Many things should never be left unsaid. Ever.

Drapes

“Oh, you say you’re taking the drapes? I don’t think so.”

When it comes to the purchase of residential real estate worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions, some matters can stall the signing of a contract or even reduce a settlement to hours of prolonged battle.

Those matters frequently turn on the cost of items the value of which often can be calculated in the hundreds of dollars.

Disputes commonly rest on Continue reading

With real estate offers, who says that life is fair?

(flickr photo by maorix)

Sadly, homebuyers are finding that sellers are in the driver’s seat once again.

And they don’t always play fair.

As lawyer Adam Stone points out in a BrickUnderground.com column, not only do many sellers entertain multiple offers.  They also may work with multiple contracts.  Stone asks a pertinent question: Continue reading

‘This family takes some very strange vacations.’

(Flickr photo by exfordy)

To the extent that questions burn in the business real estate, one centers on family photos: Should they be hidden until the home finds a buyer?

“Honey, do you think that’s a beach in Vietnam?” a prospective purchaser might ask her partner at an open house.

“Hey, look at how many kids they have!”

“It seems like they had one of those weddings.”

“Eeeww, they’re really into religion, aren’t they?”

Some say photos should be banished to a box in the closet.  Others say they make no difference.

I come down somewhere in the middle.  Continue reading

Dirk Zeller: All buyers have their misconceptions

Dirk Zeller

Author, speaker and all-around expert on  real estate, Dirk Zeller maintains that buyers invariably hold misconceptions about agents and the benefits of working them.

In the first of his two blog posts on the RealtyTimes site, he says that some buyers don’t think they need an agent.  Although lots of information is now available on the Internet, says Zeller, that’s not the same as receiving interpretation, analysis, counsel and protection.

Second, the writer argues against the belief in the minds of some buyers that they don’t need Continue reading

Don’t let home suffer humiliation of bad breath

If prospective buyers entering your home end up looking like this, you’ll have to admit you’ve got a problem. (Flickr photo by db2r)

Do you know whether your home smells?

Homeowners sometimes are unaware how offensive to others can be the pungency of Fluffy’s litter box.

In co-operatives, condominiums and rental buildings, the odors of cabbage or ethnic spices assaulting hallways and insinuating themselves through vents not only may irritate neighbors but also drive away prospective buyers as surely as Fluffy’s transgressions.

The mere sautéing of garlic, which is bound to linger in a cook’s apartment, easily penetrates public spaces and the disapproving nasal passages of anyone who traverses them.  And never mind what some perceive as the stench of tobacco smoke, especially from pipes and cigars, as a powerful disincentive to making an offer.

As for marijuana, I imagine approval or disgust may vary considerably according to the individual. Continue reading

Few phrases more chilling than ‘back on market’

Who is the seller and who, the buyer? (Flickr photo by Mr. van Meelen)

Few more words sound more ominous than “back on the market.”

They could mean that broker after broker couldn’t sell the property.

Or that a buyer withdrew after learning about nerve-wracking defects.

Or that the seller couldn’t stand the many months that the home was on the market with no taker and so elected to pause its marketing.

More charitable explanations also are possible.

Perhaps Continue reading

Auction of two Harlem buildings nets $6 million

Auctioneer Chuck Schcieifer spots a biddder.

Auctioneer Chuck Scheifer swivels and spots a bidder in packed room.

In a highly successful auction Wednesday of two Manhattan buildings that the state has declared surplus, taxpayers benefited with winning bids totaling $5.97 million.

An estimated 300 individuals jammed into the auction room on the eighth floor of the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building on 125th Street to witness or participate in the sale.  There were 107 registered bidders, according to one official.

“Our goal is to get property on the tax rolls,” said the official, James P. Sproat, director of Real Estate Planning & Development in the Office of General Services.  “We’re satisfied that we’ve done the best for the taxpayers.”

Auctioneer Chuck Scheifer was less restrained: “I’m incredibly pleased and thrilled,” he allowed. “Fantastic.”

Immediately after successfully bidding on

Immediately after bidding successfully on 364 W. 119 St., the buyer (in blue shirt) and auctioneer converse.

First on the block was Continue reading

Louisiana agent describes some buyers as ‘toxic’

(Flickr photo by Rainforest Action Network)

There are the hobbyist, bucking bronco, family man, armchair expert and, yes, hemorrhoid.

So says Doug Rogers, a real estate agent in Pineville, La., who characterizes each type of client as “toxic” in different ways.

Although I think he goes somewhat overboard to describe such clients, I also found his blog post to be mildly amusing, somewhat over-reaching and not a little discomfiting.

In his view, the hobbyist is Continue reading

Title insurance has wrinkles well worth knowing

(Flickr photo by mountainamoeba)

Two of the most important things you need to know about title insurance — and you need to know them — are these:

  1. The percentage of claims is in the single digits;
  2. The cost is high considering the risk, but New York State law bars discounting.

It also is worth knowing that there are two exceptions to the prohibition against discounting: Continue reading

Second time frequently is no charm for buyers

(Flickr photo by Christopher MacSurak)

It happens all the time.

Buyers who have searching hard for a new home with few compromises finally see one they love.

Leaving the place, they urge their broker to make an offer.  Brokers like me, however, will insist on a second visit as the process gets under way.

That’s when Continue reading