Buyers need to get truly organized as they search

Your own spreadsheet doesn’t have to be as complex as this one. (flickr photo by Ivan Walsh)

The search for a new home can be fun. But it also can be frustrating, exhausting and confusing.

To emphasize fun, the wise course is to get as organized as possible. That is the case even if you are the sort of person who values spontaneity, impulsiveness and instinctive decision-making above all.

One useful approach is to assemble a loose-leaf notebook or its electronic equivalent.

Begin by Continue reading

Can everybody just get along?

(Flickr photo by James Cridland)

In times of economic distress, it’s natural for folks to consider optional housing possibilities.

Communal living is, of course, an age-old system that has, however, tended to lose its appeal among those who have experimented with it in this country.  Yet kibbutzim do seem to work pretty well in Israel.

Here, it is easy to imagine that collective homeownership could catch on as the solution to prices that remain out of reach for many of us.  However, such arrangements are not without their complexities, as Phoebe Chongchua reminds readers in Realty Times.

Questions that must be considered carefully include the following:

  • In the case of two couples in a household, what happens if there should be a divorce?
  • What if someone doesn’t keep up with monthly payments?  And what if someone just wants to drop out?
  • How will responsibilities as mundane as taking out the garbage or as material as paying the bills be divided?  And how will adherence to those responsibilities be enforced?
  • Since living full time with others is way different from a vacation with them, what assurance do the participants have that they will be able to stand each other month after month?

It is wise for those exploring the possibility of collective ownership to discuss their vision for the endeavor exhaustively and to understand what an enormous effort will be necessary for a harmonious relationship to survive close quarters.

For anyone diving into the choppy waters of collective ownership, nothing will be more important than working with a lawyer to draft an agreement that covers the full range of imaginable circumstances such as the possibilities that I’ve barely touched upon in the bullet points above.

I’ve seen often enough how hard it can be for one committed couple to agree on the new home they seek for themselves.  To have more individuals involved has to make even that process more difficult by whole magnitudes, never mind all the other areas of potential disagreement that are bound to follow.

Although any tradeoffs of collective homeownership may, for some, prove to be a better option than spending too much of their income on rent or mortgage payments, the participants certainly need to go down that road not with starry eyes but with hard-nosed analysis.

Frankly, I’m pretty cynical about the odds of success.

Next: A cup runneth. . . (No Weekly Roundup until April 5)

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
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Sellers fall into five categories before listing

Dirk Zeller

Brokers frequently rue the difficulties of getting sellers to appreciate how their homes must look before putting them on the market.

In a lively Realty Times column, real estate guru Dirk Zeller puts sellers into five categories: Mr. Fix-It, a gung-ho renovator, a stuck-in-the-60s lover of the past, a do-nothing couch potato, and a human calculator.

He describes Mr. Fix-It as a type to Continue reading

14 ways you can help or hurt your credit score

Think twice before opening new account.  (Flickr photo by Alan Cleaver)

You’re in a department store, and the sales _____ (clerk, assistant, team member, associate — your choice) offers you an extra 20 percent off if you open a charge account at the establishment.

Good deal, you think, especially if the purchase adds up.

Maybe, but only if you don’t place a high value on having a high credit score.

It turns out, Continue reading

Can a broker submit offers for two buyers?

(Flickr photo by orangesparrow)

If a broker is representing a buyer, that broker has a fiduciary duty to that buyer.

What if a broker has two buyers who want to make offers on the same property?  Is it possible to fulfill a fiduciary duty to each of them?

Based on a ruling by an Ohio appeals court earlier this year, maybe not.

The case Continue reading

If it walks like a scam and talks like a scam. . .

When a proposal walks or talks like a scam, it ain’t a duck.

It’s a scam.

And scams rear their ugly heads all too often in the world of real estate.

Mortgage fraud won’t surprise you as one kind of scam.  In the good old days when lenders were all too happy to provide liar loans, few were the self-employed individuals and their lenders who didn’t inflate income.

Then there are the real estate brokers, lenders and appraisers who conspire Continue reading

Our northern neighbors seem to share our wishes

The news is hardly earth-shattering that what Canadians prefer in condos isn’t so different from buyers in the Lower 48.

But like folks in U.S., they have somewhat varied priorities, depending on where they live.

As reported in Realty Times, a survey by TD Canada Trust says good Continue reading

On my mind: Manna from mortgage lenders

(Flickr photo by e-wander

Perhaps you saw my post earlier this year about lunches meant to lure brokers to open houses meant for the industry.

They work!

But only about half the time does the listing broker holding the open house pay for those sandwiches, pasta or fruit salads, even sushi.

Often, it’s a Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Brooke’s place takes a beating, mortgage rates jump, $1 million goes only so far

Because of city’s renters, state has lowest homeownership rate in the nation

Harlem attracts post-slump buyers

Brooke Astor’s Park Avenue duplex goes for half its 2008 asking price

Wall Street jobs cut since 2008 could total 32,000 by end of next year

Landlords trim concessions in Q3, effectively raising rents

Even with sales slowing, 3Q prices of new condos rise 4% in Manhattan and 3% in Brooklyn

Governor’s wife selling their home on their own behalf

Actor lists his vantage point in Montana for $14 million to surf in Hawaii

What $1 million buys Continue reading