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‘. . . will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate. . .’ - 05/31/10 10:29 AM
Flickr photo by marttj BROKER WARS: Tales from the Front This is the final part of my series on broker ethics. In Part 1, I gave examples of breaches that I have seen in the last year. In Part 2, I described the minimum amount of training and education that a real estate agent must have to become licensed. In this third part, I suggest a path for dealing with the issue. To my mind, a code of ethics that imposes compelling penalties must be instituted and enforced. On the Web site of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), (4 comments)
Flickr photo by marttj BROKER WARS: Tales from the Front This is Part 2 of a my three-part series on broker ethics in New York City. State law outlines a real estate agent’s fiduciary responsibilities to their clients, including obedience, loyalty, disclosure of information, confidentiality and accountability as well as reasonable care, skill and diligence. Yet not one of the brokers in Part 1 of this series has complied with his or her obligation to serve the best interests of their clients. They are not alone, and the widespread practice of ignoring the law’s strictures is deplorable and disgraceful. To (1 comments)
What’s wrong with brokers anyway? - 05/29/10 12:29 PM
Flickr photo by marttj BROKER WARS: Tales from the Front If real estate brokers receive little respect, there is ample reason. In this three-part series, I’ll provide examples that prove the point, explain what is required of brokers in New York now and suggest a solution. It does not surprise me, and certainly won’t surprise you, that 30 percent of respondents in a Harris Interactive Poll said real estate agents and brokers deserved “hardly any prestige.” Their assessment was exceeded by a couple of points only by the categories of actor and stockbroker. As for having “very great prestige,” real estate (0 comments)
. . .fallen? I’ve written in the abstract about sellers who don’t grasp the true value of their properties. Welcome now to the real world. A former client of mine–twice!–has been telling me she wants to trade for another place on one level the duplex co-op that I sold her almost three years ago. She and her husband paid $2 million for the two-bedroom, two-bath unit on Manhattan’s Upper West side, and they have invested another $100,000 in improvements to what already was a lovely apartment. If (2 comments)
A friend of mine who asked to go nameless decided not long ago that he wanted a new bathroom sink. After searching for a bargain online and in person, he reluctantly picked a model by Toto. With new fixtures, the Toto total (say that five times) came to $1,000, including sales tax. By the time the job was finished, however, his outlay had climbed to $3,700 as one thing led to another, about which more below. But the only tax he paid was for the sink, even though his plumbers and glazier were legitimate businesses that presented him with official (6 comments)
What kind of world would we have without trust? If you are anything like the typical consumer, and especially a real estate professional, you very likely don’t believe what a real estate broker tells you. Do you trust information from a broker on such matters as: The square footage of an apartment in the event that the listing broker is rash enough to commit to a number, daring a subsequent lawsuit. Ceiling height. When any renovations were completed. How much it will cost for any improvements you have in mind. A board’s approach to potential buyers. The seller’s flexibility on (16 comments)
Case-Shiller: Prices off from Q4 2009, up from one year earlier - 05/25/10 11:25 AM
Case-Shiller's National Home Price Index fell 3.2% in the first quarter of 2010 while remaining above its year-earlier level. In March, 13 of the 20 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) covered by the indices and both monthly composites were down, yet the two composites and 10 MSAs showed year-over-year gains. Housing prices rebounded from crisis lows but recently have seen renewed weakness as tax incentives are ending and foreclosures are climbing, the company said. Please do note that: Case-Shiller does not tabulate the sale of condos and co-ops; the percentage of sales of single-family homes in Manhattan are in the low single (0 comments)
Buyers in Manhattan greet city concerns about balcony safety with big yawn - 05/25/10 09:19 AM
Nice balconies and views, but the city demands, "Keep off." A woman I know called me in great distress last week to ask whether there was some way she could back out of her contract to buy a $560,000 one-bedroom co-op in a building that the city has cited for having potentially unsafe balconies. Of course, I told the woman, who is not my client, to consult her attorney since the contract would provide the last word and it is not my habit to jeopardize my license by practicing law. At the same time, I expressed doubt that there was any (0 comments)
The National Association of Realtors reports that existing-home sales in the U.S. climbed 7.6% in April above March's level. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected sales last month to climb 4.7%, to a rate of 5.60 million. The increase was 22.8 percent over one year earlier. At the same time, inventory rose to 8.4 months at the current sales pace from 8.1 months in March.
Condos slated for auction in Manhattan, Brooklyn - 05/24/10 09:17 AM
On Wednesday, a two-bedroom unit in this Canarsie condominium goes on the block. As for the Manhattan units, June 27. A foreclosed 1,063-sf apartment that has two bedrooms and one bath in the 1989 Brook Club Condo, which has a pool, is to be auctioned on Wednesday. At 1229 E. 80th St., unit 180 will go on the block with an opening bid of $50,000. Monthly fees of $185 include common area maintenance and insurance, exterior maintenance and insurance, lawn care, snow removal, trash and water. An outfit called Williams & Williams is conducting the auction at 4:30 p.m. on May (0 comments)
Brokers have a mantra: 'Buyers are liars' - 05/23/10 11:42 AM
Not only do many brokers characterize buyers as “liars” (generally in less of a malicious and more of a frustrated way), but they also think of sellers as greedy. I disagree. Buyers don't swear to tell the truth.(Flickr photo by Office of Gov. Patrick.) What happens with buyers is that they begin to refine and more often than not expand their requirements as they engage in the search process. It is a learning experience about what is of increasing and what is of diminishing importance to them. For example, once they actually get around to open houses and see what various (2 comments)
‘Independent contractor’ abuse is scrutinized - 05/22/10 10:23 AM
There’s a flurry of activity in the nation’s capital to clamp down on U.S. workers that are misclassified as independent contractors, a category under which all but a tiny minority of real estate agents falls.
According to Realtor magazine, a publication of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the government says far too many businesses are using incorrect employee classifications to avoid paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance taxes. Congress last year started looking into misclassification of employment status in an attempt to get a handle on a problem that the U.S. Department of Labor says is huge – (1 comments)
Caution: There's nothing like a sponsor apartment - 05/21/10 10:36 AM
When co-op buyers see the words “sponsor apartment” in a converted building in New York City, their eyes invariably light up with anticipation. In fact, some buyers will specify that they want both to live in a co-op and to buy only a sponsor apartment. A decent sponsor apartment with minimal closet space. For readers who are not in the know, the reason is that sponsor apartments will allow buyers to avoid having to undergo the tedious, time-consuming task of assembling inches thick of a board package, the rigors of a board interview and all the attendant anxiety. Virtually all that (0 comments)
Which is more important, broker or brokerage? - 05/20/10 11:21 AM
There is no shortage of bad brokers–those who are some combination of lazy, incompetent, unprofessional, unethical or nothing more than avaricious. Of course, there are lots of good brokers in New York City and elsewhere as well. The question at hand: Is there a clear connection between the quality of the broker and the reputation or size of her/his firm? The answer: An unqualified yes and no. If you assume that there is a connection between good brokers and those with a long track record, bear in mind that at least the three biggest Manhattan firms try to hang onto (1 comments)
Book on Buffett proves that money isn't everything - 05/19/10 10:39 PM
I recently finished reading Alice Schroeder’s extraordinarily well written and researched biography of Warren Buffett. It is called “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.” There is plenty of business in the book, but I was more interested in the man. Although anyone who knows anything about Buffett couldn’t be surprised, I was repelled by his personality and approach to life. Several characteristics especially stood out for me: His obsession with making money, the resulting inattention to his family, his philandering, and his fascination with fame and wealth–not only his own but that of others such as Bill Gates. (2 comments)
NYC Brokers flout Fair Housing laws with impunity - 05/18/10 06:18 PM
Brokers flout Fair Housing laws with impunity By Malcolm Carter When it comes to many matters relating to real estate, the Big Apple often lags the rest of the country. One prime example discussed on this blog concerns the continuing resistance, especially by the biggest brokerages, to a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) even while reluctantly accepting VOWs (Virtual Online Web sites). Another example involves the strictures of the Fair Housing Act, along with other anti-discrimination legislation on the municipal, state and and federal levels. Such measures protect certain “classes” of consumers–for instance, by the source of their income, marital status, age, race (3 comments)
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.