Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NEWSFLASH! NY Department of State Issues Consumer Protection Alert!

Last month the Secretary of State announced that since the start of 2010 the Department of State has taken dozens of actions against dishonest licensed real estate professionals, leading to numerous revocations, suspensions and fines.

At the same time, given the improving real estate market, the Department is increasing outreach efforts, through a new Real Estate Education Campaign, aimed at helping prospective buyers, sellers and renters learn their rights when engaging in real estate transactions.

Read the rest of the



Craigslist: FRIEND or FOE?

I was asked to contribute to a BLOG by Val Schultz, CEO of Anchor Associates Group last week about a topic I felt needed to be discussed. It took me a while to decide what to write about but the same topic I kept coming back to was "Craigslist Advertising!"

: Friend or For?
was born.

The thing I love about BLOGGING is the fact that I can write anything I want. It's not an editorial; an opinion piece if you will. That being said, I feel that I can speak freely on my "opinion" of this site so many people use every day.

Back in the Summer of 2000, q friend of mine who shall remain nameless knew Craig himself and shared with me this site that had just expanded into Los Angeles (where I was residing at the time). Within days I was spending hours on the site searching the sale section for vintage furniture, looking for cars, community groups and even...wait for it... an apartment.

When I relocated to New York City early last year and decided to pursue my dream of Real Estate, it never occurred to me how often this tool is used here.  I am going to talk about the good and the bad (or the "friend or foe") of Craigslist in hopes to educate those who may not know what to look out for.

Here are a couple of the Pros and Cons of Craigslist:


- Easy to access
- It's FREE!
- Has a lot of information
- Everyone uses it*

- Old (often outdated) information
- Not regulated by any Government Authority
- Misleading and Deceptive Practices (anyone can post ads on Craigslist)
- Everyone uses it*

*I noted "everyone uses it" as a Pro and Con because while it's a PRO to know you can find something there, it's just as much a CON because of over-saturation.

When you decide to start looking for an apartment and want to conduct research online, do you know 
what is real and what isn't? Who is posting the ads you see and like? How can so many brokers have so many great ads?

Remember anyone can post an ad on Craigslist, so proceed with caution. The site does have a list of scams they continue to update, so be sure to read it over. Recently FOX5 NEWS did a story on a Landlord Scam using Craigslist. You can read that story HERE. Another interesting story on tonight's broadcast about an Astoria Brokerage is available HERE. If dealing with a Broker or Landlord scares you, check out the NYC Online Register Information System to see if the person you are working with has a record.

Now, the truth: Most Brokerages as a rule have access to all of the same open listings that most management companies have available in the city. According to the
NY Department of State website, as of May 2010 there are 120,000 Real Estate Salespersons and Brokers in NYC. Is it possible that there could be 120,000 listings available to rent? NO! Brokers advertise the same listings however use their own photos and verbiage. 

"Isn't that misleading?" Yes and no. Yes because someone looking for a place to rent on Craigslist thinks all ads are original and an exclusive to that brokerage; No because they are or WERE at one time actual listings. Also as a rule Brokers use listings that may or may not be available now but were at one time but there are similar places like it available to show you.

So what does that mean? It means it's all about the CALL! The internet and information gathered from there is a
means to an end, not the end to all means! Take what you see online with a grain of salt, and contact a Broker you feel comfortable speaking with to ask the right questions.

Rental agents and Brokers should be looked upon the same way as if you were buying a home. The access an agent has for rental listings and ability to negotiate terms on your behalf is similar to that of buying or selling a property. Finding the right Broker and allowing them to help you is key. If you find they are not doing what you want, then you move on. It can be a huge waste of time and end up creating unnecessary frustration meeting with more than one Broker at a time. The reason is the chances of seeing the same apartment more than once is highly likely.

In conclusion, if you are internet savvy and are familiar with the power of the information you can reveal, sites, such as Craigslist, can be a great tool to help you gather information, but try not to believe from the start everything you see online.

As I said before there 120,000 Brokers in NYC. It's impossible to update every listing every single day. If you remember this information, you will be able to formulate an action plan and be prepared and comfortable working with a Broker. It's not just about showing you units you see online, it goes far beyond that. It's about the value of a service that only we can provide.

What are you waiting for? Whether you are looking to move tomorrow or in the fall, contact me to discuss your needs and let's have a conversation. You can learn more about me by checking out my website at!



Friday, June 11, 2010

walk score - give it a try

One of the many perks of my profession is the ability to stumble upon some great tools to help my clients enjoy the process of looking for a new home.

This NEW website is no exception!

Check out By entering in a desired address or area of the city you would like to live in, it will give you an idea in real time what is located within walking distance. For example, when I typed in my address, my "walk score" was 98 out of 100. My location is deemed "A Walker's Paradise!"


This is a great tool to help those who are new to New York City narrow down their criteria before they spend countless hours (and sometimes days) searching for a place to live.  Of course, the best way to find a place is to enlist the help of a trusted agent, such as myself!

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or are toying with the idea of buying, selling or renting your next home in this great city!

Happy Friday!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

there's no place like Ohm??? Really?

Back in January I had the pleasure of attending a broker preview of this new building conveniently located in my neighborhood. Branded as "The Ohm" - this tranquil luxury destination is an escape from the madness of Manhattan.

If you haven't been to this building, allow me to save you time and tell you that unless you love noisy construction zones, bustling train storage yards and late night crack-wh*res running the streets from the nearby club scene, then this probably isn't a destination you'd like to call Ohm, or, uh, HOME.

Sure the building is beautiful. The interior has condo-like finishes and the apartment homes are lovely. The kitchens are open with dark wood features and stainless steel. However many of the currently available units have magnificent views of... a BRICK WALL! Or, better yet, A TRAIN STORAGE YARD!  After all, this is the city's newest up and coming re-zoned neighborhood called "Hudson Yards." What is Hudson Yards? If you know the west side, then you just need to look from 28th Street to 43nd Street and you can probably count about 12 luxury high rises that been completed or under construction.

There is NO secret that Midtown West, (I know you are cringing right now when I say that), is the best place to live in the city right now. It has the most space, the newest buildings, best prices and convenience to all major transportation.  The problem I have with this building is that the prices just don't merit what you get for your money. You have to trek out to 11th Avenue where there is NOTHING! Yes, the High Line Park is under construction which will extend to 34th Street and 11th Ave sometime next year.  You will also have the 7 train extension right outside the Jacob Javits Convention Center.  But for now, it's just peace and quiet. Ohm... Ohm... Ohm...

Curbed today posted an entry on Darryl Strawberry signing a lease for a year at the Ohm. This is surprising. Maybe it's because he doesn't want anyone to know he's there. Which makes the Ohm the perfect place to live.  You won't find the paparazzi stalking anyone out there!  You can read about his deal

I've been lucky enough to see everything the west side has to offer and if you are looking to move then you need to contact me and let me take you on a tour. If you didn't like any of the buildings I have to show you, then you should move to Jersey City.

Till next time West Siders, stay classy!  xoxo