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By Fred Golden | Broker in Bronx, NY
  • 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  |  1,014 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.

  • 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  |  997 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

  • Color and the Sale of Your Home

    Posted Under: Home Selling in New York  |  August 25, 2011 7:25 AM  |  627 views  |  3 comments

    By Fred Golden

    Associate Broker

    The Field-Golden Team

    Prudential Douglas Elliman


                Agents frequently suggest that homeowners paint before placing their homes on the market. Don’t be offended!

    Agents understand “color psychology,” which focuses on color’s effect on human behavior and emotion. Since people’s reaction to color is immediate, color has a tremendous influence on the choices they make every day.

                “Color choices are very personal and when selling your home, it’s critical to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers,” said Allegra Dioguardi, president of Styled and Sold Home Staging in New York. “With so many people beginning their search for a home on the Internet today, your home and listing photos must stand out from your competition. Color is one very simple way to do this.”

                Added Eric Brown, one of the authors of House Selling for Dummies: “Painting your house’s exterior before you put it on the market will give the biggest bang for your fix-up buck, as long as you are using colors that conform to the neighborhood’s decorating norm.”

                Colors affect human beings in many ways, and by using the principles of color psychology, you can make your home stand out from the competition, sell more quickly, and at a higher price. In short, the stimulus and effect of colors normally cross cultures. Blues will feel cool, reds and oranges feel warm. Deeper shades of color imply intimacy and serenity. Overall, keep in mind that unless a potential buyer can picture themselves living in your home, there is little chance that they will buy your home. For many buyers, there is need to be able to picture their furniture in your space.  Colors that are too strong, too unusual, may prevent them from becoming “involved” with your property.

    If you have a single-family home, your home’s exterior color is the first thing most potential homebuyers see when they drive up or inspect the property on the Web. The correct color may be the most powerful and cost effective design tool at your disposal.

    What is “correct” these days? Brown’s research shows that homes painted in pale yellows with cream or beige accents have sold fastest during the past few years.

    In general, lighter colors are favored for exterior as they make the property seem larger. Conversely, painting your sideboards with a darker color will make the house seem smaller, though dark colors can draw more attention to home’s details.

                For those painting an older home, you may want to consider historical accuracy, as this could be a big selling point as well.

                When choosing interior colors for the home, consider the purpose of each room. Kitchen and dining areas painted in “food colors” such as a café latte, celery green or scrambled-egg yellow will make the rooms feel more natural.

                Make certain that the color you choose for the master bedroom promotes intimacy. Other bedrooms can be painted in creamy tones of green, blue, or a pale shell pink. For your bedroom and bathroom, cool colors can form a relaxing atmosphere with paint. Consider shades of blue, green or even lavender.

                Of course, common sense should help you with any color choices. You need to match other things in your home and keep a comfortable environment as well.

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

  • 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  |  791 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.


  • A word for Sellers - Kids and Clutter...

    Posted Under: Home Selling in New York  |  July 15, 2011 1:09 PM  |  581 views  |  No comments

    By Fred Golden

    Associate Broker

    Prudential Douglas Elliman


                 Homeowners with young children face a common challenge when their house is on the market: How do you keep the home clean and ready for prospective buyers while maintaining a kid-friendly and safe environment?

                Keeping that “staged look” as the kids create instant messes can be overwhelming.  If you are lucky enough that your children keep their “things” in their rooms, your primary focus should be the kids’ bedrooms, according to two home stagers.

    “Children’s bedrooms are often problematic when getting a home ready to sell,” said Külli Yee, founder and president of Ilus Design Home Staging and Re-design, Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada. “They tend to have more clutter than most rooms in the form of toys and activities, and out-of-season and hand-me-down clothes and toys are often stored in the child’s bedroom.”
                Ye suggests limiting the number of toys and activities that children play with each week and adding and subtracting as the kids get bored.

                “Most kids only actively use three or four favorite toys at a time and the rest just sits there collecting dust,” Yee said. “Pack away extra toys, stuffed animals and books. Organize the remaining toys neatly in baskets, boxes and bins and display only a few items on the shelves.”

                Alice T. Chan, a Fremont, Calif.-based home stager and author of the book 8 Steps for Creating an Irresistible Market Ready Home that Sells, recommended keeping a child’s bedroom floor and closet free of clutter by lightening the load.

                “Reduce the amount of items stored in the closets,” she said. “Pack, store or give away anything that the child doesn’t need for the next two to three months. This is also the perfect time to get rid of unused or broken toys and old clothes.”

                For those with infants, a nursery should be kept tidy with all extra diapers, wipes, lotions, baby bottles and clothes hidden away in a dresser. Make sure that the diaper pail is emptied frequently.

                If you children expand their activities into the living room, you may be faced with additional challenges.  This is NOT a time to allow clutter to build in other areas of your home. Clutter turns buyers and agents off.  Remember, as agents, we share our listings with other agents.  We invite them to bring their customers to see your home.  If the agents that we invite get poor feedback from their customers, they will stop bringing them to see your home.  Agents do not want to make excuses to their customers because of the condition of your home.  Please do not let that happen.

    Moreover, remove any furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose in the nursery. Anything beyond a crib, dresser, rocking chair, changing table and small accessories should be packed away. Consider doing the same for the other areas of your home, as well.

                If your kids have their own rooms, consider asking them to share a room for a couple of months until the home sells. This allows you to set up the other bedrooms as a guest room or home office, adding extra value to your home.

                Unlike pets, you can’t simply pack up the kids and send them away for weeks at a time. Remind your children that once your current home sells, the new home will bring them exciting new adventures. If that doesn’t make them more cooperative in helping keep the place then there’s always plan B: bribe them with ice cream, outside!


    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.


  • The First Thing a Potential Buyer Sees

    Posted Under: Home Selling in New York, Remodel & Renovate in New York  |  May 15, 2011 12:40 PM  |  738 views  |  No comments

    By Fred Golden

    Prudential Douglas Elliman 


    When people enter your home they usually look down before up, so that first step is vital for attracting a homebuyer and making a great first impression. This is one reason why more people are installing/refinishing hardwood floors in their homes.  

        Hardwood flooring enhances the look of any room and can create a classic ambiance that will beautify the interior design of your home. Residential real estate agents agree that homes with wood floors hold their value better, sell faster and fetch higher prices.

        Floors that show their years make these potential buyers look for other defects.  They believe that if the floors are neglected, so must be the rest of the home.  Don’t let this happen to you. refinishing existing floors may be the most important and least expensive investment that you make to sell your home.

        Last year, 99 percent of real estate agents responding to a national survey conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association agreed that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell. The survey also found that 82 percent believe that homes with hardwood floors sell faster and 90 percent said they would sell for more money.

        The American Hardwood Information Center adds that restoring hardwood flooring in the home is one of the best long-term investments to be made.

        “Hardwood floors are environmentally friendly, forever fashionable, and will last for generations,” said Pembroke Jacobs, president of the Hardwood Manufacturers Association. “Plus, with an expected life span of up to 100 years for certain premium hardwood flooring, you can be assured that that the hardwood really is a one-time investment with a very long-term payoff.”

        Real estate agents also agree that carpeting does not impress potential buyers, but hardwood floors are always a draw. Upon seeing a room with wall-to-wall carpeting, all buyers ask, “What is the condition of floor under the carpet?” Engineered wood floors impart warmth, depth and richness to a home’s decor that cannot be matched by carpeting, tile or vinyl flooring.
        Despite the existence of modern architectural trends in flooring, hardwood can still compete with floor tiles and other artificial materials. It comes in a variety of colors and grains; light, medium, or dark shades; and a variety of sizes, styles, finishes and species.

        Maple, mahogany and oak are the most popular woods, but some homeowners are investing in exotics such as Brazilian cherry and purpleheart.

        The Environmental Protection Agency has said that indoor air quality is one of the top health threats and wood floors can help contribute to a healthy living environment. In fact, a recent EPA study found that pesticides used in gardens and homes accumulate on floors and other surfaces in the home, but that wood floors greatly reduce the accumulation of such toxins. Hardwood floors also do not trap or harbor dust mites or molds.

        Though wood floors will probably need to be refinished at some point, when properly taken care of they are much easier to maintain than other floor surfaces.

        The NWFA recommends regular sweeping of hardwood floors with a soft-bristle broom or dust mop to remove surface dirt and debris. If your floor contains beveled edges, it recommends using a vacuum with a soft bristle brush attachment to remove dirt and debris from between the floorboards.

        Having hardwood floors, properly finished, could be the difference between selling your home or watching a potential buyer walk out the door.


    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.

  • Buy First? Sell First??

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, Home Selling in New York, Financing in New York  |  May 1, 2011 5:44 PM  |  775 views  |  No comments

    By Fred Golden

    Prudential Douglas Elliman


    Residential real estate is gaining stability in concert with the recovering U.S. economy. Consumers, drawn by one of the most attractive buyers’ markets on record marked by historically low interest rates and lower home prices in many areas, are returning to the market to move up, trade down, improve location and otherwise enhance their share of the American Dream.

    When it comes to home buying, the ideal situation would be to find a new home, just as you receive an offer on your existing home. You would then be able to close concurrently and move into your new home a few days prior to closing on your previous home. This does happen may happen sometimes, but anyone looking to buy a new home needs to consider all the possible scenarios. 

    Should you buy or sell first? There are many schools of thought on this subject.  Ultimately, it depends on you and your situation. For instance, can you afford to pay two mortgages in the event your previous home does not sell by the time you move? Would you consider a bridge loan (a short-term, high-interest loan that lets you borrow against the value of your old home to covers the bills until you secure the new, larger loan)? Are you willing to move twice to find the home of your dreams if you sell first and can't find the dream home fast enough? 

    This is where the advice of a real estate sales professional is invaluable. Real estate sales professionals know the current market conditions in your area. They are experienced in working with home buyers and sellers to determine an ideal time to buy and sell.

    It is generally less stressful to sell your home first, because you won't have to worry about owning two homes at one time. The market will dictate how long it will take for your home to sell, as will the property’s location, your asking price and willingness to negotiate, and the time of year. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to put your home of the market as far in advance as possible when planning to purchase a new one. But, since interest rates are low and confidence is returning to the market, there’s a good change your home will sell faster if priced properly. (Again, your real estate professional’s advice is critically important here.) In that case, you may want to purchase a new home first.

    What if your present home sells before you find a new one, putting pressure on you to find the right house more quickly? You may then decide to make an interim move or request to rent back your home for a specified amount of time as you continue to look for your new home. Those may be worthwhile options if you have your heart set on a specific location or type of home or if you are purchasing a home that is under construction.

    If you buy a home before selling your present home, you may end up with two mortgages. Under those circumstances, you may be able to apply for a bridge loan to assist you in making two mortgage payments until you sell your first home (not easy to get in the current market). Your real estate sales professional may be able to assist you in finding a lender. 

    So should you buy or sell first? This is a challenging question regardless of real estate cycles, yet your own circumstances and a knowledgeable real estate professional will help you make the right decision.

    Fred Golden is with the Firld-Golden team and 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 Financial company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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