Category Archives: Real Estate

How To Protect Yourself From Investment Scams

There are many ingenious and crafty ways in which scam artists attempt to defraud investors but the basic golden rule (so to speak) for any potential investor is – if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Sometimes, however, tuning in to your internal compass is difficult especially when a bogus product from a scheming individual is packaged with a familiar look and feel. At Rapid Realty we advocate for our clients, and work with our clients to give them the broadest understanding of everything involved.

Recently, there has been a rise in fraudulent promissory notes and/or private bonds as methods to fool investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. If you have an offer of buy, rent or lease a U.S. Treasury security for a specific period of time, it is mostly likely a bogus offer. Here are some ways the U.S. Treasury recommends to verify the authenticity of offered securities, and how to protect yourself:

  • Be especially wary of securities offered for purchase or offered as proof of financial stability that bear the CUSIP number of 912810BU1.

  • Demand that the offeror produce the securities or evidence of ownership. If they can not,  you should not consider the offer genuine.

  • Demand a statement from the financial institution holding book-entry securities which are investments like stocks and bonds whose possession of is documented electronically. These type of securities dispose of the paper version of COIs (certificate of ownership) and are never physically transferred when bought or sold. The transaction is recorded as an accounting entry where the investors maintain accounts.

  • Question the validity of any securities and information furnished to you with a trusted and informed source, such as your broker, accountant, or lawyer.

  • Confirm that the certifying or holding organization is legitimate, still in business and how long it has been in business. Call the organization for specifics on the purported existence of the securities.

  • Ask if the person offering the investment is registered with the SEC or with the securities agency in the state or country where you live. If filed by a U.S. company, the statements are available on the EDGAR database at http://www.sec.gov. However, not all securities are required to register with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). Some of the exemptions are private offers with a specific number of individuals or institutions and intrastate offers. Do your due diligence to validate the offer from every angle.

  • Do not assume that people or organizations are who they say they are.

Tips To Landing A NYC Job

New York City is one of the hardest cities in the world to make it in. The saying goes, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” and it’s absolutely correct. Job hunting can be a scary and stressful thing, in any city, as well as the “Big Apple”. The following are great tips to follow when you’re on the hunt for an NYC job.

Getting There
New York City can be very unpredictable, while most days carry on without a hitch, some days, you might encounter delayed trains, parades down 5th Avenue or a freak super storm. If you’re going to an interview, give yourself enough time to get there and get back on track if you get lost, find the building, catch your breath or relax for a few minutes, and go in there looking flawless and ready. Some buildings in Manhattan have security at the front to verify your appointment, leave time for them to check you in.

How You Look
No one wants to hire someone who doesn’t look clean and put together. While you don’t have to break the bank at Bergdorf’s, it’s SUPER important to look your best, while not appearing as if you’re trying too hard to impress the company. Depending on the company, you may be able to dress business casual, or you might have to dress in a suit and tie (yes, New Yorkers still dress that way!). Remember to dress for the position you want, not the position you’re interviewing for.

Rules of thumb for both genders:

  • Neutral colors
  • Dress your age. You will always look better if you dress the age you look and not the age you feel/want to be. You are who you are, rock it!
  • If you look good, you feel good, and vice versa.

Women:
No camisole tank tops or flip-flops. Skirts should be no shorter than right above the knee. Go easy on the jewelry and make-up. Go for a relaxed, yet maintained hairstyle. High heels are fine, as long as they don’t look like the ones you wore Saturday night.

Men:
Remove all visible piercings and shave off the stubble, you should look well groomed. Make sure your hair looks like you did something to it, instead of the usual bed head look. Dress shoes, dress socks, and most importantly, a suit that a.) matches and b.) fits.

Be Confident
The interview process is dreadful. No one likes it. Not you, and not the person looking to hire. Remember that while the interview may be directed at you, you’re also interviewing them, you want to see if the company will be a good fit for you, too. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but think about what you ask before you ask. If you’re asking valid questions, your interviewer will pick up on the way you think, and that might help your interview.

More than anything else, be confident. Be confident in your handshake (firm handshakes!), be confident in your smile, be confident in your body language. Your interviewers will try to trip you up. It’s okay to pause and think about questions you’re being asked. Answer in a clear and confident tone.

When you’re confident, you exude great, positive energy. Do your best! Relax, have fun (yes it’s okay to have fun), and go WOW your future employers!

Steer Clear Of Fuzzy Home Seller Facts

As with many states, New York is a “buyer beware state” where home buyers must do their due diligence by checking all the facts and data presented. Brokers disclaim their responsibility for errors in the fine print of their websites to cover themselves. However, sometimes the seller and/or the broker just flat-out get things wrong or lie to prospective buyers. With that in mind, Rapid Realty recommends learning about common seller misrepresentations to avoid having to file a complaint with your new co-op board, for example.

When “Private” Space Is Not So Private After All

When a seller states that a roof deck would be “yours alone” and notes it as a “private deck” in his/her listing, be sure to find out how much of that space is actually yours. Find out if it is a portion of the roof deck that would be yours alone and where that portion is located on the roof. Often times, the common space interferes with spaces dedicated to particular units. Be sure that you clear up these details before contract signing.

Passageways Are Not Bedrooms

One of the key qualifications for claiming a room as a bedroom in New York is that the room must have light and ventilation. If the home or unit were built after 1929, the room must also be at least eight feet in width and height. Sellers may try to create a bedroom out of a dining room or passageway and, while this may have served their current needs, it does not make an official bedroom. Speak with the building’s management if you have any concerns as to whether or not what you looked at was a two bedroom unit or a legal one bedroom.

Fuzzy Square Footage

Another commonplace sneaky maneuver, is shortchanging the square footage. It is probably the most commonly misstated point of fact. Often times sellers and their brokers just eyeball the square feet or guesstimate by walking the space. If you find yourself in negotiations and the price is hinging on accurate square footage, hire an assessor to get an exact measure. If a unit ends up being 10% smaller than you had expected, after buying it based upon a floor plan, you can most likely terminate the contract and get your money back. Any difference less than 10%, it is unlikely you will get out of the deal.

 

 

Rapid Realty: Mastering the Art of Franchising At Its Best

The New York Real Estate Journal (NYREJ)  has named Rapid Realty, one of the fastest growing real estate firms in New York, its company of the month. The honor came on the heels of our  company’s recent FLO (Franchise Leaders Only) weekend.

FLO was a company-wide event that, NYREJ describes as “… an intensive three-day training and team building conference, an opportunity to introduce new initiatives and set new goals,” as well as “a celebration of Rapid Realty’s incredible growth over the last few years”.

That growth has included over 50 offices under the franchise umbrella including one slated to open in Boston, as well as a number of partnerships with firms like BHG (a New York based cleaning service), Carpingo (New York City based carshare) and Suite Protector (specializing in apartment insurance). These partnerships were established to round out Rapid’s services and make us a one-stop-shop for real estate services.

The NYREJ recognition comes as we seek  to expand to other territories across the country and are currently scouting locations as far as the West coast. With over 500 agents covering the New York tri-state area, outward expansion is  inevitable.

We credit our expansion in no small part to the relatively low cost for franchisees to open their own shops. As far as the franchise model goes, Rapid Realty costs roughly a fifth of what it would cost to open a popular food franchise. In addition, they are much easier and cheaper to operate since there is no on-site inventory to purchase, track or maintain.

In the end, I think I described it best when I said,”One of the great things about Rapid Realty is that there’s so much training and so much support from the moment you join that you can come in with no prior real estate experience and be running your own Rapid franchise in less than a year. We’ve made it so easy to get involved to whatever degree you want, whether you’re looking for part time work, a steady job or a life long career.

How To Avoid Real Estate Seminar Scams

At Rapid Realty we work diligently to help our clients avoid unscrupulous situations. Whether its a sketchy renter looking to cause a landlord problems or a shady landlord trying to take advantage of an unknowing tenant. Unfortunately there is more than one way to skin a cat and more than one way to separate an innocent person from their money. Real estate seminars have become an easy way to bilk hundreds of people of their money in one swoop.

Real estate seminars are offered throughout the country – some legit and some too good to be true. If your gut tells you that something is amiss, you’re probably right. At Rapid Realty, we are cognizant of the types of scams in our industry and we want to help you avoid falling into any traps.

There are real estate seminars that claim to guide people on how to buy property for next to nothing and are put on by supposedly best-selling authors. Take Dean Graziosi of Dean Enterprises, for example. Television and online advertisements of Dean’s seminar claimed “free 90-minute seminars” teaching attendees that they will learn “how to make a fortune in real estate – right now” (bbb.org). The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota planted a secret shopper at one of his seminars to suss-out their claims.

The secret shopper reported that neither herself nor any of the attendees learned how they could make any money buying and selling real estate. What they did learn, however, was that it would cost them $2,000 on the spot for a 3 day future training. And if they didn’t sign up on the spot? The price would conveniently rise to $6,000 the next day. Furthermore, attendees without enough cash or credit were told that Dean’s Enterprises would extend credit at a 22% interest rate.

As if the unexpected costs weren’t enough pressure, attendees were faced with extreme sales tactics and complexity that the average person would not likely sort through successfully. The pressure and the confusion were clearly aimed to get an attendee to make rash decisions and create an atmosphere of peer pressure to conform.

Real estate seminar scams like that alleged of Dean’s Enterprises and others  have a lot of tactics and characteristics in common, here are some tips from Rapid Realty to consider when exploring any offers to get rich quick:

  • Check out the business at bbb.org or by calling 800-646-6222.

  • Ask the following questions:

    • What information is required in order to attend the seminar?

    • What is the basis for their claims?

    • What is the total cost of the seminar? How does that breakdown?

  • Get everything in writing and read the fine print.

  • Read what others have to say online about their experience with the firm or seminar

Master A Lane Or Command The Highway

Working as a Rapid Realty agent is easier than you think. Since Rapid Realty is constantly growing and expanding, with new offices opening all the time, we are also always hiring.

Once you have interviewed with a Rapid Realty franchise, there are some amazing benefits that come along with becoming an agent. First, we will sponsor you as an agent. Next, we will pay for you to go to your 75 hr. licensing course. These courses are available to agents at almost all hours of the day, and are flexible with weekend and evening classes offered in addition to 9am – 5pm.

Rapid has a strong commitment to professional growth. Not only does we company pay the agents way through the required real estate education program in preparation for the state certification exam, but we also offer continuing education for every agent, broker and franchise owner. We  utilizes our  top performers in listing, selling and closing to conduct workshops for training around best practices and tips.

Get Started At Rapid Realty

We at Rapid Realty, not only want our agents to be successful, but we understand the Rapid family benefits from the agents success. Often an agent can start as a showing agent, or someone who shows apartments. This is a great way to learn more about the inventory and begin to really understand neighborhoods and clients.

Once you master your showing skills, there are other lanes to begin to master, like listing and closing. The best part about specializing in one of these lanes is that each gets a varied percentage of the final deal. So, you don’t need to know how to do everything in order to get your first check.

Real Estate can be the career between careers or a lifetime commitment. Since the work is commission-based, you are in charge of how it fits into your life, whether it’s a part-time gig or a full-time career. Often, some of my best performing agents will go on  to own franchisees, as well as franchise owners who have limited real estate background.

Think about it if you live in New York City, you probably know someone who needs an apartment right now! For more information visit Rapid Realty.

 

How To Become A Real Estate Agent In NYC

Real estate has become one of the most lucrative businesses across the nation. With the economy coming back up slowly, more and more people are realizing how much money can be made in this industry and I couldn’t be happier to have people hop on board to begin their career in real estate.

At Rapid Realty, we’re always looking for new talent, we offer equal opportunity to anyone who walks through our doors, whether you have any experience in real estate or not. Getting your real estate license in New York City is fairly inexpensive especially if you consider how much money you can make after you start closing deals, the amount of money you put towards educating yourself in the field is pretty reasonable.

According to Indeed.com, a real estate agent in New York City makes an average of $99,000 a year (as of June 13th, 2013). If you like that number, now is as good a time as any to get started. The first step to take is to get your NYC real estate license. I recommends the following two schools.

Express Real Estate School

As the owner of Express Real Estate School, I highly recommend this course because it’s thorough, convenient and cheap!! We’re located in Brooklyn, New York and make it easy for you to start and finish the course in a matter of 10 days if you attend day classes or 21 days if you attend night classes. Agent or Salesperson courses are priced at $340 and Broker’s courses are priced at $350. You can check out real estate companies that are hiring by clicking on the “Who’s Hiring” tab on the website: www.expressrealestateschool.com.

New York Real Estate Institute

We’ve recently partnered with New York City’s largest real estate school, New York Real Estate Institute (NYREI). They offer flexible schedules, online classes and financial assistance like Paypal’s Bill Me Later program. If you’re not convinced about their program by looking at their website, www.nyrei.com, check out what Donald Trump Jr. or Ivanka Trump have to say about their program:

“NYREI has experienced instructors, interesting courses, and boasts over 50,000 graduates. Why would I go anywhere else?” ~ Donald Trump Jr.

“Of all the schools for my continuing Real Estate education, I chose NYREI and I recommend it to all my colleagues.”  ~ Ivanka Trump

After graduating real estate school with a certificate, the next step is to take your real estate exam. Check the state’s website for more information about exam centers and dates, www.dos.ny.gov/licensing. After passing the exam, you will be a Licensed Real Estate Agent (or Broker) with the state of New York!

As a licensed agent, you can then begin working for Rapid Realty, even if it’s your first real estate job. But if you decide to continue your education and become a broker, you then have the option of coming into Rapid Realty as a Rapid franchise owner. If you so choose to open a Rapid Realty franchise, I guarantee my help and the help of the other franchise owners, every step of the way.