Column: What’s Next? And how has real estate been progressing this winter?

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Now that the government is open again for business, maybe temporarily, as the ultimatum that was provided will give us until February 15 until it shuts down once again and 800,000 federal workers will be pained and out of work and most importantly out a paycheck, once again!

Can the two parties get their heads together and make it happen? Only time will tell if at least a compromise or logical and pragmatic solution can be devised and agreed upon.
But, so far this winter, in our local towns, real estate has been plugging along and properties are still selling at a fairly fast clip if they are priced at market value. What is market value you ask?

The value that someone is willing to pay based comparable sales, from today and looking back over the last six months; no different than when a bank comes in to appraise a property.

Simply, the buyers should ask their agents to do a comparative market analysis to show them what is available, under contract, sold, withdrawn and expired to ascertain and determine what a fair offer should be, on a property that they are interested in purchasing. Unless your agent is exclusively working for you as a buyer’s agent, whereby they provide the following six fiduciary duties, eg. reasonable care, confidentiality, undivided loyalty, obedience, duty to account and full disclosure (we call it CCLOAD for short, that we were all taught and were supposed to learn in the beginning of our real estate licensing classes); they may not be following the true meaning of what representing a purchaser is all about, with respect to what agency law means in real estate.

If you as a buyer, ask your agent to perform and provide the analysis, he or she can do this for you. However, unless they are working specifically and exclusively for you, they cannot provide you a specific price of what they think you should offer as a starting point in the negotiations.

You, as the buyer, need to look at the market analysis and then determine what your offer should be. Many agents sometimes forget who they are legally representing when showing and/or negotiating, due to the rapport and relationships that they have developed over the days, weeks and months with the purchasers and sellers. When possible, representing a buyer, is the best route to take, as long as a commission is available to be paid or that the purchaser is willing to pay a fee, specifically when it is exclusive from another office; because, as a buyer, going directly to a listing agent is absolutely not going to provide you a better deal; since that listing agent is exclusively representing and the fiduciary duties are to the seller and not to you as the buyer (unless they have an agreement as a dual agent agreed by seller and buyer).

Agency law can be a bit confusing to most agents and even Brokers and understandably so; because in other states in the U.S. transaction agency is practiced where you don’t represent any specific party, except the transaction in consummating a sale.

Of the eight states that ban dual agency outright, four allow designated agency(Alaska, Colorado, Maryland and Texas), three allow transaction brokerage (Florida, Kansas and Oklahoma), and three allow both (Alaska, Colorado and Texas). Subagency: The listing broker represents the seller in an agency relationship.

I do apologize for going off on a tangent, but there are times, I need to provide explanations that I think are pertinent at the moment. Now back to the current topic of how the real estate market is progressing this winter. Inventory is ticking up ever so slightly, due to the still excessive demand in purchasing homes, home associations, condos and co-ops, keeping those styles of properties at historic lows; as well as interest rates actually being down a bit since the previous government shut down from December 22, 2018 through Jan. 25,  which due to fear and uncertainty, closed certain government offices providing FHA and other types of loans, slowed down the demand for mortgages and their accompanying applications.

Although increases in market values have been trending down to more “normal” levels, and the fact that the demand is still there (more so, for homes less than $1,000,000 in and around the Gold Coast of the North Shore and with reasonable real estate taxes in and around $10,000-$13,000, due to the maximum S.A.L.T. deduction of $10,000).

However, as mentioned in previous columns, the higher end homes, especially on new construction with excessive real estate taxes and higher mortgage rates, have been taking as much as a year or more to sell and are being greatly affected by those issues. I am not convinced things will get better and in fact, might get worse on the pricier homes, especially in NYC, if any new interest rate increases occur in 2019.

Maybe Amazon will provide a little balance in Long Island City and New York City or possibly out here in Long Island for families who want superior schools as opposed to paying for private ones. I have a wait and see attitude and we’ll cross that bridge, when we come to it!

Philp A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 Great Neck NY 11021-2415. He has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute and a Certified International Property Specialist. Receive regular “FREE” updates of sold homes in your area and what your home would sell for in today’s market or search on: WWW.Li-RealEstate.Com He can be reached by email, at: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com, or by cell: (516) 647-4289.

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