By Chanita Teitz

This morning, when I checked my e-mails, there was a post on the KGH Shuls list from someone who is looking to buy a house in Kew Gardens Hills. He was posting for homeowners who are thinking of selling to contact him directly and avoid dealing with a realtor. He said that real-estate brokers charge around 6% and why pay them when you can sell your house yourself directly to him?

I just have to respond to this. First of all, we rarely get 6% commission on our sales. We don’t charge a 6% fee and we are somewhat flexible in what we do charge. Our aim is to get a house sold for the highest price in the current market and have the seller keep as much as possible in their pocket.

That said, we work hard for our fee. There is much more involved than just putting a “For Sale” sign out on someone’s front lawn. First, we qualify every buyer. We owe it to the seller to bring a buyer who will qualify for a mortgage. To achieve this we advise the buyers about what they realistically can afford and make sure they have an adequate down payment. All of this takes time and effort on our part and our knowledge of the real-estate market and financing.

With the sellers, we help them get their house ready for sale. We advise them on what repairs need to be made and on staging the house to look its best. We help the sellers set a fair market price based on sales of other similar homes in their community.

When an offer is made on a property, we deal with the negotiations. We keep emotions out of it. When negotiating on your own, especially with friends, family, or neighbors, tempers can flare, low offers can seem like an insult, and if you haven’t qualified the buyers you can be in for a big surprise when they don’t really have the money available and you’ve kept your house off the market just for them.

All of this takes place before any lawyers get into the picture. Even then, we help keep things moving and help out with ongoing negotiations.

I was just thinking how with most other needs where consumers go to a professional, they know that there is a fee and they also know that they can’t do it themselves. Like me with my broken leg. Each visit to the orthopedist is costing me a co-pay besides what the doctor is billing my insurance company. If I will need physical therapy, that will also cost.

In real estate it isn’t any different. Using a professional who knows the market and knows the entire process of selling and buying makes sense. At Astor Brokerage we can help you, and we’re worth it!

Community Events

Nusach Carlebach Davening. This Friday evening, Parashas Vayakhel- Pikudei/HaChodesh, March 8 (and every Friday evening of Shabbos Mevorchim) there will be a Nusach Carlebach davening at Yeshiva Kesser Torah. Mincha will begin at 5:47 p.m. and will conclude about 7:00 p.m. Men and women are welcome!

Yahrzeit Shiur. On Motzaei Shabbos, March 9, the third annual David Rottenstreich, a’h, Yahrzeit shiur will be given by Rabbi Yissocher Frand on “Thoughts on the Haggadah.” The shiur will take place at the Young Israel of Hillcrest, 169-07 Jewel Avenue at 8:30 p.m.

Special Pre-Pesach Shiur. Please join a community-wide shiur given by Rosh Hayeshiva Rabbi Yonason Sacks this Sunday, March 10 on the topic of “Mei’Avdus L’Cheirus, Experiencing Yetzias Mitzrayim,” at the Lander College for Men. Scrumptious breakfast will be served at 9 a.m. followed by Rav Sacks’ shiur from 9:30 a.m.—10:15a.m. The program is free of charge and for men only. For more info and to RSVP please email

Bais Yaakov Seventh Grade Produces “Chaim Shel Bracha.” Each year, the seventh grade collaborates on an in-depth study to expand upon their halacha curriculum or to enrich their study of Jewish history. The program affords all girls the opportunity to participate in all aspects of a masterful production, whether it be acting, art, dance, or choir. It also provides the girls with an environment in which they learn to compromise and work together towards one goal.

This year’s “Chaim Shel Bracha” was recently performed for Bais Yaakov mothers and grandmothers and shared with students in the school. The students first explained their creative and informative displays to grades 4—8 and performed a play. The displays depicted different mitzvos and their berachos, and the play focused on the meaning and beauty of berachos. Each girl did an outstanding job in the part in which she participated: drama, dance, song/dance, silent drama, studio choir, scenery, props, playbill, Chinese auction, or curtains.

“The magnificent performance was a display of achdus across the grade and the culmination of hours of work on the part of the girls and their teachers,” said Mrs. Zehava Somerstein, the Hebrew principal.

The evening was filled with joy and pride as grandmothers joined their daughters at Bais Yaakov for a Mother-Daughter Evening. After light refreshments, divrei Torah were delivered by Rabbi Gewirtz, Morah Pfeiffer, and student Zarine Shamilzadeh. Mrs. Miriam Krohn, Associate Principal of Shevach High School, spoke to the parents on the topic of empowering ourselves and in turn empowering our children, and partnering with the school in the chinuch of our children. Then, the girls performed for their mothers.

Avos U’Banim Melaveh Malka. The Grand Finale Melaveh Malka of the Kew Gardens Hills Avos U’Banim learning group was held this past Motzaei Shabbos at Yeshivas Ohr Hachaim. Founded by Reuven Kesherim with just a few boys, it has grown to 150 boys and their fathers who come every Motzaei Shabbos to learn together. This year, Reuven has been learning in Eretz Yisrael, so the group has been ably led by Shlomo Pollack, son of Kew Gardens Hills residents Yaakov and Galit Pollack.

The Melaveh Malka featured food from Carlos and Gabi, balloon creations by the Ballooner Rebbe, and incredible prizes. Mr. Avraham Kesherim came to the Melaveh Malka to partake in the festivities and to shep nachas on his son’s accomplishment.

4th Grade Mishkan Project at Yeshiva Ketana of Queens. The 4th-grade class at Yeshiva Ketana of Queens recently had a siyum on Sefer Sh’mos and Mesechtos Yuma and Megillah. In addition, they presented their Mishkan project to the class and to the rest of the school.

In conjunction with learning about the Mishkan, the boys were told to pick anything they wanted from the Mishkan and build a model of it. The boys worked in groups and each model was built as a labor of joy.

With encouragement and help from their parents, the boys had an amazing hands-on learning experience. I am especially proud of my grandson Eli Weiss and his partner, Yaakov Silverman, for their model of the Aron. I saw it as it was taking shape and then again saw the finished project.

One of the most interesting models was of the Shulchan, built by Boruch Mordechai Nat and Tzvi Walfish. It was a life-size model and they needed a truck to bring it to yeshiva.

All the boys deserve to be commended for their efforts and the beautiful results. Yasher koach to all the talmidim!

Mazal Tov . . .

To our friends Elisheva and Danny Gazal and family on the bat mitzvah of their daughter Gabriella. v

Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage, with offices in Kew Gardens Hills and Fresh Meadows. For all your real-estate needs in Queens, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail

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