Monday, October 24, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Buy-side Brokerage Re-Imagined

It's no secret that many people do not care for real estate agents, I think for the most part it's sales people in general. The perception with real estate agents is that they push you into either buying or selling based solely by their motivation to earn a commission. In some cases, in any business model this is certainly true. When you watch "Selling New York" you see this in action first hand by some of the players, (not all) and it certainly makes it hard to watch, even for a broker!

Besides some of the other characteristics of my business model, the fact that I do not specifically search and then   recommend  properties to buyers is a bit different than what a typical agents relationship with a client entails. I get involved after a buyer has located a property that they are interested in, then I work with them to understand value and develop a strategy going forward. There is never any pressure to purchase, never any animosity because  I have spent so much time with them; many buyers have been looking for a home for 1-2 years and I have maybe seen them several times. But when they do find "The One", then we spend a lot of time together (in cyber space) fleshing out the deal.

This formula is certainly not for everyone, but the clients who come to me are always very happy with the totality of the result, from honest analysis of the property to the follow through to close.

An email after a recent closing:

Hi Keith.
And thanks for all of your help and insight in this process.  When you and I first spoke on the phone in the spring, you described a process that sounded perfect for us -- and it turned out to be just that!  It really was a pleasure getting to work with you.  I indeed look forward to more opportunities, whether at our other closing, or sometime very soon.
Thanks for everything!
Warm regards,


Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Some Thoughts as we go into Fall

This last week I probably had more calls from brokers after my clients had attended an open house than ever before. It was quite extraordinary, my phone kept ringing. They were all under the impression that my client loved their listing and were convinced there would be an offer coming. I was surprised that even many senior brokers were forgetting the golden rule; if a client is really expressive, telling you "oh this is wonderful" you should know that they ain't buying. I don't follow up with my buyers every Sunday, if they like something they call me. But due to the high call volume I wrote a few emails asking what was up. I got quite a few "lols" thrown back at me with, "Oh I didn't really care for it, I was just being polite."  One of my buyers who is looking at some very high-end homes dryly stated; "That agent is reading too much into my reaction". lol. The poker faced buyers usually are the serious ones.

We continue to chug along here, busy week with two board interviews for clients and a closing today. We also signed a contract a few days ago, prime Gramercy Park for $750 a square foot, pretty good. I am also working with 3 very active buyers whom recently have identified properties they liked, I wrote up my thoughts for them and we should be making offers soon. But things have slowed down a bit for sure, lot's to worry about, so of course buyers are going to be even more cautious; as they should.

I have also seen that there are some new players introducing "rebate" models into their repertoire. I was struck by one who uses the acronym "B.Y.O.B" or be your own broker, catchy. I can't say I agree with the the sentiments, but I do welcome more brokers offering alternative biz models. Overall I think that it's good for all of us. We offer various service models here and have been for about 4 years, but we emphasize to our clients we are not a discount broker, we feel we provide a higher level of service than most of our competitors (has your broker ever told you "not to buy" after you found a place you wanted to purchase?) What we don't do is escort you to every showing, though we do schedule any non-public open house visits and attend those showings. We also don't do a lot of actual "apartment hunting", but I have found that regardless of whom buyers are working with, they are looking online and have their auto searches programmed in. What I do specialize in is my analysis of each property, giving you not only the comparable price data, but also my opinion of the over-all property and pulling no punches when I list the pro's and cons. And as I have stated many times on this blog, I never ask you what you want to pay, I always tell you what I think first with a full explanation.

Once you identify a property you are interested in, we work together to arrive at value and put together our initial bidding strategy. You are cc'ed on all communications with the sell-side, participate in drafting the offer letter and usually during this time we will be speaking quite a bit to discuss the deal and update our strategy. Communication is key and during this time it is essential to have a broker representing your interests professionally and effectively with the sell-side. I also strive to keep my clients level headed and on point during the negotiations. You would be surprised how even the toughest cookie can start to crumble when they think a deal is slipping away from them, especially due to higher bidding. When this does happen, we step back, take a breath and reassess our goals from both a financial stand point and even more importantly at this time; an emotional standpoint. Then proceed.

I love what I do and I take it very seriously. Purchasing a home is an extremely stressful process, even more so here in NYC; not only because of the very high prices, but then throw in the stress of a board package and a personal interview! I don't care what you is nerve racking!

Just some random thoughts, of course feel free to contact me for a more in-depth explanation of my services or to just pick my brain.