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October 2008

Looking for a Hamptons rental? Try winter.

 

As economy slides, East End owners pump their homes for off-season cash

 

A renovated farmhouse at Georgica Beach in East Hampton was rented for the winter.

By Christopher Faherty

Thought the Hamptons rental season was over? Think again. Brokers on the East End are seeing a curious new phenomenon this year. With the economy spiraling downward and Wall Street teetering on the edge, more Hamptons homeowners are looking to supplement their finances by renting out their houses during the winter months.

“There are a great deal more winter and year-round rentals on the market this year,” said Michael Daly, the principal broker at True North Realty Associates. “Home sales and the economy have slowed, and owners are looking for ways to get income out of their properties.”

Daly said there is no real data on winter rentals. But based on newspaper advertisements, he estimated that there has been a tripling of year-round rentals starting this September, and that rental prices have decreased 25 to 33 percent.

The nontraditional rental matrix seems to be paying off for some East End owners.

As the inventory of winter rentals has increased, so has the market for them, some brokers said.

The disproportionate prices between summer (which is high season) and winter can often be a difference between $2,000 and $20,000 a month for the same house.

Off-season rentals are luring renters for varied reasons. In some cases, the winter rentals are taking the place of more expensive vacations or allowing tentative buyers to get a taste of the Hamptons for a cheaper rate. In other cases, it allows those who are doing well in the down economy to escape the city.

“I’ve rented a summer house for the last five years. This year, I felt with the market being the way it is, I’d see what’s out there,” said Mary Miras, 33, a bankruptcy attorney who lives on the Upper East Side and is renting a home this winter in East Hampton for $1,500 a month. “I’m doing this with a girlfriend and another couple; when you split that, it’s like a gym membership, basically.”

Miras, who lives in a one-bedroom apartment in the city, said her business is busy at the moment. She said she’ll use the winter rental to entertain friends and family.

Miras noted that she rents a similar-sized house in East Hampton during the summer with the same friends she is renting with this winter, and they split a rent of $45,000 for the season.

Mary Slattery, an associate broker with Corcoran who has noticed an uptick in winter rentals, said those who are looking for houses in the post-Labor Day market are less interested in the Hamptons social scene than summer renters.

“They don’t come here so they can stand in line for an hour for a cup of coffee at the Golden Pear. They’re more of an outside person,” Slattery said.

Among Slattery’s winter rentals this year was a renovated farmhouse at Georgica Beach that she rented to a 30-something hedge-fund manager who grabs his dog and flees the city on weekends, attracted by the South Fork’s great off-season surfing.

The half-acre property, described by Slattery as “not fancy but really cool,” rents for about $2,500 per month in the winter — and roughly $65,000 for the full summer.

Brokers were in general agreement that year-round rentals, in which renters pay a small charge above the summer rate to keep the property for the entire year, are also on the rise.

George Fontanals, a broker with Brown Harris Stevens in East Hampton, said that many young people in the market to buy are renting year-round and waiting for the market to soften further before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

“It’s hard to say if it’s the right thing to do, because it’s a good time to purchase,” he said.

Karen Benvenuto, a broker with Hamptons Realty Group, said while the number of people searching for winter or year-round rentals may be growing, so is the inventory, because more sellers are renting, waiting for the market to rebound.

It appears that builders of spec houses are also turning to year-round rentals with the softening market. Laraine Hayes, a landlord who rents out six separate homes in East Hampton, said she met a Hamptons spec builder at P.C. Richards as he was buying 13 plasma screen televisions, as part of furnishing a $12 million spec house to rent.

Hayes, who has been renting homes in the Hamptons for 25 years and recently switched with the majority of her tenants to year-round rentals, has one of her properties on the market for $1.499 million but said it may make more sense to rent it rather than sell in the current buyer’s market.

“I’m not very negotiable,” she said. “I need to get this amount, or I make more money renting.”

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This post describes the intricacies of Fiduciary.  I’ve tried to make the language as user friendly and to the point, as possible.  Bear with it and tell me what you think…md

 

Duties of a Real Estate Agent

         A real estate broker who becomes an agent of a seller or buyer is deemed to be a fiduciary. Other examples of fiduciaries are trustees, executors, and guardians.

 

         As a fiduciary, a real estate broker is held by law to owe specific duties to the person who they are representing. These specific fiduciary duties include: 

 

         Loyalty

         Obedience

         Disclosure

         Confidentiality

         Reasonable care and diligence

         Accounting

Loyalty

        One of the most fundamental fiduciary duties an agent owes to the principal. The duty obligates a real estate broker to act at all times, solely in the best interests of the principal, excluding all other interests, including that of the broker. 

         An example of breach of loyalty is when a broker purchases a property listed with his/her firm, and immediately resells it at a profit. Such conduct is usually considered appropriate and lawful by persons who act at arms length, but a fiduciary would be considered to have stolen an opportunity for profit that rightfully belongs to the principal.

Obedience

         An agent is obligated to promptly and efficiently obey all lawful instructions of his/her principal that conform to the purpose of the agency relationship. However, the duty does not include an obligation to obey unlawful instructions, such as instructions to not market a property to minorities or to misrepresent the condition of a property.

Disclosure

        An agent must disclose to the principal all known relevant and material information that pertains to the scope of the agency. The duty includes any facts affecting the value or desirability of the property, as well as any other relevant information pertaining to the transaction, such as the other party’s bargaining position, the identity of all potential purchasers, information concerning the ability or willingness of the buyer to offer a higher price, or in the case of being a buyers agent, information concerning the ability or willingness of the seller to accept a lower price..

         An agent’s duty of disclosure to his/her principal must not be confused with a real estate broker’s duty to disclose any known material facts about the property value to non-principals. The duty to disclose known material facts is based on a real estate broker’s duty to treat all persons honestly. The duty of honesty does not depend on the existence of an agency relationship.

Confidentiality

        An agent is obligated to safeguard his/her principal’s lawful confidences and secrets. Therefore, a real estate broker must keep confidential any information that may weaken a principal’s bargaining position. The duty of confidentiality precludes a broker who represents a seller from disclosing to a buyer that the seller can, or must, sell a property below the listed price. Conversely, a broker who represents a buyer is prohibited from disclosing to a seller that the buyer can, or will, pay more than what has been offered for a property.  The duty of confidentiality does not include an obligation by a broker who represents a seller to withhold known material facts about the condition of the seller’s property from the buyer, or to misrepresent the property’s condition. To do so, constitutes misrepresentation and imposes liability on both the broker and the seller.

Reasonable care and diligence

        An agent is obligated to use reasonable care and diligence when pursuing the principal’s affairs. The standard of care expected of a buyer’s or seller’s real estate broker is that of a competent real estate professional. By reason of his/her license, a broker is considered to have skill and expertise in real estate matters superior to that of the average person. 

         As an agent who represents others in their real estate dealings, a broker or salesperson is under a duty to use superior skill and knowledge while pursuing the principal’s affairs. However, no broker is expected to perform tasks or know information outside the scope of his/her real estate license. Real estate licensees are not expected to perform services normally provided by engineers, lawyers, accountants, or other professionals. If concerns arise outside the scope of a broker’s responsibility, the broker should acknowledge that and suggest that the principal seek assistance from a reliable outside source.

 

Accounting

         An agent is obligated to account for all money or property that belongs to his/her principal entrusted to that agent. The duty compels a real estate broker to safeguard any money, deeds, or other documents entrusted to them relative to their client’s transactions of affairs.  

 

DON’T YOU WANT TO BE RESPRESENTED AS A BUYER IN A REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION? 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Serving The Hamptons, Shelter Island and the North Fork

631 725 0554 (o)  631 525 6000 (m)  www.beachamptons.com

michael.daly@mfdaly.com 

Why should a Buyer be Represented ?

Looking at a transaction from the Buyer’s side:

·    The buyer brings the money to the closing table!.

     In a typical real estate transaction involving one or more brokers, the buyer pays a total acquisition cost to buy the property. This is known as the “gross” purchase price. The gross purchase price includes the seller’s net proceeds, closing costs, taxes and fees and the brokerage commission. Thus, from the buyer’s point of view, the buyer is financing both the seller’s money and the brokerage commission in a total gross purchase price. In the case of two brokers being involved in the purchase, both brokers get paid a piece of the agreed upon brokerage commission that is clearly defined in the purchase and sale agreement.

.

 

 

Looking at a transaction from the Seller’s side:

.

·    The seller brings the product to the closing table!.

     In a typical real estate transaction involving one or more brokers, the seller never actually keeps the full amount of “gross” sale price. Instead, the seller keeps a “net” amount after the brokerage commission, closing costs, taxes and fee are paid. Thus, from the seller’s point of view, the seller is paying the brokerage commission from the seller’s gross sale price. As described above, when two brokers are involved in the purchase, both brokers get paid a piece of the agreed upon brokerage commission that is clearly defined in the purchase and sale agreement.

 

 

 

·    No matter whether a broker works for the buyer or seller, you can see that the question of who pays the brokerage commission is a matter of opinion and interpretation. Most experts agree that the simplest way of looking at a real estate brokerage transaction is by looking at it as simple arithmetic.

.

What makes a Buyer’s total purchase price:

Seller’s “Net” Proceeds

+

Real-Estate Brokerage Commissions

=

Buyer’s “Gross” Acquisition Cost of Ownership

.

Summary

·   With the majority of real estate transactions involving professional real estate brokers, buyers should employ their own exclusive buyer agent to assist them in locating, evaluating and negotiating real estate, without the fear of additional fees needing to be paid for buyer brokerage services. Remember that unless you specifically employ a broker to work for you by signing a buyer agency employment agreement, all brokers and salespeople represent the seller.

 

 

 

 

                                           

 

 

Michael Daly, Principal Broker

Serving The Hamptons, Shelter Island and the North Fork

631 725 0554 (o)  631 525 6000 (m)  www.beachamptons.com

michael.daly@mfdaly.com 

After 10 years as a salesperson, broker, executive and owner in Hamptons real estate, I and my brokerage, True North Realty Associates have become an Exclusive Buyers Brokerage. True North will be working only with BUYERS seeking to purchase real estate in the Hamptons, Shelter Island and the North Fork. TNRA will not take listings and will not represent those selling their properties in this market.

WHY?   We see the need for buyers, who are NOT BEING REPRESENTED in the current market, to have an advocate; someone who will accept the Fiduciary Responsibility  to protect their interests in the real estate transaction.  Someone willing to take the time to get to know you, the buyer, to find out what makes you tick, what truely fits your needs, both personal and financial and do the research necessary to build the business case for your purchase.

With all that is taking place in the financial markets; Bear Sterns, Lehman, AIG, Countywide – one thing that is becoming clear is the concept of “Moral Hazard” and we see the preponderance of Listing Agents pushing their own listings, showing customers (who, by the way, are NOT clients – clients get fiduciary) the properties that THEY want to sell them, not what the customer wants to see, as a true Moral Hazard, one that the industry is not yet willing to face head on.   Interestingly enough, the name of our brokerage, True North, was inspired by Stephen Covey literature (Seven Habits, First Things First), where “true north principles” lead to decisions that are guided not merely by the “clock” of scheduling but by the “compass” of purpose and values.

In the following days and weeks, we will be adding posts, separately and as links below,  explaining the nuances of Buyer Brokerage; how it works, from the “head” to the contract agreements to the commissions. One thing is for sure, it doesn’t cost any more or less to use a Buyers Broker. All the commission comes from the same place, the proceeds of the sale.

For those of you who I have represented as sellers over the last 10 years, I will be happy to assist you in finding the best suited listing agent for your property.  We can do a thorough analysis of who has the best experience in your particular market and who would be the perfect fit for your needs.

Here’s an explanation of Buyer Agency from About.com  in fairly easy to understand terms.

Buyer Agency  

Part 1: What is Buyer Agency?

Buyer agency is defined as a principal-agent relationship in which the broker is the agent for a buyer, with fiduciary responsibilities to the buyer. What does that mean? It means that as a buyer’s agent you are tied to the buyer, and that all of your loyalties are to the buyer.

Buyer agency is a relatively new concept for the real estate world. In the past, agents were Seller’s Agents, working for the person who signed a contract employing them to sell real estate. Over time that arrangement resulted in too many misunderstandings. A buyer working with a Seller’s Agent often regarded that person as his agent, and felt free to make confidential statements, not understanding they would be passed on to the seller.

Complaints were made to real estate commissions, and lawsuits were filed. As a result, many states now require us to explain agency status to the buyer. New York State requires that the buyer or seller is presented with a disclosure on the first substantive contact.

In today’s real estate world, you’ll find agents who work as Seller’s Agents and Buyer’s Agents, and in some areas you’ll see Dual Agents and Designated Agents. Here’s a simplified recap of those terms.

Seller’s Agent Your duty is to obtain the best deal for the seller. You are allowed to give the buyer only material facts about the property.A Seller’s Sub Agent is an agent from another office who is not working as a Buyer’s Agent.
Buyer’s Agent Your duty is to obtain the best deal for the buyer. You may pass on any and all information you obtain about the seller or the property.
Dual Agent You must be loyal to both parties. Dual agency occurs when a real estate agency owns a listing, and an agent from the office, working as a buyer’s representative, shows that listing.

Here are subsequent posts with more info on the Buyer Agency subject as it pertains to the Hamptons market:

Why Work with a Buyer’s Broker?

Looking at a Transaction from the Buyers Side 

Duties of a Real Estate Agent – Fiduciary 

 

 

 

I remember my grandfather, Joe McNamara tending to his garden behind our neighbor Louise’s house in Westhampton in 1962.  Pop-pop was a big man, bigger than life to me. His hands were so big that I could only hold onto one of his giant fingers as we walked from the house to the garden…looking for bunnies that were trying to eat his carrots.

Tomatoes, cauliflower (yuk), cabbage (double yuck), carrots, string beans, zucchini and squash all grew throughout the summer. He tried other things, but tomatoes were always the competition among the “natives” and my pop-pop (the city folk). 

I remember, we once drove over to the north fork and bought the biggest tomato we had ever seen and came back and put it in his garden.  When Harold Luce came over, pop-pop invited him for a walk through the garden and when they came to the tomato, we could hear them yelling from the house. “Lizzie, Lizzie” pop-pop yelled to my grandma, going along with the surprise. Harold was laughing like crazy and he was so excited, he bit off the end of the cigar he always had hanging out of the corner of his mouth.  ” I guess you city-folk can do sumpin’!” said Harold as he tipped his hat to the giant (nofo) tomato…

God, I miss my pop-pop…and his garden.

Here’s a look at what has become of the vegetable garden. I suppose it’s like dressing up our dogs in different clothes for different occasions…

The Vegetable Patch Goes Luxe

Homeowners Hire Experts to Install Lavish
Gardens; Why the Help Gets the Bounty
By ELLEN GAMERMAN, The Wall Street Journal
July 25, 2008; Page W8

Spec builders grow cautious in Hamptons

 

Hamptons developers turn to pre-construction marketing to mitigate expenses

 

A six-bedroom spec home on 1.5 acres at 493 Parsonage Lane in Sagaponack is still on the market, but builder Joe Farrell said he rented it for $600,000 for the summer.

By Julia Dahl

Speculative building is a risky endeavor almost anywhere. From the initial land purchase to the process of obtaining permits, hiring an architect and overseeing construction, building a home before you have a buyer is not for the faint of heart. In tony spots, like the East End of Long Island, where the price of land has gone up seven-fold in the past 10 years, it can be an even bigger risk.

And a year after the subprime mortgage crisis, it can be downright dangerous.

“I can’t imagine why anyone would go into speculative building right now,” said Walter Molony of the National Association of Realtors.

Nationwide, building is down. Though spec building isn’t broken out from the stats, new housing starts dipped 27 percent from 2007, which was itself a drop of 24 percent from 2006.

However, Michael Davis, a longtime developer of high-end properties in the Hamptons, argued that, “the Hamptons is unique.” Davis, who has already sold one spec home in Southampton this year for $5.9 million, has two others in the works. “If you’re in the right location in the Hamptons,” he said, “demand exceeds supply, even now.”

Still, market watchers are aware that even the Hamptons have not been completely immune to the fluctuations of the national market. In Southampton, for example, the number of new dwelling permits issued so far this year is just over a third of what it was in 2005. Between January and June 2008, the town handed out 62 permits — down from 88 last year, 130 in 2006, and 175 in 2005.

According to Michael Daly, a broker with RE/MAX Beach Properties who also blogs about Hamptons real estate, a select group of developers and builders (including Michael Davis) have been betting on the Hamptons market for decades — and though they may be adjusting their expectations, they certainly aren’t packing it in. Instead, said Daly, some speculative builders have begun marketing their new homes pre-construction, thereby reducing the, well, speculation.

“More and more builders are putting out their products with sophisticated renderings and floorplans, seeking to gauge the level of interest before they start building,” Daly said.

He estimates that there are about one-third fewer “new construction” homes currently on the market in the Hamptons than there were last year. Of those approximately 135 homes, Daly said that about one-third are being offered “pre-construction.” He said that pool of inventory includes 60 percent of the homes on the market with asking prices above $10 million and 42 percent of the homes currently listed between $2 million and $5 million.

In Bridgehampton, for example, one 6,000-square-foot oceanfront property is listed for $22.9 million “total turnkey,” or alternatively for $15.9 million “as is with plans and permits.” In Quogue, a 9,600-square-foot bayfront property with a wine cellar, gym and tennis court on 4.1 acres is being offered pre-construction for $15.5 million.

“Builders are trying to mitigate a bit of their exposure,” said Daly, who points to 35 homes in the area that have been built but not sold.

Bernard Markstein, senior economist and director of forecasting for the National Association of Home Builders, said “mom-and-pop speculators, the people who got in during the housing boom, have largely shaken out or are licking their wounds trying to figure out what to do with their property. The long-term players, on the other hand, are simply trying not to overextend themselves.”

Custom homebuilder Joe Farrell is one of those long-term players. Farrell, who Daly called “one of the most successful builders in the Hamptons,” said he’s sold eight speculative homes in various stages of pre-construction, at prices ranging from $2.1 million to $18 million, in the last six months.

“One house [is] sitting a little longer than usual, but we ended up renting it for $600,000 for the summer,” Farrell said.

Still, he does admit to being a bit more cautious in the new market. “I’m only buying land if I can get a great deal,” said Farrell.

For his part, Davis said that about one-third of his current business is speculative construction and that the volume of spec homes he’s working on hasn’t changed much in the past year.

“Last year when subprime hit, it sounded as if the real estate market as a whole was going down the tubes,” said Davis. “But I think it’s unfortunate that the press tends to generalize.”

Don Sharkey, the chief building inspector for the town of East Hampton, said building permits overall are “definitely down about 10 percent.” But, he notes, they don’t have data isolating new construction.

Meanwhile, Don Louchheim, the mayor of the Village of Sagaponack, told The Real Deal that the village is currently considering four subdivision proposals, representing about 100 acres total.

The right location, said agents and builders, is key, as are views.

Jeffrey Colle, who has been building and restoring high-end homes in the Hamptons for 30 years, said he is “absolutely as busy” as he was two years ago.

Colle is currently at work on a $40 million spec home in East Hampton, on which he is sparing no expense — from 18th-century fireplaces to bathtubs carved in Italy. The 12,000-square-foot home on Georgica Pond abuts a meadow reserve and will boast an infinity pool, six bedrooms, seven fireplaces and “sunsets that’ll knock your eyes out,” he said.

Colle said he’s already had brokers from Sotheby’s come by, as well as potential buyers from as far away as California and Australia. “I’ve been out here 30 years, and I’ve never seen the top of the market go down,” said Colle.

And that’s good news for other high-end developers like Robert Gianos, who has spent several years preparing to construct a Southampton subdivision that some have dubbed “Billionaire’s Corner.” Nothing like your typical suburban tract home, Gianos’ Olde Towne is reportedly inspired by the look of the village from when it was originally settled in the 1640s. Lots are reportedly priced at between $18 and $22 million.

“He’s building for untouchables,” said Daly, who reasons that since Gianos’ potential buyer won’t care what the price of gas is, the developer needn’t fret over market fluctuations either.

I was flattered when Jenn Henn, from the Southampton Press asked me to do a “Lunch With…” interview. I had lunch with writer, Brian Bossetta, last week.md
Publication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Lunch With … Michael Daly

Jun 10, 08 11:28 AM
Michael Daly
Michael Daly, owner of Beach Properties of the Hamptons, talks about the East End real estate market and his real estate blog over lunch at Silver’s in Southampton. Photo by Megan Shaw.

For the last decade, Michael Daly has been one of the top real estate brokers on the East End.

In 1998, he started True North Realty Associates to offer what he calls straightforward, no-nonsense service. Now, Mr. Daly does business as Beach Properties of the Hamptons, having opened the first of three offices in Southampton in 2006. Though focused on Hamptons real estate, the North Haven resident has contacts with other Realtors in Manhattan, across the tri-state area, and in coastal Florida, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and 65 countries around the globe.

He also operates the Hamptons Real Estate Blog, which is dedicated to the Hamptons real estate market.

Mr. Daly recently talked about the real estate market, his blog, and a few other things, over lunch at Silver’s restaurant on Main Street in Southampton Village.

Q:

 

How did you come to know the Hamptons? Did you grow up here?

A:

I’m from the city, but I’ve been a summer kid out here since 1960. My family had a summer cottage in Westhampton where all the kids and moms would come out. I’d leave school as soon as it let out and stay the entire summer. I was one of the luckiest kids in my school.

Q:

 

Since coming out here as a kid, have you noticed over the years that the Hamptons have become more of a year-round community and not just a seasonal community?

A:

Oh, absolutely. I still remember “Tumbleweed Tuesday,” which is what we used to call the Tuesday after Labor Day, because it was said you could see the tumbleweeds blowing down the main streets in the Hamptons because everyone was gone. So much is changing. I think one factor is that with telecommunications as they are today, people have more flexibility with work, which allows more people to stay out here year round.

Q:

So, tell me a little about your real estate blog.

A:

Well, I started it in November 2006, and I’ve had more than 62,000 hits. For me, it just became a way of communicating. I looked and saw a lot of blogs coming up, and I didn’t see anything about Hamptons real estate. I’ve had visitors from all over the world. But mostly it’s a way to express myself and to pass on to colleagues and clients what I think is important about Hamptons real estate. And also to be a resource for where to stay or where to go and eat.

Q:

Do you enjoy it?

A:

I have fun sometimes, but other times it’s a labor of love. Often, it depends on my time. I’ve tried very hard not to make it a gossip blog, because I think we already have enough of those. And I think gossip can be destructive. So I’ve tried to keep it informative and about real estate.

Q:

Well, speaking of, there’s been a lot of talk about the slowing down of the housing market. What, if anything, have you noticed?

A:

Well, I definitely see a change in the market just from the stats alone. The market was down some 40 percent for single-family homes in the first quarter, and a recent report for single-family homes after April indicate they are down 30 percent. That’s for the townships of East Hampton and Southampton, which in my view comprise the Hamptons. But this is definitely the biggest downturn that I’ve seen.

Q:

 

Is there any particular dropoff ?point where you’ve noticed homes going down the most, or staying the same?

A:

I don’t have the exact numbers, except the 30-percent drop in the number of sales. But I think the biggest hit has been on sales between $3 million and $5 million. However, the average sale price is up over $2 million. But that’s due, in part, because we’re still having quite a number of big sales—$10 million, $15 million, $20 million, $25 million sales—and a lesser number of $5 million-and-under sales. So when those smaller sales drop, these bigger ones bring up the average.

Q:

When you get up into those high figures—$20 million, $25 million sales—are those people pretty much immune to what’s going on in the market?

A:

I think so. I think that echelon is immune to everything—gas prices, food prices, as well as real estate prices.

Q:

Do you see the market picking up again anytime soon?

A:

Well, I’m bullish on the real estate market. I think there are some really terrific values out there right now. I think it’s coming to the point where people are not going to be able to resist getting back in because of the quality of the deals that are available.

Q:

So there’s an upside to the slowing market?

A:

Yes. Traditionally, values in the Hamptons don’t drop. They’ll stay flat for a period of time.

Q:

Speaking of affordability, I wanted to ask you about affordable housing. As you know, this is a huge issue in town, how to keep much needed middle-income workers in town when the cost of real estate out here is so high. As a Realtor, how do you see affordable housing playing into the real estate market?

A:

I like what’s happening with the whole topic of affordable housing. It’s evolving into workforce housing. I think affordable housing has gotten a bad rap. Especially by “NIMBYism.”

Q:

Not in my backyard”?

A:

Yes. Because it often gets attached with the idea of bad neighborhoods, or people who really can’t afford to live there being given handouts, and that sort of thing. But that’s not what the issue is here. It’s about creating an environment for the people who work here to be able to live here, which creates a healthier balance.

I think the community is coming closer to finding answers. I think one of the most practical solutions is to allow for accessory apartments, both commercial and residential mixed use, allowing for some of the office spaces in the villages to be turned into apartments. Sag Harbor, for instance, has a pretty nice balance of commercial spaces downstairs and apartments upstairs.

I think there are a lot of available spaces that could be converted into rental units. And that also helps other people to afford to stay in their homes because that can supplement their mortgage or serve as additional income. Because it’s a real bummer for people who work here to have to commute from far away and sit in traffic. The trade parade as they call it. And if we don’t solve affordable housing, you end up with a community of “haves and have-nots.”

Q:

 

What do you think more affordable housing units would do to the real estate market in general? From a real estate perspective, do you think it would lessen the values of homes in the area?

A:

No, I don’t think it would. I think that’s a knee-jerk reaction—that if you put something up that’s “affordable housing” next to me then my property is going to lose value. If done properly, I think it would actually enhance values. I mean, if you can’t find needed workers, or live in a community where teachers, cops, nurses, assistants can’t afford to live, then, in the end, you’re only hurting your own property values. We need to find a balance.

Q:

Have you noticed anything in particular with vacant land sales?

A: It’s interesting. It used to be that land was just land. You’d buy a lot and build a house. But, over the last 10 years, land has become a huge commodity. And there’s less of it. For example, the Community Preservation Fund has greatly reduced the amount of land available to purchase.

Q:

Are you a fan of the Community Preservation Fund?

A:

 

Absolutely.

Q:

 

If there’s less land available, does that at all cut into potential sales that Realtors can represent?

A:

No, because preserving land increases the value of the land that is available. It drives values. And, the thing is, we live here too. I live on a 50-acre reserve. I don’t want to see this place paved over.

You know, I resented for a long ?time the notion held by some that ?Realtors are all just money hungry and want to just sell everything. I fought hard to build a relationship between Corcoran and the Peconic Land Trust. We all want to maintain the beauty and the value of where we live. We have more commonalities than we have differences.

I’ve always liked the idea of “doing well by doing good.” Doing good things brings good karma and brings success. I sit on the board of HANFRA, which is the Hamptons North Fork Realtors Association, and we recently gave a Leadership in Conservation Award to Timothy Caufield, the vice president of the Peconic Land Trust, for his efforts to maintain the face of the East End through preservation. They’re a wonderful organization.

 

Q:

 

What do you enjoy most about real estate?

 

A:

Well, besides truly enjoying the “art of the deal,” my passion is in working with new and experienced agents in developing their businesses. I teach agents about the four “C’s”: Confidence, Commitment, Contacts, and Closing Skills. I’ve worked with agents who have all the four C’s, but it’s taken them a year or more to make money. Nothing, nothing, nothing, then, boom! It all kicks in and they do fine. That’s a beautiful thing to see and very rewarding.

Alfredo Cristo

Loreto Mexico is located approximately 400 km North of the tip of the Baja Peninsula between the Sea of Cortez and the Sierra de la Giganta Mountains.  The stunning and diverse terrain is like no other in the Baja.  There is much biological diversity and varied geological points of interest.  The Sea of Cortez coastline at Loreto is home to reefs, mountains, caverns, bays, islands and coves.  This natural paradise has been protected as a National Maritime Park since 2000 and is home to many aquatic wonders such as: starfish, sea urchins, killer whales, fan coral, mother-of-pearl, blue whales, dolphins and sea lions.

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‘very few people in this world can reason normally. there is a terrible tendency to accept all that is said, all that is read, and to accept it without question.  only (s)he who is ready to question, to think for (him)herself, will find the truth! to understand the currents of a river, (s)he who wishes to know the truth must enter the water.” – Nisargadatta

There are some incredible deals out there, for those with the courage to step forward and have some respect for those who stand in the river.

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