Monthly Archives: April 2013

Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Climb by Most Since May 2006 | Armonk Homes

Residential real-estate prices increased in February by the most since May 2006, showing the U.S. housing market is strengthening.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities rose 9.3 percent from February 2012, more than forecast, after advancing 8.1 percent in the year ended in January, the group said today in New York. The increase exceeded the 9 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Compared with the prior month, prices rose the most since October 20. 

Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Climb by Most Since May 2006

Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Climb by Most Since May 2006

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Higher home prices have also boosted household wealth, which will help underpin consumer spending, in turn, spur economic growth.

Higher home prices have also boosted household wealth, which will help underpin consumer spending, in turn, spur economic growth. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

No `Spring Swoon' for U.S. Economy, Thornberg Says


Christopher Thornberg, co-founding principal of Beacon Economics LLC, talks about the February S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 U.S. cities and the outlook for the housing market. Thornberg speaks with Erik Schatzker and Scarlet Fu on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg)


urther price gains may help alleviate a lack of housing inventory by encouraging more homeowners to put their properties on the market. At the same time, mortgage rates close to all- time lows and an improving labor market are providing a boost for residential real estate, which is a source of strength for the expansion.

Uninsured losses on property theft and fraud are tax deductible | South Salem Real Estate

Fraud by building contractors is a distressingly common occurrence.

How’s this for a nightmare scenario: You agree to pay a contractor $400,000 to tear down part of your house and put in an addition. While the work is going on, you, your spouse, and five children stay with the wife’s parents. The contractor tells you that the work is progressing according to schedule and you make multiple payments.

Suddenly, the contractor dies. He was only 30 years old. It turns out he was a drug addict. You discover that the contractor failed to do much of the work he said had been done. Moreover, considerable damage was done to the house during construction because the contractor failed to protect it from the weather.

Naturally, you sue everybody you can. The only entity that has any money you can collect from is the deceased contractor’s insurer. Unfortunately, it turns out that the insurance policy lapsed because the premiums weren’t paid. In the end, you settle with the insurer for $10,000.

All this happened to James and Gaetana Urtis. They figured that at least they could deduct some of their losses from their income taxes. They claimed a $188,070 theft loss deduction — the amount they paid the contractor that they determined he had pocketed instead of doing the promised work.

But — you guessed it — the IRS denied the deduction.

NYC brokerage gets behind same-sex marriage | Cross River Real Estate

Anyone on Facebook in the last few days has likely seen the pink-and-red logo that many people are setting as their profile images this week in support of gay marriage, the subject of two cases the U.S. Supreme Court is currently hearing.

Bond New York, which claims to be the largest independently-owned brokerage in New York City with 500 agents and staff, has incorporated features of the Human Rights Campaign logo that’s come to represent support of gay marriage into its own branding.

3 Game Changing Reasons for Getting Started With Google Analytics | Katonah Real Estate

For most people, analytics is one of those subjects that other people pay attention to. There are a number of reasons why this is the case: there’s not enough time, it doesn’t seem important, or maybe it seems way too complicated. For years I was in the same boat, relying on a webmaster or someone from my marketing team to interpret all those bits of information into something that they thought I would find interesting or useful. Those were always wholly unsatisfying meetings, sitting with my marketing manager, asking questions like, “Why aren’t our visitors buying?” or, “We made some great content, why isn’t anyone reading it?” All I wanted was a straight answer. Looking back, I understand now that I wasted so much time relying on others to help me discover the answers locked inside all that information.

HUD homes add to inventory-starved market | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Any homebuyer on the market right now will tell you the crowd of buyers and multiple offers are creating a challenge.

Those in search of distressed homes owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are not immune to this supply-and-demand situation. In fact, recently one HUD home in San Diego attracted 100 offers within 10 days. 

“In this market, because it’s so competitive we’re seeing buyers just happy to get a house. They are being less selective on location and condition,” said Whissel, broker/owner of Whissel Realty. 

But in its latest news report, RealtyTrac reported that an uptick in homes owned by HUD may create opportunities for patient buyers.

Experts project that over the next two years, as lenders steadily work through a backlog of foreclosures delayed by foreclosure-processing reviews, the supply of these HUD homes will increase significantly. 

Singer Taylor Swift snags $17 million mansion | Bedford Corners Real Estate

According to Zillow, the white, Cape Cod traditional was previously listed at $24 million back in 2011. Apparently Swift paid in cash, which may have given her the discount on the purchase price. Not that Swift needs to worry about discounts; according to Forbes the 23-year-old is worth $57 million-plus.

See photos of the singer’s new mansion here.

Inbound Marketing | Difference Between Tactics and Strategy | Armonk Realtor

Every marketer wants to open up the inbound marketing floodgates, or so they think. But, when you get down to doing inbound marketing what is tactical and what is strategic? This really begs the question: which inbound marketing tactics can you do relatively quickly and without too much effort versus those that require more effort but offer long term results potential?

Our parents taught us that anything worth doing is worth doing right. We were taught “if _____ was easy everyone would do it.” By no means am I suggesting that inbound marketing is easy. But, let’s look at some inbound marketing activities that might be considered tactical and those considered strategic.

Tactical Inbound Marketing

Pay-per-Click Advertising (PPC)

Some call this SEM. This involves setting up search marketing campaigns in Google Adwords or Bing whereby your ads are displayed for certain keywords for which you bid an amount you’re willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad. Setting up one or two campaigns properly takes a matter of hours. Getting Google or Bing to approve them also takes hours. Generally within a day or two you can have a few PPC campaigns up and running. Some will argue that PPC is strategic. For those brands that make a serious commitment to PPC with ongoing monitoring and optimization it can be strategic. That said, PPC campaigns could be turned on and off based on need and budget.

Optimizing Current Your Website

Undergoing an “on page” optimization exercise of your existing website content is also tactical because it is focused on the existing content. Depending on the size of your website the effort may take days, or weeks or even months. The result may be improved discoverability of some of your website’s pages in search results, which could result in more traffic to your website.

Villa Sorriso: Robin Williams’ Napa Valley Estate for Sale | Chappaqua Homes

Hollywood comedian Robin Williams is interested in selling his massive Napa Valley estate, Villa Sorriso. The villa is on 653 acres and includes a 20,000-square-foot main house; solar farm; and 18 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes.

Villa Sorriso is built atop the Mayacama Mountains, which separate the Napa and Sonoma valleys. The five-bedroom, 12-bathroom Italian villa was designed by David Gast & Associates and is faced with Portuguese limestone. The interior features formal living and dining rooms, a gourmet eat-in kitchen, and numerous temperature-controlled vaults for both wine and art storage. The kitchen is understated yet elegant, with stainless steel appliances surrounded by marble and butcher block counters. The living room is simple yet elegant, including a terrace with views of the estate.

No actor’s house would be complete without a state-of-the-art movie theater. The house also features five luxurious bedroom suites, each ornately adorned with contemporary trappings. Each bedroom has its own en suite bathroom and jaw-dropping views from every window.

In addition to 20,000 feet of interior living space, the grounds are truly the spectacle of the property. Steps from the master suite is a 65-foot, infinity-edge swimming pool surrounded by antique stonework and a multitiered sculpture garden, perfect for entertaining. Tennis courts, hiking trails, and a private lake complete with rowboat highlight the variety of different outdoor activities on the estate.

Katonah Sales Down 4.5% | Median Price Up 15% | RobReportBlog

Katonah NY Real Estate Report RobReportBlog 2013 6 months ending 4/29 2012 21 Sales 22 $750,000.00 median sold price $651,500.00 $320,000.00 low sold price $365,000.00 $7,000,000.00 high sold price $4,000,000.00 3564 average size 2859 $308.00 ave. price per foot $328.00 261 ave days on market 216 $1,262,785.00 average sold price $1,027,795.00 89.67% ave sold to ask 94.08%