Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Car on Fire at Van Cortlandt Park this hits close to home since one of my listings is spitting distance away!

I was driving back from Yonkers and came to the Van Cortlandt Pk exit when as I am drawing closer I see some pretty heavy duty I get closer and closer I notice it's a car on fire...something you usually see in movies!

I was crazy enough to take pics as I was driving by, some people had actually parked at the side of the road to watch this stuff...frankly I switched my air setting to car only so that I don't get some of that smoke I don't know how people were sitting around and taking it in...even though it was outside it really enveloped the area like a black and gray cloud!

Here are the on them to see the bigger version...I hope no one was inside the car that's all I can say!

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Oh man! Just found out there was someone in the car! These are the times I Thank God a million times for every time I get from point A to point B safe and sound!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Real Estate Deal - Lawyers - whose side are they on anyway?

I find myself in the situation of really wanting to rant but I will try and make this educational instead...

We all know that the Real Estate transaction or "deal" is a process that involves a lot of characters - as in any aspect of life, you have the good, the bad and the ugly.

There are many things that can make a deal go sour. Maybe the buyer changes their mind...(hey no crime there, it IS a big investment not just a pair of shoes!)

But what I want to talk about are the reasons behind that phenomena.

There are valid concerns like, "hey I didn't think this through and I really don't want to be an owner, not yet" or "hey I might be losing my job in the next few months not a good time to get into this kind of thing" or "you know what I love that house but I loved the one we saw before it even more". These are good and perfect reasons to back out.

One reason a deal can fall through that has nothing to do with the buyer's frame of mind is the many I have seen cry in the last stages of the process just before closing where it turns out that preapproval letter was really JUST a piece of paper and not worth more than what it was written on! The underwriters at the last stage decide to simply deny the mortgage approval due to this, that or the other. For that I recommend to everyone don't just go to ANY lender! Trust your Realtor as they KNOW what they are talking about when they tell you go with so and so...and more importantly, when in doubt, go to a DIRECT LENDER!

Another thing that has been a big pain in the rear for everyone has been this totally inane and nonsensical and...(ok ok I know you get the point) fact that banks are using appraisers based on a roll call method, is the best way I can explain it.

Hey I understand appraisers need to work and it's not fair for some that don't have enough work and others have more...but just call in an appraiser from the outskirts of LI to appraise a house in the BRONX when they have no clue as to the market is downright ridiculous! They have been known to come out with numbers that are way above or below even in the 100's of thousands, market value for the given area! Needless to say that creates a real issue as it messes up the mortgage approval the latter stages when the hopeful buyer is already thinking he has it all planned out...where the bed will go..where the TV will have center stage etc!

The FINAL and most deadly thing in my book is the real estate lawyer. Before I go on I want to offer my SINCERE apologies to the absolutely awesome ones out there and believe me if I do this it's because I would love nothing more than to start a movement that will slowly weed out the ones that give them a bad name!

Why would I make such a preposterous claim? Deadly? YES! Deadly to a deal...

Aren't lawyers supposed to be working for their client?
Maybe if they kill the deal it's BETTER for the client, after all the real estate people are vultures that try and sell people whatever they can just to make a buck right?

If it were not for the "advocate" that works on behalf of the buyer they would be in over their head! Sound familiar? an ideal world the lawyer is truly the "advocate" of their client and is there to protect their interests. By the way, a buyer's agent on the realtor side has that exact same fiduciary responsibility and owes that same alliegence to their buyer to work in THEIR best interest. But I digress...

When that trust is broken and the client is not even aware of it, boy that gets my goat to no end!

These are some examples JUST in my last few deals...we're not talking mass studies here...but I'll bet many agents can come on here and add their experiences into the mix and this could turn out to be ONE loooong blog!

I am on the selling side and buyer came to me direct, so no agent on their side. That means I am the only go-between in this transaction.
~ Buyer calls me up constantly that seller is not fast enough and getting back to their lawyer with info...meanwhile buyer's lawyer has not contacted seller's lawyer even ONCE. Rather the seller's lawyer has left 3 messages when I was in THEIR office so I saw it with my own eyes and emailed them but never heard back from them. The buyer's lawyer has the audacity to claim that he has tried to call the seller's lawyer and is not hearing back! Needless to say...this buyer adored the house! But after 2-3 weeks of this back and forth their new baby comes into the world and now mother and father really does not feel able to go through the whole buying a house process especially with constant complications because they believe their own laywer and in the end are now still paying rent and waiting till the baby is at least sleeping nights before they start the process. In the meantime that house is now under contract to someone else.

I am on the buyer's side in this one.
~ Buyer is extremely savvy, matter of fact has done SO much homework and is SO in the know about the market that I am convincing her to get her license so that I can add her to my team! She has decided on a gorgeous 2 bedroom condo that is actually a great deal and she knows it. She decides to go with a lawyer referred by a family member. So far so good right? Here it gets really good! Instead of giving her advice on the terms of the contract (which we don't even have yet) and helping her make sure that all the terms are in her favor...he starts a really off tangent conversation about how this place is NOT for her. That its above market value for the area (but he does not prove he has any knowledge of the area nor does he have any comps to prove his point, better yet does not even KNOW what place she is buying just a general idea ). That she should wait even another year to find a place (never mind that she will miss out on the 8k the govt is offering her if she buys this year) and that she is better off just renting the rest of the year (say WHAT?) and here's where it gets REALLY good...casually..."You know...I have a really good agent and he has a condo up in another area of the Bronx that is a way better deal!" here is the crux of the matter then...was all of that just to steer her in the direction of the other agent? of many feel that Mr.Esquire etc has shown a wonderful set of ethics and is really trustworthy...that he is really going to work in the best interest of the client that will after all be paying his bill? superstar client is a smart cookie and KNOWS this fella is not working with a full deck or at least not showing half of it.

Do you know how many more I can add to this? I can...but I won't...why?...because it will start to get redundant.

I will close with this...buyers PLEASE for the love of money...and house and everything in between...make SURE you use a lawyer that has references galore! Ask your lawyer for a few references too...real clients that have bought real houses...and FINALLY...make sure it is a lawyer that does at least 90% REAL ESTATE! Most of the time people don't realize their laywer probably does one or 10 deals a year and the rest of their work practice involves other forms of law. This is why you don't hear back from your lawyer in days and why they cover their tracks with itsy bitsy lies like blaming the other side for not being on the ball...

Bottom line is...with any kind of transaction in real your homework! Choose your professionals because it will mean the world to you in the purchase of your new home!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Choosing The Right Career Path in Real Estate

So I just created this little postcard that I am going to give to every real estate professional I meet!

Since I can help anyone in the United States and place them in an Exit Office that is conveniently close to them this opens up a lot of opportunity help any and all that want to succeed in Real Estate. I've helped people set up their resume and helped people find jobs in every field as a hobby all my I can focus on the real estate side and do what I love to people and at the same time reap the benefits of my hard labor as well. The best of both worlds I tell ya!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bronx Homes For Sale

So, I have been very busy with the transition from one Realty to another. Have to say, I'm very happy at Exit Realty Van Zandt! Susan is really awesome, a great manager, and mentor - the rest of the crowd is cool too.

I have also recently joined forces with fellow Van Zandt, real estate/mortgage broker Mike Burgos and between the two of us, we are keeping busy with new listings and buyers and all that good stuff.

I am the type of person that not only gets into her work but associates myself so closely with it that I AM it for the moment. What do I mean by that? When I am taking a picture of the new house we are listing, I am the proud mama of the house, taking pics of "my new baby". When I am helping out a buyer in terms of finding them a home (be it an Art Deco, Pre-War coop in Riverdale or on the Grand Concourse or a home in Indian Village or Country Club area of the Bronx) I get into the moment and empathize with them to the point that I become one with the buyer mentally and see what they see and love what they love and hate what they hate in the options I show them...until I find them that PERFECT nook they are in love with and can't wait to call home. Susan says I am MADE for Real Estate...I say "Ya think?!" ;o)~

So, here are my new babies: (CLICK on each to check them out)

2191 Boston Road/Pelham Parkway Bronx NY 10462

3508 Boller Ave Bronx NY 10466

3879 Boston Rd Bronx NY 10466

256 Calhoun Ave Bronx NY 10465

217 Longstreet Ave Bronx NY 10465

I am thinking of doing some tours soon...taking a few listings maybe 8 to 12 of them and putting together a bus tour and having some people come on board to take a's fun stuff!

P.S. Yes I am addicted to those Reality Real Estate shows, including 3Deals On The Bus from TLC and all those shows on the HGTV Channel, dare you to watch and not find it interesting!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

BEWARE of Foreclosure websites!

There are I'm sure legit websites that DO offer real, and actual foreclosures on their website, and ask you to join them in order to access those listings. I saw a recent post from one agent in NJ however, that I feel is a good idea to post as a little warning. Yes, many people want in on those great deals right now, with the market in the dumps and foreclosures that abound with seemingly no end...before you spend money on a website because you think it's all the same, and there's no need to contact a real estate professional...Read On!

John from NJ wrote:

I had a client call me regarding one of my listings.. she was very upset that her home was showing up on .(the listed home is not in foreclosure) As it turns out, her listing as well as all of my listings and all of my MLS office listings show up on the initial page of this horrible site as a foreclosure!

But, in order to get information, you need to sign up with a credit card. After 7 days they charge you $79.99 per month to search the service.. after you give them the card, ( per the one nasty, brain dead "customer service rep ) the home will show "Not in Foreclosure" listed with a Realtor.

So basically, this company is scamming all of us.. The unsuspecting home buyers looking for a bargain and realtors by taking our listings onto their site to use to suck people into their website.

So...browse with care...and guard that credit card until you've done some reasearch on whatever website you are considering to register with.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year - New Market?

Not yet...but experts say the housing bottom should be reached anywhere between 3-6 months so that means by July of 2009 we should start to see an upswing...

In the meantime, the mortgage rate is at an all time low for those with excellent credit as low as 4%. I say - take advantage people!

On Sunday January 11th I took a client on the Art Deco Co-op Bronx Tour. It was great to see all the converted buildings from Bedford Park and Mosholu all the way down the Grand Concourse to the 150th street area.

Lo and behold I was not aware that the Daily News would be on board the tour Trolley Bus. As it happens my client is on the board of the Art Deco Society of New York. Once we made that known the Daily News started snapping pictures of us left and right. I'm told the article is supposed to appear in Friday's Daily News. That should be interesting.

The buildings we saw on the tour were:
601 Pelham Parkway
2244 Bronx Park East
340 Mosholu Parkway
2962 Decatur Ave
1855 Grand Concourse
55 E. 190th St.
3201 Grand Concourse
811 Walton Ave

At least 7 of those buildings were the Pre War Art Deco style buildings that my client was interested in viewing so as to see if she can find her one or 2 bedroom apartment with the usual trimmings - roomy, arched doorways, sunken living room, tall ceilings and even carved molding as we saw in some of the apartments.

The beauty of it is, as much as we are all witnesses to the crash of the housing market as it were and prices are apt to reflect that, it is still almost a surprise to see some of these gorgeously detailed and renovated period buildings with apartments starting at $129,000! This is NOT a little "cozy" studio we are talking about either, but a one bedroom apartment over 800sq ft!

If I was not so happy with my own co-op apartment I would be SO tempted to buy one myself! Spread the word - these culture steeped co-ops, real gems in the heart of the Bronx, with a swift painless commute to Manhattan and an added bonus of being practically in the back yard of the Botanical Gardens and Bronx Zoo, are at your fingertips and affordable to boot! In 3 years or so I expect to see them at least double in value.
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