April 17, 2012

Spring Forward

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty

As we move into the middle of April, many of us in the business are wondering, will there be the traditional spring market? Usually at about this time there is an uptick in inventory, prices begin to ascend (especially with help such as Vivian Toy’s upbeat article about real estate sales in the Sunday New York Times) and deals begin to flow fast and strong. So is it happening in 2012?

September 21, 2011

Bored by the Board?

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty 

It has been a bad period for Board turndowns. In the last few months, we at Warburg Realty have lost several major deals because of co-operative Board decisions; several more have been fortuitously snatched from the jaws of defeat by industrious agents who would not take “no” for an answer and managed to get the decisions reversed. In the latter cases, the Board saw financial issues which could have been resolved by asking the applicant a couple of questions, but rather than clarify, they voted to reject. It is as if they forget that actual people’s lives are at stake. As a former Board president myself, I know that in the confines of the Board meeting it is easy to forget how profoundly distressing a Board rejection can be to both buyer and seller. Boards should only use this measure as a last resort. The number of prospective buyers who go on to be excellent tenants, even excellent Board members, in a second co-op after being rejected at a first demonstrates the gratuitous nature of many turndowns. But as agents more often than not we are powerless over this outcome after the package is submitted.

September 13, 2011

We Love New York

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty

My daughter returned home from a year long stint working in orphanages in Thailand and Vietnam on September 10, 2001. My wife was in Berkeley helping my brother get his kids organized for school while my sister in law was in the hospital. On the morning of the 11th I went to work, and agents began coming into my office urging me to turn on the radio as something unimaginable was going on. I did, and then we moved to the video screen in our conference room, tuned to CNBC. It seemed we had entered an alternate reality. My daughter called, totally disoriented, and said, “You have to come home.” I complied. I will never forget walking out of the office and onto Madison Avenue. There was not a single car in sight as I gazed downtown, but on the horizon smoke was billowing up toward the sky. New York, America, and the world were changed forever.

September 8, 2011

Back to School

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty

The summer rentals are ending, the vacations are winding down, and all over New York City real estate agents are preparing for the fall season. After the economic uncertainty of the summer, it seems likely that both buyers and sellers will be second guessing their own decisions as the season progresses. So let’s try to answer some of the most basic questions here and now:

September 2, 2011

Our Port in the Storm

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty 

Here in Sharon, Connecticut where I rode out the hurricane with three generations of my family, the sky cleared around 1 AM last night , and the storm gave way to an extraordinarily clear starry night. That morphed this morning into the most perfect day possible. This house, which my wife and I renovated painstakingly over a period of almost two years, has become a wonderful gathering place for family and friends at holiday time, in moments of crisis (my niece, her husband, and their baby son came here three days ago from Brooklyn once they heard all the subways were shutting down and there was no food or bottled water left in the stores!), and for re-establishing a sense of connection with people I love and with the world at large. As I cooked for everyone (I love to feed a crowd), I thought about the meaning of creating a home.

August 24, 2011

Forward Into Fall

Courtesy of Frederick Peters of Warburg Realty Partnership

Although the beginning of fall is officially a month away, today it feels like fall. There are a few leaves changing color (early, but still…) and I am thinking about what a tumultuous summer it has been for Americans. Economists and politicians were united in predicting recovery in 2011, but instead we have gotten a debt ceiling crisis, a bond downgrade, persistent high unemployment, slow growth, and the threat of inflation. The E.U. is worse off than we are, with violent rioting in London and economic unrest throughout the continent. But New York has so far been a haven of stability.

August 15, 2011

Rules of the Game

Courtesy of Frederick Peters of Warburg Realty Partnership 

Is there any point in writing about last week’s stock gyrations? What sense can be made out of a market which goes up 400 points one day and down 400 points another? Things just did not change that much between Wednesday and Thursday! I am grateful that real estate, MY product, is not so profoundly reactive, if only because it can’t be traded by making a phone call. The fact that real estate cannot be sold quickly stabilizes the market and of necessity injects some thought and rationality into the process.

August 3, 2011

A Difference - And A Distinction

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty

It has taken me thirty years in the real estate business to figure out what real estate marketing is actually for. And over the years the notion of marketing has continued to evolve, so just when I thought I had caught it, it squirmed away. But here is what I think today, with a little historical perspective thrown in.

July 21, 2011

Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be?

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty

It has always been true that borrowing was easiest for people who did not need the money. Of course since the Lehman collapse even rich people have not had such an easy time borrowing money. And since Dodd-Frank (the bill which Congress enacted post-meltdown to more closely regulate the banking and mortgage industries) became law it is also becoming harder and harder for mortgage brokers to help buyers FIND money, both because more and more capital sources want to do their own loans and because the provisions of Dodd-Frank make it harder than ever for mortgage brokers to get paid. So here we are, in an environment in which money is hard to come by, mortgage brokers are more challenged than ever, and most funding sources want to be approached directly. Who can get a mortgage, and how?

July 14, 2011

Why I Write

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty

This is my 105th blog. I had no idea I had written so many. I started writing the blogs because I wanted to create points of entry for lay people and colleagues alike into what real estate agents do, how we think, and how consumers can more effectively advocate for themselves within the broker/client relationship. I wanted to demonstrate some of the complexity inherent in our jobs as well as the multiple pleasures. Our business involves strategizing, it involves relationship management, it involves aesthetics, it involves negotiating skill, and it often involves being a strong hand within the softest velvet glove. There is no other work quite like it.

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