What started as something of a publicity stunt has become an ambitious — and time-consuming — labor of love for real estate attorney Philip Lavender.
A lawyer at Brooklyn-based Marcus Attorneys, Lavender recently launched a website called OfferingPlanet.com, which transforms condo and co-op offering plans from thick books stacked in real estate offices to digital files on the Internet.
Offering plans typically cost about $200 each. But Lavender has uploaded about 600 digital copies of New York City-area plans, and made them available for free online. He’s collected more than a thousand plans in total so far, he said, and he’s in the process of uploading them.
Lavender said the plans are donated by colleagues, real estate brokers and other industry professionals.
At first, Lavender said, he undertook the project to generate publicity and business for his firm, and eventually earn advertising revenue. But as he delved deeper into the project, he became passionate about its environmental and “altruistic aspects.”
Not only does OfferingPlanet save trees, Lavender said, but it helps homebuyers complete their due diligence, and speeds up brokers’ access to documents they need to close deals.
Title insurer TitleVest began offering a similar service last year, and now has 5,000 plans available online. But TitleVest doesn’t let users print out the plans, charging $150 per hard copy.
By contrast, OfferingPlanet lets users print parts of the plan, or even the whole thing, for free. “You don’t need to waste 1,000 pages if the user only needs a single section,” Lavender said.