Grand opening for new real estate office next week        Friday May 9, 2008  SI. Advance 

 

Mr. Dil Gillani, CRS, broker and owner, is proud to announce the grand opening of his real estate company Gillani Homes, Inc. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on 5 p.m. on may 15th,at the office located at 62 sand lane.

 

Opening his own real estate company has been Dil Gillani's dream ever since he begane his career in real estate eight years ago. When he became a realtor, Gillani made the conscious decision to treat his career with professionalism. He earned each of his client's relationships thereby becoming his clients' Realtor for life.

 

In opening up a new real estate company, Gillani aspires to offer some new choices for the public and sales agents alike. Staten Island has about 2,600 agents and about 200 real estate companies. " We will be offering some entirely unique marketing ideas along with some time tested ideas to the buyers and sellers of real estate on staten island. With technology, our industry has evolved over the last few years.Internet searches have become the primary vehicle both the buyers and sellers utilize as a starting point of their search. I firmly believe that in marketing a home, the seller should have greater control over the marketing than what it has been in the past. The question is how do we accomplish that? The answer is to train agents in utilizing the internet to its fullest potential thereby giving sellers maximum exposure and giving the buyers maximum choices."

 

Dil Gillani is a top producer on staten island and is ranked in the top 1% in the country according to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics. "I did it by building relationships and treating my clients with the utmost respect. But that is only part of the job. At the end of the day you have to know what you are doing and also be a very good negotiator on your clients behalf." Gillani believes in educating his clients and customers about the selling process. The reality is that a well educated consumer is a much happier client. My goal for Gillani Homes is to have well trained individuals who take their job and career  seriously and specialize in marketing. I take training very seriously and I think it is the most important part of a new Realtor's career. Gillani Homes maintains a very informative web site that the public can take advantage of.

 

Our site  www.GillaniHomes.com  provides very comprehensive reports to the public for free on various issues such as how to interview a broker and what questions to ask before hiring a Realtor to market your property on staten island. If you would like to know what has been sold in your area recently and what is currently on the market, all you have to do is visit our sites at www.SiHouseValues.com   or  www.Move2SI.com   and request a Market Snapshot.

 

When it comes to agents looking to work at a real estate firm there are a lot of choices but most are the same from one firm to the next. Gillani feels training is essential in order for agents to achieve their maximum potential. We will be offering some real choices to agents who treat real estate as their dream job and love what they do. I think everybody should have an equal chance to succeed in real estate and reach the top ranks by ultimately becoming part of the company they work with. Historically we always had two sides, the broker and the agents, and the agents have no claim to the company they help build. When successful agents want to go out and build their own dream they have to start from scratch. I am an agent at heart and I feel that agents who earn a good reputation and prove themselves should have the chance to share to share the rewards with their broker. After all, it is the agents who make the company and its reputation; without them the company would cease to exist.

 

Gillani is proud to announce that the renovated condos at 145 Lincoln ave (grant city) are selling fast. These affordable condos are starting at $165,000. Recently, the building made some major capital improvements including two new elevators and a new cast-iron fence around the property. This 149 - unit complex offers a very convenient location to the grant city train station, express buses, beaches, hospital, shopping and much more. The building offers a luxury hi-rise setting,balconies, common walkways and areas, along with laundry facilities. There are plans to build a brand new gym at the locationas well. There is nothing like this on sale on this side of staten island.

 

Gillani Homes is located near the Verrazano Bridge at 62 sand lane just off Hylan Blvd. You can search their web site at   www.GillaniHomes.com    Phone number is 718-442-4400 

 

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 SIBOR president, John Vernazza joins Gillani Homes    Friday, October 23 2009  SI Advance

 

Dil Gillani, broker/owner of Gillani Homes Inc., announces that John A. Vernazza, a native staten islander, has joined the Gillani Homes family of real estate professionals. Gillani stated "It is an honor to have john, who stands for everything good in our industry, join my company.

 

Gillani first met Vernazza in 2001 when they completed a real estate transaction together. From that a professional working relationship,as well as a personal friendship, developed. Gillani stated that  "Gillani Homes is a place where top producers like Vernazza can thrive by building their own team with confidence. All of us at Gillani Homes believe the sky is the limit for all our agents."

 

Vernazza is a New York State Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker and is managing the  "Vernazza Team" of professional Realtors at Gillani Homes Inc. Vernazza said “the decision to join Gillani Homes was easy because of the advanced technology placed at my fingertips and the opportunity to build my own sales team. It’s an exciting time and I look forward to the challenge.”

John Vernazza is the 2009 President of the Staten Island Board of Realtor (SIBOR). He holds numerous nationally-recognized industry designations, ePRO, GREEN, and CBR (Certified Buyers Representative). He also holds the BCREP (Board Certified Representative) certification.

Mr. Vernazza currently serves as a director of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR). He was awarded the 2004 SIBOR Realtor-Associate of the Year, and is a member of the New York State Realtor Honor Society. He is a founding member and Secretary/Treasurer of the Board for Excellence in Real Estate (BERE) which awards certifications to Realtors who excel in business accomplishments and customer service. He also holds the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD) series 7 and 24 certifications.

In the community Vernazza is a proud member of the South Shore Rotary Club where he served as a director and on several committees. He is the Chair of the Hungerford School Holiday Party and a member of the Hungerford School Prom Committee. He is a co-chair of the Festa Italiana at the Staten Island Zoo. He was the proud recipient of the South Shore Rotary Carl Rosenberger Service Above Self Award and the 2007-2008 South Shore Rotarian of the Year Award.

John is presently serving as a Director of the Staten Island Center for Independent Living and has served as the Chair and the Co-Chair of the Staten Island Historical Society’s Richmond County Fair in Richmondtown.

Vernazza graduated from Saint John’s University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and landed in the prestigious “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities”.

He, along with his wife of 35 years, Roseann, reside in Southeast Annadale and are the proud parents of their two daughters Jennifer Vernazza Lambert and Mary Beth Paglio.

Vernazza can be contacted at 718-442-4400 ext 231 or 917-796-7504, or you can visit his website at www.SINYProperties.com.

Since inception in April, 2008, Gillani Homes has grown from 4 agents to a team of 20. We were able to accomplish this despite a challenging real estate market. Our formula for success is simply to treat all agents, clients, and customers, with utmost respect, and to help people achieve their life goals.

Dil continued that “At Gillani Homes we realize that internet marketing, along with traditional marketing, is essential to the success of our agents in growing their business. We search out and embrace new and innovative ways to promote all the properties that we list to sell. In addition, all our agents are well versed in the art of negotiating in order to see a potential deal come to fruition, with all parties involved made to feel that they were treated fairly and equitably. The testimonials we receive from our clients and customers will attest to the fact that Gillani Homes is a company that both sellers and buyers can put their trust in when it comes to carrying out the most important financial and life changing decision of their lives.”

Whether you are a seller looking to sell your property, or a buyer seeking to purchase property, Gillani Homes can be reached at 718-442-4400, or you can also e-mail Dil Gillani at DGillani@msn.com. Our office is located in Grasmere at 62 Sand Lane just off Hylan Boulevard. You can also check our website www.GillaniHomes.com where you can get a free market snapshot of recent real estate activity in your neighborhood.

At Gillani Homes we are always looking for new talent to join our growing company. If you are an individual eager to change your life for the better and are willing to work hard for it, please call Dil at 718-442-4400 to discuss how Gillani Homes can transform your career and bring it to the next level. All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential.

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July 26, 2009
Living In | South Beach, Staten Island

Why Ask for the Moon? They’ve Got the Beach

THE South Beach neighborhood of Staten Island may lack the glamour and bravado of its famous namesake in Florida, but in both places, it is safe to see the beach as the primary attraction.

The beach is what drew Randy Iglesias from Yonkers 16 years ago, and it’s what keeps him satisfied with the neighborhood now. Several days a week, he runs along the Franklin D. Roosevelt boardwalk, or on the sand itself. “Literally, I just walk out my door and I’m there in two minutes,” he said. “I just love it.”

With the added bonus of easy access to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, it’s no wonder that residents of South Beach believe they’re part of a convenient hideaway in the big city.

The area has come a long way in 20 years. Back in the ’90s it faced serious problems. Even the now-popular boardwalk was overgrown, frequently a target for arson and a favorite spot for drug dealers. When Mr. Iglesias, who is now 45, originally told friends where he was moving, they said that “it was voodoo to live there,” he recalled. “People would say, ‘Oh, South Beach, that’s bad.’

“People don’t say that to me anymore.”

It was about 10 years ago that developers stepped in, replacing much of the housing stock of small bungalows with two-family colonials or town houses. The city also pitched in to clean up the beach; since 1995, it has spent $20 million on the boardwalk.

These days the area is crowded with families, much as it was in the early part of the last century, when the neighborhood was a popular resort destination for city dwellers and other fun seekers. (In 1906, for example, 30,000 people flocked to the opening of Happyland Amusement Park.)

The changes in the later ’90s caused home prices to jump. In 1993 Mr. Iglesias, a mechanic who has a real estate license but has never been an active agent, paid $227,000 for his brick two-family. He estimated that it would now get about $600,000. Yet South Beach today remains largely undiscovered, said Yesenia Gonzalez, a partner and agent at the NY Casa Group, which just recently started selling homes on Staten Island. “It’s possible to get a lot of house for your money and still be in a quality neighborhood,” she said.

It’s the quality of the neighborhood that most concerns Joseph McAllister, who helped create the South Beach Civic Association in 2001 to push back against the newly abundant development. The spate of town houses in particular introduced a glut of cars to the narrow streets. His group has had some success, as new zoning regulations have gone into effect. His group and others in the community have also been successful in stopping Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s plan to close Engine Company 161, the area’s fire station.

Mr. McAllister, who has lived in the same three-bedroom “handyman special” he bought for $115,000 in 1994 — he says it’s now worth about $500,000 — takes those victories with a dose of humility. “We’ve done some great things,” he said. “But we’re not heroes or anything.”

WHAT YOU’LL FIND

Like many neighborhoods on Staten Island, South Beach has somewhat amorphous boundaries. It is generally said to stretch from Lily Pond Avenue on the northeast, to Lower New York Bay on the southeast. Quintard Street is the southwestern boundary; McClean and Major Avenues are the other major lines of demarcation.

A few more than 8,000 people call South Beach home, according to Onboard Informatics, a company that provides data to the real estate industry. The area is predominantly white, with a sprinkling of nonwhite Hispanics and blacks. In recent years it has gained a population of Russian-Americans migrating from Brooklyn.

Were it not for the numerous Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses passing through, visitors could be forgiven for thinking they were outside of New York City. The neighborhood slopes up from the bay, and various roads wind up and around the emerging hill.

Two distinct housing options predominate: the remaining single-family bungalows and the new town houses and semidetached colonials. Most of the newer homes add bulk and height to the neighborhood, but also a different feel — less summer hideaway, more permanent playground.

Despite all of the development in the past decade, the area has managed to avoid many of the usual trappings of gentrification; it has maintained a decidedly working- and middle-class aura. The nearest Starbucks, it might be noted, is in Brooklyn.

“It’s not fancy here; there’s not snobbery,” Mr. McAllister said. “There’s quietness. Neighbors get along.”

WHAT YOU’LL PAY

Of the 78 homes for sale in the neighborhood earlier this month, the average list price was $474,000, according to Dil Gillani, the owner of Gillani Homes, which has a local office. As in the rest of the city, the number of sales and the prices have dropped significantly in the last year. In the first six months of 2008, according to Mr. Gillani, 35 homes sold, for an average of $481,214. For the same period this year, 22 have sold, for an average of $378,000.

Not all of the homes have experienced such a precipitous drop in value, Mr. Gillani added, pointing out that a wave of foreclosures has skewed some figures. He says most homes sell for 10 to 15 percent less than a couple of years ago. And although this year’s sales figures trail last year’s, he said there were 30 homes under contract earlier this month — more than the 22 sold in the first half of the year. He saw this as a sign of a market uptick.

In general, a semidetached house can be had for $375,000 to $450,000, said Natalie Levine, the director of marketing for Staten Island Dream House Realty. For that price, Ms. Levine said, a buyer will often get three bedrooms and a garage. Newer detached homes generally sell for a little more, with the top range closer to $500,000, while the older bungalows may fetch less than $375,000. Most of the rentals are in two-family homes; a three-bedroom can be rented for roughly $1,400 a month.

WHAT TO DO

Without question the beach is the main draw. The 1.7-mile-long boardwalk is ideal for joggers or for catching a sunrise. The South Fin Grill, which opened in 2005 on the boardwalk, is a popular dining option; for dessert, there is the nearby Ben & Jerry’s. Fishermen, meanwhile, toss their bait into the bay from the 835-foot-long Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier.

Although there are some shops on Sand Avenue, the neighborhood doesn’t have much retailing. Shopping is a short drive away, along Hylan Boulevard.

The Basilio Inn Restaurant, off Lily Pond Road in South Beach, opened in 1921 and lays claim to being the oldest restaurant in the borough.

Just to the north of the neighborhood, partially under the bridge, is the 18th-century Fort Wadsworth, a military base that opened its gates to the public in 1997. “If you go there, bring your walking shoes,” Mr. Iglesias said. “You’re going to want to be there for a while.”

THE SCHOOLS

Many of the children in the area attend either Public School 39, Francis J. Murphy, or Public School 46, Albert V. Maniscalco. Both schools serve prekindergarten through Grade 5. Eighty percent of the fourth graders at P.S. 39 met standards in reading and 92 percent in math, versus 69 and 85 citywide. At P.S. 46, 65 percent met standards in reading and 74 percent in math.

There are no public middle schools or high schools. Some students travel to nearby Intermediate School 49, Bertha A. Dreyfus, which serves students in Grades 6 to 8. Of its eighth graders, 45 percent met standards in English and 59 percent in math, versus 57 and 71 citywide.

New Dorp High School has just over 2,000 students. Last year, SAT averages were 438 in reading, 451 in math and 426 in writing, versus 502, 515 and 494 statewide.

In addition, the general area has two prominent all-girls Catholic schools: St. John Villa Academy and St. Joseph Hill Academy.

THE COMMUTE

Many residents take the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn or Midtown Manhattan. The drive to Midtown can take from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the traffic.

Several express buses serve the area, too, including an X6, which generally takes 40 minutes or more to arrive in Midtown during rush hour. The S51 and S52 take residents to the Staten Island Ferry.

THE HISTORY

The area now known as South Beach was the site of the first permanent settlement on Staten Island, according to “Staten Island: Isle of the Bay,” by Margaret Lundrigan. The settlement started in the early 1660s and was known as Oude Dorp — Old Town in Dutch. The site was appreciated because of its flat land, which allowed for farming and grazing, and because a creek allowed easy access to the bay.

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February 14, 2010                                                                             

Staten Island Sunday Advance

Slumping real estate market shows signs of rebounding

Double-digit increases over the last three months of 2009 are encouraging signs for Realtors

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Record low interest rates, the first-time homebuyer's tax credit and still declining prices gave Staten Island's slumping real estate market a modest boost last year.

But it was the double-digit increases in October, November and December that have local Realtors saying the industry is slowly on the mend.

"I see a lot more activity than I've seen in a while," said Ann Coppola of ERA Master Realtors, Oakwood. "There are some good indicators that maybe we've bottomed out and are starting to come back again."

The average price of a borough property fell 7.5 percent, from $400,000 in 2008 to $370,000 last year. That helped drive sales up 2.8 percent from 2,667 units sold to 2,753, according to the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR).

In the last three months of 2009, the number of units sold increased 38.6 percent, from 630 to 873, and the number of homes under contract went up 60.7 percent from 507 to 815.

"This bodes well as we move into the next quarter," said SIBOR CEO Sandy Krueger, who attributed the uptick to "three major factors."

"The $8,000 tax credit and the extension of that tax credit is a big reason," he said, referring to the economic stimulus package's first-time homebuyer's tax credit, which was extended from November to April. The extension also provided a $6,500 credit for repeat buyers.

"Prices have also been coming down over the last two years, making it an attractive time for people to buy, and with continuing low interest rates that are threatening to go up, people are saying it's time to get out there."

Finances aside, emotions are also at play.

"There is a lot of pent-up demand," Krueger said. "People have been holding back a long time."

And as they waited, buyers became more educated to avoid the pitfalls like exotic loans and subprime mortgages that ignited the housing crisis and the subsequent collapse of the nation's economy.

"The best investment anyone can make is real estate," said George Wonica Jr. of Wonica Realtors and Appraisers, which has offices in Castleton Corners, Midland Beach and Rossville.

"The more stable the market, the safer the investment you will make. More buyers are educated out there. They're doing their homework and that's a good thing."

Right now, it's just as much a seller's market as it is a buyer's market.

"When I have two or three offers on an individual property, it means there's a good supply and demand," said Wonica, president of SIBOR. "There is a balance."

The challenge, he said, is convincing buyers that interest rates have no where to go but up.

"When you have low interest rates, it's conducive to buying, but everything seems to go back to how low can you go," Wonica said.

"When you have an interest rate below 5 percent, that's a good rate. Even 6 percent is good, but we're getting a little spoiled when the rates are this low. We don't remember what they were like a few years ago."

As for sellers, the challenge is convincing them their houses won't get what they would have gotten in the days when the market was thriving.

"At the end of the day, it's all in the pricing," said Dil Gillani of Gillani Homes in South Beach. "If it's not priced right, it's not going to sell. If you hit the right market, people are going to come out of nowhere to buy it."

Gillani took a leap of faith when he opened his agency in 2008, a time when the housing market was lifeless. He started with three broker agents and today has 21.

The tax credit is part of his success and he expects a flurry of activity before it ends in April.

"The question is, will it last? Is there life after the death of this tax credit? In the long run, it may just be a patch. I hope I am wrong."

Stephanie Slepian covers real estate news for the Advance. She may be reached at slepian@siadvance.com.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Low mortgage rates hoped to offset slump in home sales

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The homebuyer's tax credit provided the housing market here with necessary jolt, but its loss has triggered a new slump: Fewer closings and less homes going into contract in the three months since its expiration.

Closings from July through September dropped 34 percent from 831 to 548 and contracts have fallen 22 percent from 2,206 last year to 2070, according to the Staten Island Board of Realtors.

The Island mirrors the rest of the country, where home sales took a 20 percent tumble from September 2009, a national housing report from RE/MAX shows.

Still Realtors are cautiously optimistic, hoping record low mortgage rates -- hovering now at around 4.2 percent -- will help them weather the market's traditionally slow winter months even as foreclosure moratoriums threaten to undermine any chance at a sustained recovery.

The listings are up right now and sales are up this quarter," said Kathleen O'Leary, SIBOR president-elect and sales manager of Appleseed Homes. "The mortgage rate today is the lowest it's been in history. Hopefully, it will stay that way. Our phones are ringing, our agents are going out there, it's just taking a little longer."

SIBOR's numbers did include some bright spots.

Because of the first-time homebuyer's tax credit -- which provided credits of $8,000 to new buyers and $6,500 to repeat buyers as part of the economic stimulus package -- the price of homes inched up.

The median price in June, July and August topped out at $390,000 or 5.4 percent higher than the same period in 2009.

Mid-Island neighborhoods showed the greatest spike, jumping from $380,000 to $405,000 since last year. On the North Shore, they went from $315,000 to $320,000 while the South Shore held steady this year at a median price of $415,000.

Homes are also selling quicker: A property's stay on the market has declined 4 percent.

"It's still a good time to buy," said George Wonica Jr. of Wonica Realtors. "The prices of houses are a lot more conducive and more realistic to get the buyers to come in. When a home was on the market for two or three days, sellers could afford to go a little high. Now, if they really do want to sell, they have to price accordingly."

Dil Gillani said activity at his Gillani Homes in South Beach has picked up in the last 45 days. A townhouse in Rossville with an asking price of $399,000 sold for $388,000 after more than a year on the market, and a semi in Huguenot sold for $489,000, $9,000 less than what the buyer was looking for.

Both were all-cash transactions.

"People do have money out there," he said. "There is movement and once in a while a home sells at prices we can't believe. On the whole, the downturn of the market didn't hit as bad on Staten Island, at least in terms of the price front, as the rest of the country. I don't know why, but we were more immune to that."

Moving forward, though, Realtors are becoming increasingly worried that foreclosure moratoriums have created uncertainty among buyers and will hurt the bottom line of Realtors, lenders appraisers, inspectors and the home improvement industry.

All 50 state attorneys general are probing whether thousands of home foreclosures were improperly handled while a number of major banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and Citibank temporarily suspended proceedings on their own. Some banks have since resumed processing foreclosures.

For now, Realtors are watching and waiting.

"The market is hard to read," Gillani said. "We are in very confusing times. It's hard to tell what kind of market you're in until it's behind us."
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