New York

Purchasers Should Choose Their Own Real Estate Broker

Posted by LeeAdmin on January 06, 2014
New York, real estate, real estate agent, real estate broker / No Comments

When purchasing real estate, you will need to decide whether to use a real estate agent to assist you in your property search. Some buyers choose to do their own research – as there are many resources online which give a lot of information about properties.  However, real estate agents have access to the most recent and most current information out there – in particular, the MLS (multiple listing service) system which is not accessible to the public.  Moreover, real estate agents have the knowledge, expertise in negotiating and can guide you through the negotiation process so that your interests are best represented.  Plus it doesn’t cost you, the buyer, anything.


Though you will have access to a listing agent with information regarding the property, it would be in your best interest to “hire” or select your own real estate broker or agent who will represent your interests. The listing agent, is the real estate agent who listed the seller’s property and represents the seller.  When you negotiate with the listing broker, you are relying upon yourself to best represent your interest and anything that you say to the agent will most probably be communicated to the seller even if you ask them not to, since the agent is the seller’s agent. Again, choosing your own real estate agent to represent you, costs you nothing as the listing broker and your broker will work out an arrangement to share the broker commission that the seller pays to have its property sold.


Bidding wars and market statistics vary depending on the particular property. For instance, real estate agent, Teresa Staiano mentioned during a presentation recently that a bidding war for a brownstone in Manhattan ended up selling for $500,000 over the asking price! The market statistics are a simple understanding of supply and demand. When a particular property is “hot,” it can be sold very shortly after it is placed on the market, whereas a property that is not so popular can be on the market for years.


The best way to find a broker is through referrals, and the most popular way is via the internet. 86% of buyers start their searches using the internet, which is a good source of telling you which brokers know more about the particular property you may be interested in.


BONUS:  I recently spoke at a workshop with a few panelists on this topic.   There was a lot of information shared during the workshop.  You’re invited to claim your free instant access to a clip of the presentation. You’ll hear about the biggest mistakes that buyers make and avoiding them when purchasing real estate in New York. 0 Brought to you by Sabra Sasson, Esq., a New York City attorney dedicated to helping you secure your purchase, your legal interests and getting you title and the keys to your new home.  Get instant access here.

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Tips for Selling Real Estate

Navigating the real estate market in New York, whether you are a buyer or seller, can be a daunting task.  As a seller, there is a lot that you can and need to do in order to sell your property, find a buyer, get the best sales price and get to the closing table.   If you were to do this on your own, you could probably eventually figure it out, but if you had the right agent on your side from the moment you decided to sell, the thorny path to selling can be paved for you so that you can go smoothly from listing your place for sale through closing.

Teresa Staiano, a real estate agent with Prudential Douglas Elliman shares some tips for sellers in a recent call with me which you can hear below, and some of those tips are outlined here:



A vacant home does not appear to most buyers.  In fact, only seven (7%) of people can actually visualize their furniture in it.  So staging is crucial to showing your property.  A staged home has a better chance of selling faster & for a higher price and can decrease the number of days that the property remains on the market.

(see pictures here)


According to Teresa, “clutter eats equity” by making the home feel smaller.  It distracts buyers from seeing the property itself because of all of the nick-knacks.  Clutter can make a property feel dirty, cluttered and small which is not attractive to most buyers.  “I would suggest taking down family photos and personal items , as they make the home feel more impersonal and let’s the buyer potentially see themselves there”, says Teresa Staiano.

(see pictures here)

Professional Photos

Professional photographs are a must.  Many buyers today can do their own research online and can see pictures and sometimes take a “virtual tour” of a property before they go out to see it.  Which photographs would be more appealing?  Amateur photos or professional ones which can capture the true essence of your property. 

(see pictures here)

Implementing this tips and strategies may appear to be simple and easy, but using the right professionals and having an “eye” for what buyers are looking for are invaluable.  Listen for more tips from Teresa Staiano by clicking “play” below:

To hear future broadcasts with many of our other professionals, please visit this page to sign up for your unique call-in information.


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Do you have the right Will? Are you in control of your assets?

Have you ever thought about writing a Will and just haven’t gotten around to it yet?  Or, maybe you might be avoiding the conversation altogether because it’s kinda morbid and you don’t want to even think about your future death.

You can continue on that path, or face the reality, as you have heard many times,

“Two things are certain in life, death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin

Besides, if you don’t write a Will or do your own estate planning, New York State has its own statute which provides how your property will be distributed after your death.  However, the way it will be distributed may or may not be the way that you intend.  So, the best way to ensure that your property is passed along to your intended recipient is to write a Will or a Trust.

Another benefit of estate planning is tax planning and to protect family assets in the event of marriage or divorce.

I met with Jeffrey A. Asher, a trust and estates attorney last week during our weekly “Coffee Break With Sabra” and he talked more extensively about the importance of having a Will, who should have one and who would benefit from estate and tax planning to minimize the New York State and Federal estate tax due.  He also talked about a frequently used trust referred to as the Revocable Living Trust and its benefits.

You can listen in to the call with Jeffrey Asher to hear all about what he had to say by clicking “play” below:

To hear future broadcasts with many of our other professionals, please visit this page to sign up for your unique call-in information


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Do you have what it takes to secure a mortgage loan?

Posted by LeeAdmin on February 25, 2013
Coffee Break With Sabra, mortgage, New York, real estate, refi, refinance / No Comments

Inventory is low in the current New York real estate market, and, as a buyer, you will want to set yourself apart from the other buyers.  One of the ways that you can do that, is to show your prospective seller that you have your finances in order.  Soon after signing the contract of sale, you will need to immediately apply for your mortgage loan which can be overwhelming.  There are many documents and a lot of information that the bank or lending institution will request prior to granting your request for a loan.  And, if you already own property and you are seeking to refinance, many of those documents are the same. 

Jonathan Goldberg, a residential mortgage specialist with Sterling National Bank, met with me to share valuable information about what you need to have in order when applying for a mortgage or refinance an existing loan.  He says that the three most important things that the bank will evaluate are your (1) Credit profile, (2) Capacity to repay the loan profile, and (3) Collateral profile of the property to be collateralized or refinance.

Aside from the obvious in terms of providing the correct spelling of your name, social security number and current residence address, Jonathan provided a detailed list of the financial documents that the lender will request to see when doing its evaluation and he also shared some surprising information such as:

• While credit scores range from 350 to 850, according to Jonathan, even those with a credit score as low as 640 would be considered for a loan

• While most loans are in the range of 80% to 90% of the property value, there is a loan that may permit as much as 96.5% financing 

Also, you can visit to get a headstart and get access to your credit report and credit profile from each of the three credit bureaus. 

To hear the full interview with Jonathan Goldberg, click the play button below


To hear future broadcasts with many of our other professionals, please visit this page to sign up for your unique call-in information

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You or Your Partner Can Get Your Landlord to Fix Stuff: Tips

Posted by LeeAdmin on January 23, 2012
divorce, landlord, landlord-tenant, mediation, New York, real estate, tenant / No Comments

Whether Married, Single or Just Living Together, if You’re a Renter You May Want to Know These Tips on Getting Your Landlord to Repair Stuff                



Are one of the reasons you have chosen to rent an apartment due to the relative ease with which you can get your landlord to repair stuff?  Or maybe you didn’t really give that much thought until your dishwasher broke down, or some tiles fell off the bathroom wall or your kitchen cabinets came off its hinge from overuse or your windows leaked during the last rain.   What did you do?  Were you one of the fortunate ones who just called the landlord or managing agent and a building maintenance person came to repair or replace it?

What would you do if your landlord was not so responsive to your complaint?

1.       Follow Protocol.  Some buildings have a protocol for making complaints or reporting problems in your apartment.  Find out what that is and follow it.  Typically, it may require you to complete a form and give it to the super or inform the landlord or managing agent through the building’s website, or informing the doorman, if your building has one, would be sufficient to report the problem.

2.      Write a letter.  If there is no protocol or your complaint is not responded to, you may want to write a letter or an email to the Landlord or managing agent.  Putting it in writing is always a good idea.  It creates a paper trail and also documents the situation you are experiencing.

3.      Tip.  Approach the super or maintenance person directly and offer to tip them.  They may move your apartment to the front of the list of other units in your building also requiring repairs or your repair may be completed better.

4.      Dial 311.  If you’ve attempted to get your landlord’s attention using the foregoing methods and your complaint is still not addressed and affects your health and safety (such as vermin, bedbugs, lack of heat or hot water, exposed electrical wires or mold), you may call 311 to report the problem.  The City will send an inspector to investigate your complaint and if verified, the City may issue a fine which your landlord will have to pay.  While the problem may be fixed, this may affect your relationship with your landlord when it comes time to renegotiate your lease (though you may not want to stay anyway).

5.      Withhold Rent.  This would be considered a “last resort” option depending upon the severity of the problem you are complaining of.  You will want to look at the city’s Housing Maintenance Code to see what the courts would deem to be a serious problem before deciding to withhold any rent.  The reason you want to seriously evaluate whether to go this route is because you will likely be brought into court by your Landlord for failing to pay rent and you will need to defend yourself against eviction.  If the repair problem is not very serious, you might not prevail and your decision to withhold rent might cost you more than just the rent you didn’t pay and your time spent in court.  So consult an attorney before deciding to withhold rent.    Other repercussions if you wind up in court, is that you may find it difficult to rent another apartment since many NYC Landlords refuse to rent to someone who has previously been in litigation with another Landlord.

6.      Lawsuit.  You may want to sue your landlord for failing to comply with the law and sue the City for failing to enforce with the law.  You represent yourself or sometimes you can get the court clerks to help you with the papers and court filings so that you don’t need to hire a lawyer to represent you.  You will want to have documentation and proof to prove your case such as photographs, copies of any communications to your Landlord advising of the problem and your Landlord’s refusal to repair as well as a list of all of the problems in your apartment.  Be careful to list everything that is problematic since the court will only consider those items listed in your complaint.  Again, as in withholding rent, you may have difficulty renting another apartment if the landlord finds out that you had a lawsuit against your prior landlord.

7.      DIY.  Finally, you may want to repair the item yourself and then reduce your next rent payment by the cost of the repair.  Before you do that, get an estimate for the repair and send it to your Landlord with a request to repair.  If your Landlord refuses or fails to repair it within a reasonable time, you may want pay for the repair yourself and deduct the cost from your next rent payment.  There is a good chance that this may resolve your problem, but also, it is possible that your Landlord may decide to bring you to court for failure to pay the full rent.  So you need to decide whether you want to just pay for the cost of the repair yourself or repair it and deduct the cost from your next rent payment.  You will want to maintain a copy of your receipts in the event that your Landlord brings you to court. 

If you could get that darn dishwasher working again, more heat or fix the rodent problem in your apartment, how would that affect your relationship?  Try these tips and post your comments and your experiences below. 

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