Coffee Break With Sabra

The Importance of Self-Care When You’re in Transition

Strategies for Body and Mind When You’re Starting or Leaving a Marriage

Do you ever find yourself in pain?  Your body aches in your lower back, your shoulders or other type of discomfort?  And have you ever noticed that this may happen more often during times in your life that are stressful?  When you have a lot going on, or you are preparing for relocation, changing jobs, planning a wedding or getting divorced.

All of these are life events which cause stress and how we deal with stress can lead to different results.  Sometimes it manifests into pain somewhere in the body, other times we are able to “handle” the stress or manage it.

Stress is inevitable.

How does stress affect you?  And, what do you do when you are feeling stressed out?  Do you resist? Do you simply accept it and tell yourself “this too shall pass.” 


I have found myself in different instances, managing stress that I experience in different ways.  Sometimes I feel stress when I have a lot on my plate – a very long “to do” or “action” list.  However, I often find that when I make a list of what needs to be completed, just that very activity makes me feel so much more at ease and that what needs to be completed, is finite, and I can assign dates or times when each item will be completed.

Other times, I find that I just need to get out and burn off some steam. I go to the gym and run on the treadmill, or go for a long bike ride along my favorite path.  And, sometimes just taking some down time and watching a movie or getting my nails done is all that I need.

Recently, I have incorporated massage and acupuncture into my regular routine and I have noticed that this has helped to reduce the stress that I experience in my day-to-day.

 I recently interviewed a colleague, Roberta Mittman, L.Ac., a dedicated alternative health care practitioner and licensed acupuncturist and founder of the Park Avenue Center for Wellbeing.  She spoke to me about the importance of self care and she shared strategies and tips that she recommends.  You can listen to the interview here:


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What types of ways do you manage stress in your life?  Share in the comments below.

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Real Estate: Tips for Buyers in this New Market

Did you notice the change in the real estate marketplace?

You didn’t notice?

Yes, even six months ago, it was a buyer’s market.  But, as things do, particularly in New York, the market changed, nearly overnight.

It is now a seller’s market.

In other words, there is very little inventory and there are many buyers for every property that is listed for sale.  Interest rates for mortgages are still very low and buyers have buying power, but because there is low inventory, purchase prices are increasing.

There are bidding wars.

So, how can you, as a buyer, position yourself as the “winning” buyer or the “winning” bidder?

I interviewed two stellar New York real estate agents and they spoke to me about what buyers can do to really set themselves apart from the pack.  You can hear the interview in the link below.  What you will hear them speak about includes:

What does that mean that buyers need to be more prepared?

How can a buyer prepare?

_____ kills deals

The importance of engaging in a “_________ negotiation”

It is possible to experience gazumping – and you don’t want to!

Importance of having the right team in place


You can listen in to the call with Leonard Gottlieb and Lori Winick if you missed it by clicking “play” below:

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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:

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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:

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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


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