Forest Hills Coop takes over 2 Years to Close due to Complicated Development Issues

Station Square_Forest Hills Queens NY_Forest Hills Gardens NY_Coops for Sale in Forest Hills QueensWe recently closed on a 1 BR Forest Hills Coop in Forest Hills Gardens. This particular unit was one of our very rare deals that took a considerably LONG time to sell. This one was due to specific issues with the Coop development which affected financing for buyers and led to very high maintenance as well. This coupled with a negative reputation and perception of the building made it a tough sell, but at the end of the day, we got the job done and helped free our client of this burden…

We met this client back in the Spring of 2013. He was selling on his own after being on the market for 6 months with an agent who couldn’t get it sold. I think he was listed before that as well, suffice to say, he was already trying to get rid of this property. Honestly, most agents who list complicated Coops will not even ask for the listing back after 6 months because they know it’s a tough sell that requires a lot of work. In any case, when we met with the owner he explained the whole situation to us so that we knew what we were dealing with. Luckily our approach to real estate is all about helping so our natural instinct was to find a solution. We gathered all the details and got to work…

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In a nutshell, what we were dealing with was a Forest Hills Coop where more than 10% of the units were sponsor owned. Now, we have seen this before and anytime this is the case, financing will be an issue. Most banks will not lend in a development where more than 10% of the units are sponsor owned. In addition, this particular sponsor was not a very well liked individual to say the least. Ultimately, the board and shareholders ended up filing a lawsuit against the sponsor in order to make him sell off some of his units to get the amount owned under 10%. This was a long and drawn out process so the whole time we had it on the market we were just looking for cash buyers, or we would explore financing with several banks if a buyer was interested. The owner on the other hand, was coming out of pocket every month because the maintenance was extremely high for the area, and the subletting fees were also very high. The last hurdle to overcome was a very reserved tenant who did not feel comfortable showing the apt, and when we did show, she always found a way to say negative things about the apt or building…

It was a 1 BR unit right off 71st Ave and Austin St so if you know the area, you know that this is one of the most desirable areas of Forest Hills because of the transportation, shopping, entertainment, etc. Added to that, the price of the unit was $179K which was extremely attractive for the area. As you can expect, our phone and email would be blowing up constantly because the price, location, and pictures screamed value. So showing the apt was never an issue, we used to show 2-3 times a week (when possible) to prospective buyers and once a buyer was interested, we would negotiate and then come to an agreement on a price. After a while, the tenant became frustrated with the process and ended up moving out, this was a good thing because she only hurt the sale when we would show, however, now our client was coming out of pocket for the whole nut every month.

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Most interested buyers were obtaining financing so this is where we would always hit a wall. All cash buyers always gave low ball offers that were not acceptable to the owner or to us. So, 6 months passed and unfortunately there just weren’t any banks that would approve the building. So, the owner decided to take it off the market and rent it again because he was losing even more money every month now that the apt was vacant. We agreed that he should hurry up and get a tenant in there so we helped him rent the apt and told him we would stay in touch. We were not giving up on this deal even though most agents would tell us to just cut our losses, especially since the sale price was low. The thing with us is that we don’t care about how much work it will take or how much we’ll make, we just see a distressed homeowner who needs help with a complicated situation, and we’re in a position to assist. So, our goal was to help him get the job done and we were committed to getting to the finish line no matter how long it took…

Almost one year passes and we’ve been keeping in touch every 2-3 months to monitor the market for him. There were only one or two sales in the development but they were all cash, and extremely low so that didn’t give us any hope. However, progress with the lawsuit was coming along and the sponsor owned units was almost down to below 10% because the sponsor was being forced to sell his units slowly. We finally heard from our client once the new tenant’s lease was coming up for expiration. I received an email from him saying he was ready to sell again and hoped that we could get all it done this time. I responded back with the assurance and excitement that I’m sure he would appreciate from his agent… “That’s great news, let’s do it. We’re excited and ready to get the job done this time!!!” So we got started with the process again, but it wasn’t smooth sailing yet because although the sponsor owned issue was close to being resolved, we found out that there was a new assessment issued to all shareholders for the next 2+ years. Keep in mind that the maintenance was already high as it is ($1,100+/mo). Now we had a $200 ongoing assessment to add to it!

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Due to the price, condition, and location, attracting buyers was still not a problem, but now we were facing the constant objection of the high maintenance. Fortunately the market was in our favor and prices were going up rapidly so we finally found a buyer who was interested in buying it. We ended up needing to pay for the assessment (about $5K) but we got a very good price for the owner, and finally had an accepted offer that looked promising because on top of the accepted offer, the buyer’s uncle was actually on the board of the Coop!

So, in the end, we got to the closing table and our client was ecstatic! He was so grateful that we stuck with him and he appreciated that we always worked hard for him even after years of having to deal with the issues and challenges at hand. His appreciation and excitement to finally close reminds us of why we do what we do. We love helping people and we never count dollars and cents when going to work for someone. I guess the moral of the story is that you should be very careful when buying a coop, and make sure you do your due diligence so that you don’t end up in a situation where you end up being trapped with an apt. The moral of the story for other Queens real estate agents is just to cone from contribution when you take on new clients. Don’t be driven by the dollar, we’re in the service industry and we’re in a position to help people that are in very complicated and distressed situations. The gratification is worth so much, and that client will be a raving fan which is priceless in this business!

Well, that’s all for this story. Long and complicated deal with a happy ending! Happy client, check. Raving fan, check. We won’t even count how much we were paid per hour on the deal because it would likely be comparable to what people are making in far off parts of the world:) Our job is done here, off to find the next person we can help!

Blog Courtesy of George & Abigail Herrera w/the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.

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A Heart Warming Home Sale in Rego Park, Queens…

1_Rego Park Homes for Sale_Homes for Sale in Rego Park NY_Single Family Homes in Rego Park Queens (81)This week we closed on one of our single family home listings in Rego Park. This deal was one if those rare deals where everything went smoothly, and everyone was extremely happy! Our client was the seller and she was one of our most pleasant and friendly clients ever:) She was selling her home, which had been in the family for over 40 years. When we met her for the first time, we met with her, her son (who was raised in the home), and his wife. They were all very nice, and their biggest concern was getting the best price, and making sure that the process go smoothly. The house was a single family on 62nd Drive in Rego Park. This street is one of the widest roads in Rego Park and the curb appeal of the tudor homes are absolutely gorgeous!

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The home itsef was in amazing conditition. Usually when we sell long time family homes, the age is very evident. However, this client renovated the entire house last year and we were surprised at what great taste she had with the renovations. The house had the kind of kitchen and bath that you see in tv shows, and the layout was a typical one family layout (3 bedrooms on second floor, formal dining, kitchen, and living room on first floor). The owner opened up the wall between the kitchen and dining room and it made all the difference!

When we met with them, we did a thorough consultation and needs analysis. The owner’s only son was now living in Jersey with his wife and kids, and she decided it was time to sell the house so that she could move closer to them. She was already under contract on a home in New Jersey so that part was done. Luckily it wasn’t contingent on the sale of her home in Rego Park so that made things much easier for everyone…

We went over comps to discuss the market value and suggested list price. The next door neighbor actually had just closed on their property recently. That one was a corner house with more living space but in poor condition. It ended up selling for $723K so we suggested listing at $750K because we felt that we could justify a sale price to an appraiser up to that number…

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Once we hit the market, our phone immediately strted ringing and emails started coming in. Our client didn’t want to have a lot of people roaming around the house at one time, so we scheduled all showings during 2-3 hour windows, with a showing every 15 mins. This was our first time doing this, but it really made for an awesome buying experience because every family that came was able to ciew the property by themselves for 15 mins…

After the first week, offers naturally started coming in. We had a total of about 12 offers on the house and negotiated them up to at or above asking price. The winning bid was a family who lives in the area and send their daughter to day care right across the street. This family was workibg with a buyer agent from Exit Realty in Forest Hills. They vuewed the property and then submited an outstanding offer, $810K ($60K above asking price)! They were the obvious winner but we did our due diligence just to make sure we had a solid candidate. After doing our financial review, we decided that they were good candidates to proceed with. The only thing we needed to address before going into contract was the inevitable appraisal issue. We value properties for a living so we instantly knew that it would be a very big challenge to justify the sale price to any bank appraiser. So, we asked the buyers’ for a no appraisal contingency in order to protect our clients’ with the offer price. The buyers’ acceted our terms and the deal began…

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Once we started the process of going into contract, we quickly realized that we were working with a true professional in the buyer’s agent. The buyers’ loan officer and bank attorney were also very cooperative and communicative. All we needed to do is reciprocate that same professionalism, which we always do:) The deal went very smoothly with very little hiccups along the way. Once the closing day arrived, we had the final walk through in the morning and then headed to the closing. At the final walk through, we could see the excitement in the buyers’ faces. It’s so gratifying to us when we get to see a happy buyer and seller at the closing table! The ownerwas there for 40+ years, and now a new couple was moving in with a baby on the way…

At the end of the day, this deal is just a reminder of how important it is to build a dream team when you buy or sell a home in queens. If you have the right people working for and(or) with you, then it makes for a much smoother transaction and more pleasant experience. This was on of the rare times where the seller’s team was just as good as the buyer’s team, and the end result was a very happy buyer and seller:) One chapter ends, while another one begins. This is why we love what we do, because we get to help people with one of the largest financial transactions they will ever experience. Our client netted $60K over market value, and the buyers’ are getting their dream home! Win-win…

Courtesy of George & Abigail w/the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Landmark II.

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20 Fun Facts about the Forest Hills NY Neighborhood

foresthill_lgspanForest Hills is an AWESOME neighborhood in Queens NY! We sell homes, Coops, and Condos in Forest Hills and the feedback we get from current and new residents is outstanding. People love the history, the old world charm of Forest Hills Gardens, the Shopping and entertainment along Austin St, the pre-war Coops, etc. There’s much to love about the neighborhood so we created a list of some fun facts that you may or may not know about the Forest Hills NY Neighborhood… ENJOY!

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1. Was originally referred to as “Whitepot”

2. Bounded by 62nd Drive, Thorton Place, and Selfridge St to the west, Metropolitan Ave to the south, Union Tpke to the east, and Grand Central Parkway on the north.

3. Forest Hills Gardens is bounded by Burns Street to the north, Union Tpke to the east, Greenway South and Harrow Street to the west, and Tennis Place & Continental Ave to the west.

4. Grosvenor Atterbury, a renowned architect, was given the commission to design Forest Hills Gardens. The neighborhood was planned on the model of the garden communities of England.

5. The Cord-Meyer section of Forest Hills is loosely bounded by 68th Avenue on the north; 72nd Road on the south; 108th Street on the west; and Grand Central Parkway on the east.

6. Construction of the Cord-Meyer section of Forest Hills used a prefabricated building technique; each house was built from approximately 170 standardized precast concrete panels, fabricated off-site and positioned by crane.

7. In 1913 the West Side Tennis Club moved from Manhattan to Forest Hills Gardens.

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8. South of the Long Island Rail Road, the Forest Hills Gardens is a private community that features some of the most expensive residential properties in Queens county.

9. The most notable high rise apartment buildings in Forest Hills are The Continental on 108th St, Kennedy House, the Pinnacle, and the Windsor.

10. The north side of Forest Hills is the Cord Meyer community which contains detached single-family homes. Teardowns, and their replacement with larger single family residences has had a significant impact on the architectural integrity of the area.

11. Forest Hills was once the home of the US Open Tennis Tournament. The event was held at the West Side Tennis club.

12. Forest Hills is disproportionately home to the upper middle class, of whom the wealthiest often love in the Forest Hills Gardens.

13. The main thoroughfare in Forest Hills is Queens Blvd.

14. Metropolitan Ave is known for it’s antique shops.

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15. The commercial heart of Forest Hills is a mile-long stretch of Austin St between Yellowstone Blvd and Ascan Avenue.

16. Forest Hills has the multiple-service Forest Hills-71st Avenue Subway Station (E, F, M, and R trains) at the intersection of Continental Avenue and Queens Boulevard. The local 75th Avenue E F trains) is also in the area, and some entrance/exits of the express Kew Gardens – Union Turnpike station (E F trains) service the southeastern portion of Forest Hills.

17. Forest Hills has two commuter train stations, the Forest Hills and Kew Gardens railway stations of the Long Island Rail Road.

18. The Q23, Q60, and Q64 local buses and QM4, QM11, QM12, and QM18, serve the Forest Hills area.

19. Forest Hills is bordered by two of the more sizable parks in Queens: the 1,255 acres Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, which is the site of two World’s Fairs (in 1939 and 1964) and the iconic Unisphere; as well as the 544 acres Forest Park.

20. Forest Hills was featured as the home setting for fictional comic book character Spider-Man.