Monday, January 23, 2006

In the News

Imagine how excited I was to see my clients, the Bennetts, on the front cover of Sunday's (Jan. 22, 2006) Newsday which can be seen at The article was about the state of Long Island's housing market. I was quoted several times throughout the article as were other members of our real estate community. It seems as if there is an overwhelming need for people to predict where our market is going. Some real estate brokers think Long Island will maintain it's strong market with a steady influx of buyers willing to pay current prices while I am a bit skeptical and feel that may be a tad too optimistic.

I frankly would prefer to err on the side of caution. I see a slowdown in our marketplace with sellers starting to outpace buyers. Homes that are priced well and are in nice condition will always attract more buyers and sell in a reasonable time frame. Homes that are not in desireable locations and may need work will be staying on the market much longer and will be literally begging for buyers. The optimist in me still sees good opportunities for those who can see past old wallpaper, threadbare carpet and walls that haven't seen a paint job in years. Personally I will be on the lookout for just such opportunites for myself and my clients. As they say "Ya gotta be in it to win it."

Thursday, January 19, 2006


These days you can't go anywhere without overhearing people talk about foreclosures. It's as if they were talking about the holy grail. One woman called me today to see if she could just take over payments from a bank on a co-op without having to prove income, assets or even credit. I told her that this would be highly unlikely and even if it were possible she would still have to supply the information to a co-op board of directors who would very likely turn her down if her income wasn't sufficient to carry the nortgage and the monthly maintenance.

Often times I see uneducated buyers making outlandishly overpriced offers on HUD foreclosed properties which can be viewed through a link in our website @ or by going to HUD's website @ . These offers that buyers submit are often in excess of the property's true market value and at least 50% of the offers that are accepted fall apart because they fail to appraise for what the buyer is willing to pay for them. If only these buyers would take the time, to work with an exclusive Buyer's agent who's job it is to educate, inform and protect them, they'd be a whole lot better off.

Buyers listen up, a traditional real estate agent is not going to give you this advice. They would rather see you pay as much money as possible for these foreclosed properties. As I've said before, "Buyer Be Aware".

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Appraisals: Art or Science?

Last night I reviewed an appraisal that was just done for a client of mine that is refinancing their home and was surprised to note that the value of the square footage adjustments were way below the average used and therefore resulted in the home appraising for less than I believe the home is worth. As a real estate broker I am often asked to prepare a form known as a "BPO" or Broker Price Opinion for real estate attorneys who may be working on an estate and need to establish value. Banks who may be in the process of foreclosing on a mortgage will also ask for "BPO's" since it is less expensive ($75-$125) than ordering a full blown appraisal ($300-$500).
Anyway, according to my numbers this home should have easily appraised for at least $30,000 more than it did which leads me to my belief that real estate appraisals can often be more art than science.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Buyers need to educate themselves

The one thing that frustrates me the most when it comes to purchasing real estate is that most buyers do not take the time to educate themselves as to what kind of real estate agent they wish to work with. Now you may think to yourselves, 'hey, what's the difference, all I want to do is look at pretty houses' but the reality is that you will end up working with someone who does not have your interests at heart. Now what do I mean by that? Well unless you are specifically working w/an exclusive buyer's agent you are probably working with an agent who owes all of their loyalty to the seller. Now I know they may seem really nice and helpful but their job and their obligation is to get the seller the highest and best possible price whether the seller happens to own a run down piece of trash or a beautifully kept showplace. In the industry we call this "Buyer beware". I'd like to rename this concept "Buyer Be Aware". Remember sometimes what you don't know may hurt you.

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