For Agents

29 October, 2010 posted by: Shaun Osher

Plant a seed now…

and it will germinate later!

I received a call last week from a person I met many moons ago.

I had forgotten completely about this person, but clearly had done something right (all those moons ago) to leave an impression on them.

They were calling me to give me business and made reference to something that impressed them about me when we met all those years ago.

That’s pretty powerful.

It doesn’t take much to plant a seed that will germinate.

Common sense and good business practice are usually enough.

- be responsive

- be patient

- think of the big picture and the long term

- if there isn’t an immediate gain – wait

- share your expertise with no expectations

- remain professional in moments of discord

- keep your integrity

If you make a strong enough first impression, you will have a fan forever and this will lead to pleasant surprises when you least expect them.


For Agents

27 October, 2010 posted by: Shaun Osher

Part of being a successful agent is having the ability to get back on the horse quickly!

This business, more than most, is filled with disappointment and rejection.

I think that’s why a large number of the industry’s successful agents come from a creative background – you can work on something for hours and have nothing to show for it at the end of the day.

We’ve all worked with “that” buyer. You know, the one you work with for months, the one you show 100 properties, sending them every listing in their price range, only to have them buy something without you at an open house on a Sunday.

Get back on the horse. Don’t look back. Move on to your next buyer.

We’ve all worked for “that” seller. You know, the one you hold open houses every weekend for, the one you are perfect for, working tirelessly to accommodate every appointment, only to have them drastically reduce the price, give the listing to another agent and have them sell it a week after your agreement expires.

Get back on that horse. Don’t look back. Move on to your next listing.

There is no agent who bats 1000. The sooner you realize this, and accept it, the happier you will be – and more successful you will become.


Nostalgia, at What Cost?

26 October, 2010 posted by: Shaun Osher




31 years after the advent of the walkman, our good friends at Sony have decided to stop its production.

Oh really?

When was the last time you saw a cassette tape, let alone someone using a walkman to play to one?

It seems to me that a lot of “people” in the real estate brokerage business are more nostalgic than Sony. They are operating with their version of the 4 track.

It’s time our industry has a REALity check. 

We can stream music over a satellite to earth from outer space – yet, we still have NO multiple listing service (in NY)?


And the 2011 TED Prize Winner is…JR!

24 October, 2010 posted by: Jasmine Takanikos


Last week, TED announced JR as the 2011 TED Prize winner and recipient of $100,000. JR is an innovative artist who uses the world’s streets as his inspiration and canvas. Creating what some may call “pervasive art”, he is known for mounting enormous black-and-white photo canvases onto buildings of slums around Paris, walls in the Middle-East, broken bridges in Africa and even the favelas in Brazil.  Although he remains anonymous, he has certainly made his mark on society and a new flare to the TED Prize. Check out JR’s work here.


Concrete Canvas Shelter

23 October, 2010 posted by: Jasmine Takanikos


Revolutionize concrete? Who would’ve thought? Concrete Canvas is a UK-based manufacturer of rapidly deployable hardened materials. They have recently created a Concrete Canvas Shelter that requires the most basic elements for construction, water and air. The heavy-duty structure can be molded into any shape before it hardens, which makes installation simple and convenient. Utilizing and combining the basic needs of life to create an innovative product is truly impressive. Check it out here.


Awards and Accolades

22 October, 2010 posted by: Shaun Osher

Last night was the annual REBNY awards for residential deals.

I congratulate the winners!

I’m generally not a fan of awards.

Especially those that are based on non-factual criteria.

It goes with my theme of “top ten lists” .

Regardless of the industry, these have ultimately become more about the event itself, not the actual awards.

The Grammy Awards is the best music show on earth, but year after year there are fewer awards given out at the event, and more acts performing. I like that!

Awards for artistic expression are based on opinion.

And usually, they pick the wrong “winner” (IMHO).

Hollywood does this as well. Less awards – more hoopla!

How about Miss America?

There are very few awards presented now that avoid a gray area. Running 100 meters, and crossing the tape first usually decides the victor – unless the drug test comes back positive for an illegal substance, which then the runner-up is awarded the title.

I’ve always wondered how the person in second place feels about suddenly becoming “Number 1”.

It’s honorable to acknowledge individuals for accomplishments in their respective industries, like The Nobel Peace Prize, but this should be an acknowledgement, and not a first place victory. There are plenty of “runner-ups” who deserve a place at the podium.


I’ve Had Enough!

21 October, 2010 posted by: Shaun Osher

I’m giving myself the luxury of going on a RANT today. One that I have avoided for years, but one I can’t hold in anymore.

WARNING! If you write, create or print a market report of some sort, you might find this offensive and I’m sorry, but here goes…

Everyone’s a critic.


But there seem to be more “market experts” with a voice than ever before. And they are broken down into these 3 main categories:

ATMRE’s “Appraisers Turned Market Report Experts”: These are people who have made careers out of creating reports that are dated, not relative to current market conditions and really carry no validity in providing insight into current market conditions. They have also probably never sold an apartment.

BTME’s “Brokers Turned Market Experts”: These are brokers who create reports in various formats. They are mostly for marketing purposes, so they can say they have a “report” and are experts. (CORE’s Real Time Report will get some criticism for this, and if you email me, I will valiantly defend it). Oh, and if you have a better report, I’d love to start using it, so my team who compiles this data every month can start doing something else for our clients, thank you very much.

NRWHNIAOM’s “National Researchers Who Have No Idea About Our Market”: These are people who have probably never visited New York, let alone know what a Co-Op is. They still think that The Bowery is a slum and West Chelsea is a wasteland.

I was going to include specific examples of these people and reports, but I decided against it (for obvious reasons).

The latest absurdity is called the “broker confidence index”. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Buyer Beware! There is NO market report for New York City that exists right now that will give you answers to all your questions. In fact, you will probably be more confused after reading these reports than if you had never laid eyes upon them.

If you want to know what the market is doing, ask your broker to take you on a property tour. They know what’s going on. They are on the front lines, and this is really the only way to get educated. There are no short cuts!


A Home Office? OR…Your Home as an Office?

20 October, 2010 posted by: Shaun Osher

I remember the difficulty we faced when The Chelsea Mercantile conversion first came onto the market. Being a conversion property, as wide as a city block, there was a huge amount of “dark interior space” that couldn’t be designed (or sold) as a bedroom. Quite a few buildings faced this dilemma.

No light and air = no legal bedroom.

The solution?

As marketers, we sold these spaces as home offices. And buyers loved them. They were outfitted with desks, bookshelves and tons of knick-knacks that truly made them an office within the home.

But now, I think we’ve entered a new age. (yes, I know it was only ten years ago)!

It seems to me, thanks in large part to Apple, WiFi and devices that seem smaller and more powerful, that the home has become the office.

Case in point: I’m sitting on my couch, in my living room, writing this post on my handy-dandy iPad. I seem to spend more time working in other parts of my home than in my home office, and I have windows! (The operating system, AND the ones that look outside).

I guess those big rooms could always be used for something else…


For Sellers: Don’t be Delusional!

19 October, 2010 posted by: Shaun Osher

Almost every seller I have ever met believes that their home is valued above what the market will bear. Don’t be one of “those” sellers. This will only hurt your chances of finding the right buyer who will pay top dollar for your home. When you overprice a property, it can have an adverse effect on the marketing effort by alienating buyers, and discouraging brokers from showing it.

You probably feel your home is worth more because you have lived in it and are aware of all its attributes. Remember this – a future buyer won’t get to know these things as intimately as you until they live there. You need to take an objective view.

If your concern is underselling – make sure you have an agent on your team who is doing all the right things to market your home, and the market will dictate your home’s value.

My advice to you, BEFORE you list your property, is to get educated:

1.) Have your broker give you a comparative analysis of homes recently sold, in contract and currently on the market.

2.) Take 2 hours to go and see what the competition is.

3.) Ask your broker to bring in a few more agents to get their opinion on the value of your home.

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