An Educated Consumer is our Best Customer in Real Estate Today

Pricing and Selling Your Home in Today’s Environment:th-1

An educated consumer is your best customer in Real Estate Today.

Written by: Toni Chrystal, Licensed Associate RE Broker, ABR, Trainer and Coach

Sellers have a dream…Most sellers dream of getting multiple bids on their property. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to say we received our asking price or higher. When it comes to pricing and receiving multiple bids the idea is to price the house at market value or just below what the comps show as market value. Let’s be clear, market value is what the home is worth at that time in the marketplace… not 5 years ago! Keep in mind you can never under­price a house because the buyer’s in the marketplace won’t let that happen.  Hence, an educated consumer is your best consumer in Real Estate today.

Market Value..​.It is virtually impossible to pinpoint the exact selling price or exact market value of a home, but you should be able to justify a listing price range with a low and a high recommended price. Keep in mind you have to sell the house three times; first to the agents, second to the potential buyers and third to the bank appraiser. The marketplace provides an enormous amount of information for the buyers to digest and today’s buyer is fully focused on the job of buying a home. They come to the table fully educated on price values. H​ence, an educated consumer is your best customer in Real Estate today.

Pricing…A clear indication of pricing the home to sell in order to gain a multiple bidding environment is a good amount of showings that result in offers presented quickly for very close ­ or at asking price. The early offers are the best offers, and you may not see them again; therefore, owners should seriously think about those that come in first. These buyers are generally ready to make the move and have already shopped the marketplace enough to feel comfortable making an offer. H​ence, your educated consumer is your best customer in Real Estate today.

Reductions not favorable.​..If a house is priced over the market value you will see fewer showings, and no offers, not even low offers in most instances. The feedback will keep coming back the same, of course, the favorite is “it needs work” this will result in adjustments to the price. The longer a home sits on the market at the wrong price, the less likely you will receive asking price. Think of it like this… when shopping for any retail item, the item starts out at full price and if the value is clear to the consumer they will purchase it no matter the cost, they have to have it and the value is clearly obvious for them. If the value is not clear to the consumer, they will just wait until it the item hits the sale rack. The question owners need to ask themselves, do you want your home on the 25% rack the 50% rack or the 75% rack?

Getting the home ready for a successful sale…Well­ priced homes that also show well sell quickly. If you want a quick sale, you need to invest some serious time in getting the house ready for a successful sale. This means prepping the home to sell and show well. Some suggestions and easy inexpensive fixes would be to remove large pieces of furniture and personal items, painting with neutral colors, replacing carpets, finishing floors and even doing some minor renovations such as updating bathrooms and kitchens. Focus on kitchens and bathrooms, decluttering and cleaning, when in doubt throw it out. Fix obviously issues. A well maintained home will indicate to the buyer that this house was well cared for. H​ence, an educated consumer is your best customer in Real Estate Today.

Disclose and Inspect…Disclose and inspect upfront ­ consider having a pre inspection to find out any hidden problems that might come up on an inspection and fix them before you list the home. By presenting disclosures upfront, and even providing buyers with a copy of a recent inspection report, you can help them get more comfortable with the home. If you price the home to account for whatever work needs to be completed or for disclosure red flags, buyers will feel more confident, and may make an offer much more quickly. There is little risk in disclosing and inspecting. If you try to hide something and the buyer discovers it later, you can expect the deal to fall apart or be asked to make concessions. H​ence, an educated consumer is your best customer in Real Estate Today.

Internet Appeal vs. Curb Appeal…The new norm is how will your property look on­line. The first point of exposure is the Internet. Let’s face it, we are now at a place where the majority of buyers look online first. Think about it, if the presentation online doesn’t have any appeal to the viewer, they never make it to the curb, therefore, never view the property. Hire the real estate professional that understands the value of the Internet and how important it is to have professional photos and enhanced write ups that tell the story of your home and draw the buyer to want to see more.

Selling your home is a major undertaking..​.Spend time strategizing and preparing the home for the market. Keep in mind pricing, staging, presentation and disclosure go hand in hand. Getting the most out of your investment is essential for your future. If you want a quick sale, price it right, present it in its best possible light, and go out of your way to make buyers feel comfortable with all aspects of the home. Hence, an educated consumer is your best customer in Real Estate Today.

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Let’s get back to basics in 2015!


Let’s get back to basics in 2015!

I get it,  digital is here to stay!  Digital is a marketing vehicle that agents must add to their list of  “to do’s” while business planning.  One thing I am sure of is that Real Estate marketing has changed more in the past 10 years than the prior 100 years.   New agents entering the real estate business learn how to market using digital right out of the gate.  They get it.  However, the seasoned experienced agent still lags behind and that includes those that are tech savvy.

As with most things in life, there is no “magic bullet” for generating leads.  The key here is personal marketing in this digital age needs to be a well rounded assault.  Let’s not forget the “basics” and that starts with face to face,  direct mail, online, email, and yes, I will say it “pick up the dam phone”.  Direct Mail is a viable and effective marketing vehicle, speaking to a live voice is essential, and digital is just another avenue for agents to be visible.  At the end of the day with our “tight inventory” and the fluctuation of the market up and down within each quarter of the year without any rhyme or reason; agents need a game plan and it must be multifaceted, innovative, and implemented for proven results.

The fundamentals of marketing and branding is consistency and frequency.  Build a powerful marketing campaign and business plan that includes strategically building name recognition.  So when a potential buyer or seller is in the market for real estate, you are the only name that pops in their head.

Here’s to a fantastic 2015, and I hope to proclaim in June that this is truly the year of the listing for “The Twin Team” @ Houlihan Lawrence, Toni Chrystal and Terri Crozier!

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Take a look at 797 North Street, White Plains NY

This property is temporarily off the market.  However, if you would like to take a look – feel free to contact us and we will arrange for a private showing.

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Safety in Social Media

I love my social networks and enjoy keeping in touch with family and friends, however it is a bit scary to know that just a few clicks, posts, and messages, you could give enough personal information to compromise your privacy and even open yourself up to identify theft.  So it’s critical that you know how to protect yourself when using these sites.  Here are a few suggestions when using social media.

  • The Internet is permanent:  Once it’s on your site, it will stay forever.  Yes, even if you decide to delete the account, you don’t know if someone has already printed or copied your text or photos.
  • When a friend request comes your way, be selective and don’t just friend everyone that asked.  Only “friend” people you know in the real world.
  • Links are great, but they can be dangerous as well.  Even if they’re from friends.  Hackers prey on social networks because you are more likely to click on something from a friend.  Also, be wary of offers with the word “free” in the subject line, or ones that sound too good to be true.
  • Check and manage your privacy settings on a regular basis.  Make sure that you are only sharing information with friends and family and check regularly in case there are any changes.
  • Be aware of the information you share on one social network may be linked to another social network.  For instance, a photo you post on Twitter may automatically be posted on your Facebook page as well.
  • Be selective about what personal information you reveal.  Be suspicious of anyone who asks for your personal information online and never share your home address, phone number, social security number, mothers maiden name, or birth year.  This information is key for identify theft.
  • Turn off the GPS function on your smartphone camera.  If you plan to share images online, make sure that you turn off the GPS on your device to keep your exact location private.
  • Don’t enable any auto login, make sure that you don’t have your “apps” set to automatically log in and that you don’t have your computer’s browser “remember” your login and password.  That way if someone does get access to your devices, they can’t automatically access your social sites, or other important sites like banks.
  • Change your password frequently.  Choose hard-to-guess passwords that are at least eight characters long and a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and change them regularly.  Also make sure you use different password for each account.  Yick I hate this one.
  • Be conscious of old accounts you may have that are no longer being used.  Don’t risk leaving personal data in an old account, such as a Myspace page you haven’t used in years, or an online dating site you no longer used.  Instead close the account you don’t use and delete as much personal information from them as possible.
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New Year’s Resolution – Make 2014 the Happiest Year of your Life

The older I get the more I realize that Happiness is a Choice… some thoughts on how to live A LIFE OF HAPPINESS.

  • Stop caring what other people think of you. Spending time worrying what others think, is a waste of energy. You’ll never please everyone and it’s none of your business what others think of you.
  • Stop trying to please everyone.   Be the best version of you you can be, and you’ll naturally attract in the people that are supposed to surround you.
  • Stop participating in gossip. 100 percent of the time, those sharing gossip with you will gossip about you.
  • Stop worrying.  Worry is investing time and energy in something you don’t want to have happen. Learn to let go and trust.
  • Stop being so insecure. There is one version of you on the planet. Be it, own it and quit worrying about it. No one really cares or watches you that closely.
  • Stop taking everything personally.  Most people are too consumed with their own life to really consider what you’re doing.  “The world doesn’t revolve around you. Most people’s reactions have nothing to do with you, so let it go.”
  • Stop living in the past.  Every experience in life has taught you something or made you stronger. Move on and get off the train.  Happy people live each day as if it’s the last.  Don’t dwell on the past because you can’t control that only your future.
  • Stop spending money on what you don’t need in effort to buy happiness. Living simply allows the space for life to flow. We complicate our lives by spending too much money and filling our home with “things.”
  • Stop being angry. Anger burns a hole in the hand of the person still holding on to it.   No one wants to be around angry people.
  • Stop being in control. Control is an illusion.  Learn to embrace the new and welcome change; otherwise you’ll grow old through your own rigidity. Learn to let go.



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Who Pay’s The Commission?


Many buyers are confused about how buyer’s agents get paid. It is confusing in some sense. Real Estate agents are prohibited from being paid a commission directly by the consumer. All commissions are first paid to the agent’s broker, and then the agent’s broker pays the agent. Each agent works as an independent contractor, for the most part and operate under the license of their Broker.

Buyer’s Agents Usually Do Not Work for Free

When you ask a buyer’s agent to show you property, you are implying that you will eventually give an offer through that buyer’s agent. If you have no intention of ever giving the buyer agent you are working with an offer, you are taking advantage of that agent. The agent does not get paid unless they get to the closing table with the buyer and seller.

Understanding Procuring Cause:

It is a complex process finding a home. Who is entitled to the real estate commission when a buyer works with more than one agent? Generally, the agent that presents the offer is the agent that will get paid. Therefore, if you ask an agent to spend weekends driving around, sharing their expertise and knowledge helping you to select a home, it is only fair to be loyal to that agent, as that agent will be loyal to you.

Why a Buyer’s Agent will ask for a signed Exclusive Right to Represent: A buyer broker contract is an agreement between the buyer and the buyer’s agent. The basic buyer broker agreement is the Exclusive right to represent agreement: an exclusive buyer broker agreement binds that buyer’s agent to you and you to that buyer agent for a specific period of time, noted in the contract. This time frame could be one day, one property, one month, six months or even a year. The buyer cannot buy a property without owing a commission to that agent. So if for some reason your agent is away for the weekend, and you look at a property with someone you called for the first time, they show you, you like it and place an offer – your buyer agent is entitled to the commission – not the agent that showed you the property.

Many times buyers hesitate to sign an exclusive right to represent with one agent. And many times agents are less than assertive about getting these documents signed. Agents are so set in their ways of working and running around with buyer’s they don’t think about protecting their own pay. They’re uncomfortable asking for the buyer to sign this document in fear of rejection. I really believe that buyer’s hesitate to sign this form, because they don’t understand it.  If explained correctly and discussed, it’s a no brainer.

I like to use the analogy, when agents list homes they sign an Exclusive Right to Sell, and the agent is loyal and they follow their  fiduciary responsibility.  The owner can’t go and list that house with another broker. Only one broker to list your house at a time. Well it’s the same with a Buyer, they should only hire one agent at a time. When a buyer signs an exclusive right to represent, the agent is now responsible for fiduciary duties to that buyer, just the same as the agent with the listing is responsible for fiduciary duties to that seller. Each side needs representation in order to close the deal successfully and without any issues.

So the Question is: Do Buyers or Sellers Pay the Buyer’s Agent?
This has caused a great deal of confusion in the real estate industry and with consumers. Generally, a listing agreement between the seller and the seller’s listing agent will specify how much the listing brokerage will pay the selling brokerage for  bringing the buyer. The MLS sheet will clearly state the commission that is offered to the Buyer’s agent. What’s on that sheet is the number the buyer agent will receive. The listing office commission is not visible on the MLS sheets, only what the owner is offering for the sale of their property to the selling agent.
Yes, you read that correctly. The seller, in effect, pays your buyer’s agent to negotiate on behalf of the buyer, not the seller. I also use the analogy – when you sit at a closing table, what does the seller put in the bowl? “Answer” KEYS and DEED. What does the buyer put in the bowl “answer” THE MONEY.  So in realty the seller accepted an offer that incorporates the commission, and the buyer is paying the commission as it is incorporated within the price they agreed to pay for the house and the owner agreed to accept.

Happy Buying – it’s a great time to live the American Dream!  Buy a Home Today.

Let us work with you as you Buyer’s Agent.

Buyers, the price of a buyer’s agent is usually built into your purchase price…and paid for by the seller. Why not use a Buyer’s Agent to work for you and with you? Call me!


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The Top 10 Real Estate Tax Deductions

imagesCAHNGO24Thanks to the efforts of many real estate industry groups including the National Association of Realtors, many of the tax benefits that homeowners enjoy–which were on the chopping block over the past few months–have been protected and extended through the 2013 tax season

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction

The mortgage interest deduction has always been the most-beloved tax benefit of home buyers in the U.S. New homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are made up almost entirely by interest for the first few years. Their ability to deduct that interest can result in a healthy reduction in tax liability. Affordability for first-time home buyers is directly linked to their ability to deduct the interest on their mortgage.

Homeowners who itemize their deductions can deduct the interest paid on a mortgage with a balance of up to $1 million. While there is some movement to limit the total itemized deductions for taxpayers with higher incomes (over $400,000), the current deductions holds for all tax brackets. Americans save around $100 million every year by deducting mortgage interest on their tax returns.

2. Home Improvement Loan Interest Deduction

The interest on home equity loans used for “capital improvements” to a home can also be a tax deduction. On loans with balances of up to $100,000, the interest is tax-deductible for a homeowner who uses the loan to make improvements to the home such as adding square footage, upgrading the components of the home, or repairing damage from a natural disaster. Maintenance items like changing the carpet and painting a home are usually not included as capital improvement projects.

3. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Deduction

Homeowners who make a down payment of less than 20% are usually paying some sort of Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI (sometimes abbreviated MIP or just MI), can be a few dollars to hundreds of dollars per month, and it is a large portion of many homeowners’ mortgage payments.

If your mortgage was originated after Jan 1, 2007, and you have PMI, it can be a tax deduction. The deduction is phased out, 10% per $1,000, for taxpayers who have an adjusted gross income between $100,000-$109,000 and those above that level do not qualify. The extension of this tax deduction in 2013 was one of many last-second saves by real estate industry advocates.

4. Mortgage Points/Origination Deduction

Homeowners who paid points on their home purchase or refinance can often deduct those points on their tax returns. Points, often called origination fees, are usually percentage-based fees which a lender charges to originate a loan. A one percent fee on a $100,000 loan would be one point, or $1,000.

On a home purchase loan, taxpayers can deduct the entirety of the points that they paid in the same year. On a refinance loan, the points must be deducted as an amortization over the life of the loan. Many taxpayers forget about this amortized benefit over time, so it’s important to keep good records on the deduction of points on a refinance.

5. Energy Efficiency Upgrades/Repairs Deduction

Homeowners can deduct the cost of the building materials used for energy efficiency upgrades to their home. This is actually a tax credit, one which is applied as a direct reduction of how much tax you owe, not just a reduction in your taxable income.

10 percent of the total bill for energy-efficient materials can be used as a tax credit, up to a maximum $500 credit. Insulation, doors, new roofs, and many other items qualify for the energy efficiency credit. There are also individual limits for certain items, such as $150 for furnaces, $200 for windows, and $300 for air conditioners and heat pumps.

6. Profit on Sale of Real Estate Deduction

If you’ve sold a home in the past year, you’re likely aware that individuals can claim up to $250,000 of profit from the sale tax-free, and married couples can claim up to $500,000 tax-free. Of course, there are some requirements to escaping the capital gains tax on this profit.

The home must be a primary residence. This means that you must have lived in the home, as your primary residence, for two of the past five years. You could rent it out for years one, three, and five, while living in it for years two and four. In this way, a homeowner could potentially claim this tax break on multiple homes within a fairly short time frame, but each tax-free sale must occur at least two years apart from the previous tax-free transaction.

7. Real Estate Selling Cost Deduction

For those lucky folks whose profits on the sale of their home might exceed the $250k/$500k limits, there are still some ways to reduce the tax burden. The costs of selling the home can be significant, and those in themselves can be claimed as tax deductions.

By adding up all of the fees paid at closing, capital improvements made to the home while you owned it, money spent to make repairs to damaged property, and marketing costs necessary to sell the home, you can add a significant figure to the cost basis of your home. This basically raises the original price you paid for the home. Your cost basis begins with the original price of the home, and then adds in the improvement and selling costs. When the new cost basis price is compared to your selling price, it reduces your potentially-taxable profit on the home significantly.

8. Home Office Deduction

The home office tax deduction is often cited as a deduction that increases your likelihood of being audited. While the raw numbers might add some credibility to that perception, it’s really the way a home office is deducted that gets some taxpayers into audit purgatory.

This deduction, when used correctly, is just as safe as any other. Homeowners deduct a percentage of their mortgage, utilities, and repair bills in direct proportion to the amount of their home that is dedicated office space.

There are a few hard and fast rules to live by when deducting the costs of your home office. The home office must be your principal place of business (the primary office location where you get the majority of your work done). It needs to be exclusively used for business (it can’t be your kitchen by day and office by night). You need to be realistic with its size and use (unless you enjoy audits).

9. Property Tax Deduction

New homeowners often don’t know that their property taxes are deductible. While it may sound strange to have a tax-deductible tax, the overall effect is that you don’t pay income tax on money that was spent on property taxes.

Homeowners should be careful to only deduct the amount of property tax actually paid to their local municipality for the year. This is not necessarily the amount you paid to your escrow account, and should not include any other city/county fees that might potentially be on the same bill as your property taxes.

10. Loan Forgiveness Deduction

The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act of 2007 was created when short sales were becoming a new and growing part of the real estate market. An underwater homeowner might convince their lender to agree to a short sale of their home at $100,000, even though they owe $150,000 on their mortgage. While the lender forgives the extra $50,000 owed after the short sale, the government views it as $50,000 in taxable income (a gift from the lender to the borrower).

The Debt Forgiveness Act temporarily relieved the taxpayer of that burden, but was set to expire this year. Through much effort, it was extended along with many other homeowner tax relief measures this year and homeowners can continue to claim this tax relief in 2013.

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3 Things You Need to Know When Listing Your Property


One of the first people you’ll want to reconnect with is your real estate agent. They are your “EXPERT IN THE FIELDt” and have the information that will assist in pricing your property correctly. Real estate agents generally pick up on trends or shifts in your particular neighborhood or marketplace.   Their information is invaluable.

So get on your agent’s radar as soon as possible. Start going to open houses to see what’s selling and to get a feel for values and how homes are being presented. Likely a home you see at an open house in February could sell by the time you list in May or June. Future buyers will probably use this home as a “comparable” sale. Having seen the “comps” yourself puts you in the buyers’ mindset. It enables you to get ahead of the curve or learn from the mistakes of other sellers.

2. Have your property inspected

The buyer, after they have a signed contract on a home, is supposed to pay for an inspection, right? While that’s true, you can beat them to the punch and know what needs to be repaired before you go on the market.

Imagine if you list your home and have a great offer from a solid buyer. But the buyer finds out through the inspection that the roof needs replacement and the deck has dry rot. That excellent offer may not seem so great if you have to negotiate thousands of dollars in credits with the buyer.

Having your property inspected months in advance will allow you time to make a plan to get the big (and small) things repaired. If you can identify the problems upfront, you can fix them for a lot less money than those repairs would get negotiated for down the road. Or, you can price your home factoring in the needed repairs. Plus, a home with a clean bill of health can be advertised as such. Many buyers are looking for a home in “move-in” condition, free of any needed repairs or fixes.

3. Hire a designer or stager

Your real estate agent should have a good designer or stager they like to work with — someone who can help you start to view your home as a product to be marketed. This should be someone you reach out to once you have the place inspected and know the property’s condition.

Many people think a designer means big money or a wasted expense, but this isn’t always the case. Many designers charge by the hour. It could be as easy as hiring a designer for two hours to help you decide on colors to paint a room or two; a stager to help you declutter or decide which furniture to move out to make some rooms show better.

Based on your real estate agent’s feedback, you may decide to engage the designer on a minor kitchen or bathroom remodel. An old kitchen with linoleum countertops, knotty redwood cabinets and avocado-colored appliances can easily be updated with an inexpensive cabinet makeover and new stainless steel appliances.

You’ll save money in the long run

Like any major decision, selling a home takes a lot of planning, timing and consultation. Consulting with professionals and getting the facts in advance will help the process go a lot smoother, will help you make an informed decision and will most likely save you a lot of money when you sell.

If you’re a homeowner, transitioning to a seller mindset isn’t necessarily easy. The sooner you start that transition, however, the easier the process will be. But be aware there can be an unexpected, if ironic, outcome: Some would-be sellers do the fix-it work to their homes, clean up some rooms, or paint and update the entire place — only to fall in love with their home all over again and decide to stay.


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E-mail Could Be Binding

 E-mail could be binding — read on…


E-mail Could Be Binding.

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“Fiscal Cliff” Here is a brief summary of what to expect now that the Bill Passed!

imagesA brief summary of the “Fiscal Cliff” bill passed by Congress yesterday

  • Taxpayers with over $400,000 in taxable income or couples with over $450,000 in taxable income will see their maximum tax rate rise to 39.6% from 35% in 2012. For income earned below these levels, the 2012 rates are permanently extended and will remain the same.
  • The Social Security portion of payroll taxes for all employees will rise by 2%. This is the end of the so-called payroll tax holiday. The rate will return to 6.2%, a 2% rise from the stimulus rate of 4.2%.
  • The personal exemption, which in 2012 was $3,800 per person, will be phased out for couples with $300,000 or more of adjusted gross income, or singles with $250,000.
  • The so-called “Pease” provision will eliminate up to 80% of deductions for couples above the $300,000 threshold, and singles above $250,000. The provision affects all deductions, including charitable donations and mortgage interest. According to many tax experts, the formula, in effect, adds about one percentage point to the top tax rate, including the top rate on capital gains.
  • Rates on long-term capital gains and dividends for top-bracket taxpayers would rise to 20% from 15%. Meanwhile, the 15% rate would continue to apply to taxpayers in the 25%, 28%, 33% and 35% income tax brackets. People in the 10% and 15% brackets would continue to have a zero rate on capital gains and dividends.
  • The bill will permanently and retroactively adjust the alternative minimum tax, originally designed to limit deductions for the highest earners, so that millions of middle-income taxpayers wouldn’t be subject to it. The current fix expired at the beginning of 2012.
  • The estate- and gift-tax exemption will remain at $5 million per individual.
  • The current 35% top tax rate on amounts above the estate and gift-tax exemption will increase to 40%.
  • Provisions allowing deductions for $250 of teachers’ classroom expenses, tuition and related expenses, and state sales taxes in lieu of state income taxes will be extended, as will the $100,000 charitable donation of IRA assets by account owners 70 1/2 and older.
  • The bill will extend for five years the American Opportunity Tax Credit. For many taxpayers this dollar-for-dollar credit is worth up to $2,500 and therefore the most valuable education benefit. It also will extend for five years the current versions of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, which are claimed by many lower-income workers making up to about $50,000.
  • The bill also includes a one-year extension of current “bonus” depreciation rules, which allow businesses to deduct up to 50% of the cost of a wide variety of property and equipment, excluding real estate.

Courtesy of: Steve Hollatz-Castillo, Esq., 81 Pondfield Rd. Suite D245, Bronxville NY 10708 (914) 979-1991


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Awarded Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2012 from Women’s Council of Realtors Empire Chapter


 Toni Chrystal: WCR Entrepreneur of the Year

Being a real estate agent is like owning a personal business in itself, which is why it’s important to take the time to celebrate when a member of our company is recognized within the industry. A big kudos is in order for associate broker and Houlihan Lawrence education coordinator Toni Chrystal for receiving the Women’s Council of Realtors Empire Westchester Chapter‘s Entrepreneur of the Year award.

toni 300x300 Toni Chrystal: WCR Entrepreneur of the Year

This past Tuesday, Toni was recognized for “exercising her potential as an entrepreneur and real estate industry” by the organization’s  board. Once president of the Women Council of Realtors, Toni has been an associate broker with Houlihan Lawrence since January 2007 and has led the company’s education and training efforts for the past three years. She’s successfully managed to sell real estate in Westchester County and teach our agents valuable tools like prospecting, managing their business online, and website building.

The Women’s Council of Realtors is a nationwide community of 14,000 real estate professionals in 300 chapters. Congratulations to Toni for representing Houlihan Lawrence among the best and brightest agents in the country!

See Houlihan Lawrence Blog

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Should I pull my listing until the “Spring Market?

Should I pull my listing until the “Spring Market”?

If your house hasn’t yet sold, you may be considering taking it off the market and re-listing it during the “Spring Market”.

A misconception in Real Estate is that the “spring market” is always the best time to sell a home.  I disagree with this.  I feel that a buyer looking during the winter months really does have to buy and would be consider my “A” buyer.  If you decide to remove your listing, you will miss some of the best buyers.  People move all year round, not just in the spring.

The market is currently active with many buyers looking.  The problem is they are doing just that “looking”.  Many are fence sitting and may pull the trigger after the New Year.  Of course, the showings will slow up during the holidays but you may just get that one buyer that comes along and is ready, willing, and able to buy. Or, your buyer may have already looked at the house and is waiting until after the New Year to make their move.

I agree that showing a home during the holiday season will be a slight distraction for the buyer looking and may concentrate on your decorations.  As with any home for sale, remember you have to begin to look at the house as a House For Sale and consider the marketing of it, try not to go overboard with the decorations.  No doubt, it will be an inconvenience for you, just think of it as possibly the buyer you’ve been waiting for.

Of course, since web listings have made it possible for buyers to tour every home virtually, you could decide to keep your listing active but limit the times and days that it can be shown.

Good luck, and have a wonderful Holiday and New Year.

Posted in My opinion | 4 Comments

Welcome to the World of Real Estate

Over the weekend I received a phone call from a client.  Eighteen years ago I sold her a home, she was single at the time with a young son.  It was my first closing.   Over the years she was on my mailing list and received my direct mailers.  During the past eighteen years she remarried, rented the house I sold her, and moved to Florida.  When my phone rang and she announced herself, I immediately recognized her name.  You never forget your first, so they say.   Needless to say, we met and previewed some condo’s for her and her husband to purchase as as a second home.   In the meantime, her house will come available and I look forward to representing her on the listing.  It was great fun to be with her again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments