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Hear Me Yap Twice in June - 05/31/11 10:39 PM
The opportunity to hear me expel hot air in front of a crowded room is something that I KNOW some fellow agents are dying to attend. Just the sound of my whiny, nasal voice and suspect diction are a delight to trainwreck aficionados. So, if you are a masochist or considering penance for past sins, you'll have two chances to hear me blather this month. Both events are geared toward fellow agents. On June 2nd, I will be on a panel moderated by Derek Overbay entitled "Getting Real About Online Marketing" at the Monmouth County Womens Council of REALTORS. Other panelists include (17 comments)
Memorial Day 2011, and Giving Back to a Veteran in Need - 05/30/11 10:05 PM
It seems that the older I get, the more meaningful each Memorial Day becomes. When I was 23, it was a day off, and the marker for wearing summer clothes. When I was 33, it made me a little nostalgic for my father, who passed away when I was 25. Now that I'm 43, Memorial Day is a day of reflection and gratitude. This might have to do with my own growing awareness of my mortality, but it is deeper than that. Life experience teaches you things, and among the lessons I have learned is that even veterans who make it home (21 comments)
61 Words of Profundity - 05/29/11 07:26 PM
Seth Godin's 61 word post from 10 days ago is, in my view, the greatest economy of words on a deep throught I have read in quite a long while. You should really read it, print it, and tape it to your monitor or mirror. No blanket statement covers 100% of reality, but I concur with his observation; all worthwhile things have their price. While we all expound and trade ideas on how to work our businesses smarter, more efficiently, and with ever greater return on effort and investment, there is one thing that gets oblique reference but is seldom discussed (46 comments)
Don't Call the Listing Agent if your Buyer Agent isn't Around - 05/28/11 12:42 PM
I recieved a call on a listing from someone who wanted to see one of my listings this weekend. I am booked, and with a holiday weekend, I didn't have an available agent in the firm on short notice. Being the mensch that I am (and keenly aware that I work for the seller, not myself), I dutifully researched a local agent with another firm and asked her to take the referral. The same buyer called me today, asking about the house, and he did confirm that he got a call from the referred agent. He asked if she was with (20 comments)
Amateur Investors - 05/27/11 10:07 PM
I have written before that I do not recruit or solicit first-time investors. Real estate mistakes are expensive, they can ruin you, and I don't want to go head to head with a newbie who won't take my advice, gets hurt, but still reserves the right to blame me. Not my idea of fun. There is a home that is in the final stages of renovation in my marketplace that I am well familiar with; I looked at it when it was on sale in 2007, and I showed it as a bank-owned foreclosure last year. The investors I showed it (40 comments)
The Voicemail Thing - 05/26/11 04:09 PM
I understand the importance of voice mail. As a broker, I value it as a tool to retrieve and leave messages since I and my fellow agents cannot always be available to answer calls. Some of the messages I get are priceless. Greetings amuse me too. Like, for example, the agents who have a 90 second voicemail greeting about their integrity and commitment to follow up who take a week to call me back. That is always fun to sit through. I also get messages from folks who feel that their first name is ample information for a complete, (107 comments)
Leatherman to be Reburied Today - 05/25/11 12:48 PM
According to the Journal News, the legendary Leatherman will be reburied today in a more fitting place in Sparta Cemetary, further from Route 9. His original burial place was mere steps from the ever widening highway. The controversy that stemmed from the issue is now meaningless, as the Times reports that little more than coffin nails were found in his burial site. Scientists hoped to study his remains for some clues as to his ethnicity and medical condition, as the mysterious man was known to speak a French and little English, and made a 365 mile loop every 34 days between (5 comments)
The Best Features Aren't Mine - 05/24/11 09:53 PM
The best posts featured on the front page on Active Rain, the ones I love to see on the dashboard even more than my own, are those written by my own agents and invitees. This past September, I almost had the vapors when the firm's own Tom Ricapito wrote a terrific post that was featured entitled Is that my commission in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? I in turn wrote a a convoluted yapfest about my initial reaction, which was less than calm. The great thing about Tom's post (and Tom) was the raw authenticity about his feelings (20 comments)
The Cantilevered Balcony - 05/22/11 09:46 PM
I first heard the word "cantilever" when the renovations to old Yankee stadium were described. The old support columns holding up the upper deck were removed because they blocked the view of the field, and the upper deck was thereafter a cantilever. A cantilever is something like a balcony or deck that is supported only on one end, held up by stress on one side, with no support on the other end. We see lots of cantilevered balconies on apartment buildings in New York, but I seldom see them on a regular residential home. Today, I saw a good one.
Funny What Happens When You Take my Advice - 05/21/11 10:45 PM
I got a call this morning from a seller client who had two showings scheduled for the day. She was concerned she might have to postpone the appointments. It seemed that she discovered an ant colony outside a window of her condo, and was concerned that the development might repel the prospective buyers. "NO!" I insisted, "let them in! They might be turned off by the ants, but if they get canceled there is a 100% chance they won't make an offer today!" I explained to my client that the best thing to do is call the superintendent, post a note (90 comments)
New Listing- Armonk Colonial on a Cul de Sac - 05/20/11 09:13 PM
We've just listed a very special home in Armonk on 2 Anthony Court, 3 minutes from the downtown area and close to the highways. It is a 3415 square foot 4/5 bedroom 3.5 bath center hall colonial built in 1999. It has a large granite kitchen with an island, family room with fireplace, formal dining and living rooms, a spectacular master suite with two walk in closets, a hall bath with a double vanity, and all on a level quarter acre. It also boasts a two-car garage, a finished basement with a guest room, rec area full bath and den, and (6 comments)
Why "Call Around" When You Can Call the Broker? - 05/18/11 02:31 PM
Straight talk for consumers: When you hire a real estate agent, in the eyes of New York law, you are hiring their brokerage. The broker, owner or manager is directly accountable to you, and is, by contractual obligation, the "go to" guy if something seems amiss. In a sense, you are quasi-married for the term of the listing in the real estate world. Speaking of marriage, I'll ask a question before I make my point. If I have an "issue" with my wife, to whom should I address the matter? Cry in my beer down at the Kitty Cat Club to (61 comments)
What Does $400,000 Buy in White Plains NY? - 05/17/11 11:43 PM
What can you buy in White Plains, New York for $400,000? I'll tell you. $400,000 could get you a great 2 bedroom 2 bath ranch on a quiet street with a stucco/tudor exterior, beautiful pre-war appointments inside, such as a gorgeous woodburning fireplace, hardwoods, wood trim, and glass doorknobs like the one we just closed on last week. The home sits on a lot with a flat rear yard, deck, front patio, and manicured landscaping. It has a finished walkout basement, a formal dining room, den, updated baths, and a solid kitchen with lots of storage and a skylight. It also (2 comments)
What Does $443,000 Buy in Chappaqua, NY? - 05/16/11 11:28 PM
What can you buy in Chappaqua, NY for $443,000? Well, just today a buyer found out. They closed on my listing at 374 Quaker Road in Chappaqua and they got a 3 bedroom ranch in move in condition with a new granite and stainless steel kitchen, 2 new bathrooms, a den, formal dining room, and an almost completely renovated interior. It has great hardwood floors, crown molding, and a beautiful fireplace. It is set on over a third of an acre on a cul-de-sac with a paver rear patio and a 1-car garage. The location is stellar, mere minutes from downtown, (7 comments)
Raising the Bar: End Broker Exemptions on Contiunuing Education - 05/15/11 01:18 PM
I was recently asked by Bob Stewart of Active Rain on how I'd raise the standards of practice in the real estate industry, a discussion which raises passions among my colleagues. I didn't have a thought; I had about five thoughts. Higher licensure standards, better oversight by local boards and many other things are often discussed. One rather under-discussed matter is the law in New York which gives brokers with 15 consecutive years experience an exemption on mandatory continuing education. The rationale, I suppose is that 15 years experience should make one smart enough. In our changing world, it doesn't. As a (56 comments)
Thanks for Nothing, Con Ed - 05/14/11 11:35 AM
At the risk of sounding like a stereotypical 40-something whining about the utility company, I have to ask who is at the wheel of these work crews Con Ed has working in my neighborhood. Obviously, some digging in the road is required this week, and that means the usual trucks, diversions, and jackhammers. No problem there. I can even deal with the typical sight of 3 guys standing doing absolutely nothing, hands on hips, watching one guy in the hole do whatever the guy in the hole does. What I disliked this go 'round was no flag man. This is a (14 comments)
Will 2011 be Better or Worse Than 2010? - 05/13/11 11:10 PM
A not so deep drilling of sales data from the Empire Access MLS yields some interesting information on how 2011 stacks up to 2010 in the Westchester County single family home sector. In April 2010: 284 sales, median price of $590,000. From Janurary 1, 2010 through April 30, 2010: 1041 sales, median price $598,500. In April 2011: 245 sales, median price of $545,000. From January 1, 2011 through April 30, 2011: 967 sales, median price of $550,000. Overall, transaction totals are down 7% from last year during the first 4 months of the year and median price is down 8%. I (11 comments)
The High Taxes in Westchester as Seen Through the Lens of the New York Times - 05/11/11 09:50 PM
I am told that Westchester County property taxes are the highest in the nation. After reading this article in the New York Times on the effects of tax grievances in the County, I was inspired to make the following comment: People aren't grieving their taxes because of the companies selling the service; companies are selling the service because taxes here are insane. What the article fails to address-astonishing, really, considering the subject matter- was the feeding frenzy of the town governments when the market was hot. They'd raise your taxes to the tune of 50% in 10 years, but when values (11 comments)
Angelina's of Tuckahoe - 05/10/11 07:57 PM
I'm a foodie for sure. One of the great things about Westchester County is our vast array of incredible cuisine, and other than a good steak house my preference will always be Italian. This past week I had the good fortune to enjoy lunch with a fellow broker at Angelina's of Tuckahoe, a wonderful place right in the middle of the village a stone's throw from the train station. Angelina's has plenty going for it: a pleasant atmosphere, and terrific wine list to be sure, but the most important things to me are food and service. I had a menu in (5 comments)
That is One BIG Dog - 05/09/11 11:52 PM
There is nothing in the water in New Rochelle; this is just an English Mastiff, all of 250 pounds, that I met this past weekend while showing its master's home. I have never seen a dog this big. Never. He was just huge. This pooch was quite a gentle giant, however, and happily let me pet him. Everything about him was big- his head, his PAWS (HUGE!!!) and his gentle demeanor filled the space too. As we left the house , my client (also a dog lover) and I reflected on the sheer hugeness of that dog. He's three of my (26 comments)
About Foreclosure Settlement Conferences - 05/09/11 10:34 PM
New York Foreclosure Settlement Conferences I attended a foreclosure settlement conference today with a client whose house is listed with my company as a short sale. There was some understandable anxiety about the event, so I went to be a supportive advocate. As daunting as the name may sound, they are in place to ensure that the borrowers have their rights respected in their dealings with the lender. It is a good thing, and nothing to be afraid of. The set up is simple: the borrower and an attorney from the bank will meet before a court appointed referee to come (4 comments)
The Shoe House - 05/08/11 11:51 PM
I've seen crazy stuff in homes before. I really have. I've seen a basement pool table filled with sand and hundreds of plastic soldiers carefully placed upon it to re-enact a battle in the Civil War. I've seen people who had more photos of their kids than exposed wall. Nude art? Dime a dozen. Personal documents lying about? Plenty of times. One memorable thing we recently ran into was a huge number of shoes in a room apparently devoted entirely to, well, shoes. I smiled at the sheer volume of shoes; I laughed at my client's reaction when she walked into the (26 comments)
Open House, Riverdale Co Op Apartment - 05/07/11 08:19 AM
I will be holding 3030 Johnson Avenue, Unit 2G open today, May 7 from 1-3 pm. The unit is a very cute 1 bedroom starter with an updated kitchen and bath, dining area, and spacious open living room. Riverdale is truly one of the jewels on the crown of New York, with a fantastic walk value, incredible proximity to Manhattan, and lots of local attractions. Ewen Park is right next door. The unit is is priced at $149,900 with common charges of just $545, which are 50% deductable. Questions? Just call 914-450-8883. MLS ID of the property is 3107459.
Should You Sell? Maybe Not. - 05/06/11 11:02 PM
I was referred by a current client (I love referrals) to a family member who wanted to know what his condominium in White Plains might be worth. It is a nicely renovated unit he bought last year, but it is in a small building with fewer than 50 units and was built prior to World War II (we call this a "pre war"). We met this evening at the apartment and went through market activity on my laptop together. After evaluating what he bought it for, what was spent on updating it, the closing costs he paid for his purchase and (21 comments)
How To Render Cash Offer Useless - 05/05/11 06:14 PM
We have had the good fortune to receive some cash offers submitted on company listings recently. Cash is nice; no mortgage, no appraisal, no banks, and fewer headaches. Agents who submit a cash offer have every right to be enthusiastic and upbeat about it. However, there is a peculiar trend among cash offers which perplexes me, and consumers should understand this if they are in a position to make a cash offer. A Cash Offer without proof of funds is toothless. On more than one occasion, I've had these offers submitted sloppily with sparse terms and no proof of funds. (42 comments)
What Can You Buy in Abbottabad for $1 Million? - 05/04/11 04:03 PM
Do you like privacy? Looking for that quiet getaway? Are you security minded? Perhaps you seek a nice pied-à-terre. Maybe you hate schlepping out the garbage all the way to the end of the driveway twice a week. Did you hear that the Hamptons and Catskills are "out?" I have just the place for you. That's right, a new opportunity has come up in Abbottabad, Pakistan that is a cool bargain at $1,000,000.00. Just 6-years young, this 3-story battle-tested mansion is just a stones throw from Pakistan's national military academy and just became vacant this week. Sitting on a level acre with (62 comments)
Do I Need Vacation? - 05/03/11 08:56 PM
Should I get a little R and R? You tell me. Earlier today I put a slice of pizza in the microwave and began to input my bank card PIN. Not long ago, Ann mentioned Catherine's excellent report card, and for a fleeting moment I began to worry that it wouldn't comp out. On the positive side, I do remember the names of my children...better yet, they remember me. I'm glad, because I am busy. Every waking moment has been occupied for the past month, and I mean every...waking...moment. I wish it were just making lots of donuts. It isn't. We're (34 comments)
Why Total Strangers are High-Fiving Today - 05/02/11 08:10 AM
On September 11, 2001, I was preparing to drive my fiance' to work at her office on the upper east side of Manhattan. Our wedding was in 18 days, her parents were literally in the air from Korea that very morning and due at JFK in a few hours, and the sky was blue. It was going to be a great day. It wasn't. What I initially thought was a Thurman Munson sort of accident at the first tower turned the World Trade Center into a huge black smokestack from our vantage on Queens Boulevard as we drove toward Manhattan. When (37 comments)
My fellow New Yorkers know we've endured a brutal winter. The kids were busting out to enjoy the warmer weather, and even when it rained, they were out there to enjoy mother nature. We have a great vantange point from our back door and caught preciousness many times. These are just a few examples of the joy we eavesdropped on. (15 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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