Tag Archive for: NYC real estate

Hurricane Season and Flood Insurance – What Ron Herscho Wants You to Know

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The 2013 hurricane season began on June 1 and will officially end on November 30. Ron Hershco believes now is the best time to make sure your properties are covered with you current flood insurance policy.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about new FEMA evaluations on how much flood insurance should be attained by multiple mortgage holders:

The Federal Emergency Management Administration is currently re-evaluating flood maps, requiring more jumbo-mortgage holders with homes in high-hazard areas to buy flood insurance. Also, changes to federal law enacted in July are expected to jack up premiums.

Even though flood coverage is only mandated for government-backed mortgages, or conforming loans, lenders generally keep the same requirements for jumbo borrowers who live in high-hazard (Zone A) areas. These are defined by FEMA as having a 26% chance of flooding during the lifespan of a 30-year mortgage.

“The pool of people required to pay flood insurance has dramatically increased,” said Peter Grabel, a senior mortgage loan originator at Stamford, Conn.-based Luxury Mortgage.

Both Bank of America and Wells Fargo require jumbo-mortgage borrowers to obtain the $250,000 maximum coverage available for residential properties under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is an arm of FEMA. Homeowners can purchase a second NFIP personal-property policy that covers up to $100,000 to replace a home’s contents.

Homeowners also have the option to buy what is called “excess” flood insurance from private insurers to cover repair or replacement costs above $250,000.”

Where you or your family affected by Hurricane Sandy? Did you have flood insurance before last year’s hurricanes? Do you plan on getting it now?

 

Department of Buildings Cracks Down on Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Ron HershcoSome interesting news came out recently. According to a recent New York Times article, the Department of Buildings has begun issuing fines to agents and brokers who advertise and show illegal apartments for rent. This is a huge deal for not only real estate agents and brokers, but the real estate industry as a whole. The fines have been issued to agents and the companies that they work for and start at $3,600 and can reach as high as 5 times that amount depending on the type of violation.

Here is an excerpt from the article with some further background.

From January to March, inspectors combed through listing Web sites like craigslist, and then, posing as curious potential renters, went to see 50 apartments they considered suspicious. (Telltale signs of an apartment without the proper certificate of occupancy might be a listing that says all utilities are included, for example.)

The department issued fines to 10 agents, including agents at Douglas Elliman and Halstead Property, for listing apartments in a variety of neighborhoods and boroughs, including Park Slope and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and Hamilton Heights in Upper Manhattan. All of the apartments were in the basement or the cellar, and most did not have the required two means of egress, the department said. The department says the building code gives it the right to issue fines to agents; in the future, it may go after brokers who supervise the agents as well.

How far the Buildings Department will actually go to crack down and the steps that they will take in the future is still up in the air. However, if this is any indication of how things will be moving as time goes on, real estate agents, brokers and their companies alike will have to take caution in showing or advertising illegal apartments for rent.

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Trying to Cope with a Neighbors Renovation

Ron Hershco Renovation

We’ve all be there in the past. One day you’re pulling into your driveway or walking into your building, all things are clear and then the next there’s scaffolding set up and contractors moving about. Unless you’ve put in for some new renovations it can only mean one thing, your neighbors are making a few changes to their place and you have got to grin and bear it until the changes are done.

However, there are a number of things that you can do to help you cope with the noise, debris and other ‘annoyances’ during the real estate makeover. Ron Hershco actually just read a great article in The New York Times about what others can do to help deal with the pains of a neighbors renovation. The highlights are below:

  • Adjacent homeowners ask to be added to the renovating neighbor’s insurance policy, and also have their own architect or engineer review the construction plans. That is especially important if your neighbor plans to dig a lower level deeper than yours, as it may require shoring up your foundation.
  • Take as many pictures as possible just in case any damage happens to your property.
  • People concerned about a renovation project first try to communicate with the neighbor who is doing the work, and then become involved in the permit-approval process.

The New York City Department of Buildings (nyc.gov/buildings) also offers resources for neighbors concerned about construction. On its Web site, you can enter an address and get information about jobs that have been filed for it, a record of any complaints or violations, and whether they have been resolved.

These are only a few tips from Ron Hershco. But there are lots of other things you can do. And remember, if renovations are happening at your neighbors have patience. They are you neighbors and unless you’re renting, you’re going to have to live there for a long time. There are a lot of things worse than a few weeks of renovations, right?

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