Don’t expect brokers to disclose square footage

Any broker who provides a listing’s square footage verbally or in writing — even with a disclaimer — has to be chastened by one buyer’s latest victory.

As the indefatigable Christine Haughney reported in yesterday’s New York Times, a couple who sued a major Brooklyn developer over 109 “missing” square feet in a condo just walked away with their deposit plus $150,000 Continue reading

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Experts weigh in on ‘why’ of numbers, but how?

Jonathan Miller of the Miller-Samuel appraisal firm released the latest statistics in his report for Prudential Douglas Elliman on Friday.

So did Greg Heym from Halstead.  And Pamela Liebman from Corcoran.

Housing price and sales statistics are regularly released by a number of others, including Case-Shiller, Radar Logic, the National Association of Realtors, PropertyShark.com and CoreLogic.

Invariably, the experts also explain the numbers.  My advice is not to put an excessive amount of stock in what they say, Continue reading

Hard to ignore, VOWs face uncertain future here

Boston-based CondoDomain, a Web-based discount real estate brokerage, is now a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, offering offers a VOW (Virtual Office Web site), reports the Real Deal. That means that customers who log onto the company’s New York site can browse through the listings in REBNY’s database, which is far from comprehensive.

CondoDomain founder and  told the Real Deal that the appearance of VOWs in New York City has opened the floodgates for new companies like his to penetrate the lucrative New York City market.

“The VOW will lay the groundwork for companies like ours to come in and compete,” CEO Anthony Longo told the publication. Continue reading

Some firms seem to treat brokers like employees

As independent contractors, good real estate brokers work hard. (Flickr photo by Christolakis.)

A New York Times front-page article on the IRS cracking down on companies that blur the line between independent contractors and employees caught my eye.  Some brokerage firms nudge that line all the time. Continue reading

Year-end numbers give hope for cautious optimism

For the first time since the market collapsed in late 2008, sales activity and inventory in Manhattan stand at near normal levels, according to market reports compiled by Crain’s and others.

Among the highlights was a continued increase in Continue reading

Manhattan needs a true MLS, not an impostor

One of the city’s bigger brokerages announced last week that it has established a Virtual Office Web site (VOW), which many see as a step toward a Multiple Listings Service (MLS) providing buyers with access to essentially all exclusive listings in the city.

Although the announcement by Halstead Property sounds like a voluntary initiative, the action results from a federal law that goes into effect this year.  In fact, the toothless Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) has instructed its member firms (of which mine is one) to comply with the law, according to a commenter on the Real Deal Web site, where I first saw the announcement.

The Corcoran Group has been silent on any of its VOW plans, but Prudential Douglas Elliman says it is in the game.  Continue reading

Manhattan’s Q3 sales rise, but not over Q3 of 2008

This chart from the Real Deal on the Manhattan market in the 3rd Quarter says it all.

After a year of declines in Manhattan co-op and condominium sales, the residential market has perked up enough for real estate appraisers and brokers at least to debate the question on the minds of many New Yorkers: Has the market reached a bottom yet?

Market reports released today showed that during this year’s third quarter, July through September, the number of sales rose steeply from the second quarter, but remained below the levels of last year’s third quarter, according to the New York Times. Continue reading