NEW YORK—The New York Observer held a series of three panels on how to take advantage of the real estate market on the evening of Thursday, May 14 at the Puck Building in Tribeca. Open to the public, experts offered advice and insight on buying and selling, home décor, and the health of the residential market.
Here are highlights from two of the panels.
Panel One—Buying and Selling in the Challenging Economy
Stephen Kliegerman, executive director of development marketing for Halstead Property
“There's a 12-month supply of real estate on the market.” If that makes it hard to find an honest seller, he offers, “Ask a broker. A good broker will know which building you should buy and which might lie to you.”
Jacky Teplitzky, managing director at Prudential Douglas Elliman and leader of the Jacky Teplitzky team
While developers are offering discounts and perks to entice buyers, “the last incentive is to lower the price because of the obligation to the lender. Offering credits is a way to disguise a reflection in price reduction.”
When consulting a lawyer in a purchase, make sure that he or she is local and specializes in real estate.
Peter Alongi, regional vice president at HSBC Mortgage Corp
Lenders are increasing the down payment on loans and none want to expose themselves to a risky loan. “No one wants to be the first one in the door because of the challenges.” To potential buyers who are waiting for mortgage rates to drop further, Alongi said, “The government is buying treasury; mortgage rates are stabilizing.”
Also, appraisals of home value might not be accurate, he warns. “Appraisals are based on previous sales. When there aren't previous sales, the appraiser must go back months to the last sale and make severe adjustments.”
Panel Three—State of the Residential Market
Ivanka Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions at The Trump Organization
“People are afraid to pull the trigger. They come back four or five times (to see a property). Everyone wants to buy rock-bottom,” she said. But she said that if it's a quality product, buyers shouldn't hesitate to make the investment.
Pam Liebman, CEO of Corcoran
Don't judge a condo by its location, advises Liebman. “Condo sales are strong not in particular neighborhoods but are building-specific—where people are going to get the most for their money.”
Dottie Herman, CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman
The future of the market will likely “depend on consumer confidence and financing,” Herman said. Banks and buyers alike are a bit tepid right now.
Jonathan Miller, a co-founder and President/CEO of Miller Samuel Inc, appraisal company
In this recession, the market is not “bloated with cash” and developers hoping to ride the market. “Serious sellers” are more prevalent now.
A common pitfall to avoid when using news to assess the market: applying national data to the local market.