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By Fred Golden | Broker in Bronx, NY
  • Changing Market Conditions in Riverdale / Fieldston ...

    Posted Under: General Area in New York, Home Buying in New York, Home Selling in New York  |  March 18, 2013 4:50 PM  |  370 views  |  No comments
    As brokers/agent, we are constantly asked about market conditions in Riverdale/Fieldston, by buyers and sellers alike.  We express our feelings about the market, but what do we really have to back up our opinions?  I think it is time to add a little support to our feelings and see what has really been happening over the last 2 years.  To do this I reviewed all of the closings classified by the city as Riverdale or Fieldston.  In looking at the co-op sales, I decided to remove the sales of the units in Knolls Cooperative since they are limited-price cooperatives and not free-market pricing.  All sales on Broadway as well as vacant land and parking spaces have also been excluded. 

    I present what I found with a recommendation that users review with great caution. Due to the relatively small number of sales and the wide price range, it can be difficult to reach any firm conclusions in most categories. The Riverdale/Fieldston community contains many diverse homes.  In looking at the single-family homes closed in this 2-year period, prices ranged from $312,500 through $4,650,000 for 62 homes.  Multi-family homes showed somewhat similar diversity; 21 homes ranging from $197,000 through $940,000. 42 Condominiums were sold during the 2 year period.  They ranged from $120,000 through $1,781,000.  Of course the new buildings were at the high end and older condo buildings tended to sell for less, with the Hayden being an exception. 

    The large volume of co-ops in Riverdale, provides us with a larger group of sales to analyze.  Over the 2 years, there were 513 sales.  As we know, there are all sizes of co-ops, from studios through large combined units.  Some are in walk-up buildings and some have 24/7 doormen. Some have pools and some do not.  It is possible that if two large combined units in doormen buildings closed in one quarter and 3 or 4 studios sold in a different quarter, these would tend to skew the results.  The records provided by the city do not provide the information necessary to price these by square foot or by room count.  In 2012 the city stopped indicating the square footage for condominiums as well.

    With all of the above disclaimers, the data appears below, average Selling Price (Avg$) is in thousands and average per square foot (sf$) is rounded :

















































































































  • An Alternative Means for Buyers Over 62 to Finance a Home Purchase

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, Financing in New York, Agent2Agent in New York  |  December 14, 2011 3:10 PM  |  752 views  |  No comments

    Fred Golden

    Associate Broker

    The Field-Golden Team

    Prudential Douglas Elliman
    New York City


    A know that this week’s blog is a little late, and I hope that you will forgive me.  This week’s topic is especially worthwhile and worth a little forgiveness. Over the past several weeks, We have been working hard with a young lady of 77.  Because of our work with her, we learned about a way for those over 62 to finance the purchase of a new home.  Despite my 10 years in the business and the 18 years’ experience my partner has, we have never seen or heard of this exciting means of financing. Today, I want to share this with all of you.  Most of us have heard of a Reverse Mortgage, and have assumed that it meant that an owner of a home with no current mortgage would arrange a reverse mortgage that would provide them funds every month for their retirement and would be paid off when the property is sold, either upon their death or when moving out of the property.  Basically they are using the home as an annuity.


    I found out last week, with the help of a customer, that a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) can be used to finance the purchase of new home!  The HECM is an FHA insured, low-rate, reverse mortgage. There are several requirements and restrictions, but basically you can borrow between 55 and 70% of the purchase price (depending on the age of the youngest borrower), regardless of income or credit standing. No future payments are required until the home is sold or the borrowers are no longer living there. This program was designed to allow seniors, age 62 or older, to purchase a new principal residence using loan proceeds from the reverse mortgage and obtain a reverse mortgage within a single transaction. The program was also designed to enable senior homeowners to relocate to other geographical areas to be closer to family members or downsize to homes that meet their physical needs, i.e., handrails, one level properties, ramps, wider doorways, etc. 

    Now, for some of the more significant requirements and restrictions:


    The youngest borrower must be age 62 or greater.

    The property must be HUD/FHA approved.

    Mostly for single-family homes and condominiums.  No Co-Ops.

    FHA requirements apply (source of funds, documentation, etc.)


    I do not want to make this appear too simple, and not every lender will offer it, but it is possible to get and may work for you or someone that you know.  There are many variations, and I have only described the simplest. If retirement is in your future and you are looking at a move, this is clearly worth investigating.


    I will be happy to answer your questions, or to get you answers. And, of course, we have many approved properties that we can show to buyers in NY, from Montauk to Putnam County and every place in between, as well as the South Florida area.  Just let us know how we may help.


    Fred Golden can be reached at (917) 620.4907. Prudential Douglas Elliman is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Listings available at www.elliman.com/FSG.


  • Often Overlooked.... The Sec. 203(k) Mortgage.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, Financing in New York, Foreclosure in New York  |  December 5, 2011 6:30 PM  |  879 views  |  No comments

    By Fred Golden

    The Field-Golden Team

    Prudential Douglas Elliman



        We have all heard about the “deals” to be had in foreclosed properties and the horror stories of many of those that purchased them.  Real estate consumers today can find ample value in distressed homes – properties that are under a foreclosure order or up for short sale. In many cases, however, “distressed” speaks more for the condition of the homes than their recent financial histories, as they’ve sat empty for extended periods and have been subject to vandalism and theft.

        Buyers often believe that will need to purchase the “deal” and then spend a fortune out of their own pocket to rehabilitate the property. Those considering homes in need of repair and renovation should consider a 203k mortgage, which enables homebuyers to finance both the acquisition and rehabilitation of the property with just one loan.

        “FHA 203k purchase loans are the perfect financing vehicle for homeowners seeking the value proposition offered by REO homes,” said David Wind, president and board chairman of White Plains, N.Y.-based Guaranteed Home Mortgage Company, in a company statement this June. “Home buyers’ ‘perfect’ home can be purchased in less than perfect condition with a single-close loan product that allows repairs and remodeling.”

        There are two types of 203k loans: the 203k streamline and the full 203k. The 203k streamline is the most popular among homebuyers and lenders.

        “The maximum allowable in repairs is $35,000 under the 203k streamline and it does not allow any structural repairs to be done to the home, unless [the repairs are] a result of an unforeseen circumstance,” explained David Krushinsky, a certified mortgage planning specialist for Mesa, Ariz.-based AmeriFirst Financial Inc. “The full 203k allows structural repairs and will allow the buyer to exceed the $35,000 in home repairs. Both loans allow up to $1,500 in swimming pool repairs.”

        Contractors chosen to perform repairs must be licensed, bonded and insured, and they usually must provide the lender with a resume and two client-reference letters.

        “After the close of escrow is when all the rehabilitation work begins,” said Krushinsky. “Funds usually aren’t released immediately so it’s important for your contractor to start work in a timely manner. Typically, if they’ve been in business, they have existing relationships with vendors so they can order materials and begin work. If not, the project may take longer than anticipated.”

        Since the 203k mortgage is based on the home’s potential value after repairs -- not its existing value -- you can be approved for a higher loan amount. The mortgages also carry long-term-fixed rates, are insured as soon as they fund, and include escrow accounts for the scheduled repairs.

        Loan amounts are capped according to local FHA limits. Only owner-occupied properties of one to four units qualify for 203k mortgage financing; homes also must be at least one year old.  



      Fred Golden can be reached at (917)620.4907.  Prudential Douglas Elliman is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

  • Picking an Agent

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, Home Selling in New York, Foreclosure in New York  |  November 3, 2011 8:40 AM  |  737 views  |  No comments

    By Fred Golden

    The Field-Golden Team

    Prudential Douglas Elliman


    If you needed heart surgery, would you pick a name from the phone book?  Of course not, you would most likely ask friends or relatives and your family doctor for their recommendations.  Buying or selling a home may one of the most significant financial decisions of your life and you should not rely on just anyone to help.  Whether you are buying or selling, the agent that you work with will be critical to your success.  Often people feel that the process is simple and that they can do it themselves.  Statistics have shown that nearly 90% sellers and 80% of buyers use an agent to help accomplish their goal. If you are going to have help, shouldn’t it be an expert?

    How to find the right agent?  Recommendations from friends and family are a good source, but only if they have actually worked with the agent in question.  Friends of friends and relatives do not necessarily make good agents.  Recommendations from real estate attorneys and mortgage brokers are often helpful.  Agents that work for firms with a “good reputation” in your neighborhood can also be a starting point. 

    If you are a buyer, you want an agent that knows the neighborhood and the homes and residential buildings in the area.  If you are planning to purchase a co-op or condo, you need someone well versed in the process, someone that will work to get you approved.  You should also be certain that they are familiar with the financing process and can help you find financing, if necessary, and understand the current mortgage possibilities in your area.  If you are planning to purchase a fixer-upper, do they understand 203(k) financing? If your credit is an issue, can they direct you to the proper lender? If you have great credit, can they help you get the lowest rate?  From a seller’s perspective, will they be able to help a potential buyer complete the purchase of the seller’s property?

    It is usually best to work with an agent that is a full-time agent.  Someone that is willing and able to devote the necessary time to getting the job done.  What is their experience, both in and out of real estate and how can that experience be applied to help you? Financial experience, construction experience, decorating experience, etc., these and others can all be useful.  Do they have the contacts that you might need, attorneys, mortgage lenders, appraisers, inspectors, et al?

    Do they have the contacts with other local agents that will generate potential buyers, or access to listings that may not be advertised or are not on the MLS?  Will they communicate frequently and effectively? Will they give you the bad news as well as the good?  If you are a seller, can they provide a real marketing plan?  Will they actually show your home, or just put a lock-box on the property and wait for others to show it? 

    If you are a buyer, will they actually put in the time to work with you, or will they send you to open houses alone or wait for you to ask about seeing an advertised property?  Being an effective agent in today’s market is hard work. Be convinced that the agent you select is willing to make it work for you.


    Fred Golden can be reached at (917) 620.4907.   Prudential Douglas Elliman is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company.  Equal Housing Opportunity.

  • What Constitutes an Effective Search Plan for a Buyer?

    Posted Under: General Area in New York, Home Buying in New York, Financing in New York  |  October 13, 2011 6:00 AM  |  996 views  |  3 comments

    Fred Golden

    Associate Broker

    The Field-Golden Team

    Prudential Douglas Elliman 


    This may differ somewhat from buyer to buyer, but there are a few items that should be on everybody’s list.

    If you know the area in which you plan to search, that will make your search quicker and less likely to have a poor result (I am defining this as renting or purchasing a home where you ultimately realize you do not want to live).   If you are not knowledgeable about the area, you will need to have contact with people that have the knowledge.  Often times this may be a local real estate agent or broker.  Options here are getting recommendations from their prior customers, friends that might live in the area, or co-workers living in the area. 

    Failing such a recommendation, you may want to go online and search for listings that “look” appropriate to see if there is an agent that seems to be working with the type of listings that might interest you.  This will however require conversations with the likely agents to determine if there is a fit between you and the agent.  It is always better to work with one agent once you feel that there is a good fit.  That way the agent will have a chance to get to know you, your needs, and your desires.  Have the agent send you suggested listings to see if they are on the right track.

    You should speak to a local mortgage broker or banker and get a prequalification.  This will help you determine what you can afford and how much you can mortgage.  You don’t want to waste your time, or your agent’s time, looking at homes that you cannot afford.

    You need to analyze what you need and want in a home and be able to communicate those needs to whoever is doing the search.  This is your search, so you should determine the criteria.  Important factors, depending on where you are searching may consist of:

    Price, Size (sf and number of bedrooms), home features (fireplace, garage, driveway, pool, etc.), vicinity to transportation, shopping, schools, etc.   These are the basics you should try to determine in advance of starting your search.  In each category, think about the minimum that you can accept and the maximum that you want.  Once you have done a search using these criteria, you will begin to get a feel for the possibilities and can further refine your search.  A preliminary conversation with a skilled agent in the area may help you refine some of the search up front.

    Fred Golden can be reached at (917) 620.4907. Prudential Douglas Elliman is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Listings available at www.elliman.com/FSG

  • What Determines the Success of a Residential Real Estate Transaction?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, Home Selling in New York  |  September 19, 2011 3:00 PM  |  554 views  |  No comments

    Fred Golden

    Associate Broker

    The Field-Golden Team

    Prudential Douglas Elliman


    Motivation – For the seller, this means that selling their property comes right behind their family and their job. If getting to the closing table is not very near the top of their priority list, it may not happen, or it will take longer than necessary, or it will happen at a lower price.  It can be a lot of work to get your home ready for sale (repairs, painting, landscaping cleanup, etc.), the need to keep your home ‘neat’ and ready for showing, and picking the right agent to represent you.  I will detail each of these items in separate postings in the future, but I am happy to answer individual questions.

        For the Buyer, this means doing your homework on neighborhoods, schools, transportation options, and what you can really afford.  It also means getting your credit in order, speaking with a mortgage person, and finding a compatible agent to help you in your search.  You must also realize that this is an important decision that will require time and thought so there will be no ‘buyer’s remorse’.  If you are moving from an apartment, you must be aware of when your lease ends, will the owner extend you time on a month-to-month basis if necessary, what if you find the right home quickly and want to terminate your lease?

    An Effective Marketing/Search Plan – To be detailed in a subsequent post.

    Having the right help -  For the seller, this means the agent/brokerage you choose to work with; an experienced real estate attorney; mortgage lender, and if you are doing any refurbishing, reliable contractor(s).   Your attorney needs to protect you, but at the same time you do not want them trying to find issues so they can justify their fee, or taking an attitude with the buyer’s attorney.  Put differently, they must be professional. 

        For the Buyer, again this means the right agent/brokerage to guide you and help you find the ‘right’ home for you and your family, a competent real estate attorney, a pre-approval from a lender that actually reviews all of your finances and needs and will help you determine what you can afford.  The issues on attorneys, presented above, apply on the buyer side as well. With your selected mortgage lender, the most significant issue is follow thru and attention to detail.  They may need to come to your defense with their own or a bank’s underwriter.  They made need to push for the appraisal to get done, or be sure everyone is following up on the necessary paperwork.  Your lender must be aware of all of the Fannie Mae guidelines and how they can affect your application, as well as all of the possible programs for which you may be eligible.

    This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but if all of the above are in place, you should get to the closing table in a reasonable time and with a limited amount of stress.


     Fred Golden can be reached at (917) 620.4907. Prudential Douglas Elliman is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Listings available at www.elliman.com/FSG


  • What are "Points", and should you pay them?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, Financing in New York  |  July 15, 2011 1:13 PM  |  790 views  |  3 comments

    By Fred Golden

    Associate Broker

    Prudential Douglas Elliman



                If William Shakespeare financed a home today he’d probably ask on the subject of mortgage points: “To pay or not to pay? That is the question.”

                Homebuyers direct the same question to their real estate agents. Here are some perspectives:

                In its simplest definition, a point is an additional loan fee that is paid to the lender in exchange for a lower interest rate. It’s called “buying down,” and it allows you to reduce your rate for the life of the loan.

                Let’s say you secured a mortgage loan for $500,000 without points, at 4.6% on a 30-year mortgage, your payment would be approximately $2,560 a month. If you paid two points ($10,000), the interest rate in this example would go down to 4.1% and the monthly payment would decrease to around $2,415, a savings of $145 a month.

                In this scenario, it would take you about eight years to recoup the money you paid up front, so if you are planning on staying in your home a while, this will save you money in the long-run.

    Home buyers must answer some key questions to determine if paying points is a wise decision. Specifically:

    ·         How long will you keep the home?

    ·         Do you have extra money to pay points?

    ·         Could that money be better used for something else?

    Money managers may suggest that a smarter option is to invest that $10,000 because you could do much better than your $140 savings, but you have to weigh the variables.

                “Paying points depends on your career, your interests and all the things that predict your future,” said financial advisor Thomas Watkins of Total Mortgage Services in Milford, Conn. “Points are paid up front while your savings will be spread out into the future. Therefore, you get more benefit if you own your home longer, or if you don’t refinance for a long time.”

                The rule of thumb when it comes to points is simple: If you plan to stay in the house for less than three years, do not pay points. If you plan to stay in the house for more than five years, pay 1 to 2 points. If you’ll be in the house for three to five years, paying points doesn’t make a significant difference.

                Another important aspect to consider: Since points are interest-payment related, they are fully deductible on your taxes in the year that you close. See your tax advisor for details.

                Mortgage points can add up to valuable savings over the course of your loan, but the future isn’t always predictable. Even if you “plan” on staying in your home for

    20 years, changes in your career or family life could alter the plan.


     Fred Golden can be reached at (917) 620-4907. Prudential Douglas Elliman is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.


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