Buying and selling houses in the Five Towns

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As the temperatures rise, so does the interest in buying and selling homes, which, according to local experts, means that the Five Towns real estate market should be heating up in the coming months.

“The market has been a little quiet the last few months with the bad weather and the holidays,” said Susan Pugatch, who owns Pugatch Realty in Woodmere, along with her husband, Barry. “Though it is starting to pick up,” she added.

V.I.Properties in Hewlett and Marjorie Hausman Real Estate in Cedarhurst, expressed a similar sentiment, it’s been a little slow, but, “We do expect it to pick up with the warm weather,” said Carol Weisse, the office manager at Marjorie Hausman.

If they’re right, residents may see an influx of potential buyers checking out the area this summer. “It looks like it’s going to be a seller’s market,” said Natalya Mikinberg, owner of V.I.Properties. “There are more buyers than sellers, so there’s going to be a lot of bidding going on.”

Minkinberg said it may be a good time to sell, and Susan Pugatch added that she thinks that it’s also a good time to be buying. “Interest rates will be going up,” Pugatch said. “If you’re thinking about it, then it’s a good time to go ahead and buy.”

Who is it that’s looking to move into the area? “Mostly young families,” Minkinberg said. “It’s a lot of young families coming from Brooklyn and Queens; it could be 30 to 40 percent cheaper to buy a house here than it is there.”

“It’s pretty even, but there have been more people looking to buy,” agreed Weisse. “They know they want to come to this area.”

It’s not difficult to interest buyers in moving to the Five Towns, the real estate experts said. “Most people know that we have a lot to offer,” Pugatch said. “Between our wonderful schools and shuls, the beautiful beaches, quiet safe neighborhoods and being located so close to the city.”

“It’s like a snowball,” Minkinberg said. “It gets bigger and bigger every time you roll it. People tell their friends and relatives [about the area], and the location is very good, it’s so close to Queens and Brooklyn, the airport, parks and beaches.”

Whether buying or selling, all three companies recommended finding a broker you trust to help. “Find a reputable agency,” Weisse advised, and when selling, “get rid of any clutter out front to maximize curb appeal.”

She said that when buying, people should, “know what the taxes will be, you may be able to afford the house but not the taxes.” Weisse added that the new tax bill, signed into law last December, which will eliminate some deductions, might have scared off some people, but she reassured potential buyers, “if it’s your dream to buy the home, then don’t be afraid of the new changes.”

The tax plan would limit state and local property tax deductions to $10,000 every year. As Long Island has some of the highest local taxes in the country, the reduction in property tax deductions could mean higher income tax bill.

All three stressed the importance of communicating with clients, something that could become more difficult as the area gets more diverse. “We have agents who speak Spanish, Hebrew and Russian,” said Minkinberg. “It’s not just the language, but the culture. When people have the same roots they can better know what people are looking for.” “We have a few agents that speak Hebrew and Spanish,” Pugatch said. “It’s always best to be able to communicate with the buyer or seller easily.”