Monday, November 30, 2015

It's Happening...But is it Seasonalitis or Have Things Begun to Shift Towards the Buyer??

We are experiencing some softness and our clients are jumping to get deals done! In one case we (they) stalked an apartment for months and an offer that was laughed at is now accepted. I also had a very big-time broker chase me down wanting to know where my clients head was at (this sort of thing has not happened since 2010!).  This client subsequently has an accepted offer with some nice bells and whistles thrown in on a new development property....sweet!

Let's not get crazy, sort of seen this last year at this time, some softness that we exploited. However it feels just a bit different this time around. After years of getting beat up, it certainly feels good to be getting a bit of a breather. I don't see anything good coming out of making predictions for next year. However currently the buyer is getting  a leg up.  We'll have a better idea by the 2nd week of January where this thing is ultimately going.

For the record, my feeling is things normalize a bit. No more 10 offers on a one bedroom condo in Crown Heights. Rates are still (and will be low), rents are high and NYC remains a nice place to own some real estate if you plan on sticking around a bit.

Back to the future: 2014 announcements!

New developments 2015 overview...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

If You Plan to Engage Us (or anyone) Do it Now

Over the years we have completed a lot of deals, worked with all kinds of buyers. In the beginning many of our clients were very suspicious of what we were doing. Meaning were we just a front for doing things the same old way; just a marketing ploy to get them signed up. Today about 70% of our clients are direct referrals from former clients. They come to us via a trusted friend or colleague, so they arrive more inquisitive than suspicious. I remember one client telling me they had a office pool going on whether I would really deliver the rebate check to them (it was 6 figures), lol. Another was an attorney that thought we would never do it, made a big stink at the closing, embarrassed even his client! Lol. Of course we had a nice card and their check with us.

In my opinion there is no quantifiable reason to not have your own representation (of course I would say that). The trick is finding the right agent/broker , a team player that will assist you in the purchase, not just assist themselves in securing a commission check! What does such an agent provide? A careful analysis of the property, prompt responses to your questions, willingness to provide complete transparency so you always are looped in. Back up their recommendations with data and experienced insight. There is also a benefit to having a broker with a solid team behind them; this includes bankers, attorney's, contractors, architects and building engineers.

Probably not great blog form here! My original point is that you should engage your agent/broker sooner than later. It can muddy the waters if you are too far along with a listing agent on your own. Most agents love/prefer working with buyers that have their own representation. It is difficult to balance the responsibility to the seller and provide a buyer with proactive, unbiased representation. Assembling the right team will far outweigh any benefit to working on your own,

Call me for a full explanation of what we offer and how we work with clients.


Keith Burkhardt

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Reminder from the the Office of General Counsel, NY Department of State


With the growing number of very large and widespread brokerages, the issue of dual agency arises more frequently than ever before. Any purchaser, seller, lessor or lessee confronted with a dual agency issue by their real estate agent should not take the issue lightly. Parties to a real estate transaction, including real estate brokers and salespersons themselves, seldom realize the inherent problems of a real estate agent acting as a dual agent.
Dual agency arises when a real estate broker or salesperson represents adverse parties (e.g., a buyer and seller) in the same transaction.
Dual agency typically arises in the following way: a real estate broker employs two salespeople, one who works for the buyer as a buyer's agent and the other who works for the seller as a seller's agent. The real estate broker and his salespeople are "one and the same" entity when analyzing whether dual agency exists. As soon as the buyer's agent introduces the buyer to property in which the seller is represented by the seller's agent, dual agency arises.
Dual agency can also arise in a more subtle way: A real estate broker who represents the seller procures a prospective purchaser who needs to sell her property before she is able to buy the seller's property. The prospective purchaser then signs a listing agreement with the real estate broker to sell her property so that she can purchase the seller's property. The real estate broker is now a dual agent representing both parties in a mutually dependent transaction.
When you employ a real estate broker or salesperson as your agent, you are the principal. "The relationship of agent and principal is fiduciary in nature, ‘...founded on trust or confidence reposed by one person in the integrity and fidelity of another.' (citation omitted) Included in the fundamental duties of such a fiduciary are good faith and undivided loyalty, and full and fair disclosure. Such duties are imposed upon real estate licensees by license law, rules and regulations, contract law, the principals of the law of agency, and tort law. (citation omitted) The object of these rigorous standards of performance is to secure fidelity from the agent to the principal and to insure the transaction of the business of the agency to the best advantage of the principal. (citations omitted)." (Emphasis added) DOS v. Moore, 2 DOS 99, p. 7 (1999)
"A real estate broker is strictly limited in his or her ability to act as a dual agent: As a fiduciary, a real estate broker is prohibited from serving as a dual agent representing parties with conflicting interests in the same transaction without the informed consent of the principals. (citations omitted) ‘If dual interests are to be served, the disclosure to be effective must lay bare the truth, without ambiguity or reservation, in all its stark significance.' (citation omitted)
‘Therefore, a real estate agent must prove that prior to undertaking to act either as a dual agent or for an adverse interest, the agent made full and complete disclosure to all parties as a predicate for obtaining the consent of the principals to proceed in the undertaking. Both the rule and the affirmative [defense] of full disclosure are well settled in law.' (citation omitted)" Id. at pp. 9-10.
In a purchaser/seller transaction in which dual agency arises, the agent must not only clearly explain the existence of the dual agency issue and its implications to the parties, the agent must also obtain a written acknowledgment from the prospective purchaser and seller to dual agency. That acknowledgment requires each principal signing the form to confirm that they understand that the dual agent will be working for both the seller and buyer, that they understand that they may engage their own agent to act solely for them, that they understand that they are giving up their right to the agent's undivided loyalty, and that they have carefully considered the possible consequences of a dual agency relationship.
The fiduciary duty of loyalty that your real estate agent owes to you prohibits your agent from advancing any interests adverse to yours or conducting your business to benefit the agent or others.
Significantly, by consenting to dual agency, you are giving up your right to have your agent be loyal to you, since your agent is now also representing your adversary. Once you give up that duty of loyalty, the agent can advance interests adverse to yours. For example, once you agree to dual agency, you may need to be careful about what you say to your agent because, although your agent still cannot breach any confidences, your agent may not use the information you give him or her in a way that advances your interests.
As a principal in a real estate transaction, you should always know that you have the right to be represented by an agent who is loyal only to you throughout the entire transaction. Your agent's fiduciary duties to you need never be compromised."

Monday, November 2, 2015

What I Mean When I Say " I Really Love an Apartment"

Sometimes, even after almost 9 years of running The Burkhardt Group even I get a bit weirded out when I think about how we operate. But in that same uneasy moment I suddenly feel very calm...because it works so well and makes a lot of sense! One of the things that (mostly other agents) don't understand is why they very rarely meet me at showings. The answer is because I am not needed there, my energy and time is better spent at my Chromebook working on the important aspects of a deal. That said I do have Christian and Lance out in the field who along with the client can report on a physical inspection of a property.

This aspect of how we work unexpectedly became a driver of our business. By being available to react immediately to any issue that may arise during the deal process we have become extremely efficient at processing a deal from showing to closing. The net result being a significant increase in successful outcomes. I am a broker that does not consider myself to be a salesperson and no part of our process involves selling you. We build a picture of the property; from valuation, condition and location. We look for red flags that will limit the future buyer pool when it is time to sell again, then we present this to our client. In all honestly we don't care if you agree or not and I mean that in the nicest way!  We are then happy to discuss our opinion, especially if it does not align with the clients to better understand each other, perhaps even learn from each other...

So the other day when an agent reacted to me when I said that I loved the apartment by saying "but you haven't even seen it!"  I thought to myself, that's right we work from different models and what we do is different from what you do. Some people have a hard time understanding new things and essentially very little has changed in real estate since the days when I worked at JI Sopher and listings came through on a fax and were pinned to a cork covered wall in the "listing room". Of course the i-pad has replaced the cork, however the structure is basically the same. What I liked was the valuation, the flow of the lay-out, the top tier location along with the light and the views. As far as the warm fuzzy feeling you may get when you find "the one", that's not my job, lol.

Of course we also are available for on-site inspections of properties. Christian Bari who has been my right hand man for close to 4 years can offer a lot of insight. This can be especially handy on a townhouse visit, which should always be followed up with a professional inspection. For most purchases we don't recommend an inspection, but if it will make you sleep better we will certainly assist with arranging one.

At the end of the day we have simply improved upon the proverbial mouse trap. Feel free to call me for all the details on how and why our model works.