real estate brokers: Closings can make brokers seem like moneybags - 07/09/10 03:23 AM
 
(Flickr photo by viking 79)
When I mentioned to a friend of mine that a closing had gone well and on schedule a couple of weeks ago, he quipped, “Where are we going to lunch tomorrow?”
In his mind, receiving that commission check was, understandably, like getting a bonus.
His is a belief that probably most consumers share, namely this: A closing is similar to a windfall for a broker.
In fact, a closing and the check that we are handed at the end is nothing more than getting paid–and then only after every scintilla of work is completed–many, many … (3 comments)

real estate brokers: In Manhattan, buyers rarely offer their loyalty - 07/05/10 09:26 AM
When I was a broker in D.C. , Maryland and Virginia, I refused to search listings, make appointments and load buyers into my car to show them properties unless they signed an exclusive agreement for me to represent them.
Call me arrogant, but I wouldn’t even show them property in one of those three areas, say Washington, if they told me they wanted to work as well with another broker who they already had met in Virginia.
Perhaps you can sympathize with my reasoning. 
Unless a buyer was willing to be loyal to me, I could be stuck working many hours … (2 comments)

real estate brokers: To paraphrase Richard Nixon, ‘I am not a spy!’ - 07/01/10 03:07 AM
Alan Chesterman, CEO
It is hardly a secret that many consumers think of us brokers as thieves, liars and assorted other unsavory characters. But spies?
Alas, it seems that we’ll have to contend with that false appellation as well, thanks to the arrest of 11 alleged Russian spies.
I’ve written before about the disgracefully low threshold for becoming a real estate agent.  Proof: 18 percent of the alleged spies, who apparently failed to compromise U.S. national security over the years, are said to have claimed careers in real estate.
Anna Chapman, not
One of the suspects, who goes by “Anna … (2 comments)

real estate brokers: When in doubt, let it all hang out - 06/25/10 01:27 AM
The law minces no words.
When it comes to letting buyers know about a defect in a property that can materially affect its value, it is impossible for sellers to err in disclosing what they know.

And when it comes to working with a broker, the broker may not fail to disclose his or her relationship to buyer or seller. Nor may brokers hide any material defects of which they are aware.
With respect to sellers, they need to appreciate that defending themselves in court will far exceed the amount of money they think, probably erroneously, they will lose by … (3 comments)

real estate brokers: There’s marketing and then there’s fantasyland - 06/10/10 02:39 AM
All of us get spam and all kinds of mail that we don’t have the time to read.
From the e-mails that I receive from other brokers, you might think they were the exception.
This is just a sample--every one of them selling a property. More below.
I’ve gone to a bit of trouble to show you the e-mails that I received on Friday alone, admittedly a busy day, to demonstrate what too many brokers believe is effective marketing and to take the opportunity to rant and whine.
Every single one of the e-mails you see here touts a property, and … (5 comments)

real estate brokers: Why not be a part-time real estate broker? - 06/09/10 10:44 AM
Being a real estate broker is a glamorous and leisurely pursuit. Right! (Photo by loungerie on Flickr.)
Someone told me a few days ago that she was thinking of becoming a real estate broker part-time.
“Don’t,” I said unhesitatingly.
Even if she has a wide social network, there is no way she can succeed.  That’s because becoming a broker means working not just full time but all the time.  Although many people think of brokers working on weekends, what they don’t know is that brokers also work most other days as well.
In the case of the aspiring part-timer, either she … (4 comments)

real estate brokers: Carlin had 7 dirty words, and brokers have but 1 - 06/05/10 06:21 AM
A broker friend of mine I'll call Lily recently related an encounter of hers that bears retelling.
She has an old acquaintance who wants to list his two adjoining apartments totaling something like 10 rooms in a building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  Naturally, he called Lily to see whether she would be the right broker to market the pre-war condo.
A highly successful broker for the last 27 years who seems to know every apartment in the neighborhood, not just every building, she spent hours analyzing comparable listings and visiting other large apartments that came on the market.  Then she … (30 comments)

real estate brokers: It takes only two to tango, not always a whole team - 06/04/10 10:52 AM
hen I was broker in the Washington, D.C. area, I put together a team of three (plus the virtual assistants on whom I still rely).  For buyers, sellers and, especially, me, the arrangement worked beautifully.
 
Flickr photo by Gavinzac
Our clients benefited from having retained three heads and three pairs of hands.  We usually collaborated on showing properties to buyers, staging properties for sellers, marketing them, taking various clients under our individual wings, handling paperwork and covering for each other in all manner of circumstances–closings, illnesses, vacations and so on.
One of us knew suburban Virginia better than the others … (1 comments)

real estate brokers: Is it a losing battle for brand-name brokerages? - 06/03/10 03:37 AM
Are new business models winning a fight with older brokerages? (Flickr photo by red betty black.)
The new June issue of the Real Deal has a piece about an unsurprising development among brokers.  In the article, which correctly quotes me, writer Candace Taylor notices that many brokers are questioning the value of their affiliation with name-brand firms in New York City.
Referring not only to commission splits but also to annual fees up to $5,000 that brokers must pay their firms, plus errors and omissions insurance, Taylor notes:
Most agents are willing to fork over the cash in exchange for the … (48 comments)

real estate brokers: Maybe, just maybe, Shakespeare had a point - 06/02/10 10:25 AM
 
The Supremes.
Okay, killing all the lawyers would a mistake, especially those in the photo.  But there are times when I’d like to savage some whose involvement in a transaction made my life difficult.
Such are the lawyers with little experience in real estate, no respect for real estate brokers, no commitment to hard work or some combination of those characteristics.
A lawyer, often a relative or a relative of a friend, who isn’t accustomed to real estate contracts invariably is a problem.  She or he usually doesn’t appreciate how routine are the negotiations and terms of a sales … (0 comments)

real estate brokers: ‘. . . will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate. . .’ - 05/31/10 03:29 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)

real estate brokers: With little to fear, Manhattan brokers test ethical standards - 05/30/10 12:35 AM

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)

real estate brokers: Who do you trust? Probably not me, right? - 05/26/10 11:05 AM
 
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)

real estate brokers: Brokers have a mantra: 'Buyers are liars' - 05/23/10 04:42 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)

real estate brokers: ‘Independent contractor’ abuse is scrutinized - 05/22/10 03:23 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)

real estate brokers: Which is more important, broker or brokerage? - 05/20/10 04:21 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)

real estate brokers: NYC Brokers flout Fair Housing laws with impunity - 05/18/10 11:18 AM
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)

 
Malcolm Carter (Charles Rutenberg Realty LLC)

Malcolm Carter

Manhattan, NY

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Charles Rutenberg Realty LLC

Address: 127 E. 56th St., New York, NY, 10025

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