With all of the media attention lately in Brooklyn concerning at risk, uninformed homeowners, particularly the elderly, being preyed upon and taken advantage by developers and investors, I thought it would be helpful to suggest how, as that person’s neighbor, friend, family or colleague, you can offer a helpful tip to those being approached by aggressive or misleading, opportunistic investors or developers.
As with any asset or possession of value, there will always be the concern of how to protect that item, whether by insuring its value, educating yourself about the risks of depreciation, proper care and maintenance or the like. For most people there is a normal trajectory for which to hold an asset before it becomes time to liquidate and cash out. More specifically in regards to real property or real estate, an end user owner will usually purchase property and plan to live there for a certain length of time, either until they outgrow the unit or need to downsize, decide to relocate or retire, or a change in financial situation.
Whether a homeowner is facing one of those decisions or not, understanding and educating one’s self about the value of a property, and what is often times that person’s most valuable asset, is always a good idea. Even if you’re not considering to sell and especially before you are considering to sell, obtaining a comparative market analysis from a licensed real estate professional, will better arm you with the knowledge to protect your asset, in the event that some developer or investor does knock on your door, offering you $X amount of money to take the property off your hands. Some people do seek an appraisal when they begin thinking about selling, which is one option; however, an appraisal will cost an owner a few hundred dollars and in a fast moving market, may not be accurate to what potential buyers are willing to pay NOW; where as, an experienced and knowledgable salesperson, broker or realtor, are fully in tune with what properties are selling for in the current market (versus 3 months previous) and offer a complimentary analysis and price opinion.
I meet with prospective sellers and clients every week, who disclose stories of how their neighbors were approached by an investor to sell their home, not knowing if what they were being offered was a fair compensation. I’ve also experienced customers, who tell me that people were going ‘door to door’ and approaching their neighbors and even chasing them down the street or blocking the door, so they can’t leave and have to hear the investor’s pitch. If an investor knocks on someone’s door, and the owner responds to their offer by telling them the market value of their home and what they are willing to sell for, that would eliminate their chances of further hounding. The investor would know that person is informed and not likely to be ripped off.
Furthermore, I regularly check property transfers for the areas I service, and am routinely perplexed by the variance of sales price for ‘like and kind’ properties. So, there is no doubt that a significant number of homeowners are selling their property for less than the market value. I don’t foresee opportunistic investors and developers stalling these practices when there is so much money to be made, but hopefully more property owners will seek to inform themselves of their property’s worth, so that they are compensated fairly, when and if they decide to sell.
Licensed Associate Broker
Fillmore Real Estate
345 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201