Thursday, March 31, 2016

This is How We Compete

When I first opened shop and began offering commission rebates with the promise of a 100% transparent service model I heard few cheers from anyone other than clients. What I did learn was that a number of agents were not interested in an alternative model that helped consumers save money using current technology. Many also thought what I was doing was illegal and spoke as if they were 100% certain of this (although the answer was a simple GOOGLE search away). New competition and thinking can be a scary thing. When disruptors like E-Trade, Costco, Bluenile, Uber, Kayak enter a market people get nervous, though consumers benefit. They may feel their way of doing things may come to an end or perhaps they may have to work a bit harder, get more creative. I think consolidation is an effective mechanism for markets, sort of like evolution; makes things more efficient.

When Streeteasy first went live and consumers started showing up at open houses armed with data points on sales history etc, brokers hated it, rolled their eyes. Fortunately most saw that it was not going away and instead embraced it, worked with it. It was a good moment for our industry or perhaps just a survival instinct! Those that fight change fade away and become an afterthought in time. You have to be confident and innovative to survive!

I love what we do and I truly enjoy the relationships we build with each new client. Our success is evident in the fact that we are 100% referral driven. Take a look at the kind words our clients have for the work we do. I have been in this business a long time, I could have started a brokerage based on traditional models. However it was exciting to take a risk, do something no one in NYC was doing and offer clients an alternative way to buy and sell real estate. There was certainly a desire for it (just read some of the early Streeteasy forum posts circa 2008).

The key to our success is offering a full service experience coupled with 100% transparency and a 100% non-sales approach. You have heard 'always be selling?' We are 'Never be selling!' Lol. We provide an opinion based on math and personal market experience and then suggest a strategy to get the transaction closed. We NEVER ask a client what they want to pay for a property; we always tell you what we think first. Then we discuss.

I wandered a bit here. What I really wanted to stress was the importance of competition and alternatives to create a dynamic, efficient market place. We work the way we do to be innovative and also compete against billion dollar companies! So far our clients have appreciated what we have to offer.


Keith Burkhardt

Monday, March 7, 2016

Strange Days

The market is currently in a very strange place and i'm not quite sure what it will take to set things straight. The easy heady days for sellers is waning for sure, though we do see moments of bull market past for Goldilocks homes.  I personally feel a bit unsettled as small moves in oil swing the equity markets to and fro, rates up and down, an absolute bizarre presidential race taking place , negative rates and what seems like the impossibility of ever getting our economy normalized without first seeing a serious readjustment to equity markets.  Time will tell.

The data doesn't lie. According to UrbanDigs, condo sales are down 23.9% and co-op sales are down 22.3% from last year. Still pricing is holding up to some degree, we are not seeing a 'collapse' in valuations. More like a softening across most market segments.

There are also close to 10% more listings on the market now than the same time last year, I guess signs of a slowing market. However less listings are currently entering the market. Perhaps sellers and their agents are sensing the slowdown and are waiting to list deeper into the Spring market.