In another sure sign the local real estate market is struggling to recover from the crash experienced in 2008, two longtime Brookfield real estate businesses have their buildings up for sale.
Both Failla Realty and Harps Realty have called the Eight Corners business district home for three decades or more. But with real estate sales continuing to lag and the nature of the real estate business transformed by advanced technology, both companies believe they can do without their longtime headquarters.
“It’s just the economy,” said Jane Harps, who with her husband, Bob, has operated Harps Realty, 3501 Maple Ave. on one of the corners facing the Memorial Circle, since the mid-1970s.
“Most of my friends in the real estate business have lost everything,” said Harps. “Until the economy picks up, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
There has been a small “for sale” sign in the window of Harps Realty for a couple of months now. Most of the people coming through the door these days, said Harps, are homeowners desperate to cut their losses.
“Now all I get in here is people saying they’re overextended and saying they want to sell,” said Harps.
There are some buyers, she said, but deals are tough to seal.
“You can get a deal put together after showing 20 houses,” said Harps. “Then at the very end [the bank] will say they don’t want to give the loan out.”
Harps has listed their 1,138-square-foot building, with its eye-catching yellow awnings and sign, for $300,000.
Failla Realty has called 9140 Broadway Ave. home for 30 years and is one of Brookfield’s cornerstone real estate businesses. Roy Failla said the company will soldier on and that it is simply responding to the new reality of the real estate business.
The company listed the property for sale last week. Although the Failla building is larger than Harps and has several offices and meeting rooms, its listing price is cheaper, at $275,000.
“It’s the nature of the real estate business,” said Failla. “We no longer need the space we have.”
According to Failla, “customers don’t come into the office anymore, all the agents work out of their houses and meet their clients at homes, and the sellers want to meet at the properties.”
The real estate business functions in the virtual world now, said Failla, on the Internet and through email.
“Failla is located worldwide on the Internet,” he said.
Another killer for the real estate businesses, according to Failla, is the property taxes for commercial buildings. According to the listing sheet, his taxes in 2009 were almost $13,700 per year. The taxes on the Harps property were a little more than $11,000 in 2009.
“In this area, the taxes are notorious,” said Failla, adding that the company hopes to find another, smaller location in either Brookfield or a nearby community.
“We’re not closing down; we’re relocating,” said Failla.