Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fair Housing Laws and Your Rights as a Renter

I came across a situation this week where a landlord casually mentioned his criteria for his next tenant. I immediately reminded him of the legal consequences when making rules that discriminate against any particular ethnic group or orientation.

In light of this, it made me question how many renters/buyers have encountered a situation where a landlord has made comments to you about the types of people who live in their buildings and who they want living their in the future. Although I do not have specific statistics on this issue, casually asking some renters in the New York City area, I was stunned!

I invite you to please take a moment and read about the Fair Housing Act and what it means to you:

*Courtesy of HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)

As always, if you have questions or you feel like you have been treated unfairly or have seen advertisements for rental or sale units that appear discriminating, contact me.


Monday, September 20, 2010

When a Good Building Turns Frat House

I was fortunate to be one of those brokers who “got in” on a good building and was able to close probably the most deals of any broker within a short period of time.

Although I pride myself on this accomplishment, I am saddened by the recent news taking place at this building.

Over the past three weeks I have been contacted by three clients at this building about the “frat house atmosphere” taking place there and how upsetting it is for these people.  Before you assume anything, these clients range from 27 to 40 years old.

What I didn’t realize about New York City is when new developments open they tend to bend the rules a little more than usual to fill the place up. This apparently took place here. I choose not to name the building because I still have a good relationship here and an in the process of closing a major deal here this month. 

I advised my clients that although I am a strong and trusted resource for them, unfortunately I have no power on the management company once a lease is signed.  And, I hate to even say this, but as a broker, we are just the middle man. (of course I am much more than that, but at the end of the day when it comes to specific building issues, it’s out of my control).

Fortunately because of my relationship with this building I was able to talk to the management about some of the issues brought up. And I am happy to report that several measures are being put in place at the end of this month to hopefully minimize the complaints from other tenants.

I am no superman. I am only one person. But, the moral of this topic today is I am not that broker who cares about getting that check. I care about making sure my clients are happy. I will jump through hurdles and deal with the powers that be in order to get something done. As I’ve said before, don’t just take my word for it or the testimonials of my clients, see for yourself! Give me a call at 323-697-0799 and let’s have a conversation.

**Editors note: Since writing this post I've made calls to the management of this building and some personal contacts of mine and I am happy to report that many of the "issues" are now under control. It's still a fantastic place to live!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Why Do I Have To Pay A FEE???

What’s in a fee?

Since the uptick in the Real Estate market over the past several months the one thing people ask me daily is “where are the no fee apartments?

Simple: they are there, but you won’t want to live there! Just kidding! (sort of) - Allow me to clarify why some apartments have fees and others don’t. First off, a broker has no control over fees. Unless it’s an exclusive. More on this later…

Most brokers in the city (meaning any reputable broker) works with all of the management companies and landlords. So if management company “A” sends out their daily update on their buildings, it could include a building in Murray Hill, West Village and/or the Upper West Side. There is no rhyme or reason to this. It just is what it is.

At the same time, management company “B” sends out their updates an hour later and although they manage seven buildings quite possibly in the same areas as company “A”, they only have four vacancies across all of their offerings.  Meanwhile, company “A” has the same amount of buildings but have 13 vacancies.

Depending on the market and inventory, management companies will offer to pay the broker fee in order to rent the apartments faster.  In this case, for example, company “A” will offer to pay the broker fee or “OP” which stands for “Owner Pays” to brokers, which in turn makes the open listing “No fee.” 
Company “B” since they only have a couple of vacancies, they can either decide to pay the broker fee or not. If not, then it becomes a fee apartment. Meaning, the client is charged a fee.

**NOTE: The same management company can decide to offer NO FEE on one building and a fee on their other buildings. In some cases, some units in the same building will have fee AND no fee units! Insanity!**

So why do some people have to pay a 15% fee on the annual rent to the broker?

Back to this… In certain instances when there is an apartment that is by a smaller landlord or an “exclusive” meaning a particular brokerage owns the listing, any broker has the right to rent the apartment, but, such as in buying or selling a home, it becomes a “co-broke” which means you typically charge a 15% fee on the annual rent and it’s split 50/50 to each broker, the listing agent and the broker who took you to the apartment.

Back in late 2008 and all of 2009, we saw NO FEE everywhere! We even saw landlords giving free rent and no fee just to rent apartments. Those days have passed and if you were able to “cash in” on the good times then congratulations! If not, don’t worry. The market changes monthly. Although we may not see what we saw last year in regards to inventory and prices, it’s still a good time to rent in NYC.  It’s an even better time to buy!  If you are looking to rent OR own, please contact me. I can help you get pre-qualified to buy, or give you the tools you need to rent in these tough times.  

Either way, I’ve got you covered!

**Personal note: Keep in mind brokers are trained with extensive knowledge on the market, trends, prices and inventory. There is no substitution for the valuable service we provide for clients. You can't find this sort of value on Craigslist (read an older post of mine for my view on Craigslist and you'll see why). So in cases when you may have to pay a fee to your broker, it's never money thrown away. You can't put a price on the time and money you as a client save by having a broker do the work for you. 


Thursday, September 16, 2010

When Is It Time To Sever Your Relationship?

The first thing you were probably thinking was that I was referring to a client firing their broker. WRONG!

This one is for all of the brokers out there and all you clients pay attention!
: )

When is it okay to say enough is enough? When do you tell your client that someone you’ve invested a lot of time working for and spent money on that it’s time for them to find another broker to help them?

One of the things I’ve noticed in this recession is as Real Estate Professionals we’ve had to work harder, longer and for less money. Yet we still do it.

Why? Because we love it! We are passionate about what we do and we love helping people. At least I can say I do!

I can’t speak for the 120,000 brokers in NYC, but what I say is what I mean.  Don’t just take my many happy clients’ words for it, experience it for yourself. If you are thinking about moving or just want to know what the market is like, give me a call. There is no risk and I am not looking to talk you into anything. I am here to listen.  And, if you find a good broker who will actually listen to you, isn’t that a good thing?

Back on topic…

I asked when it’s a good time to severe your relationship with your client because almost every day I hear from colleagues the horror stories they encounter with their clients. Now, there are two sides to every story and I’ve been on both sides. But, how much time is appropriate to spend on a client who says they want to move? Am I scaring you? It's not my intention. Sometimes it's important for a client to see what brokers go through in order to help you. Consider this just "useful information!"

Did you catch that phrase up above? “They want to move?” I didn’t hear anyone say “Need to move” which makes a huge difference.  It’s not a clients fault because they weren't qualified properly. Most brokers are hungry for that deal that needed to take place yesterday. And I understand that. 

In my opinion if I don’t make the deal today but two months from now, it’s a deal. And I’ve hopefully helped someone and fulfilled my fiduciary responsibility.

But what I’ve learned is after XX days/weeks and XX number of apartments I’ve shown, if you can’t get a consensus from your client, maybe it’s best to let them go. The hardest clients to work for are the ones who have small budgets but want a laundry list of demands for their new home. Sure in a perfect world that is fine, but this is New York City! As a client you have to be able to compromise. 

If your broker is as good as they say they are, they will know to ask you about  the four major criteria:

1) Location 
2) Price
3) Size
4) Amenities

Followed by what is most important of all of those. 

If you want stainless steel appliances, central A/C and a walk in closet in the West Village, then you need to let go of wanting to only pay $2200 for a one bedroom and be prepared to pay $4000.

This is just the reality. For people looking to move it’s important to know what you are getting into. Even those who “have lived in NYC for 10 years” may not know how the market is today. It’s a fact the market changes monthly (if not weekly these days) and the market will determine what you will pay for rent, what the inventory is and also whether or not you will have to pay a fee of not.  

Of course, the FEE / NO FEE market issue is another beast and I look forward to writing about that next. So stay tuned!

**Editors note: Please don’t take what is said in this post the wrong way. This blog is designed to educate people who are searching for a new home, doing some research, and for brokers who want to keep up with what others are doing. It’s an open forum and I welcome and encourage comments and contributors. Please contact me directly at 323-697-0799 to discuss your needs.

My services are sought after specifically because I tell people what they need to know, not what they always want to hear. There is a huge difference. Many of my clients come to me after they have had an unfortunate experience with another broker. If you feel you are not getting the attention or service you deserve from your current broker, it’s okay to say goodbye. Give me a call.


Welcome back???

Hello everyone! Can you believe my last post was at the end of July? SO much has taken place since I last wrote.

For starters. I took some much needed time off to visit my family in Santa Cruz, CA. Then I went to Los Angeles which is my second home. It was great to see so many wonderful people. Then I went to Boston and stayed at the new W hotel. GORGEOUS! Followed by a beautiful wedding of a friend in Atlanta. After that was a four day weekend in Montreal (where else but the W Montreal of course) which was absolutely stunning!  I had such a great time and really got to experience the life people live in all of these places.

Next week I turn 33. Scary isn't it? Who the hell puts their real age in writing and then broadcasts it on the internet of all places??? I do. Because I don't care. I am proud to be 33 and proud to have accomplished all of the things I have in my life. The best is yet to come...

I am available now and ready to serve! Late September and the month of October are busy months in the New York City Real Estate market.


Back to school,  to South Beach for my birthday and will return on Sept. 28. The reason I mention the dates is because I want my clients and potential clients to know that although I am not physically in the city, I am absolutely avacollege graduates begin their new careers and my favorite: leases expire! Which means it's time to move!

Now that I am back and in all-business mode, the next few posts will be very important. They will focus on the dramatic shift in the market from a year ago, the prices, inventory, and what happened to NO FEE?  I will also talk about some changes taking place next year, what people are looking for in 2011 and the best way to find your next home with less stress.

So stick with me and I hope you look forward to what's to come. If you haven't become a subscriber to my blog, please do so to the right. Enter your email address and every time I write something new you will receive an email so you don't have to remember to come here. Can I make it any easier?

As always, I welcome comments and suggestions including BLOG topics on issues facing the market, your living experience in NY and what I can do to make your life better. After all, we spend a great deal of time in our home. It should matter where we live and what we live in, right?

Here is to an exciting fall season!