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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Real Estate's most wanted

crime scenesid_news.gifHere are the first glimpses of the alleged thieves from an open house last week. These are captured from security cameras in the lobby and elevator. Doug Heddings at True Gotham, who was involved in the incident, provided the images. They are captured from security cameras in the lobby and elevator. Doug further reveals, "Note the brunette fixing her wig in the elevator. My agent who caught them in the act is almost certain that the brunette is a man in drag".

With thousands of open houses citywide being held each month, this is a rare occurrence. I posted some open house workplace safety guidelines yesterday. With thousands of visitors seeing this on comitini.com and in similar places throughout the blogsphere, we'll hopefully deter future incidents, help identify and maybe even catch them. Feel free to repost the animated version above or the stills if you have a site. Check out the original story at TrueGotham.

updated 11.15.2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Workplace safety

professionalThere's a report about an open house theft posted by Doug at True Gotham that took place last Sunday. I'd heard recently of a similar occurrence a couple of weeks ago, where some expensive designer handbags were taken too. Perhaps the work of the same people. We should note that there are hundreds of open houses that are held each week without incident, and its one of the most effective ways to expose a home to buyers. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend doing them for a moment, with a few common sense precautions added. I think of this as a relatively safe profession, but the NAR does have an entire section of their site on safety, and provide this handout about protecting seller's against crime. I've taken a few of my thoughts + theirs, and urbanized them for New York City. Anyone have more ideas to share?

some common sense precautions

  • Put the valuables away in a locked closet, file drawer, or off site.
  • Agents should work an open house at a larger property with an assistant(s).
  • Multi-story properties should have an assistant on each floor during an open house.
  • Consider allowing only one or two people in the apartment at a time. One agent could be stationed in the lobby allowing people up.
  • Beware of teams who may enter and split up; a chatty one distracting an agent, while the other(s) quietly pilfer.
  • Visitors and agents should not leave their own bags or personal electronics out, or unattended.
  • Are you are carrying a fully charged cell phone?
  • Have a distress code word worked out to call 911 if necessary, that person may be on or off site as long as they know your location.
  • Make sure that all rooms are clear of people before leaving.

updated 11.17.2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Utilizing the value in a home's equity

We again welcome Barbara Corcoran with a Q&A on how to best utilize the equity in a home, from her column 'Ask Barbara' in the New York Daily News.

Barbara CorcoranQ&AQ. I plan on purchasing a home and starting a business within the next year. If I take out a loan for $80,000 to start my business, can I still get a loan toward purchasing my house or should I use my house as collateral to get a business loan?

A. Wrap a business loan into your house mortgage. Your payments will be lower, and you’ll have more time to repay. Besides, the rates are cheaper. When most people start a new business, we expect it to take off a lot faster than it actually does.

By giving yourself the cushion of lower payments and more time to repay, you'll be thankful that you never signed up for a short-term business loan with high rates.

continued+

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My first year as a real estate blogger

headroomToday marks the first anniversary of my blogging adventure. I'd like to take a moment to thank our subscribers and frequent readers for their interest and support. It has been a lot of work, but the feed back from the public and my professional colleagues has made it really worthwhile. Web traffic analytics show that I'm being read in 103 countries globally and visitors click through and read an average of over 2 stories on each visit. I'm encouraged by that broad based, quality readership. Comitini.com soft launched on November 3rd, 2006 with this post. There were at the time just a few others written in the queue to test the process while the home page was out of public view. I formally announced the site in January of 2007, after I'd had a chance to write more content, and get blogging time worked into my routine. After a year, I feel like I'm just catching my stride now. It has been a busy one with my overall practice growing, including my largest exclusive to date.

"Seems Mr. Comitini's got himself one of these here blogs—hey, it's one of the better designed broker blogs we've yet come across. His disembodied head? Nice touch."
LOCKHART STEELE, CURBED.COM

The site has been well received by the blogging and real estate communities. The blog has gotten us interest from the press and been cited on Curbed.com, SmartMoney.com, The New York Sun, and in Robb Report publications among many places. I've been included in the Carnival of Real Estate's weekly competition of the best blogging seven times over the past year (that's every time I've submitted). One of my articles is even being excerpted and included in the textbook for the NYS licensing exam New York Real Estate for Brokers by Marcia D. Spada. The "voice" here continues to develop, and I think that there is much room to improve and innovate.

continued+

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