Here’s the 411 on PMI (private mortgage insurance)

Here’s the 411 on PMI (private mortgage insurance)

While experienced home buyers might know the thought process behind private mortgage insurance — commonly referred to as PMI — first-time homeowners might be new to the term and have no idea what it is or why it’s needed. So, here’s the 411 on PMI.

If you’re purchasing a home and your downpayment is less than 20% of the purchase price, your mortgage lender will require private mortgage insurance. Very simply, PMI protects the lender in the event that you can no longer make your mortgage payment. The cost for PMI is rolled into your monthly mortgage payment and automatically goes away once you’ve built up equity of 20% in your home.

Nationally, the average downpayment on a home last year was 13%, which means there are a lot of homeowners required to carry PMI. The overall cost of the policy is based on your loan-to-value ratio and typically costs anywhere from $30 to $70 per month.

We hope that helps clear up the issue of PMI and why it’s required, but if you have additional questions or concerns, please contact The Olear Team today!

Good news and bad news for mansion owners

Good news and bad news for mansion owners

If you’re lucky enough to own a mansion in New York State, we have some good news and some bad news for you.

First, the good news: You own a mansion! That must feel great. Congratulations!

Now the bad news: New York State is increasing both the transfer tax and the mansion tax when these multi-million dollar properties are being sold.

Now more good news: Currently, these tax increases are only taking place in cities where the population exceeds one million people. In other words, it’s only impacting the five boroughs of New York City. In case you’re wondering, the population of cities like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse are all well under 300,000.

Now more bad news: That could always change to include more cities with smaller populations. The state is in debt and needs more revenue streams.

Our advice: Enjoy your mansion. But if you’re thinking of selling, please give The Olear Team a call today!

Home-sharing regulations are coming to a neighborhood near you

Home-sharing regulations are coming to a neighborhood near you

It’s hard to believe that the home-sharing company Airbnb launched more than 10 years ago! Whether we’re talking about the average homeowner renting out a single room, an apartment above the garage or their entire house, to large scale property managers booking apartments and condos for short-term use, home-sharing has very quickly become a multi-billion dollar industry.

And while Airbnb might have the most name recognition, there are now plenty of competitors on the market such as, HomeToGo, FlipKey, HomeAway, HouseTrip and VayStays.

As you might expect, municipalities are now taking steps to protect both sides of the home-sharing equation — individuals renting out their property on a short-term basis and those looking for an alternative to a hotel stay.

In Western New York, two of our larger municipalities, Buffalo and Amherst, are rolling out new regulations for residents who might be looking to make a buck by renting out their property through home-sharing services.

Among the new regulations, hosts would be required to register their property with their municipality, pay special fees associated with being a rental property, undergo additional safety inspections, obtain short-term rental certification and be subjected to additional taxes.

Done correctly, the home-sharing experience can be a win-win for both the property owner and the consumer seeking a comfortable or convenient place to stay on a short-term basis. But before you decide to put your toe into the home-sharing waters, you should do your homework and contact both town/city and county officials to see what regulations are in place in your community. For more information, please contact The Olear Team today.

How to Get Your House Ready to Sell – Part 2

How to Get Your House Ready to Sell – Part 2

In part two of our video series “How to Get Your House Ready to Sell,” James Conley talk about Absorption Rate.

Absorption Rate – Don’t get left wet

  1. What is an absorption rate?
  2. When is a market fair between buyers and sellers?
  3. How does this affect my sales price? 
  4. How does this affect how long it takes to sell my house?
  5. Pricing Strategy – should you price your home realistically, or is it okay to be more aggressive?
  6. When should I find out about the absorption rate for my home?


How to Get Your House Ready to Sell – Part 1

How to Get Your House Ready to Sell – Part 1

One of the many conversation we have with out clients is “How to get your House Ready to Sell.” In part of one of this series, we talk about the best one thing to do to get your house ready to sell.

In the video Michael Olear discusses the one thing he tells most sellers to do when he discusses how to get your house ready to sell. In WNY most people use their side door or rear door to enter or leave their house. However, most homes we’re built with front entry in mind and this is the best method of entry when selling a house.

Old metro newspapers laying around, spider webs, holidays lights, dirt and worn out paint are all detriments. Be sure to freshen up / paint the door, trim and clean up as well.

A buyers first impression begins here, so it’s critical to start off on a positive note. NAR cost vs benefit study identifies the front entry as always returning over 100% of investment.

Watch part 1 of our video series with Michael Olear below:


Spring home seller seminar planned for March 16th

Spring home seller seminar planned for March 16th

Michael Olear, a licensed real estate broker from The Olear Team at MJ Peterson Real Estate, will host a spring home seller seminar at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 16, in the Hyatt Place-Amherst, 5020 Main St., Amherst.

Topics to be covered include:

  • How to achieve maximum value in the shortest period of time.
  • Selling your house “as is.”
  • Stimulating multiple offers.
  • How to sell and buy at the same time.
  • What upgrades give you the highest return on investment.
  • How to obtain bridge financing.
  • Items a home inspector look will look at.
  • How do you make sure your buyer is qualified.

Light refreshments will be served. To reserve a seat, please call 880-4442 or email [email protected].