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 […]
Buying The Millionth Article Advising You to Get Pre-approved Before Visiting Homes for Sale You’ve read it before, unless you just learned to read (in which case house hunting is a long way off for you), on financial platforms, blogs, real estate websites, magazines, newspapers, and maybe even ancient hieroglyphs: get pre approved before you start looking at homes. This is what you’ve never read from any credible source: […]
Commentary 7 Things the Industry Should be Doing Amid Coronavirus (Note: the following piece was originally published in Inman News) Like many of my colleagues, I’ve been reading — with great concern — about how the ripple effect of the coronavirus pandemic is playing out and how it will affect my business.  However, unlike many of my colleagues across the nation, I am seeing serious […]
Commentary A Tale of Two Real Estate Markets- in the Same Place It might seem contradictory to say there are two distinct markets in the same geographical footprint, but what we’re seeing in Westchester and the surrounding counties is in fact two entirely different markets. I know that there are tons of market reports out this time of year (the beginning of Q2, that is), but I’ll […]
Commentary Waiting for the Flowers? Bad Idea. The spring real estate market in New York starts January 2 for a variety of reasons. The holidays are behind us, NYC buyers get an early start, and often, those who need to sell know that if they wait too long there will be a smaller selection from which to buy if they don’t sell […]
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Commentary On Spencer Rascoff Stepping Down as Zillow CEO Yesterday, the housing world was rocked when Zillow announced that their CEO of 10 years, Spencer Rascoff, would be stepping aside and that co-founder and original CEO Rich Barton would be taking over again. I, of course, have thoughts; so does the rest of the housing world, and you can divide them between those who […]
Commentary The Real Estate Ethics Rule that is Broken the Most ( and It Isn’t Even Close) The REALTOR Code of Ethics Standard of Practice 3-6 states the following: REALTORS® shall disclose the existence of accepted offers, including offers with unresolved contingencies, to any broker seeking cooperation. (Adopted 5/86, Amended 1/04) This has been the rule since Reagan was president. I was 18 when it was instituted (I am now 51). Cleveland had […]
Commentary On Powerful Women in Real Estate, Revisited. In observance of International Women’s Day, I’d like to pay a tribute to the many fine women who have made our firm what it is. In 2012 I wrote a post on how I expected to build my firm with powerful women. Some of the things I said:  Of our 34 team members, 20 are women.  […]
Commentary On Recruiting Real Estate Agents One of the jobs of a real estate manager is that of a recruiter. Sadly, recruiting often devolves into poaching. Hiring managers pour over programs and stats for hundreds of hours to see who they can pitch, what they can offer, and how to woo them to consider leaving their firm. They look for small […]
Commentary More on the Equifax Hacking If you missed the radio show today here’s a link to the live broadcast: Guest Paul Oster was brilliant and informative, and I have some takeaways. But first, you should know that while we were broadcasting live, Equifax was hacked AGAIN. My observations: Equifax was warned that there was a vulnerability. They didn’t take the […]
Commentary Government Regulation of the Housing Industry, Top & Bottom The following post is a reprint from this day in 2010 and is as fitting today as the day I wrote it.  One of the biggest ironies of government solutions to housing problems is how heavily regulated the foot soldiers (agents, loan officers) have become while the executives in the glass tower can build billion […]
Commentary People Don’t Just Walk Into Real Estate Offices Anymore We have three offices that are storefront-type locations: sidewalks, ground level, pedestrian-friendly, coffee brewing, friendly staff on hand, and everything you might expect of a retail setup. If someone were to walk in off the street to engage us, we’d be ready. There is a reception area, a board table, Internet access, and, sometimes, doughnuts. Doughnuts […]
Commentary On Low Inventory of Homes for Sale Westchester and the surrounding counties are seeing a peculiar phenomenon causing no small amount of consternation to home buyers. There simply aren’t many homes for sale. This is especially the case for homes one might consider in the starter home category; we have buyers who are seeing very little for sale, and what they do find is […]
Commentary The SWOT of the 2016 Real Estate Industry I was incredibly honored this past week to be asked by my colleague Joe Rand to be a late addition to a panel he was moderating at the Inman Connect Conference on the “SWOT” of the real estate industry. My fellow panelists were Pam O’Connor, CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and […]
Commentary On Being Household Name-or Not. Name recognition is something all business enterprises aspire to have. A good reputation, a book of business, “getting your name out,” is the goal of every company. In a brand conscious place like Westchester County, it is the holy grail. That being said, industry specific circumstances often make that aspiration a constantly moving target. For […]
Buying The Most Compelling Economic Indicator for Real Estate on Earth As the real estate market cycles into a recovery, talking heads are discussing what index will be the most accurate predictor of the 2014 market. Will it be new housing starts? Employment? The DOW?  I beg to differ. In 2014, we’ll be busier than any year since 2005 due in the largest part to one […]
Commentary A Tale of Two Tweets: AOL Real Estate Schools Forbes I follow both Forbes and AOL Real Estate on Twitter. I have always viewed Forbes as the standard of excellence in financial journalism, but in my view, this morning they got schooled by AOL in responsible reporting. Both linked to recent stories on the real estate market on Twitter this morning, and both could not […]