Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why We Do What We Do (And How?)

I often get asked these questions and often keep my reply pretty short and sweet. Really though it's pretty simple, things eventually change, they have to evolve and this is happening (albeit at a slow pace) in real estate just as it did in everything from buying shoes and diamonds , to planning vacations and purchasing stock. I thought about this back in 2007 as I was preparing for the eventual bursting of the "bubble". It really started when I decided to stop selling in the wake of the coming storm and focus on rentals, though with a twist; a discounted fee based on a variety of factors. The agents I worked with thought such an idea would never work in NYC, it actually worked quite well.

By the middle of 2009 clients began asking if I could offer such a model for the purchase of property? This was already the plan, I was just waiting for the market to show signs of life again. After some research into what I could and could not offer I started to experiment a bit with different models for both selling and representing buyers, I settled on buyers. There was quite a backlash towards brokers, especially after 2008. I was an early reader/user/participant of blogs like Curbed and the now famously spectacular real estate site StreetEasy. It was here that I discovered not everyone cared for brokers (to put it mildly), so I started thinking about a way I could cater to what I referred to as "Real Estate Quants". These buyers were armed with data that was once held tightly by agents and their firms, they were discussing the market on blogs, creating spread sheets and mining data.

So I decided to offer something different, a partnership where we worked together, full disclosure and 100% transparency was the order of the day. We would reward this relationship and loyalty to us with a commission rebate based on the circumstances of the deal. What I knew from the beginning was the rebate would not be enough to grow and survive in the sophisticated market of NYC, we would also have to provide outstanding service and careful analysis of property. Our typical client may be happy to receive a rebate from us, but they stick around, refer us to their friends and colleagues because of our dynamic and effective business model and 100% commitment to provide them with outstanding service.

Look, it happened with selling diamonds, airline tickets, shoes and stocks; we are now bringing that model to NYC real estate.

 How: We have virtually no overhead, we do no advertising, no big office space; we have phones and a few computers with access to the world via the internet! We have over 30 years of experience in NYC real estate, raised families here, sent our kids to school here. I moved to Manhattan in 1982, I understand living here, I understand how we arrived at where we are via bubbles, market crashes, booms, terrorist attacks and the changing dynamics of NYC as a place to nest, not just pass through like in years past.

Why: I like change, I am a bit of a rebel having first arrived in NYC in 1982 to play in a punk rock band in the East Village, where I was living. I was intrigued by the discussions taking place on StreetEasy and Curbed and thought I could offer something meaningful to the conversation. Knowing the NYC market I understood that it was important for the vast majority of buyers to have their own representation; a good real estate attorney was not enough, their role starts after a property is found and negotiated. I knew from experience that there was no financial/strategical edge to going it alone based on the structure of the market.

So here we are, over $50,000,000 dollars in sales per year the last two years and many friends made along the way. And just like StreetEasy took the brokerage community some time to accept (it was despised at first, ridiculed by many) we have grown to be respected by some of the top brokers in the city. Why? Because we have a great deal of respect for this business, we love what we do and we treat the agents we work with, with the same amount of respect we give our clients. We are lauded by the brokers we transact with for our professionalism throughout the entire process from the first showing to the closing table.

We look forward to speaking with you!


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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Do or Die Bed-Stuy? Re - thinking a neighborhood.

Spike Lee brought Bedford Stuyvesant to the masses with Crooklyn. Today things are changing as New Yorkers are faced with an unruly market, soaring prices they must consider new neighborhoods.  Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick,  Crown Heights, Gowanus are a few that have seen an influx of new residents. Neighborhoods like Williamsburg,  Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have successfully integrated the old and new residents, improving quality of life and adding significant value to long time home owners. Certainly not everyone welcomed these changes as they felt some people were unable to afford to live in a community they grew up in or were priced out of basic services.

I personally lived in Fort Greene as it was transitioning from a rough and tumble neighborhood,  to a place that attracted new businesses and residents.  Today Fort Greene is  a thriving,  established diverse community.  I moved to the East Village in 1981, now that's another story.....but we all see how that neighborhood has changed!

Anyway here is an interesting article on Bedford Stuyvesant from The New York Times. We have assisted a few buyer's with their purchase of a Brownstone in Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights and continue to work with many others as they seek out their ideal home.