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Signs of the times: Pol providing Central Bklyn constituents with ‘house not for sale’ placards to fend off buyers

Not selling: Assemblywoman Diana Richardson is offering property-owning constituents signs letting would-be buyers know they’re not selling their homes.
Brooklyn Paper
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It’s not a buyer’s market!

A state pol is handing out signs to her Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens constituents that read “This House is Not for Sale,” in response to outlandish solicitations made by would-be home buyers. The wannabe homeowners sometimes stake out private properties with literal bags of cash hoping to convince owners to sell, according to the legislator.

“They come with checks already written in their name, and if not checks written in their name, they come with cash trying to buy their house,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Diana Richardson.

Richardson, who printed an initial run of 1,000 “Not for Sale” signs, said she’s down to the last 100. But she has a second run of the signs in the works for those locals still inundating her office with complaints about unwanted offers to buy their homes, she said.

The requests often come in the form of letters and phone calls from real-estate agents and developers, many of whom typically take the word “no” as an invitation to redouble their efforts, according to a Rutland Road resident.

“They never take no for an answer,” said Vibeke Alstad Jagne, who has lived on the road between Nostrand and Rogers avenues since 2013. “Some push a little, some push more, but if they don’t take no for an answer the first time, I just say goodbye and hang up.”

Less scrupulous realtors will occasionally just show up on property owners’ doorsteps, according to Richardson, who said certain brokers recently went so far as to lie in wait outside some Fenimore Street homes, waiting for their owners to emerge before jumping them with offers.

“Realtors are literally sitting in their cars day in and day out,” the pol said. “If they can’t get you by knocking, or calling, or by mail, they’re waiting until you come out of your house, and approaching you. It’s nuts, it’s really bad.”

Much of Crown Heights’s current real estate is characterized by mixed-use and residential structures between three- and six-stories tall, but current zoning laws allow for up to 13-story buildings in large swathes of the neighborhood. And the potential financial windfall from buying and razing multiple homes to make way for even larger residential towers is too enticing for developers to resist, according to the assemblywoman.

The endless stream of solicitations is mostly an annoyance for Richardson’s constituents, one of whom said no amount of green will convince him not to pass his Midwood Street home on to his next of kin.

“My son will eventually inherit the house,” said Robert Marvin, who lives in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. “I don’t imagine its going to be for sale for many generations.”

But the prospect of coming into quick cash could be enough to convince more vulnerable property owners in the area, including seniors and those carrying debt, to sell their homes at well below market value, according to the pol.

“If I knock on your door with a wad of cash offering to buy you out, and you’re in the midst of a struggle, even if you know it’s below the market value of your house, you may be in over your head and just take the money and sell,” she said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:01 am, January 30, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Wilbur D. Horse from Springfield says:
Realtors throwing money at poor, poor homeowners? I feel so sorry for those poor, poor homeowners.
Jan. 30, 7:13 am
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
Horrible, just horrible. The pain of multiple people offering to buy your house. I just can’t imagine.
Jan. 30, 7:59 am
Willie from Sunset Park says:
" ..literal bags of cash ". Somethings I wonder if this isn't a money laundering scheme, to buy a house with cash instead of going thru the bank.
Jan. 30, 8:28 am
Bruno from Bensonhurst says:
Move on there is no story here...by the way is there anything more important for the assemblyWOMAN to devote taxpayers money on. Wonder how much waste of time she involved in this.
Jan. 30, 9:08 am
Bob Marvin from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
When I bought my house there was a non-solicitation order in effect for our neighborhood because of the activity of unscrupulous real estate people. The NY Secretary of State lifted it about 30 year’s years ago and the vultures are back in force
Jan. 30, 11:19 am
Law and Disorder from Formally of Bklyn. now North Carolina says:
Thank You for Buying my house. I now live in a Crime Free area down south. Too bad I did not have more property to sell. Yes they came with money from the Mid West and now I can live very well for the rest of my life and still have something to leave for my son. No more lock on my steering wheel, no more gun shots except during hunting season, no more plants missing from in front of my house.Yes don't sell your house stay in NY.
Jan. 30, 11:22 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
The truth for them is to build the black middle class in central Brooklyn is to educate them about the value of home equity. Its a foundation for building wealth. the real estate interests will be angry when these folks are armed with knowledge.
Jan. 30, 11:52 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Or better this. How to fight the Real estate people!
Jan. 30, 11:53 am
Mendy Giro from Crown Heights says:
I am a life long resident of this neighborhood. I know first hand the feeling that comes from this type of harassment. I am a proud local real estate agent and I never behave in this manner and would drop any client who pushed me to behave like this. If anyone wants my help you can reach out to me at mendygiro@gmail.com
Jan. 30, 1:11 pm
Soulful from East Flatbush says:
Every elderly person should have a Not For Sale sign, on their property; which will fend off the Jews that come into the neighborhoods and steal these defenseless people homes... I’ve seen and heard of stories... They promise them a certain amount, once everything is signed; the prophets placed in their LLC’s. So when they give you a quarter of the original amount agreed on. You can’t do anything about it.
Jan. 30, 1:51 pm
Boris from Borough Park says:
Soulful = Louis Farrakhan = David Dukes
Jan. 30, 2:54 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
@Boris from Borough Park this not a campaign to fight hassid-orthodox real estate people. This is to give these homeowners knowledge and choices. And too bad for your real estate people if they want their homes. Why don't you go solicit in your neighborhood.
Jan. 30, 3:07 pm
Boris from Borough Park says:
Sounds like Bkmanhatman wants to keep the white folks out.
Jan. 30, 3:10 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
“I’ve seen and heard of stories” aka being full of —— and a bigot
Jan. 30, 4:18 pm
Nitasha from Hood says:
It doesn’t work - teasing them only makes them want it more. It’s so rude the way they try to give people bags of cash. Good thing we have her telling people not to give us money.
Jan. 30, 8:23 pm
Truth says:
She's trying to limit the supply to raise the value of her own home. She has already looked into properties in Weehawken, NJ. She's trying to get as much money out of her own house as she can.
Jan. 31, 4:48 am
Harassment from NYC says:
It's just harassment, plain and simple. Anyone that wants to sell knows enough to put a "for sale" sign and or to list with a broker. There are lawful ways to advertise your services and harassment isn't one of them. Pass a law both civilly and criminally with hefty fines to protect people from this form of harassment - it's called "Quiet Enjoyment" and is in every contract to which owners and tenants, from industrial to residential should be entitled. Stop the bottom feeders from harassing us.
Jan. 31, 11:54 am
Wearentstupid from PLG says:
These sketchy harassing buyers condescendingly believe people in our neighborhood are not sophisticated enough to know how to sell a house properly. Move along. We know one has to use a real estate broker who actually invests in professional photos and advertising with the NYT. It’s the only way to sell one’s house.
Jan. 31, 1:31 pm
Valerie Winstead from PLG says:
Wearentstupid is right - a lot of people in this neighborhood don’t understand that taking the cash and signing a paper means they have sold their house. Many can’t even read or are on drugs. So many houses can be acquired here for peanuts. It’s unfair that these people make offers. I hope that one day these houses become unsellable and worthless, so no one wants to buy thrm.
Jan. 31, 6:12 pm
Sunshine from FormerBklnyte says:
The ordinance needs to be put back in place. Or homeowners need to stand their ground, and have discussions in anticipation should this happen to them. Look what happened to this Seattle neighborhood that was closer to the city’s downtown: https://crosscut.com/2019/01/where-are-black-people-central-district-residents-get-creative-fight-displacement?utm_source=crosscut-facebook&utm_medium=social
Feb. 1, 2:38 am
Raquanda from No way ! says:
Oh, she’s against it now - but where did her family make their MILLIONS OF DOLLARS?!? Oh yeah, selling real estate! She’s trying to keep the local people poor. They can get money now - they should take it!
Feb. 1, 2:02 pm
Bob Marvin from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
Nonsense Raquanda! Diana Richardson does NOT come from a rich family.
Feb. 1, 4:30 pm

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