Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

It won’t go to print until this Sunday’s paper, but the article that Iblogged about expecting is now live online. Entitled “A For Sale Sign with Brains,” the piece discusses how real estate brokers are embracing technology to sell property. The story behind the article is actually not one of the reporter finding my blog, but rather, another broker at another company who is.

Barry Kramer, broker owner at Westchester Choice Realty and my friend, was contacted by the reporter and he suggested that she contact me because he considered me a tech savvy agent. She did. We had a good interview where I told her how I saw our technology toolbox evolve since my entry into the business in 1996, and the photos were taken two days later.

For the shoot, a filmed a walking tour of the home at 374 Quaker Road in Chappaqua, put it on Youtube, and then, on my mobile printer, created a brochure with a QR code that would connect a smart phone to that Youtube tour. This would enable the consumer to see the house and get questions answered without having to make a phone inquiry. I am in the process of doing more of these walking tours on other listings. They work, as the listing where we did this tour has already been given an offer.

The piece has three photos of me in the online version, plus a great one of the house, and we’ll see what makes the paper Sunday. I am of course very humbled that Barry would suggest me to the reporter, and while I still encourage Barry himself to blog because I think he’d be great, I am happy he reads my work.


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I was quoted three times in an article on the 2010 real estate market discussing how sellers have adjusted to falling property values.

“Look at it like the stages of grief,” says J. Philip Faranda, the broker-owner of J. Phillip Real Estate in Westchester County, N.Y. “In 2006 and 2007, it was denial; in 2008 and 2009, it was mourning; in 2010, it’s acceptance.”

Sellers slow to change

It’s not surprising that it would take some time for sellers to come to terms with the market’s rapid and drastic changes. It’s a learning process — a “price-discovery process,” in economic terms.

Sellers frequently concede they’re harboring unrealistic expectations only after having tried and failed to sell their home. (See “Are you the reason your home won’t sell?“) Or they’ve watched other sellers reduce prices repeatedly to get buyers to even look at their homes, then seen those sellers relinquish additional ground when negotiating.

Pride often prevents sellers from seeing foreclosures as the new competition.

“If a guy with a half-million-dollar house still thinks it’s worth $600,000, I can show him two or three foreclosures that are listed for $400,000 and $450,000 and ask him how he thinks I’m going to hypnotize people into buying his house for $600,000,” Faranda says.

The Internet has helped change expectations. A seller traditionally blames his agent when his home isn’t selling. But today, Multiple Listing Service and syndication agreements let sellers list homes for sale on a dozen or more Web sites (take a look around your neighborhood), so “all the old excuses of ‘you’re not advertising my house’ have gone away,” Faranda says.

The reporter told me that she found me on Active Rain, which is nice to hear. I post quite a bit on that blog. The link is in the sidebar. I also got a nice hate email, from some anonymous guy who told me what a bad person I am because I helped cause the economy to fail. His presumptiveness is secondary; I acknowledge his frustration.

My main point in the interview with the reporter was that, once listed, a home becomes virtually ubiquitous, and, therefore, the main reason any home doesn’t sell is price.

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Mixed Real Estate News

It can be confusing to understand the health of the economy from the media. As the screen shot from my news feed shows, there are seemingly completely contradictory stories on the U.S. real estate market.


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This article in the Sunday Times sparked the typical debate between people who use agents, hate agents, and are agents. A few in particular prompted me to write a 2nd comment (my first can be read here).  Comments may close before it gets posted, so rather than lose it, here you go.

My experience with people who express such vitriol toward brokers is that their bad experiences were preceded by putting more effort into buying their MP-3 than choosing a broker. For them, I have little sympathy.

To Attorney @ #45: Brokers are paid what the market bears, period. Creating commerce (not rubber stamping it, mind you, but making it) and causing vast amounts of money to change hands is not easy or more people would do it. I don’t besmirch the importance of an attorney in a transaction, but lawyers typically can’t sell. Reminding us how high you are on the food chain doesn’t change that fact.

10% of brokers do 90% of the business. List with an agent with a verifiable track record and happy references and you’ll get value for your money. Better yet, to those who think we sip martinis while we do so little work for such a fat cut of the action, go get licensed. Work nights and weekends on straight commission and then tell me how little work we do for so much money.

All the comments are telling. Stories like these bring out the haters, and they have utterly no clue what a good agent can do in the sale of a home.

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While I have no political agenda in my commentary I aim to be straight. Paul Krugman has always bugged me. I cannot decide if the heart of the matter is either his love of the Syllogistic Fallacy, his appalling elitism or his galling intellectual dishonesty. Here is my outline of a typical Krugman column:

  • I am Paul Krugman. I have won some awards for my scholarship.
  • I am going to twist data around with impunity, and habitually omit important things which might even contradict my premise, to assert my far left world view.
  • If anything bad happens in the world, it is the fault of conservatives.
  • I am credentialed in economics, therefore I am a credible commentator on the subject of my screed.

That is the gameplan.

For instance, in his column Monday, he refers to the years 2005-2007 as “the peak of the housing bubble.” If the housing bubble peak lasted three years I’d be typing this blogpost on my yacht. This is like saying the stock market peak before FDR was from 1929-1931. Balderdash. The real estate market slowed down severely in 2006 and the 2007 sub prime crisis exacerbated the decline from June 2007 onward. 2005 was the peak. By 2006 it was over and everyone knew it.

Here’s another gem from the column where he laments the ownership gains and losses in the current administration:

While homeownership rose as the housing bubble inflated, temporarily giving Mr. Bush something to boast about, it plunged — especially for African-Americans — when the bubble popped. Today, the percentage of American families owning their own homes is no higher than it was six years ago, and it’s a good bet that by the time Mr. Bush leaves the White House homeownership will be lower than it was when he moved in.

But here’s a question rarely asked, at least in Washington: Why should ever-increasing homeownership be a policy goal? How many people should own homes, anyway?

People are already praising him for asking this question, but I say it’s only value is novelty, not intellectual merit. How many people should own homes anyway? Who decides? Why should we encourage home ownership? Because it stabilizes the hell out of the economy, Paul. It gives families more economic traction. It is an asset that funds retirement. That’s why. He goes on:


Listening to politicians, you’d think that every family should own its home — in fact, that you’re not a real American unless you’re a homeowner. “If you own something,” Mr. Bush once declared, “you have a vital stake in the future of our country.” Presumably, then, citizens who live in rented housing, and therefore lack that “vital stake,” can’t be properly patriotic. Bring back property qualifications for voting!

Sure Paul. Whatever you say. Let’s tether home ownership initiatives to Jim Crow. Yet more pap:

Because the I.R.S. lets you deduct mortgage interest from your taxable income but doesn’t let you deduct rent, the federal tax system provides an enormous subsidy to owner-occupied housing. On top of that, government-sponsored enterprises — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks — provide cheap financing for home buyers; investors who want to provide rental housing are on their own.

We should deduct rent from our taxes. Or, we shouldn’t allow for any deduction. The ripple effect of each would be disastrous. Some award-winning economist this guy is.

I commented on this KipEsquire post on the same article which was more charitable.

It should be known that Paul Krugman lives in a 5000 square foot home in Princeton. So he’s really qualified to blather about nanny state nonsense.

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