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Ossining Bakery: Westchester County's Best Bread & Rolls - 08/31/11 11:58 PM
Ask any foodie about New York and you'll know that we have the best bread they've ever had. Local restaurants often boast that they have bread baked from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, and with good reason. I myself have lived in New Orleans, Austin, Rochester, Philadelphia, Boston and Maryland and appreciated the local offerings (New Orleans has some of the best food in the world!) but always measured bread against the bread from home. While Arthur Avenue bread and rolls are the world standard in my view, Ossining bakery is right up there. Among my fondest childhood memories is when (21 comments)
Seller Financing for Ossining Fixer Upper - 08/29/11 08:16 AM
We have a unique listing that might be of interest for someone looking for a home they can renovate without having to pay cash or getting a rehabilitation mortgage. It is a 2172 square foot tudor in the heart of the village adjacent to St Ann's school yard on Eastern Avenue. It was used for years as a single family, but is zoned as a two-unit and still could be converted. The home has 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, a stucco exterior, with a 1-car garage and a flat rectangular lot. It is a few blocks from shopping and public transportation. The (8 comments)
Was Irene Over-hyped by the NY Politicians and Media? - 08/28/11 11:58 PM
Note: This was written from a very New York Point of view, with local sentiment on how Mike Bloomberg and our local media handled the run up to the arrival of the storm. Please read this comment on the NY Times and this one from my fellow New Yorkers to get some perspective. I would never, ever, downplay or minimize the loss of others, and Ann and I send thoughts and prayers out to those who lost loved ones, property, and power. If you are in Westchester County reading this, then you survived Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene. We are not in a (60 comments)
How to Write a Market Report for your Real Estate Blog - 08/28/11 03:05 AM
Warning to consumers: this may be boring, as this post is written to my colleagues and not for the public. It's raining here in Westchester County, and Hurricane Irene has brought a rare thing: some time off. My phone has barely rung all weekend, and in between battening down the hatches for the storm, I have been able to take a breather from a schedule that has been frantic for the lion's share of August. I missed the hubbub about market reports on Active Rain, and since none other than Bob Stewart has praised me for my own market reports, I (180 comments)
New Real Estate Law- FUBAR - 08/22/11 11:11 PM
Right on the tail of HAMP, HAFA, HVCC, MARS, and MAP, our acronym loving government has unveiled a new initiative to address the depressed housing market. Since 3 and 4 letter acronyms haven't worked thus far, a bi-partisan initiative is getting final approval in both houses- The Federal Universal Big Acronym Regulation, or FUBAR. FUBAR has had some components since the early 1970s, but it has been streamlined and updated to address the housing market of 2011. "Our goal," according to congressman Barney Frank "is to implement FUBAR before the end of the year and make the whole economy FUBAR, once (27 comments)
What Can We Do To Lower Ossining's Taxes? - 08/21/11 10:43 PM
One of the most frequent questions posed to me in my life as a real estate broker is why the property taxes in so many Westchester communities are so high. I grew up in Ossining but have lived in five other states as well as Upstate New York, so I have some theories for our town. Some of my ideas are, admittedly, fantasy. But if they were implemented I think we'd see a sustainable tax burden instead of the crazy numbers we are currently faced with. Close Sing Sing Prison and bring in private development. While Sing Sing makes a partial (4 comments)
Yes, It Really Happened - 08/20/11 11:44 PM
This past Wednesday I attended an event put on by JP Morgan Chase at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Midtown Manhattan. There were over 300 employees from Chase present, along with what seemed like at least 1000 brokers and agents. Chase's national REO manager, former NFL football player Brian Stablein was a speaker, as was Jed Smith, a managing director at NAR. The evening was educational in nature, centering on the market outlook as well as Chase's initiative to expand their REO agent base for the sale of their assets. I have never seen a lender be so forthcoming about how to (55 comments)
I am Very Pro Hygiene, But Come On. - 08/16/11 12:48 PM
No shows are a part of the business. I often keep repeating the phrase "yes, I went to college" as I stand in the driveway of a home, staring at it, wondering if I can do some sort of Schopenhaur exercise to manifest a human being, preferably the owner, to answer the door or the phone. And the guy from this morning's no show did indeed call me back, a half hour after I drove away, to let me know he was in fact home, but didn't hear the door, phone or whimpering broker in the yard because... ...wait for it... (24 comments)
Turnabout is Fair Play: Glossary of Consumer Real Estate Terms - 08/16/11 09:06 AM
Much has been written about the "code" licensees employ in describing their listings. For example, "cozy" is Agentspeak for "cramped." "Potential" means that nothing has been updated since 1980. You get the picture. There are hundreds more, and I don't blame consumers for taking agents' descriptions with a grain of salt. However, consumers are people too, and from my vantage, I have often seen the some propensity for being, shall we say, creatively interpretive in turns of the phrase from them as well. So, in the interest of a little fun, I shall offer a few examples of consumer terms needing (49 comments)
What the Recent Sewage Leaks Tell us of Our Infrastructure - 08/14/11 11:54 PM
Water created the Grand Canyon. Anyone who has ever seen a house with a leaky roof or basement appreciates this. And sewage is mostly water. It erodes. While sewage didn't cause the recent leaks (really massive spills) in Harlem and now Ossining, it is clear that external damage, such as a fire or tree falling, will cause massive destruction to the corroding, crumbling conduits through which we have managed our waste the past century. And we don't have the money to fix it. All that has been done is repair the damage to stop the spill and dump bleach in the (5 comments)
If the Comparable Sales are so Crummy, Why Did They Sell (& You Didn't)? - 08/12/11 10:53 PM
I got word tonight that my client's offer on a home in Tuckahoe was accepted. She is very happy. What is unusual about this particular deal is that the sellers actually interviewed me before they first went on the market but elected to list with someone else. I respect the agent, so I was happy for them. He and I are pals, and we are excited to be doing our first deal together. Ironically enough, the home is being sold for the exact price I predicted back in February, which was also probably the reason I didn't get hired. The real (50 comments)
You know you are in the Real Estate business when... - 08/10/11 09:01 AM
Inspired by the Facebook group. You know you are in the real estate business when You dial a phone number on the calculator app. Your daughter brings home straight A's and you worry that the report card won't comp out. You walk up to your own front door and look for a lockbox. You put your ATM code into the microwave. You answer the phone at 10pm and are surprised the person calling is surprised. A friend brags about a rebate they got on a car trade in/purchase and you wonder how they put it on the HUD-1. Someone asks how (86 comments)
On the Passing of Harrison Town Clerk Joseph Acocella Jr. - 08/09/11 06:25 AM
This morning I read a brief tribute online from Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to Joseph Acocella, the town clerk of nearby Harrison, NY who had passed away. I get notices on the loss of Realtors and public officials with some regularity, so I just assumed Mr. Acocella was someone who was older. Who would expect otherwise. In logging onto the Journal News, however, I found out that Joe was just 30, and had battled health challenges his whole life. This hits close to home for me- my older brother Paul also died young-too young- after a lifetime of fighting, (5 comments)
Buyers: Don't Let Your Agent Practice Back Door Due Diligence - 08/07/11 10:45 PM
I have blogged before on how some buyer agents approach the listing agent with questions that are best addressed by other sources. For example, a few years ago I had a buyer's agent assistant ask me a battery of questions on the legality of a hypothetical addition to a home I had listed. I was, in essence, being asked to answer questions best answered by the building department. This is wrong. Buyer agents should, whenever possible, verify listing information from primary sources, such as town hall or the homeowner association. The listing agent should not do their job for them. It's (20 comments)
"City" of Ossining? - 08/07/11 10:26 PM
The corporation, or village of Ossining, will be 200 years old in 2013, and our fair municipality was the first village to incorporate in the State of New York. The bicentennial will rightly observe a long, rich history as well as cultural significance from being the cradle of the "up the river" line from old gangster movies to Breakfast at Tiffany's, and most recently, prominent mention in the hit TV series Mad Men. So have we outgrown the "village " moniker? The dictionary defines a city as an inhabited place of greater size, population, or importance than a town or village. Indeed, according to (4 comments)
Active Rain Westchester Meetup Tuesday September 6, 7pm White Plains - 08/07/11 09:02 PM
I think the idea of an Active Rain meetup is a capital idea, and I would like to propose one for Westchester and surrounding RainFolk on Tuesday, September 6 at 7pm at the Brazen Fox in White Plains NY. If you can drive to White Plains from wherever you are, you are welcome. The full address is 175 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601. Parking is best behind the building in the municipal lot on the corner of Maple and Waller. Brazen Fox does have a rear entrance from the lot. This would be a natural for people in Westchester, Rockland, (16 comments)
Crossing the Finish Line- and Getting Set Again! - 08/06/11 12:02 AM
It is hard to believe that it was almost a year ago that fellow blogger Elyse Berman referred a listing client to me here in New York. A terrific lady, the client had recently lost her husband and relocated to Florida. She had expired unsold with another broker, and I met her last September. There were circumstances around the file that made it no cookie cutter sale, but by December we had an interested buyer. Due to our lovely attorney state here in New York, fully executed contracts would not be completed until February. Like many other transactions, this was a (25 comments)
ForSaleBYOwner.com Founder Sells Home- Using a Broker - 08/03/11 09:38 PM
The Wall Street Journal has reported that ForSaleBYOwner.com founder Colby Sambrotto has sold his Manhattan condo with a broker after failing for 6 months as a For Sale by Owner. Here's the best part: The broker got him $150,000 more than he was asking when he was selling on his own. So much for saving on commission- he netted more even after the commission! The story is that Sambrotto went for 6 months selling "By owner" on the Internet, online ads, and the rest of the FSBO gig at an asking price of $2 million for his Chelsea condominium. He then (49 comments)
There is Nothing Wrong with Seller Concessions - 08/02/11 11:58 PM
I got a call from an agent today and the conversation turned to a deal one of my team members tried to make on her listing which never went together. It wasn't that they didn't like our price, she explained. It was the seller concession. While the net to seller was quite acceptable, their attorney "didn't like" the proposed concession. My jaw dropped as she shared with me that the same thing happened twice before on that property. The seller and their attorney rebuffed what sounded like (certainly in our case) qualified, pre approved offers with good net to her seller (176 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
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.