Wednesday, May 18, 2016

And Just Like That We're Off To The Races!

As written here previously and backed up by data, the market took a breather from approximately August 2015 until Easter 2016. Agents were tracking me down to ask if my clients were going to be making an offer, 'They seemed to love it, asked a lot of questions'. Just for the record, that usually is a clients polite way of saying I don't care for this property. When a buyer actually does love a space, it's poker face time! (As told to me my dozens of clients!)

So what happened? I have no idea, however days after Easter my phone and email both went a bit nuts! Both with new clients as well as previous clients that were back on the prowl. To date we have signed 14 or 15 contracts since that time, have a few accepted offers that are days from signing and continue to be busy with current, active clients.

The market is far from what we experienced in 2014, however well priced homes in prime/good locations are attracting multiple bids above ask (in most cases). What we really have is a healthy, liquid market. But if you're a seller, don't get greedy, buyers aren't dummies and your agent isn't a magician. Price a home correctly and the marketplace will take care of the rest. Brokers and agents are more akin to conductors, certainly an important function to the process. However they are not playing the music, just orchestrating it.

The past few months we witnessed a great release of energy. Will it continue? I think so, though a bit muted. I'm sensing a wee bit of cooling in our little world, time will tell.


The Burkhardt Group

Monday, May 9, 2016

Choose Your Attorney Carefully!

Wow, this could become a series! "Choose your blank carefully". Once you have an accepted offer on a property the two most important people involved will be your banker and attorney. I have already covered the banker part, so here are a few words on what to look for in an attorney.

I think it's a good idea to have an attorney that has a solid team back in his/her office that are available to handle any last minute surprises. Many real estate attorneys are one person shows and much of their time is spent out of the office reading board minutes or in closings. It is especially important that they have a qualified person(s) back at the shop to handle things. For this reason I prefer a shop that has at least one additional attorney on board as well as additional supporting staff.

For the most part residential real estate transactions are pretty straight forward in NYC. However stuff can get a bit hairy and also be time sensitive, especially in a multi-offer situation. You don't want your attorney MIA for an extended period of time when the tomato hits the fan. For this reason a law firm with a few attorneys on board as well as a supporting cast of characters can be a very good idea. 

This advice is not absolute however something to consider when making this very important decision on legal representation. We feel having a solid team is critical in achieving optimal results. Everyone is important; your real estate broker/agent, banker and attorney to ensure a successful transaction. This is not rocket science, however there is a method to the madness that is buying/selling NYC real estate.

Next: Choose your broker/agent carefully!


Keith Burkhardt

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Choose Your Banker Carefully!

When The Burkhardt Group was conceived there were some initial ideas of how we would work and what we would offer. Most of these ideas came directly from my experience with clients or from reading the Streeteasy boards. One prominent and recurring bit of advice was 'never take a referral from your agent/broker'. And for the first year or two I did not offer clients any sort of referral for vendors.

That all changed as clients continued to bring poor performing service providers to the table, especially bankers and attorneys. These happen to be the two most important people in the transaction post contract being signed. Many 'bankers' or mortgage people are nothing more than sales people and application takers. You need a banker that understands the entire process and most importantly understands the underwriting process (that is where the fun starts!)

One of the first tells that a banker may be a mediocre performer is when he/she starts asking me for information about the building straight out of the gate! It's sort of like me asking the banker to to run a comps report. Any banker worth their salt knows that questions on the co-op or condo need to be directed to the managing agent. When the first time I hear from them is to ask me to get information from the managing agent; I know we are in trouble :) One consistently great banker is David Axelrod at BofA. I never hear from this guy until we get an email that they have the commitment letter. Then the next time is to tell me we are clear to close.

I know a lot of you out there thinks brokers stink or don't really work. And although this is not rocket science, I can tell you I am usually working until I go to bed. There are a lot of moving pieces in a co-op/condo deal, especially when you have 15 deals in contract and about 40 active buyers to manage. The last thing I want to do is the bankers job! If you don't know to call the managing agent to ask for the budget or a copy of the master insurance policy, you are either lazy or clueless or both! Lol.

So please make sure that you get a referral for your bankers from someone (you trust) that has used them before and had an excellent experience. Never just call your bank and tell them you are looking for a mortgage banker (even if you have private banking). I have a handful of bankers and we have worked with a few for many years and completed deals with all of them. One added perk using our referrals; they will go the extra mile for you to make sure that I am happy. They want our referrals and of course we accept nothing from any vendor we refer.

I'll write about the importance of lawyers and what to look out for in another post.