Why God Invented Realtors

Realtors have different roles in different states.  In New York State they are not allowed to write contracts – that is for the lawyers.  In other states, like California, Florida, Realtors do write contracts and money goes into escrow.  Regardless of which state you are in Realtors help people buy and sell real estate but they do so much more.  They help in a crisis, make people happy and sad, and they protect a home like its their own.

On the right path

On the right path

Realtors help people choose a home that maybe just a season, such as a summer rental but they can hold fond memories for a lifetime.  They hold peoples hands and allay their fears of choosing wrong.  They listen to sad financial or family tales that have affected the buyer, renter, seller in setting their choices.  Realtors become friends.

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Their dream home can be small, large or some where in between.  Everyone has a different dream home.  Sometimes it’s a first home, sometimes it’s a second home.  Sometimes it’s a retirement home.  Some people choose quickly, Realtors like those people best.  Some people take years to decide on a particular home, Realtors like those people least.

Confidante, business person, friend, one who helps fulfills the dream of buying a home -All these terms apply to Realtors.  Some clients are repeaters and others you never see again.  They all have meaning, not just financial, because each deal is a learning experience.

Dream Home

Dream Home

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So YOU Want to be a REALTOR?

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So you think being a real estate agent is all game and no work? Think again. Much work little pay. The guys, and they are all guys, on Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing with their sleeked back hair and glitzy cars make it look so easy. Sure they show a little stress when in the midst of the deal but they don’t show them falling apart in the way that more than half of all deals do. When doing a rental, seasonal or year round the agent does all the work as a lawyer is not involved for the contract – the homeowner supplies that in New York state. So, much going back and forth over smoking, showings, vacuums and the occasional air conditioner that is essential to make the deal go through.

Pay for a seasonal rental is normally 10% of the rent. Year round, one months rent. Then, you split with the agency and any other agent involved in the deal. You hope to rent it your self but there is no guarantee. Some agents make it difficult to work with – they don’t want others showing their listings even though MLS rules say share and share alike. The image of agents is not always good. And, some that consumers think are good are really difficult to deal with as other agents. Some are unethical and lie and end up a half dozen times or more in court trying to get their commission fees. The public doesn’t usually have privilege of this knowledge until it’s too late.

Find a trustworthy smart real estate agent that has a good reputation inside and outside the office. If you can’t find one email me. I am one. And no I’ve never been to court to collect a commission and I don’t work for agencies that have.

Happy Spring! The market is right, buy, sell or rent.

It’s A Buyers Market

You’ve probably heard the term buyers market.  It refers to the real estate market in particular and the mortgage crisis, foreclosures, and the decline in realty values. It refers to the fact there are a lot of homes for sale in every price category. But, it doesn’t mean that every owner will negotiate down to their cuticle line philosophically speaking that is just to unload their property.  Is this always true?  No.

ImageThere are homes that were over priced that needed to come down in price but there are others, such as the one pictured above that are undervalued that legitimately need to be sold by the owner.  What hurts this true value is other #REALTORS who say “Well, it’s a buyers market.  There are so many homes for sale in every price category that buyers can pick and choose.”  If an owner needs to sell it doesn’t mean they are going to go below what they need to collect. If they do that’s a short-sale and dealing with the mortgage crisis which this Blog is not about.  Dealing with anxious owners and anxious buyers I can tell you that the term buyers market is overused.

The true meaning of a negotiation is compromising on both sides.  If one buyer has the means to pay asking price but wants to see how much they can get away with, and the home is priced right, it becomes a game.  Sometimes buyers win and sometimes they lose. To a first time buyer who thinks they can out price an owner with thirty plus years of home ownership good luck!  Buyers that ask for ridiculous measures, such as bills for a year, and conversion costs before they even get to an accepted offer is a waste of time. In my experience, serious buyers will make the offer, get accepted and then negotiate with the contract a little here and a little there.  So, unlike #Bravo’s #MillionDollarListing negotiating a deal in three hours of the same day doesn’t happen very often at all.  It can take weeks with standoffs from both sides, and requests for kilowatt hours seemingly the pin that may break the deal.  So, if you know of anyone who has the money to buy a $700,000 waterfront home that is appraised for $150,000 more let me know.  It even has a deep-water dock that can fit 3 boats and direct access to #LongIslandSound!  Sail away on that!

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People who love People are the luckiest people…

When you are working in the corporate world you do not usually have to deal with the general public at large.  There maybe a shareholders meeting here or there, a conference of some kind where the rare non-corporate person enters your realm.  But, in Real Estate you are dealing with the public and they are dealing with you in large.  You may get Mr. and Ms. corporate world coming to you for buying, renting, or selling, but they are not in their work mode when they come to see you.  Hence, abnormal psych class from college can come in handy.  Having practiced the real estate sales function for the past few years, yes, the horrendous, mortgage and sales, and foreclosure abundant news years I’ve come to learn a thing or two.  I had very few encounters in the corporate world with unethical, unlawful, mentally or emotionally challenged folk.  Now and again over fifteen years  I did encounter them.  It wasn’t difficult to navigate around them except in a couple of instances when they were my direct manager.  Lots of yoga!  In dealing with the public day in and day out, you cannot so much avoid them as you need to deal with them.  I had a manager tell me at my first job out of college that there are going to be co-workers and bosses that I will not like to work with.  But, my challenge was to find a way, a method, a mantra, that would help me deal with them because unless I am the boss and can fire someone at will, I will have to work with them.  UGH!  I thought at first.  However, time told me this was a true management technique that I needed to embrace.  First step, much like those famous Harvard Case Study management techniques is to evaluate the situation.  Step back and take an objective view of Ms. or Mr. hysterical.  Is their  reaction or behavior equal to the situation at hand? Well, rarely if ever is the behavior of someone being overly emotional equal to asking for a credit check form being filled out, or asking for references.  What to do? Okay to talk with someone more experienced with you and ask their opinion.  The terms “bi-polar” and “emotional problems” are heard frequently these days in relation to such behavior.  How much is really one or the other only a professional mental health worker will know for sure.  But, one thing is clear – remaining calm, professional and sincerely concerned is always a good choice when faced with full frontal emotional reactions that aren’t the norm.  If they continue outside of singular events, best to talk with your manager and co-workers who are also dealing with the same public for specific advise as each person’s own business has different ways of dealing with such situations.  And, when the day is done you can start to hum that very popular song made famous by Barbara Streisand as you head to your home safely – of course I mean “People who love people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Real Estate is Still King

There are tax incentives, credits in place now for first home buyers.  If you still have the cash, and you will have to prove it, steady income, and good credit the new home can be yours. You don’t always have to put 20% down either.  I have it from a very reliable mortgage banker that he has written deals recently in the 5-10% down category.

Federal tax credit of $8000 is due to expire the end of November this year.  The state of New York is giving a 20% tax credit on your mortgage interest for this year too.  Will it continue next year?  Stay tuned to find out.  More homes are still coming on the market at all price ranges.  I’ve shown many homes in the last month on the North Fork for less than $400,000.  On the South Fork, or The Hamptons, you can now buy a home with ocean view on Dune Road for less than $4Million.  Many homes on Dune Road have for sale signs and even more are discreetly for sale, meaning, no visible signs. There are lots of people looking.  There are people buying.   Will you be one of them?