NYC Apartment Agent

New York real estate + beyond

How to Avoid Craigslist Apartment Rental Scams, Part 2

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223177755_a6728c77be_bNEW YORK — Recently, I’ve been receiving messages inquiring about too-good-to-be-true apartment listings in Brooklyn — and when I visit the included links, they point to a Craigslist ad that invites would-be renters to contact a Facebook page.

These are likely scams.

Most, though not all, “licensed real estate salespersons” — the official term for someone other than an owner or attorney legally allowed to conduct real-estate transactions in New York State — belong to the Real Estate Board of New York, also known as REBNY, which has an online database of all its members. Checking the site for a real estate agent’s name and brokerage firm can provide peace of mind, and will allow you to file a complaint if something goes wrong in the process. (If you search for my name, you’ll see that I am no longer a real estate agent — and I have no listings.)

Also, legitimate real estate agents who post Craigslist ads are required to include their name, full contact information and the name of their company in the ad. Beware of listings that provide a link instead of all of that information.

I’ve written previously about how to avoid apartment scams and real-estate fraud. Please see the links below for more tips to protect yourself.


Written by Bruno

2018.08.23 at 09:05

Sean Conlon: Real Estate Is the Fastest Path to Wealth

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Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 11.28.23 AM

Real estate mogul Sean Conlon, star of CNBC’s ‘The Deed: Chicago,’ says you should buy.

Sean Conlon, real estate mogul and star of CNBC’s “The Deed: Chicago,” says real estate is the fastest path to wealth in the United States.

“I am a true believer that you save every penny and you buy your first house. And that is still the fastest path to wealth in this country,” Conlon says in the third episode of the show.

In 1990, Conlon emigrated from Ireland to the United States with $500 in his pocket. After a couple of years of working as a janitor and a house painter, he had saved enough to but his first property.

Six years later, he was a self-made millionaire.

While real estate might not be the right investment for everyone, it does carry considerable advantages when done correctly.

via CNBC

Written by Bruno

2017.04.12 at 11:43

Is New York Becoming a ‘Gated Suburb’?

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The Manhattan skyline as seen from Long Island City. (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NEW YORK — The Big Apple is in danger of turning into a “gated suburb” by increasing gentrification and the loss of economic diversity among its inhabitants, University of Toronto professor Richard Florida said recently.

I look at New York City today — with warts and all, it does look more like a suburb. If you look at what people are living in on the Upper East Side, in these new towers, 3,500 square feet for a family of two, a parking spot in the garage or next to your unit … This morphing of what we used to think of as urban lifestyle and suburban lifestyle is really intriguing.

During an Oct. 13 panel at the New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate, Florida said that the same forces were at work in other popular cities, such as London, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Quartz reports..

Massachusetts Institute of Technology once called Florida the world’s most influential thinker. So there’s that.

Written by Bruno

2016.10.14 at 10:28

Posted in New York, real estate

Tagged with ,

San Francisco Rental Scams and How to Spot Them

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Apartments in the city by the bay have seen some hefty rent increases in recent months, adding to the probability that your impossibly too-good-to-be-true Craigslist find just might be a scam.


Beware of scams. (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

While I’ve previously written about how to spot and avoid apartment rental scams while searching for a place to live in New York, many of the tricks that criminals attempt are the same regardless of which coast you call home.

Two of the most common tip-offs include a ridiculously low price — in a market where the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,460 — as well as an overly elaborate story of why they’re not meeting you in person and a desire to deal in cash only.

A friend recently forwarded one in which the supposed owner wrote the following:

Thanks for your interest and inquiries about my house. Yes the house is still available for rent and we are looking for a responsible person/family to occupy and maintain the house now that we are not around. My wife and i just moved to East Africa,(Kenya ) for a program called Health Resources and Services Administration( HRSA), the program is taking place in three major countries in Europe, UK, USA . We will be there for 2 to 3 years or more that is why I have made up my mind to put up my house for rent to whom ever that will take good care of it.

Sometimes the con artist manufactures a story that preys on would-be victims’ compassion, setting up a situation that will require waiting for keys to be shipped that will never arrive.

I’m happy to inform you that the place is still available for rent. I’ve Congenital deafness and I work with a Resource Center on Deafness which provides programs and services to support deaf and hard of hearing students, their parents, and their school districts.. I was presently transferred to Ohio.. I have no choice than to relocate and this is the reason why I want to rent out the units to someone who is going to take care of the place as if they own it. … I want you to make sure the present address is not mistaken because that’s where the keys and documents will be ship to. The contents of the shipment you will be expecting are …


Yeah, right.

Such a scam is common and often involves wiring money via Western Union or MoneyGram, either to a foreign address or within the United States. Scammers promise they will send you the keys, making it sound like they are taking a big risk in trusting that you won’t rip them off.

Scammers are also expanding beyond San Francisco to the Greater Bay Area. The second example above was for a listing in San Carlos.

By the way, even a temporary rental via services such as Airbnb is no sure bet that you won’t get scammed, either. Please use your best judgment and stay away from anything that doesn’t seem legitimate.

I loved living in San Francisco, although I was there when rents were much cheaper, and I would hate for anyone to suffer a financial loss in such a beautiful place.

For more information, read my previous posts on the topic, “How to Avoid Craigslist Apartment Rental Scams” and “How to Spot & Avoid Apartment Scams.”

Written by Bruno

2015.11.18 at 16:06

New York’s ‘Insane’ Real Estate Market

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View of Manhattan's skyline from the 7 train. (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro.)

Activity in New York’s real estate market has increased since the first quarter of 2012. (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro.)

NEW YORK — The real estate market in Manhattan, as well as in Brooklyn, is now firing on all cylinders and nearing pre-recession levels, according to a couple of recent reports.

“It’s really remarkable because January and February was just really crazy,” Streeteasy Vice President of Research  Sofia Song told New York Magazine’s S. Jhoanna Robledo. “That’s insane. This is the highest number of contracts in the first quarter and the second highest of any quarter since the meltdown of 2008.”

Properties that went into contract in the first quarter of 2013 jumped by 15 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Streeteasy.

Song called 2013 the “Year of the Frustrated Buyer.”

Anyone who has attended an open house in Manhattan, Brooklyn and parts of Queens would likely agree.

Also gone are the days of the low-ball offer.

One real estate agent told The Real Deal that bidding also had gotten “absolutely insane,” with three buyers making offers within the same open house.

A fellow agent at my firm, Bill Bone of BOND New York, was also quoted saying that his buyer lost out on a Williamsburg condo. “We had to compete with 45 other offers.”

(That’s why it pays, more than ever, for buyers to use an experienced real estate agent.)

Meanwhile, the median price of a Manhattan apartment rose 5.9 percent from the first quarter of 2012 to $820,555. The average price rose to $1.354 million, according to real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

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‘Nirvana’ for Housing, Expert Says

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Image of West 14th Street, Manhattan, New York. 'Nirvana' for Housing Market? (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

‘Nirvana’ for Housing Market, Expert Says (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NEW YORK — Scarce inventory, low interest rates and improved consumer confidence are making the current real estate market one of the strongest in at least a generation, one industry expert said Thursday.

“I think we’re in nirvana for housing,” said Ivy Zelman, chief executive officer of Zelman & Associates, told CNBC.

Zelman, who has 22 years of experience, accurately called the 2005 high in the real estate market, as well as the 2012 low.

“I think that I have to tell you, I’m probably the most bullish I’ve ever been fundamentally, and I’m dating myself, been around for over 20 years, so I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs,” she said.

Zelman also honed in on a curious practice increasingly common in the New York real estate market.

“I’ll tell you, there are Realtors blanketing neighborhoods, asking people to sell their homes,” she said.

Housing prices are poised to continue rising for the next four to six years, she added.

“Where the inventories in the United States are right now is a significant constraint. We have 30-year low inventories,” Zelman said. “Mortgage financing is by far the best it’s ever been in the history of our country. Rent inflation is making people reconsider going out and considering buying.”

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Written by Bruno

2013.03.07 at 18:23

Posted in Uncategorized

Manhattan Apartment Prices Booming

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New York Real Estate Rising

New York Real Estate Rising

NEW YORK — Good news for the Manhattan real estate market: Apartment prices rose last year across the board, with the highest gains coming in larger, luxury homes.

A CNBC story by real estate reporter Diana Olick cites uncertainty about economic policy out of Washington for blockbuster sales in the fourth quarter, which reached their highest level in 25 years.

Olick writes, “Total sales of both co-ops and condominiums jumped 40 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 year from the same period in 2011, according to a new report from Brown Harris Stevens. The average co-op price of $1,285,426 was 12 percent higher than a year ago, while three-bedroom and larger co-ops saw a 34 percent price leap.”

Scarce inventory — at its lowest point in 12 years — will keep upward pressure on prices.

A look at the upper segment of the market showed even greater strength.

“Sales of properties priced over $10 million rose 44 percent from a year ago, and this does not include several major transactions in the last days of the year,” Olick wrote. “One record $54 million east side co-op sale helped push average prices higher in that area by 20 percent.”

In October, real estate mogul Billy Procida that New York real estate couldn’t get cheaper, especially factoring in historically low mortgage rates — this week, 3.45 percent on a 30-year loan — and demand that had just started to pick up.

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Written by Bruno

2013.01.03 at 11:53

Posted in Uncategorized

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