Property Grunt

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

We're number 12 or 2?

I found this nifty site called Pubsub from the Matrix who got it from Real Central VA. It is a site that ranks real estate blogs and reads like the Guide to the Marvel Universe for real estate blogs.

So does the Property Grunt fly with the angels or just a goose egg? It depends on where you go. On the Daily section, the Property Grunt is listed at number 12 on the daily page which is pretty good but if you go to the 30-Day page, the Property Grunt is listed as number 2. And of course Curbed has blown everyone out of the water as the number 1 contender in the daily section.

Like Big Jon Miller, I am a bit mystified about how this whole thing works. But I am not complaining since these are one of the few moments where I find myself prom king when I usually find myself as Charlie Brown.

For those of you who read my blog, thanks. I am very lucky to have all of you reading my work. This really motivates me to be a better writer.

Monday, May 29, 2006

If you can't beat em buy em.

I hope you all had a wonderful memorial day weekend. The Grunt spent his weekend with friends including one who is leaving for the left coast.

It has been an interesting week real estate wise. First of all the Tribune purchased "".

I have to applaud the Tribune for making this move. As everyone knows the web ads is pummeling prints ads on a daily basis. According to the Financial Times.

The internet will this year overtake national newspapers to become the third biggest advertising medium by spend, according to authoritative forecasts.

By the end of 2007, internet advertising will close the gap on regional newspapers, the number two medium, but will still be well short of television, the biggest outlet in the £12bn-a-year media advertising market.

A very real scenario is that some newspapers may completely do away with their classified ads sections and just set up an online ads since it would allow them to cut their overhead.

By buying out "", the Tribune has planted seeds for another profit center and will also prevent further hemmoraging from their current business model. However if I were ad sales department, I would be very nervous because their jobs maybe outsourced.

ADHL sales rep recently tried to get me to sign up for a new deal. She mentioned that next month fuel prices would be going up and by signing up for this deal I wouldn't be affected by those hikes for 6 months.

Those of you with cars, I suggest you start gassing up now before you have to pay more at the pump. This summer is really going to suck.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Holding Pattern

Mea culpa for not being consistent with my entries. I have been extremely busy with a real estate related to real estate which I will discuss in the near future. But I will have an entry that will wrap up all the fun things that have occured this week.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Gentrification Wars: The Battle of Brooklyn

I can appreciate this. I felt the same way you do. My bosses were all s**t. My jobs sucked. I mean, if you're not a rebel by 21, you've got no heart, and if you haven't gone establishment by 30, you've got not brain.

Buddy Ackerman
"Swimming with Sharks"

After reading the Observer on how certain residents are ticked off over the development in Brooklyn, I realized that alot of residents are looking at this in a black and white perspective which isn't very bright.

“It’s more like World War II France,” said a 27-year-old Fort Greene resident on a recent Saturday evening, sitting at the bar Rope on Myrtle Avenue.

The place was typical South Brooklyn, filled with plainly dressed white kids, one black couple warily regarding the scene. But a group of twentysomethings from both sides of the metaphorical Mason-Dixon Line were drinking vodka tonics, grumpily discussing how, when they see a block-sized, generic doorman building sprouting up on Court and Atlantic, or a plastic-looking condo park rising Lego-like out of the dust in Greenpoint, they inexplicably get angry at the people who already live in the neighborhood, as if they were responsible for attracting that sort of building rather than the developers who’ve imposed it.

“Everyone loves to say who was part of the Resistance and who was Vichy, and the reality is most everyone was the same,” World War II guy went on.

“Everyone was a collaborator.”

Comparing the long time residents of Brooklyn as the Vichy French displays the ignorance of how real estate works and how unaware they are of the role they have played in the gentrification process.

First of all the people they should blame for the gentrification are themselves. Not the locals. When developers saw a spike in population and the change in zoning laws in Brooklyn, they began to prospect and struck gold. As for the locals cashing out and selling their properties to developers, they earned that right. They were the pioneers who bought and held that property until it appreciated in value. They were the ones who took the most risks and as far as I am concerned they deserve it. Ironically, it was probably when the neighborhood began to change is when the locals decide to take off.

The bottom line is that the people bitching and moaning, aka angry young people, were the harbingers of their own doom. They are the ones who played a key role in what is happening to Brooklyn since their presence that set the stage.

“No question about it—it’s hipper,” said Michael Brooks, 30, over the phone, of North Brooklyn. He’s a project manager with the Developers Group, the company that’s bringing high-rise condos to the McCarren Park area. “If there’s a hipness meter, Carroll Gardens is not on the same end of the scale as Williamsburg,” he continued. “There’s a lifestyle in Williamsburg. It’s become a place that people want to identify themselves with, being in a place that feels like everything is happening. It’s just a moment—there’s a moment in Williamsburg right now.

That’s the problem. These people are only focused on the now. When you just focus on the moment, you tend to forget about the long term planning. They are living the Mony, Mony lifestyle which is to get laid get f**ked. They are all just focusing on getting drunk, a kickball league and having a good time.

Some argue that these people were completely helpless and all they can do is rant. I call bulls**t. If they wanted to keep their enclave unchanged all they would have to do is put roots in the neighborhood by buying property whether it be residential or commercial. They should join their community boards and get involved with local politics and protect their neighborhood. And I call bulls**t on the arguement that they have no money. If you have money to blow on cigarettes and beer, well you have money for property.

After going to several parties in Williamsburg, I will tell you that I knew only of two people who had stable jobs and health insurance. The majority were involved in “artistic endeavors.” They were either working in bands, film or fashion. Some supported themselves as bartenders, waitress or low paying sales position.

This is not an indictment of their transient lifestyle. If this is what they want to do with their lives so be it. This is a free country. And in no way do I think I am better than them. In fact I wish I could spend my days, drinking and chasing girls. However, that is not a viable lifestyle for me and I know by avoiding certain responsibilities I am totally screwing my future. But not all of the newcomers of Brooklyn are screwed.

Candice Waldron, 32, recently opened a new high-end boutique, Jumelle, on Bedford Avenue, that sells clothes by designers such as Sonia Rykiel. “The style is really eclectic,” she said, describing the local customers. “A lot of women here wear vintage; they don’t really buy designer clothes. That was one concern about my store.” But “in the end,” Ms. Waldron said, “with the lines I would be selling I thought I’d be better off in Williamsburg.

“I like Park Slope a lot,” she said, adding that she’d considered a location there instead, on Fifth Avenue. “When I was doing my business plan, the average medium income was definitely higher over there.” But in the end, “I felt this is a better fit for me,” Ms. Waldron said. “I’m more in with this crowd.”

What she means is this crowd is more loose with their money. Instead of investing or saving it they more inclined to engage in impulse purchasese. The income is higher in Park Slope because the population probably consists of couples and children who are more interested in spending their hard earned cash on family friendly goods. Since the competition for that market is quite competitive, she is better off being in Williamsburg where she charger a higher markup for cheaper inventroy.

I know a bar owner and in Williamsburg that sells overcooked Chinese food that is below the standard of take out which I never thought was possible. She looks the other way when it comes to smoking in her establishment and she has a basement that she rents out for parties even though it is a potential firetrap. But she is making money hand over fist, especially with the margins on liquor. Tons of people frequent her joint. When she feels the winds of change blowing in her face she is going sell her business or simply liquidate.

My prediction is that when Brooklyn gets tapped out and gets too expensive to the transient population of angry young people will move elsewhere. Perhaps to the Poconos.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Interesting developments: LLC on Rye

There have been some interesting developments regarding two recent entries.

In my entry on Real Estate Chatter, I stated that the sellers in the burbs are starting to get their asses handed to them. This article on Rye sheds some light on the situation.

But Rye's real estate is not immune to market shifts, and with the market slowing somewhat in recent months and houses taking longer to sell — compared with last year, when some sellers were receiving multiple bids on their properties — price reductions can be found on homes for sale in Rye, as in the rest of the county. For example, the price was lowered last week on the four-bedroom colonial, going for $1.385 million from $1.425 million. Similarly, the six-bedroom, which has an asking price now of $8.5 million, originally had a $9.5 million price tag.

In my entry on LLC the mark of the bubble beast, I got this interesting email from our friends at REBNY about a new law that is being pushed in the Legislative branch.

Here is the summary of the law and here is a link to the text.

S06831 Summary:

SAME AS Same as A10399-A




Amd SS102, 206, 802, 1203 & 1306, Lim Lil L; amd SS121-101, 121-201, 121-902,
121-1500, 121-1502 & 121-1507, Partn L; amd S8-1.8, EPT L; amd S406, N-PC L

Requires notices relating to business entities to be published for 6 weeks;
eliminates the listing of certain owners of a business entity in the affidavit
of publication and the application for authority; requires business entities to
comply within 1 year.


S06831 Actions:

03/22/2006 1ST REPORT CAL.608
03/27/2006 2ND REPORT CAL.


REBNY's perspective is the following.

Early in this year’s legislative session, a law was enacted, to be effective June 1, that would require the publication of the ten members with the largest interest in an LLC and imposed a penalty for failure to publish that potentially could undermine the entity’s liability protection.

Later in this session, a new bill was introduced that dramatically changed the penalty. The new amendment would have made the members of the LLC jointly and severally liable for failure to publish.

Through our efforts, including the strong support of key REBNY members and members of the Bar Association, we have negotiated a modification to the LLC amendment that would restore the liability protection and would eliminate the requirement to publish the ten names. The new version of the amendments to the LLC legislation is S6831B.

I think this is just another indication of the efforts to reign in the use of the LLC. Besides CYA, one of the reasons why people use an LLC is that they want to stay in the shadows while being reaping the benefits of a business venture. Is it a coincidence this is happening now? I don't think so. With the rampant amount of real estate deals that could go to hell in a handbasket, the government is making an effort to establish as much accountability as possible to all parties. If the worst happens and that soft landing becomes a crash and burn, our fearless leaders want to make sure that everyone feels the heat.

Is this something to be concerned about? Not really. Even if the LLC is completely defanged by the law and refused by lenders, investors would simply find another legal entity to protect their investments in. The people who would get really screwed would be ones who don't have good lawyers.

Now he tells us: Greenspan says housing boom is ovah

Read em and weep folks.

Now Greenspan is free to tell like it is without fear of any reprisals from the market. I still ove the guy. Hopefully this will end the douchebaggery that there is no bubble and the market will never tank.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

And you too can be in real estate PR

I got this press release from Kelly Kreth Kommunications. It appears she will be teaching at my alma mater, the New York Real Estate Institute. Let the media whoring begin.

NEW YORK REAL ESTATE INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES NEW Seminar TO Debut in june CALLED The Power of PR in REal Estate And Spreading the word online

-Real Estate PR Expert, Kelly Kreth, President, Kreth Communications, will teach


-SEO Expert, Michael Zittel, President,, will teach


New York City, May 17, 2006 –New York Real Estate Institute, the leading real estate school in New York since 1987, announced today that it will be debuting a brand new two-part seminar relating to marketing and public relations in the real estate industry, this June.

The first part of the seminar will be called The Power of Public Relations in Real Estate and will be taught by PR expert and publicity firm owner, Kelly Kreth. The second part will be called: Spreading the Word Online and will be taught by real estate Internet marketing expert, Michael Zittel.

“Due to the continuous demand from brokers requesting to learn about these topics, I enlisted the two best people in their respective industries to provide brokers the information they need to make their firms more successful,” Richard Levine, president, NYREI.

“The Power of Public Relations in Real Estate will touch upon how to quantify return on investment in your public relations efforts, the distinct differences between PR, marketing and advertising and what anyone in the industry should know about trying to garner positive press for their initiatives,” comments Kelly Kreth, president, Kreth Communications.

“Effectively distributing your press release and other news online increases your identity as a real estate professional and authority in your market segment. If executed properly, your news and press releases will increase your visibility in the search engines and bring more buyers to you. Imagine what would happen to your business if Google, Yahoo and MSN thought your site was the most relevant to the search term ‘New York Real Estate’“ says Michael Zittel, owner

It maybe construed as a class on how to use craigslist but PR plays a big role in real estate. Barbara Corcoran's success was due to the massive PR campaigns she undertook to elevate her status. And Kelly. Well we know her story. You have to admire Kelly, she really knows how to milk her own cow. Perhaps Dwellingquest shouldn't have fired her.

At $295 a pop it sounds a sweet gig. If she is smart she has probably lined up a couple of media outlets to cover this affair. If anyone goes to this, please shoot me an email to let me know how it went. I am sure you will at least learn what not to do in PR.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mind your business.

One of the risks of being a blogger is that you are going to have to deal with haters. Now when readers come after me I maintain a policy of gunboat diplomacy. I review what they have written and analyze to see what they have written is meritorious. If it is, then I acknowledge what they have stated and make the effort to rectify the situation.

And if they are blowing smoke then I give them both barrels and flame their asses. I make sure the fires burn bright and hot so that every person who reads this can feel the heat and sting of my words. It serves to vent my frustrations and as a warning for anyone who dares to f**k with me.

But complications arise when I deal with a reader who displays anger against someone or some group that I have written about. This has occurred on several occasions where a reader has sent me a nasty email about why someone I have written in a positive light is really a person or group with less than honorable intentions.

My response is simply not to respond at all. Whether it is meritorious or not, the persons writing to me obviously has a grievance towards the individual that I have written about. You know what? That is really none of my business. If they are that angry at this individual, then they should make the effort to contact legal counsel and get the litigation ball rolling. I have no desire to get involved in these affairs. First of all it is a waste of my time, I will probably not benefit in anyway from getting involved. In fact it may just make things worse for me. Unless I have undeniable, hard proof about someone that shows the contrary of how they are protrayed, I don’t bother getting involved.

When I was in high school, this classmate I knew played a trick on me and stole my parking pass. In my high school in order to park your car in the high school lot you have to have a parking pass which only seniors are allowed to have. When I drove this classmate home one day he decided to steal my pass probably because he was a junior and did not have one. When I figured out what he had done I demanded he return it to me. He stated that he did not have it since a fellow junior stole it from him when he dropped it on the ground and if I wanted it back I would have to talk to her. As you may realize I was pretty pissed and I was going to rip that junior had my pass a new one. Fortunately the voice of reason stepped in the form of my Mother whotold me not to talk to the junior who allegedly had my pass. Instead she said tell the d**kweed who stole my pass in the first place that since he ripped me off he was responsible for getting it back. She added that he probably still has it and he just made up that story to distract me and to get into trouble. So I followed my Mother’s advice and lo behold, the jag off who stole my pass in the first place magically reappeared with it and declared that he had manage to get it back for me.

That was the last time I drove him in my car.

Was he telling the truth? Did the girl have my pass? I don’t know. What I do know is that if I had I just taken his word for it, I might have gotten into a lot of trouble.

I was doing a search when I found another blogger flaming me due to an entry I did on a book I reviewed. The blogger stated that I was made aware that I was promoting a fugitive and that I got played by these people.

I was contacted by several parties through email about the entry I did on this book stating the publishing company had dubious backings. However the evidence backing their accusations was simply a forum and a letter they claimed from a DA from another state that stated the publisher’s criminal background.

Unfortunately, my standards for proof are a little higher than most. A forum and a letter that is supposedly from a District Attorney’s office will not be enough to engage in blog on blog combat. As we all know anything can be forged or spinned, especially on the internet. There a ton of urban legends that were spawned from supposedly “legitmate” sources of information,which were discredited or proved to have never been released by these sources in the first place.

That is one of the reasons why I demand that people exercise due diligence in the real estate process. Never assume anything.

As for this blogger’s claim that I was played, they can go to hell. As for being made aware, the only thing I have been made aware of is this blogger has a serious hate on for this company. Whether it is justifiable or not, I don’t know and as I hVe stated before, I don’t give a f**k.

Some may argue that that I already became involved the moment I did my review of this book. I call bollocks to that. That entry was about the book. Nothing else. I have no beef with any of these people. And I will not manipulated into getting into a blogger fire fight over something that does has nothing to do with me.

For all I know the party with the grievance towards the publishing company maybe a disgruntled employee or a jitled lover. I don’t know. Until I get hard evidence of what is going on this will be the last entry I write about this situation.

Now all of you are wondering why I haven’t displayed the links or even mentioned the book. It is because I do not want this to go any further in my jurisdiction. If you want to figure it out who the players are, be my guest.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Real estate chatter

I have been hearing alot of real estate chatter and none of it is good.

Up in the burbs of NYC, brokers are going bats**t since nothing is moving. Even the high end luxury stuff isn't budging. There is wide spread fear that the market is going to tank in a bad way. There is no sign of that soft landing. It appears the reckoning is coming.

Among the brokers in Manhattan, I am getting mixed signals. There are some brokers who claim to be making money hand over fist and others who are barely making a living. It is difficult to determine who is telling the truth. I already caught one agent who lied about closing a deal when in fact the exclusive had expired and the property was still on the market.

With all the inventory that is hitting the market I am wondering how fresh it really is. I know of one seller who switched brokers and jacked up his asking price after signing the new exclusive. Is it possible that signifigant amounts of inventory are simply being recycled? If any of my readers find listings that were recycled, (My definition is that new broker has taken over and the seller has jacked up the price, please let me know. I am quite curious to see how prevalent this is.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Outsourcing brokers: It's here

Remember my entry on brokers being outsourced?

Well ladies and gentlemen it has come to frutition. If you go to Rose Associates site and click onto Apply Online you will be directed to an e-commerce GUI that will enable you to apply to any Rose Associates building. As far as I can see there is no fee but an applicant may have to pay for a credit check.

I suspect that the site is hooked up to a database that filters out the undesireables. As for identity theft, people have been faking their credit reports and identity before the internet and I would not be surprised if Rose Associates has set up countermeasures for these types of unpleasantries.

Creating this system is not complicated and inexpensive. All you need to do is put an ad on craigslist offering 500 bucks to anyone who can create an e-commerce site and you will have an army of programmers from New Delhi who can whip one up during their coffee breaks.

The advantages for landlords in using an e-commerce solution is that they can accelerate the application process and makes the process completely paperless. It also saves time and money dealing with rental agents who bring in unqualified clients and it also saves money since landlords do not have to pay the OP to rental agents.

Because there is no fee involved, clients will definitely be attracted to this option. And because of the competitive nature of rentals particularly at this time of year there will probably be a very high number of sight unseen applications especially for those people who are unable to come to the city.

Next year should be very interesting.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Warren Buffet's 2 cents on real estate: The last nail in the coffin?

I got this link from a dedicated reader. which is Warren Buffet's analysis of the real estate market. It is not very bright and cheery.

Here are two excerpts.

On the real estate bubble
Buffett: "What we see in our residential brokerage business [HomeServices of America, the nation's second-largest realtor] is a slowdown everyplace, most dramatically in the formerly hottest markets. [Buffett singled out Dade and Broward counties in Florida as an area that has experienced a rise in unsold inventory and a stagnation in price.] The day traders of the Internet moved into trading condos, and that kind a speculation can produce a market that can move in a big way. You can get real discontinuities. We've had a real bubble to some degree. I would be surprised if there aren't some significant downward adjustments, especially in the higher end of the housing market."

In other words, alot of us out there are going to get screwed.

On mortgage financing
Munger: "There is a lot of ridiculous credit being extended in the U.S. housing sector."

Buffett: "Dumb lending always has its consequences. It's like a disease that doesn't manifest itself for a few weeks, like an epidemic that doesn't show up until it's too late to stop it Any developer will build anything he can borrow against. If you look at the 10Ks that are getting filed [by banks] and compare them just against last year's 10Ks, and look at their balances of 'interest accrued but not paid,' you'll see some very interesting statistics [implying that many homeowners are no longer able to service their current debt]."

When one of the world most powerful billionaires gives his perspective on the real estate market for free, I suggest you listen.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

LLC: The mark of the bubble beast?

The Grunt has heard on the wire that Bank of America has ceased all lending to all real estate LLCs. This is highly signifigant since no real estate investor in their right mind would ever purchase an investment property without an LLC and it is also indication of the current mood in the lending world.

There has been some rumblings that other banks may follow suit but nothing is official as of yet.

So why would banks be reluctant to lend to a real estate LLC? It is all about cutting their losses. If the s**t hits the fan, alot of banks will be stuck with a ton of non performing assets. Banks are in the lending business not in the real estate business therfore they are ill equipped to deal with a ton of foreclosures.

The LLC is the get the out of jail free crad for real estate investment which allows investors to be able walk away without further financial injury. Banks dislike this. They do not want to lend to anyone who is legally limited in putting their skin in the game. This is also another reason that banks will not lend to residental buildings that have less than 50% owner occupancy and is known to be a investment building.

As far as they are concerned, the more of a stake a buyer has in a property, the more likely they will move hell and high water to keep it and not let it fall into dissarray.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Does this make me look fat?

"Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke told me over the weekend that the media and the markets basically got it wrong last week in speculating that the Fed is done raising interest rates,"

"Bernanke also told me it is worrisome to him that anyone would think of him as dovish, though that feeling did permeate last week,"'

Maria Bartiromo

Everyone has heard Maria Bartiromo spilling the beans on her conversation with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke which led the market going into a tailspin. Now the media is going on the offensive that this may have hurt his credibility.

Honestly, I think everyone should take a chill pill. First of all whether this was a rookie mistake or it was intentional we all shouldn't be suprised that the Fed plans on raising interest rates. It was always in the cards and with higher oil prices, the government is going to use every weapon in their aresenal to stabilize the economy.

As for those titans of finance who are whining about Bernanke watch what he says. Please shut the hell up. The stock market is like that neurotic thin pretty girl from high school that keeps asking the question. "Does this make me look fat?" And even when you say no, she keeps on asking the same damn question over and over again.

I bet if Bernanke has remained silent to Maria Bartiromo there would still be investors trying to find a dry pair of pants.

In conclusion. Everyone please remain calm. We have enough problems as it is.

Remember the Herald Towers? Well they know have their very own blog. And guess what. Just like the building, it's a piece of ****. What it is interesting is that it appears that Samsung is running the show. I wouldn't be surprised if they owned the building since they are in the heart of K-Town.