Forty years after founding his own brokerage, Joe Green has joined his son’s company. And father and son are a force to be reckoned with.
In Orange County, NY the name Green is synonymous with Real Estate. Furthermore, it is associated with exceptional client service. Joseph Green Realtor was founded in 1978, and 27 years later that’s where Geoff Green began his career. That’s where Geoff learned from some of the best in the business – his mom and dad, Marie Pennings and Joe Green.
Eventually Geoff did what kids do. He decided to spread his wings. And in 2005, Geoff founded Green Team New York Realty.
Meet Joe Green
Joe didn’t start out wanting to be in the real estate business. Rather, his goal was to teach. He taught physical education and coached football in Warwick. His wife, Marie, was a registered, part-time nurse.
Joe loved what he was doing, but back in 1974 a teacher’s salary wasn’t enough to support a family with 5 kids. Since he needed to supplement his income, Joe saw real estate as a way to make extra money if he worked hard at it
Finding His Calling
However, once he got into it, he discovered he’d found his calling. Because it wasn’t just about making more money. It was about meeting new people, and the adventure that came with each unique transaction. Maybe the most important aspect was that helping people was becoming emotionally rewarding. Marie also got her license, and real estate became a family affair.
In 1980, Joe and Marie decided it was time to go into real estate full-time. They purchased the building at 7 Main Street in Warwick. In 1982 they bought a building in Goshen and opened their 2nd office. Finally, they expanded into Washingtonville.
Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans
When Geoff was in the third grade, everything changed. Joe and Marie divorced, and the children went to live with their mom. While divorce is hard for the parents, it is also difficult for the children.
But life goes on, even when families are divided. Joe continued to build his real estate business, but found that divorce wasn’t the only hardship. In 1987 the housing market tanked, and they had to downsize. Marie took over the Warwick office. Joe closed down the Washingtonville office and kept the Goshen office. Despite all of the hardships Joe persisted.
Experience that spans decades
Joe has been in this ever-changing profession for over 40 years. Back in 1974, when Joe first started practicing, everything was open listing. Clients would call several brokers and they’d all be in direct competition with each other. Then MLS came along and exclusive right to sell became the norm. One brokerage firm tried to impress Joe with the latest in technology, which would change the way business was done. And so, Joe received his introduction to the fax machine.
However, it’s the experience that counts. And Joe and his team provided a full complement of real estate services. That included residential, commercial, land, farm and ranch sales, investment sales, leasing, property management, residential appraising, financial and legal referral services, and relocation services. They covered Orange, Rockland, Westchester, Sullivan and Ulster Counties. Furthermore, his expertise and vision helped to safely guide his clients through some very difficult economic cycles.
Change in the Air
In 2013 Joe decided to shut down the Goshen office and moved his Agency to Chester. However, he began to see that the key to a successful brokerage was technology. And his son was a master at using technology to grow his business. When Geoff opened his own office in 2005, at the 7 Main Street location, Joe couldn’t have been prouder or more excited.
And through the years, he saw what was happening at the Green Team. Technology was enhancing the way brokers worked. Consequently, Joe decided that it was time to join forces with his son and combine the best of both worlds. Each man brings incredible experience and expertise. Together, there is no stopping them.
And Joe doesn’t come to the Green Team alone. He brings with him three of his best agents. Cam Monaco has been with Joe for 30 years. While Krissy Many is newer to the business, she’s a powerhouse. And Vilma Lawla is also excited to be part of the Green Team.
The Future Looks Bright
Joe looks forward to sharing his knowledge. His advice? “Every day you can learn something new. Be like a sponge. Do it your way. Don’t copy but learn from everyone else. Experience can help some of the more inexperienced.” And Joe hopes that his years of experience will help newer agents.
Geoff is excited about having his dad join the firm, “I can’t explain how blessed I feel that Pop is now part of our Agency. It’s amazing to not only see him around the office, but to watch him doing what he does best: sharing his wisdom. Pop is one of the most experienced Real Estate Brokers I know. It’s a simple fact that our Agency just got a lot better as a result of Pop deciding to come on board with the Green Team.”
The two men respect each other and their individual contributions to the industry and their community. They look forward to combining over 50 years of experience and forging a new beginning. They are indeed a force to be reckoned with.
In 2017 Jennifer DiCostanzo became the first recipient of the Green Team’s MVP Award for achieving over $10 Million in sales. One might think that having reached that level of success, DiCostanzo wouldn’t have the need or incentive, much less the time, to continue her real estate education. However, that is not the case.
Jennifer DiCostanzo receives SRS Designation
Jen has achieved a new designation. The Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) designation is the premier credential in seller representation. It is designed to elevate professional standards while enhancing personal performance. The Real Estate Business Institute (REBI) awards this designation to real estate practitioners who meet specific educational and practical experience criteria.
Benefits of the SRS Designation
With the additional training, education and advanced skills obtained through this designation, Jen feels she can bring an even better understanding of sellers’ needs. Hence, she can provide a further edge in the market while customizing her clients personal real estate needs. Pursuing continuing education is not a requirement. However, the time and effort expended in obtaining new designations results in a higher level of professionalism. And this is the way Jen works. It’s always raising the bar, and staying aware of any advances that will benefit her clients. And for Jen, that’s what it’s all about.
Thanksgiving Pie – A Green Team Tradition
Thanksgiving. It’s a time of gratitude, friends and family; of turkey and all the trimmings. And at the Green Team, it’s a time to let clients know how much they are valued. The Client Appreciation Program, or CAP, is the cornerstone of the Green Team’s foundation. The Green Team doesn’t take its clients for granted. Through the CAP program sales associates find ways to say “I appreciate you” throughout the year. However, one of the highlights of the program is Thanksgiving Pie. A Green Team CAP tradition, clients are invited to come to the office for a casual party. And to pick up their Thanksgiving pie. Because this gift from their sales associate is a way of saying “Thank You.” Thank you for your business, your referrals, and your friendship.
Thanksgiving Pie… A “family” event for both the Warwick and Vernon Offices
Walking into either office you can feel the warmth and joy and know that you are welcome. Pies are stacked high, waiting to be distributed. Being a local brokerage, it’s important to the Green Team to support other local businesses. Thus Noble Pies has become part of the tradition. Their pies are baked from locally sourced ingredients when available. Cider, wine, donuts and more await the clients as they drop in to pick up their pies. And, of course, there is laughter; lots of laughter!
Green Team Sales Associates agree that the Client Appreciation Program is something they themselves appreciate. It keeps the focus on the people who are most important to their businesses: their clients. And events like this one bring everyone together, strengthening bonds between associates and between clients and associates. Probably one of the best things is that two days later pies from the Green Team’s sales associates will be sweetening Thanksgiving Dinners at many homes. Again letting clients know how much they are appreciated.
The Green Team’s October 2018 Housing Market Update was held live on Facebook Tuesday, October 16 at 2 p.m. If you missed the live webinar, you can view it at your convenience by clicking here.
You can also sign up for future updates at GreenTeamHQ.com/hmu
Meet this month’s Panelists from Green Team New Jersey Realty and Green Team Home Selling System
Geoffrey Green, President/Broker of Green Team Home Selling System, is the moderator of the monthly webinar and presents stats and market updates for Orange and Sussex County. He is joined this month by Keren Gonen, Pamela Zachowski and Alison Miller of Green Team New Jersey Realty in Vernon and Jacqueline Kraszewski of Green Team Home Selling System in Warwick.
Market Update – The National Perspective
A look at Total Home Sales Nationally
Things seem to be shifting in the housing market. For Geoff, the stats of homes sold are the “mother’s milk” of the industry. Nationally it’s been a mixed bag through 2018. September’s numbers are not yet in, but August numbers for total home sales were just about even for 2017 and 2018. It appears that things are shifting in the market, with the number of sales not increasing like last year, year over year. However, foot traffic in August was much higher in 2018 than in the same period in 2017.
Buying versus Renting…Which is the best way to go?
Lawrence Yun, the economist of NAR, has said that we’ll probably see growth in terms of the housing market on the lower end because the job market is strong. People are working, making money and want to invest their money in real estate. However, there may be a slowdown in the higher end because interest rates are rising. How does affordability of renting compare with buying? There is a steep curve, not a good outlook for renters. Since 2013 it has been cheaper to buy instead of rent on an overall national basis. If you have the ability, it costs less to buy than to rent on an overall monthly basis.
October 2018 Housing Market Update – Orange County
As stated before, Geoff sees this number as the mother’s milk of the housing market. This all-important number gives us a snapshot of how many homes are selling. The number of units sold in Orange County appears to be cooling off. He believes we’ve seen the peak of the last runoff and that it’s behind us. Geoff’s view seems to be backed up by an article that appeared last week in the Wall Street Journal, which referred to a soft downturn in the market.
There is a big variance in price from where we were last year. The downward trend is a seasonal fluctuation and not a cause for concern. Price always lags units sold at least 6 months or more. Price increases may occur over the next 6 to 12 months, even though the number of units sold is dropping.
Average Sold to Asked Ratio
We are still pretty high, still over 98%, which means sellers are only having to negotiate 2% from their asking price.
October 2018 Housing Market Update – Sussex County
A similar trend to Orange County, where some months are up, some down, on a year over year basis. It’s a mixed bag, and the numbers seem to indicate a cooling off.
Average prices never rocketed in Sussex as they did in Orange County. In previous updates, we’ve spoken about how there is simply more foreclosure inventory and activity which has dragged down the average. However, that doesn’t mean that homes that are well maintained and well located haven’t done well.
Average Sold to Asked Ratio
Average price never rocketed here like it did in Orange County. There has been much more foreclosure inventory and activity in Sussex and that has dragged down the average home price. However, that doesn’t mean that well-located, well-maintained homes haven’t done well.
Slightly below Orange County, the numbers are still hovering around 98%.
The Sales Associates Point of View
Geoff believes the market is cooling. He asked the panelists what they were sensing in the field. Keren replied that there are fewer houses that are updated and nicely done, and buyers have higher expectations. During the summer, people were rushing to find homes in order to get situated before the start of the school year. Without that added stress, many buyers are being pickier. Alison finds that people are looking for something that is just not there. Inventory is not meeting the demand. In addition, many of her closings were delayed, affecting numbers for September.
Jacque is finding that there is a lack of finished, move-in-ready homes under the $400,000 price point in Warwick. In addition, many families with school-aged children are waiting for the spring to resume their search. Also, the seasonal fluctuation impacts the market as people are beginning their holiday preparations. Pam is also seeing the issues mentioned by the other sales associates. The inventory shortage, buyers being very picky, even homes that have been flipped that aren’t good enough. It’s difficult for people to find what they’re looking for in their dollar amount.
Geoff summed up these comments by stating it is still a very good time to sell a house. However, there is nothing to stop the housing market from slowing down. Thus he advises sellers not to put off listing their home if they are planning on selling.
Guest Panelist, Matt Zagroda, discusses the bond market…
Matt Zagroda is a Sales Manager at MBS Highway, the leading provider of real-time market data for mortgage professionals. As such, Geoff welcomed his input on the bond market. Geoff asked Matt what is happening with the bond market, as rates seem to be increasing by the minute. Matt explained that at the end of last year the Fed wanted to do quantitative tightening. Previously they had been reinvesting gains from the bond market back into the bond market, which brought their balance sheet up greatly.
They wanted to wind that balance sheet down and made a plan just before Janet Yellen stepped down as Fed Chair. So, October of last year they wanted to reduce it by $10 billion. January of this year, $20 billion, April $30 billion, July $40 billion and October, $50 billion. That was the last tightening session. They weren’t going to continue to reinvest it. There is no Fed buying into the bond market, which is why we’re seeing changes in interest rates. There was a drop in the bond market and a rise in rates.
Matt expects that in the upcoming months we’ll be experiencing volatility. However, this is actually a more normal bond market. If there is any economic news that would potentially hurt bonds, we’ll notice it more. Previously the Fed was buying back into it, softening the blow, creating almost a safety net. Now there is no safety net, so if it’s going to hurt – it’s going to hurt. That doesn’t mean that if there’s good news that it will be the opposite and that it will help the bond market… Again, the Fed is not juicing the good news to buy and make that increase even more so.
More volatility is expected into the future, potentially more to the downside, but it’s not expected to be a straight downward line. Rates may continue to get worse, though the hope is that they’ll remain steady. Much depends on what happens with the Fed and their plans for rate hikes.
Geoff recalled buying his first home around 2003. His 30 year fixed rate was at 6.5%. We’re hovering now at about 5% now. Matt agreed that was about right.
Looking back, it hasn’t been higher than this since 2009. Previously, it was much higher. Rates have been pretty much below 5% since then. The largest run on the housing market was 2005, 06, 07 and rates were pretty high back then. The rates may impact the mortgage industry insofar as refinancing. However, when rates eventually come down, the refinancing market should open up again.
… the stock market, and global contagion
Geoff asked Matt his thoughts on the stock market and its unbelievable run. Matt expects that eventually we can’t go much higher and things will come back to a more normal range. Not a crash, but just a more normal range that will help bonds and interest rates even a little bit. When money comes out of stocks it is generally invested in bonds, especially when there’s talk of trade wars, etc. When there is uncertainty in the market, many people invest in safer, long-term investments like bonds.
Geoff had a final question… The idea that there could be a global contagion. By and large, there is a lot of risk around the globe. Many governments are not in a good fiscal situation. Currencies are all over the place. There’s a lot of risk around the globe. The US seems like the shining city on the hill, on our own pedestal for some time. He asked Matt his thoughts on the global market. Matt replied that there is turmoil in Europe, and especially Italy right now. The world is interconnected. However, we’re not expecting great leaps and bounds right now because of that turmoil. However, it does affect us.
In closing, Geoff recommends the article he mentioned at the beginning of the update. Written by Laura Kusisto, it was published in the Wall Street Journal on October 13. “Housing Market Positioned for a Gentler Slowdown Than in 2007″ provides a good, historical outlook on the market and its future.
The August Housing Market Update was held live on Facebook on Tuesday, August 14, at 9 a.m. If you missed the live webinar, you can view it at your convenience by clicking here.
Next month, the Housing Market Update webinar will take place on Tuesday, September 18 at 2 p.m. You can sign up for updates at GreenTeamHQ.com/HMU.
Meet the Panel
Geoff Green moderated the webinar and presented statistics for Orange and Sussex Counties. Keren Gonen, of Green Team Real Estate New Jersey and Green Team Home Selling System, gave her perspective on the market from the sales associate’s view. Guest panelists were Patrick Keelin, Branch Manager of Family First Funding’s Warwick office, and Jeff Lobb, Founder and CEO of SparkTank Media. Green Team’s Marketing Director, Melissa Bressette, was on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly.
Housing Market Update – National
Nationally, for the last two months, the number of homes selling is down slightly from 2017. Earlier in the year it was almost even. There is a mixed bag, not a continued trend. Common knowledge says it’s all about inventory. There are just not enough homes for all the buyers out there.
Pending home sales seem to be trending downward nationally.
The National Association of Realtors shows year-over-year inventory levels up for the first time in 36 months. It may be a good sign, though it may also be indicative of the market slowing a little. However, foot traffic is up in 2018, compared to 2017. This graphic represents the numbers of people actually in homes, looking to buy. This number has been up consistently all year, though sales are down on a national level. From a national perspective, it’s still a very solid market.
From 1985 to 2000, 21% of household income was dedicated to mortgage payments. In the first quarter of 2018 we’re well below that number. At 17.1%, we’re about 4 points below the historical average over the last 25 years. Therefore, even though prices are rising and inventory is tight, homes are still relatively affordable compared to 1985 to 2000. Even if rates do get to 6% or so, household income dedicated to mortgage payments will be only a few points higher than the 1985 to 2000 average.
Housing Market Update – Orange County, NY
Getting down to local stats, although at a slowing pace, the numbers are still at historical levels. In our area, where the current number of homes selling is the equivalent of 2006 (which was one year after the absolute peak in the market that occurred in 2005), the rate of sales is historically very high. This is a very hot market.
Average price is clearly rising in 2018. Geoff noted that in his experience units sold would increase, but average price didn’t quite get there. Then, units sold would start to decrease but price didn’t follow that trend, with a lag of about 6 months. There was almost a 2-year lag in average price that came after the downturn in the market.
Approximately 40% of homes are selling at 100% or more of their last asking price. There are a lot of bidding wars going on, and this is indicative of how hot the current market is.
This number continues to decline, another sign that this market is hot.
Housing Market Update – Sussex County, NJ
The stats are showing a fluctuation in the number of units sold in Sussex County. It’s a mixed bag – some months below, some months above. No definitive trend has emerged.
Not quite the lift-off that’s occurring in Orange County, but after the first two months of 2018, there is a definite rise in average price and July is at the highest point of the last five years.
While not quite as high as Orange County, between 30 to 40% of homes are selling at 100% or more of last asking price.
We’re seeing a similar trend to New York, with homes selling at around the 90-day mark.
Keren Goren – A Sales Associate’s Perspective on the Market
Geoff asked Keren Goren, one of Green Team’s top producers, for her thoughts on the current market. Licensed in both New York and New Jersey, Keren finds that there are many prospective buyers for both Orange and Sussex Counties. Lots of bidding wars are going on.
She does feel that some of the flippers in the area are doing less and asking for more. This appears to be a new trend. Keren recalled that flippers used to do a much better job, but many houses on the market now are unfinished and are scaring buyers away as opposed to inviting bids. Therefore, some outdated homes are actually selling for prices higher than they should or would have a few months ago.
Keren sees no sign of the market slowing down. However, she is seeing delays in closings due to issues with some mortgage companies, and with buyers making poor decisions with their finances. Keren did note that her experiences with Family First were extremely positive, and she highly recommended them.
Geoff noted that the current market upturn stands a chance at longevity. Following the downturn, as deep and as long it was, people weren’t moving. Banks have since cleaned up their balance sheets, tightened programs up, and are making money. There are fewer defaults happening. Basically, everything depends on how much money the banks are willing to lend.
PJ Keelin – A Lender’s Perspective
The mortgage industry is doing well, offering a lot more first-time homebuyer programs with as little as 3% down, USDA becoming very popular in Orange and Sussex County areas. Also trending is loosening up a bit and coming up with more portfolio loan products, personal products and using common-sense underwriting and ability to fund when looking at today’s borrowers.
With homes in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range becoming few and far between, they are looking at different programs, such as adjustable rates, less money down, and interest only type payments. However, in these cases, information and education should be given to borrowers upfront. It’s necessary to prepare the borrower for everything that will come together throughout the process. It’s extremely important for borrowers to be aware of what they are getting into with these products and understand how they work.
Geoff noted that with the last downturn, banks were not requiring people to have much “skin in the game.” Zero down, lying about income, jamming loans through. Geoff asked if PJ was seeing any of those practices coming back, or if there remains more oversight. scrutinizing income and the buyer’s comprehensive financial situation, down payments, etc. before loans are going out.
PJ replied that FANNIE and FREDDIE are doing a great job operating more with common sense with people who can have a little more risk, etc. They are requiring more skin in the game. Banks are protecting themselves and borrowers by not letting people put themselves under water.
Where are mortgage rates headed?
Geoff noted that the Fed has been raising short-term interest rates and will probably continue to do so to stifle inflation. He asked PJ where he saw mortgage rates landing over the next 12 to 18 months. PJ answered that he believes rates will be consistently in the 5’s through most programs. The market is being built into where those rates are and is slowly trending. Supply and demand are balancing each other out. Geoff feels that if you buy now, the value of your home won’t drop out like it did 12, 14 years ago. Pricing levels appear to be realistic and should hold for some time in the future. Buyers want to know if the asset they’re buying will be worth at least as much or more than they’re paying now. Even though it is a seller’s market, Geoff and PJ concurred that it is a good time to buy.
Furthermore, PJ stated that appraisers are not allowing appraisal inflation to come above where the market truly should be. It’s better for appraisers to be a little tight because that will keep the longevity of this strong market going on for 12, 18, 24 months. Geoff replied that appraisals have been challenging over the last 3 years. Prior to the upturn, prices were a mixed bag, leaving appraisers unwilling to take a chance as they couldn’t see where the market was going. However, he noted that now some appraisers are more willing to take a chance and make an allowance because of the steady upward-trending market, even though there might not be a comp that can exactly substantiate it. There are fewer appraiser issues, though there are still times when they won’t go along with the offering price. This hurts the seller but protects the buyer. And it’s another way of controlling the market.
Jeff Lobb – A Marketing Expert’s Perspective
Geoff asked Jeff for his views on the future of service providers in the real estate industry in this age of technology. Are realtors going to be the next victims of business models like Amazon? Will technology replace realtors just as retail stores (like ToysRUs) and their employees have been replaced?
Jeff’s view? While buzzwords like “disruption” do sell media, there are things happening at higher levels. However, the real estate agent is not going away anytime soon for one simple reason. There are too many moving parts to a transaction, and emotion is one of those. Technology has not reached the stage where it can handle all these parts.
Disruption occurs with more brands trying to change the way we are doing business, making it faster, more tech, or more niche. New companies are coming into play. Compass, Redfin models, Purple Bricks. And new people are coming into the space trying to change and elevate what we do. At the same time. the industry has seen some large teams leave major brands, saying they can do things better by themselves, without the big brand box.
Taking care of business…
One way to keep track of business is to every day look at local inventory. If there are 500 listings, see how many of those you got. If it’s only 2, there is a lot to be done. The business is a marathon; it’s a competitive race, but not many have enough drive to do the hard work that’s needed. To say the business is slow is not valid. Every day more homes come on the market and more get sold. Someone is getting those listings. And that is where the challenge comes in. It’s about doing the day-to-day work. All the technology that is available can make us work faster and smarter, but we still have to do the work.
Geoff has a broader perspective as to where realtors stand and what the future holds. As an example, despite all the tools available online there are more travel agents now than in the year 2000. It takes time to do all the research, etc., and many people are finding it more desirable to hire someone to do that work for them.
There has been an explosion of information and technology, but at the end of the day, it’s time. Do most people want to spend the amount of time it takes to properly sell their house or negotiate to buy a home? Most people prefer to hire a real estate professional to handle all the parts of the puzzle. In addition, Geoff believes the housing market is important to the overall US and global economy. The economy is revving. largely because of the housing market healing and coming back. And real estate agents are critical to the health of the economy.
Jeff added, “Will Amazon and Facebook get into the real estate marketplace? Probably!” The big picture is that some companies are coming in trying to acquire agents and market share. Others are trying to change the way technology is driven. However, you still need the people to execute the transactions and deal with the emotional process of a sale.
Geoff’s final analysis? We, humans, are complicated beings, and it takes a human to navigate this process of buying a home. And after much consideration, we should continue to invest in real estate agents and our industry because we’re needed and timeless.
Visit our website, greenteamhq.com/HMU to register for our next Webinar on Tuesday, September 18 at 2 pm. You can also view previous webinars videos and access other recaps like this.