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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  |  257 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 :

















































































































  • Present your Home for Maximum Value

    Posted Under: Home Selling in New York, Curb Appeal in New York, How To... in New York  |  May 2, 2012 7:07 PM  |  178 views  |  No comments

    Present your Home for Maximum Value



    By Fred Golden

    Prudential Douglas Elliman


    This is the beginning of the Spring selling season.  This time of year, inventory expands rapidly as growing families make the decision to move before the start of the next school year and put their homes up for sale. If you really want to sell quickly and get the best price, you need to prepare your home for sale.  It is usually not necessary to spend a fortune to get your home ready for the market


    CLEAN: Get rid of the stains, the dust, the mold, the mildew. Clean those carpets. Wipe down the walls. If necessary, wash the windows and get the upholstery cleaned too. Much of what determines if a home will sell and how fast is the first impression it creates in a potential buyer’s mind.


    PAINT: A new coat of paint can work wonders. And, if you are painting, lighten up the colors and the atmosphere at the same time.  Dark and depressing are not sales tools. If you have outside doors and trim, paint them as well. A home that sparkles on the outside can help draw buyers.


    LIGHT: Again, dark and depressing are not sales tools.  Replace blowout bulbs, think about replacing 60 watt bulbs with 75s, 75s with 100 watt bulbs.  If necessary, replace fixtures that provide insufficient lighting.  It is no necessary that they be new, just tasteful and bright.


    OUTDOORS:  If you have a yard, give it a little attention.  Spruce it up, trim the plants, remove the weeds.  Make certain that the lawn and hedges are trimmed.  These are the 1st thing potential buyers see.  If the outside is unkempt, they are entering the home with a negative already on their mind. They are likely to feel that if the outside has not been cared for, the inside has not either.


    WORKING APPLIANCES: Again, as soon as a potential buyer sees something that does not work, they will mentally start to question the upkeep of the entire house!  We all know how hard it can be to regain credibility once you lose it.  Be sure you do not lose yours.


    REPAIR: Leaks, blown fuses, tripped breakers, slow flushing toilets… Make these problems go away before you start showing your home.





         Fred Golden is part of the Field-Golden team at Prudential Douglas Elliman and can be reached at 917.620.4907.  The team may also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Field.Golden. Prudential Douglas Elliman is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity. 

  • Feeling trapped in your current home?

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in New York, Home Selling in New York, Remodel & Renovate in New York  |  January 28, 2012 7:33 AM  |  372 views  |  No comments

    By Fred Golden

    Associate Broker

    The Field-Golden Team

    Prudential Douglas Elliman

    This is a re-post of an article that appeared on CNN Money.  Not something I usually do, but it may be important to many of my readers and I did not want them to miss it.

    By Josh Garskof, CNNMoney.com
    January 23, 2012

    You don't have to be underwater on your mortgage to feel trapped in your home.

    Now may be a less than ideal time to put a house on the market or to take on big debt — icing your plans to trade up or build an addition anytime soon. But that doesn't mean you're stuck living in an uncomfortable home.

    For a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, you can make your place "live" bigger without actually making it bigger, says architect Sarah Susanka, a small-space specialist and author of "Not So Big Remodeling."

    Call it thinking inside the box; here are nine creative solutions for cramped homes.

    1. Multitask the dining room ...

    Cost: $500 to $2,000

    If you have an eat-in kitchen, your dining room is probably used for special occasions only.

    "Why have a prime spot sit vacant except for two or three holidays a year?" says Susanka.

    Use it every day as an office or homework room without giving up dinner-party capabilities. Install doors ($300 to $500 each, with labor); add shelves or a cabinet for supplies; and invest in fitted pads to protect the tabletop.

    For more flexibility, try a table like homedecorator.com's $629 Mission Table Cabinet, a sideboard that — amazingly — telescopes into a full-size dining table.

    2. ... and the guest room

    Cost: $100 to $3,000

    Stop dedicating a whole room to infrequent out-of-town visitors.

    With a decent air mattress,futon, or pull-out couch, you can lose the spare bed and use the room for day-to-day needs. (If you go with an air mattress, make sure to choose one with a built-in reversible motor to simplify the inflating and deflating.)

    Add furniture, and what was only a guest room can double as a media or game room or home office.

    3. Add a powder room

    Cost: $3,000 to $6,000

    Adding a first-floor powder room is simple if you have an unfinished basement or crawlspace for running the new pipes. Look for an existing room — a coat closet, say — and you won't have to build walls.

    To save more, forgo the tile. The minimum space required by code is typically 2½ by 4½ feet, but you can often get an exemption to go even smaller.

    4. Build a home office closet

    Cost: $100 to $3,000

    If your family is already bursting the seams of your abode, a home office might seem out of the question. But every household needs at least a small desk for paying bills and to anchor a wireless Internet system — and you can often fit it all in a closet or armoire.

    At its simplest, all you need are five or six deep, sturdy shelves made from wood or a composite product, which can total less than $40 at a home center. In a closet, set the lowest shelf at 30 inches high so you can wheel up a chair.

    5. Bring the laundry upstairs

    Cost: $5,000 to $7,000

    Hiking up and down the stairs with laundry is enough to make anyone wish she could trade up. Instead, just move the machines.

    Today's full-size high-efficiency washers and dryers are all designed to stack. You can steal the space — a little more than four square feet — from a closet, hallway, or nook.

    You'll need to run new pipes and wiring, so being near an existing bathroom helps keep costs down, says Raleigh, N.C., architect Tina Govan. Make sure to include a drain pan to collect overflows or spills.

    6. Open the floor plan

    Cost: $2,000 to $4,000

    A choppy layout of undersize rooms can make any house feel claustrophobic.

    "People like the look of older homes, but not the way they function," says Seattle architect Thomas Lawrence.

    To open your floor plan without major expense, remove doors from rooms that don't need them. Interior walls can come out for $2,000 to $4,000, unless they support the building or contain pipes — in which case a window or pass-through may be a more feasible solution.

    7. Use built-ins to replace a closet

    Cost: $4,500 to $6,000

    If you choose to eliminate a closet to expand or enhance your living space, create some built-ins to get back the lost storage. A run of four- to 10-inch-deep shelving along a wall has almost no effect on the size of a room, says Corvallis, Ore., architect Lori Stephens.

    And it can handle many times the capacity of a closet. You might spend $4,000 removing the closet and another $2,000 on new built-in cabinetry, or just $500 if you use assemble-it-yourself home-center cabinetry, such as the Billy collection from Ikea.

    8. Build a bump-out

    Cost: $6,000 to $12,000

    Another trick to expand a home without a full-blown addition is called a bump-out. You hang extra space off the side of the house, sort of like an oversize bay window.

    Structurally, it can't extend more than about three feet from the existing exterior wall, but it can run nearly the whole length of the building — enough space to add an eating area to your kitchen or a closet to your master bedroom suite.

    Because there's no foundation work, a bump-out costs about $150 a square foot — or just $100 if you can tuck it under an existing roof overhang.

    9. Finish non-living spaces

    Cost: $15,000 to $30,000

    Converting a full-height basement or garage into living space gets you an addition at half price. You'll need a floor, ceiling, walls and more, but no structural work, no foundation, and no roof, so it'll cost $50 to $100 a square foot — vs. about $200 for a true addition.

    Attics are fair game, too, but more complicated because you may need to add a stairway and probably extend the plumbing, heating, and cooling systems a flight up. Doing all that brings the cost to around $150 a square foot.


    Fred Golden is part of the Field-Golden team at Prudential Douglas Elliman and can be reached at 917.620.4907.  The team may also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Field.Golden. Prudential Douglas Elliman is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity. 

  • 8 Mistakes to avoid when staging your home for sale...

    Posted Under: General Area in New York, Home Selling in New York, Remodel & Renovate in New York  |  January 22, 2012 5:54 PM  |  394 views  |  1 comment
    By Fred Golden Associate Broker The Field-Golden Team Prudential Douglas Elliman

                 You may love your home, but that doesn’t mean that everyone coming through the door will feel the same way. What may be “charming” to the seller may seem off-putting to a prospective buyer. Many sellers attempt to stage their home themselves and, in doing so, create mistakes that can actually sidetrack the sale of their homes.

                Here are some of the biggest staging mistakes, according to professional home stagers, and a few personal opinions to take with that proverbial “grain of salt”.

                1. Getting too personal: Home staging is meant to create a neutral canvas that will appeal to the majority of buyers. Staging is all about de-personalizing the space, and creating more of a luxury hotel or a model home look that will appeal to most everyone. This is not the time to bring in your unique style and create a look that appeals to just you. However, keep in mind that if it comes off too “cold”, it may be difficult for a possible buyer to feel any attachment.

                2. Using dark colors: If painting, you should choose a nice, neutral and warm color, such as beige tones, grey tones, or light blue or pale greens. You’ll be amazed at the transformation a few coats of fresh paint will make on your home.

                3. Not taking advantage of natural light: People love natural light, so blocking off any light with heavy curtains or furniture can hurt your sale, especially if the home has attractive views. Anything dated in a home is a turn-off to a potential buyer and window treatments or old blinds are one of them.

                4. Thinking more is better: Scale down your furniture. The size of the furniture needs to be in balance with the scale of the room and the other furniture in it. Remember that the purpose of furniture when selling a home is to define the purpose of the room and to show what will fit where. It is not meant to show that you can provide seating for 15 in your living room and every seat has a side table to rest drinks on. Less is more, in this case.

                5. Leaving pets at home: You need to remove all traces of animals from the house and make sure “Fido” or “Sunshine” is away during showings. Having a pet could kill a sale before someone even steps into a house. No cat of doggie fur on the sofa, no smelly pet food out, no litter box on display.

                6. Neglecting the outside: People care about the outside space just as much as the inside, so add flowers, make sure the lawn is mowed, the yard is tidy and add a few backyard accessories for the kids.

                7. Only dealing with “main” rooms: People are quick to stage living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms, but don’t forget to spruce up the garage, basement and closets as well.

                8. Forgetting fixtures: When staging a home, it’s important to ensure all lights are burning with fresh bulbs, and that all fixtures are working properly.

    Remember, staging a home means showcasing the property’s many features, not concealing its flaws. Make sure your house is in good condition and use staging to cast the home in the best light.

     Fred Golden can be reached at (917) 620.4907.  Prudential Douglas Elliman is an independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

  • How does and Agent earn their Commission?

    Posted Under: General Area in New York, Market Conditions in New York, Home Selling in New York  |  November 16, 2011 7:51 AM  |  899 views  |  No comments

    What Does a "Good" Agent do for a Seller to earn their Commission?

    by Fred Golden

    Associate Broker

    Prudential Douglas Elliman

    My partner and I have over 25 years of experience selling residential real estate in New York City.  We work hard for the commissions that we earn.  In our neck of the woods, lockboxes are few and far between. I will try to go thru this from the beginning...

    To get a listing, we need to evaluate a property, including its market potential and then explain this to the seller.  The market must be reviewed for comparable sales and changing conditions.  We must explain what we have found to the seller and be prepared to answer their questions. We also explain, under changing market conditions, the relationship between the Asking Price and the Selling Price.

    We review with a seller what their property may need to attract potential buyers, whether a paint job, refinishing a floor, or possibly professional or virtual staging.  Maybe it is as simple as cleaning the carpets and de-cluttering the space or as complex as a new kitchen.  We need to be prepared with answers when the seller wants an expectation of the cost to do what we recommend. We may even need to have names and numbers available for cleaners, contractors, trash removal services and charities that accept furniture.

    We develop a marketing strategy and carry it out.  We make changes to the strategy when conditions require it or if circumstances change.  We may even need to provide advice for a potential short sale.  We see that the property is presented in the best possible light (another reason we do not use lockboxes), including expert pictures and well written descriptions.

    We have learned to negotiate a price thru years of experience. We listen when a client or customer tells us something. We communicate what is happening with their listing on a periodic basis.  We answer their questions and, where possible, relieve their concerns.

    We communicate with the seller's attorney and follow up to insure the buyer is following up on their obligations.  We review condo and co-op board packages to insure that they are being presented in the best light and that they are complete when submitted.

    We are present for engineer inspections and mortgage appraisals.  We make sure that the appraiser has the necessary comparables to support the price.  If we believe that an appraisal is incorrect, we will push for an appeal.

    It is not just our job to find a buyer, but to see that the transaction moves to completion in the shortest possible time and with the least possible stress to the seller. Our "job" is not done until we leave the closing table, and sometimes, not even then.

    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  |  641 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 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  |  476 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


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