Find Your Passion


Find your passion-

Yes, it is #7 on Martha Stewarts “10 Golden Rules for Successful Living”.

Doesn’t matter whether it is silly or funny, boring or tedious to others.  It could be creating something, helping others, fundraising,  It matters that is is uplifting to you.

It’s all about finding what makes you happy and engaged in something other than what  you normally do.  You might be lucky enough to be passionate about your career, but for many of us, our livelihood may not be our passion.

For me, it’s painting, usually pastels but I like to work in different mediums.

What a great way to let loose, express your feelings in a realistic or abstract way.

Often it is in the form of a landscape or still life, but more and more, abstraction really allows me to express anger or joy and hopefully the viewer can feel that from my painting.

I often hear others say I wish I knew how to paint or craft or be better at something.

Well, it isn’t going to happen on its own.  Take a class or watch a You Tube how to video.  You’ll never know ’til you try and you may find your passion this way.

It is very easy to remain in the same rut and do what you always have done.

I have a friend who always wanted to be a writer.  Raising a family and supporting them “got in the way”.  She  decided to take a writing class through a high school continuing education course.   She’s not in Grisham’s league yet, but she is thoroughly enjoying finding differing means of expressing herself and telling a story.

Another friend decided when she retired she was going to move North to where she grew up.  Everyone decried her action but it was what she wanted. No Florida retirement home for her.  Instead, she rediscovered her love of winter sports – skiing and snow shoeing, as well as hiking and kayaking in the summer months. You don’t have to do what many others in the state have done. Follow your instincts and find your passion.

Every step towards finding your passion is a path to having a more enjoyable and satisfying life.  Start now – EVERY DAY is precious!


Written by: Denise Crisafulli — Licensed Real Estate Sales Person at CM Fox Real Estate





Historic Albany- An inside look

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Architectural Parts Warehouse
CM Fox Licensed Salesperson Elise VanAllen had the House of the Week in the Times Union this past weekend. So we asked her a few questions about Center Squrae. Below is a beautiful and informative post regarding Historic Albany.
“I live in Center Square -one of the many historic neighborhoods in downtown Albany.  I live downtown and work downtown. My husband and I owner-occupy  an 1871 four-family brownstone – purchased in 2002. We consider ourselves ‘stewards’ of this 144 year old home, and wish to keep it in good stead so that future generations can also enjoy it!

We chose downtown Albany because of its affordable historic character – and the fact that it’s a walkable urban neighborhood. We can walk to restaurants, enjoy Washington Park, visit museums, see popular touring musicians hosted by The Egg (performing arts venue) or at The Palace Theater, and enjoy the numerous events hosted at the Empire State Plaza.

222 Jay St. is located in the historic Center Square neighborhood of Albany.

222 Jay St. is located in the historic Center Square neighborhood of Albany.

When we want to stretch our legs on our bikes, we ride to the Mohawk-Hudson trail along the Hudson River – and ride for miles and miles.
The downtown historic neighborhoods are quite welcoming – it’s easy to meet your neighbors just by being in the neighborhood, and especially so when new neighbors attend the neighborhood association meetings or social gatherings. Spring clean-up – a day when we all come out and clean up our block after a long winter – is another way to meet people.
I refer to the downtown historic neighborhoods as an urban Mayberry – where you can be as engaged or as anonymous as you wish.
Living in an historic home is quite amazing – the quality of the workmanship, the materials, the architectural detail can’t easily be replicated. Many of the skills that were possessed by the numerous immigrants that came to America for a new life and opportunity are no longer available – the skills have been lost with the passage of time.  And, some of the materials – like the burled walnut that lines our staircase – are no longer available due to scarcity or are a considerable expense as a result of scarcity.
What I love about our historic neighborhoods is the diversity in architecture, design and materials used – no two houses are exactly alike.
I so enjoy living and working downtown – it gives me great pleasure to introduce potential buyers to our neighborhood, and to be a resource to them when they have renovation and repair questions. That was one of our biggest hurdles when we moved here – having come from living in newer construction houses all of our lives. Now I can share all that I’ve learned with others.”
–Elise VanAllen, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

New Season—- New Home


We’ve been busy over here at CM Fox. The Spring season in upstate New York is a busy one. Spring represents growth, rebirth and opportunity. We’re coming out of a long winter season. A long, cold, snowy winter season. There may still be snow on the ground in many places, but if you look around—you’ll start to see the re-birth I’m talking about. A new season means a new home for many buyers and sellers in the Capital Region.

The local news ran a quick segment on all of the ice cream stores that have either just opened or that will be opening in the next week or so. Right down the road from our office is Gade Farms, which opened again for the season on Friday, March 20th. (Remember that day? It was cold and snowy—that’s beside the point). Garden shops and ice cream stores are opening, flowers are popping up through the soil and new houses are coming on the market.

We have over 20 new listings this month alone! You read that right—20 new listings this month. People are inspired by the sun and the warm weather. Our sellers are working hard to clean up their yards, declutter their homes, put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and get that sign in the front yard. Here at CM Fox, we’re ready for you!

As you may have noticed, we’re starting to get hooked on Pinterest. We can’t heSpring--LOLlp it. The ideas and tips are amazing. Sometimes they’re a little overwhelming—but if you can sift through the craziness, you’ll be able to find some really cool ideas. Check out some of our latest finds for sprucing up your home.

When it comes to organizing and cleaning your home—remember that you still have to live in the home while you are trying to sell it. That’s okay! We also know that’s not always easy to do. I recently met with people who are considering selling their home in the next year. Their question was: Do we put it on the market for a few months in the Fall and then take it off the market for the Winter and it doesn’t sell and then try to put it back on in the Spring? P.S. These people have twin 2-year old daughters.

Before our meeting they spent a week going through personal items trying to decide what they would need to keep out vs. what they could pack away. This is no easy task for anyone—let alone people with twin toddlers who will be in a completely different phase of their life in September than they will be in March. Anyway, during out meeting we took a look at their needs, wants and desires. Within about 30 minutes we had an awesome plan in hand and everyone took a deep breath—both a breath of relief and excitement.

Selling your home is a process that starts even before you meet with a Realtor. Think of selling and/or buying a home as starting the next season of your life. It’s a time for growth and rebirth. Going through old items, cleaning them up and looking toward a bright and sunny future is all part of the growing process. Your future home is one filled with love and excitement.  As you get ready to enter this season of growth remember to take a step back—breath… smile… enjoy the season. When you’re ready- give us a call. We’re help to help you out along the way.

Bethlehem School District

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Bethlehem School District

One of most common questions a real estate agent hears is: What school district is the home in? It’s a good question—even if you do not have kids. School districts have a high impact on both the value of the home and often your taxes. You have to be careful too. School district lines are funny. One side of the street or may be in a different district than the other. Zip codes don’t necessarily mean anything here either. You can have the same zip code as your neighbor a mile away and be in a different school district.Bethlehem Central High School

The Bethlehem School District is among the top districts in the Capital District and across the state. Encompassing most of the Town of Bethlehem and part of the Town of New Scotland, Bethlehem Central is a Suburban Council school district that serves about 4,700 students in kindergarten through grade 12. There are five neighborhood elementary schools, serving students in grades 1 through 5; a 6-8 middle school; and a 9-12 high school.

According to the Capital Region Multiple Listing Service just over 300 houses were sold in the Bethlehem School District last year. Bethlehem, Glenmont, Delmar and surrounding areas are filled with things to do. Each area is a unique combination of friendly neighborhoods and rural beauty.

“According to MONEY Magazine, our area is in the top 25 great American towns. MONEY Magazine and CNN / Money spent months looking for areas “where you would want to raise your children and celebrate life’s milestones.” Thanks to its low crime rate, high scores in education, low commute time, access to arts and leisure, and more, we ranked 22nd in the country as a great American town.” – Town Website

elm ave park          Do you live in Bethlehem? Tell us why you love it.
Elm Ave Park. pool complex.


Money Saving Tips

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  1. Losing weight

  2. Get organized

  3. Spend less, save more


Mix up the weeks to make it easier

Any idea what this is a list of? It’s the top 3 New Year’s resolutions of 2014. Any idea of the percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution? 8%. That’s right, a measly 8%. Why is it so hard for people to keep their resolutions? What stops us from not doing the things we want to do. Well, the reasons for failure are plentiful, but the reasons for success can be just as abundant.

Let’s concentrate on # 3 for right now and figure out how we can save some cash without changing the way we live.

Idea #1:

Have you checked out Pinterest lately? There are hundreds, if not thousands of boards, related to saving money. The picture to the right is called the 52 week money challenge. I’m sure it’s called other things too. Google it and you’ll find a million pictures. Anyway, you basically save one dollar for every year of the week we enter. So, the first week of the year you simple have to save $1. However, it can start to get tricky as we get to the last quarter of the year. It might be tough to put away $202.00 next December. Our suggestion is to switch up the weeks. Put in the larger dollar amounts when you have it. Maybe you get a bonus? Tax return? Maybe a certain time of the year is quieter than another. This way, when you are more strapped for cash, you can only put in a dollar or three and still stay on track. Great way to put aside $1378 with just a little bit of effort.

Idea #2:

Pay yourself first. We all have monthly bills. We all pay our monthly bills, right? Well, have you ever considered your savings account as a monthly bill? If you answered no—you should! Your savings account is something that should be growing—not staying the same or decreasing.  Every time you sit down to make a payment—whether it be online or writing a check—you should put some money in your savings account. Even if it is only $10 or $20. It all matters. It all adds up. By the end of the year, you will be shocked at how much you can save without even thinking about it.

Idea #3:

Are trying to save for a larger purchase? Maybe you are dreaming of a new car of house in the near future. In that case, you might have to make a little more of an effort to put money aside. One of the best ways financial advisors will encourage you to save money is to put it away before you even see it. Many employers and/or banks offer services that allow you to automatically deposit your paycheck into different accounts without you ever having to transfer funds. Credit unions and banks often allow you to open a few separate savings accounts and title them whatever you want. New home fund, vacation savings, renovation savings, new car, etc. etc. The options are endless. In this case, the world of automation can be our friend.

There are thousands of money saving tips available on the internet. If you’re new to the working world or just new to the savings world; start small. Give yourself a chance to get used to the idea of saving money. Set up a separate account and have money deposited directly into it. Put a jar in your closet and randomly put a few dollars in every few days or every week. At the end of the year count how much you saved, give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself to an ice cream… You deserve it!

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any tips and tricks that have helped you save money? Let us know by commenting below.

Offices for Lease

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2015 is right around the corner– literally. A new year will be here before the weekend! We like to think of it as our chance to improve upon last year. Think about all of the things you said you wanted to do last year. Maybe you were successful in achieving all of your goals. Maybe you had a great start, but faded out sometime in early Spring. There are lots of reasons for our successes and declines. What’s important is to recognize what we went wrong, but also what we did right.

We, at CM Fox, practice this by having a goals meeting at the start of every year. Each person writes down what they accomplished last year, what they want to accomplish this coming year and the steps they need to follow in order to be successful. We have quite a few agents who refer to this list throughout the year to make sure they arSuite 111 leasee staying on track and being the best agent he/she can. It’s important to hold ourselves accountable. We hold ourselves to a high regard and take our name and profession very seriously.
There are a thousand reasons we should set goals. Goals propel us forward and motivate us through the good times and the tough times. As entrepreneurs, we are always evolving. Always looking for ways to improve both ourselves AND our business. Many professionals suggest it starts with your own personal space.
Our office builSuite 105 leaseding at 2390 Western Ave, Guilderland is a unique space that is home to many entrepreneurs. It’s an inspiring place to work. Everyday we are surrounded by people who have taken the next step in their careers.  Residential Specialists, Adirondack Funds, Design on 20, Lottery Rewards, an architect and private investigator– just to name a few– all call 2390 Western Ave. home.
Some businesses have small offices while other have combined 2 or 3 together to make the space work for them. When the owner of the building is in house– the options are endless. So are the amenities! Phone, internet, receptionist, copiers printers, kitchen spaces, etc. etc. A professional work environment with the break into your field while networking and keeping costs to a minimum, It is a win-win situation for everyone.
Still not convinced renting an office space is the right decision for you? Check out this blog post by Curt Mercadante titled “Why entrepreneurs should get an office space and quit working from home”.  He makes some great points about separating work from home and schedule of productivity.
Call us at 518-861-7030 for your personal tour and a chance to see what could be yours. We look forward to hearing from you!
Here are just a few examples of the MANY areas we have available!
Suite 110 leaseSuite 107 lease

Lunch with Homestead Funding

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Every now and then you find that special partner who makes life that much easier.  That’s what we have found with Drew Aiello and Homestead Funding. It’s a well known fact that teamwork makes us successful. The teamwork of buyers and sellers, clients and their agents, attorneys and banks, loan officers and clients, etc. etc. Without teamwork and without communication, none of us would get very far.

Enter: Drew Aiello. Drew has worked closely with many CM Fox agents over the past few years. We know and trust Drew with all of clients. No matter what the situation, Drew will make sure you are well represented. See his profile below.

Drew Aiello has been an outstanding member of the Capital Region’s mortgage industry for the past 19 years and is currently a Licensed Senior Loan Originator with Homestead Funding Corp. Drew graduated from Boston University with a major in Economics and a minor in Money and Banking. He began his financial services career at a Wall Street firm as a Stock Broker in Boston until moving back to the Capital District in 1994. He has served as President of the Upstate New York Creditor’s Association in addition to being a member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lender’s Association. You can listen to Drew every Sunday on News Talk AM 810 or 103.1 FM WGY from 11-12 on the Homestead Funding Mortgage Hour. It is a live one hour talk radio show where he will take your calls and offer insightful information on home financing and the local real estate market. Drew is also a member of the CBS Channel 6 News Answers Team and is their local mortgage expert for all news stories relating to the mortgage industry. In addition, he is an active speaker and educator for older home owners and retirees seeking information on reverse mortgages. He has become a leader in the mortgage industry by pulling from his financial service expertise and insuring that each client’s mortgage needs are incorporated into their overall financial plan by consulting with his clients’ financial planners, attorneys and CPAs. It is important to Drew that all his clients’ mortgage needs work in unison to secure the most efficient path for saving for their children’s educational needs and for their retirement goals. Whether it is your first home, second home, or investment property, Drew will work with you to provide the best financing options currently available.

Regardless of who you choose to work with for the sale or purchase of your home. Make sure you do your research. Interview agents. Call a few banks and mortgage offices. We are all a little different, as our are needs. It’s our job to make sure yours are met.

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Donate and Win

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Happy November everyone! We have officially entered into the shopping and giving holiday season. The season of giving is upon us and CM Fox is jumping in head first. Every November we pick a charity to donate to and this year we have chosen the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.  The Regional Food Bank has been helping to feed the poor and hungry in our communities since 1982. It is the only organization of its kind in northeastern New York. The Food Bank collects large donations of food from the food industry and distributes it to charitable agencies serving hungry and disadvantaged people in 23 counties. From Plattsburgh to Newburgh, in urban, rural, and suburban communities, the Food Bank provides over 30 million pounds of food a year to 1,000 agencies.

Hunger remains a serious problem in upstate New York. We are reaching out to our loyal and giving community members to help make a difference. In the spirit of giving thanks and the holiday season, we want to thank you for your donations. Every person who donates food will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift card to either Crossgates Mall or Colonie Center. Every little bit counts. Whether you can donate a few cans or an entire “backpack” we are encouraging anyone and everyone to participate.  (see links below)


Did You Know???

The Regional Food Bank serves an alarming number of hungry individuals

The Regional Food Bank provides emergency food assistance to approximately 244,400 different people in our community each year – including 85,000 children and 13,000 seniors.

In a given week, approximately 38,600 people receive emergency food assistance from the 1,000+ member agencies in the Regional Food Bank’s 23-county service area.


Please check out these flyers to see some great donating options. Get the kids involved! Tell the neighbors! You can drop donations off at 2390 Western Ave or we will come pick them up! Just call 518-861-7030 to let us know when and where!

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We will be collecting items from now through November 20th.  Remember- we will come to you ! Give us a call today to help a community member in need.


Think Golf!



This past September CM Fox hosted it’s 2nd Annual Golf Tournament Charity Event at Orchard Creek Golf Course in Altamont, NY. Once again, it was a memorable experience. Every penny of the proceeds goes to benefit the Ronald McDonald House and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. This year we raised nearly $30,000 for the two charities.

The planning starts almost a year ahead a time with a team of CM Fox agents, administrators and managers who meet at least twice a month to make sure the event goes off without a hitch. You could say it’s a labor of love! Next year we will be at it again. The date is September 18th, 2015 at Orchard Creek Golf Course. We are always excepting donations, monetary or raffle for the event. It’s because of our amazing community, friends and family, that we are able to host such a successful event. It’s an event we’re proud to sponsor— You should be too!

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Check out what CBS 6 has to say about the event!

2nd Annual CM Fox Golf Charity Event

What type of loan is best for you?


One of the scariest parts of purchasing a home can be the financing. Some of the most common questions we hear are: Which is loan is best for you? What is PMI? How much money do I need for the down payment? What are closing costs? Sellers concessions?

Good news! We have an expert on tap to answer these questions and any other questions you may have. Drew Aiello is a senior loan originator from Homestead Funding. He’s our personal expert when it comes to financing. Let’s see what he has to say.

Finance questions answered

Remember, buying or selling a home does not have to be scary. In fact, we don’t think it should be scary. It is important to do your research whenever you are making a big purchase. Whether that purchase is a table saw, wedding dress, car, house or anything in between. Think  speaking to a loan officer as doing your research. Call a few brokers, interview him/her just as you might an agent. After all, you are giving them your business. Customer service is the name of the game. A good loan officer will take the time to sit down with you and put together a good faith estimate of all your financial costs. Then you can start looking at homes with confidence. That way- when you do find your dream home– you can write the offer with confidence. Your Realtor will be there from start to finish and beyond.

Have questions for us? Give CM Fox a call today. 518-861-7030 . We have local expert Realtors available in every neighborhood within the Capital District!