Brooklyn residents say predatory agents trying to convince homeowners the market is falling

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BROOKLYN – The Brooklyn real estate market is collapsing.  That’s the message from one investment company trying to scoop up Brooklyn homes from long-time owners.  But Brooklynites who receive letter after letter from predatory investors say they’re not buying what those companies are selling.

“We got letters I’d say at least twice a month, maybe sometimes more," said Kathy Cherry.  "They come in sort of waves.”

Thanks to Brooklyn’s booming real-estate market, Cherry says potential investors have been offering to buy her home since she moved to Williamsburg more than a decade ago.

“They often times encourage you not to talk to anyone else, call them first.”

A new approach from one potential investor is raising eyebrows higher than real-estate prices.
The real-estate blog Brownstoner, just published published a letter from one of those predatory investors claiming Brooklyn real-estate prices are actually dropping. The letter says prices are down 6-percent.

But Hiten Samtani, managing editor at The Real Deal, says most New York homeowners don’t have to worry about a real-estate bubble bursting any time soon.

“So what has happened is the growth has slowed down.  That is true," said Samtani.  "But that’s not the same as going down.  It’s just that the acceleration has slowed down somewhat.”

In fact, Samtani says Brooklyn home prices are actually expected to increase about 4% by the end of the year.
But predatory investment through letters like this one is nothing new. The blog “We Want To Buy Your House” has collected a catalogue of similar claims from dozens of would be buyers.

“The tactics that you’re referring to are complete sleaze-ball tactics," said Samtani.  "Those aren’t things a typical, reputable brokerage or investment firm would do.  Yes everyone wants deals. Brokers call around all the time.  That’s part of the game.  But those kind of sort of letters are reserved for a certain set of the market.  It’s not standard operating procedure for sure.”

While solicitations like these may offer certain advantages for homeowners looking to sell quick, Samtani says you’re better off going through a broker and doing some research first.

“If we’re talking about the average New Yorker who doesn’t need to sell next week, there’s probably a better way to go around it.”

And Cherry says she’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

“We bought this place to stay here.  Were not in it to get in and flip something.  Like, this is our home.”