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Opening Doors for Agents & Clients

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Her door was open.

When I stepped into Beth’s office this morning, there were three items of importance that caught my eye.

I didn’t have to knock, and she put down what she was doing immediately, letting me know right away
that I had her attention and her time. She had been having a conversation through text, and I told her
to continue what she was doing.

I’m responding to an agent’s text,” she explained.

Do you exchange text messages with agents often?” I asked, curious.

Of courseat all hours of the day. I pride myself on being very responsive in answering questions,
giving feedback, and generally making agents understand that we are on the same team, and that
they have my support.

“Do you celebrate birthdays here?” I questioned.

Yes, of course,” she replied, “But these are just appreciation cards. I give these out to agents who have met
and surpassed the expected.

Support. Important, right?

So there they were, the three items of significance that had mattered to me since my entrance: an open door,
a friendly Beth, and a pile of greeting cards set to go out to some lucky agents.

Just from these few moments of involvement, I already had a sense of the value Beth placed on her relationship
with agents. But I still hadn’t heard about the importance of technology, of which I had real interest in, because in
interviews with other agents, it was something that had been raved about.


It’s an online server for preparing documents and filing paperwork, which allows you which allows you to prepare,
edit, send, electronically sign, and manage documents.

“I call it a seamless one-stop-shop for all paperwork.” Beth explained

So if it’s so great, wouldn’t this technology be available at every agency? Well, it turns out some comparable
technology is, but here’s the catch. Here, at CM Fox, the agents have access to it for free. Which seems like
the way it should be, to me, as an outsider to the business.

But other agencies don’t agree.

Most require agents to register and pay for the technology at their own expense, totaling $200 a month or more.
In combination with the free technological services, Beth and her team also print, fax and email urgent paperwork
for agents, and make themselves available for rapid legwork that needs to be completed in conjunction with
every transaction. This gives the agents time to do what they are experts in, rather than wasting their talents
with nuances.

In closing – I asked:

“Which holds more value at the company to current and future agents, technological support or face-to-face?”

Here’s the thing, the Broker is ultimately responsible for proper compliance and promoting
ethical behavior.
We do everything we can to make it understood by the agent that we are on their team, in that,

we are their confidants, an ear to bounce ideas off of, and a support for them through suggestions and feedback.
A buy or sell is the success of an agent, but their success reflects back on us, which makes our support crucial.

Support. Important, right?

How to Sell Your Home in a Seller’s Market

Buying a House in a Seller's Market

When there’s more demand for homes from potential buyers than the current available housing supply, the condition known as a “seller’s market” exists. This can be a great time for sellers to market their homes, provided they strategize accordingly.

While it is certainly easier to sell a home in a seller’s market, there are still some important steps to take, especially when hoping to maximize proceeds from the sale and minimize disruptions to your own life and routine. Here are some surefire tips on making the seller’s market your ideal time to sell:

5 Tips for Selling Your Home in a Seller’s Marketing

  1. Set the stage.

Home staging is the process of prettying-up a home in preparation of a sale. This includes packing up and removing clutter, rearranging furniture, making necessary improvements, painting where needed, etc. This process can go a long way toward generating the “wow factor” you hope to achieve when potential buyers view your property. You may want to hire a professional to help.

  1. Is the price right?

Just because you might be looking at a seller’s market, doesn’t mean you can get away with asking any price you dream up. You’ll still need to set a realistic price in order to sell your home quickly, or risk months of sitting on the market. Realtors, appraisers and other real estate professionals often use the “comparison” or “comp” method to come up with home values; you can either enlist the help of a real estate agent to assist with the research, or you can apply this methodology yourself. You will need to find several recently sold homes that are similar to yours, analyze their sale prices, and see how your home compares.

When judging your home against your comps, consider factors like: Is your home older, or newer, than the comps? How do extras like the yard, pool, garage, basement, etc., compare to the comps? How do the streets where the homes are located compare to one another? What are the overall conditions of your home and its comps? Add or deduct from your target price as is appropriate.

  1. Haggle, if necessary.

Don’t think your asking price is etched in stone. If you’re not getting the response you’d hoped at your current asking price, lower it as needed until you see results that do make you happy. In some cases, the revenue you’ll lose from dropping the price is more than made up for by the increased buyer activity the reduction can generate. And the more possible buyers you have, the better your negotiating position will be.

  1. Shop for the best buyer.

Ideally, you want to have multiple offers on your home, which affords the luxury of choosing which offer is best for you. That may not always be the highest offer; there are other factors to consider, too. For example, some buyers may not have already obtained mortgage approval. Others may have a timetable for moving that does not coincide with your own. Make sure you’re accepting the offer that you want. It is a seller’s market, after all.

  1. Be nimble.

Selling your home in a seller’s market may also mean that you receive offers much quicker than anticipated. You’ll need to be prepared to move from your home nearly as quickly, should you choose to accept one of those offers. In some cases, that might mean a short-term rental, extended-stay hotel, etc., in the interim as you close the sale on your old home and move into your new one. Try to keep the big picture in mind during this time and not get too bogged down in the day-to-day inconveniences. A short-term disruption to your routine can be well worth it, considering the potential payoff.

Looking for Real Estate Agents in Guilderland, Latham or Albany?

CM Fox Real Estate specializes in Albany, Latham, Colonie and Guilderland NY real estate, with more than 50 real estate agents throughout the Capital Region. Looking for more personalized insight and advice? Call (518) 861-7030 to speak with one of our local real estate agents.

How to Clear the Clutter Before You Sell or Move

couple clearing cluttered garage

As real estate agents, we get a lot of questions, but one of the most frequently asked is, “How do I get rid of all the junk I’ve accumulated over the years?” Clutter is a common problem that can wreak havoc on the home buying and selling process. It discourages sellers from listing their homes and delays buyers who want to move.

So how do we recommend our clients get rid of unwanted items? Guilderland real estate agent Kathy Burbank suggests using social media. Since people will usually come pick up your items, you can skip the hassle of driving or arranging trucks. “But the most important thing to do is divide it up and don’t procrastinate,” insists Kathy. “And if you have to pay a few bucks to dispose of it, remember, it’ll be worth it in the end.”

Here are some additional recommendations from our Guilderland real estate agents to help you clear the clutter before you sell or move.

How to Donate Unwanted Furniture & Household Items

  • The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Albany accepts new and used building materials, furniture, appliances, lighting fixtures and other home goods. You can drop-off your items or request a free pick-up.
  • The Goodwill Donation Centers in Colonie, Amsterdam and Troy accept donations of clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories, handbags, luggage, household goods, books, and other items.
  • The Homeless & Travelers Aid Society accepts donations of gently used furniture at their Capital Region Furniture Bank. Call 518-612-BANK or visit the warehouse on 5 Anderson Drive in Albany.
  • Scrapster offers no cost scrap metal removal and recycling in the Capital Region. Schedule a pick-up for all types of metals, appliances, lawn mowers, snowblowers, car parts, fencing, roofing, grills and more.
  • Craigslist “curb alert” allows you to simply take a pic, post it and put it out to the curb for pick-up. An easy solution for lumber, tires, tools, appliances and exercise equipment.
  • The Colonie Senior Service Center accepts donations of tools and hardware at the Tool Box in Colonie.

How to Donate Clothes

  • In addition to the Goodwill Donation Centers in Colonie, Amsterdam and Troy, most church parking lots and many retail stores have donation bins for gently used, clean clothing and shoes.
  • Northern Rivers has 75 clothing bins throughout the Capital Region, where you can donate your clothes to support the work they do for local communities.
  • The Dress for Success program accepts donations of nearly-new suits and professional attire for women at their location in Albany.

How to Dispose of Items that Cannot be Donated

  • For electronics, keep an eye out for a special recycling day in your neighborhood, or post it on social media. Someone may take it for the small parts.
  • Call your waste removal company and see what they will take, then plan on throwing out extra stuff in your trash bins each week.
  • While not free, if you’ve exhausted all other options, the Junk King in Colonie and 1-800-Got Junk will haul away your unwanted stuff, including mattresses, electronics, large appliances and more.

Looking for more real estate advice? Check out the CM Fox Blog. We have tips for homebuyers and sellers in the Capital Region, as well as more than 50 real estate agents in Guilderland, Latham, Colonie and Albany NY, who can help you through the home buying or selling process. Call (518) 861-7030, or contact us to speak with a local real estate agent.

Why Should Home Sellers Use a Realtor?

person hand working on property value concept

With access to dozens of websites and online tools that will tell you how much your home is worth, homeowners often ask us if they really need a real estate agent to sell their house. After all, we book vacations online, do our taxes without a tax advisor, and can even file for an e-divorce, so why should home sellers use a Realtor? If you’ve been wondering the same thing, here are a few good reasons to consider working with a real estate agent in Guilderland NY.

Why Sellers Need a Realtor to Price Their Home

While websites and home value tools can calculate the value of your home, these sites are using an Automated Valuation Model, or AVM, which means they are only taking into account third party local market data to determine your home’s worth. Property value, however, is determined by much more than market data. For instance, an AVM tool does not know if you’ve made upgrades to your home or if your roof is too old. Other factors include where your property is located and whether it’s desirable for potential buyers.  Is the neighborhood safe? Are there good schools around the area? Is there shopping within walking distance or is it a long drive away?

Realtors, on the other hand, specialize in determining a home’s fair market value. In fact, they are trained to perform a Competitive Market Analysis, or CMA, which involves visiting your home and evaluating the structure, land and neighborhood. Our real estate agents will then find recently sold homes that are very similar to yours and make adjustments to the price based on improvements and additions, condition, quality and age, as well as lot size, lot orientation, tax-assessed value, and features of the lot, including its terrain, access and privacy. Unlike AVM, competitive market analysis is an art, not a science.

Why Sellers Need a Realtor for Contracts, Negotiating & More

The process of buying and selling a home is emotional for both buyers and sellers, which is why it’s best to leave the negotiating to the professionals. Top producing real estate agents negotiate well because they know how to keep a level head and represent their client’s case in the best possible light. In addition, our experienced real estate agents can help you navigate the contract – often 50+ pages of complex documents – and we know how to use the contract to protect you.

Realtors also regularly network with others professionals involved in the process of selling a home. From movers to home stagers and interior designers, our Guilderland area real estate agents are well connected, and can often provide you with references.

Choosing the Right Realtor

Every home is unique and must be valued accordingly. Get it wrong and you risk deterring buyers, or worse, not getting the money you deserve on the sale. It’s important to find a Realtor with a great marketing plan and deep local knowledge. If you’re looking for a real estate agent with knowledge of the Albany area, contact the experts at CM Fox Real Estate. We have over 50 real estate agents in Guilderland, Latham, Colonie and throughout the Albany NY area. Call (518) 861-7030 to talk with us about selling your home.

See also: Why Use a Real Estate Agent – For Buyers

FALL Into Lawn Care Now and SPRING into Selling Next Year!


Thinking about selling your home next spring? Well, if you want to improve your curb appeal, you should be treating your lawn now to make sure it’s show ready! Here are 4 basic tips to help you spruce up that front yard from the Guilderland NY real estate experts.


Aeration provides room for new grass to spread without competition from spring weeds. The tools pull up plugs of grass and soil and breaks up compacted turf. Once this occurs, water, oxygen and nutrients are able to get to the roots, which give seeds the ability to sprout. Depending on how often your lawn is used, you should plan to aerate 1-2 times per year (twice if used often).


When the soil temperature is about 55 degrees, it’s time to seed your lawn. This is because turf roots grow enthusiastically in fall and winter. Keep in mind, the type of seed matters. For the best results, it’s smart not to buy the cheapest brand of seed. Once the seed is planted, water your lawn 10 to 20 days in a row until it germinates.


If you are able, it is best to fertilize your lawn as late into the fall as possible, before the first frost. By doing this, you help your grass survive the winter and encourages growth come spring. Choose something high (10% to 15%) in phosphorous as it aids in the growth of the root.


Forget the rake and run over the leaves a couple of times with your mower to grind them into mulch. The shredded leaves protect grass from winter wind.

More Tips for Selling Your Home

For more advice on selling your home, check out our Tips for Sellers, or call us at 518-861-7030. We have real estate agents in Guilderland, Latham, Colonie and throughout the Albany area with the local knowledge and experience needed to sell your home fast and for the best price. Wondering how much your home is worth? Use our Guilderland NY Real Estate Home Valuation Tool.



How to Have a Successful Garage Sale

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Selling Your Guilderland Home and Decreasing Clutter

Whether you’ve been in your home for one year or ten years, you’ve bound to have collected some clutter or items that you no longer need. Selling your home is a great time to weed through what you’ve collected and pare down your belongings. There are several options available to the homeowner in terms of selling or giving your items away. You can give away to charity or family / friends or you could have a garage / yard sale. If you decide on a garage sale, here are some tips to making it a successful one!

What to sell…

Shoppers like to see a little bit of everything. When prospective customers drive by,  they’ll more likely stop for full tables.

Never underestimate the value of absolute junk. If you haven’t used something in the past year, sell it.

Dealers and antique collector’s frequent garage sales, so clearly display one-of-a-kind items.

Dressers, bookcases, baskets, tables, toys, and tools attract traffic.

Make sure appliances work. Have an outlet handy so items can be tested.


Selling your Guilderland home, decrease your clutter with a garage sale

How to price…

Tag all items. Customers may assume that unmarked items are out of their price range.

Be prepared to haggle.


How to display…

Clean everything. Dirty dishes fetch a far lower price than their clean counterparts.

Large items bring the most foot traffic. If you sell a couch or table early in the day, ask to keep the item with a “sold” sign on it until the end of the day.

Clothing on racks sells higher than similar items thrown on a blanket, so hang a line in your garage or buy a portable rack.

Clearly mark your sales area. If you have a sale in your garage, cover anything you want to keep.


How to advertise…

Place an ad in a newspaper. If you partner with neighbors, you can usually split the cost.

Make bold, bright, neatly lettered signs. Place them in order to direct traffic to your house. (Don’t forget to take them down when the sale is over!)


When to sell…

Check the weather when planning your sale. Even if your sale is indoors, bad weather keeps customers at home.

Saturday is often the best day for a sale, but in some places, people favor Thursday and Friday sales. If you are new to an area, ask around.


What to do with leftovers…

Store them for another day. What didn’t sell now may be in high demand next year.

Give them away.

Have them picked up by a charitable organization. Keep a list of donated items for your accountant at tax time.


Written by:

Tracy Chenette, Associate Broker

Is Summer a Good Time to Sell Your Guilderland Home?


If you are ready to sell your Guilderland home, choosing when to sell can make a big difference in how fast your house sells, and how much it sells for. You may or may not have heard that spring time is the best time to sell your house, but what about summer? The truth is, the right time to sell your house will depend on many different factors such as who your target market is and the climate you live in. Here are some pros and cons for selling your Albany area house during the summer months:


•    More people shop for homes when the weather is nice out.

In the Albany area, spring can be a rainy, muddy season. However, the summer months feature plenty of sunshine and nice weather. After the mud has passed and you have completed springtime clean-up, your house will be looking its best. Green lawns and blooming flowers will increase your curb appeal and create a great first impression to prospective buyers.

•    Vacation properties sell best in summer months.

If your house is in a popular vacation destination, you may find increased traffic during the summer months. Buyers looking for a vacation home will be in the area and actively searching for the right property. Perhaps your house is on the waterfront, or close to a summer “hot-spot.”  If so, be prepared to leverage those key points during the selling process.

•    Families want a new house before the next school calendar year begins.

Most families will wait until the current school year is over to move into a new home. At the same time, they want to be settled into their new home before the next school year begins. This means the prospective buyer will be looking to make a decision quickly. If your house is in a family-friendly neighborhood with a popular school district, you will be in a better position to negotiate with interested buyers to get the best price for your house.


•    More houses on the market leads to picky buyers.

If your house is a bit of a fixer upper, the summer months may not be ideal for selling. With so many houses on the market, buyers will be pickier. At the same time though, if your house is up to snuff there is a better chance for multiple offers. Multiple offers can lead to bidding wars which will allow you to get an even better price for your home.

•    People like to travel in the summer time.

It is no secret that the summer months are a popular time for people to go on vacation. This means that you may not be reaching your target audience, simply because they are not in the area. An example of this is if you are selling a high-priced home. These types of homes require affluent buyers, who are most likely busy traveling and not looking for a home.

•    The housing market peaks at the beginning of summer.

June is the peak home buying season. Towards the tail end of the summer families are getting ready for the upcoming school year, and other potential buyers become busy with BBQs, vacations and other summer activities. This means you need to be pro-active and start listing your home before the summer season begins, and hit the ground running in the beginning of summer.

As you can see from these pros and cons, selling your house in the summer may or may not be ideal. It is best to evaluate your home, neighborhood, and target market before deciding upon the right time to sell. Utilizing the expertise of a local real estate agent can help you make the right decisions when it comes to selling. CM Fox has a long history of helping Guilderland homeowners navigate the selling process in order to get the best price possible. If you are ready to put your house on the market, contact us today to get started.

Get Started on Selling Your Guilderland Home


5 Tips for Selling Your Home in the Spring Real Estate Market


Spring Tips for Selling Your Home in the Albany Real Estate Market

Spring is traditionally the busiest time of year for home sales, and the Albany real estate market is no exception. In fact, some predict that the spring home-selling season may start earlier and be even livelier this year, as homebuyers act to buy before interest rates or home prices rise.

While you’re more likely to receive top dollar for your East Greenbush, Schenectady or Niskayuna home this spring, you also need to be prepared for strong competition. Here are 5 things you can do right now to help sell your home in the spring real estate market.

1. Make a Good First Impression

Did you know that most homebuyers decide in the first 60 seconds whether or not they would consider buying your home? Curb appeal always has, and always will matter, regardless of the season. Trim the hedges and invest in frost-resistant plants. Yellow flowers are believed to stimulate buying and induce feelings of happiness, so consider potted tulips and daffodils that can be brought inside if there’s a late frost. Paint the front door and power wash the exterior of your home, as well as the driveway, front walk and porch.

2. Clear Away the Clutter

Ever notice that model homes and open houses always look neat and perfect? Both your rooms and closets look bigger when there’s less clutter, so pare down your possessions and re-organize your closets. Since the end game is to sell, pack and eventually move, consider packing up anything you aren’t currently using now. Box up your bulky winter wardrobe and donate toys that the kids have outgrown. Once your home is on the market, you’ll need to keep it as neat as possible. Click for more staging tips for Spring.

3. Make Necessary Home Repairs

While it’s not pertinent to take on major renovations that won’t be recouped in your purchase price, minor do-it-yourself repairs will make your home more appealing. Simply replacing the caulk in your bathroom or cleaning the grout between your kitchen tiles adds a big wow factor. Updated light fixtures and ceiling fans can renew your space, and a fresh coat of paint, just on the trim, can give the illusion that the whole room has been painted.

4. Make Sure the Price is Right

The spring home-buying season is notoriously hot, but buyers still insist on good deals. Even in a seller’s market, overpriced homes won’t sell. Likewise, pricing your home too low can cause buyers to question what is wrong with it. When it comes to pricing, make sure to compare your house with similar recently-sold properties in your area to ensure your price is competitive. Seek the advice of a local real estate agent, trust their experience, and be realistic.

5. Choose the Right Real Estate Agent

It’s important to find an agent with a great marketing plan and deep local knowledge, who can present you with a detailed market analysis. Since most home buyers start their search online, make sure to get your house listed on multiple websites, preferably with a set of professional photos, detailed descriptions and a virtual tour. And don’t forget to plan open houses with your real estate agent, too.

Looking for a listing agent in the Albany area? Contact the experts at CM Fox Real Estate. We have over 50 real estate agents serving Albany, Guilderland, Latham, Colonie and the entire Capital Region of New York. Call (518) 861-7030 or contact us today.

Staging Tips for Spring

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Albany Real Estate Benefits from Spring Staging

April showers bring May flowers – as well as plenty of potential homebuyers! Spring is the optimum time to sell your Albany home, since the largest number of buyers are actively searching for a new home in the Albany area during March, April, May and June. To improve your odds and make your home stand out, check out these home staging tips for spring.

Do Some Spring Cleaning

We’re talking about putting some real elbow grease into it. Wash windows inside and out, and polish mirrors to reflect the sunlight. Clean drapes, curtains and blinds. Get your carpets professionally cleaned, consider having hardwood floors refinished to a high-gloss, and bleach dull grout. Cluttered closets lead buyers to assume the home lacks sufficient storage, so box up your bulky winter wardrobe and re-organize your closets.

Get your Albany Real Estate ready for spring!

Spruce Up Your Yard

In addition to spring cleaning the interior of your home, it’s important to get a jump on your yardwork. Rake out dead leaves and winter debris, trim the hedges and invest in frost-resistant plants. Yellow flowers are believed to stimulate buying and induce feelings of happiness, so consider potted tulips and daffodils that can be brought inside if there’s a late frost.

Brighten Your Entryway

Is your welcome mat covered with winter’s dirt? Replace it with a new one and arrange potted plants in odd number groupings near the entrance. Spring weather is often unpredictable, especially for homes in Albany, Latham and the rest of the Capital District, so prepare your entryway for inclement weather. Add an umbrella stand for visiting buyers, and an inside mat for wiping their feet. They’ll appreciate the extra effort.

Add Spring Colors & Scents

Whether you’re home staging for spring or any other time of year, it’s helpful to use colors and scents associated with the season. After a long winter, we are all eager for the first signs of spring! Exchange heavy winter comforters for crisp, bright linens and floral fabrics. Add accent pillows, throws and guest towels in the hues of spring. If you don’t have access to fresh-cut, fragrant flowers and plants, use candles, infusers or incense to bring spring’s aroma indoors.

Interested in Selling Your Albany Home this Spring?

If you’re home has been sitting on the market all winter, you might want to consider taking it down for a few weeks. It can be a deterrent if buyers see your home has been on the market for several months. Especially in the spring, buyers are looking for fresh, new listings.

In the market for a listing agent? Contact the Albany real estate experts at CM Fox Real Estate.  We have over 50 real estate agents serving Albany, Guilderland, Latham, Colonie and the entire Capital Region of New York. Call (518) 861-7030 or contact us today.

Use Curb Appeal to Your Advantage

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Curb Appeal

Use Curb Appeal to Increase the Value of Your Albany Area Home

While the inside of your home might easily sell itself, there are a few things that will catch the buyer’s eye before they ever walk in the front door. Many buyers drive past a house and based on that first impression, decide whether to call the realtor. Curb appeal is the first key to selling a home and there are things you can do to improve it, whether your home’s price tag is $50,000 or $5 million.

Start by taking a look at the grass, the landscaping, trees and shrubbery. Maybe you need some limbs trimmed or a few trees cut. You might be surprised at how overgrown trees and shrubbery could be hiding something that could attract a potential buyer. Next, look at the flower beds. Update and replant if needed. Add swatches of grass in patchy spots. Color will attract the eye so add plenty of it to your garden. Remove dead leaves or limbs. Once you have improved your landscaping, take a look at the physical condition of your home’s exterior.

If the roof needs replacing, chances are you will have to come down on your selling price. Or, you can replace the roof and get a great return on the money. Buyers seldom want to have to spend money on repairs right away. A new roof goes a long way in fostering the feeling that the buyer has found a good deal. Updating or refreshing paint on trim will also pay back a great return at closing. Install rain gutters if there are none. This is an extra that many buyers look for and it will ultimately help your house increase in value.

Take a look at the driveway. Whether it is made of dirt or cement, it can be dressed up to add curb appeal. A manicured, level dirt drive is beautiful if it leads to a country home. But make sure the dirt is packed, level and does not hold water. If you drive is made of asphalt, concrete, stone or brick, make sure it has no cracks or broken, uneven stones. Add a few solar lights for atmosphere along the drive. A driveway leads to your front door and it absolutely sets the tone for a homey feeling that buyers want to feel when they drive up to a house.

Make sure the fencing is not broken and it gives the privacy intended. A potential buyer wants a secure home and if a fenced yard is secure, they can picture their children or pets enjoying a secure yard. If you have a pool, make sure it is clean and water is clear. Make sure the deck or patio is colorful and in good shape. A new homeowner wants to entertain and a great outdoor area is the first place friends will gather.

If you have questions about Real Estate, Curb Appeal or Staging, please contact one of our talented real estate agents.