Takoma Park – Am Immigrant Sanctuary
October 30, 2007 by jessebkaye
Unlike many of the local cities in surrounding areas, Takoma Park remains firm on their immigration policies: “Welcome.” This past week the Town Council voted once again to maintain their “sanctuary” status for illegal immigrants. Not only does this vote maintain their laws against enforcing federal immigration policies but illegals are also allowed to vote in local elections.
My Opinions on Redfin
July 19, 2007 by jessebkaye
What can I say? For those of you who have checked out the site since my blog yesterday, I would love to hear your opinions! For those of you expecting to hear what my opinion of their success will be here it goes.
Redfin is a brilliant company based out of Cali that targets those who are comfortable using the internet as a medium for their home purchase. I would expect that a typical home buyer who has had experience in the past purchasing a home would feel more comfortable using this system. First time home buyers might not. Even experienced home buyers might not either. Too much trust is placed on a non-experienced site with little to no objection or input from someone experienced with the process. Ill give you an example. Did you know that if you own a home and have a basement without a Certificate of Occupancy or business license that is being rented out for any number of years you will liable to pay the tenant back all of their rent since their first day of occupancy or possibly face jail time or fines up the wazoo! That is if your tenant ever gets mean and decides to sue you. How about what constitutes a bedroom. Did you know that just because you have a room in your house with a closet doesnt mean its a bedroom. It must have two means of egress for safety (exits). What if a seller sells a home that they called a 4 bedroom home when it only has 3 legal bedrooms. Guess what? Lawsuit time! I have a few lawyers that would love to get their hands on that one. And what about purchasing a home that was remodeled without permits? If you buy it, you buy the violation and now the buyer is responsible for the problems.
No site in the world can offer the value and protection of an experienced agent. Do I think the industry will get more competitive? Absolutely! But real estate will never be agent free, there is a human element required to ensure the transaction progresses smoothly and hassle free. Redfin cant offer that.
Redfin Comes to Washington DC
July 18, 2007 by jessebkaye
According to just about every source I could find, Redfin, the famed online real estate “brokerage” released their DC branch last night. Originally from California, Redfin has come quite far since their establishment in 2002. According to an article out of Washington Business Journal
The company, founded in 2002, launched its home-buying service in 2006 and is already doing business in Washington state, California and the Boston area.
While traditional Realtors typically command a 6 percent commission on transactions — 3 percent for the seller’s agent and 3 percent for the buyer’s agent — Redfin’s online brokers charge home sellers a flat fee of $3,000 upfront, or $4,000 at closing, regardless of the house’s price. For buyers, Redfin rebates two-thirds of the commission, which can be as much as 2 percent of the price. The company also provides online video tours of homes and allows customers to quickly compare home prices.
Some Realtors argue online real estate companies like Redfin should not be allowed to tap into the Multiple Listing Service, the comprehensive database of homes for sale in specific markets around the country.
Although anyone who pays the fees for access to MLS data is entitled to its contents, the D.C.-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) says online companies are essentially stealing from traditional real estate agents.
“The Internet-only businesses are not in the business of actually listing properties and selling real estate,” said Walter Molony, a spokesman for the NAR. “These companies are just skimming data, and they’re skimming off the profits of others.”
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman declined to comment in advance of the company’s launch in D.C.
Redfin’s model hasn’t exactly been met with open arms, at least not on the regulatory side. Eleven states prohibit companies from giving homebuyers rebates on real estate commissions. The District, Maryland and Virginia, however, do not.
Redfin does have one big ally in its corner. The U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing an antitrust lawsuit against the NAR, contending that the association is engaging in anti-competitive behavior against online home brokers. The NAR policy for “virtual office Web sites,” or VOWs, contains a provision that allows Realtors to prohibit their listings from being displayed on competitors’ Web sites.”
Read the full story here.
More on my opinions tomorrow!
How about this for an investment; ever consider a parking spot?
July 16, 2007 by jessebkaye
As a follow-up to my post yesterday about purchasing a condo without parking I thought I would follow up with a bit of research regarding the price of parking in New York City. Based on a recent article from CNN parking in New York City can cost upward of $225,000. Keep the price in mind when DC considers a legally deedable parking spot to be no smaller than 9′x18′ (thats 162 sq ft). At nearly $1400/sq ft, a parking spot in New York City costs more than any condo in Washington DC. Given the relative size of Washington DC to New York City, 39 sq miles vs 33.6 sq miles respectively, I might consider investing in a parking spot. What do you think?
July 10, 2007 by jessebkaye
Letters to Macy Development, by a former & understandably enraged client!
To preface the story, we settled on a condo built by Macy Development nearly two months ago, since then Macy has been nothing but difficult about making the necessary changes…please refer to my previous post; Macy, Macy, Macy, Oh why have you done this Macy Development
Leading up to the following is my clients interaction with Macy & their HVAC company.
Devender informed me that this situation has reached a point where Kort MUST get involved. To call it a total mess is an understatement. Our situation and the way it’s been handled has put new meaning to the word, “reasonable”.
We have given you a “reasonable” amount of time to solve this issue or to at least form a plan to solve this issue. We are not asking for anything that is un”reasonable” as it is “reasonable” for us to assume that when we bought a brand new home, the air cooling system would be in top working order. Please try and view our situation from a customer point of view. If you guys (Macy) would bend a little, we could work this stuff out, but you have fought us at every turn. We’re coming to the end of our road.
Devender hasn’t informed you of his “master plan”? It’s in M’s email:
“Devender’s solution now is to install a large pipe in the back of the furnace. This pipe would then go into our master bedroom walk-in closet and head directly downstairs to the ceiling above the kitchen.”
I recommend that you give us a written proposal of the intended work prior to any “repair” on your part for us to approve first. And Aaron, per legal council, I don’t need your writen approval for me to correct your errors. The legal system will collect for us.
I am not sure what you are referring to “putting duct work through my closets”. As you guys (M, Tony) are aware 1900 Fourth Street , LLC is attempting to repair your warranty requests. I recommend you allow us to proceed. When we are completed if you are still not satisfied you can take whatever action you feel necessary.
In addition 1900 Fourth Street, LLC will not be responsible for any fees you incur without our written agreement to do so which we are not providing at this time.
Devender started work at 10:15am (6/29/07) and installed a large damper into the flume on top of the furnace. This damper’s job was to redirect the air to the little bridge that Devender’s men built that attaches the giant furnace flume to the feeder pipe that feeds the downstairs ducts. The damper minorly increased the airflow. Not enough to satisfy any of us.
Devender brought a little blower with him (on the recommendation of the furnace rep) and seeing that the damper didn’t improve things much, he called the furnace rep to ask his advice. The rep (Greg) said that installing the blower would not increase the air flow to the downstairs. In fact, installation of the blower might actually DECREASE downstairs air, because it’s going to take up so much space in the pipe. So, we’re at a standstill again.
Devender’s solution now is to install a large pipe in the back of the furnace. This pipe would then go into our master bedroom walk-in closet and head directly downstairs to the ceiling above the kitchen. A large vent with a damper would be installed to control the airflow, but this vent would deliver a large amount of cool air to the kitchen and living room. It would operate separately from the existing ductwork already installed in the first floor. It would involve the cutting of dry wall. It appears that we are at a stalemate with the existing duct work.
I must say that I’m very disappointed that’s it’s come to this. I am not thrilled at the idea of having a large pipe installed into my closet that will cut through the floor and end up in the ceiling above my kitchen. I’m frustrated that the existing ductwork doesn’t do that job it was installed to do. I’m even more frustrated that it has taken over 2 months for us to reach this decision. Devender’s man, Sonny was supposed to install the large damper (that Devender installed today) a few weeks ago. Much time could have been saved, but that’s in the past now. Devender said he’s going to talk to Kort regarding the construction plans so he can locate the water pipes and electrical wiring in the walls and ceiling so the new “pipe vent” can be properly installed.
That’s the update from here. Macy Development, please contact me when you have some new information.
My latest message to Macy.
I’m documenting everything.
They say that the rep from the window manufacturer will be by this week to measure our windows to make sure we get window screens. It’s been 3 months and still NO window screens. Here’s the latest on the AC issue.
They refuse to pay for us to get a rep in for a 2nd opinion and are threatening us with a loss of furnace warranty if we go with someone else.
I think that if they were truly interested in solving our problem, they’d pay for a 2nd opinion and then pay for the fix, if that opinion was better than their own guy. They have ZERO customer service. ZERO. It’s like they’ve never sold homes before.