Allison Jaffe | Bronx Real Estate, Westchester Real Estate, Manhattan Real Estate


Whether you spend most days working on residential real estate sales as I do or occasionally embark on buying or selling a home, you’ll have stories to tell. In most instances, you won’t know whether to laugh or cry; eventually you’ll probably do both.


                           Persistence vs. Obstruction

I hope you’ll forgive me for departing from the usual “absurd but true” theme of this blog to tell you one of my favorite stories from more than 14 years of selling real estate, because now strikes me as an appropriate moment to tell it.

I represented the sellers of a mixed-use building in the Bronx with a month-to-month retail tenant on the first floor and a vacant residential apartment on the second floor.  Anticipating that the tenant would be entitled to a 30-60 day window to vacate the first floor, to run concurrent with a buyer’s window to obtain their mortgage commitment, the building was marketed for sale with or without the first-floor tenant.

In a few months we went into contract with a Buyer who planned to locate her own retail business on the first floor.  The sale contract was therefore contingent on delivering both units in the building vacant.  When the tenant – an owner of multiple convenience stores around the Bronx -- was informed he’d have to vacate this location, he refused to leave.  The Sellers and their attorney feared the Buyer with whom we were in contract would walk away from the purchase if the first floor retail space would not be available to house her business in the foreseeable future.  I anticipated a different response from our Buyer because she had shared with me how she came to that transaction and that moment.  

Her journey started as an adolescent on a dangerously small boat escaping communist Vietnam, stalled for two years in a Pacific-rim refugee camp where she learned enough English to qualify for asylum, and continued by transport plane to the US where she eventually became a resident of the Bronx. Her immigrant story then followed a path similar to earlier immigrants from Eastern Europe, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Cuba, and other Caribbean Islands.  She started a business, she worked long hours, paid her rent and taxes, became a respected fixture in the neighborhood where she lived and worked, and saved the down payment to become an owner rather than a tenant.  I didn’t expect an obstructive businessman would deter this Buyer from achieving that goal.  

I’m happy to say I was right and I’m proud to have been part of fulfilling that particular American dream.   Take what you will from the timing of me telling this tale from my adventures in real estate the first week in November 2018.  The details of how the transaction closed are not important now.  I believe everything that led up to that closing has never been more importantto “We the people of the United States . . .”  

You can't make this stuff up!

Watch for future tales from the world of real estate!  

Allison Jaffe, Copyright 2018



Unfortunately, selling a house sometimes can be a long, complicated process. And if you're not careful, you risk costly, time-consuming mistakes that may prevent you from achieving your home selling goals.

When it comes to selling a house, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the home selling journey and ensure you can enjoy a fast, seamless home selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to simplify the home selling process.

1. Boost Your House's Curb Appeal

The first impression that your home makes on potential buyers can have far-flung effects on the home selling journey. If your house dazzles homebuyers, you may increase the likelihood of a quick, profitable home selling experience. On the other hand, if your home misses the mark with buyers, you may struggle to stir up interest in your house.

Perform home exterior upgrades to enhance your house's appearance. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges and clear debris from any walkways. Also, repair any cracked or damaged siding to further bolster your house's appearance and ensure homebuyers will fall in love with your house as soon as they see it.

2. Eliminate Clutter

Clutter may dominate your home's interior, and if you don't clear it out, you risk missing out on opportunities to sell your house.

Fortunately, there are many ways to eliminate clutter. For example, a yard sale is a quick, effective way to sell assorted items before you list your residence. Or, you can list items online or donate them to charity.

If there are various items you want to keep, you may want to rent a storage unit. With a storage unit at your disposal, you can keep a wide range of items safe and outside your home until your residence sells.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who is committed to helping home sellers achieve the optimal results. He or she will work with you throughout the home selling journey and ensure you can enjoy a successful home selling experience.

Usually, a real estate agent will meet with you, learn about your home and craft a personalized home selling strategy. This housing market professional then will promote your residence to buyers and host open house events and home showings. Furthermore, if a homebuyer makes an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent will help you review this proposal and determine whether to accept, reject or counter it.

A real estate agent also will respond to your home selling concerns or questions. Thus, if you are uncertain about how to navigate the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to offer guidance.

There is no need to stress as you get ready to list your residence. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can eliminate the guesswork commonly associated with selling a house.

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Make this compact, top-floor unit your own with a little or a lot of updating. An affordable 1BR in the well-maintained, 100% owner-occupied, Forest Park Co-Op, nestled in a corner of sprawling Forest Park. Enjoy many park amenities adjacent to the co-op: golf course, ball fields, handball, playground, carousel, skate park, sitting areas, walking & bike paths. Q11, Q21, QM15, and BM5 stop at the corner, walk to Q52 & Q53 SBS at Myrtle Ave and J & Z trains at Jamaica Ave. Shop Jamaica Ave or take the short ride to Queens Center. Easy access to JRP and all highways. Low M/M of $471.35 includes electric, gas, heat, water, RE taxes; additional fees for a/c units & d/w. Max 80% financing. Application fees total $650. Flip tax $300/share w/39 shares. Two cats are allowed; dogs are not. Subletting not allowed. Building amenities: laundry room, bike room; garage & storage bins waitlisted. Co-Op Application MUST be reviewed and approved prior to submission.

One of the final hurdles to buying a house is making sure your future home is structurally sound. To the untrained eye, the property you've made an offer on may appear to be "close enough to perfect."

However, your excitement over that gourmet kitchen, finished basement, and manicured lawn may be causing you to view your future home with rose-colored glasses!

Fortunately, you can (and should) hire an experienced, licensed professional to thoroughly inspect the property and point out flaws and potential problems that might need to be addressed by the seller -- either in the form of price concessions or repairs. If the seller is unwilling to be flexible in those areas, then you may have the option of withdrawing your offer. Hopefully, it won't come down to that -- especially if you love the house -- but that situation could arise and derail your plans for buying a particular property.

Many real estate purchases do involve a few bumps and detours along the way, but they frequently can be resolved by your real estate agent and/or attorney.

The starting point for identifying structural issues with a house is to have the property inspected by a reputable home inspector. Here are a few of the key areas they'll evaluate and include in their report:

  • Foundation and basement: Cracks, leaks, and signs of instability can often be identified through a visual inspection of the underlying structure of a home. Some issues are relatively minor, while others can be quite costly.
  • Roof and attic: Although most new roofs typically last for 20 to 30 years, time has a way of slipping by when you least expect it! Depending on weather conditions, climate, and falling tree branches, roofs of any age can be subjected to a lot of wear and tear. Since roofs play such a vital role in protecting your home and family from the many forces of nature, it's crucial that your roof be intact, in sound condition, and fully functional. An inspection of the home's attic and/or crawlspace will also reveal actual or potential problems with leaks, mold, roof damage, or infestations.
  • HVAC, electrical, and plumbing: There are a lot of systems that provide homeowners with comfort, convenience, and the ability to meet day-to-day needs. Whether you're talking about major kitchen appliances, hot water heaters, or climate control systems, there are dozens of things an inspector needs to check and keep you apprised of.
  • Exterior checkpoints: Property inspectors will also assess the condition of the outside of the house, as well as drainage efficiency and any visible structural damage or signs of deterioration.
Although all property inspectors should adhere to industry standards and best practices, some are more thorough and efficient than others. It's essential for you to understand the scope of their services, including whether they offer lead paint testing, termite inspection, radon detection, and asbestos testing.

When it comes to home inspections, your real estate agent can not only provide you with professional referrals, but they can also accompany you on the actual property inspection. That will help make sure important questions, issues, and recommendations don't slip through the cracks!

Pinterest is a beautiful thing. Giving us a truly endless supply of crafts, hacks, tips, and recipes for our homes. But as infamous as Pinterest is for its helpfulness is the plethora of “Pinterest Fails” it leaves in its wake. Here’s how to avoid making your home look like a giant craft project instead of the stylish, chic abode you’re dreaming of.

The most important thing to keep in mind is “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. Okay, that might sound mean but let me explain.

Just as you’d carefully select high-end pieces for your home you should carefully select your projects. It can be tempting to do #allthethings since they are cheap, easy and let’s be honest, fun. However, overloading on craft projects or any form of decor quickly crowds out style.

So be as strategic with which projects fit your current surroundings as you would if investing a large chunk of change into a piece. Select projects that are cohesive with the current design of your room and home. If your home is sleek and modern but you add a country chic style piece it’s going to look out of place and throw off your whole room.

Go neutral. This doesn’t mean your whole room needs to be beige (boring!) but reaching for neutral colors more often than not will keep your home looking classy and stylish. If you pull out any home decorating magazine you’ll notice that most of the room is neutral. This allows for the pieces you do choose to pull in color with to really pop and take the spotlight.

One strength of crafts is bringing in a variety of furniture and decor. Again, looking at home decor magazines you’ll notice many rooms don’t have full matching sets. Mix feminine with masculine pieces and soft, smooth fabrics with rich, textures. This brings dimension and interest to your room while scratching the itch to go hunting for great fixer-upper finds.

Less is more. To create a stylish home space is key. This also means you might want to do some decluttering in your home. Stuff has a knack for building up. But by creating lots of breathing space between items you create more room for the items you create to be put on display and admired.

Limit trends. I know this one is hard! Limit the number of trendy items you create to prevent your decor from becoming quickly outdated. And overdoing a trend can make a room feel uncomfortable and stiff. For example, one pallet board craft can be fun. But having several in every room of your house will quickly have your home feeling like a giant craft project. Some other trends pushing their welcome? Chevron and copper everything.