Rochester Area Real Estate Blog


Oct. 18, 2018

What Design Elements are Important when Considering Multi-Generational Living?

Special attention to the following design elements should be kept in mind when considering multi-generational living.

1.    Doorways / Openings – Modern homes are typically built with 30” or 32” doors, consider providing easier accessibility throughout the first floor by enlarging the doors to 34” or 36” doors. Door swings should also be given attention (especially when increasing the size of the door) some designs can be enhanced by replacing swing doors with a pocket door or barn door.  Focus also on hallways and openings within the home, many builders and architects reduce the width and length of hallways to keep the build cost / square footage down. Wider hallways provide an attractive aesthetic that also includes simple accessibility with a walker or wheelchair. Hallways can also be multipurpose if considered early in the design process. A fantastic example of this would be an alcove within a hallway with a built-in desk that could be used as a pocket office. Don’t forget the Overhead Garage Door. Enlarging the garage door to 18 feet wide will provide easier access into the garage, it will also provide more free space between the vehicles enhancing the accessibility for passengers exiting the vehicles.

2.    Thresholds / Steps – Reduce steps and thresholds at the entrances to the home by replacing front lead walks steps with ramped front lead walks. This can easily be done by the landscaper / hardscape installer by bringing in some additional fill material to raise the grade. The goal is to ramp the lead walk so that it is flush with the front door stoop. The front door stoop can also be raised by the builder. This should be considered before the home starts construction because the foundation needs to be raised at the front door area and special framing needs to be designed into the plan to meet the building code. The threshold from the garage floor into the home can also be reduced or ramped if considered early in the design process. Roll-in showers are also becoming very popular for multi-generational homes. A roll-in shower has no threshold to step or trip over while entering or exiting the shower stall. This needs to be considered in the planning stage because the shower pan is actually built down into the floor joist system (typically 3” to 4” below the bathrooms finished floor level).

3.    First-Floor Bedroom Suite – A master bedroom should be designed directly into the original build. If the family does not have an immediate need for a first-floor bedroom, this space can be repurposed as a family room, game room, music room, study or playroom.

4.    Hard Surface Flooring – Type of flooring should be carefully considered especially on the first floor of a multi-generational homes.  Carpets reduce mobility when using a walker or wheel chair. When carpet is used, consider a low pile or commercial style product.

5.    Small Details – Consider the small details when building a multi-generational home. Replacing items like doorknobs with lever handles and standard light switches with decorator push switches can make life much easier and comfortable for family members with arthritis or loss of strength or muscle control. Consideration should be made to have the homebuilder install solid blocking for grab bars and future railings.




If someone wanted to find a house with an in-law suite is it easier to add on to an existing home or build new?


When considering the addition of an in-law suite the first question that is often considered is should I add to my existing home or build a new home. You must first define what the term in-law means as it pertains to your needs. Everyone has their own definition of the term in-law, from the very basic first floor bedroom and bathroom all the way to an additional small home on the same homesite. When defining your needs, you should consider the following items, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, do you need a kitchen or kitchenette, living room, dining room, separate entrance, foyer, laundry room, garage space, access to the basement, separate utility meters and appliances. 

You can save money by sharing some common areas like laundry rooms, sharing a basement stair from a shared mudroom, and sharing garage space. Another way to save a lot of money is to build an in-law in the basement level of the home. Considering this space is already in place, it lends itself to be the most affordable method of adding an in-law.

Another item that must be considered when building or adding an in-law is zoning and the building envelope of the homesite.  Most homes in neighborhoods are zoned R-1 (Residential - 1 Unit) what this means is you can only have one residential unit per lot. Once you add an in-law with a kitchen, bedroom, and bath you have turned the home a multi-family home. Some towns are stricter than others on how they define the code and zoning. Some towns will approve a variance to add an in-law while other towns will not. A building envelope is the space on the lot that is approved to build structure.  When a developer submits community site plans to the town zoning board for approvals, they outline the front, side and rear setbacks of each building lot. These setbacks create what becomes the building envelope, the entire structure of the home must fit within this space.

Last and not least is the risk of over improvement. Adding an addition to a home in certain neighborhoods can be a very poor investment. All of the equity that you invest in the project might be lost if the neighborhood is unable to support your investment. It is advised to consult with a local real estate professional on how the plans for an addition might affect their resale value.



If a parent wants to purchase a home for an adult child what type of home should they look for?

When advising my clients on the purchase of a home for an adult child we typically focus our search on new homes or homes that have been properly updated. Low maintenance is the goal here, the most difficult factor of homeownership is keeping up with the maintenance. With a new home or a home that was extensively updated, a homeowner can enjoy (20-25) years of carefree living. When available in the clients target market, townhomes or condominiums can afford the leisure of low maintenance living though the Home Owners Association (HOA). The HOA collects a monthly fee that is used to pay a property management company to provide grounds and exterior building maintenance in most townhouse and condominium communities.

At what stage of the buying process should you engage a Realtor such as yourself?

The sooner you are able to bring a local real estate expert into the process the better. This will enable them to help you create the proper timeline and explain the process in more detail. A true professional will also be able to provide priceless resources and help you avoid costly pitfalls.

When you see a client “downsize” are they actually lowering expenses?

In my experience, many of the clients I work with do not experience the savings they expect when downsizing. The first reason is that many do not end up downsizing their new home. Here is an example…the clients have lived in a 2,300 square foot 4-bedroom 2-story home and now are empty nesters.  They decide to downsize and look for the luxury of 1 story living after exploring what they need in their new home they end up buying a 2,300 square foot ranch.

The second reason is that many “downsize” buyers see this home as their last home purchase and they want it built with all luxury items like granite countertops, high end cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and hardwood floors throughout. 

Last reason is that in many cases the cost of building a new home or finding a smaller home that is well maintained has increased at a higher rate than an existing larger home. An example; a 4,300 SQFT estate home built in 1993 for $415,000 sells on today’s market for $505,000. The price of a new 2,200 SQFT ranch in the same town now sells for $512,000. The client experiences zero savings for nearly reducing the size of their home by half and to add insult to injury also experiences a higher tax burden because the taxes for the new ranch are assessed at the purchase price of $512,000 as where their existing home was assessed at $452,000.


Is it possible to make a home more accessible while adding property value?

The majority of home improvements that provide better accessibility to a home will not carry over to adding monitory value to the home, these upgrades however do provide additional marketability to a home and might help get the home sold quicker. Remember that you are installing these upgrades to provide a better quality of life for the person using them and you can never put a price on that. 



Oct. 15, 2018

5 Awesome Reasons to Sell during Fall in Rochester, NY

Well, we're finally experiencing Fall in Rochester, NY. We were getting some super hot weather there at the end of the summer that made me think we're getting Florida weather!  But regardless, we all made it and now we have shorter days and cooler nights to look forward to...until the snow flies!

So now if you've been weighing whether now is a good time to sell your house, we've got 5 solid reasons why Fall is a great time to put your house on the market.

1. Less Competition - Typically, listing your home in the Spring means more competition because more people list their homes in the Spring, hence the term "Spring Market".  You've heard of it, right?  Well, listing your home in the Spring means you're going to be up against the largest numbers of comparable listings.  By putting your home up for sale in the Fall, you'll have less competition.  

2. More Serious Buyer Pool - Yes, that Spring Market brings out more buyers, but with the aforementioned competition, they can afford to be more picky AKA extend their search for months.  Come Fall, more serious buyers will be feeling the pressure to be in a new home before the holidays or bad weather hits.


3. Different Buyer Demographics - While families are more likely to make their move in the spring, millennials and empty-nesters typically find great real estate later in the fall and that's not all.  To avoid a crazy real estate market, employers who need to relocate employees often wait for the fall, when the market cools down.  These out-of-towners will probably need to work through the process quickly, which could mean a quick closing.

4. Awesome Curb Appeal - Besides cleaning your gutters and raking the leaves out of your yard, there isn't a whole lot of maintenance or upkeep required of your home during the fall months.  Combine with the comfortable temperatures and the many holidays at this time of the year, and you have the recipe for lots of curb appeal for your home.  Add some seasonal decorations, a few touch-ups here and there, and your house will sell itself!  No driving yourself nutty trying to get the greenest lawn in the neighborhood or shoveling tons of snow before showings start.

5. Home for the Holidays - Buy or sell early in the fall and you could be living in your new home for the holidays and before the harsh weather starts.  Another thought, moving during the "calmer" months also means you may have better access to movers and other necessary resources than during the busier spring and summer months.



Posted in Home Sellers
Sept. 18, 2018

Park Ave Pop Up Walking Tour


We are very excited to share that our building will be part of the Park Ave Pop-Up Walking Tour with the Landmark Society of WNY this Wednesday evening.

Hurry, because tickets are going fast!  Your $25 ticket also gets you apps and drink specials at The Hideaway after the tour.  All proceeds support neighborhood efforts to create a historic district.

March 19, 2018

2018 Rochester Polar Plunge

On February 11, 2018, NORCHAR Real Estate, participated in our 4th Polar Plunge.  We love supporting local events and we strongly believe raising funds to support and send athletes to participate in the Special Olympics is very worthwhile and gratifying!  


Rochester Polar Plunge took place at Ontario Beach Park in Rochester, NY.  We plunged at 12pm.  It was an incredible time.  We loved spending time together and also making new friends!


We are very proud to have raised close to $3000 for this wonderful event!




Nov. 1, 2017


1st Friday Art Show Rochester NY

Opening night was a complete hit. Don't miss your chance to meet & mingle with these talented local artists this Friday 11/3/2017 from 6PM to 9PM. At NORCHAR Real Estate 389 Park Ave.

Let's hang out, eat some snacks, drink some mulled wine, and admire the beauty. Good times Guaranteed!

Oct. 28, 2017

The Park Ave Pig is HOME

THANK YOU ROCHESTER!!!  Wilbur is home!  We received a call this afternoon from the Rochester Police letting us know that our pig was recovered and sitting in the Public Safety Building for pickup.

Thank you so much for everyone who shared our post, commented, and called our office.  The power of social media and concerned citizens are a formidable force and we are still in awe of the outpouring of support and love.  Rochester is a big city, but yesterday we felt like we had thousands of neighbors looking out for us!

We really appreciate the news teams of 13 WHAMWHEC 10, WROC 8, WXXI, Democrat and Chronicle, ROC60, and Kimberly and Beck - Radio 95.1 for your news coverage and support.  Thank you Ashley Edlund, Tanner Jubenville, and Victoria Freile for contacting us and taking the time to report our story.  Thank you Park Ave Merchants and the Springut Group for working so quickly to spread the news and reinforcing why Park Ave is the best place for a local business.  Also a huge thank you and appreciation for the 311 operators and the Rochester Police Dept. for their quick response, communication, and friendly service!

Where was Wilbur?  We will never know for sure, but he did spend some time in a dumpster at the Mt. Hope Distillery.  Details are scarce, but we are pretty sure Wilbur was found last night in a trash bag in a bush on Park Avenue.  The wonderful person who found him called the police and Wilbur was picked up.

What became of the pig trio who stole him and ripped up our porch at 389 Park Ave?  We may never know, but when we unwrapped Wilbur this note fell out.

"We're so sorry!  We were very intoxicated!  Sorry for the trouble."


Well, we may never meet these three individuals, but we know one or more of them felt remorse for their actions.  The most important part is that Wilbur is back on Park Ave where he belongs.  So please feel free to stop by and see him in his rightful home!




Oct. 28, 2017

Trio goes hog wild: Pig statue stolen from Park Avenue business

Trio goes hog wild: Pig statue stolen from Park Avenue business

Oct. 3, 2017

NORCHAR presents Roc First Friday!

Do you know how to make Fridays even more awesome?  Stop by our office for First Friday!  We are most fortunate to host local art on our walls at 389 Park.  

So we would love it if you could stop by this Friday, October 6th, from 6-9pm.  Let's hang out, eat some snacks, drink wine, and admire the beauty created by fine local artists!  You'll have a great time, promise.



May 4, 2017

Roc First Friday + Cinco De Cinco

Listen up Rochester!  You do not want to miss our First Friday/Cinco de Mayo fiesta on 5/5/17 starting at 6pm!  We are featuring the stunning work of local Rochester artists!  So come out, support local, & meet some interesting people and your local expert realtors, NORCHAR!  

May 2, 2017

Greece, NY Shuffleboard Broker Open

Join Us for a Broker Open at 152 Blue Aspen Way in Greece, NY!  We have lunch, beverages, and a shuffleboard tournament happening from 12-3pm on Thursday May 4th.  Come and check out this gorgeous home!