Sunday, March 16, 2014

#100HappyDays: Day 1: Watching this Grooving Grandpa Shake It Down

Has #100HappyDays made it to you yet?  A young Swiss man started The #100HappyDays movement when he realized he was racing around chasing life and wasn't thinking about, or even recognizing what made him happy.  He felt that the internal and external chase of life left him no space for being or acknowledging happiness.  He started to record his happy moments in photos and the fever caught.  

All sorts of buyers pass through.  Many buyers today are very, very concerned with their home as an investment, and they rightly should, given that it takes up such a large portion of their assets.  That said,  sometimes I wonder if they even like the house as it's tough to see much of a response.

So, when I saw this mature gentleman, let's call him Al,  boogying at a ballroom dance studio's evening practice party it struck me straightaway.  Joy. Pure and real.

Making me think…. whatever big decision is occupying your time at the moment whether it be a new home, sale of a home, change of job, or something that is causing worry or loads of thinking time, maybe take a few minutes for the #100happydays challenge.  And think of Al. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cold, Broke and Miserable

I can't get the image out of my head.  Broadway and 65th this past Saturday night.  On one side of the street, 14 police cars roaring down the street, stopping short at Lincoln Center and lined up to whisk Mayor DeBlasio out of the theatre.  On the other side of the street, a young man, wrapped in soiled blankets and torn contractor garbage bags holding the usual cardboard sign.  Four arresting words: COLD, BROKE AND MISERABLE

His face was resigned with a wear that was many years beyond his age.  

The temptation to feel better by wondering why he wasn't taking advantage of the city's social welfare system and any of the shelters that are made available in NYC did not take away the chill of the words.  They were not a complaint.  They did not appeal to sympathy or guilt.  They shared what he felt like.

No words about the real estate market today.  No tips or advice.  Just a reflection on the basic need for shelter and a prayer, to whomever you pray to, for that young man and all the homeless.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Buying A Home Sight Unseen Isn't Always A Blind Move

One of the unusual situations that sometimes crops up in Greenwich real estate is one where the buyer purchases a house without ever seeing it. This may sound nuts—but there are circumstances (more than you’d think) where it can be the only practical solution.
Investors, for instance, sometimes simply haven’t time to visit every property they suspect is a great investment. Other times, buyers might be relocating to Greenwich from out of the country under a timetable that doesn’t allow them an extra visit—or even a first visit! According to the latest full-year data from the National Association of Realtors®, home sales to foreign buyers amounted to $68 billion!
As you’d guess, the risks of purchasing a house sight-unseen when relocating remain stark. Nonetheless, there are ways such buyers can protect themselves: 
Adding a contractual walk-through contingency—one which allows a final walk-though before signing at closing—is the surest protection. Sellers aren’t obligated to accept such a contingency (and in a competitive market it’s less likely to be acceptable), but if it’s allowed, it’s also a sign that the property is likely to pass muster. 
The odds of a good “sight-unseen” result when relocating to Greenwich grow significantly better when you present your agent with a clear list of requirements. Some important factors outside of specific house metrics could be the location within Greenwich, access to I-95 or the Merritt Parkway, or school district.
It is especially important to hire a first-class home inspector.
When you can’t visit the property yourself, your inspector can be the trained eyes that prevent your inheriting unneeded maintenance issues. If the listing doesn’t give you a clear idea of how the home is laid out, requesting a video of both interior and exterior of the property is a good idea. If one isn’t available, don’t be shy about asking your agent to make a walk-through video for you. 

For anyone relocating to Greenwich when a ‘sight-unseen’ home purchase is necessary, choosing a top-notch realtor and inspector couldn’t be more important. After all, they become your ears and eyes on the ground!