What If?

What if you had to double your fees? How would you explain it? Which customers would stick with you? How would your marketing change? How would it affect your brand? How would your volume change? How would your need for resources change? How would your manpower needs change? Would it actually be better? It may [...]

By |2018-09-13T07:16:28-04:00September 13th, 2018|Communication, Small Business, Value|Comments Off on What If?

Solitary Confinement

It is when I am in a flow state, a time of effortless focus, like a shortstop turning a double play or Arthur Rubinstein performing  Chopin's Mazurkas, that I am the most valuable. I can create something of value for my clients. But during these times I am considerably less valuable in a human sense. [...]

By |2018-09-03T08:33:11-04:00September 3rd, 2018|Creativity, Relationships, Skills, Value|Comments Off on Solitary Confinement

The Divide

There is a divide, nay, a gaping chasm between free and $1.00. Does $1.00 mean that much? Not really, if a gallon of milk is $1.00 more this week than it was last week I doubt any of us would give it a thought. But paying $1.00 online requires time and effort. You have to [...]

By |2018-08-06T07:17:57-04:00August 6th, 2018|Business, Profitability, Risk, Trust, Value|Comments Off on The Divide

Jeeves Was Probably Underpaid

I know it is a little odd, but as a youngster I had a fantasy of being a Gentleman's Gentleman. Of serving and helping a great man, well, be great. Maybe this fantasy wasn't so odd. After all, who wants the burden of being great themselves? Isn't it better, safer and easier to bask in [...]

By |2018-07-16T13:26:02-04:00July 16th, 2018|Business, Personal Development, Professional Growth, Risk, Small Business, Success, Value|Comments Off on Jeeves Was Probably Underpaid

How Unique?

Answer Yes or No to the following: Is the work you do every day repetitive? Do you know the answer before you start? Can someone be trained to do what you do in a month or less? Is what you do something that any healthy adult can do? Does your work involve forms of any [...]

Plus or Minus

Real estate appraisers use the term "plus or minus" and symbols like +/- a lot. It's not that we don't have confidence in what we are doing. It's because we are reporting on and analyzing a market. A market in which every item is unique. It's artscience.

By |2017-12-11T09:43:09-05:00December 11th, 2017|Art, Creativity, Economics, Market, Real Estate, Skills, Value|Comments Off on Plus or Minus

Totally Worth It

He is old school. His partners are old. They don't use email. Those kind of guys. I sent my proposal. He pushed back on the fee. I stood my ground, and he agreed, but he had to convince his partners that I was totally worth it. I did my research and analysis and wrote up [...]

By |2017-08-22T09:13:55-04:00August 22nd, 2017|Humor, Service, Skills, Value, Wealth|Comments Off on Totally Worth It


Apropos of my post on modern marketing, I saw the strangest thing yesterday. A billboard on U.S. Route 1  in Lawrence Township. Advertising an Advertising and Marketing company. A billboard is relatively expensive and it is designed to market to a large audience, so it is most helpful if your customers are well, everybody. Big [...]

By |2017-07-28T11:05:47-04:00July 28th, 2017|Art, Blog, Business, Marketing, Service, Social Media, Tactics, Trust, Value|Comments Off on Creative?

A Little Quiz

Picture this: Two side-by-side five-acre interior (not corner) lots with 500 feet of frontage. The lots are located on a major highway and are improved with two identical steel frame and masonry buildings, 100,000 square feet in size with 32 foot ceilings. One building is zoned for retail use, suitable for occupancy by a "big [...]

By |2017-07-18T09:17:48-04:00July 18th, 2017|Industrial, Real Estate, Retail, Value|Comments Off on A Little Quiz

The Appraiser Prosperity Coalition is seeking to level the playing field. I think they should just change fields.

I recently received an email request for a donation to the Appraiser Prosperity Coalition. I was not familiar with the organization, but I took some time to read up on who they are and what they are trying to accomplish. What I found was a group of well meaning residential mortgage appraisers fighting their latest [...]

By |2016-01-07T10:46:29-05:00January 7th, 2016|Bubbles, Business, Creativity, Economics, Financing, Freedom, History, Professional Development, Professional Growth, Profitability, Real Estate, Residential, Risk, Skills, Small Business, Success, Value|Comments Off on The Appraiser Prosperity Coalition is seeking to level the playing field. I think they should just change fields.

Some Recommendations

As you know, The Ol' Prophet is keen on technology and productivity. Here are some recommendations that may help you get more connected and efficient: ToDoist This little gem of a Task Manager is worth its weight in gold. ToDoist works on all platforms: Apple iOS (there are iPhone and iPad apps), Android, Google Chrome, [...]

Safe House

I was recently engaged for an assignment in a local beach town. A former resident is suing, well, everybody, for damage done to his home during Superstorm Sandy. It seems a boat rear-ended his house. Or failed to yield, or something like that. Let's call it a moving violation. My client requested that I analyze [...]

By |2015-03-12T09:52:22-04:00March 12th, 2015|Humor, Market, Real Estate, Value|Comments Off on Safe House

But Is It Meaningful?

Since the banking crisis reared its ugly head at the end of 2007, a raft of new legislation and regulation has been approved to prevent the darn thing from ever happening again. Among these efforts was, yet again, a crackdown on real estate appraisers. First an attempt was made to weed out the bad actors, [...]

By |2015-02-19T10:07:14-05:00February 19th, 2015|Business, Customers, Economics, Humor, Productivity, Service, Skills, Small Business, Success, Value|Comments Off on But Is It Meaningful?

You’re Good…

...but are you damn good? Are you a  trusted adviser? Do you give your clients what they ask for, or better yet, what they need? Do you deliver good work, on time? Of course you do. So don't apologize for your fees, or your payment terms. This is your business. Your family and your employees [...]

By |2015-01-29T09:27:39-05:00January 29th, 2015|Business, Creativity, Customers, Professional Development, Profitability, Service, Skills, Small Business, Success, Value|Comments Off on You’re Good…

Unbiased. And Unappreciated.

It all starts innocently enough. Telephone Call Number 1 is a pleasant exchange inquiring about our services. " I am thinking about selling my building and I am interested in getting an unbiased value before I list the property," says my prospective client. The proposal goes out, is executed, and comes back. I do an [...]

By |2014-12-11T10:53:23-05:00December 11th, 2014|Business, Communication, Customers, Fiction, Financing, Humor, Real Estate, Service, Skills, Small Business, Value|Comments Off on Unbiased. And Unappreciated.


[ˈhīdˌbound / adjective - unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention] My industry is hidebound. Stuck. Full of rules. 50% to 70% of my reports are standard boilerplate that has to be there. That's a lot of senseless murder of trees. After the real estate crash in the early 1990s, the Federal Government decided [...]

By |2014-11-13T08:56:08-05:00November 13th, 2014|Creativity, Freedom, Future, Humor, Personal Development, Professional Development, Professional Growth, Risk, Service, Skills, Success, Value|Comments Off on Hidebound

Becoming a Master

There are four stages to learning any skill and ultimately becoming a master: Unconscious Incompetence Sometimes called "beginner's luck", at this stage the person doesn't know how little they know. The stimulus to go on depends on the person's perceived value of the skill. Conscious Incompetence In this stage, the person becomes aware of how [...]

By |2014-10-09T09:43:20-04:00October 8th, 2014|Art, Creativity, Education, Personal Development, Professional Development, Professional Growth, Skills, Success, Value|Comments Off on Becoming a Master

Signs of Wealth

In my profession I have had the pleasure of touring some fabulous homes. Putting aside stunning views, Versaille-esque landscaping and simply massive structures, many of these homes also have incredible amenities. But what was once uber-luxurious has now become relatively commonplace in high end homes. Here some examples: Gourmet kitchens Bathrooms with every bedroom His [...]

By |2014-08-21T11:28:06-04:00August 21st, 2014|Humor, luxury, Real Estate, Value, Wealth|Comments Off on Signs of Wealth

Deconstructing Depreciation Part II

Last week we discussed physical depreciation. This week we will focus on the other components of depreciation: functional and external. Functional depreciation, sometimes called functional obsolescence, addresses inadequacies or superadequacies within the property. Here's an easy example. Compare a house built in 1914 to a house built in 2014. Here are some of the differences [...]

By |2014-08-14T11:50:32-04:00August 14th, 2014|Depreciation, Humor, Land, Real Estate, Terminology, Value|Comments Off on Deconstructing Depreciation Part II

Something Fishy This Way Comes

We were engaged to appraise small retail strip center. On the date of inspection the buyer (and our client), an ebullient young woman with an entourage of friends and family in tow, chattered about "all the possibilities." We were instructed to discuss the particulars of the property with the seller (a.k.a., not our client) who [...]

By |2014-10-10T18:23:23-04:00May 13th, 2014|Business, Customers, Humor, Negotiation, Real Estate, Value|1 Comment


There was a boatload of wisdom in Wilson Hall Monday night, words from three true leaders in New Jersey Real Estate at the Monmouth University Kislak School of Real Estate's Stephen B. Siegel Lecture Series. The featured speakers included: Ara K. Hovnanian, CEO and Chairman of Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc., a national homebuilder; Ronald S. Ladell, [...]

By |2014-04-29T10:34:38-04:00April 29th, 2014|Demographics, Economics, Multi-Family, Planning, Real Estate, REITs, Residential, Success, Value|Comments Off on Wisdom

Cognitive Dissonance

They spent billions building the place. They bought huge tracts of land and hired artisans from all over the world to make fantasy come alive. They took two dimensional images from comic books and moving pictures and breathed life into them. They spend a fortune marketing, selling, booking, maintaining, and staffing the place. Not counting [...]

By |2014-04-22T10:23:11-04:00April 22nd, 2014|Customers, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Success, Trust, Value|Comments Off on Cognitive Dissonance

No Pollyanna

For the record, I am no Pollyanna. Every day I post news items on LinkedIn and Twitter that I think are important. I am objective in my choice of articles. Cross my heart. But I can't ignore the cold, hard  facts: Sign of Spring on Pay: Real Wage Growth Spring Thaw Has Companies Hiring Again [...]

By |2014-04-08T12:26:14-04:00April 8th, 2014|Business, Economics, Future, Humor, News, Planning, Profitability, Real Estate, REITs, Success, Tech, Value|Comments Off on No Pollyanna


Nicholas Harary is a Chef, Sommelier, Restaurateur and Entrepreneur.  His Restaurant Nicholas, located in Red Bank, is one of top eateries in the state, if not the country.  Restaurant Nicholas is truly a fine dining experience, with a kitchen that has been described as a "laboratory," it has been our go-to special occasion restaurant for [...]

By |2014-04-01T09:36:59-04:00April 1st, 2014|Business, Creativity, Customers, Service, Success, Trust, Value|Comments Off on Trust

From Panama to Princeton

You have probably heard that the Panama Canal is being expanded. What you may not know is what that means to New Jersey. The Panama Canal now handles Panamax ships, meaning ships equal to the maximum capacity of the existing Panama Canal. After the expansion, the Canal will be able to handle Post Panamax ships [...]

By |2014-03-25T15:12:57-04:00March 25th, 2014|Business, Distribution, Humor, Industrial, News, Planning, Real Estate, Success, Transporation, Value, Waterfront|Comments Off on From Panama to Princeton

Looking for a Place to Live? Think Like a 17th Century Farmer.

The housing market is making a comeback. Hard to miss after seven straight years of grinding losses. Perhaps you have noticed a pattern. Certain areas come back first, and often don’t lose as much value as other areas. The answer is often in the land itself. The first settled and built areas were first settled [...]

By |2014-01-28T09:51:47-05:00January 28th, 2014|Future, History, Humor, Residential, Taxation, Value, Waterfront|Comments Off on Looking for a Place to Live? Think Like a 17th Century Farmer.

The Small and Cheap are the Hard and Expensive

Why is your fee so high? It’s just a little pizza parlor. On a corner. In the middle of a residential neighborhood. It is only assessed for $125,000. Because it is very difficult to appraise. Often the small and the cheap are the hard and expensive. So let’s compare the pizza parlor to a 100,000 square [...]

By |2014-01-07T16:35:36-05:00January 7th, 2014|Business, Productivity, Profitability, Real Estate, Retail, Small Business, Value|Comments Off on The Small and Cheap are the Hard and Expensive

Quietly, a Bubble Forms

Nobody spends a lot of time looking at the market for industrial properties. Probably because they lack glamour, are usually grimy and not terribly visible. But the market for industrial property in Northern New Jersey is heating up, and from what I understand from my friends in the business, we may be looking at a [...]

By |2014-01-06T11:16:42-05:00January 6th, 2014|Bubbles, Risk, Value|Comments Off on Quietly, a Bubble Forms

Understanding Real Estate Rights

There a lot of ways one can hold rights in real estate. Here are some of the most common: Fee Simple You have probably heard the term fee simple before. Fee Simple is the highest possible ownership interest in real estate. If you own your home in fee simple, your ownership is only limited by: [...]

By |2013-08-06T15:04:39-04:00August 6th, 2013|Real Estate, Taxation, Terminology, Value|Comments Off on Understanding Real Estate Rights

DIY Tax Appeals Part II

Yesterday I discussed New Jersey taxation law, how to determine your true value and some basics of DIY tax appeal research. Today we tackle picking comparable sales and the mechanics of the tax appeal itself. Please note: this is in informal discussion of tips and tricks for DIY tax appeal filers. For more detail, please [...]

By |2013-07-16T06:38:07-04:00July 16th, 2013|Real Estate, Taxation, Terminology, Value|Comments Off on DIY Tax Appeals Part II

DIY Tax Appeals Part I

Like many professionals and their specialties, I sort of fell into one of mine. Because at one time I worked as a tax assessor I became an expert on property tax and tax appeals. Here in New Jersey we have some of the highest property taxes in the United State. There are two primary reasons for [...]

By |2013-07-15T08:59:03-04:00July 15th, 2013|Real Estate, Taxation, Terminology, Value|1 Comment

Big Artie and Little Artie and Cash on Cash Return

I had lunch with my pal Big Artie the other day. His son Little Artie, recently home from college, joined us. Big Artie has been investing in real estate lately and he wanted to tell me about his latest potential acquisition that he planned to do in partnership with Little Artie. "It's a two family [...]

By |2013-05-22T12:31:17-04:00May 22nd, 2013|Financing, Real Estate, Residential, Value|Comments Off on Big Artie and Little Artie and Cash on Cash Return

A Little Flexibility Could Go A Long Way

The concept of eminent domain contains two parts: public purpose and just compensation. Certainly the idea of public purpose has gotten fuzzy lately. In Kelo v. The City of New London apparently viable private property was condemned and turned over to a redeveloper. But most issues of public purpose are much more mundane and settled: the [...]

By |2013-05-17T15:18:23-04:00May 17th, 2013|Environment, News, Politics, Real Estate, Residential, Risk, Value, Waterfront|Comments Off on A Little Flexibility Could Go A Long Way

So Where Is Jersey Shore Real Estate Going After Sandy?

I have received a number of inquiries about appraising Jersey Shore properties that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy for casualty loss under Internal Revenue Service Rule 165. Thus far, I have not taken on any of these projects. I am not going to lie to you, this has ticked off some clients. Let's start from [...]

By |2013-05-01T18:21:18-04:00May 1st, 2013|Real Estate, Residential, Risk, Uncategorized, Value|Comments Off on So Where Is Jersey Shore Real Estate Going After Sandy?

Another One for the Anecdote Piggybank

I was dubious about the reports of a tightening housing market, but this morning a friend of mine stopped me on the street. He asked, "do you know someone with a house for sale in Shrewsbury or Little Silver? I listed my house for $559,000 and got a contract for $555,000 in two weeks. These people want to [...]

By |2013-04-09T08:59:38-04:00April 9th, 2013|Real Estate, Residential, Value|Comments Off on Another One for the Anecdote Piggybank

The Efficient Market at Work

According to the Wall Street Journal, Hedge Fund Orange Capital, LLC is pressuring luxury hotel Real Estate Investment Trust Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. to liquidate its holdings, which include four Four Seasons hotels, two Ritz-Carltons and the J.W. Marriott Essex House in Manhattan. Orange Capital believes that the hotels are worth more on the open [...]

By |2013-04-01T10:00:17-04:00April 1st, 2013|Capital, Hotel, Real Estate, REITs, Value|Comments Off on The Efficient Market at Work

There’s an Old Saying that Applies Here

And that old saying is, "Excess Profits Breed Ruinous Competition". I my last post I described a deal in which Arcadia Realty Trust recently sold 14 self-storage properties scattered across the New York metropolitan area to the Storage Post division of Heitman, LLC for $300 million. I did a little more digging and found the portfolio was [...]

By |2013-03-05T09:00:57-05:00March 5th, 2013|Real Estate, Self Storage, Value|Comments Off on There’s an Old Saying that Applies Here

Self Storage Self Respect

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal described insider's surprise at a recent self-storage property deal. It seems Arcadia Realty Trust recently sold 14 self-storage properties scattered across the New York metropolitan area for $300 million to the Storage Post division of Heitman, LLC. The surprise was the capitalization rate, which was approximately 5.5%. Capitalization rate [...]

By |2013-03-04T09:00:56-05:00March 4th, 2013|Real Estate, Self Storage, Value|Comments Off on Self Storage Self Respect

Nonsense of Entitlement

A recent Wall Street Journal article focused on the value of views in real estate. I will shorthand it for you: views are valuable - sometimes very valuable. The article goes on to describe the tragedy of a Colorado couple who lost a view and value when an inconsiderate neighbor had the audacity to legally build a berm and plant [...]

By |2013-02-15T14:02:46-05:00February 15th, 2013|Real Estate, Value|Comments Off on Nonsense of Entitlement
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