Dancing Into Real Estate

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Belynda M’Baye wanted to run a dance school—she ended up in the real estate business. "I was looking for space for an African dance school,� she says, recalling her transition into the real estate world. “I do African dance--that's my second life. When I was doing that, I realized that I liked bringing people together. Buildings and people matching and consulting came naturally.�

So M’Baye continued sharing the knowledge she had acquired during her own search for real property. Soon, she had her real estate license and joined Harlem Homes Realty. “I started in Brooklyn but I was living in Harlem so I said 'why am I going to Brooklyn?' I have customers that are millionaires but I also work with people that need affordable housing and the elderly because a lot of them are being misplaced. We try to take care of them," she adds. The company believes Harlem's current popularity will remain around for a long time, "Because of the shrinking downtown space," explains M'Baye. "For the price, compared to the amount of space you get downtown, you get more space for your money uptown."

Staff: Harlem Homes Realty has been in operation since 2000. In addition to sales agent M’Baye, there are three partners; Robin Prescod, Klara Madlin and Bob Eychner. The firm's specialty is brownstones, town houses and co-ops. The company holds seminars, usually in August, not just about home buying but also about credit improvement, upgrading properties, and how to become landlords. Information about the seminars and newly-available properties are posted on the firm’s site at
www.harlemhomes.com as well as advertisements in newspapers.

Tips For Homebuyers: Even though what's been widely referred to as the Harlem renaissance, which has driven up prices uptown, there are still many good deals available for the patient shopper, says M'Baye. "You just have to be willing to search for it and also ask for it." M'Baye urges Harlem residents to become more proactive in order to hold on to their properties and even acquire more properties. People need to learn about the different types of mortgages available, and how to improve their credit scores. "Some people feel that they can't be a part of what is happening--I want people to know that even though they may not be walking around with cash to offer $1.5 million for a brownstone, there are still ways of being a part of the game," M'Baye adds. "One tip I have is collective home buying, which could be brothers and sisters buying homes together, or other family members and friends. Be a player--don't be defeated. If we don't stay in the game and be a part of it, it will slip away." M'Baye also had this tip for first-time homebuyers: "Each situation is different. Know what you want and what you can handle. Are you a person that can be a landlord? Is this an investment property? Do you plan to live in the property?  The key thing is, stay in the game."

Contact: www.harlemhomes.com
56 Tiemann Place
(212) 961-1313,ext 16

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