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.
In today’s tech world, there seems to be an app on every Smartphone that can basically make any decision, chore, errand, problem, idea or thought into an instant reality at the literal press of a button.
As a New York real estate attorney who has been practicing for nearly 20 years, I have especially been fascinated with how the real estate industry has responded to the evolution of technology in the marketplace. Of course there is an app for home buyers who are shopping for a property or looking to secure a mortgage. And finding the perfect rental apartment in New York City has never been easier thanks to revolutionary brokerages such as Urban Compass that makes pounding the pavement an extinct art.
This time of year is a coming of age for thousands of college graduates across the country as inspirational commencement speeches are given, degrees are bestowed and the newly anointed embark on the exciting road of independence ahead. However, as college graduates leave the security of campus life for the real world today, many face unemployment and skyrocketing rents.
As a New York real estate attorney who graduated law school at a time when the economy was good and the job market was robust, I admire the tenacity and
In the wake of the Hurricane Sandy aftermath last summer, the real estate market and business in general at the Jersey shore was hardly a day at the beach. Sales, rentals and tourism was down while boardwalks, coastlines and businesses were being rebuilt. Summer 2014, however, is showing signs of a very different landscape….literally.
As homeowners in beachside communities such as Ortley Beach and Lavalette rebuild their properties, they are planning elevated, spacious sandcastles in the sky to replace their seaside bungalows from pre-Sandy. And lowered post-storm prices are enabling new buyers who previously couldn’t afford a second-home at the shore, to enter the market.
In the award-nominated film Her, actor Joaquin Phoenix is a lonely writer who develops a relationship with his new operating system that is designed to meet his every need. Perhaps once considered a fantasy, the reality of a relationship between humans and technology, may not be as far-fetched or Hollywood as one might think.