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Long Islander leads Realtor group

Nicholas Gigante

Nicholas Gigante

One of Long Island’s veteran real estate brokers has been elected this year’s president of the New York State Association of Realtors.

Nicholas Gigante, who owns Re/Max Shores in Massapequa and Oceanside, said high on his agenda is making sure state officials don’t add new fees to the home closings and raise existing ones, such as title transfer charges.

Plus, on the federal level, there’s been talk of eliminating or reducing the mortgage interest deduction on taxes, especially after President Barack Obama’s deficit-reduction task force recommended it.

“We’re not looking for either the federal or state government to tap into the real estate business to balance the budget,” said the new president for the trade group, known as NYSAR.

Gigante has been an agent for more than 34 years and been active on various state and local industry trade groups, from teaching classes to working on legal issues. He’s been on LIBOR’s board of directors since 1988 and its president in 1993.

When he went into the business, there was no health and dental insurance for agents, considered independent contractors working under brokers’ companies.

Now there is, arranged by trade groups, and Gigante wants to see what more can be done: “One of my goals . . . is to reach out to membership to provide the services that the members are looking for in a cost-effective way and to offer new services.”

For example, many agents across the state will soon be able to get a 3 to 6 percent reduction in their home and office gas bills under agreements with local energy providers, patterned after a program giving them breaks on electric costs, Gigante said.

Another service: a live radio program in which agents can call and get advice on legal questions. That’s coming in March.

Gigante will be presiding over tumultuous times for the real estate industry. The slowdown in sales has shrunk NYSAR’s membership by 20 percent in six years, from about 65,000 in 2005 to 52,000 now. Gigante thinks the number of agents will stabilize and grow in the next year and half.

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