Commentary

Commentary Bedroom Count and Septic Systems Westchester County has a population of about 1 million residents. Most of those folks who inhabit the 914 area code live in homes that are connected to public sewers, but there are a hefty number of properties, especially in the northern part of the county, that are on septic systems. I’ve said before that there’s […]
Commentary Solving the Catch-22 on New Development: Build 55 and Over Housing I posted not long ago that one of the reasons why inventory is so low is that we are not building new homes at a rate needed to meet our housing needs. It is estimated that we need another 7 million units to solve this, and that won’t happen overnight. What’s worse is that in […]
Commentary New York’s New Property Condition Disclosure Statement For more than 20 years, home sellers in the state of New York have been required to furnish their buyer with a form known as a Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS). It is a collection of several dozen questions that the seller is required to answer about the characteristics of the home. The law always […]
Commentary What’s Up With All Those “We Will Pay You Cash for Your House” Signs on Street Corners? If you’ve ever wondered what the story is behind those flimsy looking signs nailed to telephone poles all over the place promising you a fast cash sale on your house, I have the answer. I’m sure you know the signs I speak of. They are known in the industry as “bandit signs.” Some are professionally […]
Buying It’s February in New York, so Let’s Talk Swimming Pools Swimming pools are probably the last thing on most peoples’ minds but we are still selling homes that have them, and this thought is a bit overdue. Swimming pools are an improvement, so they add value to a property. They can’t not add value presuming they are in working order, but there’s a but. The “but” […]
Commentary How Online Reviews Have Impacted Real Estate Agents Back in 2009, I was approached by Redfin to help them enter the Westchester real estate market as a referral partner. They did not have employee agents here, so referring clientele to other brokerages would be a win/win arrangement to start. I was eager for any new source of business, and took a closer look. […]
Commentary Living Indoors is Not a Fad In some respects, the housing market is like the biggest, longest domino set up in the universe. Chances are, with rare exception like the purchase of an empty house, that the person you are buying your home from is going to be moving somewhere that someone else moved out of, and they in turn are […]
Buying Sale Contingency vs Closing Contingency People live indoors. Its hard to say that without sounding sarcastic, but I am sincere. It should not come as a surprise to a seller or their listing agent that their purchaser is selling their own home, especially if they are in a higher than average priced property. I shouldn’t have to explain, for example, […]
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Commentary For Agents: Open House Parking Etiquette This past weekend some agents on my team held an open house for a listing in Mahopac. It was busy, with 25 separate parties and possibly 50 or 60 people walking through the home. The one wrinkle was that street parking was sparce. It had a driveway that could fit up to 10 cars, but […]
Commentary Yes, Virginia, You Can Paint That Wood Paneling Formica. Popcorn Ceilings. Wood Paneling. If you envision your grandparent’s house, or the house you grew up in (if you’re old like I am), you’ll know those are the calling cards of a dated home. Why avocado green or harvest gold were upscale colors for appliances or why wood paneling was the rage in the […]
Commentary The Pre Approval Shell Game Years ago, I was the listing agent on a property where an offer came in significantly below asking price. The pre approval accompanying the offer was for the exact amount offered, tens of thousands of dollars below asking. My client asked why, if they were only approved for $450,000, that they’d even look at a […]
Commentary Sewer vs Septic: The Full Poop Recently, a client shared with me that a friend advised them to avoid homes on septic and to only buy a home with a public sewer connection. I’ll be blunt: That is terrible advice. With inventory so low, to disqualify such a high number of possible homes is a disservice to oneself. For regular people […]
Commentary Sellers: Always Plow Your Driveway After it Snows This past Sunday I covered for one of our agents and met up with some first time homebuyers for their very first home tour. We had a big day scheduled: 5 confirmed appointments, all of the homes looked good, and the clients were excited to get their dream home. At the first appointment, I smirked […]
Commentary How Can We Solve the Real Estate Inventory Shortage? My last two posts have addressed the fact that despite the higher interest rates, it remains a seller’s market because of low inventory of listings. I wrote about why inventory is so low yesterday, and today I’m going to pretend I’m the HUD secretary and Housing Emperor (a position I made up but I’d love […]
Commentary How Slow is the Market in December and the Holidays? The cyclical nature of the market is a long discussed topic. It’s no secret that the traditional “busy season” is the spring, with the key word “traditionally.” In typical market cycles, the summer remains active, transactions tail off in the autumn, and things get quiet around the holidays and winter time. But we aren’t in […]
Commentary What can you buy in Mahopac for $305,000? Prices are up, but lower cost homes are still possible if you don’t need lots of bedrooms, like the home we just closed at 27 Jackson Road, just a few hundred yards from Kirk Lake. “Great opportunity to own a unique charmer with Lake Rights seasonal views of Kirk Lake in a secluded, wooded setting. […]
Commentary On the Latest New York Standard Operating Procedure Law First, some background: In late 2019, Long Island Newsday published the shocking results of an investigation where reporters of different ethnicities and races went undercover as prospective homebuyers and the different ways they were treated by the real estate agents they engaged. Long Island Divided made national news and reverberated across the industry as professionals […]
Commentary Just Because the Market is “Hot” Doesn’t Mean Real Estate Agents Have it Easy I don’t think I’ve seen the following thought written anywhere lately, but I’ll say it: The average real estate agent has never worked harder than they have in this market.  That seems contrary to the public perception that rising prices and a “hot” market is when agents have it easy, but extreme conditions aren’t conducive […]
Commentary What Will Solar Power do for Property Values? I got a question from a client about the effect that installing solar panels might have on their home’s value. It’s a good question, actually. Years ago when hurricanes knocked out power in our area for more than a week, I opined that backup generators would become the new status symbol. While I wasn’t wrong, […]
Commentary Brokerages Posting Photos of Agents with Commission Checks is Tacky, Tacky, Tacky Last week saw a posting by a manager at another firm of their agent holding up a commission check, congratulating the agent on their recent closing.  As we used to say back in the 80s, gag me. Yes, I know we work on commission and closings should be celebrated. But spiking the ball over your […]