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Jenet Levy's Blog

By Jenet Levy | Agent in New York, NY
  • How Much Does a NYC Real Estate Agent Earn?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in New York, Home Buying in New York, Home Selling in New York  |  July 3, 2013 4:25 PM  |  519 views  |  No comments

    I answer a lot of consumer questions here on Trulia.  A consumer referenced a listing and asked how much the agent would learn.  An agent answered saying (and this is a direct cut and paste):

    This is really none of your business!
    Do you know how much Auto Mechanics make? Yours?
    Is this in the "public's right to know"?
    Why don't you publish your Tax Returns for the last three years

    It bothers me to see an answer like this, because there is absolutely nothing to hide about how we earn our living.  So I am posting my answer here as a blog post, as I am assuming this is something other people might be curious about.  Here is a cut and paste of my answer to the same question:

    I feel that's a valid question. Ron, I think you are being a little hard on him. If a consumer wants to know our commission structure, I think that's valid. I believe the more transparancy, the better. After all, consumers are watching shows like Million Dollar Listing where the numbers shown are not real at all - they show the total gross commission, without explaining how that is split.

    Ruben, here's the math of a hypothetical. Suppose an apartment was listed for 6% (which may or may not be the case, as there is no price fixing, so this is hypothetical) and sold for $1,000,000. The total GROSS commission is $60,000. That is split between the company of the listing agent and the company of the buyer's agent. So each company would get $30,000. Then the company pays their agent. It depends upon an agent's split. Most are at a 50/50 split. Over time, those of us that are prolific work our way up to higher splits, but let's say the average agent out there. They would get half of their company's cut, or $15,000. If you are trying to figure out how much a real estate agent earns, it depends upon how many deals a year they do and at what price point, plus depending on the split they've worked their way up to. There is GREAT variation, and even for a very successful agent, I can tell you that the where the market is at at any point in time will make a big difference as well. And one last point, if you think it is all glamour, I can tell you it is very, very hard work, particularly for those of us that give it our all.

  • Entry Level NYC Home Ownership

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York  |  July 3, 2013 3:40 PM  |  366 views  |  No comments

    New York City has a reputation for being a very pricey real estate market, and the truth is, it is.  When the average consumer watches shows like Million Dollar Listing, where they feature multi-million dollar listings and arrogant agents, it is easy to assume that is our market in its totality. That simply is not the truth, even in Manhattan.  So what is an entry level apartment like?   Here are links to two current listings, both mine (or I wouldn't be allowed to post them).  They are here simply to give you a glimpse of what you can get for $295,000 and $299,000 because there is no TV show called Entry Level Listing.  They links will probably expire when they are sold, so the detail are:

    1. An East Village walk-up in a very convenient location by Tompkins Square Park, located at 512. E 11th St, (Apt. 4D) for only $299,000.  It has lots of light, a shared serene backyard, laundry room, and private locked storage unit in the basement.

    2. A spacious, high floor studio co-op with a separate kitchen in a full-service Murray Hill building called The Murray Hill Crescent, located at 225 E. 36th St, Apt 12-C. More closet space than you'll ever need and flooded with light.

    Yes, the NYC market is diverse, and has something for everyone!
  • New wave of small NYC Apts.

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood  |  January 23, 2013 1:48 PM  |  324 views  |  No comments

    Many people from outside NYC think our apartments here are small.  Mayor Bloomberg feels we need even smaller ones for 1-2 person households.  There was a design contest over the summer for units to fill a building at 335 E. 27th St.  The winner was announced yesterday and is the team of Monadnock Development LLC, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, and nARCHITECTS.  The apartments will be 250 to 370 SF and will be pre-fabricated at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  What do you think?
  • First Quarter, 2012 NYC Market Report

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, Home Selling in New York, Investment Properties in New York  |  April 3, 2012 3:33 PM  |  760 views  |  1 comment
    The first quarter report is in.  According to Greg Heym, Chief Economist at Halstead Property, NYC's largest privately owned real estate firm, Manhattan apartment prices averaged $1,483,591 in the first quarter of 2012, 9% more than a year ago.  A big reason for this increase was a 42% jump in the number of closings over $10 million, including a record $88 million sale.  The median price, which measures the middle of the market, rose 4% compared to the first quarter of 2011 to $821,500.  The number of sales rose slightly, with reported closings 2% higher than a year ago.

    All sizes of condos saw an increase in average price from 2011’s first quarter, with larger apartments posting the biggest gains.  The average price for all condos of $1,889,560 was 8% higher than a year ago, and was the highest average condo price in three years.  New developments accounted for 41% of all condo closings, up from 35% in the first quarter of 2011.

    Co-op prices averaged $1,181,715 in the first quarter, 10% higher than a year ago.  This gain was fueled by three-bedroom and larger co-ops, whose average price jumped 17% from the first quarter of 2011.  One-bedrooms were the only size category of co-ops to post a lower average price over the past year.

    Recent revisions to New York City employment data show that the city added significantly more jobs than originally thought in 2011.  Overall, 54,000 jobs were added in 2011 (up from the original estimate of 36,600), 4,800 of which were in the high-paying finance sector.  The New York State Comptroller announced that Wall Street firms paid out $19.7 billion in cash bonuses for 2011, down from the prior year but much better than expected. 

    These factors, combined with the improvement in hiring across the U.S. over the past few months, and a surging stock market, has strengthened demand for apartments in Manhattan.  This, combined with a stable level of inventory, bodes very well for the Manhattan apartment market over the next several months.

    With interest rates still very low, this is a fabulous time to buy.  Low interest rates, an uptrending market, what could be better?  What a great time for a starter purchase, trading up, downsizing, or making an investment!


    The full version of the report is available on the Halstead website at  the link below:




  • Selling During the Holidays - Good Idea or Bad?

    Posted Under: Home Selling in New York  |  December 11, 2011 3:41 PM  |  876 views  |  No comments

    A common question we real estate agents get from sellers this time of year is if they should put it on the market now, or wait til after the holidays. This is a great question.  Here are my thoughts on this based upon my experience:

    - The holiday season is just like every other time of year in that the serious buyers are out there. The people out there looking at homes now have a real need to buy.  The tire-kickers are the ones who are lying low.

    - Another reason why this is a great time to put your home on the market is that it is most likely decorated in a warm and inviting way .

    - What if you have guests coming, plan to do some entertaining, etc? No problem. You just tell your agents what windows of time or days are not good for showings. Your wishes will be respected.

    - Lastly, after the new year begins, many people will list their homes. With more homes on the market, and therefore more for buyers to choose from, your are less likely to get as high a price as when there are fewer homes for buyers to look at - simple supply and demand.

    So have a joyous holiday season, and remember, if you need to sell, there's no one "right" time.
  • NYC Marathon

    Posted Under: General Area in New York  |  November 5, 2011 6:09 PM  |  863 views  |  1 comment

    Every city, or every location, has its main events, whether it's an urban event or a country fair, or anything in between. 

    The NYC Marathon is one of the truly exciting, and close to my heart, events in NYC.  Tomorrow 45,000 people will gather and start their trek through our 5 boroughs.

    This event is very special to me in many ways. I've run it 6 times, starting at age 40 to prove to myself I wasn't old.  They capped it at 30,000 then, and we thought that was a lot. Running a marathon is mostly not even about that day; it's about the months and training miles leading up to it and all the hard work and preparation that go into it. But of course there's nothing as uplifting as crossing that finish line.  Even though I no longer run that distance, I love the excitement of the city in the days leading up to the marathon.  The international runners are in town, the excitement is in the air, flags are out on the course. It's a very special time in a city that's already quite exciting.

    I still wear a necklace that says 26.2.  That's the marathon distance. I wear it to remind myself that no goal is unreachable if really try.

    Good luck runners!

  • Consider the Weather Patterns

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, Home Selling in New York  |  August 28, 2011 5:09 PM  |  1,075 views  |  2 comments
    Here in NYC, after much preparation, we fared pretty well with Hurricane Irene.  It's the first time in my lifetime that I remember evacuations of parts of the city or the entire transportation system being closed down.

    After Katrina, officials here in NYC drew up plans for how to handle such an emergency, should it ever occur here. Of course our circumstances are different, as New Orleans is below sea level and has a system of levys, but there are some low-lying areas in NYC in NJ. 

    What is the lesson here that is applicable to real estate?  Know the risks regarding weather patterns for the area you are thinking of buying in. Know what weather hazards are likely, and how likely they are.  Know what kinds of outcomes are possible.  Some people want to be on the beach no matter what.  They should know the risks to that area.  If there are maps of where greater risks are vs. perhaps being close by but in a safer zone, maybe that's something you want to consider. This is applicable to buying anywhere in the country.

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