Thursday, April 30, 2015

This is Too Good Not to Share!

I must love what I do? I did not realize we worked with this lovely couple for several years!

"Keith, Christian, and Lance,

Wendy and I just wanted to sincerely thank you for all of your patience, help, and advice these last several years during our NYC house hunt.  You guys saved us from a few poorly thought through purchases (thanks Keith and Christian!) and have truly earned our trust and respect.  We both feel lucky to have had you guys as our agents.  If/when we move on to our next real estate deal in NYC, we will certainly be contacting you guys again.  


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Yes, We Love Our Clients! And Happy to Say...They Love Us Back!

"Keith, Christian and Lance,

Thank you for guidance and support during our home search. We're delighted to be moving to 388 Bridge and are looking forward to living high above Downtown Brooklyn! The Burkhardt Team never let us down during our search and was always ready to make a call, send an email or meet us a property (sometimes more than once!) We were impressed by everyone's work, and are particularly happy that we had the chance to work with Christian the last several months. His calm, professional and friendly manner helped us always feel like were in good hands.

We hope to work with the team again in the future....just not in the too near future! We'd like to settle in to this place for a couple of years before scratching our itch to move to the next place! :-)

Take care, and best wishes for a successful 2015!

Tom and David"

Thursday, April 23, 2015

D.U.M.B.O - A Worthy Consideration for all Tribeca Devotees

I have always loved DUMBO and began visiting many years ago when Rice first opened there. Then I started going for the glorious hot chocolate of Jacques Torres. And it all tasted so much better after a nice bike ride and descending into the cobblestone streets of the neighborhood. Early on it was a bit thrown together but still very cool with artist events, the park on the water and a few galleries to peruse. As much as I loved the area I have to admit at the time I did not get the pricing. I also wondered if high-end buyers would flock to this area. After a few years of being cautious I had to reconsider my perspective, this was now another established, stable NYC neighborhood. See my problem was thinking that this would not stick, buyers would grow tired of the area and what was hot...would flop and those that purchased would be left in a lurch.

I have lived in NYC a long time and my consciousness is filled with the bust years of the 80's and lack luster sales market of the 90's. But the city itself has changed, there has been a paradigm shift of sorts, buyers buy to stay, put down roots or start a a family here with long term plans to stay. Back in the 80's, 90's most were here for a fling, after 5 years they were ready to move on. Back to the Midwest or the suburbs for a life that mirrored their past perhaps. I came and stayed and wound up raising a family in Chelsea and the West Village. No problem getting into West Village Nursery School, as a matter of fact we were the first second generation. My then wife went there in the 60's!

Most of you reading this will laugh if I tell you Soho and Tribeca were ghost towns at night. When we ate at Montrachet in the 80's, the patrons that took a car service from the UES would not wait in the street! This is not an exaggeration. I came to NYC and landed in the East Village in 1982 as a musician and part of the famed music scene at places like the Mudd Club, Maxes Kansas City and CBGBs. My mother cried when she saw where I lived! Burning cars were a typical occurrence on Avenue B, drug users lined up around the block to by their stuff out of a hole in an abandoned building. Everywhere you walked someone asked you "Works?" The paraphernalia for shooting heroin. Nope, we ain't going back to that in my lifetime. And if we do, there will be bigger things to worry about than real estate prices.

Wow I drifted a bit there, back to D.U.M.B.O! As noted in the piece from the StreetEasy blog this a a wonderful, diverse and dynamic neighborhood. There are some amazing developments in the area, from converted loft buildings to breathtaking  modern high rises with views that will knock your socks off! These homes don't come cheap, not the discount one would expect of the Brooklyn of the past. But relatively speaking the pricing is quite compelling compared to similar new construction in Tribeca or resale there.

I understand it's not for everyone and we very rarely advise people on neighborhood choice. I just thought it was worth a mention, perhaps go have a look at some of the buildings mentioned in the blog on StreetEasy. Either way it is certainly a nice day trip on a weekend when you are staying in the city. yet another great thing about living in NYC, we often did "day trips" to different neighborhoods, from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx for great Italian food to a flea market in Park Slope. Take it all in and enjoy!

Inventory Envy

When the year started we had many clients feeling a bit elated! Why? They felt like they were seeing more inventory, more emails being fired off by StreetEasy to their in-boxes. More open houses to view on Sunday. It seemed like exciting times, perhaps buyers would get a little breathing room. 

I also must say I felt like we were seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. The first half of 2014 was brutal, maybe 20% of the offers we submitted got to contract. This year it's been a much different story, with maybe 40%-50% of our offers getting to contract. What is also exciting is we are witnessing many more buyers that we have been with for a while getting offers accepted. Patience is key in this market. The universe will grant you a home......eventually!

All that said it appears the data is telling us a different story. Inventory is at record lows. Perhaps we are just having better luck, the great karmic wheel is spinning in our favor for this latest cycle!?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Lack of Transparency and Cooperation Can Lead to No Offer (and a very annoyed buyer!)

I am working with a lovely couple and as is the case with many of my clients they have a very impressive back story and accomplishments. They have been active buyers and we have submitted at least 3 offers on their behalf; strong offers, just no luck yet. They recently sent me a listing they visited and were considering submitting an offer. I had actually completed my thoughts on the property, however before submitting they wanted a look at the financials. I can assure you that these two know their way around a set of co-op financial statements and understand the nuances involved with "interpreting"them.

I sent a request for this information to the listing agent and to my surprise he said no. He essentially stated he only send them out after an accepted offer and then only to the buyers attorney. Ten years ago that was sort of par for the course and was the mantra of many a listing agent. With the advent of sites like StreetEasy and a spirit of more transparency in the market as a whole, agents generally want to accommodate buyers wishes. Quite frankly when you deny information to a person it immediately makes one a bit suspicious. One would think that having a peak at the buildings financials would be prudent when purchasing a 2 Million dollar home and instrumental in shaping your offer. Look not everyone feels the need to do this and are happy to let their attorney peruse the financials after the fact. However if the buyers wants a look I feel like it's prudent to at least acquiesce.

In this case the buyers had a reason to want to have a look. The tax deduction on the maintenance was high (usually indicates a high underlying mortgage). Also there was some disparaging information posted on the StreetEasy forum about the building.

Long story short; my clients decided not submit an offer. Sharing pertinent information should come natural and reasonable request should be accommodated.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Technology as a Conduit to a More Efficient, Cost Effective Model for Real Estate Transactions

I read a lot of blogs, many of them on real estate. I always have an eye out for other 'disruptors' in the space and how they are altering the landscape. What I mostly find are companies, agents and those that have a social media agenda (selling a service) are focused on improving access to information, staying in touch with clients and finding , maintaining their client base. Certainly all important bits and pieces in their own right.  However the first two I list are a natural outgrowth of the internet. The big game changer for the consumer is when you can reduce transaction costs coupled with providing a better customer experience. That is what we have set out to do.

It was actually quite simple, I just stepped up and did it. We use widely available technology to keep our overhead extremely low. Set up a system to exceed the clients expectations with service while providing a lower cost of transacting. To me this was key. Our main focus is providing the absolute best experience for the client, providing an experience that they did not expect from a real estate brokerage.It's pretty simple. I sit at my desk all day and support all aspects of the real estate process; most importantly the client!  Of course property analysis, immediate communication, transmittal of information and all aspects of customer support is another large part of what I spend my time doing. When not at my desk I have a smartphone that can handle all aspects of the business. Even the back office tasks like banking, invoicing,document retrieval via the cloud and all other boring back office stuff.

I literally can run a real estate brokerage group that does $50,000,000+ a year in sales from my phone. That blows my mind, especially for a guy that grew up when getting a color TV and a push button phone was a huge deal!

In a nutshell our business philosophy/model is to: Provide a level of service that exceeds the expectations of the client. Share the savings that an efficient, technology based business model provides us with our clients. One is not enough. Together it empowers us all.

If you are curious about what we are doing over here at The Burkhardt Group, please give me a call.