REBNY Roundtable: Industry Expers Talk Bidding Wars, Rent Stabilization & Social Media

Downtown Committee event explores hot resi real estate topics

Industry professionals were given the inside scoop on navigating today's competitive and tech-savvy real estate market at the Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) Annual Downtown Roundtable Breakfast Discussion on Friday hosted by the Downtown Committee. Participants spent 20 minutes learning about, discussing, and asking questions on a topic, before moving to the next table to interact with another expert. 


“From putting together the perfect board package to estate sales and the use of social media, we had a dynamic mix of engaging topics for this year’s roundtable driven by a crop of New York City’s top industry specialists,” said Richard Grossman, Co-Chair of REBNY’s Downtown Committee and Executive Vice President & Managing Director for Halstead Property, LLC.


"The discussions gave participants the opportunity to seek advice on the latest trends and challenges in the market, while gathering  new perspective from each of the speakers to  improve upon their own success,” added Concetta Raz, Co-Chair of REBNY’s Downtown Committee and Senior Managing Director for Citi-Habitats, Inc.

Pictured (L-R): Richard Grossman of Halstead Property, LLC; Concetta Raz of Citi-Habitats, Inc.; Matt Leone of Terra Marketing; Jamie Heiberger Harrison, Esq., of Heiberger & Associates, P.C.; Michael J. Romer, Esq., of Romer Debbas LLP; Ellen Leon of The Corcoran Group; Craig Price, Esq., of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman, LLP; Sara Rotter of Halstead Property, LLC

Topics and speakers were: “Competitive Bidding” by Richard Grossman; “Preparing Buyers for this Market” by Concetta Raz; “Time Management” by Sara Rotter, Executive Director for Halstead Property, LLC; “Using Social Media to Help Build Your Business” by Matt Leone, Director of Web Marketing/Social Media for Terra Marketing; “Assignment/Assumption of Mortgage” by Craig Price, Esq., of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman, LLP; “Do the Tenants Have to Stay? Understanding Rent Stabilization” by Jamie Heiberger Harrison, Esq., President and Founder for Heiberger & Associates, P.C.; “The Perfect Board Package” by Ellen Leon, Senior Managing Director for The Corcoran Group; “Estate Sales and Various Trusts Used to Acquire Real Estate” by Michael J. Romer, Esq., Partner & Founding Member for Romer Debbas LLP.


Richard Grossman, Executive Vice President and Managing Director for Halstead Property covered the intricacies and process for winning multiple bid situations. He identified the most important aspects of competitive bidding: transparency, communication with all parties involved, management of expectations, asking questions, thoroughly preparing the buyer/seller, and getting written commitment. Grossman explained that the agent that is most transparent and responsive, without giving away their clients’ secrets, can effectuate the most successful multiple bid situation, while maintaining a positive reputation in the industry.


Concetta Raz, a Senior Managing Director at Citi-Habitats, offered valuable tips on preparing buyers for today's market and emphasized that the most important part of the preparation process is getting one's team and tools in place. This allows the broker to consult with buyers and discuss what the process will entail as soon as they express interest in buying, putting them ahead of the competition. Raz also stressed the need for brokers to obtain proof of funds, educate the client, and be as professional and organized as possible.


Sara Rotter, an Executive Director at Halstead Property, recognized time management as the most important skill for brokers to hone and defined it as "the space between an action and its outcome." Rotter listed noise, fear, doubt, and other emotional responses as some of the roadblocks that can get between an idea and an action – a reactive behavior that is often what causes people to veer off course. To counter this, she urged attendees to practice more proactive behavior to accomplish their goals with swiftness.


Matt Leone, Director of Web Marketing/Social Media for Terra Marketing, identified the four most important mediums of social media that brokers should maintain and consistently communicate through: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and some form of blogging. He advised brokers to set aside time every day to interact through these platforms that their clients are actively engaged with, noting that this builds trust with existing clients and fosters a good rapport with potential new clients. Leone also covered keys to success for using social media in real estate, such as talking local and becoming a neighborhood expert, sharing personal successes, and being positive and consistent with time commitment.


Craig Price, Esq. of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman spoke about the differences between the assignment and the assumption of a mortgage. Complete with a handout of sample scenarios, Price gave an in-depth explanation of the benefits of assigning a mortgage, which can generate a significant amount of savings and benefits for both the buyer and the seller. He also gave advice specifically relating to New York State mortgage laws, which can differ among states in continuing lean deductions, among others.


Jamie Heiberger Harrison, Esq., President and Founder of Heiberger & Associates, led a discussion on rent stabilization and how brokers can help an owner or seller to understand the system. She walked participants through a wide range of scenarios on the differences between a curable and non-curable tenant situation, to how tenant demographics influence their likelihood to stay within a market-rate building, while urging brokers to make sure that their clients do their due diligence and maintain consistent records.


Ellen Leon, a Senior Managing Director at Corcoran Group Real Estate, shared her expertise on how to create the perfect board package. She put particular emphasis on knowing as much as possible about the transaction and the people involved in it, regardless of which side of the transaction you are on. By doing this, she noted that the chances of one being "unpleasantly surprised" at board package time is significantly diminished. Leon also stressed the importance of reading clients' tax returns, and knowing what their source of income is, especially if they work from home.


Michael J. Romer, Esq., Partner & Founding Member for Romer Debbas LLP gave attendees an inside look at estate sales and the use of various trusts. He emphasized that a surrogate needs to have an attorney and the owner's will, letters testamentary, and estate waiver when acquiring real estate. Romer also explained how much estate taxes account for, the difference between an irrevocable and revocable trust, and how buying into a trust can protect one's identity.


About The Real Estate Board of New York


The Real Estate Board of New York is the city’s leading real estate trade association with more than 15,000 members.  REBNY represents major commercial and residential property owners and builders, brokers and managers, banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, contractors and other individuals and institutions professionally interested in the city’s real estate.  REBNY is involved in crucial municipal matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes and legislation.  In addition, REBNY publishes reports providing indicators of market prices for both the residential and commercial sectors. Please visit us online at


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