Sunday, June 18, 2017

Flag Day, June 14, 2017… FLAG ETIQUETTE & RESPECT

This past Wednesday was the 240th birthday of our Country’s Beautiful Flag.  On Flag Day and other holidays, many homeowners across America display the flag proudly outside their doorsteps.  As you raise your flag for a holiday, here are some historical facts about our flag and information on proper flag etiquette and care - courtesy of the Veterans of Foreign Wars:

Historical facts about our Flag:

·       It was believed that New Jersey’s Francis Hopkinson, signer of the Declaration of Independence, designed the first  American flag , although many believe that  the original "Stars and Stripes" version of the U.S. flag that was adopted by Congress on June 14, 1777 was designed by Betsy Ross.
·       The original flag had "13 stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
·       Today the flag still has its 13 stripes representing the original 13 Colonies and 50 stars representing all the states of the Union.
·       According to usflag.org, the colors of the flag signify purity, valor, and justice- white for purity, red for valor and blue for justice.

Etiquette and Care of our Flag:

  • Never let the flag touch the ground.
  • When flown on the same staff as other flags, the U.S. flag should be at the top.
  • If grouped among other flags, the U.S. flag should be flown to the observers' left.
  • When flown over a street, the stars should face north or east, depending on the direction of the street.
  • Do not fasten or tie the flag back, but always let it fall free.
  • If marching with the flag, it should be held on the marcher's right.
  • The flag should not be carried flat.
  • Don’t affix anything to the flag or mark it with any type of insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing.
  •  A flag flown upside-down is a sign of distress or emergency.
  • The flag should not be used as clothing or as a cover or used for any type of advertising or costume and you should never use it to carry anything.
What a beautiful Flag we have!  As we display it outside our home or place of business and let’s all take care and show respect for our  symbol of a united, free Country and mindful of the blood, sweat and tears that have been expended to give us the freedom we enjoy every day of every year.


We also want to wish all the Fathers out there a Happy Fathers Day! Hope your day is filled with Joy!!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

ETHICS: A Matter of Importance in Every Real Estate Interaction

     There are a lot of jokes about salespeople, and those of us in real estate sales are certainly not immune from unflattering depictions of less than trustworthy behavior.  But there is a very important aspect of our profession that requires us to individually and collectively uphold the law and maintain the standards of our industry: we are licensed professionals, by the Department of State, under the Real Estate License Law and we have a Code of Ethics by which we obligate ourselves.
            
     REALTORS® have duties to their clients, customers, and the public and to each other, as defined the National Association of REALTORS Code of Ethics.®  All sellers and buyers, should be aware of our Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice that affect how we do business and interface with you.  Here are some pertinent excerpts: 
          
     “REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices.” This article in our code of ethics requires us to rise above the temptation to “put down” a competitor, with unfair or misleading remarks, including when discussing the prospects of listing a seller’s home. 

     REALTORS® have a duty to protect and promote their client’s interest while being honest with all parties.  As a consumer, you are entitled to truthful representations from the seller’s agent regardless of the fact that he/she does not represent you.
            
     REALTORS® are obligated to disclose pertinent, material defects or adverse factors about a property.  As a seller, disclosure of “pertinent and material” issues is always the best policy.  Most issues can be resolved if they are dealt with up front and with transparency.

     REALTORS® are not permitted to interfere with another Realtor’s exclusively represented client. Realtors cannot deal directly or solicit another Realtor’s client.  Exaggerated erroneous statements or using another REALTORS® photo representations in advertising are not permitted in print or on websites.
     
     REALTORS® are not to take unfair advantage over their competitors. They should not misrepresent their agency relationship to another REALTOR’S® client or suggest that a buyer’s agent cannot have access to or sell their “exclusive” listing.

     We would be happy to supply you with a copy of our REALTORS® Code of Ethics, just give us a call or stop by our office.  At Beninati Associates you’ll always get a straight answer from us ... we promise to “do the right thing”.


Source: The Code of Ethics, National Association of REALTORS® Copyright 2017.

Visit us on our website: beninatiassociates.com  We listen, we care…….and we get results.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD USE A REALTOR®

Selling and buying a home is a challenging process. And in this new market of scarce inventory, fast paced transactions and complex deals, an experienced Realtor® brings value to the table in many ways.  Here are 5 reasons why it makes sense to use a Realtor®:

1. Studies show that homes sold by Realtors sell for about 12% more than those sold by the homeowner.  Most of the sellers who decided to sell their own home, chose the route to avoid paying the agent’s commission, but in reality, homeowners left more than twice as much money on the table.  Realtors are experienced, professional sales people, who know their market, have lots of experience in pricing homes for sale and can negotiate better for you.

2. More than 92% of home buyers use the internet for their home search and the first impression counts when it comes to presentation of a property.  Professional photography,  well-written copy to describe the home’s assets, and wide dispersion of the property on the internet through major real estate portals, facilitates access of potential buyers online.

3. Realtors® have invaluable insights into what sells a home. We have a unique understanding of local markets, home features and buyer preferences. We believe that staging helps sell a home more quickly and for more money, which is why we provide professional staging assistance as part of our services.

4. For buyers, Realtors® are a trusted source of information and help buyers navigate the increasingly complex home buying process. We offer buyers local area expertise. Buyers who use a Realtor® to represent them engage a partner in the real estate transaction, who can provide counsel, market data, strategies, negotiating skills and more.

5. Realtors® are professionals, licensed by the Department of State and bound by a specific Code of Ethics which in addition to honesty and integrity requires continuing education to maintain the licensing status with New York State.

The added value of using a Realtor® is borne out by the fact that a vast majority of today’s home sellers and buyers use a professional Realtor® –  88% of sellers and 84% of home buyers,  use a real estate professional.


At Beninati Associates, we value the trust you place in us to represent you as a seller’s agent or a buyer’s agent.  We always listen, we always care and we always get the best results we can for you. Call us at 631 765 5333 or visit our office at Main and Horton’s Lane, in Southold or email us at broker@beninatiassociates.com.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day 2017…A Time to Remember Our Fallen Heroes

Memorial Day is a time to remember all the men and women who lost their lives serving our country.  Driving by the American Legion Hall in Southold, with the moving display of 500 poppies on the lawn, I wondered about this symbol of Memorial Day and here’s what I learned:

            The wearing of poppies in honor of America’s war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day.  In war-torn battlefields, the red field poppy (papaver rhoeas) was one of the first plants to grow. Its seeds scattered in the wind and sat dormant in the ground, only  germinating when the ground is disturbed—as it was by the very brutal fighting during World War I.

            The practice of wearing of poppies was further inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written in 1915 by Canadian soldier John McCrae when he saw the poppies in burials around his artillery position in Belgium.
           
Here are excerpts from “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrae, May 1915:

 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
  We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
  In Flanders fields...

  The torch; be yours to hold it high...


            Today, poppies are both a symbol of loss of life and a symbol of recovery and new life, especially to care for the servicemen damaged physically or emotionally.  If you would like to support the good work of our American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 803, you may send your donations to PO Box 591, Southold, NY 11971.
Please join us in thanking and honoring our service men and women, including our own Southold Veterans; and remember those who have died in the service of our great Country. _____________________________________________________________

Happy Birthday, Chris...you’re our hero! We miss you every day... ever so much!!! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

MAKING SENSE OF THIS RAPIDLY CHANGING MARKETPLACE

Last Tuesday’s article, “Home Sales Hit Best Pace in Decade,”* in the Wall Street Journal discussed how the first quarter’s 6.9% rise in median home prices and slightly higher mortgage rates haven’t kept home buyers away. In fact, the first quarter posted the highest rate of sales since 2007.  Last Wednesday’s article in the Wall Street Journal, “A Dip in Construction is Bad for Home Buyers,”** talks about April housing starts declining 2.6% from March and how this is “intensifying the housing shortage and will push home prices and rents up...the slowdown in (housing) starts is likely to exacerbate an imbalance of supply and demand.”

This constant analysis of monthly results of housing data sales, inventory, housing starts and median sales, puts pressure on all of us to keep up with and understand the implications of the information so we know what to do.  Should we buy now?  Should we sell now?  Should we wait for a few months? Should we wait for a few years?  All very important questions with a real financial impact on your net worth.

As a Real Estate Broker, with past professional experience in Finance, Economics and Accounting, I have studied economic trends for many years.  I’ve learned that the one thing we can be sure of – trends change!  So the best advice I can give buyers and sellers is to focus on the current market situation, analyze it and be sure it works for you now, in the short term and into the next 3-5 years. 

If you’re selling, it’s a very good time to sell. Not knowing for sure how long this will last, it seems logical, to make your move sooner rather than later.  If you are selling and buying, check the market where you are moving and then make your decision.  Since the national climate is similar to what we are experiencing in Southold, you probably will be able to preserve net worth and if you are downsizing, put away some capital for the future. 

If you’re buying, it appears that the shortage of inventory is likely to last a bit longer.  That suggests that prices will continue to rise, so buy sooner rather than later.  Look for value, but understand that this market is moving up quickly and something at today’s prices will likely be more expensive for a similar property in a few months.  If you find something you like and it is a bit higher than you planned to spend, measure the impact of the price increase on your monthly expenses and see if you can handle the additional cash outlay.  If you are financing, you’ll find that a higher purchase price may translate to a smaller monthly payment -  which will not change if you get a fixed mortgage – perhaps smaller than you thought.  Higher real estate taxes, on the other hand, are likely to increase over time, so carefully analyze the difference of the monthly cost of a higher prices home with lower real estate taxes, versus a lower priced home with high real estate taxes.  Most importantly, check with your financial advisor, tax accountant, or attorney.

The bottom line - do your home work, ask questions and work with a Realtor who understands the financial in’s-and-out’s of purchasing property. At Beninati Associates, we can help you with the process and the numbers. Call me at 631 765 5333 or email, Marie@BeninatiAssociates.com.

* Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, May 16,2017, page A2.

** Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, page A2.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

1st QUARTER RESULTS - THE REAL SKINNY ON THE NORTH FORK

There are no surprises in the 1st quarter  of 2017, but definitely some differences in what has been reported  by  area newspapers such as Newsday.  I attribute the differences to the data sources, which includes towns that are not truly part of the East End.  So here’s the real skinny about the 1st Quarter Results for Southold Town and Riverhead and the South Fork for trend comparison purposes.

Southold Town reported a 2.7% increase in Median Price versus the 1st quarter in 2016 - $524,000 vs. $510,000.  Sales actually declined by 8%  to $78 million from $85 million in 2016, It should be noted that the most current two years sales and unit sales were significantly higher than the previous three years’ first quarter.

Riverhead Town reported a 4.3% increase in Median Price to $365,000 from 350,000 in 2016.  Sales increased 10.5% to $52 million from 47 million.   Pretty good numbers.

East Hampton and Southampton continue last year’s trend of mixed results – East Hampton had a decline in Median Price and overall unit sales,  -.1% and -28%.  East Hampton’s Median Price was the highest on the East End at $1,150,000.  Southampton had increases in Median Price of 7.7% to $900,500 and increase in sales of 3.7%.

What does this mean to you as a seller? With higher average prices, it’s a very good time to sell.  The sales volumes, suggest some softness in the market, so if you’re thinking of selling this year, the sooner the better.  Get an updated market value estimate, figure out your equity  and decide whether it’s time to sell.

As a buyer – clearly price are increasing and if you are in the market to buy, remember it is a sellers’ market and will continue that way for a very long time until inventory catches up to demand.  Adjust your thinking to the fact that prices are higher and even if it does cost a bit more  - make your deal!  I assure you, you will regret losing the house of choice when you look back and find that you have bought another a home that may fit your requirements but not your heart and desires or by waiting, end up buying at a much higher price.


There’s a lot happening in this market and it is happening quickly.  If you’d like advice, call us at 
631 765 5333 or email me at broker@BeninatiAssociates.com. We have our finger on the pulse of the North Fork.  We’ll gladly help you sort things out and move forward!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rites of Spring Music Fest Comes to the North Fork

The North Fork is very fortunate to have living among us Paolo Bartolani, who has put together an assemblage of local musicians and from around the world, who will perform for us. I have asked Paolo to tell us about the second edition of this wonderful event of classical & contemporary music and hope that you will join us for the opening concert on Sunday, April 30th...Marie

Rites of Spring Music Fest is the second edition of the classical and contemporary concert series held each April, May and June on the North Fork of Long Island.
After a successful and enthusiastic first edition last year, Rites of Spring Music Fest has more events in the program and a larger partnership for 2017. 

The festival showcases the best young professional musicians, as well as international guest musicians, in innovative and exciting music programs.
With complimentary wine & food tastings and breathtaking natural landscapes, this unique combination of music, natural environment and historical sites allows artists and audiences alike to experience classical and contemporary music in intimate and inspiring settings.

This year we welcome distinguished guest musicians from the Stony Brook University Music Department and PianoFest in the Hamptons who are sending three of their best-loved pianists. 

Rites of Spring Music Fest is all about sharing - music is for everyone. It is also about youthful, energetic and engaging young musicians who reach out with the message, that classical and contemporary music is fun, beautiful and, above all, inspiring.
The Festival offers to our community, to the numerous visitors to the North Fork, and all lovers of music a new perspective of encounter between music, art, history, architecture and landscape.

Enjoy the music!

Paolo Bartolani
Artistic and Executive Director

Music Program of Rites of Spring Music Fest  - second edition

Festival Opening Concert at Borghese Vineyard by Paolo Bartolani 
Sunday April 30th 2017 at 5:00pm

Memory Palace Concert at Jamesport Meeting House by Ian Rosenbaum
Friday May 12th 2017 at 7:00pm

Piano Recital at Borghese Vineyard by Niccolò Ronchi
Saturday May 13th 2017 at 5:00pm

Rising Stars Piano Recital & Cocktail Sampling at Peconic Bay Yacht Club
Sunday May 21st 2017 from 5:00 - 7:00pm

Classical Music & Historic House Tour by the Arcanum String Quartet
Sunday May 28th 2017 1:00pm – 5:00pm 

Thought Experiments Under the Stars at Custer Observatory by Brian Smith & the Hidden City Orchestra
 Saturday June 3rd 2017 7:00pm

Quogue Nocturne at Quogue Wildlife Refuge by Cliff Baldwin & ACME
Sunday June 4th 2017 at 5:00pm

Opera Night Concert at Laurel Lake Vineyards by Masha Carrera and Paolo Bartolani
Saturday June 10th 2017 at 7:00 pm