equity firms, hedge funds, real estate investment trusts and other institutional landlords have spent more than $20 billion to buy as many as 200,000 rental homes in the last two years. They snapped up properties after prices fell as much as 35 percent from the 2006 peak and rental demand rose from the almost 5 million owners who went through foreclosure since 2008.
Investors focused on the markets hardest hit by the real estate crash, including Phoenix, Las Vegas and Atlanta, and have helped push prices higher in those areas.
“This is an investor-heavy market recovery,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac in Irvine, California. “We’ve seen a relatively high percentage of institutional investors as one segment, and regular mom-and-pop investors as another, jumping back in as they see the market hit bottom and start to rise.”
Home prices have surged 23 percent since a post-bubble low in March 2012, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index. The gains have slowed as climbing values in the past two years started to reduce affordability.
Small Market
Prices for single-family homes rose in fewer areas in the fourth quarter, with 73 percent of U.S. cities experiencing gains compared with 88 percent in the previous three months, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Higher values will make it harder for banks to find qualified borrowers this year.
“We’re going to have a small market,” JPMorgan’s Lake said on an April 11 conference call. “ We’d be hopeful that the market would be above $1 trillion for the whole year.”

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors Bestows Honor on Leading Real Estate Businessman

Depew, N.Y. – March 5, 2014 – Chairman and CEO Peter Hunt of HUNT Real Estate
ERA was recently named Realtor® of the Year by the Buffalo Niagara Association of
Realtors (BNAR). The award was presented by Congressman Chris Collins at the
association’s Inaugural event.
Hunt, whose company has also been recognized by ERA Real Estate as a national finalist
for the brand’s Innovation Award, has long been heralded for driving ingenious
innovation within the real estate industry. His community and industry leadership has
been acknowledged on several occasions.
“It is humbling to be chosen for this recognition by my competing colleagues in our
industry, particularly considering the fact that my grandfather and father preceded me,”
said Hunt. “This honor is a tribute to everyone in our organization.”
The award acknowledges the outstanding impact of a Realtor who has contributed to the
real estate industry, community and BNAR. This includes working on special BNAR
assignments and committees as well as making significant professional contributions to
the national and state associations. Award criteria include service to clients, high ethical
business standards and furthering the principles of good real estate practices among other
brokers and the general public.
Hunt has been a licensed real estate salesperson and member of the BNAR since June,
1972. In 1977 he was named director of recruitment and training, his first in a series of
management and leadership positions, including in succession sales manager of the firm’s
Amherst branch, general manager and vice president, president of the Residential
Division, president and CEO, and as of 2005, chairman and CEO of the firm founded by
his grandfather in 1911.
Hunt has overseen the growth of the firm from 30 agents in three residential branches and
one commercial branch to about 1,100 agents in 38 residential and four commercial
branches in five regions covering most of Upstate New York and Phoenix, Ariz. Along
the way, he founded a mortgage banking firm, two insurance agencies, a fee-for-service
brokerage, a homeownership services company, a home building company, and acquired
a title agency, the only single-broker-owned title agency in the State of New York. He is
a founding member of The Realty Alliance and currently is a member of the National
Advisory Council of the ERA Franchise Systems LLC.
About HUNT Real Estate ERA
HUNT Real Estate Corp. is the parent company of HUNT Real Estate ERA. With 38
branches strategically located throughout western, central, and upstate New York and
Phoenix, Arizona, HUNT Real Estate ERA is the largest family-owned and operated real
estate company in the area. A leader in the residential real estate industry with over 103
years of experience, HUNT also operates a commercial brokerage as HUNT Commercial
Real Estate, a mortgage banking firm – HUNT Mortgage, two insurance agencies –
HUNT-Vanner Associates and HUNT Insurance Agency, a title agency – Network Title
Agency of New York, an award-winning Relocation division, a residential building
company and a fee-for-service brokerage. HUNT’s mission is to build its sales presence
through successful sales associates, to grow profitably, and to provide the highest quality
of real estate and homeownership services in the markets in which it operates. For more
information regarding real estate listings in your local market and HUNT’s
homeownership services visit or become our fan on Facebook at

HUNT Real Estate Corp. | 430 Dick Road | Depew, NY 14043 | Office: 716-633-9400

Monday, February 24, 2014

“Essex Greens at Waterford Announces Condominium Status”

Essex Homes is pleased to announce that Essex Greens at Waterford, a luxury patio home community in Clarence, NY, has been granted Condominium Status.  “We are very happy to confirm that we have received notification from the New York State Office of the Attorney General that Essex Greens at Waterford has been recognized as a Condominium project. This designation allows the Essex Greens at Waterford homeowners to benefit from the conveniences of a homeowner’s association and qualify for lower property taxes” said Phil Nanula, President, Essex Homes.

Essex Greens at Waterford, located off Roll Road in Clarence’s prestigious Waterford Village, will consist of over 100 luxury patio homes. Lot deposits are being taken for the first phase which will feature 34 home sites available for new home construction this spring.  Essex Greens at Waterford will feature five attractive ranch designs ranging in size from 1600 to over 3000 square feet; featuring first floor master suites with optional second floors that will start in the low $300,000s.  “These patio homes are designed for the way people want to live; a more relaxed informal lifestyle with open light filled interiors, luxury features and custom options.  Essex Greens at Waterford is perfect for those who are interested in a simpler lifestyle, without sacrificing the luxury features they desire” explained Nanula.

As a premier builder in the area, Essex Homes’ mission statement pledges their homebuyers; Commitment, Quality, Service and a Pleasant Home Building Experience.  “The opportunity to own an Essex patio home in this prestigious Clarence neighborhood shows our commitment to offering homes people will love, in the neighborhoods where they want to live; that’s what makes real value,” stated Susan Ballard, Regional Sales Manager, Essex Homes, “Preconstruction pricing incentives for Phase One make these luxury patio homes a particularly tremendous value.”

 Ballard explained, “Among the nicest features are its scenic, natural setting protected by the Western New York Land Conservancy. In addition, the low monthly association fee includes snow removal, lawn and landscape maintenance, trash removal and monthly water bill providing convenience and peace of mind.  The added bonus of significant property tax savings due to the project’s condominium status makes this project appealing to those seeking luxury, convenience and value.”

In addition to the natural beauty and privacy of Essex Greens at Waterford, this new community offers nearby walking and biking trails and convenient access to Transit Road’s shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. It is also located just minutes from several Clarence Town Parks and a beautiful local branch library.  To learn more about Essex Greens at Waterford be sure to visit the pre-construction model located at 9464 Kristina Circle, Clarence, NY open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5PM or call Susan Ballard, Regional Sales Manager at 716-725-7577. Also, visit  HYPERLINK "" to learn more about Living the Essex Greens Lifestyle.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Experienced Sales Professional Joins Company’s KenTon Office

Buffalo, NY – January 30, 2014 – HUNT Real Estate ERA is pleased to welcome
Michelle Tarbox to their team of leading real estate professionals. Tarbox brings years of
real estate sales experience and a commitment to excellence to this elite organization.
“We are thrilled to add Michelle to our KenTon Team. Her market knowledge across
Western New York is a huge asset to buyers and sellers" Jonathan Orlow, Broker
Consultant KenTon Branch of HUNT Real Estate ERA.

Michelle holds a Masters degree in Communication and Negotiation and is dedicated to
serving the Western New York Area, specializing in Buffalo and Niagara County.
Michelle has many years of experience in Residential Sales, Commercial Sales, and
working with First-Time Homebuyers.

Let Michelle’s unique experience work for you! To contact Michelle Tarbox directly,
email or call 716- 598-0210. For more information
about HUNT Real Estate ERA visit, or on Facebook at

About HUNT Real Estate ERA

HUNT Real Estate Corp. is the parent company of HUNT Real Estate ERA. With 38
branches strategically located throughout western, central, and upstate New York and
Phoenix, Arizona, HUNT Real Estate ERA is the largest family-owned and operated real
estate company in the area. A leader in the residential real estate industry with over 102
years of experience, HUNT also operates a commercial brokerage as HUNT Commercial
Real Estate, a mortgage banking firm – HUNT Mortgage, two insurance agencies –
HUNT-Vanner Associates and HUNT Insurance Agency, a title agency – Network Title
Agency of New York, an award-winning Relocation division, a residential building
company and a fee-for-service brokerage. HUNT’s mission is to build its sales presence
through successful sales associates, to grow profitably, and to provide the highest quality
of real estate and homeownership services in the markets in which it operates. For more
information regarding real estate listings in your local market and HUNT’s
homeownership services visit or become our fan on Facebook at

KenTon Branch | 2835 Sheridan Drive | Tonawanda, NY 14150 | Office: 716-834-5400

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Robitaille Relocation & Real Estate one of “Western New York’s Most Admired Companies"

Robitaille Relocation & Real Estate was recently listed in Business First as one of “Western New York’s Most Admired Companies for 2013". The nominations were selected by, considering company growth, success as an employer and connection with the local community. Isabel J. Robitaille, President and CEO, stated that she contributes the success to the professionalism of her employees and agents, their adherence to the mission statement and overall esprit de corps.