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REBar Camp New York is January 11, 2011 and it is FREE - 12/31/10 09:03 PM
I never attended a REBarCamp until this past October in Rye at the NYSAR event. I didn't know what they were all about, but I had a baptism of fire when I was actually conscripted to moderate a session! If you have never been to a REBarCamp and you are wondering, don't fret. All you need to do is register for FREE for the New York event this coming January 11 at the Roger Smith hotel in midtown Manhattan and you can experience a great one for the first time and then play in the Big Apple afterwards. You'll have a ton of fun, you'll (5 comments)
2010 By The Numbers - 12/31/10 08:41 PM
I am going to indulge in a brazen self promotional post since the end of the year is here, mainly to state the facts, since Ann tells me I don't stress the level of performance I, um, perform. So here are a few facts about how J. Philip did in 2010, both myself personally and the team. 10- My rank for residential transactions closed out of over 7000 EAMLS member agents. In other words, I sold more homes than 99.86% of my competition. I averaged just under 1 transaction side (.9) per week. I am proud of that, but prouder still of the job (12 comments)
When Does the Spring Market Begin? - 12/30/10 10:56 PM
Now that the holidays are all but past, the "slow season" is officially over. Spring gets busy, but when does Spring start in Westchester real estate? March? After the Super Bowl? In my experience, "Spring" in real estate starts January 2nd. It may sound silly, but motivated buyers have been lurking online for months now, checking out the inventory and bookmarking certain homes that may meet their criteria with the intention of getting out and seeing things as soon as the holiday season is completed. Time moves quickly, and those folks who want to be in a house by the end (19 comments)
The Lesson of Reader's Digest - 12/26/10 11:27 PM
Reader's Digest has a huge world headquarters in nearby Chappaqua, New York. I should say HAD a huge headquarters. The company quietly left the campus this past week to smaller digs in Manhattan. This represents the fall of a local giant, and the final exit of a company that was a Westchester institution. To work at Reader's Digest was special; it was one of the companies that made Westchester County unique. And now it is gone. You can still subscribe to the publication, mind you, but the Reader's Digest I grew up with is dead. You really should read the article (27 comments)
Lighting the Way For Santa Claus in Ossining - 12/25/10 12:51 AM
Merry Christmas from New York. One of the things I love about where I live is a Christmas Eve tradition in my old neighborhood where the people line the streets with candles. It is a sight to behold in person, and even though it was late on a Christmas Eve, you can see other cars driving through in the video to see the lights for themselves. I always loved this as a child, and I was jazzed to show it to Catherine, my 6 year old daughter, for the first time tonight. We live in the adjacent neighborhood now.
I have (17 comments)
HUD Rejects Westchester's Affordable Housing Proposal - 12/23/10 08:27 PM
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has rejected Westchester County's latest proposal for affordable housing to be built in the county as a result of last year's settlement of the government's lawsuit. The "problem" is as old as the county, but the upshot is that the government has said enough is enough and it is time to break down the economic barriers that have kept some towns in the county overwhelmingly white. You can read more background on the issue from the NY Times and Anti discrimination Center website. There are some who will accuse the government of trying to be (16 comments)
Uncommon Economic Indicator: Prostitution in Westchester County - 12/22/10 11:29 PM
I suppose I could find a real estate angle for just about anything, and I will now as well: in today's paper, a "spa" located down the street from my office was raided and the police arrested two in a prostitution sting. Earlier this month, the same thing happened in Mohegan Lake, NY a hamlet of Yorktown. Smarter people than I could write volumes on who, why, and how. My observations are those of a guy who brokers real estate, not a commentary on morality. Full disclosure: I have had clients in the, shall we say, adult industry. While I know (31 comments)
What Can You Buy in Scarsdale for $297,500? - 12/15/10 09:29 PM
I suppose I could have rounded off the title to $300,000, but why not be precise. $297,500 buys a really nice cooperative apartment in the Edgemont complex with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a balcony. As you can see, the place is fabulously updated with a sparkling new kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances. It also has newer updated bathrooms, refinished floors, and a fantastic location near all that Central Park Avenue has to offer: shopping, commuting points, and great restaurants. The complex itself has great amenities, with a ample parking, laundry on every floor, security, playground, (2 comments)
The Possible, the Impossible, and the Nuts - 12/14/10 10:11 PM
For the second time in a week I had a conversation where the idea came up that a high volume producer (which, I guess, I am for my market) doesn't typically give the same level of service to the client as a smaller numbers person who ostensibly has more time. I don't take umbrage with the thought; there might be some truth to it, but not here. So I'll share something. One of my agents brought in a listing once that was a co op apartment in serious arrears to the bank and the management company. An auction date was set for a (24 comments)
$350,000 goes pretty far in Brewster these days. Today we closed on a listing at that very price which was quite uncommon: a Victorian manor house on 2 acres with a carriage house/garage and a view of the reservoir. It had been purchased in 2005 for $562,000 and restored before the economy tanked. An 1870 build (by circus entrepreneur Seth Howes), it had all the original moulding and trim, a root cellar, a greenhouse, a small out building, cobalt glass windows, porches, balconies, the original outhouse, and had been featured in some publications for its beauty and architectural note. As a matter of fact, (8 comments)
Listing With a New Agent is a Business Decision, Not Personal - 12/12/10 10:20 PM
Every first of the month Ronnie, our administrative assistant, arrives at the office and begins the daunting task of addressing letters to several hundred homeowners whose listing expired at the end of the previous month. One of the good people who came off the market on November 30th called me and we met just this evening to see how I could help them sell. The details of why homes do not sell are not unfamiliar to me; price is certainly a big reason, but there are often other fatal mistakes the prior agent made that punctuate the home's failure to sell. In this case, the (70 comments)
Westchester at a Glance: Sales for December 4-10, 2010 - 12/12/10 09:14 PM
According to the Empire Access Multiple Listing Service, 82 single family homes closed in Westchester County this past week, with a median sales price of $586,000. In the same period last year, there were 96 single family home closings with a median sale price of $608,000. Given the general abysmal year that 2009 was, that makes this past week not much to write home about. HOWEVER...overall, we are far ahead of the 2009 totals for the county. Last year through December 10, there were 3130 single family homes sold at a median price of $580,000. Thus far in 2010, we have (1 comments)
What Does $525,000 Buy in Carmel, NY? - 12/12/10 02:24 PM
Carmel, NY is a community located in Putnam County, NY about an hour north of New York City. It is very close to Westchester County, but the cost of living, especially the cost of homes and property taxes, are often less than Westchester. What can you get for $525,000 in Carmel? Well, we just sold this 3000 square foot 2001-built 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath colonial on nearly 2 acres this past week. Located on a cul de sac, it has a beautiful master suite, an additional 1300 finished square feet in the walkout basement, rocking chair porch, 2 car garage, fireplace, rear (4 comments)
What Does $720,000 Buy in Scarsdale, NY? - 12/12/10 02:06 PM
The Scarsdale postal address can mean Scarsdale/Scarsdale schools, or Scarsdale/Edgemont schools. One is co-terminus with the town/village of Scarsdale and the other (Edgemont) is in the town of Hartsdale. Both are wonderful places to live. $720,000 in the Edgemont area can buy a nearly 2500 square foot split like the one pictured that we just closed on this past week. It has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths (including a mater bath), a 2 car garage, formal dining room, family room, rec room in the basement, a den which could be a 4th bedroom or guest room, a rear patio and central air conditioning, (1 comments)
I do endeavor to be semi on top of things, and upon occasion I get a well meaning request from a friend for technical help with something they are doing on their computer or online. But I am really not that great a tekkie. I can type; I rely on others for web design. I therefore did not really know what a QR code really was until this past week, after speaking about them with a smarter guy than myself, Stephen Fells, who writes code and does things on computers that would completely stump me. Simply put, a QR code (quick response code) creates a hyperlink of (56 comments)
Westchester Rentals Don't Have High Negotiation Margins - 12/10/10 03:15 PM
Just a quick thought on rentals after an experience one of my agents just had. We have a situation where we need to get a client into a rental. They need something specific, she found one they liked and they made an offer. However, the offer was only for about 80% of the monthly rental price. In other words, if the unit was on the market for $1000, the client offered only $800 per month. The landlord declined. By the time we raised our offer, someone else came in at full price and swooped it away. Rentals are different animal from purchases in (6 comments)
J. Philip in the Media- Market Decline in Mt Vernon Neighborhood - 12/09/10 02:36 AM
Another overt self-pimping piece of information: I am rather prominent in a piece run in yesterday's AOL Daily Finance on the real estate market in Mt Vernon, NY. The article addresses how there are certain pockets of Westchester County more adversely affected by the housing decline than most. Even though I am in the northern part of the county, I do my fair share of business in Mt Vernon and the piece sheds light on how the foreclosure crisis has affected one neighborhood. The numbers are rough; values overall in the neighborhood we examined was down 50%, mainly because of the huge amount (8 comments)
Iona College Dormitory Controversy in New Rochelle - 12/06/10 11:58 PM
I had very mixed feelings when I came across the article New Rochelle neighbors get rowdy over Iona dorm plan in the local paper. The neighbors are essentially concerned about more dorms undermining their quality of life and property values. The article talks about broken bottles, loud music and drunk students. Colleges in residential areas can have issues. As a real estate broker, I understand the concern. As a former college student, however, I have a more visceral reaction. It is in my financial interest to support the neighborhood homeowners. I want them to think favorably of my company. I want them to list with me (9 comments)
What Does $165,000 Buy in Yonkers? - 12/05/10 09:51 PM
These days it is tough to find anything in Westchester for under $200,000. Unless, of course, you are talking about a co-op, the "starter home of Westchester" as they say. The Dehaven Drive complex in Yonkers is a terrific collection of condos and cooperatives very conveniently located near shopping, transportation and schools with plenty of parking and a quiet atmosphere. For $165,000, you can get a 2 bedroom co-op in the Greystone 4, a garden-style apartment with an updated granite kitchen, updated bath, hardwood floors, and new appliances, all on the ground floor. Our buyer just closed on it last week with (4 comments)
To say that I am bullish on Peekskill is an understatement. First, the bad news: after an abysmal September report, I skipped October. I shouldn't have, because there were zero sales in November and I had to combine it with October to have anything to report on. 2 sales with a median sales price of $233,500 is way down from the 13 deals at $305,000 the same period in 2009. Now, the (1 comments)
This market report is for single family homes in the Croton-Harmon school district. All data is from the Empire Access (formerly Westchester-Putnam) MLS. Contract and asking prices are list prices, as contractual prices are not disclosed until closing. Croton is constipated. What else can you say about a market that had 12 pending sales last month and closed only 3? Croton now has 14 homes under contract, waiting to close, either by design or, more likely, because it is hard to get across the finish line these days. I predicted a big November last month based on all those pending (2 comments)
I Hate Saying No, But Sometimes I Must - 12/05/10 12:59 PM
The call came in at 11am this morning, and it was a buyer one of my agents has been working with the past few weekends. They are looking for a home, and that is our favorite kind of client. They had a list if beautiful homes in Southern Westchester for sale they wanted to see. Unfortunately, I couldn't help them this day. I had to offer a raincheck. The reason? Weekends are our busy days in this business, and Saturdays and Sundays get filled pretty fast. If you don't have yourself in the schedule by Friday, I can't promise that I can make (52 comments)
Things Inspectors should NEVER say to a client (or 10 Commandments for Good Communication) - 12/05/10 11:55 AM
This is the second time I have reblogged something by this home inspector, Joseph Michalski, and for good reason. The home inspector's job, done properly, takes these 10 rules into account. Excellent commentary on a crucial part of the home buying process. Via Joseph Michalski - PA Home Inspector (Sherlock Homes Inspections): "Are you really considering buying this place?" That's what one Realtor overheard as an Inspector went about his business. I got dozens of horror stories in response to my blog about Realtor-Inspector relationships. It consistently amazes me that the inspection world spends so much time on educating inspectors about construction, codes, (4 comments)
J. Philip real estate excels in providing a strong inventory of pre foreclosures and short sales in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties that are great for people looking for a handyman or fixer upper at a good price. We have a short sale opportunity for a handyman or developer in northern Westchester County. This is a colonial era 2400 square foot 4 bedroom, 3 bath farmhouse on 2.6 acres for $449,000. Includes a large barn on a flat wooded lot. Restore or build new. 178 Smith Ridge Rd South Salem, NY 10590.
In Mahopac, Putnam County, we have a fixer upper short sale (2 comments)
J. Philip in the Media- NY Times, to be Exact - 12/04/10 07:33 PM
The local rag has quoted me in the Sunday edition of the paper in an article on strategic defaults. The local rag, being, of course, the New York Times. The interview for the article was this past week, and the reporter, Lynnley Brown, was very nice. She said I'm a mortgage broker, which is a mistake, as I am a real estate broker, but that's baseball. It showed up in my Google Alert anyway. And I'm sure they'll print a page 1 retraction on Monday. Right? The Times, to its credit, has reported more lately on defaulting home owners; the editorial (11 comments)
Briarcliff Manor Real Estate Market November 2010 - 12/03/10 10:07 PM
This market report is for single family home activity in the Briarcliff Manor school district for November of 2010. All information is derived from the Empire Access (formerly Westchester-Putnam) Multiple Listing Service. A light month in Briarcliff Manor. Median price is about the same as last November, but only 3 deals closed. Nine homes are under contract at a median asking of almost $900,000, so we are positioned for a strong December. It happens that way. There are 39 available home in inventory, which is a light and typical for this time of year. Previous posts on Briarcliff Manor. If you'd like (3 comments)
This market report is for single family home activity in the Ossining school district for October of 2010. All information is derived from the Empire Access (formerly Westchester-Putnam) Multiple Listing Service.
Ossining is a bouncing ball. Last month the median price was $535,000. November's median was less than $370,000. The true picture is somewhere in the middle; November was just down. November of 2009 was far stronger, but with 30 pending sales at a median asking price well into the 400's, December will ensure that Ossining finishes the year on a high note. 136 active listings is down a touch, but December this time (0 comments)
Like Me, Love Me - 12/03/10 11:00 AM
Maybe it started with the emperors thumbs up or thumbs down in the Roman Coliseum. Maybe it culminated with Fonzie. Or Sally Field. Or Facebook. Nobody knows, but the human fascination with rating each other is well-documented. In light of Zillow's new agent rating system, I am moved to opine on the online versions of how we rate, like, love, endorse and otherwise measure the performance of those with whom we do business, as even a Facebook remark can be liked as much as a business. I LIKE approval and high ratings. I love to be loved. As I have blogged before, (49 comments)
What Can You Buy in Yorktown for $472,000? - 12/02/10 09:29 PM
I'll be posting a market report on Yorktown in the very near future, but I thought I'd give a more specific snapshot at what $472,000 buys these days. This is a 3 bedroom split colonial with a den and 1.5 baths on a quiet street in the Countryside neighborhood that just closed yesterday. It sits on a beautifully landscaped .4 acres with a rear patio and backyard that backs up to woods. It has new vinyl siding, new windows and a new roof. It also boasts an eat in kitchen with lots of cabinets, first floor laundry, hardwood floors throughout, formal dining and living (3 comments)
Phil Faranda is broker and owner of J. Philip Real Estate LLC in Briarcliff Manor, NY. Since founding the firm as a sole practitioner in late 2005, the team has grown to over 30 agents & closed 350+ transactions valued at $140 million. He is in his 4th term as Vice President of the HGMLS. This blog commentary is geared toward consumers and industry colleagues alike. You can reach him at (914) 723-8900. Warning: *Sarcasm and irony advisory at all times.*
There is no doubt in my mind that the house would still be on the market if it wasn't for Phil's proactive efforts.
Phil was very responsive to our requests; he was very professional and respectful; he always gave us his honest opinion on the questions we asked. ... more
Phil is a very honorable and respectful realtor. He has gone way above and beyond the call of duty for me not only once, but twice. He helped sell ... more
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