As this year comes to an end, as most of us take time to reflect and take stock of our year in review, Felix Nihamin & Associates looks ahead to 2015 as an exciting and prosperous new year for our clients, colleagues and friends. In particular, we are thrilled to announce that 2015 will bring innovative new changes to our boutique real estate firm, including specialized services that will further enhance FNA’s diverse clientele’s unique needs.
For starters, keep your eyes peeled for a new look and a new voice from FNA. In the first quarter of 2015, FNA will be launching a new website and a weekly real estate wrap up that gives you everything you need to know to keep up with the movers and shakers of New York and New Jersey real estate.
So in the spirit of year-end blessings, FNA wishes you a happy and healthy new year with promises of new beginnings and greater things ahead!
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday….the possibilities for post-Thanksgiving, pre-holiday marketing madness is endless. But depending on your line of business, the products or services “on sale,” varies greatly and therefore, so does the deal.
As a real estate attorney with a pretty good sense of humor, I enjoy an off-color lawyer joke every now and then and I definitely get a chuckle out of the plethora of broker jokes. It seems the real estate industry is terrific comedy fodder. So I was truly amused recently when watching an episode of ABC’s sitcom Modern Family in which character Phil Dunphy, a residential realtor, is the listing agent on his next-door neighbor’s home. This of course, leads to his controlling and uptight wife Claire to get involved in selecting and wooing their future neighbors. As the episode unfolds, in typical MF fashion, despite their best efforts, the Dunphys foil their well-laid plans to secure the “ideal” neighbor. To this end, and as usual, the show exploits the funny side of the real estate industry and exaggerates hilarious realtor stereotypes. However, in this particular episode, “Won’t You Be Our Neighbor,” the Dunphys actually expose a very realistic issue facing buyers and renters (and neighbors) today.
In a recent article in the New York Times, it was reported that data collected two-years ago by the Census Bureau is being used to track vacancy rates in Manhattan neighborhoods. Likewise, the Independent Budget Office analyzes filings of a tax abatement that only primary NYC residents are eligible. Together, these tracking “devices” are being utilized to identify properties that are being used as pieds-a-terre and how often the owners reside in them during a given year. The reason for the quest to determine who is living in these ultra-luxurious swanky pads in the sky is to sock them with an additional “pied-a-terre” tax, which is newly proposed legislation that will specifically charge nonresidents additional monies.
Anyone even just scanning news headlines in recent years can tell you that foreign investors from Russia to Brazil have been snapping up US real estate, especially luxury properties that grace the Big Apple’s skyline. Interest from international buyers has much to do with not only a friendly, domestic financial environment but also the appeal of a safe haven for their dollars from hostile, volatile political homelands. And depending on world politics, the winner of the real estate race changes hands from the Russians to the South Americans to the Chinese. Most recent, the Ukrainian have been pumping money into the New York real estate market as political unrest continues to surge in their country.
As conflict abroad threatens foreign economies and investors look to park their dollars in the safety of US real estate markets, domestic industry professionals need to brush up on their international services in order to meet the demands and expectations of this foreign clientele. For example, New York developers it seems have been building upper-luxurious buildings that specifically cater to the foreign buyer who is looking for hotel-like amenities and world-class facilities. And as foreign real estate brokerages open shop in NYC, local brokers have been partnering with overseas agencies to offer world-spanning services.
As a relatively tech-savvy attorney in the New York and New Jersey real estate markets, I am continually amazed at the struggle between technology and the legal industry. In an age when almost everything in daily life can virtually be done on a Smartphone, it is amazing that we, as attorneys, still bring a forest-full of paperwork to a real estate closing and then actually make Xerox copies of the forest-full of paperwork to be filed in multiple places.
Undeniably, waterfront properties usually top the list of dream homes as millions of homeowners usually desire a little slice of heaven in the form of water views and ocean or lakefront lifestyles. However, the appeal and allure of waterfront living comes with an expensive price tag. High demand and limited supply as well as added insurance, floods, environmental mitigation and infrastructure costs, makes waterfront living not only expensive and highly coveted but also a delicate balance of pleasure and practicality.
As beach-goers head back to work and school children go back to school this week, one particular seaside community will be saying goodbye not just to summer, but to an end of an era. By the end of September, Atlantic City will close the doors on four casinos: The Atlantic Club, which closed earlier this year; themed-legend Showboat; newcomer Revel; and finally, Trump Plaza. By the time the four casinos are closed, several thousand workers will have lost their jobs and the city will no longer be the premier gambling destination east of Las Vegas. These closings have many in the real estate community speculating what will become of the city’s casino-dependent economy and its effect on the local real estate market.