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Friday, March 27, 2015

Kim Addelman: #1 Residential Agent in the Buffalo Region for Realty USA

Williamsville, NY - Buffalo, New York REALTOR Kim Addelman was recently awarded the #1 Residential Agent in the Buffalo Region for Realty USA. The award is based on closed residential sales in 2014. Addelman was tops among 779 REALTORS.

“I really have my incredible and loyal customers to thank for this award,” said Addelman, who specializes in selling homes in the Village of Williamsville. “They showed confidence in me by allowing me to work with them to buy or sell their most prized possessions, their homes.”

During the award ceremony held at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens Restaurant sponsored by Realty USA, Addelman was commended for her commitment to personal development and growth through her ongoing training, education and goal setting. “ I am so fortunate that I love what I do and can do what I love. It is all about the families I am able to help,” said Addelman. “Every person and every home has its own story- having the opportunity to really know my clients and to help them achieve their goals whether buying or selling is my main focus”.

Kim Addelman, a licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Realty USA and accredited ASP Stager, specializes not only in properties located in the Village of Williamsville, but all of Western New York.  Addelman specializes in residential real estate and is an accredited staging professional. An early adopter of social media, Addelman can be found on most social media channels. She provides valuable tips on her “Living in Williamsville “Facebook page. She also blogs regularly about selling and buying homes on her website

Contact: Mary Ellen Miller
Kim Addelman

Isabel Robitaille Announced as Chartered Member of the New Rotary Club of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

WILLIAMSVILLE, NEW YORK – Isabel Robitaille was announced as a chartered member of the
newly-formed Rotary Club of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). This downtown
Buffalo chapter is part of this global service organization that come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.

“I am proud to be affiliated with this international organization that supports a motto of ‘service
before self’ and includes, as a part of their mission, the support of a global initiative to eradicate polio worldwide,” said Isabel, “This recently-formed chapter of the organization has introduced a new group of business people to Rotary, bringing them onboard to help in this mission both locally and globally.”

As a charter member, Isabel is assisting in getting the new Rotary chapter started, as well as serving on the Membership Committee.

Formed in the Summer of 2014, the Rotary Club of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) is
a chapter of the Rotary International, an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. For more information about the BNMC Rotary check out their website at

Isabel Robitaille is the CEO & Broker of Robitaille Real Estate, the real estate and relocation
specialists in Western New York. Isabel has set the standard and led the way in Western New York
when it comes to corporate and residential relocation services, in addition to her expertise and
experience as a licensed real estate broker.

For more information about Robitaille Real Estate, please visit their website at or telephone at 716-633-3226.

Media Contact: Isabel Robitaille

Monday, March 9, 2015

Forbes Capretto Homes Opens the Windsor in Orchard Park

Forbes Capretto Homes is pleased to announce the grand opening of the “Windsor” at 14 Evergreen Trail in the Holly Ridge community.  This custom-built home enjoys a larger corner homesite and with 3,300 square feet of living space. 

The home welcomes you and your guests with a stylish exterior featuring cultured stone and vinyl shake siding, a multi-gabled roofline and professionally-landscaped yard. Inside, the first floor offers 9’ ceilings and a generous allocation of hardwood flooring.

The two-story foyer features a dramatic split staircase edging the formal dining room.  There you find a box bay, crown molding and painted box panels. An elegant butler’s pantry leads to the open kitchen/dinette. Included are a curved center island snack bar, pantry and ceramic tile backsplash.  The L-shaped run of granite counters and Aristokraft cabinets provide plenty of prep and storage space with scenic views of your tree-lined rear yard. 

The columned great room is a great space for entertaining, on the side wall, a Majestic fireplace with custom mantel. At the front of the home, double French doors open to the private den with custom-built bookcases.

Completing the first floor layout, the owner’s entrance provides easy access to and from the three-car, side-turned garage.  A walk-in closet, custom cubbies and bench provide storage space for coats and boots and first floor laundry.

Upstairs, the owner’s suite is tucked away at one side of the home for privacy.  Your spacious bedroom includes a tray ceiling and large walk-in closet.  Double doors open to the private bath with whirlpool tub, shower, linen closet and double sink vanity. Ceramic tiles and granite counters create a spa-like atmosphere.

Bedroom 2 enjoys private access to the guest bath while Bedrooms 3 and 4 share a Jack-and-Jill bath with double sink vanity and window for natural light. 

14 Evergreen Trail may be viewed Saturday and Sunday from 1pm – 4pm and by appointment.  Take 20A- Left onto Baker Rd- Right onto Braunview-Left on Silent Meadow-Left onto Holly Ridge.

Holly Ridge Estates is situated in one of the most prominent areas of Western New York, this upscale community offers the convenience of a beautiful village location with the luxury of a private estate. Call Rocco Roshong at (716) 243-5991 or email

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.

Robin Maczka
Forbes Capretto Homes, Inc.
(716) 688-5597

Friday, March 6, 2015

Essex Homes’ Reinhardt III is Available at Clarence’s Shadow Woods

Available and Move-in Ready!
Essex Homes’ “Reinhardt III” design is available and move-in ready in Clarence’s Shadow Woods. Located at 9242 Kristina Circle, the Reinhardt III features 2,727 square feet, 4 bedrooms and 2 ½ baths. “This home is available for immediate occupancy for $384,900 and will be open this Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 pm,” stated Jeff Jones, Regional Sales Manage for Essex Homes. This neighborhood is conveniently located off Goodrich Road between Roll and County, just north of Keller Road.

 The appeal of the Shadow Woods community is that the homesites back up to a protected area or pond which means all of the homeowners will enjoy the privacy of having no homes directly behind them. Shadow Woods is also located in the highly regarded Clarence School district.

As you enter through the front door, there is elegant signature trim surrounding the entry way and beautiful ceramic tile flooring that beings in the 2-story foyer flowing right into the kitchen, dinette and sunroom. The first room to the right of the foyer is a spacious den with hardwood flooring, crown molding and double French doors.

To the left is the formal dining room providing plenty of room for your larger family gatherings and is also enhanced with crown molding and hardwood flooring.  

Positioned across the rear of the home are the rooms considered to be the focal point of your every day activities, the kitchen-dinette, family room and sun room.  The kitchen has beautiful granite countertops featuring an island for expanded workspace, stainless steel appliances and is conveniently located to the walk-in pantry and first floor laundry. Extending off the kitchen/dinette is a sunroom with cathedral ceiling and wall of windows with sliding doors to the yard.

The family room is open to the kitchen-dinette-sunroom and has a boxed ceiling with crown molding enhance with rope lighting. It is warmed by the cozy gas fireplace inviting those at the home to relax. Completing the first floor is the mudroom and powder room off the garage.  

Upstairs are four spacious bedrooms.  The master bedroom suite is quite large with a boxed ceiling, a large walk-in closet.  The master bath has a large tile walk-in shower with a built-in bench and dual vanities including granite countertops.  As a bonus, two of the secondary bedrooms have walk-in closets.

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.  “Clarence is a family oriented community featuring the Clarence Recreation Department, walking and biking trails, and a beautiful local branch library,” stated Jeff Jones.

For more information call Jeff Jones at 681-2513 or check out Essex Homes’ website at for interior and exterior photos of all their homes and learn why Essex Homes is “the home builder that thinks like a home buyer!”  
Contact: Philip J. Nanula - 635-0550

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

6 Steps to Get the Best Mortgage Rates This Spring

Here's how to move quickly through the mortgage approval process before rates climb.

House porch with flowers.With 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages expected to creep upward, keep an eye on your credit score and hold off on transforming your financial picture once you've been preapproved.
By + More 
If you've got the itch to ditch your landlord and take the leap to homeownership, mortgage rates are still low by historical standards. But beware because they are expected to begin creeping higher throughout the year.
"The cost of renting is really high right now. Rents have been rising and rising," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. "Renters are getting squeezed, and some want to convert to ownership.".
The NAR expects 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to average 3.80 percent in the first quarter. However, mortgage rates are forecast to start inching higher throughout the year. The NAR forecasts an average 4 percent rate in the second quarter, 4.3 percent in the third quarter and 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter.
Economic forces, including an improving U.S. labor market and faster economic growth, are conspiring to push mortgage rates higher this year. "The Federal Reserve is likely to raise short-term interest rates in the summer, which will be a signal for the rest of the market for rates to go higher," Yun says.  
"There's a window of opportunity for buying and refinancing at crazy-low rates, but it's closing," says Gina Pogol, loan expert at Charlotte, North Carolina-based LendingTree.
If this is the year you want to sign on the dotted line and become a homeowner, experts have several suggestions to help you move quickly through the mortgage approval process.
The overall lending environment remains stringent, and the best mortgage rates will be awarded to those with higher credit scores. Your credit score is a three-digit number generated using information on your credit report, and generally, the higher it is, the better. Here's what you need to do to get the best rates.
Mind your credit score. "Minimum credit scores required by lenders have steadily dropped, and mortgage insurers' underwriting guidelines have also loosened a bit, but it's still a little tough," Pogol says. "Average FICOs of applicants approved for home loans continue to come down, but they're still hovering around the 700 mark. Unfortunately, three-fourths of U.S. consumers have scores lower than 700."
What's an ideal credit score? "To get the best rate, strive for above 740. That is the benchmark for A-plus lending," says Jeannie Meronk, assistant vice president and mortgage loan officer at First State Bank of Illinois.
Visit your lender before you hit the open houses. Create a game plan that makes sense for your budget. It pays to talk to a lender about what you can afford and qualify for before you fall in love with a home outside your price range.
"It is really important from a budget standpoint to be shopping in the right price range," Meronk says.
Just because you qualify for a certain loan amount doesn't mean that is what you should spend. Consider your monthly budget, and determine what level of monthly payment feels comfortable. Remember that there will be other costs relating to homeownership, including property taxes, maintenance and unexpected repairs.
Also know that most sellers won't take an offer seriously unless you have been preapproved for a loan. "Preapproval means actually applying for a loan, having your credit checked and your income documented. Preapproved means that as long as the property meets the lender's requirements, you can close," Pogol says.
Don't make any changes to your financial picture. Once you've been preapproved, this is not the time to open new credit cards, change jobs, transfer large sums of money or make big-ticket purchases using credit. "Once you are preapproved, don't apply for any new credit. If you go ahead and finance furniture, it can mess up the amount that you were preapproved for," Meronk says.
If you are fortunate enough to have a parent, in-law or relative who is willing to gift you some or all of your intended down payment, be sure to talk with your lender about this. You will need to document this properly with a letter for your lender.
If you are thinking of buying a rental property, however, gift money can't be used toward a down payment. It only can be used for a primary residence, according to Meronk.
If you are self-employed, expect to jump through more hoops. Be prepared to provide two years' worth of tax returns. If your income fluctuated from one year to the next, underwriters will average the income from the two years. Also, underwriters will look at your income after your business deductions have been taken.
"It often comes as a surprise to self-employed applicants that their gross income isn't counted by underwriters. It's their taxable income that's used. So if you write off every meal and every vacation as a business expense, that comes off the top of your income," Pogol says.
Organize your financial paperwork and keep it up to date. If you are shopping for a home, keep a file and drop in new documents as you receive them, including your most recent pay stub and all pages of your bank statement.
"Many times applications sit on mortgage processors' desks because the borrowers have not supplied everything necessary to get the file into underwriting. If an underwriter needs additional information or documents, get that in as quickly as possible. In a busy office, every time your application needs something else, it may be moved to the bottom of a pile and not resurface for days," Pogol says.
Call your insurance company. Before you close, you will need to procure a home insurance policy. "You need to call your insurance agent and tell them you are buying a house. You need to secure a first year's home insurance policy before closing. Until I get your homeowners insurance amount, I can't tell you the exact amount of your payment," Meronk says.


Buffalo's $1 homes aren't as cheap as they seem

one dollar homes split 3

one dollar homes demo interior
The inside of Puma's bay window, 

one dollar homes demo fireplace
Puma's home in February 2015, 
cleared and ready for new drywall.

one dollar homes before exterior 2
Mike Puma's $1 home, 

In Buffalo, New York, the city is selling vacant properties for a buck to those willing to fix them up and live in them for a few years.

Buffalo's Urban Homesteading Program, which has been around for almost four decades now, requires buyers to fix any code violations within 18 months and live in the home for at least three years. In return, the owner can live off just a few hundred dollars in property taxes, insurance and other costs each year.
Yet, as a attractive as it may seem, fewer than 10 buyers close $1 sales each year, according to city officials.
One reason: A $1 home can become a big money pit. Most of the homes have been abandoned for years, suffering leaks, break-ins and general neglect. Eventually, minor problems grow into expensive headaches, and many city-owned properties end up facing the wrecking ball.
About 60 homes were razed in the last year, and 90 more are on the city's demolition list. As a result, only a handful of homes are still up for sale in the areas eligible for the $1 program, according to city's Division of Real Estate.
Related: Newark to sell discounted land to couples on Valentine's Day
"They're constantly losing value," said David Torke, a blogger and photographer who has helped several buyers get approved by the city. "If there is a small roof repair, by the time the second thaw cycle rolls around, there's a gaping hole and the floorboards start rotting."
Mike Puma, who works for a company that preserves old buildings, is currently renovating a historic two-family home he bought for $1 last year. Like many of the houses Buffalo is selling for a dollar, the home had been stripped of its pipes and furnace and needed new interior walls.
"It's pretty much guaranteed to be a full gut job," said Puma.
Replacing all the crucial components in a home -- electricity, plumbing, roofing -- carries a hefty price tag. Puma's renovation has cost him $40,000 so far, and he estimates that it will probably total $55,000 before the work is done.
Trash bags alone have added up to hundreds of dollars. Puma spent about $2,000 on trash removal overall, including two dumpsters for hauling away the home's 20,000 pounds of debris.
Related: 'I bought a house for $1,000'
Work on the electrical and heating and cooling systems came to more than $15,000, even with friends contributing labor at a substantial discount, and structural components ruined by leaking water cost $6,000.
Puma has burned through $30,000 in personal savings, a $10,000 loan from a local bank and nearly every penny of his paychecks left over after expenses.
But he still expects to make money on the project within 5 years.
That's because the home qualifies for thousands of dollars in historical tax credits for being in a registered historic neighborhood, and Puma can rent out the second half of the building.
Deyron Tabb, a Buffalo local who bought a $1 home down the street from Puma four years ago, said he was shocked by how quickly his savings were depleted.
Related: 10 least affordable rental markets
"The structure of the house was immaculate, and the roof was just repaired," he said.
But the home had been sitting vacant for about five years, and right away the rehab costs started adding up. Tabb replaced dry wall, fixed sagging floors and repaired carpentry.
"I blew through the first $20,000, then I blew through the second $20,000," he said. "It was a huge surprise."
Tabb, who is now a union electrician, started taking classes so he could make the repairs correctly himself.
Overall, he spent about $78,000. Tabb said he now knows he could have completed the project with far less. Still, his experience left him with a new career and a beautiful home.
"I would do it all over again, and I would enjoy every minute of it," he said.
In the same neighborhood, Tom Lester and his girlfriend are just beginning work on a tiny shotgun-style home they bought for $1 in June. So far, the 1,200-square-foot home has cost them less than $5,000.
"We've been incredibly lucky with everything," said Tom Lester. "We have a lot of handy friends, so I spend a lot on pizza and beer and dumpsters."
Next up: $3,000 to replace stolen pipes, and maybe a new roof within a few years.
But Lester said he knows to expect. "We asked around," he said. "$30,000 is a good number, when it's all said and done." 

- CNNMoney (New York) March 3, 2015: 1:42 PM ET

Readers: Has your home renovation turned into a financial nightmare? Tell us your story. Email us here.