Meet Buffalo’s Newest Startup Companies

Start Up New York will help add 146 jobs to Buffalo, according to sources in Albany.  The project aims to draw businesses to areas of New York that are looking for growth, and entices business owners by bringing them to tax-free areas.  Five businesses have made the promise to move to Buffalo:

1. Simply Natural Clothing: organic clothing store to be located at Canisius’ Women’s Business Center

2.  GradFly: online platform for Engineering students to share projects to be located at Buffalo Niagara Medical Center

3.  ID Federator: tool to help users manage online identity and passwords

4.  Illuminating Diagnostics: a biotech startup that will provide rapid diagnostic tests to hospitals, to be located in the Biosciences Incubator

5.  Nuenz: startup that will make high tech ceramics used in aerospace, automotive, defense, energy, and industrial markets.

 

Year Over Year Price Changes

Year Over Year Price Changes

How have home prices done between this year and last?  Check out the price change percentages by regions and by states below.  It seems as though markets in the West and South have seen the most change, while Eastern and New England states have seen more steady prices over the past year.

 

Selling Your Home in 2015: Five Resolutions

If you’re considering selling your home in 2015, you should know that a lot has probably changed in the real estate market since you last sold. Knowing what works today — and resolving to put the tips and advice of the past to rest — will help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

1) Appeal to mobile buyers

Today nearly all home searches begin on a smartphone or tablet — not on the Web, and not using the newspaper.

If you want to get the right kind of buyer activity on your home, you need to make sure that you optimize your listing and your photos for mobile devices. If you use the tips and tricks of a generation past, you may miss out on today’s generation of buyers.

2) Be ready to separate your “home” from your “investment”

Many sellers make the mistake of letting their emotions get the best of them. Selling a home is not like selling a used car — it holds memories and occupies a special place in your heart.

When it comes time to sell, however, it’s important to realize that your home is also an investment. Being able to change your homeowner hat to your investor hat is crucial.

If you are too sentimentally attached to your home, you may reject a good price or fail to negotiate with a serious buyer. Don’t let your emotions sabotage your sale.

3) Don’t list your home until you’re serious about selling

Many homeowners think they’re ready to sell, but they haven’t fully gone through the emotional process of the decision. Do you have a place to go if you sell? Have you fully cleaned and de-cluttered your home? Have you taken your agent’s advice on staging and pricing?

Many sellers list their home before they are truly ready to sell, only to shoot themselves in the foot by overpricing it or not presenting it to the market in its best possible light.

4) Don’t hire just any agent

The agent you used to purchase the home 15 years ago may seem like the logical choice for listing your home this time around. But are they really the best option?

With access to so much information online and so much at stake, sellers should talk to a few agents before committing. Get a referral from someone who recently sold, and use online resources to research agents’ sales activity and expertise.

The right agent makes all the difference and if you have any doubt about an agent’s abilities, hold off on establishing a relationship.

5) Make the best impression online

Nothing frustrates an active and aggressive buyer more than getting an email or mobile notification alert for a new property listing only to get to the listing and not see any photos.

Buyer first impressions today are on the Internet. If you list your home without complete information — including photos, description and accurate data — not only will you turn them off, but they may simply not come back later.

Do You Fit the Mold for a Traditional First Time Homebuyer?

Do You Fit the Mold for a Traditional First Time Homebuyer?

There are many people sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if they should purchase a home or sign a rental lease. Some might wonder if it makes sense to purchase a house before they are married and have a family. Others may think they are too young. And still others might think their current income would never enable them to qualify for a mortgage.

We want to share what the typical first time homebuyer actually looks like based on theNational Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Here are some interesting revelations on the first time buyer:

First Time Homebuyers Profile | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

You may not be much different than many people who have already purchased their first home.

Cut Insurance Costs, Not Coverage

From Zillow.com:

For most products, saving money means lowering your expectations. For example, you can significantly reduce the price of a laptop by dialing back on the processor you want, making do with less RAM or living without a top-of-the-line dedicated graphics card.

But home insurance isn’t like most products. You needn’t sacrifice the quality of your coverage to save money on your premium.

Follow these five tips and you can shave big dollars off your bill without weakening the protection for what’s likely your largest investment.

Shop your coverage

Don’t let your current provider take you for granted. Shop your coverage at least once a year to see if you can find a better deal. You might be surprised at the difference in the quotes.

Be sure that coverage and limits are the same across the board in all the policies you compare. Pay particular attention to each policy’s dwelling coverage limit. It should be enough to rebuild your house from the ground up if it is destroyed by a covered peril. That’s not the same as the price you paid for the house, or the amount you could get by selling it.

One easy way to determine your dwelling coverage is by multiplying the square footage of your home by local building costs. Don’t know those costs? A home insurance calculator can help you estimate the amount of coverage you need.

In addition, make sure the insurance companies you consider are reputable. Each should be rated at least ‘Excellent’ or better for financial stability by A.M. Best Company. Check with family members, friends or neighbors to find someone who has experience with whatever company you choose. Paying lower premiums is no bargain if the customer service falls short.

Bundle your policies

Most home insurance carriers sell car insurance, and most auto insurance providers sell home coverage. In many cases, you’ll get a price break — sometimes up to 20 percent — if you purchase both coverages from the same company. You also can get a discount if you purchase boat or RV coverage from your home insurance provider.

Look for discounts

Another way to lower your payments is to take advantage of discounts offered by home insurance providers. These discounts vary by state and provider, so make sure you work that into your comparison when shopping for insurance online.

Use a discount comparison tool or ask your agent whether you should be getting the benefit of the following discounts:

  • New home. If your home was built within the past 10 years, you could save up to 20 percent on your premiums.
  • Claims free. Haven’t filed a claim in 10 years? You could receive a price break of up to 20 percent.
  • Security systems. If you’ve installed a monitored home security system, you could receive a discount of up to 10 percent.
  • 55 or older, and retired. You could save up to 20 percent on home insurance premiums for your primary residence.
  • Smoke detectors. Most houses have them these days, and they can win you a discount of up to 5 percent.
  • Deadbolt locks. Again, you probably already have these. Make sure your insurance carrier knows it, and you could get 5 percent off your premiums.

Raise your deductible

Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay toward a home insurance claim. In general, the higher you set your deductible, the lower your premiums will be.

It’s important to keep that deductible at an amount you can afford if you have to file a claim – you won’t get financial help from your insurer until you meet your deductible.

Depending on what your deductible is now and how much you increase it, you could save up to 15 percent annually by taking this step. This won’t affect your coverage – just your monthly bill.

Improve your credit score

Home insurance providers base your premiums on the risk they believe you present. Certain aspects of your credit score help predict your likelihood of filing a claim. The better your credit score, the lower your home insurance premiums.

This is a longer-term play, but it is one of the most lucrative because it has benefits that transcend home insurance. Improving your credit score means you could also get better rates for your mortgage, car loan and credit cards.

How? Watch your debt, and pay it down as quickly as you can. Use a variety of credit, and don’t miss payments. Generally, just be a smart consumer and live within your means.

Following these suggestions can help you substantially reduce how much you’re paying for home insurance – without touching your coverage. You don’t want to save money at the expense of putting your home and family at greater risk. Luckily, you don’t have to.