Welcome Home Team

of HUNT Real Estate ERA

What is a CMA?

What Is A CMA?


CMA. That acronym gets thrown around like dice in a board game. It’s almost as if you should know what it means… automatically.

Well, kind of.

Any Real Estate professional knows what a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is. Like breathing or ordering your favorite coffee. You as the consumer probably won’t know what it is much less what it stands for until your REALTOR explains it.

But we’re skipping formalities here and getting right down to it! So, let’s get going.

A CMA, Comparative Market Analysis, is a report custom tailored to the property it is performed for. The “Subject Property”. Now generally there are a few set standards, as to what should be included. But when you really get down to it, it’s a fancy way for a Real Estate Professional to tell you what price they think you should list your home for, and usually, what you can expect to sell it for. With factual basis and comparable properties to back up their “Professional Opinion of Price”.

A CMA does not have required information, there’s no law or set of rules by any institution for what needs to be in a CMA. If there were, then that report would then be what’s called an Appraisal, which can only be performed by a Licensed Appraiser in New York State. However Real Estate Brokers usually have a standardization for their agents to use when writing reports.

Generally, a CMA includes properties that match the subject properties general qualities that are then divided into groups of recently sold, currently listed, and others that have been on the market but didn’t sell. Usually within the past 6 months. But if you are in a rural area or have a unique property up to 12 months is sometimes used.

Typically, the only properties that are used to determine actual listing price are the sold ones. Because they have proven market values. THEY S-O-L-D! Currently listed properties, are not necessarily worth what the seller is asking. They are however your competition, and properties that did not sell, don’t count for much. They are there mostly to give you an idea of the market’s past.

And just like the comparable properties, the CMA itself has an expiration date. The real estate market is a fluid thing, fluctuating based on the weather, economy and other factors. Rural areas tend to be more stable than cities. The fact remains though that a CMA is usually only accurate for 2-3 months. Sometimes less.

So, there you have it. The quick, condensed explanation of a “CMA”.

Until next time,

Jim Lenahan & Mindy Bradley – Welcome Home Team of HUNT Real Estate


Value in Expertise

When you, the consumer team up with professional REALTOR’s who excel at what they do you really won’t be able to truly understand all that we do. Here is a condensed summary of the value in expertise when you hire a REALTOR.


  1. We shop properties for you online, spending several hours everyday searching new listings, price reductions, multiple MLS’s, and even further outside the box. We know all the websites and brokerages to check with tailored to your unique needs.
  2. We Prospect! From checking out new listings in person, to reaching out to potential buyers and sellers on behalf of our clients we know how to go after whatever it is you’re looking for.
  3. Classes & Continuing Education As Real Estate Professionals we are required to take certified continuing education classes every two years, but we also attend marketing classes, town meetings, chamber of commerce events, and reading articles on the local and larger economies. Real Estate is a never-ending learning experience and we always have our ears to the ground.
  4. We Pay upfront! The beauty for you is that we pay for all the marketing upfront, and we don’t make anything if we don’t make a sale with you. So it’s always in our best interest as well as yours to see a sale through.
  5. Offers & Counter Offers. Consistency is key to a smooth transaction, we are well versed in contracts and know how to negotiate to get you, our client, the very best deal.
  6. Inspections & Contingencies. You may think once you’ve got a contract it’s smooth sailing. Honestly you just finished with the easiest part. Inspections and tests can be the biggest hurdles in buying a home. A good agent is preset for home inspections and appraisals to ensure all questions get answered and nobody is mis-informed. Then if there are repairs needed, we renegotiate a second time for you.
  7. Putting out Fires. It’s not very often a transaction has little to no drama. Part of our job is to take care of the little things so you don’t have to.
  8. Keep Calm & Carry On. When some of those dramatic moments involve you and the pressure is on, we flip our hats and become your therapist until the light at the end of the tunnel appears!

– Now just think, with us, you get double the support!


This content was in part a condensed version of information provided by 

PrePurchase Commitment = BUY YOUR NEW HOME FASTER

This article was written by a guest, Jessica Poissant of HUNT Mortgage.

Hunt Mortgages Made Simple

Meet the Mortgage Consultant- Jessica Poissant

As Part of the HUNT Mortgage team for over 3 years, and over 13 years in the Real Estate & Finance industry Jessica has expert knowledge of the loan process and she fully understands the ups and downs of getting a mortgage in today’s market. She takes pride in handling her buyers and clients with care and ease through every stage of the process! Jess is a graduate from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sales & Business. From a small town just north of Syracuse NY Jessica and her family love the outdoors and all CNY has to offer!

In her work, Jessica loves the opportunity to meet new clients and help them achieve their financial goal of Home Ownership.  Her previous clients will attest to the extra care she takes with each transaction! When your real estate agents are on duty so isn’t Jess!  You can count on her answering your call and questions during the weeknights and weekends!

For First time homebuyers or those who bought previously, Jessica will take the time to educate you on all the options that are available.  The mortgage world presents challenges and changes each day. She takes the time to explain all of details and options and truly keep you informed so that you can make an educated decision on what’s best for you!

Apply Now

Or Visit Hunt


This is an estimate of the loan amount for which the buyer can probably qualify for based on his or her income, cash available and their credit standards under the lender’s guidelines. A credit report is run and evaluated with the borrower’s approval.  This is typically given prior to a buyer looking at property with their agent.

Pre-Purchase Commitment Program

At HUNT Mortgage we recognize the fear and uncertainty of obtaining mortgage financing for both buyer and seller is not only a concern, but also has potential financial risk. That is why we developed a Pre-Purchase Commitment Program that allows you to apply before you find the home of your dreams. Many lenders offer various types of assurances such as pre-qualification certificates, etc.  HUNT Mortgage offers a fully underwritten commitment, subject only to collateral conditions.

To make it clear to our buyers and sellers that our pre-purchase commitment is the “real thing”, we are backing it with a $1,000 guaranty. If a buyer does not close on a transaction do to the mortgage “falling through” we will pay the seller $1,000. We want sellers to know and understand the difference when they are looking at an offer as opposed to an offer with a HUNT Mortgage Pre-Purchase Commitment.

For more details please visit the Hunt Mortgage Site



HUNT Mortgage will attempt to beat valid competing interest rate, loan origination costs, loan discounts points, underwriting fees, processing fees, application fees and lender document preparation fees for the same loan terms.  The guarantee is only on fixed rate, conforming products only.  All facets of the loan must be equal.  We reserve the right to determine what documentation will be required to satisfy this requirement including but not limited to, reviewing the Loan Estimate and interest rate lock agreement provided by the competing lender to you.

For more details please visit the Hunt Mortgage Site

Please Note:
RESPA Act (Real Estate Settlement Procedures ACT) Requires any Real Estate Brokerage to declare any business relationship or partial ownership with outside businesses and companies. HUNT Mortgage is a wholly owned subsidiary of HUNT Real Estate ERA.

Moving? Need a Realtor when you get there?

Moving to a new location is exhilarating… and horrifying (it more or less depends on how you look at it). Either way, whether you’re moving two counties over, three states south, or maybe even to across the world, the stress can add up quickly. Where’s the post office?The DMV? Which grocery store do you want to shop at? Etc. But the last thing you want to worry about is the first thing you have to worry about…”where am  I going to live”

Let us help take some of the stress off of you. Our team is part of a worldwide referral company that only allows the top qualifying Realtors the chance to serve you and your loved ones. HUNT Real Estate ERA is a Platinum company within the CARTUS referral program. This professional resource program works with hundreds of companies and thousands of clients every year to help make that move a bit easier.

The right agent will not only help you find the perfect place to live, they will be your tour guide in your new town. What’s even better is that in most places if you’re a buyer, you get this service for free! (Because the owner who is selling their property pays the commissions associated in most cases).

So how does it work? You call us and we have a short phone conversation or if you like we can meet in person. We discuss where you’re going, what your timeline looks like. Your motivation (work related, family, vacation home, retirement or spontaneous life change!). Any other requests you may have. The more about you we know the easier it is to match you up with the best professional for the job!

Once we have your profile, we send your information to our relocation department who works with CARTUS to choose the best person for the job. And if you meet with them and decide you don’t think they’re a good fit, there are other agents able to assist through the program. If you don’t think they are a good fit for you, let Cartus know and they will work with you to find that right agent to fulfill your needs.

There’s no commitment until you’re ready to buy, it’s free (the vast majority of the time) and takes a few minutes of your time to set up. Saving you numerous headaches and stress later on.

If you or someone you know is looking to make a move or buy a second home. Or you have a friend or family in need of a Realtor but they aren’t local give us a call and we will help you take a step in the right direction!


Latent Defect

There are plenty of words in a vocabulary of a REALTOR that make the average person tip their head like a puppy and give a quizzical expression until it’s been explained. Possibly at great length… and multiple times. Honestly as a REALTOR, I can tell you we give that look often enough ourselves when the laws or bank regulations change.

“Latent defect” is one of those terms rarely used outside of the sale of real estate. But it’s an important part of the transaction and representation of the property being transferred. Latent Defect (as per website quoting Nolo’s Plain-English Law) means “A hidden flaw, weakness, or imperfection that cannot be discovered by reasonable inspection. It may refer to real property  or personal property. Discovery of a latent defect generally entitles the purchaser to a refund or a nondefective replacement”. 

Now this definition is the broad meaning of the word in all properties or tangible transfers that may take place, as in a car. However we are speaking in Real Estate terms. So what we take from this is that a latent defect is anything pertaining to a property that we cannot easily or reasonably account for but the owner should be aware of themselves.

The reason this is so important is because it is the sellers legal obligation to disclose any latent defect that they know about or should know about. Examples include a foundation crack in the garage hidden behind a wood pile, or an easement that cuts across the property for the town, service provider, land-locked neighbor, etc.

On the other hand a cracked window covered with shades isn’t necessarily a latent defect because it can be found rather easily by the buyer or their inspector. It should however be disclosed if it’s known.

And remember I am not a lawyer, and don’t pretend to be. As a REALTOR our professional knowledge is based off continuing education and experience, not legal schooling. Please consult a legal resource and always use legal representation when buying or selling real estate in NY State.

-Mindy Bradley of the Welcome Home Team

How Long Will It Take To Close on My Property?

Something everyone, and I mean everyone wants to know is, “When are we going to close?” From the sellers, to the buyers, and everyone in between, timelines are important to keep on track in order to ensure everyone is treated fairly, and that unnecessary charges aren’t racked up. In other words “time is of the essence”

Disclaimer: Realtors and Real Estate Agents alike are NOT lawyers and they are Not Mortgage or lending professionals. Therefore please do ask you attorney and Loan Originator what timelines to expect to follow. Every Real Estate purchase is unique. A Realtor has a vast knowledge based off observation, but is not qualified or able to be your sole relied upon source for what to expect when making a real estate purchase.

So, back to your question. How long is this going to take?! We are going to go over one type of Mortgage today. Conventional Mortgages. There are other types and situations, we’ll save those for another time (trust me! I’m trying to inform you not bore you). And generally speaking with any purchase requiring a mortgage, these are the basic steps.

The short answer is that on average a Conventional Mortgage takes 60-70 days from the date of making your loan application to getting your hands on those keys at the closing table.

The explanation is what you really need to understand. Basically the whole ENTIRE transaction is a “domino effect”. The next step can’t happen until the previous step has been done. Let’s start with conventional since most folks don’t have enough cash to buy property outright.

Alright, Conventional. The gold standard of mortgages! Every sellers dream buyer is a cash buyer, but conventional is certainty second best. So what happens when you are a buyer using a conventional mortgage?

  1. Find your house, make an offer, come to an agreement, and congratulations! You’ve just accomplished the easiest part of the process that you probably thought was going to be the hardest.
  2. Make bank application: typically within a week you need to sit down with the lender you’ve chosen and actually apply for the mortgage. They will want more information from you, tax returns, credit check, etc.
  3. Inspections: If you were wise and have a dutiful Realtor who insisted upon it you’ll be having at least a home inspection, but possibly other testing such as Radon, well and septic testing. (Usually due within 14 days)
  4. Get your commitment letter: In our area this is required usually within 30 days of contract. that’s why it’s so important to make bank application as soon as possible.  (30 days)
  5. Abstract Update: once the sellers attorney is notified that you received your commitment letter they will start the update for the abstract. An abstract is the history of the property.(47-54 days)
  6. Review the abstract and verify it’s credentials. (60+ days)
  7. Congrats for real! No you can start to get excited. This is when it really becomes real. You’re approved, the house is approved, the bank is ready to cut the check and you’ve just gotten the “Clear to Close” The Closing Disclosure will be sent to you and the closing date is scheduled.
  8.  Final Walk Thru: The day before or the day of you have the right to a final walk through to verify that the property is still in the same condition you’ve been under the assumption it is in.
  9. Closing! sign the paperwork, get the keys. Now the property is all yours!!!




Different types of Mortgages?

There are 4 basic types of mortgages. And they all depend on several factors such as income, credit score, down payment, geographical location, etc.

*DISCLAIMER* Each lender is different and Realtors are by no means professionals on this topic. The laws are constantly changing and you need to speak to a licensed mortgage officer to have accurate up-to -date information.  So PLEASE call your bank, lender, credit union, etc.

Conventional- This type of mortgage requires good credit and a decent down payment. Conventional appraisal guidelines are less strict. This type of loan carries PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) but can be eliminated after 20% of the principle has been paid. Conventional mortgages are not backed by any government agency.

FHA-  This type of mortgage requires only 3.5% down. The appraisal guidelines have more regulations, and PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) is also required. This is a 1.75% fee and carries for the life of the loan (Unlike Conventional Mortgages where the PMI can be eliminated). It’s a great opportunity for first time home buyers who may not have much of a nest egg or possibly struggling with credit. Concessions of up to 6% are allowed. Beware if your credit is too low, you may have to put more than 3.5% down, or pay points.  FHA mortgage’s are backed by the Federal Housing Agency.

VA- This is for active or retired military and their families. There is a o% down payment (unless you want to put more down).VA appraisal guidelines are similar to FHA, and you can ask for up to a 4% concession.

USDA-  The USDA will fund  mortgages for specific income ranges based on county, in rural areas and requires 0% down. Appraisal guidelines are similar to VA and FHA.  Concessions of up to 6% are allowed on this type of loan as well. Check the USDA website to search geographically for eligibility.


Factors that determine what kind of mortgage a person qualifies for are

  • Credit Score
  • Down Payment
  • Debt to Income Ratio
  • Type of Income
  • Length of Job History
  • Geographical Location
  • Military Experience

Mortgage Lenders cannot discriminate against a borrower based off any of the protected classes as per the Fair Housing Act.


There are other factors and sub types of mortgages such as Fixed vs Adjustable, Conforming and Non-Confirming, Balloon loans, etc. The 4 above descriptions provided are a crash course in Mortgage’s 101.  And please remember the mortgage industry is constantly evolving and changing, Realtors are not Mortgage Professionals, so please consult your local lender.


Real Estate Agent v.s. Realtor

What is the difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor? This is one of the biggest misconceptions in Real Estate among our clientele.

Here is the simple answer:

A Realtor is always a real estate agent, but a real estate agent is not always a Realtor.

Here is the long(er) version:

A Real estate agent is a state licensed professional whose job is to procure the sale of real property. They acquire sellers who want to sell their property, market & advertise (or find a buyer the perfect home once their finances are in order and they know what their needs are) and then negotiate. Ensure all the necessary steps and measures are fulfilled before finally handing over the keys at closing.

They have to take a 75 hour course, pass a state exam, a background check (no ex-felons allowed!), and then find a broker (A.K.A. company) to “hold” their license. Then they must fulfill continuing education every 2 years.

A Realtor does all of that and then some & with better resources. A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and will belong to a local board where multiple Realtors share listing information, data, educational resources and more, they pay fees for these services. (Ours is the Mohawk Valley Association of Realtors)

They also have the ability to earn additional designations. Such as MRP (Military Relocation), ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), SRS (Seller Representative Specialist), and others.

Realtors have a strict code of ethics they must adhere to. If they are found to be negligent or malicious towards a client or another Realtor they can be banned from the association and even loose their license or go to jail depending on the situation.

They help support lobbyist groups that work towards protecting your rights and interests as home owners and property owners. In fact, here is a link to the NYSAR (New York State Association of Realtors) Legislative action web page NYSAR Legislative Action Center




Staging: Short and Sweet

Let’s be real.

For the vast majority of us our homes are NOT show worthy 99% of the time. Convenience, kids and pets are the usual culprits. In other words, life happens. And that’s a beautiful thing in and itself, but we’re talking about real estate, not the meaning of life.

So when it comes time to sell your home you ask, “What do I do?”

And here is what I say.

In an ideal world your home would be out out of the scene in a movie or magazine. Grand mansions and cozy cottages. But in reality we all have our independent abilities both in finances and  decorating, not to mention persistence. Because remember, you will have to keep up on your homes appearance right through until you close.

So with that here is #1 Curb Appeal

If they don’t like the outside, they wont go inside. First Impressions really are everything. Buyers wont even want to schedule an appointment in most cases if the first picture in the listing isn’t appealing. So clean it up! Don’t leave the trash can or water hose laying around. Pressure wash the siding and clean the windows.

Use neutral tones, have walk-able paths, a broken and loose entry is a tripping hazard and not appealing. And use clean looking landscaping where able. Hosta’s, mulch and a few annuals or colorful perennials will do the trick. A nice porch light fixture and clean looking front door. Paint any faded or chipped paint.

Doing anything off this list will improve your appearance and chances of selling quicker and for more money.

#2 Declutter, Clean up & Depersonalize

When someone is coming to look at your home they are interested in your home, not you and your belongings. So put them away. Take EVERYTHING off your refrigerator (except your Realtors magnet). Put away family photo’s. Hide the garbage can, the dogs toys and bowls, the tissues, toothpaste, and soap. AND DO the dishes. Remove anything in excess, including furniture, shoes, coats on the coat rack, etc.

Put away laundry and organize. It can be tough to hide everything, especially with kids and pets, so use space carefully. Ottomans with storage make great coffee tables, totes can be stacked neatly in the garage or basement.

Use this as a chance to thin out as well. You never realize what’s been accumulating until it’s time to move. Donate unused clothing to the Salvation Army, as well as unwanted furniture, etc. If you have enough belongings they’ll come get it. Habitat for Humanity is another great way to be rid of old but usable items.

Declutter your closets & keep your fridge clean, if it’s coming with the house people are going to want to see what kind of shape it’s in and open it.

Basically, just purge your home.

#3 Decor

If you’ve gotten through decluttering and the curb appeal homework, congrats! You’ve accomplished all the heavy work. This is the more relaxing part. You now get to dress up your house. But again remember, think neutral. Browns, blues and tans are common colors when used in the right shades.

Do everything in groups of three. Three colors per room, three items on the mantle place. 3 photo’s on the wall. Go online to get ideas if you aren’t the artsy type. Pinterest, google, better homes and gardens, etc are all great tools.


  • Frugal minded folk can find great deals at garage sales, craigslist, or the salvation army. Borrow unused furniture from friends and family if you need to.
  •  Cover up a beat up table with a neutral table cloth and use a vase of flowers to detract attention.
  •  Update old cabinets with new door knobs.
  • If you have a lot of painting to do try to use the same color as much as possible through to save money with a bulk 5 gallon bucket instead of individual 1 gallon amounts.


#4 Ambiance

Almost there! This is all about creating a sense of home. You’re trying to appeal to all the of the senses, sight, smell, feel, noise…

  • Keep your newly clean home CLEAN!
  • Make your house smell nice, use flowers, timed scent release devices or wax melters. But at the very least keep it from smelling unpleasant. If you’re a smoker or have pets considering getting your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned. Additionally, use a dehumidifier in musty basements.
  • Noise- or the opposite of, actually. Have something neutral playing. Use the radio, Pandora or a CD. Something that can continually play for at least two hours in case you have back to back showings.
  • Feel- keep counters and doors clean, no smudgy hand prints, or wet nose marks. Area rugs over cold hardwoods in the winter time make people less worried about their feet and more interested in your home.
    • Another note. In the summertime  keep the house cool and in the winter vise versa. If a buyer is wishy-washy about your home having a cool reprieve from the heat outside might keep them in long enough to change their mind. It also creates a psychological idea that the house has provided a need to them, which subconsciously allows the buyer to like the house more.


If you’re able to do any one of these suggestions than you have successfully added appeal to your home. The world of real estate has become increasingly competitive when it comes to updated and appeal. So if you want the upper had do your homework and don’t be afraid to have your Realtor come over to give you advice on where and what to invest your money into. The only thing worse than an under invested property is an over-invested one.

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