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COVID-19 Update – Model Homes are Open!

Weston Model Home - Front Elevation - Spencer's Landing

An update on Construction:

We have officially re-opened our Model Homes/Sales Centers! We are very excited to meet with customers again (with safety protocols in place) and show off the quality craftsmanship that goes into every Belmonte home.

Your safety and the safety of our staff are of the utmost importance. We will adhere to New York State’s stringent guidelines for residential construction including the following safety protocols for our model homes:

Model Home Visit Protocols:

  • Only one “client” is allowed in the Model Home/Sales Center at a time. “Client” is not limited to one person; it can include family members.
  • Clients must pass the “wellness check” (no symptoms) before entering (sign is posted at door).
  • Face coverings are required. Bring your own or one will be be provided on-site.
  • Social distancing (6′ distance) is required at all times.
  • Appointments are recommended. Walk-ins are welcome but may have a wait if an appointment is scheduled for the same time.

Model Home Cleaning Protocols:

  • In between showings, staff will clean and disinfect any contact surfaces that may have been touched as well as any high-touch surfaces (e.g. handrails, doorknobs, etc.).
  • Belmonte staff will strictly adhere to hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) and maintain cleaning logs on-site that document date, time, and scope of cleaning.
  • Belmonte will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations for office staff and clients in each model home, including handwashing with soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.

Our Corporate Office and Design Center staff are continuing to work remotely at this time, and are available via phone and email. If you’d like to set-up an appointment to tour one of our award-winning model homes, please contact the community’s sales manager. Our sales centers/model homes will be open by appointment only.  Contact the community sales manager to schedule a time to tour the model home or to set up a virtual tour. Click here for individual community contact information.

We are excited to be back up and running and are looking forward to when we can have all of our offices open to the public!

Belmonte Builders Design Center

Design Center & Office Staff

Although our field is back to work, our main office will remain working from home.  Please utilize the same methods of contact as you have over the past several weeks to reach us.

Warranty Services

Warranty Services

We will continue to offer warranty services as needed, however, for non-emergency interior items please be aware that for your safety and that of our staff, there may be a delay in scheduling repairs until COVID-19 concerns have subsided.

COVID-19 Update on Construction

Belmonte Builders Covid-19 Update

An update on Construction:

We hope that you’ve heard the good news residential construction has been allowed to get back to work as of May 20, 2020.  We are very excited to complete the homes we have in process and begin the work on those that have been delayed because of the pandemic.

Many of you may have questions on your schedule going forward.  We are pleased to share that although only one worker was allowed in a home at a time, that was often enough for us to continue the work on homes that were through the framing stage.  Our field crew has worked very hard to maintain the schedules of these homes, and will work diligently to make up any lost time for the remainder of their construction. We will continue to do our best.  We appreciate your patience as we work on completing your home.

The safety of you and our team is the most important thing to remember as we re-open. New York State has provided stringent guidelines regarding the safety protocols that must be adhered to in order for us to continue our work.  You will notice that each home under construction has an information board that contains our safety protocol, a sign that provides visual reinforcement regarding this protocol, a copy of the affirmation stating we have certified to abide by the NYS guidelines, and a sign that states only authorized personnel are permitted to enter the site.  Authorized personnel include our trade contractors, delivery people, municipal inspectors, and our employees.  If you would like a tour of your home, please contact your site superintendent to schedule a visit.  All safety protocols must be followed, so please bring a mask and hand sanitizer or wipes with you for your personal use.

As always, you are welcome to contact Julie DeRossi or your site superintendent with any specific questions.   We are excited to be moving back into full swing.

-Pete Belmonte

Weston Showcase of Homes, 4 BR, 3 BA Master Down - Elevation C

Sales Centers/Model Homes

Our sales centers/model homes will be open by appointment only.  Contact the community sales manager to schedule a time to tour the model home or to set up a virtual tour. Click here for  individual community contact information.

Belmonte Builders Design Center

Design Center & Office Staff

Although our field is back to work, our main office will remain working from home until Phase 2 administrative staffers are permitted to return.  Please utilize the same methods of contact as you have over the past several weeks to reach us.

Supply Chain

Supply Chain

We are not aware of any issues with supply but it is likely that at some point there may be delays in our material deliveries.   We will do our best to keep each project on schedule and/or regain lost time due to these delays.

Warranty Services

Warranty Services

We will continue to offer warranty services as needed, however, for non-emergency interior items please be aware that for your safety and that of our staff, there may be a delay in scheduling repairs until COVID-19 concerns have subsided.

Will the Housing Market Turn Around This Year?

KCM - Housing Market Recovery

Today, many people are asking themselves if they should buy or sell a home in 2020. Some have shifted their plans or put them on hold over the past couple of months, and understandably so. Everyone seems to be wondering if the market is going to change and when the economy will turn around. If you’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen and how to play your cards this year, you’re not alone.

This spring in the 2020 NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been tracking the behavior changes of homebuyers and sellers. In a reaction to their most recent survey, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, noted the beginnings of a turn in the market:

“After a pause, home sellers are gearing up to list their properties with the reopening of the economy…Plenty of buyers also appear ready to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and the stability that comes with these locked-in monthly payments into future years.”

What does the survey indicate about sellers?

Sellers are positioning themselves to make moves this year. More than 3 in 4 potential sellers are preparing to sell their homes once stay-at-home orders are lifted and they feel more confident, which means more homes will start to be available for interested buyers.Will the Housing Market Turn Around This Year? | MyKCM

Just this week, Zillow also reported an uptick in listings, which is great news for the health of the market:

“The number of new for-sale listings overall has shown improvement, up 5.9% last week from the previous week. New listings of the most-expensive homes…are now seeing the biggest resurgence, up 8%. The uptick is likely a sign sellers are feeling more confident because of improving buyer demand, as newly pending sales have also jumped up during the same period.”

What does the survey note about buyers?

The recent pandemic has clearly impacted buyer preferences, showing:

  • 5% of the respondents said buyers are shifting their focus from urban to suburban areas.
  • 1 in 8 Realtors report changes in desired home features, with home offices, bigger yards, and more space for their families becoming increasingly important.
  • Only 17% said buyers stopped looking due to concerns about their employment or loss of a job.

As we’ve mentioned before, buyer demand is strong right now, and many are simply waiting for more inventory to become available so they can make a move, especially as the country begins to reopen.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, there’s a good chance an eager buyer is looking for a home just like yours.

How to Test-Drive a Neighborhood While Sheltering in Place

How to test drive a neighborhood infographic

When you’re in the market for a new home, finding the right neighborhood is everything. But in our current state, with shelter-in-place orders in place, checking out neighborhoods can be a little more challenging. But with some online detective work and the right tools, you can learn a lot about a neighborhood without leaving your home.

  • Staying at home doesn’t mean your search for a new place needs to come to a standstill.
  • Check out these tips on how to explore other neighborhoods virtually in the homebuying process. You may find a spot that better suits your needs without ever leaving your living room!
  • If you’re looking at one of our communities, connect with our sales managers.  They are happy to answer any questions you may have and can even take you on a virtual trip around our models and neighborhoods using Facetime or your preferred app.

What If I Need to Sell My Home Now? What Can I Do?

What to do if you need to sell your home now.

Every day that passes, people have a need to buy and sell homes. That doesn’t stop during the current pandemic. If you’ve had a major life change recently, whether with your job or your family situation, you may be in a position where you need to sell your home – and fast. While you probably feel like timing with the current pandemic isn’t on your side, making a move is still possible. Rest assured, with technology at your side and fewer sellers on the market in most areas, you can list your house and still make it happen safely, especially when following the current COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

You may have a new baby, a new employment situation, a parent who moved in with you, you just built a home that’s finally ready to move into, or some other major part of your life that has changed in recent weeks. Buyers have those needs too, so rest assured that someone is likely looking for a home just like yours.

According to the NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse taken April 5 – 6, real estate agents indicate, not surprisingly, that there’s a noticeable decline in current homebuyer interest. That said, 10% of agents said in the same survey that they saw no change or even an increase in buyer activity. So, while buyer interest is low compared to normal spring markets, there are still buyers in the market. Don’t forget, you only need one buyer – the right one for your home.

Here’s the other thing – people are spending a lot of time on the Internet right now, given the stay-at-home orders implemented across the country. Buyers are actively looking at homes for sale online. Some of them are reaching out to real estate professionals for virtual tours and getting ready to make offers too. Homes are being sold in many markets.

There Is Less Competition Right Now

The same survey indicates that 56% of NAR members said sellers are removing their homes from the market right now. This can definitely work in your favor. If other sellers are removing their listings, your home has a better chance of rising to the top of a buyer’s search list and being seen. Keep in mind, listings will pick up again soon, as 57% of the respondents note that sellers are only planning to delay the process by a couple of months. If you need to sell right now, don’t wait for the competition to get back into the market again.

This year, delayed listings from the typically busy spring season will push into the summer months, so more competition will be coming to the market as the pandemic passes. Getting ahead of that wave now might be your biggest opportunity.

A Real Estate Advisor Can Help

Real estate agents are working hard every single day under untraditional circumstances, utilizing technology to help both buyers and sellers who need to continue with their plans.  Using virtual tours to show homes currently on the market, they are staying connected with the buyers and sellers through video chats, and leveraging resources to complete transactions electronically.

Bottom Line

Homes are still being bought and sold in the midst of this pandemic. If you need to sell your house and would like to know the current status in our local market, you can work with a real estate agent to create a safe and effective plan that works for you and your family.

5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time

With all of the volatility in the stock market and uncertainty about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), some are concerned we may be headed for another housing crash like the one we experienced from 2006-2008. The feeling is understandable. Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at the real estate consulting firm Meyers Research, addressed this point in a recent interview:

“With people having PTSD from the last time, they’re still afraid of buying at the wrong time.”

There are many reasons, however, indicating this real estate market is nothing like 2008. Here are five visuals to show the dramatic differences.

1. Mortgage standards are nothing like they were back then.

During the housing bubble, it was difficult NOT to get a mortgage. Today, it is tough to qualify. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association releases a Mortgage Credit Availability Index which is “a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.” The higher the index, the easier it is to get a mortgage. As shown below, during the housing bubble, the index skyrocketed. Currently, the index shows how getting a mortgage is even more difficult than it was before the bubble.5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

2. Prices are not soaring out of control.

Below is a graph showing annual house appreciation over the past six years, compared to the six years leading up to the height of the housing bubble. Though price appreciation has been quite strong recently, it is nowhere near the rise in prices that preceded the crash.5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCMThere’s a stark difference between these two periods of time. Normal appreciation is 3.6%, so while current appreciation is higher than the historic norm, it’s certainly not accelerating beyond control as it did in the early 2000s.

3. We don’t have a surplus of homes on the market. We have a shortage.

The months’ supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale in 2007, and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory which is causing an acceleration in home values.5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

4. Houses became too expensive to buy.

The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, the wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Fourteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased and the mortgage rate is about 3.5%. That means the average family pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then. Here’s a graph showing that difference:5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCM

5. People are equity rich, not tapped out.

In the run-up to the housing bubble, homeowners were using their homes as a personal ATM machine. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up, and they learned their lesson in the process. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over fifty percent of homes in the country having greater than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time. Here is a table comparing the equity withdrawal over the last three years compared to 2005, 2006, and 2007. Homeowners have cashed out over $500 billion dollars less than before:5 Simple Graphs Proving This Is NOT Like the Last Time | MyKCMDuring the crash, home values began to fall, and sellers found themselves in a negative equity situation (where the amount of the mortgage they owned was greater than the value of their home). Some decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area. That can’t happen today.

Bottom Line

If you’re concerned we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, take a look at the charts and graphs above to help alleviate your fears.

Belmonte COVID-19 Business Update

Belmonte Builders Covid-19 Update

A message to our Customers and Industry Partners:

By now I’m sure you have all been watching closely as the world is changing rapidly around us, and wondering how this may impact our lives and our businesses going forward. Belmonte Builders will do its best to continue business as usual while keeping the safety of our staff, customers and industry partners of utmost importance.   We are implementing the following measures:

Weston Showcase of Homes, 4 BR, 3 BA Master Down - Elevation C

Sales Centers/Model Homes

Our sales centers/model homes will be open by appointment only.  Contact the community sales manager to schedule a time to tour the model home or to set up a virtual tour. Click here for  individual community contact information.

Belmonte Builders Design Center

Design Center

Our design center will be open by appointment only.  Many selections can be done through alternate methods that will not require personal meetings. Every effort will be made to utilize those methods.

Peter Belmonte

Office Staffing

It is our intention to keep our office staffed to fully support our field efforts.   To keep our employees as safe as possible, we are implementing a by appointment only format.  Our office entrance will remain locked.  We ask that you call the main number (518-371-1000) if you need to arrange for personal assistance.

Supply Chain

Supply Chain

We are not aware of any issues with supply but it is likely that at some point there may be delays in our material deliveries.   We will do our best to keep each project on schedule and/or regain lost time due to these delays.

Warranty Services

Warranty Services

We will continue to offer warranty services as needed, however, for non-emergency interior items please be aware that for your safety and that of our staff, there may be a delay in scheduling repairs until COVID-19 concerns have subsided.

New Home Permits on the Rise

NEW HOME PERMITS ON THE RISE

Single-family building permits rise to a 12-year high

If you’ve been following what’s happening in the current housing market, you’ve probably seen how the lack of newly constructed homes has caused a shortage of housing inventory available to buyers. Another reason is that the inventory of existing homes for sale has been shrinking. The national inventory of homes for sale at the end of December was 1.4 million, down 15% from November and a drop of 8.5% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Bill McBride of Calculated Risk further noted,

“Inventory always decreases sharply in December as people take their homes off the market for the holidays. However, based on the data I’ve collected, this was the lowest level for inventory in at least three decades (the previous low was 1.43 million in December 1993).”

There is some good news on the horizon.

The number of building permits issued for single-family homes is the best indicator of how many newly built homes will begin to come to market over the next few months. According to the latest (January 2020) U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Residential Construction Report, the number of building permits increased nationally 9.2% increase from December 2019 and 18% higher than January 2019. In the Northeast, the % increase in building permits is even higher at close to 36% to last year.

National New Residential Trends_Jan 2020New inventory means more options. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explained how this is good news for the housing market – especially for those looking to buy:

“Mortgage rates near record lows and a strong jobs market can’t help buyers find a property if there aren’t enough homes to go around. More construction will mean more housing inventory for consumers in the later months of this year…Spring months could still be quite tough for buyers since it takes time to convert housing starts into actual housing completions. As trade-up buyers move into these newly completed homes in the near future, their existing homes will be released onto the market.”

 

New Year – New Incentives!

Spend More and Save Even More Promotion

Take advantage of a $500 discount for every $10,000 of in upgrades & options when you sign a contract on a pre-sale home in any of these Belmonte new home neighborhoods:

Save when you on options & upgrades like these:

Concord - Open Concept Ranch

Dress up your Great Room with hardwood floors & an elegant coffered ceiling.

Sun room addition - Belmonte Homes

Add more flexible living space to your home with a Screen Porch or Sun Room.

Upgraded Staircase

Make a great  first impression with an eye-catching staircase in your Entry Foyer.

Frameless Shower Door

Upgrade your Master Bath with a transom window, ceramic tile & frameless shower door.

Build Your Dream Home in 2020

New Year - New Home -2020

Great New Year's Resolutions to Help You Build a New Home in 2020!

Many New Year’s resolutions fail because they are made “in the moment” and without a realistic plan to see them through. Proper planning and a commitment are key to achieving any significant goal – – no matter what the time of year. And that especially holds true for building a new home! To help you get your ducks in a row, we compiled a few manageable New Year’s resolutions to help you plan for & get the new home you want.

#1: Figure Out What You Want

This may sound obvious but doing your research and compiling a list of your must-haves up front will make the building process quicker & easier. Separate your list so one column lists things you NEED and the other column lists things you WANT to have in your home. Then, prioritize them. With this process already done, you’ll know exactly which features you can drop if the budget becomes an issue.

#2: Figure Out Your Finances

Before you start looking over floorplans with your builder, talk to a lender to find out how much money you can afford to borrow. Review your credit reports to make sure everything is accurate. Gather and organize all of the financial documents you’re going to need when applying for your mortgage.

#3: Get Familiar with the Home Building Process

When you’re having a new home built, it pays to have an understanding of the process. Building a home from the ground up is a lengthy process involving a lot of decisions not just limited to design selections. Talk to your builder and have them explain every stage of the building process, the timing, and your involvement in each, so you know what your role is and what to expect once building begins.

#4: Get Organized

Building a home is a complex process. Being organized will make it much easier for you. Create a folder or binder to keep all of the papers related to your build. Here’s a few examples of things to keep in your folder:

  • Credit report information
  • Monthly home budget
  • All financial statements needed to apply for the mortgage
  • Pre-approval letters from your lender
  • Your wants and needs list
  • Research (builders, realtors, lenders, floorplans, neighborhoods, lots, etc.)
  • All contracts and agreements related to your property or home
  • All future documents related to your home (appraisals, offers, etc.)

5: Understand How Loans Work on New Construction

When you’re building a new home, your mortgage loan may be different from that of someone buying a pre-existing home.  Check with your builder to see how they fund construction.  If you are working with a smaller builder, you may need to start with a construction loan.  If you are working with a larger, more established builder, they may fund the construction and simply require you to pay a non-refundable deposit. Once the home is built, your mortgage will be used to pay off the balance of the construction loans.

#6: Commit to Your Must-Haves

During the design phase, you’ll have a lot of decisions to make. It can be overwhelming, but this is where you “must-haves list” comes into play.  Each choice you make typically comes with a more expensive and least expensive option. Even if it means not getting absolutely everything you want in your home, commit to choosing quality for the must-have items over saving a few bucks. In a new home build, you really do get what you pay for.

7: Choosing Your Builder – Do Your Research

How do you know which builder is the right one for you?  The key is to do your research. Ask people you trust for references. Visit builder websites and read client testimonials. Meet with the builders you are most interested in and ask them for a list of references.  Reach out to those references to find out what their experiences were with the builder and whether or not they would recommend the builder to others in their family. Also compare the builder’s standards and warranty information.

#8: Limit Your Major Projects for the Year

Building a new home is very rewarding, but it can also be stressful time. If possible, don’t take on additional major projects or purchases during the building process. Focus this year on building your dream home. You’ll stay saner and be able to focus on and enjoy the building process.

Looking for a builder in the Capital Region?

Since 1977, Belmonte Builders has been building high quality homes in the Capital Region. A family-owned business, Belmonte takes pride in working closely with each customer throughout the construction process to personalize their home to meet their unique needs and then build it to exceed their expectations.

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