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Want to Know Dedication? I'll Show You - 11/30/11 11:14 PM
I love my team. The stomach bug domino effect has hit the Faranda household, and I packed it in earlier today with one last thing on my "to do" list undone. A short sale we have listed in Putnam Valley is due to have the electricity turned on for inspections to take place (yes, we brought the buyer on that one, thanks Ellise), but the owners are out of town. I needed to get up there today to switch the main breaker off, but couldn't. Ellise is in Massachusetts due to a death in the family. What to do? Nothing to (16 comments)
Notes From the Short Sale Trenches - 11/29/11 11:51 PM
Athletes speak of a "good tired" and a "bad tired" after a game, good after a win and bad after a loss. Tonight I am the good kind of tired. 13 months ago I met with a very nice lady in White Plains who called me after a Realtor she was interviewing proposed that since she was a short sale, she should deposit an amount equal to the commission in escrow with the broker to ensure their fee payment. That didn't strike her as terribly kosher, she got on the Internet to research short sales in Westchester County, and she found (18 comments)
Does the Real Estate Market Hibernate for the Holiday Season? - 11/27/11 10:24 PM
With the weather in Westchester County (presumably) changing as Winter approaches, we in the real estate business have grown to expect a cyclical slowdown in our industry starting around the holidays and stretching into the colder weather. The arrival of autumn has caused anxiety for many a seller, fearing that they'll sit unsold until the spring thaw, and some go as far as pulling their home off the market for a few months because they feel it just isn't worth it to try this time of year. I know of few real estate agents who would ever disagree that things do (16 comments)
New Group: Small Business Spotlight - 11/27/11 11:41 AM
Since so many of us wrote on a local enterprise yesterday for Small Business Saturday, I thought it would be a cool idea for us to put our posts on local small business in one place like so many other themes. Moreover, why blog on local small businesses once a year or once a week? With that in mind, I have started a new group, Small Business Spotlight, as a place for you to post your articles on hyper local businesses in your market area. This is where you can pimp the best coffee shop, ugliest bartender, fastest service, top bowl (47 comments)
Small Business Saturday: Briarcliff Classic and Imported Car Service - 11/26/11 10:50 AM
When you hear a name like "Briarcliff Classic and Imported Car Service" you might envision a garage filled with Porches and Fiats with a temperamental guy in a beret acting more like a chef than a mechanic. With BCI, however, you'd be wrong. I remember Briarcliff Classic from when I was a kid in the 1970s and through the years in their out of the way place on Woodside Avenue and knew that nobody wore a beret, but it wasn't until this past week that I experienced firsthand how down to Earth and committed they are. I have a BMW which (5 comments)
Happy Thanksgiving from Briarcliff Manor, NY - 11/24/11 09:41 AM
Today is one of those rare days where I can marinate in the begotten all day with no fear of neglecting chasing the buck. So we'll have some fun. This is probably boring to most, but Mommy thought it was cute. I agree. Mark is our spokesman this year. Art Linkletter's legacy is quite safe. I have to give myself credit for centering the view by guesstimating, as the camera was being held in my left hand. From our family to yours, a happy Thanksgiving and may the end of 2011 be the precursor to a far better 2012 for us (14 comments)
Perhaps I'm Crazy to Ask, But... - 11/23/11 08:10 PM
This has happened before, but I have never written about it. Today at my office, right after an appointment with a nice lady who listed her home in Yonkers with me, I was alone and catching up on returning phone calls. Line 2 rang while I was on line 1. Line 2 doesn't have voice mail, so I asked line 1 to hold briefly, answered the phone quickly and the person said that he was calling about selling his daughter's home in Mahopac. I explained that I was wrapping up another call and asked if he could hold or if I (133 comments)
On the Closure of a Foreclosure Mill - 11/21/11 10:38 PM
I seem to recall a Twighlight Zone episode where a bigot wakes up one morning and is transformed into the ethnicity that he has been persecuting. That was the first thing I thought of when I read that the law firm of Steven J Baum is closing and laying off 89 employees. The closure comes as a result of the firm losing its major accounts in the wake of the New York Times running an article on a recent Halloween party at the firm where employees dressed in costumes mocking borrowers in foreclosure. I read that article on my tablet while (22 comments)
I Could Learn Plenty if I Hid in Your Closet, Too. - 11/20/11 05:00 PM
Quick preface: In 1997, the brokerage flavor of the month was pre-recorded property hotlines with voice mail. Instead of dealing with a salesperson to get information on a property, consumers could call a recorded hotline and get the details on the listing pressure-free. They had the choice of hanging up or leaving a message. I had such a system, but on one listing there was a glitch with the voicemail. The seller, an imbalanced guy with an anger management issue, had a friend act as a mole, call the hotline and he got no call back. When I was asked to (69 comments)
Real Estate 101: Don't lock Your Rate in Without Telling Me - 11/19/11 09:34 PM
There is nothing we like more than an enthusiastic, gung -ho buyer in this market. There is nothing we like less than a stressed out buyer who makes life hell for all involved. So, when that gung-ho buyer locks their rate in for 30 days and we haven't even signed contracts yet, it doesn't take a clairvoyant to know there will be trouble down the road. And yet, every so often this occurs. We get an accepted offer on one of our listings, inspections are done, the lawyers are talking contract (remember, here in New York we do it backwards- no (9 comments)
Farewell George, You Made This a Better Place - 11/17/11 07:36 PM
Any REALTOR association will have the inevitable news on our web page on the passing of a current or former member with some frequency. It is never a happy thing to read, and today's announcement was particularly significant for me- not because we were very close (we weren't), but because I knew firsthand what a good man we had in George Groves. And with the sad announcement of his untimely passing I will share my own personal George Groves story. In late 2007, I was the listing broker for a particularly difficult sale. After about 7 months on the market, at (26 comments)
Attention New York Attorneys: FHA Mortgages are Not the Enemy - 11/16/11 11:44 PM
Like anyone else, I love it when I get a cash offer on one of my listings. That is rare, but it is also nice when we get an offer that has terms including a healthy 20-30% or larger down payment. That doesn't happen all the time either. What is keeping the lights on in Westchester real estate is the FHA mortgage, which was unheard of 5 years ago, but is now more common than any other program for starter and medium homes. The minimum down payment on an FHA loan is 3.5%. For the math-challenged, that means the buyer will (12 comments)
Cold Spring & Philipstown 3rd Quarter Market Results - 11/15/11 10:05 AM
If one were to do a heat map of population density for Westchester, Putnam and the Hudson Valley, they would discover an amazing fact about Philipstown- of all the river communities from Westchester to Poughkeepsie, Philipstown -including Cold Spring and Garrison- is the least populated and perhaps most pastoral river town for 60 miles. That's a good thing. That's a great thing. That means you can live on the Hudson line, commuting distance from New York City, close to the river, but not be in a crowded place. Philipstown has two school districts, and this market report for the 3rd quarter (6 comments)
Ossining Real Estate Market Report October 2011 - 11/13/11 11:42 PM
The October real estate closing statistics in the Ossining School district indicate a drop from October of the prior year. In October 2011, 7 single family homes sold at a median sale price of $410,000. In the same period last year, 11 single family homes sold at a median sale price of $535,000. Obviously, this is a precipitous drop in both volume and median price. However, there is an explanation: The number of homes under contract ballooned from 19 last month to a whopping 37 this month. Buyers are indeed signing contracts; they just aren't closing yet. This could be due (5 comments)
Thanks for Your Pre Approval. I Made One Call and it is Worthless - 11/09/11 09:19 AM
In the current economic climate where deals die so often that we sometimes have to "sell" a listing twice or three times just to get to the closing table, more due diligence and evaluation of buyer qualifications is a serious mandate. Twice in the past month I have seen instances where a pre approval was not worth the paper it was printed on, and that punctuates the need to evaluate buyers with more scrutiny. They don't always like that; but they need to understand the times we live in. The Dubious Down Payment. We are in the midst of a White (29 comments)
We Need More People Like Joan McGovern - 11/07/11 08:02 AM
Late last week, a short obituary ran for Joan McGovern. She was 86 years old and a 50-year resident of White Plains. The Westchester-Putnam Association of Realtors also also ran a short tribute to her, as she was a former licensee with Century 21 Wolff in White Plains. A mother to 13 children, that her loss would be felt in numerous circles would be understandable. But that is not the end of the story. Simple math tells us that a mother who raises 13 children will serve about 85,000 meals in their collective first 18 years. Joan served 2 million. In (8 comments)
When is the Lower Offer the Better Offer? - 11/06/11 08:40 PM
In Westchester and the surrounding counties of New York, quite a bit can happen between the acceptance of an offer and contracts being signed. Once an offer is accepted, the buyers still have to do their home inspection and settle those matters before memos go out and contracts are drawn. Even then, there is still the back and forth between attorneys on verbiage and pet riders before signatures and deposit. It can take weeks. And in those weeks, another offer can come in and change the game. But if a higher offer comes in, is the seller obligated to take it? (51 comments)
Westchester Real Estate Market Year to Date October 2011 - 11/05/11 08:34 PM
Last month I posted on the shrinking disparity in transaction totals in Westchester County comparing 2010 to 2011. This year has been playing "catch up" with last year's totals, and each month 2011 has been closing the gap. It was my theory that 2010 started out hot due to the stimulus but that 2011 would catch up by year's end. Last month, we were just 139 closings for single family homes through the end of the 3rd quarter. Well, October wasn't a good month for closing the gap. We are now down by 157 transactions, 3463 in 2010 to 3306 for this year. (5 comments)
Hat Trick: Orange Association Approves Merger with Westchester and Rockland - 11/02/11 10:10 PM
This morning in New Windsor, New York, I had the privilege of witnessing the Orange County Association of Realtors overwhelming vote in favor of merging their association with WPAR (Westchester-Putnam) and ROCBOR (Rockland) to form the new Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. This was the third and final "yea" vote between the three boards, and paves the way for an offical merger commencing January 1, 2012. OCAR's leadership did an outstanding job of educating the membership on the merits of the merger proposal, from a well done YouTube video by president Ron Garafalo to office meetings, informational mailings and even social media. No (13 comments)
On Nice People. - 11/01/11 09:39 PM
I like nice people. You probably like nice people too. Nice people are...nice. Given the choice, I prefer to do business with nice folks. Especially here in rushed, rude, New York and occasionally aristocratic Westchester County, nice people are such a breath of fresh air. Of course, in business, being nice isn't enough. People want to get from point A to point B, and if all they get is nice with no result, they get frustrated. For example: You might have had the experience of dining in a well-known bistro and been greeted by a cheerful, perky, awesomely-flared server who was (54 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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