"Real Estate Exhibition Proposal"
REAL ESTATE REAL ESTATE REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH APRIL 2010 PAGE 1 Vol.15 No.4 APRIL 2010 IN-DEPTH SPOTLIGHT ON Harry Singh see page 9 OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE WESTCHESTER PUTNAM ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, INC Damaging Storms Realtors Rally Against Mortgage Put Slight Damper Recording Tax on Co-Op Sales On Home Sales By John Jordan ALBANY – Embattled New York Governor Da- Estate In-Depth that the proposal to impose the vid Paterson has received praise from Realtors Mortgage Recording Tax on co-ops is not the way across the state on his proposal to cap state to solve the state’s budget woes. spending and property taxes, but has also “I know the governor’s in a tough spot, he’s got Photo by John Vecchiolla drawn heavy criticism over his bill that would to raise some money fast,” Fries said. “But God allow municipalities to impose a mortgage re- forbid, go somewhere else. Leave the real estate cording tax on cooperative sales transactions. industry alone for a change instead of just tacking New York Re- on everything altors have re- “I am frustrated because I know the to us.” acted favorably Fries, who to the gover- need for additional revenues; we are is a past pres- nor’s legislation submitted on bleeding like a stuck pig. I just wish ident of the Westches- March 18 to the they would look somewhere else, ter Putnam State Legisla- Association ture that would you know, nobody ever investigates of Realtors call for a Consti- and owner of tutional Amend- less spending. It is always let’s find Henry Fries ment to cap the Real Estate Heavy rain and strong winds caused exten- annual rate of another tax.” — of White sive property damage in Westchester and state spending Plains, said and another bill Henry Fries, NYSAR President the governor the lower Hudson Valley. that would im- should expect By John Jordan pose a property tax cap on municipalities, NYSAR support for his proposals to cap state WHITE PLAINS –A major snowstorm in late February followed school district and other tax-levying agencies. spending and property taxes. “That is something by soaking rains and damaging hurricane-force winds the week- While those bills were welcomed by the real es- that benefits everybody and we would be all for end of March 13 caused massive power outages and property tate industry, the New York State Association of that,” he related. damage in many sections of Westchester County. At press time Realtors issued an electronic communiqué to NYSAR is leading the charge against the Mort- the region endured another major rainstorm that caused ad- all NYSAR members asking them to voice their gage Recording Tax proposal. “I am frustrated ditional flooding. The storm dumped as much as six inches of opposition to the governor and state legislators because I know the need for additional revenues; rain in the area. to a bill introduced by the governor that would we are bleeding like a stuck pig. I just wish they While the property damage estimates were still being tabu- allow local governments to impose a Mortgage would look somewhere else,” Fries said. “You lated from the first two storms, the impact the bad weather had Recording Tax on the sale of cooperative apart- know, nobody ever investigates less spending. It on the real estate market in Westchester County thankfully ments. is always let’s find another tax.” appears to have been minimal. Realtors said some listings sus- The proposal to tax cooperative sales, cur- He added that the cooperatives, especially in tained some storm damage and one brokerage firm told Real rently exempt from the mortgage recording Westchester County, are viewed as the afford- Estate In-Depth it had to shut down its main office due to flood tax levy since co-ops are viewed as securities able venue for first-time buyers and imposing a damage that comprised its roof. Most of the economic harm rather than real property, is seen as a signifi- Mortgage Recording Tax would place another to the local real estate sales market caused by the storms, cant revenue producer for New York City and “hindrance” on those prospective buyers at the however, might be that the news of closed roads, businesses other urban cities in the Empire State that are closing table. Continued on page 15 struggling to fill large budget deficits. WPAR Chief Executive Officer P. Gilbert Mer- NYSAR President Henry Fries told Real Continued on page 3 County’s Fair Housing Plan Draws Criticism From HUD revised plan by him out Westchester. HUD will continue to identified in the settlement. In addition had not been issued work with the county, the monitor and oth- to these funds, the county agreed to add at press time but was ers to produce a plan that builds a frame- $30 million to its capital budget to build expected sometime work for the successful implementation of fair and affordable housing over the next in late March or early this historic settlement.” seven years. April. On March 17, the housing monitor The settlement stemmed from a hous- On March 16, HUD issued a statement as well concerning ing desegregation lawsuit brought by the issued a statement the county’s revised plan. “I received the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New on the revised hous- county’s timely submission of its imple- York filed against Westchester County. In ing implementation mentation plan, and I am also aware of its lawsuit filed in 2006, the Anti-Discrim- plan, stating, “Last the concerns about this plan raised by ination Center charged that Westchester year, HUD, West- HUD,” said Johnson, a partner with the had received $50 million in federal hous- chester County, the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP of ing and community development funding U.S. Attorney’s office, New York City. “I look forward to continu- by “falsely certifying that the county had and members of the ing to work with the county and HUD on affirmatively furthered fair housing,” ADC community all worked this important effort, and I am reviewing officials noted in a statement. The suit al- Westchester County Executive Robert P. the submission with the aid of my recently together to agree to a leged that Westchester “chose not to ana- Astorino makes a point at a speech on March appointed housing consultant John Sha- settlement that pro- Continued on page 3 24 before the Construction Industry Council piro and his team from Pratt’s Graduate motes fair housing of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. Center for Planning and the Environment. and civil rights while INSIDE By John Jordan investing money in Our review is ongoing, and we expect to WHITE PLAINS – Just four days after Westchester County. We have seen two respond to the county within two weeks.” submitting its revised court-ordered hous- versions of the implementation plan and, The Astorino Administration is attempt- ing implementation plan that calls for the while the county has worked to improve it, ing to deal with a problem it inherited from construction of 750 units of affordable there is still work to be done to set a clear the previous county leadership. In August housing in the county within seven years, strategy for promoting diverse, inclusive 2009 a settlement was entered into by VIEWPOINTS .......................... 4 Westchester County officials learned that communities.” former Westchester County Executive LEGAL CORNER .................... 5 its latest proposal didn’t pass muster. The statement continued, “The county Andrew Spano and was later approved by Although the county has not received must explain how it will utilize the full a majority of the Board of Legislators. The RESIDENTIAL ..................6 & 7 an official notification that its revised plan range of tools available to ensure the de- settlement requires the county to build PEOPLE .................................. 8 needs additional work, the U.S. Depart- velopment of 750 new affordable homes 750 units of new housing in 31 communi- ment of Housing and Urban Development in eligible high-opportunity communities ties. Under terms of the agreement the WPAR UPDATE ...................... 9 (HUD issued a statement critical of the and to overcome any anticipated barriers. county paid the federal government $30 COMMERCIAL...................... 16 proposal. Court-appointed housing moni- It is again time for us all to work to ensure million, of which the government returned tor James E. Johnson also issued a state- the county meets its fair housing obliga- $21.6 million to the county’s HUD account MORTGAGE ......................... 17 ment concerning the revised plan, how- tions under the settlement and promotes to be used to build 750 units of fair and OFFICE TECH....................... 18 ever, an official response to the county’s inclusive, diverse communities through- affordable housing in the communities PAGE 2 APRIL 2010 REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH Affordable Housing Expo 2010 WHITE PLAINS – The Westchester In- “Affordable Housing Expo 2010” last The free event held at the Westchester on the home sales transaction and booth terfaith Housing Corp., the Westchester month that attracted several hundred pro- County Center in White Plains on March holders engaged in real estate brokerage Putnam Association of Realtors and spective first-time homebuyers. 6 featured helpful informational seminars and other related real estate services. Westchester County government staged Dawind George and Susan Valdez attended the Expo to Realtors, attorneys, developers and lenders were on gather information on the home purchase process. The hand to provide assistance to those looking to buy couple, who currently rent in Yonkers, are looking to per- their first home in Westchester. haps buy a three-bedroom home in Yonkers. PhotoS by John Vecchiolla Ann Seligsohn of Westchester Residential Opportunities participated in seminars and walked the exhibition floor providing information to attendees. Kim Jacobs, executive director of Community Capital Resources, a not-for-profit agency focused on bringing financial, technical and educational resources to affordable housing and community and economic development initia- tives in the lower Hudson Valley, offers some suggestions to a prospective homebuyer. A number of mortgage lenders were on hand at the event, including Prospect Lending of White Plains. REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH APRIL 2010 PAGE 3 County’s Fair Housing Plan Draws Criticism From HUD Continued from page 1 lyze impediments to fair housing choice limited to, CDBG funds and the County erative municipalities will be sufficient or and demolish outdated structures, provide based on race or municipal resistance, Open Space funds, would be conditioned not as the plan moves forward. infrastructure support to new units and and chose not to take appropriate steps to on their adopting policies, as appropriate. Based on the housing monitors state- rehabilitate existing units. overcome such impediments.” In the event that a municipality does not ment, Westchester should expect to Other changes include providing a Westchester County filed its original take the actions needed to promote the receive an official response to the revised framework on the steps needed to move housing implementation plan on Feb. 2. development of affordable AFFH units plan from the housing monitor before the projects forward, including reviews of However, Johnson detailed a number of under paragraph 7 of the Stipulation, or end of March or in early April. environmental considerations, as well as deficiencies he found with the plan in a undertakes actions that hinder that ob- Some of the other revisions in the limitations placed on rehabilitating existing letter to County Executive Robert Astorino jective, the County will use all available implementation plan are that it now pro- units; the identification of responsibilities on Feb. 10. means as appropriate to address such vides more details about the actions the that the staff members of Westchester Astorino said that the county held pro- inaction, including, but not limited to, pur- county will take to identify sites and de- County will have throughout the imple- ductive face-to-face discussions with the suing legal action.” velopers. This includes a more thorough mentation process; and a description of housing monitor and his staff on Feb. 16 It will not be known until either HUD or assessment of vacant parcels in eligible the roles the county, municipalities, and in an attempt to clear up the plan’s defi- the housing monitor elaborate on their communities. It also outlines ways the developers will have in affirmatively mar- ciencies. He stated shortly after the more objections to the revised plan just whether county will leverage the $51.6 million in keting all new fair and affordable housing than two-hour session with the housing the county’s tougher language concern- the settlement to acquire properties, clear developments. monitor, “We are at the start of a long and ing its possible remedies with non-coop- complex process. Because there are so many opportunities for misinformation when it comes to a subject like this, it is critically important that the right founda- tion be established early on so that every- Realtors Rally Against Mortgage one involved knows where things stand and where they are headed.” County officials upon releasing its re- Recording Tax on Co-Op Sales Continued from page 1 vised plan by the March 12 deadline said the changes made were based on discus- curio expressed his support for the state property tax cap legislation. districts and fire districts to 4% or 120% of sions the county had with Johnson and spending and property tax cap proposals, The proposed spending cap amend- the annual increase in the consumer price representatives of HUD. but lashed out at the governor’s Mortgage ment would prohibit an increase in state index, whichever is less. The bill is based “Our conversations with the federal Recording Tax bill. operating funds spending greater than the on the recommendations of the Commis- monitor and his team over the past month “Who could argue with spending and average rate of inflation for the previous sion on Property Tax Relief, which found have been constructive and helpful,” said property tax caps which are the last resort three years. To enact the bill, a Consti- that New York’s local taxes are the highest Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett. for executives and legislatures that can’t tutional amendment would need to pass in the nation—78% above the national “We have a complex task in front of us. otherwise manage a balanced budget two consecutive legislative sessions, and average. Getting the implementation plan right is that doesn’t break the backs of taxpay- then go before the public in a referendum. “New Yorkers pay the highest property critically important because it sets the ers? If that’s what it takes in New York, The referendum could be held as early as taxes in the country, and have continu- framework for all the pieces necessary to then let’s do it,” Mercurio said. “But I do November 2011. ously asked Albany to do something about build the housing units and comply with wish that our governments at all levels “Albany has spent beyond its means it. We need to take immediate action to the settlement. We look forward to the were as attuned to the damage from for decades. This has resulted in a fis- address what has been ignored for far too monitor’s response and will continue to real estate transaction taxes as much as cal crisis with a more than $60 billion long,” Governor Paterson said. work closely with him and his team.” they say they are attuned to the damage structural deficit over the next four years, When property taxes are expressed as While HUD was not specific in terms from excessive property taxes. When- and exorbitant property tax bills that have a percentage of home value, eight of the of its problems with the revised plan, its ever there’s a crunch on the latter, they forced many New Yorkers to leave the top 10 counties with the highest tax rates statement: “The county must explain how increase the former as, for example, the state,” Governor Paterson said when he in the nation are in upstate New York. Nas- it will utilize the full range of tools avail- governor is doing with his latest proposed introduced the bill last month. “We will sau, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester able to ensure the development of 750 Mortgage Recording Tax on co-ops. They need to address our current budget defi- counties are in the nation’s top 10 in terms new affordable homes in eligible high-op- don’t get it in Albany and Westchester cit through tough choices and spending of the percentage of household income portunity communities and to overcome (which passed a mortgage recording tax a cuts. But we also have a responsibility to that must be devoted to paying property any anticipated barriers,” mirrors senti- few years ago) that the real estate market correct mismanagement in government, taxes. Property tax levies in the state are ments made by the housing monitor in is an engine for economic growth from its demonstrating to all New Yorkers that we rising at more than twice the rate of infla- his critique of the original plan where the multiplier effect.” can restrain our appetite for spending and tion and salary growth. One proviso in the county could employ “carrots and sticks He continued, “Taxing transfers and help ease their tax burden.” bill would exempt the “Big 5” school dis- to encourage compliance by municipal borrowing is throwing sand into that en- The proposed property tax cap would tricts—those with a population of 125,000 governments.” gine. It is also malignant social policy to limit tax levy growth for all school districts, or more—from the property tax cap levys Up until now Westchester County has do anything to make New York’s number- counties, cities, towns, villages, special limits. been seeking to work cooperatively with one-in-the-nation closing costs even municipal governments to step forward more expensive than they already are. and become a part of the county’s efforts When I start seeing some relief in that to build new affordable housing. area, I might start believing that our gov- Johnson said shortly after releasing ernments are on the road to tax sanity. his Feb. 10 letter detailing his issues with Right now I’m not convinced.” the original plan, “One of the issues is the WPAR President Leah Caro also ex- county’s ability to influence local land use pressed her opposition to the governor’s ordinances and there are mechanisms Mortgage Recording Tax bill. “Obviously that are available to the county—some as Realtors our position is that any taxes are really without controversy and others or fees levied against real estate transac- may be more controversial that weren’t tions make it that much harder to conduct discussed in-depth in the proposal.” business and that much harder for buyers He added that one mechanism that and sellers,” she said. “I understand that might be useful is to use Community De- governments are in financial crisis, but velopment Block Grant funding and other financial recovery shouldn’t be put on the funding sources as a means of encourag- backs of home buyers, home sellers and ing participation in the program. home owners, particularly when the real County Executive Astorino said re- estate market is soft, or at any time.” cently when working on the revised Caro added, “Real estate needs all housing implementation plan that he was the help it can get and to put one more pleased with the interest expressed by fee attached to the sale or purchase of a some municipalities thus far in participat- property is just one more hurdle a person ing in the affordable housing development has to jump in order to own a home.” program. He has therefore been reluctant She said that part of the allure of buying to threaten legal action and other more a cooperative is that the buyer does not stringent measures to ensure local par- have to pay the Mortgage Recording Tax, ticipation. the transfer taxes levied in Yonkers and However, the county did insert some New York City or the state mansion tax. stronger language into the revised docu- Like her Realtor colleagues, Caro also ment sent to HUD and the housing moni- said a cap on property taxes would be tor concerning the county’s strategy for welcome. “At the surface I am totally on dealing with non-cooperative municipali- board (with the governor’s bill) — any- ties that require the development of some thing that caps the property taxes. They affordable housing as part of the settle- are getting out of control, even in the ment. places that have been called ‘more afford- “Beginning with contracts seeking ap- able’ they are going up. New York loses a proval through the County’s Board of Ac- lot of its buyers to Connecticut because quisition and Contracts in February 2011, Connecticut seems to have lower prop- a municipality’s eligibility to receive public erty taxes.” funds and resources, including, but not On March 18, Governor Paterson re- leased details of his state spending and PAGE 4 APRIL 2010 REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH viewpoints Up Front President’s By P. Gilbert Mercurio WPAR Chief Executive Officer Corner Join the Party By Leah Caro WPAR President Are you paying attention to the video clips and notices posted on wpar.com and wpmls.net, not to mention the E-vites and other messages to members in different areas of Westchester and Putnam? Don’t Take Fair They are invitations to a party—not the Republican Party, or Democratic Party, or Tea Party—but the Realtor Party, the Realtors Political Action Committee (RPAC). This Housing Chances is the party that advocates for Realtor issues such as first time homebuyer tax credits, preservation of the mortgage interest tax deduction, opposition to mortgage recording taxes and transfer taxes, and so much else that affects the livelihood of Realtors and By Leah Caro the welfare of real estate consumers alike. WPAR President So far more than 1,800 WPAR members have contributed a grand total of about April is Fair Housing Month. This is not a lecture on the federal, state and county $63,000 to RPAC. Most of those contributions have been made in the form of voluntary protected classes. This is not a lecture on steering, redlining or block-busting. This is add-ons to the 2010 annual dues. I sincerely thank each and every one of you who not a lecture on the fundamental moral wrongness of discrimination and discriminatory has contributed, and I know that it was particularly difficult for many members who are behavior in real estate, and in life in general. struggling in this still-sickly economic climate. This is a pragmatic, cover-your-assets reminder of how to safeguard your busi- But where are the other 5,200 members of our organization? I refuse to believe that ness, your bank account and your reputation. It is a FACT that housing agencies have they are not connecting the dots between the election of pro-real estate legislators and testers in the field right now. At a recent conference, a NAR representative announced a healthy legislative and regulatory environment for real estate. I can only surmise that that $50 million has been earmarked by the federal government for testing programs. there is misinformation out there, for example, that maybe there’s a belief that WPAR Westchester Residential Opportunities (WRO) readily and publicly says they currently and WPMLS have the budgets to make campaign contributions themselves, so why have testers working in Westchester County. Are you prepared? pitch members for more? Fair Housing education may now be a required 3-hour segment of the 22.5 hours Not-for-profits like WPAR are heavily restricted as to allowable campaign contribu- needed for license renewal, but that doesn’t cover grandfathered licensees. It’s not a tions and political activities. Even fully taxable corporations like WPMLS have caps on bad idea for brokers to make sure all of their associated licensees are exposed to fair what they can spend. The bulk of the RPAC contributions really must come from indi- housing education every year. And brokers should make sure they know what it takes vidual Realtors. That should be our strength, actually: small contributions from many to help their offices support compliance. members add up to the kinds of sums that allow meaningful support for the election of pro-real estate candidates. Fair Housing discrimination is a criminal Maybe adding $35 or so to your annual dues invoices was too much stretch at the time? So, then, how about spending $25 or so on a party that also benefits RPAC? act and criminal acts are not protected A real party—you know—with food, drink, entertainment and networking. Our 2010 RPAC co-chairs, Mike Gibbons and Eve Neuman, and their committee members, are by your E&O. Any monies spent on a arranging these parties all over the two counties and there should be one near you in settlement or fine will come out of your the not too distant future. (And you can crash another Area’s party if you want to.) Here’s how it works. WPAR’s RPAC Committee sells a restaurant proprietor on pocket; corporate or private. the idea that if he or she provides some of the establishment’s best comestibles (go ahead, look it up) free of charge, an eager crowd of Realtors will attend and many of Also remember, your Errors & Omissions insurance does not help cover the liabilities them perhaps will return thereafter. The RPAC Committee charges $25 for access to from a discrimination lawsuit. Fair Housing discrimination is a criminal act and criminal the party, 100% of which goes to RPAC. The restaurant gains new customers; Realtors acts are not protected by your E&O. Any monies spent on a settlement or fine will come have a good time—an inexpensive one at that—and RPAC gets the cash it needs. Not out of your pocket; corporate or private. to mention the satisfaction members will experience when they join the good company So, what can you do to protect yourself? The clear and easy answer—don’t break of those who already support the cause. fair housing laws. Period. But there are other tools out there to help show your commit- So when the invitation comes… join the party, the Realtor Party! ment to fair housing. Log onto WPAR.com. Under the “Library” tab you’ll find information and supplies for Fair Housing. Here you can download Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) offering great answers for tough real-life questions; the Realtor Fair Housing Declaration, which In Memoriam when signed by a Realtor acknowledges their agreement to work in a manner compli- The Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors regrets to inform its membership ant with fair housing; a sample Company Policy Regarding Fair Housing training; and of the recent passing of WPAR members Bunny Adams, Eileen Shaw and William an Equal Service Report that when used routinely by Realtors is an invaluable tool for Meyer. record keeping and compliance. Adams, an Associate Broker with the Cold Spring office of Houlihan Lawrence who Also available at this portion of the WPAR site are links to WRO and HUD as well as began her real estate career in 1985, passed away on Feb. 27. Fair Housing logos that can be downloaded for use in advertising. She served on the Putnam County Association of Realtors as a Director; chaired the By the way, it’s a smart idea to display the Fair Housing logo in all of your online and Education, Programs and Scholarship Committees; and then later on became Vice- print advertising. This simple design tells consumers that they are working with a Real- President of the Board. tor company that takes Fair Housing laws seriously and works professionally. She was one of the first three Putnam County Brokers to complete the CIPS Institute Bottom line if you want to preserve your bottom line: use the tools and resources Training Program and was a consummate professional who believed in continuing available to ensure fair housing compliance. Your business is too valuable to be the education for Realtors. victim of a lawsuit that is avoidable. Like checking the batteries in your smoke detector, Shaw was a sales associate with Prudential Holmes and Kennedy in its Katonah use Fair Housing Month to refresh and reinforce your business safety measures for office. The 55-year-old lifelong Katonah resident passed away on Feb. 27 following a April and the whole year. brave battle with melanoma. The daughter of Doris and the late Jim Judge, she was born and raised in Katonah. On June 21, 1975, she married Geoffrey Shaw, also of REAL ESTATE Katonah. She was an incredibly loving and devoted mother who always went the extra IN-DEPTH mile for her children: Ryan, Erin, Brendan and Kaitlyn. She was also a doting grand- mother to Oliver and Ella. Shaw is survived by her sisters, Karen and Pat. She had great success in her real estate career—receiving numerous honors for her work over the years. In accordance with her wishes, in lieu of flowers, she requested that dona- APRIL 2010 Published MARCH 31, 2010 Publisher: Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors, Inc. tions be made to melanoma research. Please e-mail eileenshawmelanomadonation@ (914) 681-0833 gmail.com for instructions on how to donate. Leah Caro, President Meyer, a long time Broker with William J. Meyer Realty in Carmel passed away on Michael Graessle, Vice President Westchester March 18 after a long illness. A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced. Nancy Kennedy, Vice President Westchester Eileen Barrett, Vice President Putnam Marcene Hedayati, Secretary-Treasurer P. Gilbert Mercurio, Chief Executive Officer John Jordan, Editor WPAR Members: Have you or your business reached a significant John Vecchiolla, Photographer Bart D’Andrea, Art Director, Meadow Art & Design, Design and Production REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH, published monthly, is the official publication of the Westchester Putnam milestone –10, 20, 30 years or more in the Association of Realtors, Inc., 60 South Broadway, White Plains, New York 10601. Opinions contained in the articles herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Association. The editors of REAL business? Send us an announcement for our ESTATE IN-DEPTH reserve the right to accept or reject all advertising copy. REAL ESTATE IN- DEPTH (ISSN 0043-339X) or (USPS 677-500) is published 12 times a year for $12 per year, included “Milestones Section,” along with a picture to: in member dues, and $24 for non-members, by The Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors, Inc., 60 South Broadway, White Plains, N.Y. 10601. Periodical Postage is paid at White Plains, N.Y. John Jordan, Editor, Real Estate In-Depth at REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH cannot be responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, nor undertake to return manuscripts or pictures. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org POSTMASTER: Send address changes to REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH, 60 South Broadway, White Plains, New York 10601. REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH APRIL 2010 PAGE 5 Seller Concessions New York State Bar Association Clarifies Ethics Opinion 4. Full disclosure is made on the Real Opinion states in part: legal corner Property Transfer Tax Return (RP-5217) and on the Real Property Transfer Report. What Makes Lawyer Participation Permissible? “If all the documentation discloses that the gross up is an increase in price equiv- alent to the seller’s concession, there is no ethical violation or misrepresentation because everyone later in the chain of The new interpretation from the Bar mortgage title or interest should, there- By Edward Sumber, Esq. Association indicates that State Bar Opin- fore, be apprised of the circumstances WPAR Legal Counsel ion 817 required that the transaction be surrounding the original loan.” entirely lawful, the “gross up” be disclosed “Where all documents that refer to in the transaction and that no parties be the sales price expressly state that the On Dec. 15, 2009, an informal re- “It seems obvious that there is potential misled to their detriment. The new Opin- sales price has been increased by a sum sponse was given by the New York deception implicit in the transactions but ion indicates that a seller’s concession or equivalent to the seller’s concession, the State Bar Association’s Committee on we cannot determine whether or in what “gross up” is not on its face, improper. The lawyer’s ethical duty has been satisfied.” Professional Ethics (Inquiry No. 43-09) circumstances actual deception will oc- in which the State Bar Association clari- new letter clarifies the intent of the original cur. Thus we hold that a lawyer may not fied circumstances in which a lawyer ethically participate in such a “gross up” of may ethically participate in a residential the actual purchase price and concomitant “A lawyer who knowingly participates real estate transaction, when the seller seller’s concession unless there is neither has agreed to increase the sales price deception nor misrepresentation at work in in a real estate transaction that fails to “in an amount equivalent to the amount of the seller’s concession.” This excel- the transaction and its predictable conse- quences.” expressly disclose the gross up of the lent response by Committee Chair, Roy D. Simon, will be helpful to many law- The Typical Seller’s sales price in exchange for the seller’s yers who have avoided any transaction Concession,Gross Up concession in the transaction documents involving a gross up of a contract price Of the Purchase Price with an equivalent seller concession. The Dec. 15, 2009 clarifying letter issued violates the provisions of Rules 8.4(b), (c), A “seller’s concession” is simply a credit to be given to the purchasers at to the chairman of the Professional Ethics Committee of the Richmond County Bar (d) and 3.4(a)(6).” closing often applied to closing costs, repairs or other expenses of the pur- Association refers to the following facts: Will Attorneys Now Be • Seller’s Attorney is presented with a Opinion, i.e., that there be full disclosure chaser. When it is a genuine credit, no in the transaction documents in order to Able To Participate In binder calling for a contract for the sale of gross-up of the transaction is applicable. a single-family home for $300,000.00 with ensure that no interested party is misled. Transactions Involving a For example, a seller may agree to pro- a mortgage contingency for $285,000.00, The new letter indicates that the Real Seller Concession? vide a seller’s concession because the representing 95% financing. Property Transfer Report instructions The Dec. 15, 2009 informal response inspection report reveals that the roof • Before the contract is prepared the (paragraph 13) requires that a seller’s states that it is “…not a formal opinion requires replacement. The seller’s con- buyer’s loan officer (i.e., lender) contacts concession be deducted to reach the and is based solely upon the informa- cession referred to in the Bar Associa- the seller’s attorney asking that the con- actual or full sales price. In most transac- tion submitted and the representations tion opinion is one which is identical in tract be prepared containing the following tions, which took place prior to Opinion set forth in your inquiry. It shall have no amount to the gross-up of the purchase language: 817, such significant disclosures were not effect as precedent insofar as any other price and is intended to enable the pur- (1) The selling price should be increased customarily made. The new letter distin- state of facts is concerned.” Accordingly, chasers to obtain greater financing for by $18,000.00, to $318,000.00, to reflect guishes between the validity of a seller’s an attorney who chooses to rely upon the the transaction. The seller continues the seller’s concession of 6% percent; concession as opposed to a “gross up” of informal Dec. 15, 2009 letter must neces- to receive the same true sales price as (2) a sum certain seller’s concession of the selling price. The new Opinion notes: sarily comply fully with the various steps was originally negotiated. $18,000.00 will be applied to buyer’s clos- “That gross up, if not expressly dis- set forth in the fact pattern outlined in the ing costs or otherwise; and closed as such, is the type of dishonesty, letter. The fear engendered by original Opinion 817 – 11/2/2007 fraud, deceit and misrepresentation pro- (3) the mortgage contingency clause Opinion 817 resulted in many difficulties In 2007, the New York State Bar As- should be increased to reflect $302,100.00 scribed by Rule 8.4(c).” [referring to the for brokers, buyers and sellers when at- sociation’s Committee on Professional (representing 95% financing). particular section of the Rules of Profes- torneys refused to participate. Now that a Ethics issued a formal Opinion (817) in These circumstances have been pre- sional Conduct to which attorneys are road map has been provided, such trans- which it essentially stated that participa- sented many times since the 2007 Bar As- bound]. actions should not continue to present the tion by a lawyer in a real estate transac- “A lawyer who knowingly participates sociation Opinion and most responsible at- difficulties previously experienced. tion that includes a “seller’s concession” torneys have avoided participating in such in a real estate transaction that fails to Legal Column authors Edward I. Sum- with a “grossed up” sales price is prohib- transactions based upon New York State expressly disclose the gross up of the ber, Esq. and John Dolgetta, Esq. are ited unless: Bar Association Opinion 817. The Dec. sales price in exchange for the seller’s partners in the law firm of Edward I. a) The transaction is entirely lawful; concession in the transaction documents 15, 2009 response from the Committee on Sumber, P.C. The firm has been counsel b) The gross up is disclosed in the Professional Ethics indicates that it is pos- violates the provisions of Rules 8.4(b), to the Westchester Putnam Association transaction documents; and sible for an attorney to participate in such (c), (d) and 3.4(a)(6).” of Realtors, Inc. since 1974 and the firm c) No parties are misled to their detri- The question of future mortgage in- a transaction and specifies the specific was responsible for incorporating the ment. vestors is fully addressed. The new let- circumstances that make it permissible. Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Ser- Most attorneys have interpreted the ter, which again is limited to the facts set vice, Inc. in 1976. For information about last aspect of this Opinion, i.e., that “no Circumstances in Which forth, does address the potential fraud Edward I. Sumber, P.C. go to http://www. parties are misled to their detriment” to Attorney Can Participate on the ultimate mortgage investor. The sumberlawpc.com/. essentially prohibit participation in such transactions because most mortgages The Bar Association Opinion, which is are sold in packages or as part of real limited to the facts set forth in the letter, estate securities. There is little likeli- indicate that the following steps, if taken, WPAR is Now on hood, therefore, that subsequent pur- would render participation by the attorney chasers of a mortgage portfolio will have to be permissible: 1. The loan officer, an individual licensed Facebook and Twitter. any awareness of transactions in which the purchase price has been increased by the New York State Banking Depart- and an equivalent seller’s concession ment, asks the seller’s attorney to put in has been arranged in order to facilitate a writing that the above formula fully meets underwriting guidelines and was initiated Become a Facebook fan of the Westchester Putnam larger mortgage for the borrower. by the loan officer. Association of Realtors. Follow us on Twitter at The 2007 Opinion rendered ethi- cally conscious real estate attorneys 2. The sales contract expressly states WestPutRealtors. You’ll receive up-to-the-minute postings incapable of determining under what that the sales price has been increased by about important legislation, sales reports, market statistics, circumstances the lawyer’s participation a sum equivalent to the seller’s conces- sion, clearly indicating that the price the educational opportunities, events, and more. in such a transaction would facilitate de- ception or misrepresentation. The Bar’s seller agreed to receive was $300,000.00. Get on board today ! Opinion stated, 3. A similar disclosure is set forth in the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. PAGE 6 APRIL 2010 RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH BRIEFS BRIEFS U.S. Home Mortgage Performance River Towns Real Estate Joins Falls For Seven Straight Quarters Prudential Franchise Network WASHINGTON — Performance on home mortgages serviced by the largest national banks and federally regulated thrifts declined for the seventh consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2009, though home foreclosures slowed and new home retention actions continued strong, according to a report released on March 25 by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. The OCC and OTS Mortgage Metrics Report for the Fourth Quarter 2009 showed the overall percentage of current and performing mortgages fell to 86.4% at the end of 2009, driven by an increase in mortgages that were 90 or more days past due. Prime mortgages, which make up two-thirds of the mortgages in the portfolio, continued to have the greatest increases in delinquency. Overall, servicers implemented more than 594,000 new home retention actions during the quarter. That included 259,410 new trial plans initiated under the “Home Affordable Modification Program” (HAMP) and 21,316 existing trial plans converted to permanent HAMP modifications. The actions also included 102,102 loan modifica- tions, 94,667 trial plans, and 116,600 payment plans for borrowers who did not qualify for HAMP. Although the number of new home retention actions was more than twice the num- ber of new modifications during the same quarter a year ago, it dropped 12.4% from the From left, Joe Lippolis and Cynthia Lippolis, owners of Prudential River Towns third quarter. Servicers reported that the fourth quarter decline followed a surge in new Real Estate in Croton-on-Hudson and Peekskill, and Earl Lee, president of home retention actions in the second and third quarters of 2009 after the introduction Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services. at the recent Prudential con- of HAMP. ference in Austin, TX. More than 82% of all modifications implemented during the quarter reduced principal CROTON-ON-HUDSON -- River Towns Real Estate has recently affiliated with Pru- and interest payments, and all HAMP modifications reduced monthly payments. Most dential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc., a Prudential Financial, Inc. company of HAMP modifications decreased borrowers’ monthly payments by 20% or more, the as its newest franchisee in Croton-on-Hudson and Peekskill. The company will now report stated. operate as Prudential River Towns Real Estate. Recent vintages of modifications that emphasized sustainability through lower The announcement was made by broker/owner Cynthia Lippolis. “We are extremely monthly payments performed better at three and six months after modification than excited to be joining the Prudential Real Estate Network”, said Lippolis. “Our team of older vintages. However, re-default rates remained high overall, with more than half sales professionals has been involved in the Northern Westchester area real estate of all modifications falling 60 or more days past due by nine months after modification. market for over 25 years. Aligning with the Prudential Real Estate network means that Newly initiated foreclosures fell by more than 15% in the fourth quarter and foreclo- Prudential River Towns Real Estate will remain committed to quality and customer sures in process were stable, as mortgages remained delinquent for longer periods service above all else.” before entering the foreclosure process and the servicers evaluated more borrowers She continued, “Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services shares many of our for loss mitigation and foreclosure prevention programs. own core business values. We will benefit from the power of the Prudential Real Estate However, servicers report that they expect new foreclosure actions to increase in name, which is reinforced by a significant advertising program. We welcome the value upcoming quarters as alternatives to prevent foreclosure are exhausted and a larger of the Prudential brand and we look forward to reaping the benefits of this strategic number of seriously delinquent mortgages slip into foreclosure. move.” The report noted that the OCC and the OTS have encouraged servicers to work with Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services, Inc. is Prudential’s integrated real borrowers facing difficulties in making payments on any of their residential real estate estate brokerage franchise and relocation services business. Prudential Real Estate loans, including second mortgages or home equity lines of credit, and to provide ap- franchises are independently owned and operated. Companies are selected based propriate home retention solutions when possible. Although it is often difficult to obtain upon outstanding performance records, high levels of customer service and shared information needed to effectively restructure and modify multiple residential real estate business values with those of Prudential, company officials stated. loans to the same borrower, particularly when one of the loans is current, or the loans Prudential Real Estate is one of the largest real estate brokerage franchise networks are held or serviced by different entities, initiatives are under way to make this informa- in North America with nearly 1,940 franchise offices and approximately 62,000 sales tion more available. professional in the franchise network as of December 2008. Current second liens that stand behind delinquent or modified first liens have an elevated risk of default and loss. The OCC and OTS have instructed banks and thrifts that hold such second liens, which are a minority of all second liens, to hold appropriate Seiden Co-Sponsors loan loss reserves to reflect the elevated risk. ‘Green’ Home Seminar WPAR is now on OSSINING -- On Wednesday, March 3rd at the Ossining Public Library, Mark Seiden of Mark Seiden Real Estate Team and Niña Weireter of My Divine Concierge, co- sponsored a seminar designed to show homeowners how to make their homes more Facebook and Twitter. environmentally responsible with great information on green home building, money- saving energy solutions and government “green” tax incentives. The speakers at the event included: Judy Martin, founder and principal of Green Become a Facebook fan of the Westchester Putnam Home Consulting, Chris Puleo of Green Star Energy Solutions, Bill Valus, co-owner of Association of Realtors. Follow us on Twitter at Encon, and Anthony Conklin of Mercury Solar Systems, Inc. Tips from home renova- WestPutRealtors. You’ll receive up-to-the-minute postings tions with the goal of achieving a green home for the best price, financial incentives from government agencies, and how to reduce one’s electricity expense while making about important legislation, sales reports, market statistics, a positive impact on the environment were presented. Seiden focused his remarks on educational opportunities, events, and more. home values, noting to the attendees that buyers want to know if a home is “green and Get on board today ! energy efficient.” He added that he continually encourages his sellers to “go green” because it will be a worthwhile investment. Pending U.S. Home Sales Down; Severe Weather Impacts Market WASHINGTON -- Pending home sales are down and additional declines are expected from abnormal weather conditions, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in January, fell 7.6% to 90.4 from an upwardly revised 97.8 in December, but remained 12.3% higher than January 2009 when it was 80.5. The Pending Home Sales Report was released by NAR on March 4. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said weather is likely to impact housing data. “January pending sales, though still higher than one year ago, remain much lower than expected given that a large number of potential buyers are eligible for the expanded home buyer tax credit. Moreover, the abnormally severe and prolonged winter weather, which affected large regions of the U.S., hampered shopping activity in February,” he said. As such, abnormal swings are expected in housing data. “We will see weak near- term sales followed by a likely surge of existing-home sales in April, May and June,” Yun said. “The real question is what happens in the second half of the year. If there is sufficient job creation, housing can become self-sustaining with stable to modestly ris- ing home prices because inventory has been trending downward.” The PHSI in the Northeast fell 8.7% to 71.3 in January but was 20.5% higher than January 2009. In the Midwest the index dropped 8.9% to 81.2 but was 11.8% above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South slipped 2.1% to an index of 98.1, but the index was 18.0% higher than January 2009. In the West the index dropped 13.2% to 102.9 but was 1.4% above a year ago. REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE APRIL 2010 PAGE 7 income-producing properties—those distinguished by superior quality of construction BRIEFS and the right location—will be increasingly attractive to both occupiers and investors.” The 6.8% vacancy rate projected by CBRE Econometric Advisors is still 40 basis points higher than the previous peak in 2003 when the vacancy rate averaged 6.4% and 150 basis points higher than the long-term average vacancy rate of 5.3%. BH&G Rand Realty CBRE-EA analysis showed that in 4Q 2009 average effective rents declined by 4.7% compared to 4Q 2008. The new forecast projects that in 4Q 2010 average effective Joins Realty Alliance rents will decline only 0.8% as compared to 4Q 2009. For 2010 as a whole (i.e., rent averaged of four quarters of 2010 compared with the same for 2009), rents will decline NEW CITY -- Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty announced on March 10 that it by 2.3% compared to 2.9% in 2009 over 2008. was named a member firm of The Realty Alliance, an invitation-only network of more Larger markets where CBRE-EA forecasts positive growth in effective rents in 2010 than 60 of the largest residential real estate firms in North America. include Boston, Denver, Seattle, and Washington DC. “Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty is proud to be named a member firm of Nechayev added, “Starting this year, we are likely to see more differentiation in this influential network of real estate professionals,” said Matt Rand, managing partner property performance and pricing—not just across sectors and markets but across of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “We pride ourselves on our cutting-edge individual assets based on their quality and specific location. Liquidity shock and sub- technology and client-centered approach. By being a member of The Realty Alliance, sequent pricing correction affected all properties, including those with the strongest we will have access to even more resources and tools that will enable us to continue operating performance records and, in the case of new developments, those with the providing the highest level of service to our clients.” potential for such performance.” The Realty Alliance was founded in 1997 and has grown to a network of more He continued, “The relative attractiveness of such buildings to occupiers and inves- 100,000 individual sales associates and more than 60 of the largest residential real tors should allow them to stay ahead of the rest even in the challenging years ahead; estate firms in the country. The organization facilitates information and resource shar- their values have probably bottomed out already, even as the broader market contin- ing, and encourages getting involved in major industry associations, legislation and ues to adjust. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cap rates on the most highly sought- regulation in Washington. after assets have already come down in recent months.” The Alliance serves residential real estate operations and affiliated businesses such as mortgage, title, commercial and insurance, as well as various departments within each firm including marketing, training, recruiting, information technology, finance, Internet lead management, sales management and relocation. “Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty’s customers and clients will benefit from this firm’s investment in connecting with tools and ideas from The Realty Alliance that will translate into even higher levels of service,” said Craig Cheatham, president and CEO of The Realty Alliance. “This company is demonstrating its commitment to being the unquestioned market leader in this region by joining North America’s most elite network.” CBRE Forecasts Improvement In U.S. Apartment Market in 2010 BOSTON -- Vacancy rates at U.S. apartments will decline in 2010, according to a new analysis from CBRE Econometric Advisors released on March 10. CBRE EA’s updated forecast projects the vacancy rate dropping to an average of 6.8% in 2010, from an average of 7.4% in 2009, a 60 basis points improvement. The analysis also foresees less severe declines in effective rents in 2010 as compared to 2009 as rent discounts and concessions become less wide spread. “We are seeing increased demand in many markets amid indications that the apart- ment market, while still seeing higher than normal vacancies, is stabilizing,” said Gleb Nechayev, Economist, CBRE-EA. “2010 will be a year of differentiation, where the best An Affiliate of Prospect Mortgage 333 Westcherster Avenue, Suite ET102 White Plains, New York 10604 914-733-7900 Experienced Professionals During Uncertain Times Donald Arace Christopher Conlan Jamie Schaub John Kiyak Clarissa Chueire Branch Manager Assistant Branch Manager Sales Manager Loan Officer Loan Officer Raviv Greenberg Anthony Nigrelli Marcus Burnstine Jay Couilard Matt Faranda Loan Officer Loan Officer Loan Officer Loan Officer Loan Officer PAGE 8 APRIL 2010 REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH PEOPLE The partners of McClellan Sotheby’s International Realty, Carol Brown, Sona Davidian and Mary Grimm, announced recently that Michele Bell is joining their firm as an Associate broker. Bell, who is a graduate of Babson Col- lege, has been in the real estate business for the past 14 years and has owned her own real estate company— Affluent Luxury Properties of Eastchester. She has been an affiliate of Select Sotheby’s International Realty and has earned many real estate certifications, including ACR, CIPS, CLHMS, GRI and E-Pro. She is also the founder of “Skipper’s Angel Wings,” a non-profit organization that assists families coping with children’s Carol Lieberman Cathy Pellegrino cancer and is a member of The Working Women of Bronxville Network and the Engel & Voelkers of Scarsdale re- Michele Bell Bronxville Women’s Club. ported that Associate Brokers Cathy Bell brings with her a wealth of knowl- Pellegrino and Carolyn Sparano have McClellan Sotheby’s International Re- edge, both in marketing properties and in joined the Scarsdale office and Carol alty,” commented Michele Bell. “I chose customer satisfaction. “She is client-fo- Lieberman, a Licensed Salesperson, has them because of their impressive market cused, dedicated, hard-working, passion- also joined its Scarsdale team. share, their stellar reputation, their local ate, optimistic and an extremely hopeful Having lived in Scarsdale with her fam- ownership and management, their team person and we are thrilled that Michele ily for 19 years, Lieberman was selected approach and their association with So- has chosen to join our team,” commented as “Woman of the Year” by Congregation theby’s. Having been with Select Sothe- Davidian. “McClellan Sotheby’s Interna- Kol Ami for her leadership and involve- by’s International Realty, I am well aware tional Realty is continuing to expand out- ment in varied projects, where she contin- of the power of the brand and their ability side of Pelham and Michele’s experience ues to be active in the community. Lieber- to market properties to a wider audience. and loyal clientele in Bronxville will help man has experience in sales, marketing, I look forward to bringing the prestigious bring the Sotheby’s brand to that village.” event planning and teaching. Sotheby’s brand to Bronxville.” “I am delighted to be associated with Pellegrino is an experienced Associate Broker, and has been licensed for more than 20 years. Pellegrino is a Million Dol- Award-winning former Douglas Elli- lar Producer, and has received the award Carolyn Sparano man Vice President, Melissa Frank-Lutz numerous times. She specializes in work- has decided to expand her horizons by ing with seniors, is a member of AARP Sparano has more than 10 years of real merging the fervor of New York City with and is designated as a Senior Real Estate estate experience. Before becoming a full the more halcyon pace of Northern West- Specialist. Pellegrino is also a Certified time Realtor, she worked as a manage- chester by joining Prudential Holmes & Relocation Specialist, has an appraisal ment consultant for KPMG Consulting Kennedy’s Katonah office. license and a mortgage license. She is a Group in Manhattan in the financial ser- With more than 10 years experience as member of the Scarsdale Women’s Club. vices industry. a top seller in Manhattan real estate, and having achieved the title of vice president at the age of 29, Frank-Lutz, a resident of Chappaqua, possesses a proven track record of excellence, as well as an exten- sive contact list as she brings a taste of Manhattan to Westchester County, com- pany officials stated. “The excellent schools and the beauti- ful, natural surroundings were the two driving forces that brought my family and I up to Katonah now,” said Frank- Lutz. “And I’m truly excited to introduce Melissa Frank-Lutz my Westchester clients to my various and showcase these lovely Westchester Manhattan connections, so we can set homes to my considerable network of their homes apart from so many others, New York City buyers.” Carol Marrone has recently joined Prudential Centennial Realty of Scars- John Kiyak Matt Faranda dale as Licensed Sales Associate. The Prospect Lending has hired two new loan officers—John Kiyak and Matt Faranda. announcement was made by Mark Kiyak, who lives and works in White Plains, has recently begun work for Prospect Nadler, Principal Broker, Prudential Cen- Lending at 333 Westchester Ave. Kiyak previously worked for Washington Mutual after tennial Realty. they absorbed Dime, then Countrywide for six years, which subsequently became the Marrone will be responsible for resi- Bank of America. dential sales in Southern Westchester. Faranda has been in the mortgage lending business for 11 years. A resident of Prior to joining Prudential Centennial Dutchess County, he said that he has “worked all ends of the business, from working as Realty she was most recently a partner in a broker to a direct lender as well as the larger institutions, so I have a good feel for the Case-Brown Graphic Design specializing business.” in corporate communications. Previously, Prospect Lending is a direct lender specializing in FHA and VA with proprietary search Marrone was vice president of marketing engine technology. The company is licensed in 50 states and offers ongoing training to and product development for Federated its loan officers Department Stores. Carol Marrone Houlihan Lawrence announced that Aaron C. Velez has joined the brokerage firm as a licensed real estate salesperson at the White Plains office. Velez brings a diverse background in business and social work to the Houlihan Law- rence sales team. Before joining the real estate company, he worked in management for organizations such as the Animal Medical Center and the Westchester Institute for Richard M. Ricketts has joined Mary Human Development. Velez obtained a master’s degree from Columbia University in Jane Pastor Realty Inc. of Hartsdale social work and received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Lehman Col- as a licensed real estate salesperson. A lege CUNY. native of Yonkers, he has spent the past eight years working as a driver with the Century 21 Mulvey reported recently that Century 21 Real Estate LLC recently rec- White Plains Bus Company/Suburban ognized Barry Malawer, ABR, sales associate with the Yorktown Heights-based office, Paratransit and most recently as Safety as one of the system’s top-producers nationwide when it honored him with the coveted Supervisor. ruby level Century 21 Masters Award. David Fink, Sharon Bodnar Briskman, and Janet Brand, associate brokers with Houlihan Lawrence, have earned the National Association of Realtors Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certification (SFR). This nationally recognized certification Richard M. Ricketts gives real estate professionals the expertise to help buyers and sellers navigate the complexities of the distressed sales market. REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH APRIL 2010 PAGE 9 WPAR New York State Posts Strong Sales Gains UPDATE Home Sales in the Northeast Rose 12% in February WASHINGTON -- Existing-home sales seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.02 Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, “Most buyers spend several months declined slightly in February, with modest million units in February from 5.05 million said widespread winter storms in Febru- looking at a dozen homes before they gains in the Northeast and Midwest offset in January, but were 7.0% higher than the ary may mask underlying demand. “Some make a contract offer, but less than six by softer sales in the South and West, ac- 4.69 million-unit pace in February 2009. closings were simply postponed by winter weeks are left before the April 30 contract cording to a report issued by the National However, existing-home sales in the storms, but buyers couldn’t get out to look deadline. If you’re sure about the kind of Association of Realtors on March 25. Northeast rose 2.4% to an annual pace at homes in some areas and that should home you want and the neighborhood Existing-home sales, which are final- of 840,000 in February and were 12.0% negatively impact near-term contract ac- where you’d like to live, you need to begin ized transactions that include single- above a year ago. The median price in the tivity,” he said. working with a Realtor now to help you family, townhomes, condominiums and Northeast was $254,700, up 7.5% from “Although sales have been higher than find what you want, negotiate on your co-ops, slipped 0.6% nationally to a February 2009. year-ago levels for eight straight months behalf and ensure that you meet the nec- and home prices are much more stable essary deadlines, including loan qualifica- compared to the past few years, the hous- tion,” Golder said. spotlight on ing recovery is fragile at the moment.” According to Freddie Mac, the national Total housing inventory at the end of average commitment rate for a 30-year, February rose 9.5% to 3.59 million exist- conventional, fixed-rate mortgage dipped ing homes available for sale, which repre- to 4.99% in February from 5.03% in Janu- sents an 8.6-month supply at the current ary; the rate was 5.13% in February 2009. sales pace, up from a 7.8-month supply in Single-family home sales declined January. Raw unsold inventory was 5.5% 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate below a year ago. of 4.37 million in February from a pace of 4.43 million in January, but were 4.3% Starting a New Life in Westchester “The key test for a durable recovery comes in the next few months as the tax higher than the 4.19 million level a year credit deadline approaches,” Yun said. ago. The median existing single-family By Mary T. Prenon “If we see a surge in home buying com- home price was $164,300 in February, The Lions Club International has al- parable to last fall in the months leading down 2.1% from February 2009. ways been a very special organization up to the original tax credit deadline, then Existing condominium and co-op sales for Harry Singh, Associate Broker and enough inventory should be absorbed to rose 4.8% to a seasonally adjusted an- Sales Manager for Century 21 Royal in ensure a broad home price stabilization.” nual rate of 650,000 in February from Scarsdale. It was through the club that The national median existing-home 620,000 in January, and were 30.3% he first visited the United States11 years price for all housing types was $165,100 above the 499,000-unit pace in February ago, and today he remains loyal to the in February, which was 1.8% below Feb- 2009. The median existing condo price non-profit group as a member of Ardsley, ruary 2009. Distressed homes, generally was $170,200 in February, down 0.2% Dobbs Ferry, Irvington & Tarrytown Lions sold at discount, accounted for 35% of from a year ago. Club, and Region Chair of the Lions Club sales last month. Existing-home sales in the Northeast International. A parallel NAR practitioner survey rose 2.4% to an annual pace of 840,000 For the past eight years, Singh has shows first-time buyers purchased 42% in February and were 12.0% above a year been working with Century 21 Royal. He of homes in February, up from 40% in ago. The median price in the Northeast has also served as a loan officer for DML January. Investors accounted for 19% of was $254,700, up 7.5% from February Mortgage Enterprises Inc. since 2008. transactions in February, compared with 2009. The Yonkers resident and Area 6 WPAR 17% in January; the remaining sales were Existing-home sales in the Midwest director also serves on the association’s to repeat buyers. increased 2.8% in February to a level of legislation committee and loves traveling Harry Singh NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, own- 1.11 million and were 8.8% higher than to Albany to be involved in the lawmaking A short time later, the family moved to er of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, February 2009. The median price in the process. In his spare time, he likes to play Yonkers, and Singh, armed with his new Ariz., said some buyers are just beginning Midwest was $128,000, which is 2.0% golf and volleyball, and enjoy the subur- real estate license, began working with to realize the urgency of acting before below a year ago. ban Westchester lifestyle. George Jones at Century 21 Royal. “At the contract deadline for the tax credit. “If In the South, existing-home sales It’s hard to imagine that just a short the time, this was still an unknown country home buyers want this tax credit there is slipped 1.1% to an annual pace of 1.85 time ago, Singh had quite a different life for me—we had no relatives here, but we literally no time to waste,” she said. on the other side of the world. Growing Continued on page 15 were determined to make it our home,” up in New Delhi, India, Singh attended he said. Singh had learned English as a a local high school and later earned his young student, so he faced no language 2010 WPAR RPAC HONOR ROLL Bachelor’s of Commerce at a local col- barriers. as reported to NYSAR to March 25, 2010* lege. By 1987, he was married, a father, “I find that here there is more profes- and the president and owner of his own sionalism, and I always encourage further Thank you to the following Members firm, Reliance Properties and Builders in education,” he said. “It has really helped who are leading the way in the 2010 RPAC campaign New Delhi. me to do business.” Singh said his af- Sterling R ($1,000+) Active in the New Delhi Lions Club, he filiation with WPAR has been an added Nancy Kennedy, Houlihan Lawrence Inc., Croton and his wife Bimla decided to attend an benefit to his real estate career. “We all P. Gilbert Mercurio, WPAR CEO International Lions Club convention in help and support each other so we can Hawaii in 1999. They both loved the is- Capitol Club ($250-$999) all grow together.” He holds a number of lands, then revisited the U.S. mainland on certifications including ABR, CIPS, CRS, Joan Bomann, William Raveis New York LLC, Rye another trip abroad. “At the time, my wife E-Pro, GRI, SRES, and TRC. Gary Leogrande, Keller Williams NY Realty, White Plains was teaching nursing at a college in India, An active member of his local commu- Michael Graessle, Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty, White Plains and when we came back that second nity, Singh has been a member of the City 99 Club ($99-$249) new this month time, she made up her mind she wanted of Yonkers Zoning Board since 2008 and to work here in nursing education,” said Catherine Amabile, Merritt Associates Inc., Scarsdale president of the Indian American Council Patricia Bentley, Houlihan Lawrence Inc., Katonah Singh. of Yonkers since 2009. He also recently Looking forward to an exciting new Jerome Billingsley, Frances Billingsley Realty, Inc., Katonah received the “Volunteer of the Year” Joseph Houlihan, Houlihan & O’Malley Real Estate Services ($200) life, Singh left his company in the hands award from the Asian American Commu- of his younger brother and the family put Carol Kope, Keller Williams NY Realty, Yorktown Heights nity in Westchester. John Kope, Keller Williams NY Realty, Yorktown Heights down roots initially on Long Island. He Today, his wife enjoys a nursing career soon discovered his love of real estate Recap of Contributions Year to Date* at Montefiore Medical Center, while his and began taking classes in Woodbury. “I Sterling R: $2,000 from 2 contributors son Nitan, 24, is a chemical engineer with just thought, why not real estate? I had a Capitol Club: $750 from 3 contributors the DEP and son Nitesh, 20, is a student good business doing land purchasing and 99 Club: $3,208 from 29 contributors at Fordham Business School. He and his building back in India and real estate just Other Amts $54,584 from 1,685 contributors wife will celebrate their 25th wedding an- seemed like the natural thing to do,” he TOTAL: $60,542 from 1,719 contributors niversary in December. recalled. “Here in the U.S., the biggest dif- Goal: $105,570 from 2,624 contributors Singh admits that he does miss India, ference in real estate is the paperwork— % of Dollar Goal: 57% and returns there often to visit his four there’s a lot more of it!” % of Member Goal: 66% brothers and sister. But, he said, he has In India, Singh rarely dealt with mort- made his home now in Westchester. “I gage firms, since he said about 90% of *Reporting has been amended to reflect contributions received and processed by credit the Lions Club for introducing me to NYSAR as of the stated date, and excludes contributions known by WPAR to be enroute property purchase transactions are done the U.S.,” he added. “Who knows if I’d be to NYSAR but not yet received or processed by same. This change is responsible for the in cash. here today if I hadn’t joined the club!” reduction in totals from February to March. PAGE 10 APRIL 2010 REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH BOARDROOM REPORT NYSAR Meets With New York’s Congressional Delegation The Board of Directors of the Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors did not hold a meeting in March. The WPAR Executive WASHINGTON – New York State Association of Realtors President Hank Fries, Pres- Committee was authorized to act on behalf of the full Board. Please ident-elect Nick Gigante, Secretary/Treasurer Susan Goldy and Legislative Steering Committee Chair C.J. DelVecchio visited Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. recently to welcome the following new members in your area: discuss Realtor legislative priorities with the members of New York State’s Congres- sional delegation. Designated Realtor Fries is a member of the Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors and a past John Viscusi president of the association. Zulfiker alim John Viscusi appraiser Progress Realty inc. The group met with 14 of the state’s members of the House of Representatives and 89 broadmoor lane with Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Issues that were discussed Westbury, ny 11590 Mohammed R. islam 516-220-0872 Progress Realty inc. include protecting the mortgage interest deduction, extending the Federal Housing George Frates Marc a. Graziano Administration higher loan limits in high cost states such as New York, and potential George a. Frates, Jr. aJP hudson Valley Realty reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 76 briar Ridge Rd. William M. Ryan Danbury, ct 06810 Julia b. Fee Sotheby’s int. Realty, larchmont 203- 616-5365 John Drago *Sue K. Gonzalez absolute appraisals alianza Real estate corp. Michael J. lang, Jr. 55 east 110th St. absolute appraisals new york, ny 10029 212- 828-2173 eric l. Unis houlihan lawrence inc., bronxville chirag P. Shah Gateway Realty corp. of ny Donna S. Gage 257 Mamaroneck ave., Ste. 209 houlihan lawrence inc., White Plains Mamaroneck, ny 10543 Marc J. campolongo 914-341-1203 coldwell banker Res brokerage, briarcliff Manor Uriel b. Seenarine Fabian e. budd Seenarine establishment corp eRa champions Realty 30-50 Whitestone exp, Ste 304a Flushing, ny 11354 David S. liebowitz 718- 738-4600 Perlmutter Properties inc. Mostafisur Rahman carolin D. Perez-Mercedes Progress Realty inc. better homes & Gardens Rand Realty, yonkers 2250 Westchester ave. Daniel colombi bronx, ny 10462 the chapman appraisal Group 718-239-4400 Mohammed y. hossain Kenneth trank Progress Realty inc. Kenneth a. trank Realty Group Shahadat Khan 30 larrys lane Progress Realty inc. Pleasantville, ny 10570 914-769-5303 Muhammad a. Malek Progress Realty inc. Joanne c. Whalen Joanne c. Whalen Scott Mendelowitz 2 Madison ave. Judith Guzzi & associates, llc From left, NYSAR President Henry Fries, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, NYSAR Valhalla, ny 10595 Ronit Mendelowitz President-elect Nick Gigante, NYSAR Secretary/Treasurer Susan Goldy and 914-948-7700 Judith Guzzi & associates, llc NYSAR Legislative Steering Committee Chair C.J. DelVecchio Richard J. laGreca yaya barry Performance 1 Realty eRa empire Real estate 1385 boston Post Rd. larchmont, ny 10538 914-834-5200 eileen M. hawthorn better hms & Gdns. Rand Rlty., new Rochelle iqbal hussain Networking for RPAC *John crane Progress Realty inc. allstate homes, inc. 342 north Main St. Stephanie M. Potes Port chester, ny 10573 engel & Voelkers Scarsdale Re 914-937-7277 David laurent olga y. Villanueva Keller Williams Prestige Prop., Stamford, ct MVM associates antonia thompson 954 Gerard ave Keller Williams Prestige Prop., Stamford, ct bronx, ny 10452 718- 538-6772 imran M. Shah century 21 Future homes ivan epps Kath Realty Services Wesley Jackson 600 Mamaroneck ave. century 21 Villa Star Realty harrison, ny 10528 Peter n. haywood 845-231-4153 Stetson Real estate John Saluto Sarah D’angelo hudson Property appraisal co. Keller Williams ny Realty, White Plains 48 Sandy Pines blvd. Deirdre corwin hopewell Junction, ny 12533 Julia b. Fee Sotheby’s int. Realty, larchmont 845-592-2014 Miriam a. Mazzarella Affiliate Mancini Realty, inc. William Kalinski charles e. Raspler absolute appraisals comstock Res. contracting, llc angela ingham 445 north State Rd. Keller Williams Realty Group, Scarsdale briarcliff Manor, ny 10510 914-762-0100 Jennifer a. Vigilia eRa Double c Realty WPAR’s RPAC Committee held an RPAC Networking Event on March 22 at the Realtor Suzanne l. Stark Rain Water Grill in Hastings-on-Hudson. Another RPAC networking event was Grand lux Realty, inc. Kristina M. Schmidt scheduled on March 31 at the Tuscan Grill in Briarcliff Manor. Attending the houlihan lawrence inc., irvington Marisol hourican century 21 north Star Realty event in Hastings were from left, Joe Locascio, an attorney; Sarah Hughes, Ruthann S. coe-Reid Mara l. Gottlieb Associate Broker; and Louise Colonna, Office Manager at Better Homes & exit Realty Power Westchester choice Realty, inc. Gardens Rand Realty in Briarcliff Manor. nick copulos the champman appraisal Group Richard M. Ricketts Mary Jane Pastor Realty, inc. Minhaj U. Sharif century 21 Future homes Realty emilia i. csak Stetson Real estate Frederic h. bontecou houlihan lawrence inc., bedford Debra S. Padawer Julia b Fee Sothebys int. Rlty Veronica M. anderek Weichert Realtors, White Plains aldina homem better homes & Gardens Rand Rlty., briarcliff linda Williams Romano Real estate, inc. alfred Paluzzi coldwell banker Gumbo Realty, Valhalla Julio c. Diaz Re/MaX Voyage Gabriel cirillo coldwell banker Res. brokerage, White Plains carl K. harris eRa Dalling & Dalling Realty nadine hickson eRa besmatch Real estate leslie D. Matt Greystone Valuation Group, inc. Diana M. Damiano coldwell banker carlson Real estate Marjorie D. Perry Weichert Realtors, White Plains Dvora Spencer Saida Zekri Dolores leonard ltd. Premier Realty, inc. *Indicates individual holds current membership and is harris i. bedell opening up as a new firm as Broker/Owner. Silversons Realty, llc **Indicates individual will hold Secondary Member- ship. Mark hanok Gains Realty, inc. Khalilur Munshi Progress Realty inc. Shakawat ali From left, Eve Neuman and Michael Gibbons, Co-Chairs of Progress Realty inc. the RPAC Committee. Future RPAC networking events are on elias Miah Progress Realty inc. April 6 at Bob Hyland’s Sports Page restaurant in White Plains azm Sarwar featuring former New York Giants center Bart Oates and on Progress Realty, inc. April 19 at Molly Spillane Restaurant in Mamaroneck. REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH APRIL 2010 PAGE 11 MoRE oN 1031 ExcHANgES April 8, 10:00 am - 1:15 pm $45 for all students, 3 hours of CE credit Just as the title suggests, this is the class to attend to get more information, with more depth about 1031 real estate exchanges. April 2010 RiSk MANAgEMENT / WiTH THREE 4/6 Foreclosures, Short Sales. HouRS oF FAiR HouSiNg With Roseann Farrow, ABR, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, ITI, RECS 4/8 More on 1031 Exchanges April 16, 9:00 am - 5:30 pm $99 WCBR members, $150 non-members, 7.5 hrs of CE credit 4/13 GRI403: Financing to Increase Home Ownership (Brewster Location) This course provides you with knowledge of the many liabilities facing real estate as- Call NYSAR to register & make payment for this class at: sociates in today’s marketplace and how to handle each of them. You will be able to identify the purpose of property disclosure, including the real benefits for buyers and 800-239-4432. sellers and “red flags” that may cause liability claims, plus the meaning of “vicarious liability.” The possible types of misrepresentations, “stigmatized” property, anti-trust 4/14 New Member Orientation laws and harassment issues will be discussed through an interactive environment that 4/14 Fair Housing Myth & Reality (Brewster location) will give you “take home” value. 4/15 Working with Seniors (Take 10 #4) 4/15 Working with Seniors (Take 10 #4) FoREcLoSuRES, SHoRT SALES 4/16 Risk Management With Gary Leogrande April 6, 9:00 am - 12:15 pm 4/19 NY/CT Reciprocity Do’s & Don’ts (Brewster Location) $40 for all students, 3 hrs CE credit Not for the faint of heart nor is the sale of a distressed property a simple process at all. 4/19 GREEN Commercial Elective Call NYSAR to register & Still, every agent needs to understand that process if they want to function effectively make payment for this class at: 800-239-4432. in this market. Foreclosure can be a buyer’s pot of gold or disaster. A short sale might save the seller or sink him. Get an overview of the process so you can properly guide 4/20 Appraisal Skills your clients or refer them to someone who can. 4/21 Foreclosures, Short Sales [Putnam] 4/22 & 23 Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) 4/27, 28 & 29 Certified Buyer Representative (CBR) cERTiFiEd diSTRESSEd PRoPERTy 4/27 New Member Orientation ExPERT® couRSE* Only $499 for all students Check out WWW.WPAR.COM for discount series, unadvertised specials and new courses April 22 & 23, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm not listed here. All meetings are held at the WPAR offices (60 South Broadway) unless 10 hrs CE credit otherwise noted. Your Designation includes: • Two Days of Classroom Instruction • 170+ Page Distressed Property Field Manual NYSAR/WPAR CO-SPONSORED COURSES • Complete Short Sale Forms Disk GRI DESIGNATION (Graduate of the Realtor® Institute) • Checklists for Distressed Situations Please call NYSAR to register: 800-239-4432 • Foreclosure Solutions Flow Charts Sorry, WPAR cannot process registrations for these courses. • Sample Short Sale Package EDUCATION CONTINUED ON PAGE 12 APRIL 13 - RI403 FINANCING TO INCREASE HOME OWNERSHIP [PUTNAM] OCT. 14 & 15 - RI402 REAL ESTATE LEGAL ISSUES...NOT KNOWING CAN BE DANGEROUS [PUTNAM] April 2010 NEW!!! Tuesday 6 SALESPERSoN’S LicENSiNg couRSE* RPAC- WHITE PLAINS- 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. Tuition for all: $549 (includes text) Friday 9 Evenings: April 19 - June 23 (no class May 5 & May 31) Mondays, Wednesday & Thursdays, 6:30 pm - 9:45 pm MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE- 9:00 A.M.- CONFERENCE ROOM RAPATTONI BASIC TRAINING- 9:30 A.M.- 12:30 30-HouR STEP uP couRSE* Tuesday 13 Required prerequsite for the Broker’s Course for licensees who took the 45 hour sales WPAR DIRECTORS- 10:00 A.M. class prior to July 2008 Wednesday 14 Tuition for all: $275 (includes text) Evenings: May 20 - June 25 (no class May 31) WPMLS DIRECTORS- 10:00 A.M. Mondays, Wednesday & Thursdays, 6:30 pm - 9:45 pm NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION- 1:00 P.M.- 4:00 P.M. PLEASE NOTE: Thursday 15 All students MUST download the following packet and bring to class, otherwise they will be charged a $25 materials fee on the first day of class. CID MEETING- 8:15 A.M. http://www.wpar.org/education_package.pdf Friday 16 *School exam will be given on the last day of class. Bring #2 pencils and a MEMBER SERVICES- 10:00 A.M. calculator to class. Saturday 17- Tuesday 20 WoRkiNg WiTH SENioRS... NAR AE CONFERENCE, QUEBEC THE oLdiES buT goodiES Monday 19 with Roseann Farrow NY/CT RECIPROCITY- PUTNAM OFFICE- 9:00 A.M.- 5:00 P.M. Working effectively with seniors makes sense! More than 80% own their own home, and NAR data reports that people 55 and over represented 29% of all sellers and 17% WCR BREAKFAST- MT. KISCO HOLIDAY INN- 9:00 A.M. of all buyers in the Northeast last year. The “over 50” crowd is the largest and the fast- RPAC- MOLLY SPILLANE’S IN MAMARONECK. est growing age group in America! Seniors control the nation’s wealth and have a Wednesday 21 higher disposable income than any other age group. Join us to compare and contrast marketing and servicing techniques that best suit the GI Gen, Silent Gen, Boomers RAPATTONI ADVANCED TRAINING- 6:30 P.M.- 9:00 P.M. and even the Xers & Ys. We’ll cover market statistics, demographics, financial habits, Thursday 22 housing concerns, utilizing equity, reverse mortgage, ownership options and estate WRO- 6:00 P.M. planning. Morning: April 15 Evening : April 15 Tuesday 27 $40 for all 3 hours of CE credit NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION 6:00 P.M.- 9:00 P.M. APPRAiSAL SkiLLS Monday 29 with John Yoegel, Ph.D. WCR- FREE NETWORK MIXER- THE SLIDING April 20, 9:00 am - 5:30 pm $99 for all students DOOR/TRANSFORM, NEW ROCHELLE- 6:00 P.M. The difference between a good guess and a good CMA; market factors that effect Friday 30 value; appraising in a hot market or one that’s slowing; what to do if you disagree with OWNER/BROKER MEETING- CROWN PLAZA 9:00 A.M. the appraisal; and more. PAGE 12 APRIL 2010 REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH CONTINUED • Monthly Follow-up & New Information Updates • Use of the CDPE Logo and Designation If you are ready to take advantage of everything the CDPE has to offer, sign up today to see everything described here, and more... • Flow charts that diagram each foreclosure solution • Real world examples of distressed property • Know exactly how to qualify sellers and who to list using the E=MC2 formula • Walk out with a complete sample Short Sale package • Learn how to get all the distressed property listings you can handle • Understand when and how to stall a foreclosure so you can get a deal done • Step-by-step, error-proof Short Sale submission guidelines • Get your CDPE forms CD with all the Short Sale & foreclosure forms you need • Membership to the Distressed Property Institute • Updates and new information via CDPE e-mails • Earn up to 50% of other agent’s commissions on distressed deals • Strategies to quickly, easily and inexpensively become the leader in your area Lesser training events (not official Agent Designations) have sold for $3,000 or more. Take advantage of the value you receive with the CDPE® Designation by signing up today! EXCLUSIVE GUARANTEE: 100% Money Back Guarantee We want you to be 100% satisfied with The Certified Distressed Property Expert Designation and Training. We know you will be, however... If you are not thoroughly convinced that the CDPE training and certification is worth what you paid for it by lunchtime the first day, simply return your class materi- als to the instructor and your tuition will be refunded immediately. No other training or certification in the real estate industry is so confident in their market tested and success proven curriculum to offer this Iron-Clad Guarantee! Absolutely no risk. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain! *Not affiliated with NAR cERTiFiEd buyER REPRESENTATivE (cbR) dESigNATioN couRSE* WITH JIM PUGLIESE, ABR, CRB, GRI, CBR, ITI, CSP, SRES April 27, 28 & 29 OR August 31, September 1 & 2 9:00 am - 5:30 pm each day $345 for all students, 22.5 hrs of CE credit (entire 3-day course) APPROVED FOR THE FAIR HOUSING REQUIREMENT FOR LICENSE RENEWAL The original three-day course that will give you everything you need to know about basic buyer agency representation. Earn a professional real estate certification and increase your income through Buyer-Representation. This is your chance to earn the nationally recognized CBR designation. You will learn the street skills nec- essary to begin practicing Buyer-Agency immediately. You will learn how to make an effective presentation to a potential buyer-client, how to discuss and document your fee as a buyer’s agent, how to reduce your risk through due diligence, and how to provide advice, counsel, and judgment to your buyer-clients so they make the right buying decision when purchasing their new home. *Not affiliated with NAR There is no written exam…no annual dues…no additional courses to take. You earn the CBR designation at the end of Day Three. APRIL 2010 PUTNAM SCHEDULE Classes are held at the WPAR Offices in Brewster. FAiR HouSiNg MyTH & REALiTy April 14, 9:00 am - 12:15 pm $40 for all students, 3 hr CE credit An important update on the fair housing laws and applications. What are some of the problems in the area and what are the authorities doing about them? Ny/cT REciPRociTy do’S ANd doN’TS April 19, 9:00 - 5:30 pm (only location for this course) $110 for all students, 7.5 hrs of CE credit Many agents sell in both states, but each state has radically different regulations and procedures. Add differences in local practice to the mix and an agent may find himself in a toxic transaction. Learn what you should and shouldn’t do in border- crossing sales. FoREcLoSuRES, SHoRT SALES With Gary Leogrande April 21, 9:00 am - 12:15 pm $40 for all students, 3 hrs CE credit Not for the faint of heart nor is the sale of a distressed property a simple process at all. Still, every agent needs to understand that process if they want to function effectively in this market. Foreclosure can be a buyer’s pot of gold or disaster. A short sale might save the seller or sink him. Get an overview of the process so you can properly guide your clients or refer them to someone who can. SAVE THIS DATE! The Broker/Manager meeting “iNduSTRy cHANgES THAT MAkE oR bREAk youR buSiNESS” with discussion on the appraisal, financing and short sale issues as they relate to management, and what you need to know now! April 30, 2010 Crowne Plaza, 9a.m. networking/coffee 9:30 a.m. program begins, $10 registration fee. Details to follow. REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH APRIL 2010 PAGE 13 New Obama Mortgage Plan Targets Assistance To Unemployed, ‘Underwater’ Homeowners better off forgiving principal for HAMP- Inman News Some homeowners who owe more than eligible borrowers whose loan-to-value WASHINGTON -- The Obama Admin- ratio (LTV) exceeds 115%, instead of istration announced changes to the their homes are worth will also be able taking the more standard approach of Home Affordable Modification Program to refinance into loans guaranteed by lowering their mortgage rate, extending on March 26 that are targeted at helping the term of their loan, and forbearing ad- unemployed and “underwater” homeown- ditional principal. ers, two groups critics of the program the Federal Housing Administration if Incentives are also being increased for have said haven’t been getting help. lenders who agree to extinguish or par- HAMP loan servicers will be required lenders agree to write down at least 10% tially extinguish second loans. to provide three to six months of forbear- ance to eligible homeowners who lose of their principal and bring the borrower’s To expand the pool of HAMP-eligible borrowers, homeowners with FHA loans their jobs, reducing their mortgage pay- combined loan-to-value ratio down to will be eligible for HAMP, and loan ser- ments to a level that doesn’t exceed 31% vicers will be required to consider borrow- of their monthly income. 115% or less. ers in bankruptcy for HAMP. Some homeowners who owe more Underwater borrowers will be permitted than their homes are worth will also be eowners avoid foreclosure ... by reducing mated that the program could produce to refinance into an FHA loan that can’t able to refinance into loans guaranteed monthly payments to sustainable levels.” 1.5 million to 2.0 million permanent loan exceed 97.75% of the appraised value of by the Federal Housing Administration if Now, the administration says the pro- modifications. That may be “only a small the home when lenders agree to principal lenders agree to write down at least 10% gram’s goal is to make offers of trial modi- fraction of the total number of foreclo- write-downs and get the combined LTV of of their principal and bring the borrower’s fications to that many people — a goal sures that will occur during that period,” their first and second loans down to 115% combined loan-to-value ratio down to that “is not particularly meaningful,” the the report warned. or less. 115% or less. inspector general’s report stated. Even if the program generates that Ironically, borrowers who are already in The FHA refinance program will in- “The goal that should be developed many permanent loan modifications, it FHA loans will not be eligible for that pro- clude $14 billion in incentives to lenders and tracked is how many people are “will not be a long-term success if large gram because FHA is currently prohibited to write down second, or “piggyback,” helped to avoid foreclosure and stay in amounts of borrowers simply re-default by law from offering principal forgiveness. loans, which are often obstacles to loan their homes through permanent modifica- and end up facing foreclosure anyway,” The Mortgage Bankers Association modifications. tions,” the report stated. “Transparency the report said. welcomed the changes but warned that The HAMP program changes—which and accountability demand that Treasury The HAMP program does not factor in loan servicers may be bound by contrac- also include an expanded eligibility cri- establish goals that are meaningful, and borrowers’ non-mortgage debt, or their tual restrictions or requirements of mort- teria and increased short-sale incentives that it report its progress ... on a monthly ability to continue paying their mortgage gage investors in considering principal for borrowers who don’t qualify for a loan basis.” after the five-year period of reduced write-downs. modification—will help the program meet At the end of February, more than 1.3 payments provided by “permanent” loan “Expanding refinance opportunities its goal of “offering a second chance” to million homeowners had been offered modifications expire, the report said. for FHA borrowers and creating a HAMP up to three million to four million hom- trial HAMP loan modifications, and 1.0 The report also noted that many bor- component encouraging the reduction eowners through the end of 2012, the HAMP loan modifications were in effect. rowers receiving HAMP loan modifica- of mortgage principal gives servicers yet administration stated in a press release. Of those, 835,194 were trial modifica- tions are still saddled with second loans, more tools they can use to help underwa- The move comes on the heels of a tions, and 168,709 were “permanent” and that those who owe more than their ter borrowers,” MBA President and CEO report by the special inspector general modifications that provide guaranteed home is worth may “decide that it makes John Courson said in a statement. for the Troubled Asset Relief Program lower payments for five years, according more economic sense for them to walk As for principal write-downs, Courson (TARP) that questioned whether that is a to the latest monthly HAMP report from away from their mortgages”—a so-called said, “Each servicer will need to deter- meaningful goal. the Treasury. “strategic default.” mine whether this is the best approach When the program was launched, Before the changes in the HAMP pro- In a report issued in October, a Con- to help the individual borrower, keeping the report noted, the Treasury Depart- gram announced on March 26—some gressional Oversight Panel overseeing in mind any contractual restrictions or re- ment said it was intended to “help up to of which will take months to implement— TARP was also critical of the HAMP pro- quirements from the mortgage investor.” three (million) to four million at-risk hom- one Treasury Department official esti- gram, which has been allocated $75 bil- John Taylor, president and CEO of lion in TARP funding. That report conclud- the National Community Investment ed that the program was too focused on Coalition, doubts those incentives will be subprime loans to address foreclosures enough to convince servicers and inves- caused by unemployment and head off a tors to reduce loan principals. projected 10 million to 12 million foreclo- “Will they help seven million people sure starts in coming years. who are at risk of foreclosure? I will be Under the changes, loan servicers par- pleasantly shocked if investors step up ticipating in HAMP are required to provide for half a million borrowers,” Taylor said temporary assistance to unemployed in a statement. Mandatory principal write- homeowners who meet the program’s downs are needed to prevent more fore- eligibility requirements, can show they are closures, he said. receiving unemployment insurance, and For borrowers who don’t qualify for a who request temporary assistance in the loan modification, the HAMP program first 90 days of delinquency. To be eligible will offer additional incentives when they for HAMP, a borrower’s loan balance can’t agree to a short sale or deed in lieu of exceed $727,750, and the borrower’s foreclosure. Relocation assistance for loan must have been originated before homeowners who agree to a short sale Jan. 1, 2009. is being doubled to $3,000, and the gov- The HAMP program will also require ernment is also doubling the maximum loan servicers to use a “net present value” reimbursement to second loan investors test to calculate whether they would be to $2,000. Milestone ERA Insite Marks 25-Year Anniversary Staff and friends of Principal Bro- kers Lou and Debra Budetti provid- ed them with a surprise 25th com- pany anniversary party on March 26 at the ERA Insite Realty Services offices in North White Plains. Ap- proximately 60 people attended the event and offered their best wishes to the husband and wife team. In looking back on this significant business milestone, Debra Budetti said, “Succeeding in any business for 25 years is definitely a milestone to celebrate but even more of an accomplishment in the real estate industry of today. In our case it is at- tributable to the quality agents and terrific support staff that are ERA Insite Realty.” PAGE 14 APRIL 2010 REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH NAR Defends Broker ADVERTISE IN Price Opinion Usage By Matt Carter Real Estate Inman News WASHINGTON -- There’s no evidence that relying on a broker price opinion “ex- acerbates mortgage fraud or abuse,” the loan servicers who sign off on short sales do not own the properties and are not buyers or sellers, the groups said. IN-DEPTH Real Estate IN-DEPTH reaches over National Association of Realtors said in That claim is “simply incorrect,” NAR a letter defending the use of BPOs in the told Geithner and Donovan. “We urge you Obama administration’s short-sale incen- to examine the relevant state statutes and tive program. Industry groups representing apprais- not accept this argument at face value, as we believe the use of BPOs for short sale 8,000 Realtors and affiliates in Westchester ers are pushing for a ban on the use of and other purposes is clearly permissible BPOs to value short-sale properties in the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alterna- in most, if not all, states.” Garber said the Appraisal Institute and Putnam counties. It was voted by the tives (HAFA) program, saying they open stands by the assertion that more than 20 the door to mortgage fraud. states require that anyone who is com- members of the WCBR to be the second NAR says the groups have provided pensated for providing a valuation be a most valuable service provided, second only “misinformation” to the Treasury Depart- licensed appraiser, and that agents and ment about the role of BPOs in mortgage brokers who are not licensed appraisers fraud and the application of state laws can provide BPOs only to assist buyers governing BPOs. in a March 8 letter to Treasury Sec- or sellers. According to the Real Estate Valua- to the MLS. retary Timothy Geithner, the Appraisal tion Advocacy Association—an industry In-Depth has some new advertising products available: Institute and three other groups repre- group whose members include lenders senting appraisers warned that the HAFA and companies that generate appraisals, • A new Junior Page ad size that we will guarantee is the program lacks safeguards to prevent BPOs and automated valuation models only ad to appear on the page. mortgage fraud schemes like “property (AVMs)—analysis of state laws needs to flopping,” in which real estate agents help be fact-specific, and “generalizations are • Banner Sponsor ad— become a sponsor of one or more investors obtain distressed properties at not very meaningful.” of our special feature pages.* deflated prices. BPOs are “performed by people who Appraisers cited a report by Inter- are experienced in the local market,” and thinx Inc. that showed mortgage fraud limiting the flow of information “based on schemes involving short sales and “real aggressive interpretations (of state law) estate owned” (REO) properties have does a disservice to all,” the group says in *Appears across the bottom of such special feature pages as; Residential increased by nearly 50% over the past a statement on its website, “Myths About pages,Commercial pages, Mortgage and Finance, year and doubled over the past two years. Alternative Valuations.” Office Technology and the People page. But that study did not consider the In its letter to the Obama administra- method of valuation used for transactions tion, NAR said BPOs “are completed by that were suspected to be fraudulent, NAR said in a letter to Geithner and Hous- licensed real estate agents with a detailed knowledge and understanding of real For insertion and rate information call ing Secretary Shaun Donovan. Bill Garber, director of government and estate pricing and local market trends de- veloped through active participation in the The Westchester Putnam external relations for the Appraisal Insti- listing, negotiation and sale of properties.” tute, said that the current industry practice Agents have “a unique viewpoint that Association of Realtors is to use BPOs “almost exclusively” in supports sound real estate decisions making loan modification and loss mitiga- with accurate estimates,” NAR said, and at 914-681-0833 tion decisions. “BPOs are widely accepted in the real In doing so, lenders and loan servicers estate industry due to their established “may very well be leaving a lot of money reliability and accuracy.” on the table,” Garber said, because mar- The Treasury Department did not re- ket complexities call for “enhanced due spond to a request for comment. diligence, independence and competen- HAFA program guidelines issued by cy” in valuing properties that appraisers the Department in November require that can best provide. properties must be publicized in a multiple Appraisers also claim laws in 23 states listing service (MLS) and marketed by the limit real estate agents and brokers to listing broker, and that a short sale “must performing BPOs only in the process of represent an arm’s-length transaction.” assisting buyers or sellers. Lenders or NAR Calls for Affordable, Comprehensive Natural Disaster Insurance Policy WASHINGTON -- U.S. policy toward natu- purchase adequate insurance; ral catastrophe risk is largely reactive and • Provide owners incentives to un- a comprehensive, forward-looking national dertake mitigation measures when ap- natural disaster policy is needed, the Na- propriate; tional Association of Realtors said in tes- • Acknowledge the importance of timony to two House panels on March 10. building codes and smart land-use Charles McMillan, immediate past decisions, stressing the importance of president of NAR, told Congress that it enforcement at the state and local levels; must improve affordability of property • Recognize the role of states as ap- insurance for natural disasters. propriate regulators of property insur- “NAR, as the leading advocate for pri- ance and the role of the federal govern- vate property issues, believes that a com- ment cases of mega-catastrophes; and prehensive natural disaster policy should • Reinforce the proper roles of all gov- include property owners, insurance com- ernment levels for investing and main- panies and each of the different levels taining critical infrastructure, like levees, of government in preparing and paying dams and bridges. for future catastrophic events,” McMillan McMillan said that House bill, H.R. said. Citing Hurricane Katrina as an ex- 2555, the “Homeowners’ Defense Act,” ample, McMillan said, “Money would not authored by Rep. Ron Klein, D-FL., is have been paid by taxpayers had proac- a good start toward a comprehensive tive federal policies and programs been solution by providing for stable funding in place to make property insurance more sources that would offer the stability widely available and affordable.” needed for more consistency in insur- He also outlined the following criteria ance, availability and affordability. for creating a federal policy to: “All reasonable proposals should be • Ensure transparent and comprehen- considered in creating a national policy sive insurance is available and afford- to proactively address the inevitable, able at premiums reflecting risk. rather than waiting for the next crisis to • Acknowledge personal responsibility occur and rely upon taxpayer-funded of those living in high-risk areas to bailouts,” McMillan said. REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH APRIL 2010 PAGE 15 Damaging Storms Put Slight Damper on Home Sales Continued from page 1 without power, etc., convinced some buy- that she was hopeful that she and her 12 said the Harrison region was hit espe- thing has prohibited buyers from coming ers to stay home until cleanup work was agents would be back working at the com- cially hard with significant tree damage out of late,” Hoffman said. “As quiet and completed. pany’s East Boston Post Road office in and downed power lines. as gloomy as it was in 2009, we have The good news is that Realtors told the next day or two. She said that while no “Trying to show houses (in Harrison) seen a tremendous surge in buyers out. Real Estate In-Depth the real estate major equipment was lost, “almost every four or five days later (from the March 13 We have actually seen some sealed bid market in Westchester has picked up of sheet of porous paper that was printed storm) was difficult because you had to instances going on. I think there is a huge late and sales activity at present is much out; all the marketing materials had to all continuously detour. Fortunately there pent up demand with people perhaps better than it was a year ago. be trashed… Because the mold spores were no injuries involved but certainly feeling a little more settled, having a little Wayne LaFranco, office manager of would go through everything, anything some property damage came to play.” better positive outlook and people need the Coldwell Banker Real Estate office in that was porous had to be thrown out.” She said that one of the firm’s listings housing.” White Plains, said the heavy snow in late While the company’s home listings did had some water damage but was remedi- Barring any more serious storms hitting February and the rainstorm in the middle not suffer any real property damage, the ated prior to its closing. the area, Hoffman said that the homebuy- of March “definitely had an impact on storm did pose other problems for both While the storms caused problems, er tax credit has helped spur sales activity showings and buyers coming out.” While Realtors and prospective buyers. “Trying they have not poured water on the posi- and that thus far in 2010 “we have finally trees were down and power was out for to get over to Scarsdale to one of my list- tive momentum the home sales market is really seen some significant movement in days in sections of White Plains and the ings on Sunday afternoon (March 14) was enjoying right now, she noted. the market.” surrounding area, none of the Coldwell an obstacle course,” she recalled. “Good I “Quite frankly, it doesn’t seem like any- Banker listings sustained any storm dam- knew the back roads because it was very age. Some of the problems that cropped up difficult to get there.” Stetson believes that the delays Home Sales in the Northeast because of the storms were for sale prop- caused by the storm will not have too erties losing power, homeowners having to move out of their homes until the power much of an adverse impact on sales. “Could we have had more sales if we Rose 12% in February Continued from page 9 came back on, and agents unable to work didn’t have this interruption, absolutely, because of problems with their homes or we lost a weekend. But there is such a lack of power to run their computers. The groundswell, there is so much more busi- million in February but were 6.9% above not translated to sustained month-to- White Plains office of Coldwell Banke lost ness right now than there was in previous a year ago. The median price in the South month sales growth,” MacKenzie said, power for only a few hours, he noted. months, so when you take a look at the was $139,600, down 4.2% from February noting that monthly sales totals have de- LaFranco said that he expects home statistics you probably won’t see the dip 2009. clined since November 2009 including an sales in the areas affected the most by the so much at least on accepted offers and Existing-home sales in the West fell 11.8% dip between January and Febru- storm (White Plains, Mamaroneck, New pending contracts.” 4.7% to an annual rate of 1.22 million ary. “Some of the monthly declines can be Rochelle for example) will probably not be Mark Nadler, Principal Broker/Owner in February but were 3.4% higher than attributed to the unusually heavy market as strong as they might have been. of Prudential Centennial Realty in Scars- February 2009. The median price in the activity in the late fall and typical seasonal Mary Stetson, Broker/Owner of Mary dale and Larchmont, said that the storm West was $207,900, down 9.8% from a market factors.” Stetson Real Estate in Mamaroneck, had a “positive effect” on his business in year ago. “We anticipate another flurry of market scrambled to keep her real estate broker- that many agents who lost power at their “A lack of affordable housing inventory activity in late March and April as both age operational after the March 13 rain- homes made it to the firm’s offices and is holding back sales and pressuring pric- first-time and trade-up buyers seek to get storm that caused extensive roof leaks worked there instead. es to be bid upwards in many California their next home under contract before the at her office compelled her to temporarily “I saw more agents physically working markets,” Yun noted. April 30 deadline,” MacKenzie said, add- close her office at 1214 East Boston Post inside the company offices than I have ing that these buyers will need to close on New York State Home Sales their home before June 30 to be eligible Road and move operations to her home. in years,” he said. Because both of the She said that water eventually leaked be- company’s offices had power they served The New York State Association of Re- for the federal homebuyer tax credit. “The hind a wall at the office that led to a mold as “an oasis of civilization” for agents who altors reported recently that the New York federal tax credit program’s success in condition that made conditions at her were living out of hotels or were forced to state housing market continued to post aiding the housing market recovery can brokerage office unhealthy. find other accommodations because their double-digit sales gains compared to a already be seen in the market activity of “The perimeter of the roof in the corner homes lacked power. Nadler was in fact year ago as February 2010 sales jumped the last several months and will continue where most of my office is leaked like a one of the estimated 167,000 Con Edison 13.2% compared to February 2009, ac- to be reflected in sales data through the sieve right down behind the sheetrock customers who were without power from cording to preliminary single-family sales middle of 2010.” wall,” she said. Stetson said that the the March 13 rainstorm. data accumulated by NYSAR. The state- New York Realtors sold 4,016 existing company operated out of its Boston Post Nadler said that about a handful of his wide median sales price rose by more single-family homes in New York State Road leased offices for several days firm’s listings lost power and sustained than 12% compared to February 2009. during February 2010, a 13.2% increase after the storm. However, after several some property damage due to fallen “The second consecutive month of compared to the February 2009 sales to- warm weather days on March 15 and 16, trees. He noted that one listing on Ogden double-digit sales increases compared tal of 3,548. February sales did lag behind a distinct mold smell took over the office Road in Scarsdale had to be taken off the to a year ago is a very positive indicator the January 2010, when 4,555 homes and by Wednesday March 17 “the office market because of damage caused by a of the strengthening of the Empire State’s were sold. was uninhabitable in my opinion.” Stetson tree that fell through its garage. housing market,” said Duncan R. MacK- The February 2010 median sales price said. Air samples taken that day revealed He added that the storm basically shut enzie, NYSAR chief executive officer. in New York State of $225,000 repre- the presence of mold and the office was down most showings on March 13 and 14 “The New York State housing market is sentedan increase of 12.5% compared to subsequently shut down. “The biohazard and caused a slowdown in buyer activity starting 2010 significantly stronger than the February 2009 median of $199,950, mold remediation is being taken down as the following weekend. 2009 both in terms of sales and median but fell off by 4.3% from the January 2010 we speak,” she said. Marylin Hoffman, sales manager at sales price growth.” median of $235,000. Stetson, interviewed on March 29, said William Raveis office in Rye and Harrison, “This stronger start, unfortunately, has INDEPTH Services Directory ASSESSMENT REducTioN InspectAmerica Engineering,PC ............................................... 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(845) 228-0076 www.northeastenvironmental.com Oil Tanks, Asbestos, Mold Jim Rood ExTERMiNAToRS SEPTic SySTEMS & dRAiNAgE Parkway Exterminating ............................................................. (914) 725-5997 J.P. Nilsen ...............................................................................1-800-DIG-DIRT WWW.JPNILSEN.COM HouSE iNSPEcTioNS Carnell Building & Environmental Inspections ......................... (914) 946-4300 www.carnellengineering.com COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE PAGE 16 APRIL 2010 REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH New Economic Development Director Pitches County of The Business Council of Westchester. encourage business growth in the county, to enhance and promote the growth of Most recently, he worked as a public he is not advocating any increase in the biotech cluster that now exists in affairs managing director for Burson- the size of government, which makes Westchester County. Citing the plethora Marsteller in New York, overseeing a list us more than 15% of the Westchester of higher educational institutions in the of clients, ranging from energy companies County workforce. region that support the biotech industry, to government and non-profit agencies, He said that “government is too big” he noted, “We are investing heavily in de- for the world’s largest public relations and must be streamlined. In explaining veloping our intellectual capital, yet other Photo by John Vecchiolla firm. Prior to that, he served for six years some of his future strategies, Gottlieb states are gaining the benefit from that as director of communications for Entergy said, “We don’t want to revive Westches- investment.” Nuclear in Buchanan. Gottlieb was also ter’s old economy, but set the stage for a He noted that other initiatives undertak- the director of marketing for the National new one.” en by the Astorino Administration on the Multiple Sclerosis Society and marketing In the past Westchester has tried to economic development front have includ- manager for Castle Oil in Harrison. lure large corporations to the county with ed his department taking on the oversight He said attendees of the CID session some mixed success. Gottlieb noted of the County Tourism and Film Office. In that as economic development director that recently Starwood Hotels & Resorts addition County Executive Rob Astorino he “understands the instability of busi- Worldwide decided to relocate its corpo- named 10 business leaders last month to ness” at the moment and the struggles rate headquarters out of Westchester to a newly formed Westchester Economic businesses and taxpayers have with the Stamford, CT after being offered more Development Council (WEDC). The high cost of doing business in the county. than $90 million in incentives from the council will provide independent advice Gottlieb noted that the Westchester is a Nutmeg State. and recommendations to the County Westchester County’s $26-billion economy (based on payroll) “That’s a lot of money. It’s a lot of mon- Executive and his Office of Economic Economic Development Director with more than 400,000 workers. He said ey New York State does not have and Development on the policies and priorities Laurence P. Gottlieb the job generators the last few years are probably will not have for several years for retaining, attracting and growing busi- in the financial services, education, con- coming,” Gottlieb related. ness in Westchester. (For further details By John Jordan struction, and health care sectors. Gottlieb said the county needs to work see story on page 17). Gottlieb said that while the perception WHITE PLAINS – Laurence P. Gottlieb, the new director of economic develop- may be that the county is dominated by large businesses, the reverse is true. BRIEFS ment for Westchester County, said the Nearly 90% of Westchester businesses county will be employing new strategies employ 20 or fewer workers. A total of 72% have five workers or less. According in the years to come and stressing to those inside and outside of the region that to Dunn & Bradstreet, only 2.5% of county Valuating Commercial Real Estate “Westchester is open for business.” firms have 50 or more workers. Only 20 Gottlieb, who has 25 years of market- businesses and nine hospitals employ ing, public affairs, public relations and 1,000 workers or more. Another telling sales experience, was the guest speaker statistic cited by Gottlieb is that approxi- at the March 17 meeting of the Westches- mately 50% of the Westchester economy ter Putnam Association of Realtors Com- is service-based. mercial Investment Division. The Mount Gottlieb said that among his depart- Pleasant resident acknowledged that ment’s goals is to “encourage diversifica- part of his background included helping tion.” He said that the county’s diverse his father who was a Realtor in the Bronx array of businesses has helped it weather and Yonkers for 55 years, when he was the economic storm that has devastated a child. other sections of the country during this Gottlieb, who was appointed to the post economic downturn. in January, is an executive board member He noted that while he is looking to The Commercial Lending Division of Community Mutual Savings Bank recently held a seminar on “Valuing Westchester Commercial Real Es- tate” for local commercial property owners, real estate brokers, mort- gage brokers, CPA’s, financial planners and attorneys. The seminar which was held at the bank’s headquarters in White Plains on March 5. Some of the attendee’s at the event were, from left, Dominic Benincasa, Associate Broker and Director of Commercial Services, Prudential Holmes & Kennedy Real Estate, Katonah; Lenny Carraturo, Commer- cial Real Estate Lending, Community Mutual Savings Bank; Vincent Forma, Broker Direct Account Manager, Emigrant Mortgage Company, Elmsford; Lawrence Vasquez of Lawrence Vasquez Realty, Yonkers; commercial property owner Robert Linden; and Andrew Edge, Client Relationship Representative, Community Mutual Savings Bank. Yonkers Property Sells for $14 Million YONKERS -- Rand Commercial Services reported on March 25 that it had brokered the $14-million sale of the Jewish Guild for the Blind’s Yonkers campus, an anchor in the Yonkers community for more than 100 years. The property was purchased by Westchester ALP Property, LLC, a company that manages properties that host assisted living and special adult care facilities. The Jew- ish Guild for the Blind and its subsidiaries operated its facility at Stratton Street South for more than eight decades, and continues to operate its GuildCare facility—an adult day health-care program—at 4 Executive Plaza in Yonkers. Rand Commercial Services brokered the sale for both buyer and seller. Paul Adler, RCS Senior Executive Director, and Nick Spano, an RCS agent and former NYS Sena- tor representing Westchester, negotiated the sale. “The Jewish Guild for the Blind campus is a unique property situated on the Saw Mill Parkway in a prime location in Yonkers,” said Paul Adler, RCS Senior Managing Direc- tor. “The city of Yonkers is in the midst of an exciting renaissance and has tremendous potential for the redevelopment of its commercial real estate properties.” “We are pleased to hear of the sale of the former Jewish Guild for the Blind campus facilitated by Rand Commercial Services,” stated Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone. “This is one of Yonkers’ featured properties with a desirable location and great potential for future use. With several exciting development projects currently underway in our city, Yonkers continues to stand out as an attractive place for all types of business ven- tures.” Rand Commercial Services, formerly affiliated with the Prudential Real Estate Net- work, is an independent commercial real estate brokerage that serves the Greater New York area. RCS has 25 agents in Orange, Rockland and Westchester counties, and also serves New York City, northern New Jersey and Connecticut. REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH APRIL 2010 PAGE 17 MORTGAGE/FINANCE Lenders Don’t Like ‘Skin In the County Executive Astorino Forms Game’ Requirement of Reform Bill Inman News Economic Development Council WASHINGTON -- Legislation in play in ticularly adverse consequences for both WHITE PLAINS – On March 16, West- Westchester County Association; and the U.S. Senate would create a Consum- the residential and commercial mortgage chester County Executive Robert P. As- Andrew Tung, founding partner, Divney er Financial Protection Bureau within the markets.” torino named 10 local business leaders, Tung Schwalbe. Federal Reserve that would take over the Requiring lenders to keep a portion of to a newly formed Westchester Economic “This group is truly representative of enforcement of two major laws governing the original loan on their books “would Development Council (WEDC). Westchester business and reflects my real estate professionals and mortgage eliminate a sizeable percentage of the The council will provide independent administration’s belief that only through lenders—the Real Estate Settlement Pro- mortgage lending capacity in this coun- advice and recommendations to the a diversity of opinion will we success- cedures Act (RESPA) and the Secure and try,” the group said, effectively putting out County Executive and his Office of Eco- fully overcome the challenges facing Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing of business independent lenders who nomic Development on the policies and area business owners,” Astorino said. Act (SAFE). don’t have deposits to lend against. priorities for retaining, attracting and “Ultimately, the council’s goal is acceler- The sweeping, 1,177-page financial “Elimination of this critical segment of growing business in Westchester, the ating economic growth in Westchester by reform bill passed by the Senate Banking the market—often smaller lenders that County Executive stated. establishing the county as a world-class Committee on March 22 will be subject serve underrepresented areas and bor- place to do business, and with the selec- to further debate and attempted amend- rowers—would limit capacity and choice tion of this advisory group, we are well ments. for consumers, driving up borrowing costs under way towards reaching this goal.” The Mortgage Bankers Association, in or limiting access to mortgages altogeth- The WEDC will be responsible for: a letter to the Senate Banking Committee er—the last thing we need in a real estate presenting thorough and timely economic Monday, expressed “strong opposition” to market that is just beginning to see signs analysis by drawing upon research, which provisions of the bill requiring that com- of recovery,” the letter said. reflects a macro view of the New York panies that sell products like mortgage- Groups representing lenders have also State and Westchester economy and/ backed securities retain at least 5% of the objected that the bill would not preempt or a micro view of vital existing and bur- credit risk. states from passing their own, stricter geoning business sectors; supporting the The new requirement is intended to en- rules for mortgage lenders. communication of the county’s economic sure that companies that securitize loans One provision of the bill that lenders development goals and policies by reach- “won’t sell garbage to investors, because have supported is a requirement that ing out to a wide variety of audiences and they have to keep some of (the risk) for the new Consumer Financial Protection constituencies—locally, regionally, state- themselves,” according to a summary of Bureau propose within one year a new wide and beyond; and assisting the Office the bill issued by Senate Banking Com- mortgage loan disclosure form that would of Economic Development with network- mittee Chairman Chris Dodd (CT). meet both RESPA and Truth in Lending Ross Pepe, Construction Industry ing and collaborating with key partners in During the housing boom, “it wasn’t Act (TILA) requirements. Council President support of economic growth in all critical important (to companies originating The Center for Responsible Lending is- The council will include: Ross Pepe, Westchester business sectors. and selling mortgages) if the loans were sued a statement lauding the passage of president of the Construction Industry Presiding over the WEDC as president, never repaid as long as they were able to the bill out of committee, saying it “sends Council of Westchester & Hudson Val- Westchester County Director of Eco- sell the loan at a profit before problems an important message that Congress ley, Inc. of Tarrytown,; Charles W. Brown, nomic Development Laurence Gottlieb started,” Sen. Dodd’s summary said. must change the rules so that consumers president of C.W. Brown of Armonk; said, “Having such a prestigious group of “This led to the subprime mortgage mess are protected from unfair practices, our Robin Douglas, president, African Ameri- individuals as advisors will be a powerful that helped to bring down the economy.” economy is protected from the damage of can Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Marsha tool in our efforts to generate economic The MBA warned that additional risk bad lending, and taxpayers won’t have to Gordon, president, Business Council growth in Westchester.” He later added, retention requirements could have “par- pay for another Wall Street bailout.” of Westchester Thomas Lalla, general “We need to send a clear message to all counsel, Pernod Ricard USA; Fannie business leaders here, across the country UPDATE Lansch, president, Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Rita Mabli, CEO, and around the world that Westchester is open for business.” United Hebrew; Frank McCullough, Jr., All WEDC board members voluntarily senior partner, McCullough, Goldberger serve at the discretion of the County Ex- NAR Urges Congress, Administration & Staudt; William Mooney, president, ecutive. To Approach Changing FHA Slowly WASHINGTON -- The National Asso- economic crisis by filing the gap left by pri- ciation of Realtors has urged Congress vate lenders, McMillan said. FHA insured and the Obama Administration to move almost 30% of single-family mortgages in cautiously before making changes to the 2009 and more than 50% of first-time buy- Federal Housing Administration program er loans. “Historically, FHA’s market share that has served the needs of millions of has hovered between 10% and 15% of American families for more than 75 years all loans. And when the private market is without needing a federal appropriation. strong enough to return, we welcome a FHA remains financially strong because reduced FHA market share,” he said. it has taken steps to ensure solid under- McMillan said NAR strongly opposes writing standards and responsible lending H.R. 3706 that would raise the FHA down practices, said Charles McMillan, NAR payment. “While that would increase an in- immediate past president, in testimony be- dividual’s investment in the home, it would fore the House Subcommittee on Housing not add a penny to FHA’s reserves and and Community Opportunity on March 11. would disenfranchise many FHA borrow- “As the leading advocate for housing ers,” he said. issues, NAR believes that one of the best NAR also opposes a new FHA initia- ways Congress can help strengthen FHA tive that increased the up-front mortgage is to quickly consider and pass legislation insurance premium (MIP) from 1.75% to that would make current loan limits perma- 2.25% because it adds to the closing costs nent,” McMillan said. “It’s important to note home buyers already face. NAR supports that higher balance FHA loans perform legislation to reasonably increase the an- better than lower balance ones. While nual MIP to replace FHA capital reserves, some argue that higher balance loans but in turn, FHA should reduce the up-front put taxpayers at risk, such loans actually premium due at the closing table. strengthen the program and reduce risk to McMillan said NAR was also con- the fund.” cerned that FHA wanted to decrease NAR strongly supports H.R. 2483, the seller concessions to 3%. Reducing seller “Increasing Homeownership Opportuni- concessions could put homeownership ties Act.” Current FHA loan limits are as out of reach for many buyers, he said, high as $729,750 in high-cost areas, and because it could require buyers to pay are set to expire at the end of the year and more at closing. revert to lower amounts, greatly hindering McMillan applauded FHA’s stepped the housing recovery process. A decrease up enforcement and oversight of lend- of current limits would adversely affect ers making FHA loans. In 2009, FHA 612 counties in 40 states and the District removed approval of or suspended 274 of Columbia. lenders. “Realtors support adding more Explaining that FHA has played an tools to help FHA protect borrowers and important role in the recent housing and taxpayers,” he said. Advertise in IN-DEPTH Call (914) 681-0833 PAGE 18 APRIL 2010 TECHNOLOGY REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH The Latest on Windows Phone Series 7 and Real Estate CRM Solution Options he’s done a great job of finding and evalu- ating many different real estate CRM solutions. If you visit his site you’ll be able the results of our discussion could lead to something that could benefit many Real- tors and customers. to find a nice list of products and solutions Remember, you can click and visit the that you can use to help you jump-start links that are contained in this (and all my on-line your own real estate CRM research proj- ect. Alternatively, you can consider con- necting directly with him by e-mail or via his blog or maybe you’ll prefer to just buy his “Real Estate Contact Management & CRM Productivity Software Comparison Matrix” document. Either way, his website past columns) by referring to the online versions of them! To view the online ver- sions of my columns, simply visit LINK #R1. Let’s talk tech and how it can im- prove your business. Do you have a technology-related question, comment By John Vrooman, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Certified is likely a good place to start a search for or suggestion? If so, feel free to con- a real estate CRM solution! To get to his tact me at email@example.com. Every April the comedian in me tempts ment,” “Certificate of Occupancy,” “Letter website, please visit LINK #3. me to write an “April Fools” version of this of Compliance,” “Agency Disclosure,” Special request: Are you a Microsoft THIS MONTH’S LINKS: column. Unfortunately, that just isn’t likely “Lead Based Paint,” “Property Condition Excel power user? to happen since I know that everyone Disclosure Statement,” “Property Survey,” I’m looking to connect with a Microsoft LINK #1: http://sharetabs.com/w90 won’t read this column on that “special” “Other 2” and “Other 3”. Excel power user. If you’re familiar with LINK #2: http://sharetabs.com/w99 day. Regardless, I like to think about how I’m confident that I speak for just about what an Excel “Dashboard” is and are LINK #3: http://garydavidhall.com much fun it could be to write and read everyone when I plead for all listing comfortable with CSV files, working with LINK #R1: www.johnvrooman.com/ about how Google’s recent acquisition of agents to attach as many of the docu- built-in formulas and have good report wpar say Realogy could make for an interest- ments that are listed above as is possible/ generating skills...I’d like to hear from Tip: To quickly access all of the web ing April Fools column. If you’re still in relevant and to make good use of the you. I have a project that I would like to pages listed above, please visit… an “April Fools” state of mind, feel free “Other 2” and “Other 3” options. If you find run by you and with a little luck maybe http://linkbun.ch/qph6. to e-mail me some of the “April Fools” that the amount of space available on a headlines/stories that you can dream up. MLS listing data sheet just isn’t enough A Conversation With: Ken Jenkins, Westchester Would anyone be interested in reading space to describe and explain things fully an annual unofficial Real Estate Not- and properly, the attached documents So-In-Depth “April Fools” edition of this area of the MLS is where you can com- newspaper? I wonder what kind of fun municate more information about your (and trouble) that special edition might drum up?! Okay, I think that’s enough silly fun for now...it’s time to get back to busi- listings. I think I can safely speak for most when I say that everyone is looking forward to discovering a robust group of Politician and Realtor ness... attached documents for every listing. I think it’s also probably safe for me to sug- There are some good points about it. I am Windows Phone Series 7 gest that listing agents should consider looking forward to the discussions as we You’re probably familiar with the reminding us somewhere within the listing go and develop our own legislation and iPhone and the latest Android operating sheet to review the listings attached docu- also look forward to seeing some of the system based mobile phones, but have ments whenever there are some attached experience they have in Suffolk County you heard anything about Microsoft’s up- documents available. Should this topic be when their law goes into full effect… coming Windows Phone Series 7 mobile discussed at your next office meeting? RID: I know one of the issues you want- phone(s)? If not, I think you might want ed to address as Chairman of the Board to try and stay on top of this topic, as it’s Are You Using Your of Legislators was helping families facing likely to become big news later this year. Computer’s Webcam? foreclosure. Are there any initiatives you From what I have been able to gather, are working on now? These days most laptop computers mobile phones that will run on the new Jenkins: Westchester County was come with a built-in webcam. If you have Windows Phone Series 7 operating sys- the first county in the state of New York one, do you use it? Have you ever used tem will likely become available sometime to not just have a foreclosure-counseling it? Do you want to use it? One problem a around the 2010 holiday season. How- program (in partnership with Westchester lot of people have when it comes to using ever, my guess is that some of you may Residential Opportunities Inc.) we also their webcam is that they want to prac- be thinking about getting a new mobile set aside money for direct assistance. tice using it before they start using it on phone between now and then and de- People get kind of queasy with direct as- a more regular or professional basis. To Part two of a two-part series pending on your situation, you might want sistance. There was a great criterion that combat this situation I would encourage By John Jordan to delay a new mobile phone purchase WRO put in place to do that and they were those who have a webcam, but are in- until you’ve had a chance to see if a Win- very successful in making sure people secure in using it to find a webcam video dows Phone Series 7 device might be the WHITE PLAINS -- Real Estate In-Depth got modified loans… There was also the conferencing practice partner. Maybe recently sat down with the Chairman of best choice for you. Currently, the reviews Neighborhood Stabilization Program that office managers could consider helping the Westchester County Board of Legis- and commentary that I’ve come across was (federal) stimulus dollars where we their insecure webcam-enabled agents lators Ken Jenkins to discuss some of the have all been quite positive. If you want made sure that people who were going to to help each other learn how to use their key issues facing the real estate sector to learn more about the Windows Phones be homeless because they were renters webcams more confidently. Those who today in the county. Series 7 operating system I suggest you in multi-family buildings, that the county are familiar and comfortable using their RID: There has been legislation pro- visit LINK: #1. invested in those properties to stabilize computer’s webcam could also consider posed previously before the County the neighborhood to make sure the build- Rapattoni MLS’s Attached extending a hand to someone who could Board of Legislators regarding co-op ing wasn’t being foreclosed and people benefit from their experience and knowl- Documents Feature disclosure that would basically require were not being turned out from being edge. If you want a webcam practice co-op Boards to give an applicant who renters to being homeless and cost the Personally, I think every listing should partner but can’t find someone to practice was rejected reasons for the rejection. A have a robust set of attached documents county $1,000 to $2,000 a month depend- with, try contacting me! There’s a good similar bill recently was passed in Suffolk associated with it in the Rapattoni MLS ing on the month to $5,000 a month being chance that I may be able to help you! County. Do you have any views on co-op system. Unfortunately, many (most) list- in a shelter… ing agents aren’t making good use of this Find Websites Similar disclosure? UPDATE: In the first part of the inter- Jenkins: The Board of Legislators was view with Board of Legislators Chairman MLS system feature. Here’s how listing To Your Favorite Ones carefully monitoring the legislation out in agents can get to the “Attach External Jenkins published in the March edition of Have you ever come across a website Suffolk County. There was a discussion Real Estate In-Depth he discussed vari- Document” screen that is found in the and wished that you could find other sites previously in the County Board about it. ous initiatives geared at fostering fair tax Rapattoni MLS system... that were similar to it? Although there are We are focusing right now on finishing up assessment of properties. From Rapattoni’s MLS Main Menu, a number of ways that you could go about the Source of Income legislation and after On March 19, Jenkins reported that a click your way through the following trying to find other similar sites, I recently that then we may take on the legislation project the Board previously approved, path...Listings, View/Revise Your List- came across two websites that are easy dealing with co-op disclosure, specifically had been restored. The measure would ings. From the View/Revise listing screen to use and are pretty good at helping based on the model that Suffolk County support the local government assess- select (or find and then select) the listing you to find sites that are similar ones that has enacted… ment community by acquiring street-level you wish to attach a document to and interest you. If this topic interests you and Because of the disclosure law in Suf- photography, which would significantly then click the icon that is located to the right of the listing’s MLS number. After if you would like to try out the sites that I folk County, it allowed us to take some improve how assessors visually confirm found, please visit LINK #2. of the co-op and condominium language the condition and presence of improve- clicking on the icon next to the property’s out of our Source of Income legislation so ments during local assessment. MLS number you are taken to the “Revise Looking for a Real Estate that we can separate the issues and go to Listing” screen and you are presented “This project was a partnership with CRM Solution? the co-op disclosure a little bit later in the county government, the Westchester with a list of options (hyperlinks). In the If you are in the market for a real estate year. Overall the co-op disclosure law that County Municipal Officials Association “Other” section of this page, when you CRM (Customer Relationship Marketing) they passed in Suffolk County certainly (WMOA), the Westchester County chap- click on the “Attach External Documents” solution I suggest you invest some time has some application here in Westches- ter of the New York State Assessors As- hyperlink you are taken to the “Attach and visit Gary David Hall’s website. Since ter with the large number of co-ops we sociation and the Board of Realtors. The External Document” screen. If you are his website has an “About Gary” section have here. It would be helpful for people vendor was selected by RFP last fall and curious or would like a quick reminder of where you can learn more about him, I to have timely information to understand the contract was authorized. I’m glad that the types of attached documents that the won’t go into details here on that topic. that if their application had been rejected this project is, now, moving forward,” said Rapattoni MLS system accommodates Instead I will simply highlight the fact that or accepted and the rationale thereof. Chairman Jenkins. by default, here they are...”Listing Agree- REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH APRIL 2010 PAGE 19 PAGE 20 APRIL 2010 REAL ESTATE IN-DEPTH