This week, Selling New York viewers had the pleasure of taking a peek inside one of Manhattan’s most unique properties, listed by CORE’s Maggie Kent. Viewers watched as Maggie went above and beyond the call of duty to secure a high profile exclusive on a stunning one-of-a-kind listing featuring a pool in the living room.
Since this was Evie McMurray Van-Zeller’s second time listing her property, she knew she needed to choose correctly among the brokerages competing for her unique listing. Continue reading for some exclusive information about what happened after the cameras stopped rolling and what didn’t make it into last night’s episode of Selling New York!
One reason real estate brokers have a generally-less-than-stellar reputation as professionals is that because a large amount of the time, the client is unhappy.
Unhappy beyond our control -
And unhappy people like to lay blame…
Usually on “us”.
The buyer loses a property because they’re outbid -
The broker gets blamed…
The seller loses the buyer because the property is overpriced -
The broker gets blamed…
The board turns down a buyer (for some unknown reason)-
The broker gets blamed…
Is the key to being a good broker having the ability to seek out and work with generally happy people who see things as they are?
I think so!
Chapter 1 for Buyers:
Why on earth do you want to move?
Not many sane people want to pack, relocate and uproot their current home, their nest, unless they have a good reason to! If home is where the heart is, then moving is not for the faint of heart! Trust me, I’ve moved a couple of times in my life!
Real estate is one of those life necessities. Everyone needs shelter, and even though we are a first world country with abundant resources, there are approximately 3.5 million people homeless in the US (In South Africa, my home country, 60% of the 45 million people living there are without electricity, 16 million have no access to clean water and 22 million people lack adequate sanitation). A little perspective is always refreshing! So, if you have a nice home and are happy in it, then you need to make sure there’s a good reason to move.
Of course, almost every mortgage broker and real estate broker wants to convince you to move. And who can blame them? That’s how they make their living so they can pay for their housing. There are certainly a number of compelling reasons to move. A large part this country’s notion of “The American Dream” is that everyone can own a home and Uncle Sam actually does a lot for us in that regard. Having just come out of the “era of irrational exuberance”, the fundamentals of home ownership have never been more scrutinized than they are right now.
Having sold thousands of apartments, I’ve become intimately familiar with the top ten reasons real buyers buy. They are:
1.) I’m relocating for my new job.
2.) I’m getting married.
3.) I’m getting a divorce.
4.) We’re expecting another child and five people in a studio won’t work.
5.) My children have moved out and we don’t need so much space.
6.) I’m tired of making my landlord rich, rates are low, I’ve saved for my deposit, and I want to build equity.
7.) I can’t walk up these stairs anymore after 50 years. I need an elevator and a doorman.
8.) My grandfather just passed and he left me this amazing 7 room co-op.
9.) My commute to work is killing all my time with my wife and family.
10.) I can’t afford to live here anymore.
Here are the top ten reasons NOT to buy:
1.) Look at the Jones family! (Google “keeping up with the Joneses”)
2.) The guy over at the bank said he can get us a cheap loan for a bigger house. (Reminder: That’s what got us into this mess)!
3.) We stumbled upon this open house and loved the views.
4.) My broker said we could make bank on selling our current home.
5.) I’d like to live in a building with a putting green on the roof or a triathlon training facility.
6.) There’s a great club across the street that I frequent.
7.) I could be a part time flipper and make a small fortune.
8.) The most recent “housing report” says it’s a “good time to buy”.
9.) I received an unsolicited bid on my home, so now I need to move.
10.) It would be cool to live in a (insert “starchitect’s” name here) building.
Most of this seems to be common sense, but I have found that when it comes to buying things, small or large, common sense is not always that common.
Continuing a theme from my previous appearance on Selling New York, in the April 22nd episode I had a chance to focus on identifying and addressing the inherent “energy” of the apartment that I was tasked to sell. An apartment, house or any kind of home acquires its energy not only from its own history, but from the histories—the experiences, goals, aspirations, obstacles and anxieties—of the people who live in it, as well as of their guests, their neighbors and, dare I say, their brokers. I was educated in the existence and power of this type of energy by my friend and colleague Reginald Arthur, who for years has studied the energies of individuals, their homes and their environments. Almost as soon as I took over the listing of an apartment at 50 Gramercy Park North, I brought Reggie in to help promote the residence’s positive energies. Similar to the penthouse (at 350 West 23rd Street) featured in my previous episode, the one at 50 Gramercy is a relatively new construction and its current occupants have lived there for less than three years. Reggie and I have come to understand that new developments often attract and absorb negative forces that accompany the building process: the stresses of financing, the convulsions of construction, the uncertainties of the marketplace in which the apartments are sold. Furthermore, the 50 Gramercy project incorporates an old New York hotel that has hosted many unusual guests over the years, each of whom contributes his or her own energy to the bones of the building. All of these factors, if sufficiently negative, can create a pall that, on a certain level, deters buyers. Reggie identified this immediately and took measures to reverse its effects. He tries to help homes release negative energies from dark periods in their histories by assisting their owners and brokers in doing the same. In other words, if the people who live and pass through an apartment are able to expel their negative energies, so too will those energies be expelled from the apartment itself, resulting in a space that is brighter and more attractive to prospective buyers. Whether or not they believe in the veracity of Reggie’s methods, my sellers (and I) are always filled with confidence by his presence and charisma. And, after all, isn’t confidence just another form of positive energy?
The skies are grey, the real estate market is cloudy, and the unpredictability of both has never been more apparent. The New York Post’s Katherine Dykstra wrote a story today that featured apartments with outdoor space. Will this will clear the air and give us hope for brighter days ahead?
I still contend that THIS IS THE TIME TO BUY! I say this not because I own a brokerage that relies on transactions, but because of the fundamentals underlying the opportunity for buyers and their ability to transact.
Let’s see what happens.
These are certainly good times for the buyers in the land of new development condominiums here in NYC. That is if you have 20% down, good credit, a job and you are looking to buy in a building that is nearly, if not 100 percent complete. Prices are down precipitously, high inventory is providing abundant choices, interest rates are at a 45 year low, and developers are providing incentives on top of their incentives. As a broker leading one of these projects, 125 North 10th Street, it feels like running a booth at the bazaar in a third world country. Every weekend I am not sure if people are showing up to practice their haggling skills or are actually looking for a new home. (more…)
There are more similarities in these two names than one might think. If you’re into numerology, you’d notice that both names are spelled with an unusual combination of a consonant, followed by a vowel, followed by two consonants….you get the idea.
“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” said Buffett. Historically, this has proven to work wonders for him (for the most part). He ranks number 2 in the United States with an estimated net worth of $50 billion.
During the depression, Kelloggs and Post (the cereal companies) took two different paths. James Surowiecki eloquently wrote a piece in this past week’s New Yorker about this. Kelloggs, with their contrarian business model proved to be more successful. As we continue to grow our company organically in this market, I find myself asking mentors about this philosophy. They all overwhelmingly agree with Buffett and Kellogg, although it’s always easier to give this type of advice from the outside looking in.
We are clearly in a buyers market which means that those who are brave (and smart) enough to take advantage of this historic moment, should come out long term winners. My advice, from the inside looking out, is to seize this moment and embrace the opportunites this market brings. I know there will be some echo’s of 1998 to 2006 where the bears were saying “I could have, should have, would have…”
Don’t be a foolish bear. Be sly like a fox!
In June 2008 I was walking down Fifth Avenue and saw George Soros’ new book “The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and what it means.” I bought the book, read it, and thought to myself “whew, let’s hope this guy is wrong”. Unfortunately, he was right on the money, and the global financial and housing crisis is almost exactly as he predicted. The video above from 2006 further validates his foresight. He has been politically outspoken and has provoked some passionate rhetoric from the left and the right. Love him or hate him, one can’t argue with his success and foresight.He is one of the few billionaires (estimated above $9 billion) who’s net worth is growing, not shrinking. I would love to know a few things from him. Namely…….
1) What do you think of the stimulus plan?
2) Can you explain to me why Czech prime minister Mirek Topolaneka calls the plan a “way to hell” that will “undermine the stability of the global financial market”?
3) What is your outlook for the housing market in the next 12 months?
4) When will we hit bottom (if we haven’t already)?
I’m hoping to see a new book from him soon that will answer some of these questions, and more. I’ll certainly be paying attention!
So I sign up for Twitter. I figure I will be able to read the newspaper, buy an apartment and hang out with 50 Cent in my spare time. Just when I thought things were going well, I get a message that says, “Too many tweets!“.
I guess when everyone absolutely must know what you are doing at that very moment things get a little hectic. Now you know what I am doing and maybe I will try again tomorrow!
Who says dreams don’t come true? When I first began tramping around the Lower East Side in search of the perfect dive bar, I always looked upon it as a playground; a place to drive to in my 1962 “Three on the Tree” Rambler Wagon from my home on Staten Island, not a place I’d wind up living, even though everything about the neighborhood piqued my interest: so funky, so diverse, such a time capsule of a New York rapidly vanishing and evolving, the people, the places, the vestiges of the immigrants who settled here at the turn of the 20th century! Wistfully, I’d imagine a day I would be living on the lower east side the same way, I suppose, Chekhov’s Three Sisters imagined getting to Moscow. But unlike Olga, Masha, and Irina, my journey took place. Read all about it!