Notes from the Biking Broker: Design Inspiration - Bookshelves

Books have the power to transport us to other worlds and let us engage with other lives… but when we come to the end of the story, then that book becomes just another item in our homes in need of proper storage and organization. Fortunately, every crisis can be seen as an opportunity, and the storage of books offers the potential for design solutions that are aesthetically inspiring. Sometimes it is simply a matter of sorting all the books by the color of their bindings to create a rainbow across a shelf, or by flipping them all around to show only row after row of white pages (but be advised that both of these design decisions make it very hard to find a particular book). Others take the challenge of storing books to new heights by completely re-designing the bookshelves themselves… here are six below for your enjoyment and inspiration. As the old saying goes… “don’t judge a book by its cover, but rather by its bookshelf.”

"Investing Advice from Unlikely Investors"

Dear Friends,

I just returned from one of my favorite conferences of the year - Milken Global Conference. Changemakers and innovators gave inspiring talks on topics from finance to wellness. It is invigorating to hear how we can use financial innovation to drive the kind of outcomes that inspire us. 

My favorite panel is " Investing Advice from Unlikely Investors" hosted by Michael Milken.

A few takeaways pertaining to real estate:

  • What you buy is more important than what you pay

  • A good contract does not make a lousy investment successful

  • There is no such thing as a "Must-Do" deal

Hope is not an investment strategy but real estate investment is. Investments are commitments that compare to relationships. Some investments, like the stock market, compare to dating while real estate investment compares to marriage. With any commitment, diligence is essential.

As an advistor, I work diligently to insure my clients have successful marriages. Are you looking for your next successful courtship? Call me today.


An Era of "Land"lords and Serfs?

From the Desk of Cindy

An Era of “Land”lords and Serfs?

Almost everything I hear and read speaks to how bad home ownership is right now. It seems the world is telling everyone to rent. Why is the drumbeat to rent getting louder and how should you approach it? Renting has its time and place. I think renting for the long term is one of life’s biggest mistakes. Renting for the short term fits if you are in the middle of a life changing event; a new job, a move to a new city, a new relationship, attending school, or some other event that has a 6 to 12 month adjustment period. For these reasons, there is a need for rental property and this may be the perfect time to own rental property for investment purposes. 

With this in mind, if it is being decided the world should focus on rentals thus returning us to a “land”lord and serfs era, why not be a landlord? Some benefits of rental property ownership include the benefit of depreciation and tax breaks that rental developers receive. Right now may be the perfect time to invest in rental property, especially property that caters to the “essential housing need”. Combine long-term investment strategies, a hedge against inflation, and tax considerations, being a landlord right now is worth considering. 

If you are an investor looking for opportunities or a current landlord looking to cash out on long held properties, call me. I would love to continue this discussion with you.

December, 2018 From the Desk of Cindy

Dear Friends,

November was a month of travel; meeting with clients in Asia to discuss opportunities in the New York housing market. I was privileged to join an investor summit where family offices reiterated their desire to purchase real estate in the global market. They reminisced on the significant success their families achieved by purchasing in down markets. 

Today, price and value are at odds with each other. As interest rates increase, prices fluctuate and value lessens.

I previously addressed concerns about the unknowns in the luxury housing market. As each week goes by, more unknowns are being answered and with these answers, the luxury consumer is capable of strategizing for the future. We now know:

• Mid-term elections have delivered a more divided political environment which may inspire more compromise in Congress - and dealmaking. 

• Stocks in some Equity markets continue to approach correction with some down 40% or more from their highs. This is much like some over-inflated real estate pricing that spurred this correction process 18-24 months ago. 

• December means bonus season. Some bonuses will be as good or better than last year. This may translate to capital investment in the real estate market. 

• Rising interest rates are always a concern. The Fed is keeping an eye on the results these rising rates are having and has signaled a potential easing of future increases. 

• More cautious bankers are preventing new inventory. This stimulates the buyer who is on the fence. “Buy today because there may not be a choice tomorrow.”

Q4 has been my busiest quarter this year. The deals became more challenging while the following formula for opportunity continues:

Choice + time + lowered prices + negotiability + more knowns = opportunity.

I can help you with your purchase goals. Please call me to discuss how to make price and value meet to execute a smart purchase.

I look forward to sharing more notes with you in 2019. 

Happy Holidays!

Notes from the Biking Broker: Look Cool While Keeping Cool

The summer heat may finally be coming to an end, but will you be ready for next year? Here are three smart window AC units that actually look cool while keeping you cool.

The most distinct AC unit is the Kapsul, which is still in production and won't be available till Spring of 2019... there is still time to order one at a pre-release discount price. Completely redesigned to be easy to install, digitally connected, and visually unlike any other AC unit.

The standard-bearer of quality AC units has to be Friedrich, and their Kühl line may not look radically different, but it has a host of high-end details (purity, durability, and digitally connected) that make this a wise investment for superior temperature control. 

The final option, the Frigidaire Cool Connect, is the lowest price point of the three options presented here, but it still delivers a sleek design, efficiency, and digital connection.

This summer may be coming to a close, which typically means it is time to store your old tarnished AC unit in some dark corner of your apartment... or you can let go of the past and plan for the future, with a new way to keep stylishly cool next summer. 

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Notes from the Biking Broker: Historic Perspective

Information comes at us so fast these days that is it is easy to get caught up in the most recent batch of data points... and that immediate information becomes all that we can see. From time to time I think we should pause, step back from the current situation, and explore a more historical frame of reference to get a better understanding of what is actually going on.

For example, while it is true that interest rates have been increasing over the last 12 months, in a very real sense they are still at historically low levels. (see graph below).  Borrowing money is still a remarkably cheap way to leverage your current savings toward the purchase of property... starting the process of building equity for the future while in your new home.

Sometimes we need to look to the past to find our way forward. 

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Q2 2018 Manhattan Market Report

We are excited to announce the release of the Compass 2Q 2018 Manhattan Quarterly Market Insights Report. This report highlights the prevailing trends shaping the market for each neighborhood of Manhattan. 

Inventory levels reached new peaks in 2Q 2018 as buyers at most price points, especially those contemplating homes in the $1M - $3M segment, exhibited patience as a result of numerous factors: (1) the recent tax reform that reduces deductibility of state and local taxes, including property tax in New York, (2) gradually rising interest rates, which directly reduces affordability for leveraged purchasers, and (3) awareness of potential market weakness / perceived over-supply in the core luxury market.

    Click here for the full report. 

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    Pricing Makes Perfect

    Pricing is a delicate topic for all sellers. I am often told "I don't want to give my home away" to which I reply "I haven't given one away yet!". Trust is important and I appreciate my clients trusting me with the marketing of their homes. In this post, I want to share a recent success story from some of our favorite clients. 

    Smart pricing got my listing in Crown Heights into contract in 36 days with 5 offers on the table. The average days on market for the building is 130 days which means we sold our unit 3x Faster!   That difference in time is a huge help for our sellers, a young couple looking to move into a larger home upstate.  As the listing agent, it was pivotal for me to listen to what was most important to my sellers and create a market strategy that fit their needs.  

    The fastest and most effective way for an owner to realize the maximum profit on the sale of a home is to get the pricing right. Having the proper list price can boost interest in the listing and drive traffic and, in turn, multiple offers. The wrong price can do the opposite; keeping potential buyers from seeing your listing or arrange a tour.  The homes that sell the faster and for the highest price point are priced competitively to attract a pool of buyers. Money flows to value. A home that is perceived as a good value will attract more buyers than an overpriced home. 

    It’s much better to price it right and create such interest and demand where buyers are chasing you, versus you chasing the market backward and searching for the demand. So don’t be afraid to price your home fairly, or even underprice it—which is likely to attract buyers and boost the price to where it should be. 


    • -36 Days- Unit #307 with The Scholz Team
    • -132 Average Days on Market for the building
    • -116 Condo Crown Heights Days on Market
    • -127 Co-Op Crown Heights Days on Market

     Contact us today to find out the true value of your home. 



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    Is Colorful Grout Trending?

    Everyone knows about conventional grout colors- matching white tiles to the same shade of white grout can prove maddening.  But what if you went for something bolder?   A trend in kitchen and bathroom design now is to add a pop of color with pink, green, blue, or even red grout.  Don't just take our word for it, see for yourself below.  

    Love it? Hate it? We aren't sure either. 

    Read more here

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    Sold Via FaceTime

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    You can buy almost anything from your phone these days, from dinner for two, to movie tickets and used cars. Now, New York real estate joins that list. We just worked with buyers from Michigan who placed an offer on the spot thanks to a video tour with FaceTime.  We were hosting an open house at our listing on the Upper West Side and a neighbor came to see the apartment.  He told me that his former professor was looking for a New York apartment and asked if he could FaceTime her.  

    After giving her the full tour,  he handed me the phone and let us talk numbers. From that initial offer, contracts were drawn up and signed, and the deal was closed all without requiring a trip to New York until the closing.  This is just one example of how New York City real estate is changing every day with new technology and new innovations.  Compass is expanding on a national level, which means that we can help you find a home in most cities. No matter where you may be considering a real estate investment, let us know, we would love to be your advisors.