Sullivan County NY Real Estate in the New York CatskillsLakefront Homes and more!

Signs of Recovery?



I had a buyer contact me via my website in January. They were looking for a home in the 150 to 200K range–with either lake access, or lake frontage. This is at the bottom of the price range for lake anything. However I knew of a few places, and they had picked out a few, so we started out on the journey to find them a house.

I think all told we looked at around ten places–on or near various lakes. They are a nice couple, and they were enjoyable to work with. It has been a little while since I had worked exclusively with a buyer as their agent. It seems over the last year, I have been mostly on the selling side, or there was some sort of connection with the seller.  However on this one it was just me and the buyers. I was sort of along for the ride, and got to explore some nice properties.

Initially I was pleasantly surprised at the inventory.  During the bubble years, there was nothing in this range,  and even now, it is a dicey, hit or miss area. We looked at a few dogs, but many were pretty good homes with some value.

The first home they targeted was a lake access on Swinging Bridge–1100 square feet with a finished basement. It was a ranch in pretty good shape. They ultimately decided against making an offer though because the there was a question about how many people could use the lake access. The access was also very steep, and the stairs and dock needed to be replaced. The murkiness of who could use that area once they sunk a bunch of money into fixing it made them decide against putting in an offer. The home was in the 150K range.

The second was a lakefront on Swinging Bridge. The house was tiny, around 650 square feet with two bedrooms and a bathroom so small you could barely turn around in it. The home was in pretty good shape though, and it was a true lakefront. There was no road in between. It had 100 feet on the lake, and a gorgeous view from the front deck. The driveway was very steep however. After some back and forth, they decided to put in an offer around 75% of the ask. (Home was in the 200K range.)  Seller would not budge off the full price ask. Another offer a bit higher was met with the same response–so slightly disappointed we pressed on.

The third was a lakefront on Mohican Lake. This house was good sized–almost 2000 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths. Home was in need of some pretty serious repairs. The roof was leaking, and all the plumbing had been removed from under the home. The house was on a crawl space as well, making for a winterization nightmare, (as well as a financing one.) My buyers were cash buyers, so that did not enter into their equation, however it does narrow the buyer pool some. The lake frontage was close to 200 feet, with a boat launch and a dock. Good property, priced aggressively at around 140K. Well perhaps it was priced too aggressively. When we looked at it, it had been on the market two days. By the time we put in an offer the next day, (an offer at around 90% of the ask) There was another all cash offer on the table. The sellers responded that they were going with the other offer, because it was somebody they knew from the area. No highest and best, no attempt at a bidding war, just sorry we are taking the other offer. So once again we were back to the drawing board.

The forth, (and ultimately the one) was a lake access home on Swinging Bridge. Home is on a nice big lot, it has 1600 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths. Home is in good condition. It has lake views from the big deck, and the lake access is a short walk down the road. The access is nice and level. It is shared by eleven other homes, however each gets their own dock. It really is the best of both worlds. Price was in the 170K range. Buyer’s bid was once again around 90% of the ask. Seller responded with a lower asking price, but when we went to counter again, we were told there is another higher cash offer on this house as well.

This house had also been on the market only three days and it too had two cash offers on it! My buyers loved this house, and had been down this road before. After some deliberations, they put in an offer above ask, and got an accepted offer. We are moving forward with the sale.

So is this a clear sign of recovery? Two multiple bid situations in two weeks? Or is it the category? Obviously lakefront or lake access holds some inherent value that other properties may not have, however this sort of feeding frenzy mentality where if you don’t act quick, you will miss out as not been part of our market for some time. Also from what I have heard from other agents, this does cross over into other categories of homes. Just this morning I called to show a house that had been on the market less than a week, and was told there was an accepted offer on it. This was a non-descript ranch a few acres–a type of home that would typically languish months on market before getting a bite.

Perhaps I am too pie in the sky, however, I enjoyed this process, and hope that there will be more like this one. There is a certain energy when dealing in a hotter market. An energy that has been gone for awhile. I felt it on this deal.

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