Brokerage firms not rushing to eliminate titles

A new opinion letter from the New York Department of State about the misuse of corporate titles by real estate agents has drawn a muted response from the city’s brokerages.

Peters

The one-and-half-page letter said the use of titles such as “vice president” was dishonest and misleading, amounting to prohibited false advertising unless the holders of real estate licenses actually were corporate officers.

“We’ll wait and see what unfolds,” Continue reading

Rarely is real estate sales chosen as a first career

Heaven knows that real estate sales lacks the glamor of, say, school crossing guard, exterminator, barista or subway conductor.

Of course, there exist those brokers and agents whose social credentials rival Britain’s royal family and whose transactions involve properties in the double-digit millions from the outset of careers that have been their first choice.  But the rest of us have tended to select real estate for a second, third or fourth career when the economy or age has left us with few options.

Although many starting out in the industry may feel like second-class members of the community, Continue reading

The days are numbered for dinosaur brokerages

The hulking real estate brokerages whose names leap to mind will cease to exist in their current form five years from now.

That’s my prediction based on changes in the industry that have moved from evolutionary to revolutionary.

In the last few years, Continue reading

Out and About: You gotta love the neighborhood

In early May, Riverside Park is this side of paradise.

A while back, I quoted Paul Purcell, who is a founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty, as mentioning what he termed an old saw:

You’ve got to like your home, but you’ve got to love your neighborhood.

Smart and obvious, though not to me until then.

The concept came back to me last month when watching a friend of mine, Teri Karush Rogers of BrickUnderground.com, on WNBC-TV, where she was talking about mistakes that buyers make.  She confessed that she twice had made one such mistake, and you’ve guessed what it is: She loved two places to which she moved but hated the neighborhoods.

As for me, I’ve lived in seven different Manhattan neighborhoods.  In order, they have been Morningside Heights, Washington Heights (in a section that has taken on airs as “Hudson Heights”), close to the East Village (18th and First Avenue), central West Village, Gramercy/Flatiron and now the Upper West Side near the 96th Street express stop on Broadway.

I can’t say Continue reading

The High Road: Who do you trust?

The listing broker denied my client the benefit of photos that I had hoped to take. This is from her Web listing.

Before the late Johnny Carson became the inimitable host of the Tonight Show, he was the inimitable quizzer on a network program called “Who Do You Trust?”

On the first installment, which I somehow caught, he joked about the grammar of the program’s name, which correctly would have been “Whom Do You Trust.”

I was reminded of his quips over the weekend, when, dressed in my usual scruffy Sunday clothes, I made my routine rounds of open houses on the Upper West Side.

One apartment I particularly wanted to see for a client I had in mind was a $3 million condo in the 80s on Central Park West.  Walking into the beautifully renovated apartment on a sunny day, I introduced myself as a broker with Charles Rutenberg Realty.

With reservations, I thought it was lovely as, at that price, it should be.  I wanted Continue reading

The High Road: Yes, it’s okay to talk about commissions

 

The Times loves to skewer sacred cows (get it?), and regular readers know that I have a healthy appetite for doing so as well. (Flickr photo by turbotoddi)

The New York Times has forced my hand.  The newspaper’s lead story in Sunday’s Real Estate section–which quotes Charles Rutenberg co-founder Kathy Braddock, among others–maintains that sellers can negotiate broker commissions successfully.

Ironically, I had been musing about commissions since a lively discussion that several members of the REwrite group of real estate bloggers enjoyed at a meet-up that I organized last Thursday night.  More about that in a bit.

As the Times noted, Continue reading

Is it a losing battle for brand-name brokerages?

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: Continue reading