Frank talks Zillow and choosing an honest agent

(Published on - 6/29/2017 4:42:41 PM)

Thinking of selling? Some sound advice.

(Published on - 6/5/2017 5:41:42 PM)

Don’t hire your friend as your agent. The selling process can be a long, arduous one, and you should feel empowered to speak up without worrying about putting your relationship on the line.

One seller found that out the hard way when she decided to put her apartment on the market. She hired a friend of a friend, a junior agent whose inexperience may have contributed to the unit languishing as long as it did. 

“There were boxes all over the apartment when he took the marketing pictures, which meant my place wasn’t being portrayed in the best light. And he didn’t have open houses,” she said. “He also took down my listing whenever he went on vacation.”

Go beyond word of mouth. Referrals are handy, yes, but they’re not the only way to come up with a short list of potential realtors. Check out agent website and read up on the agent (many provide biographies). See if anyone stands out to you, and then give them a call. 

Consider keeping the contract with your agent short. Even if you adore your Realtor right now, you may feel different once the selling process is under way. Your best bet? Sign off on a three-month contract — it’s the standard minimum. That way, if things go south, you’re only locked in for 90 days.

OR - List with me and my team from the start with my Guarantee 45 Day listing agreement. If I can’t sell your home in 45 days in this market with my Exclusive Proprietary Software then I didn’t do my job and deserve to be fired. 

Study up on comps. Your agent will study up on the comparable sales, or “comps,” in your area, but you should do your own research, too. Knowing what other homes are going for in your neighborhood will give you an idea of a fair asking price for your own. 

“A lot of people have inflated ideas about what their place is worth,”

I do not suggest sites like Zillow who are wrong based on their Zestimates over and over again.

Make sure you and your agent agree on what your home is worth and how it should be marketed. You and your agent should agree on the listing price, so if the number he or she suggests doesn’t match the one in your head don’t be shy about asking for his or her reasoning. 

Just as important, of course, is how your home will be promoted. Find out whether professional photos will be taken, where ads will be placed and whether your agent will hold open houses and entice other agents to bring their buyers.. 

“Asking these questions will not only give you an idea of the resources available to an agent, it will give you insight into how they work and their level of excitement about your property,” . 

Avoid the urge to list high. Sure, you want to get as much as you can for your home, but try to look at your home objectively — warts and all — and list accordingly. If the price is too high at the outset, the house could sit on the market and start to look “stale,”  

“Perspective buyers notice it’s been on the market for a while without selling, assume there must be something wrong with it and cross it off the list,”

Meanwhile, pricing just at — or slightly below — market value can help generate much-needed buzz in the first couple of weeks after listing, when sellers usually see the most activity. The right number can also mean your home moves faster. Statistics show that if a home is properly priced, a seller should receive an offer within the first 12 showings.

Build in time to spruce up your house. Before you plan on putting the house on the market, take a tour and try to see it through a buyer’s eyes. Then give yourself time to paint over any boldly colored walls, do a deep clean of the whole place, remove personal affects and make any small upgrades that will boost curb appeal or price.

Depending on how much stuff you have, you may want to consider removing much of it for open houses and showings. A clean, organized space is a welcome sight for buyers, since it gives them a chance to envision themselves in your home. 

There will be unexpected costs. It costs money to sell a house, so prepare to spend on everything from pre-inspection reports to staging costs to minor renovations. In fact, you may find yourself weighing the pros and cons of taking on larger projects that could boost your asking price. 

“Then there are the closing costs: Besides the agent’s typical 3-percent cut, you have to account for transfer taxes, attorney fees, bank fees (if you have a mortgage) and any capital gains tax, if applicable, when selling. 

“A seller’s true ‘break-even point’ is not simply what they originally paid for the home, but the price of the home plus any improvements made and closing costs on the sale,” Make a list of all closing costs early on so you know what to expect. Your agent should be able to help.

You’ll have to keep your house clean  all the time. Besides the planned open houses, there are (hopefully) frequent calls from agents who want to show your home to their buyers on very short notice. And every time, your place has to be looking its best, which means until you sell, you will be responsible for keeping it spotless 24/7. 

Pets may add a wrinkle to the process. If you have a four four-legged friend, you will have to take extra precautions so it doesn’t escape during open houses or showings. That means telling every agent who calls that you have a pet and that it’s not allowed outside the home or yard — a warning that can get old after a while..

Expect a lot of looky-loos. Open houses bring out potential buyers, yes, but also plenty of curious people who aren’t even shopping for a new home. It’s easy to get excited about a guest book full of names, but keep in mind that not everyone on the list is serious.

Buyers can be nitpicky. Even though your home has been good enough for you all these years, buyers may think otherwise — and they may not be shy about letting you know. 

Selling a house takes a while. Yes, you’d like to unload your home quickly, but settle in. Most of the time, the selling process is slow. It can take a while before offers come in and even longer before negotiations are finalized. And then there’s closing. If the buyer is getting a mortgage, it could take them up to 45 days after contracts are signed to secure a mortgage commitment from the bank.

And that timeline is much longer if your home is a short sale,


Are you a Chicken or an Egg Home Seller

(Published on - 5/18/2017 5:47:20 PM)




When should an up or down grading home seller start looking for their new home? From that category home seller I'm asked that question the day I sign the listing agreement "Frank when are you going to show us homes now that we listed our home for sale ".  One of the criteria I stress to my new clients is that unless you can purchase your new home with all cash or have the means to carry two mortgages you should wait until you are in contract with your current house. Purchasing a home is a very emotional and overwhelming experience so you have to be sure you can follow through on you purchase. If you can't close on the home you’re buying you can be sued on top of losing your down payment.  This is why I always advise my clients to not accept a contingence on their sale (I’ll buy your house when I sell mine).  Rising home values  not only in Brooklyn NY but across the country and low inventory may mean that you could sell your home but not be able to find the next place you want right away. Make plans with family or friends to see if you can stay with them.The pressure to find a new place to live could tempt you to buy a home lacking key features you want and need in your next home.


Frank Pennacchi is a Top Realtor for over 28 years



There Is No Place Like Brooklyn

(Published on - 4/28/2017 5:21:32 PM)

There Is No Place Like Brooklyn

As the title states there really is no place like Brooklyn. Having almost three million people, Brooklyn has the most ethnic and cultural diversity of all the five boro's that make up NYC. Neighborhoods have been changing from one ethnic group to another over the years. Bensonhurst once an Italian stronghold is now almost 50% Chinese. 

Bay Ridge which was mostly an Irish, Italian and Norwegian community when I was growing up is now referred to as "the heart of Brooklyn's Arab community. The same changing balances of communities can be said about  Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park , Dyker heights, Flatbush I can go on and on. I feel that's what keeps the borough new, alive and exciting. Construction is booming for housing. Some of the best restaurants in NYC are now in Brooklyn. Transportation to anywhere is only a block or two away. Just a great place to live. There really is no place like Brooklyn.

Frank Pennacchi