Episode #16 - The Importance of Proper Pricing

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This week we talk about proper pricing. Understanding pricing is essential to doing business. It is the first communication of value to a prospective buyer. Do you price at the top of the market? Do you want to communicate a deal? Knowing your goal and your market are essential to closing a smooth deal. Tune in to our podcast to learn more. Rate, subscribe, comment :)

Learn More about Beekeeping in Mexico

This week we explore a bee farm in the Yucatan in Mexico. This location is nestled on the out skirts of Valladolid where a family has raised bees for generations. We were lucky enough to get a tour and learn more about the history of the area plus all about Bee Keeping.

Link for the Bee Farm. 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g499453-d10253919-Reviews-Xkopek_Parque_Apicola-Valladolid_Yucatan_Peninsula.html 

 

8 Tips from a Broker to Find Your Next Rental

This entry is for prospective renters and real estate agents alike. Use these tips to maybe avoid paying a full broker fee or if you're an agent to find some new listings in your area. 

1) Start with the End in Mind

Like anything in life, when you know what you want it will be much easier to find what you want. Have you ever heard a new age guru talk about visualizing and it will manifest. I don't necessarily believe in all of that, but there is some truth to it. When you are preparing to move make sure you can identify the goal when it comes across your path. Is it a 2 bedroom in Soho? Or is it a loft in Brooklyn? When you narrow your efforts and specify what you hope to find, you will SAVE TIME and avoid heart ache. Make a list of your wants vs. needs and prioritize this list. Execute and act when the most important boxes are checked. 

2) Make a "google alert" 

This is a very simple way to get notified about a good apartment first. I specifically use this to find new listings for my clients or prospecting owners who might need a listing broker. This service isn't always perfect but it works pretty well. Use terms that would match your search like neighborhoods or features of the apartment. Google searches the internet for you and sends updates daily to your mail box. Most importantly it combs the dreaded craigslist for the best matches. The key is to be one of the first to respond. 

3) Post to your Network

Check with your friends and family on facebook. You would be surprised how many people you may know are moving, but didn't post about it. Maybe your friend is moving out of their rent stabilized place. Maybe someone is breaking a lease and they are responsible for filling the home. It is fairly common that landlords would prefer a tenant that is connected to a current tenant that didn't give them any problems. In my experience most owners prefer not to have turn over and have a good tenant vs. a slight rent increase with a brand new tenant. 

4) Talk to Connector People

I like connector people. In many neighborhoods people like bar tenders, coffee shop owners, waitresses, barbers and deli owners know EVERYONE in the neighborhood. It is often that landlords with good deals will let a few key people know about up coming rentals before a broker or the management company. When you take a little bit of time and talk to your neighbors, good things happen. Remember to patron your local businesses and tip well ;)

5) The Listings Project

This is a cool list that I like by Stephanie Diamond who curates a sublet list with no third parties. That means no management companies, no brokers, no buffer. Its free but they are usually sublets. Originally it was designed for creative times for temporary amounts of time.

6) Look for a Physical Flyer or No Photo Ad. 

This can be very hit or miss. Worst comes to worst, you wasted a morning or afternoon of your time to see a dungeon. Best case scenario you find an under priced listing where the owner just wants to rent quick or locally with our publishing too many details. I have personally found great spaces by looking at an ad with no pictures.  

7) Walk The Streets

This is an old school way to find listings. In the day and age of the internet, this is becoming a lost art. Let me tell you, this is one of the best ways to find a home. It works better in areas that are primarily 1-6 family homes as you can see work being done from the street. In Manhattan it is a bit harder as most buildings are managed by companies and third party contractors due work for the owner. If you see someone working, ask them in person at that moment because most people are happy to take a break from working to help you. You can also find owners of buildings by using the ACRIS system which is public record for all properties in New York City. 

8) Sublets Can Turn into a Permanent Residence. 

As a renter, some of the best places I have found have been by moving in with friends or friends of friends on a temporary basis that eventually turned into a permanent home. Specifically I moved into a  room one summer when my sisters friend went on her honey moon. They ended up coming back for one month or so and then found their own place and I moved back in. This was a rent stabilized apartment and I ended up living in that building for many years. 

I hope you found this blog helpful and you should share it with any friends that might be on the hunt. As always, if you want to use my professional help I am happy to be your rental broker. The advice is free, the value is priceless.  

#9 Around New York - De Blasio's budget, Rent hike, Rikers island, Obama's home and Domino Sugar

Today we take a brief look at what is going down in Real Estate around NYC. The mayor increases his budget amid threats of federal funding cuts from Trump. It looks like the Rent Stabilization board will pass a rent increase after 2 years of a freeze. Central Islip gets help with MS13. The city gets ready to close Rikers island by changing some of its practices and finally we take a brief look at the Domino Sugar factory project. Enjoy, comment, subscribe :)

Trump's Tax Plan, Mark to Market, and an Interview with Nathan

Trump's Tax Plan, Mark to Market, and an Interview with Nathan

We take a look at Trump's new tax plan and speak with Nathan Slote who is a seasoned accountant. US tax code is notoriously complticated and it is often exploited. We go into mark to market accounting and how you can be more informed about our current system. 

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Colorado Ski Life + Real Estate and Ad tech ft. @trevorm88

We are back with our newest episode of The Housed Podcast and we have a special one for you here. There have been many adventures happening since we last spoke in February. We went skiing in Beaver Creek Colorado and while we were there checked out some local slope side real estate. If you want to get your last licks in before ski season is over, you gotta get out there! We will also cover some local market news in NYC to get you ready for the spring market. Also it was my birthday! Plus spring break. 

Topics for this episode 

  • Colorado Ski vacation and real estate 
  • Local New York Real Estate Market Snap Shots
  • Birthday Shout Outs
  • Closings and In Contract -  Up coming Listings Sales and Rentals
  • Interview with Trevor Mengle 
  • Sponsors (Brooklyn Lacrosse, Blue Apron, Airbnb)
  • Next weeks episode we will talk about Mexico and staying on a bee farm. 

Greenwood's Construction Boom is Taking Shape

Sleepy old Greenwood has been seeing a boom of construction over the last 9-12 months. It seems to be "rising from the dead"... that is just a bad joke as the area is famous for their historical cemetery. Take a scheduled tour you will not be rolling in your grave (more terrible jokes), now on to real estate.

 

If you take a look up and down 19th or along 6th avenue you can't go a block with out some form of new construction going on. From new condos on 20th, luxury rentals on 19th or renovated town homes on 6th ave - the boom work is all around you. Greenwood was rezoned in 2005 which gave any home owner there a nice little bump in air rights to their pre existing home. 

What is coming to the market? CONDOS, but many lack a much needed tax abatement for end users. Can the market find a balance between homeowners cashing out, new condo buyers, and developers delivering an affordable product? 

Most notably 696 6th avenue is approaching completion with facades up and construction workers hustling to finish up for the prime spring season. There is a bit of controversy with this site as reported by YIMBY, a website profiling new development around New York.

"The state Attorney General banned Shiraz Sanjana from selling condominiums for 16 months in 2014, but that didn’t stop the embattled developer from buying a development site at 695 6th Avenue in Greenwood Heights once the ban expired. Today, YIMBY has a look at the three-story apartment building rising at the corner of 21st Street." - YIMBY Dec 2016

Atlas developers purchased two properties in the last 2 years which are changing the face of 5th avenue for the better. A former lot at the corner of 17th and 5th ave is chugging along and nearing completion. The design is on par with many condos in South Slope along 5th avenue with floor to ceiling windows and a modern exterior teasing some classic Brooklyn brownstone colors. One block away on 18th and 5th ave, demo continues on the former neighborhood stable Eagle Provisions. Here is a look at the renderings we pulled up. 

Another project that has had plans filed, but no construction has started. It seems that the 2 building lot has been shopped around with plans with no takers as of yet. I am sure they will find a homes soon. Take a look at the picture below which is right across from the newly renovated magnet school on 5th. 

 

Aside from these few we profiled here, there are currently 3 developments on the market now with units left to sell. (288 19th Street, 324 20th and 323 20th) As these projects retained broker representation, I will keep my comments limited. The main issue I see with these projects are the taxes. If you take a look at any New Development condo in Greenwood on the market right now, the first thing you will see is the taxes seem high. Most of these projects are very lovely and I personally thought they were thoughtfully designed, but at the end of the day the taxes are giving some hesitation. 

So where does that put the demand? New townhouse conversions and condo resales. 

Greenwood townhouses are seeing a bump from the traditional South Slope townhouse and condo buyers moving south. The rezoning of schools a few years back reshaped the boundaries for some of Brooklyn's most desired public schools. Now that the market is seeing townhouse prices in South Slope fetching 2-3M dollars for a two family, Greenwood is right behind. A few notable closed sales happened in the last 12 months to validate new pricing for the area. 

228 17th Street sold for $2,025,000 Price

634 6th Avenue sold for $2,075,000

626 6th Avenue selling for close to $3 million

and most recently 439 36th Street selling for a whopping $2,250,000

We will post more on other new Greenwood rental buildings, condos and townhouses as there are too many for one single blog post. 

If you are interested in learning more about Greenwood Brooklyn, buying or selling your home leave me a line I would love to hear from you! 

How to Buy an Apartment in New York City

Are you preparing to purchase your home this spring? Be a savvy consumer before you hit the pavement and go to the next open house this weekend. 

Helpful Paperwork

1 - Find an Agent - Look for a licensed real estate agent who understands your local market and specific needs. Certain agents or brokerages can specialized in specific areas or types of homes. 

2 - Get Pre-Qualified - Before beginning your search, you should have a good understanding of your purchasing power. Unless you are paying with cash, get pre approved for a mortgage loan with the bank. Your agent can connect you with a few options speak with. Based on your income and credit history, a mortgage broker can determine how much the bank will lend you and estimate your monthly costs. 

3 - Visit Properties - Attend open houses and arrange private showings with your agent. You will quickly get an understanding of the market once you physically see a handful of homes. Prioritize your list of needs vs wants and specifically target the properties that best fit your list. 

4 - Negotiate - Now you must reach an agreement with the seller on the price and terms of your future dream home. Now that you want to make an "offer," consult your agent or comparable sales data to arrive at your price. Your offer is a non binding commitment to purchase the property at an agreed price. If you offer below ask, the seller can accept counter or reject.

 5 - Review -  Once an offer is accepted, a contract of sale will be created, building financials, and board minutes should be reviewed by an attorney. It is best to work with an attorney who is versed in New York City condo, coop, and townhouse sales. It is essential to used an attorney who will accurately complete due diligence on your behalf as the paperwork can be extensive. Many opportunities can arise that could slow or end your transaction.

6 - Sign your Contract - Show me the money. You will place a 10% contract deposit to move forward to a closing. The seller is entitled to this deposit if the buyer does not satisfy their obligations. 

7 - Complete Loan Application - Your bank will randomly select an appraiser to create an unbiased assessment of the home's value. 

8 - Pre Pare your board package (if you are purchasing a single, multifamily or lot skip to 10) - Coops and sometimes condos, are run by a board of directors who will require a board package in order for you to purchase the apartment. A board package generally consists of financial documents including tax returns, bank statements, mortgage commitment, from your bank, and letter of reference. After reviewing your package, the board will set an interview date. Your agent will help prepare your board package as well as pre pare you for the interview. While condos generally do not have interviews, you will have to present a purchase application to show you are financially qualified to purchase the home. .

9 - Board Approves Purchase 

10 - Bank Issues Clearance to Close - The bank will continue to do due diligence on the building for insurance underwriting purposes and loan compliance. 

11 - Closing Scheduled by Attorneys 

12 - Final Walk Through with Your Agent

13 - Closing - Congrats you are a home owner! 

Real Estate Round Up - Week of 1/20/2017

Is the bone chilling winds of NYC winters giving you the blues? Maybe your whistling radiator or late night party animal neighbor woke you one last time? There is no better way to lose the winter blues than to move into a new home. We have you covered with this week's real estate round up. 

This last weekend in January 2017 we were all over Brooklyn looking at multi families under $1.5 million and 300 Ashland, a new Two Trees development next to Atlantic Terminal. 

Starting out in Sunset Park we saw a lovely 2 family on 47th Street in impeccable shape. Located only a few blocks from great subway access, a stones throw from industry city, and right by the Sunset Park. Many of these brick multi families in the area are experiences bidding wars in the $1m - $1.5m. Now that prices in South Slope and Park slope are over $2m, Sunset Park is becoming a desired option for buyers who want to stay relatively close Prospect Park or stay on the R and D line. Even tho we are in the "slow season" and the entire city seeing a heavy renters market, a 1/2 bed in Sunset Park can still give you around $2000 a month in rental income. We had a beautifully sunny day and 5th ave, the retail corridor, was lively and popping. I rate this as a BUY!  

Looking for a fixer upper in Windsor Terrace? When I saw work, I mean work. We attended a PACKED open house for this 2 family priced at $1.4m in a family style 2 unit home. The block has RESIDENT ONLY PARKING. Yes you heard it right. You can only park on the street if you live on this quiet dead end street. This home had a lot of potential, but there was plenty of use as it seemed the current owner has been there for a long time. The area was amazing, but the low ceilings and the amount of work needed turned me off a little bit. 

Flatbush has seen a lot of action in 2016 for single and multi families, many with full guts. I saw a great 2 family in the $1.1m price point on east 22nd street, a few blocks from the famous Kings Theater. The first floor was a lovely 2 bed, fully renovated with washer dryer, back yard access and raw unfinished but stylishly done with exposed brick painted white. The bottom duplex would likely be the owners unit, but access to the yard is only available via the second bedroom. The upstairs rental unit was very desirable with ample light, washer dryer and 3 good sized bedrooms. Rentals in the area will be in the $1700 a month range even for a 3 bedroom. I personally loved this home, but as it has been on the market for almost two months I would advise playing a little hard ball with these sellers. 

I have been talking about our heavy renters market a lot this month, and if you are in the market for a new rental now is the time. 300 Ashland is Two Trees newest development right at the nexus of Park Slope, Boerum Hill, and Forte Green next to BAM. These units are a bit pricey, but when you are paying top dollar for a rental you get what you pay for. The entire building is green certified and it has a 27th story all glass gym to help you motivate for your early morning work outs. Many of the units have balconies with amazing views of all Brooklyn. There will also be cultural community facilities in the lower floors. I you sign up now you will get 2 months free and no broker fee. 

If you are interested in any of these properties mentioned and would like to talk to me about organizing a showing, send me a message or give me a call. We can help advise you as buyer's or renter's agent with any of these homes. The listing links for all properties mentioned are below. Enjoy the week! 

Windsor Terrace 2 Family

Sunset Park 2 Family

Flatbush 2 Family

300 Ashland

Are We Moving into a Buyer's Market?

With the spring market just around the corner, speculations on the cooling market might mean you can pick up a deal right now. The last few years of bidding wars and competing with other buyers have seemed to cooled off this fall and winter, especially in the higher end of the market. Attractive entry level homes still had plenty of buzz. 

With the resale market in Manhattan seeing the steepest price drop in q4 of 2016, the largest in 4 years. This decline left the median sale price at $900,000. To see a full report, click our market reports section. 

Is this something that should worry you? I think not. Overall the average price rose to a record $2,098,459 which includes new development. Some of this data is lagging as these listings went into contract a few years back during pre construction and are just closing now. 

In my opinion, sellers who were chasing the market are getting a reality check. The market is still strong but overpriced listings are getting pulled off the market, being deeply discounted, or going stale on the market. Many buyers who decided to sit on the sidelines in the last 2 years are now feeling the pressure to secure a home with the anxiety of rising interest rates looming in the back round. 

There will always be sections to the market. Real estate is compartmentalized into many different sub markets with their own influences. Starter apartments, value flex coops, and anything priced below 700K will have a different audience then the $2million plus market. Bridging the market between ambitious sellers and market savvy buyers will make all the difference in the first half of 2017.