Category: Real Estate

A Bronx Tale: Millions of Untapped Consumers
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A Bronx Tale: Millions of Untapped Consumers | George Grace

Recently, I’ve started working with a national company based in the midwest. Their New York office is located in Westchester County, but they have become eager to relocate closer to the city. One of the places they are considering is in the Bronx. I thought this was an interesting choice, as I have written previously about how relatively low and stable the rents are in nearby Westchester. My client elaborated that it wants to be in a more densely populated area because of its sales organization; the more people near it, the better off it is.

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A Tale of Two Landlords
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A Tale of Two Landlords | George Grace

In the real estate business, it’s no secret in Manhattan that when you get out into the boroughs or suburbs, the quality of the landlords changes quite dramatically. It’s not true of all landlords, but there is a definite mindset that begins to take hold as soon as you cross the Hudson or East River: Tenants are a necessary evil, not valued customers. As a tenant representative broker, the landlord is an important consideration; the landlord provides a multitude of services, including security, construction, elevator service, electric, cleaning, and maintenance.

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Keeping an Open Mind in the Rental Market
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Keeping an Open Mind in the Rental Market | George Grace

It’s a presidential election year, and while that often has implications for markets, it is also a useful insight into people’s thinking. Politics engenders passion, so what we often see are people entrenched in their positions—sometimes while ignoring potentially important points of view. Businesses that are looking for commercial office space can also exhibit this lack of objectivity, but instead of political candidates, they are often dead set on a particular building or neighborhood.

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What Is Your 80% Niche?
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What Is Your 80% Niche? | Mendy Lipsker

{2:54 minutes to read} If you want to be successful, it is important to remember the 80/20 rule; you make 80% of your money from 20% of your effort. Smart people try to learn what gives them the 80% and actually focus their energies on that area. That focus will often ensure success.

I spoke to a broker out of Michigan, and his 80% niche was waterfront properties. He has been very successful in this area.

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If You Aren’t Ready, You Can Kiss the Deal Goodbye
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If You Aren’t Ready, You Can Kiss the Deal Goodbye | Mendy Lipsker

{2:12 minutes to read} When you are ready to buy a property, make sure you are completely ready to buy the property. What do I mean by “completely ready?” I mean having everything in place to complete your deal.

You may find a property you really like, but when it comes time to make your move, you don’t have a lawyer lined up or your down payment ready. You may have the money you need, but it is tied up right now and not immediately available. You don’t have unlimited access to your funds all the time. Set things up beforehand so you have access to your money and are ready to move forward when the time is now.

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The Concept of Risk
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The Concept of Risk | Mendy Lipsker

{3:48 minutes to read} Today, we are talking about the concept of risk. Risk can be divided into 2 general concepts; one is gambling, and one is a calculated risk.

The word gamble means “take risky action in the hope of a desired result.” It is like a higher level of risk. When you’re gambling, you’re going purely on instinct, which is why you never hear the term “calculated gambling.”

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If You Snooze, You Lose
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If You Snooze, You Lose | Mendy Lipsker

{3:54 minutes to read} When it comes to real estate, if you snooze, you lose. So what does that mean? Basically, everyone in the business is waiting for an opportunity and when the opportunity is right in your face, hesitating to try to figure things out can be the difference between a successful deal and an unsuccessful one. We know already what the opportunity is because we are looking for it, right? If we don’t know what we are looking for, how are we going to find it?

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Types of Short Sales—Part Two: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae
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Types of Short Sales—Part Two: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

In our last article, we discussed the different types of short sales available and some of the details of the HAFA short sale program, in particular. In this article, we discuss some of the requirements and provisions of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac short sales. The Federal National Mortgage Association, often referred to as Fannie Mae or FNMA, offers a short sale program for any mortgages it owns where the "Borrower" is facing the following:

  • is facing a long-term hardship,
  • is behind on mortgage payments,

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Being Successful in Real Estate
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Being Successful in Real Estate | Mendy Lipsker

{4:00 minutes to read} There are 2 questions that people who are interested in real estate often ask me:

  • What does it take to be successful in real estate?

  • How long does it take to be successful in real estate?

I’ve spoken about the first question in many previous articles. You have to be willing to put in the time and do the hard work to be successful.

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Hidden Charges and Bad Faith Are Rooted out in Lease Audits
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Hidden Charges and Bad Faith Are Rooted out in Lease Audits | Harlan Levine

{5 minutes to read} If you are the tenant under a commercial lease, there is a good chance you are being overcharged. Studies suggest that as many as 75% of tenants are being overcharged by their landlords, sometimes inadvertently, sometimes not. Tenants typically focus on the monthly rent, but overcharges are frequently seen in billing for Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges which includes the landlord’s maintenance, operational and, often, administrative costs of the property. In most cases, the tenant is responsible for a certain percentage of CAM costs.

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Don’t Let a Lease Expiration Go to Waste
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Don’t Let a Lease Expiration Go to Waste | George Grace

“Don’t let a crisis go to waste.”This proverb from Winston Churchill, made famous again in 2008 by Rahm Emanuel, is applicable to many things in life, including the expiration of a commercial lease. The moral of the proverb, as Emanuel told the Wall Street Journal 7 years ago, is that a crisis presents “an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

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Statute of Limitations and the FDCPA
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Statute of Limitations and the FDCPA | Peter Roach

My previous article, New York’s Statute of Limitations – Another Pitfall to Avoid!, discussed New York’s Statute of Limitations, which is six (6) years for a foreclosure, pursuant to CPLR 213. While some  jurisdictions have statutes of limitations which, once expired, absolutely extinguish the right of the creditor to any recovery, New York does not extinguish the creditor’s right to collect but allows the debtor to assert the Statute of Limitations as a defense to any judicial proceeding brought to enforce it, which will result in the dismissal of the proceeding.  3

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How Does the Stock Market Affect Rent Prices in New York?
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How Does the Stock Market Affect Rent Prices in New York? | George Grace

The stock market is a leading economic indicator. It affects the psychology of companies. When the market is up, there is a tendency toward growth and expansive thinking, but when it’s down, people are less likely to spend money on real estate and investments. In New York City, approximately 25% of the economy is tied directly or indirectly to the stock market. Looking at the last 20 years, we can compare the Dow Jones index levels with those of asking rents in New York and see a pattern.

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CEMA vs. HOA Liens Which Have Priority
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CEMA vs. HOA Liens Which Have Priority | Peter Roach

A Consolidation, Extension & Modification Agreement (CEMA) is an agreement that, as its name implies, consolidates two or more mortgages, extends the term of the obligation secured by them, and modifies its terms. It is used to avoid mortgage tax, which is calculated based upon the amount of "fresh money" being loaned. Typically, the new lender acquires the existing mortgage and the loan secured thereby by assignment. The lender then makes a new loan for the difference between the original mortgage being assigned to

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The Impact of Gas and Oil Industries on Real Estate Markets
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The Impact of Gas and Oil Industries on Real Estate Markets | George Grace

Denver, Houston, and Edmonton are just 3 of many cities that are heavily dependent on oil and gas. A prolonged slowdown in these markets, as we are seeing now, creates a tremendous ripple effect, impacting office spaces, retail spaces, labor markets and more. But where there are problems, there are also possibilities. Tens of thousands of people are being laid off in the current gas and oil downturn. But even after the economy slows down, the human capital remains in these markets for some time, 

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I’m Hiring Salespeople
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I’m Hiring Salespeople | Mendy Lipsker

{4:12 minutes to read} The real estate market is exploding. In Brooklyn, the median selling price is just above $675,000, which is 25% higher than the pre-recession median price in 2007. This is a great time for sellers who want to cash out or move up. And it’s a great time for buyers who want to lock in today’s values before prices climb higher. Investors are scrambling to get in on the action.[1]

Because of heightened activity, I need experienced salespeople who are excited about creating a profitable career for themselves. However, I’m picky. It’s important to me I have quality salespeople, so there are certain characteristics I’m looking for:

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Are You a Person of Principle?
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Are You a Person of Principle? | Mendy Lipsker

{3:00 minutes to read}

Principle: Guiding sense of the requirements and obligations of right conduct (Dictionary.com)

Whoever knows me or deals with me knows that I’m a straight talker. I will tell the truth, even though the truth sometime hurts and people don’t want to hear it. Unfortunately, for those who like to speak the truth, there’s a price to pay for being honest and calling someone out when they do something wrong.

In many cases, people will come back later and thank you for being honest and saying the truth, even though it’s extremely painful and sometimes creates conflict. However, not saying the truth will create much greater conflict and longer lasting pain.

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The “Patriot Search”
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The “Patriot Search” | Patrick Yu

{1:48 minutes to read} In my last blog, I discussed the 6 myths about title insurance. In this blog, we go a little deeper into the subject of title insurance and a problem that can hold up a transaction. When ordering title insurance, you may have heard the term “Patriot Search.” Title insurance agents are required to do a search to make sure than no party to the transaction (for example, buyer, seller, mortgagor, mortgagee) is on a list of Specially Designated Nationals(“SDN”) or list of Foreign Sanctions Evaders (“FSE”) created by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), an agency of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

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Why I Love Teaching at St. John’s University School of Law
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Why I Love Teaching at St. John’s University School of Law | Peter Roach

I have been teaching at St. John’s University School of Law as an adjunct professor since 1987. Adjunct law school professors teach part-time as opposed to full-time, and are typically lawyers who are brought in to lecture on their expertise. The primary course I teach is Real Estate Finance, which covers regulation of the mortgage industry and the foreclosure process, including all of the new consumer protection laws, the impact of bankruptcy, and post foreclosure proceedings.

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6 Common Myths About Title Insurance
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6 Common Myths About Title Insurance | Patrick Yu

{3:30 minutes to read}  Anyone thinking of purchasing real estate has to deal with the quality of the seller’s title and title insurance. These subjects can be very confusing. In this article, we address 6 very common myths or misconceptions regarding title and title insurance. Myth 1 – “Consumers cannot comparison shop for title insurance.” The right of the consumer to shop for title insurance and select the carrier of their choice is protected by the federal law known as the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Consumers have a right to require their attorney to use the title insurance carrier of their choice. Not all title insurance carriers are created equal.

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Mortgages: Adjustable or Fixed Rate; Which Is Better for You?
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Mortgages: Adjustable or Fixed Rate; Which Is Better for You | Peter Roach

One of the most important decisions to make when purchasing a home is the type of mortgage to obtain. A fixed-rate mortgage is one where the interest rate remains the same throughout the entire life of the loan until it is fully paid off. An adjustable- or variable-rate mortgage is one where the interest rate changes periodically. Some of them have the interest rate change each year; others change every three (3) years, every five (5) years, or every seven (7) years.

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Are You Proactive or Reactive with Your Real Estate Planning?
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Are You Proactive or Reactive with Your Real Estate Planning | George Grace

Most companies are reactive in their commercial real estate needs, especially as their business locations increase. To become proactive, companies need to see the big picture – there needs to be a vision that comes from the top. If the CEO or Division Manager hasn’t defined a vision for the business, it’s hard to be proactive with real estate. A vision tells people where they want to go, so real estate can be planned and managed in order to support that vision and those business goals.

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Selecting a Purchasing Entity
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Selecting a Purchasing Entity | Patrick Yu

{5 minutes to read} Introduction The U.S. government does not require foreign persons to notify it merely because he or she is purchasing U.S. real estate. However, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis does require foreign buyers who have substantial holdings in terms of total fair market value to complete surveys. When purchasing U.S. real estate as a foreign buyer, the ownership entity is an important consideration.

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Craft Brewing: How to “Hop” into This Cool Business
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Craft Brewing: How to “Hop” into This Cool Business | Curtis Battles

{4:00 minutes to read} Back in April 2014, I was introduced to a group of guys whom I call “The Beer Boys.” They come from different backgrounds: two are restaurateurs, one is in construction, and the other is a brewmaster. These men now want to start their own craft brewery in Warwick, New York, in a kind of farm-to-table concept, and have asked me to lend my expertise. 

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Do We Still Need Assignments of Mortgages in New York?
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Do We Still Need Assignments of Mortgages in New York | Peter Roach

{2:45 minutes to read} The Court of Appeals recently confirmed that “the note, and not the mortgage, is the dispositive instrument that conveys standing to foreclose under New York law,” and that “the validity of the … assignment of the mortgage" is "irrelevant!”

The case, Aurora Loan Services, LLC v. Taylor, just decided by the Court of Appeals on June 11th 2015, confirms that it is critical for lenders to have possession of the note before commencing a foreclosure, affirming the decision of the Appellate Division 2nd Dept case,Bank of N.Y. v. Silverberg, decided in 2011.

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Co-op & Condo Mediation is a Smart, Speedy, and Cost-Effective Way to Resolve Disputes
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Co-op & Condo Mediation is a Smart, Speedy, and Cost-Effective Way to Resolve Disputes | Bart Eagle

{4:30 minutes to read} For those living vertically in the city, there are many benefits – snow removal, maintenance, having someone to accept packages, and the proximity to great restaurants, theater, museums and music. There can also be many little annoyances, such as:

  • A neighbor playing music too loud;
  • Kids running around in the apartment above;
  • Cigarette or cigar smoke that sifts into one’s apartment;
  • Neighbors practicing the piano until all hours of the night; or
  • Neighbors who leave skateboards and other personal items in common hallways.

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Stay Ahead of the Curve with New York’s Online Real Estate Databases
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Stay Ahead of the Curve with New York’s Online Real Estate Databases | Peter Roach

Prior to the age of the Internet, specific information about real estate, such as who owned the property, what mortgages were attached to it and what taxes were owed, could only be obtained by physically examining the County Clerk's records. While this could be done by an attorney or even a lay person, few had the requisite expertise or time to do so and typically a title insurance company would be paid a fee to conduct a search and prepare a report containing the information required.

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The Problem With a Life Estate
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The Problem With a Life Estate | Vincent Russo & Associates

A “life estate” is an ownership interest that a person retains in real property while transferring a remainder interest to one or more individuals. Life estates are sometimes used as a planning technique by individuals who wish to safeguard their residence or other real estate. For example: Mrs. Smith is worried that one day she will require nursing home care, but she does not want her home to be garnished by

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Looking Forward with a Reverse Mortgage
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Looking Forward with a Reverse Mortgage | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

Reverse mortgages have become more popular in recent years. For many of Long Island’s seniors, the ever-increasing cost of living on a fixed income is a daily challenge. Often seniors look to the equity in their homes to relieve some of their financial pressure. A reverse mortgage is a secured loan on your home. It allows you to convert a portion of the equity in your home into cash. It is called a reverse mortgage because instead of making monthly payments to a lender, as with a traditional mortgage, the lender makes payments to the borrower.

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