Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Score Card to Date

Over $18 Million dollars in transactions so far 2011.

Clients often ask how I'm doing. Well here are the stats year to date, I think I'm doing pretty well considering 100% of my business is referral with zero paid advertising. There certainly is a strong desire from buyers who for a model that not only offers them knowledgeable assistance but also financial compensation for their participation.

It has been a great year thus far. I have met and worked with some really wonderful people and want to thank them all for making what I am doing both a personal and financial success! We have rebated over $325,000 dollars as of today and this does not include two recent signed contracts as well as 4 accepted offers with contracts out!

I did not forget that it is only August and I am looking forward to a productive fall and winter and the opportunity to meet and work with more NYC home seekers.

771 West End Avenue 3 bedroom Contract signed Closed!
2 Charlton Street Studio Contract signed  Closed!
31 east 10th Street Two Bedroom Contract signed Closed
148 East 24th One bedroom Contract signed
579 west 215th Two bedroom Contract signed Closed
126 East 16th Street Two Bedroom Contract signed
297 6th Avenue Brooklyn Contract signed
34 North 7th Street Brooklyn 2 Bedroom Contract signed
37 Bridge Street Brooklyn 2 Bedroom Contract signed
301 East 48th Street Studio Contract signed

Most Recently Sold Apartments 2011:
105 E. 38 jr.4
392 CPW
35 East 12th Loft
77 Bleecker Street 1 Bedroom
382 CPW 2 Bedroom
245 7th Avenue Loft
115 Lexington Ave. (Brooklyn) 2 Bedroom
17 Chittenden 1 Bedroom
280 Park Avenue South 2 Bedroom
180 West End 2 Bedroom
75 Henry Street Brooklyn 1 Bedroom

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The non-mechanistic aspect of home ownership

I certainly understand that buyers of real estate do not want to over pay for a property, my business model came about to assist buyers on this path. I was recently inspired by an article on about a couple who cashed it all in and moved to Costa Rica to live a life more in-line with their dreams. I was inspired and touched by their realization of the impermanence of life, without getting philosophical we can all agree on this simple conclusion. So rather than blog about rent/buy calculations, housing charts or shadow inventory, I thought I would touch on the joy of loving your home.

I'll start with I truly believe that "home is where the heart is", and whether one rents or owns, happiness is not contingent on which you choose. One thing for certain is we spend a great deal of time in our homes, it's where we connect with the people we love, raise our families (make our families!) and host our friends. It becomes an extension of how we see ourselves and an oasis of peace. So when choosing where we want to live we need to be careful to find a space that can foster our needs and provide us an uplifting environment.

I think that owning the place you live can provide a great level of personal satisfaction as well as financial advantages if you purchase with a long enough hold time. For me that hold time should be about 7-8 years minimum to adequately protect you from the ebbing and flowing of market cycles. It has been my experience in life that friends that have purchased real estate and held it for 10+ years have fared better than my non-owner friends (yes there are exceptions). I am excluding any purchase that would have been made at the top of a bubble period, especially in markets that went way off the traditional chart, like Nevada, Florida, California to name a few. I will add here that I was one of those people advising a wait and see in early 2007 regarding any new real estate purchases. You have to be able to recognize a "bubble" or quite simply unrealistic returns on your investment when making such a large il-liquid purchase.

But lets get back to the joys of owning your home. The most obvious fact of ownership is your ability to decorate, renovate and design a space that will be just right for you, that will maximize your joy. The quality of what you can purchase is going to be much better than what you can rent, sure there are condos or co-ops that can be rented, but they are limited in both quantity and time you can stay. I also think buying a home, either on your own or with your significant other can provide a great deal of personal satisfaction and accomplishment. For those of us that are not great savers it becomes a functioning annuity that we can use, live in and build equity that becomes free up upon selling to assist us in our next journey in life.

Life is very short, very uncertain, we need to find an appropriate balance in all our pursuits; financial and emotional. If owning a home will provide you and your loved ones with an exceptional life experience and you have done a responsible analysis of your finances, then don't let short term issues stop you from purchasing a home that will give you joy well into the future.

As a broker in Manhattan and someone who has lived her since 1981 I have seen many of the up's and downs. I am currently of the opinion that it is a good time to make a purchase if you have ticked off all the boxes, at least 12-24 months of expenses in the bank after you close, steady employment prospects and a suitable income to sustain all of your monthly debt, not just housing expenses. You also need to take into account the condition of the property you are buying, if it will need an extensive renovation after purchase and eat into your reserves beyond a reasonable amount; that is a big red flag for me. If you have children that will need to go to private schools three years out, this has to be accounted for now, no wishful thinking that you'll deal with it when you "cross that bridge".

Life is short, Maximize your joy! Be present for every moment and make a mindful purchase (or other).

Friday, August 12, 2011

Good morning!

We have been down in Jupiter, Florida again looking for real estate. What a beautiful area, so much natural beauty, amazing beaches, restaurants, golf and wonderful weather. Let's talk about the weather which has really surprised me! Cool mornings and evenings with hot afternoons, not as hot and humid as some of our recent Jersey days. I was expecting it to be a pizza oven all day and night. Not the case if you can be near the ocean.

If you are tired of the cold north east winters? Come on down, a lot of great opportunities to own or rent a variety of properties and inexpensive flights. I'll post a full report when we return. Now it's off for some freshly baked croissants from the Paris Bakery to surprise Cheryl with.

Posted via android.

Friday, August 5, 2011

This doesn't feel like a million dollar apartment?

A big part of what I do is to work with my clients to understand what a property is worth or, more accurately, what current market value is. There is an empirical process for this that is primarily based on an analysis of recent comparable sales in the building. I use square footage and price per share as my baseline, then adjust for condition, floor, light, view, and date of sale. The other part of this is the emotional component. How much does the client love the space? Is it enough to stretch to a higher valuation to close the deal?

Sometimes I walk into an apartment and just think, "I would never pay $900,000 dollars for this." Today I looked at a property with a client and was left with that impression. I had already looked at the comps and my first impression was that it was over-priced. After looking at recent sales it appeared to be in the ballpark. There had been what appeared to be a "fear trade" early in 2009 on a similar unit in the building, they always throw things off kilter(in this case I think this "fear trade" is the right price!) But there was also a recent sale just a bit below what this place was asking, I found that surprising...but there it was. Certainly the seller and their broker were anchored to that trade, not the 2009 trade that was $160,000 less and just 4 floors lower.

This apartment was located in an 80's condo building, 650 square feet (maybe) with a doorman and not much else. What really puzzled me was the fact that they were asking almost a million bucks yet did a Home Depot-style renovation on the kitchen and bathroom-not even IKEA! They also chose to re-do the old (cheap) parquet floors and sanded them so thin you felt as if they would crack under the weight of your feet. Who buys this stuff?

This is just one of those examples of feeling taking the front seat to so-called empirical data. This did not feel like a $900,000 dollar home and my client agreed, thank goodness.