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Recently one of my top agents made a big condo deal with the neighbor, who swooped in and bought the apartment in order to combine it with his own. A year or two ago I sold a house on the Upper East Side in the same way. The neighbor decided his house was not big enough, looked around but could not find anything he liked all that much, and decided to buy our exclusive, the house next door, and combine. It happens quite a lot.
When it comes to real estate, a lot of people want change but at the same time they want things to stay the same. This can express itself in a number of ways. Combining with a neighboring property is one of them. All over the city there are large apartments which began as small apartments. The couple who had fit nicely into a four and a half when first married are now bursting at the seams with two kids. They love the building: the doormen are their friends, the super’s daughter is their babysitter, and their older daughter’s best friend lives two floors down. They know who to call for great roast chicken delivery and they are on a first name basis with the dry cleaner. So they look around but really nothing has the appeal of continuing to live in the vertical village which they know and in which they are known. The neighbor’s apartment comes up for sale. They jump on it.
Any notion that adding the neighboring apartment is going to be easier than just moving is soon lost. In order to combine, the family will probably be moving into a rental for six to twelve months. A really good architect needs to work hard to come up with a smoothly flowing and intuitive floor plan. But when it works it’s great. They have upgraded, they have expanded, but they haven’t left home.
Alternatively buyers can move within their building. Over the years I have sold to a number of couples who have moved within my co-op on Central Park West from six rooms to eight, or from seven rooms to nine. Easier than doing a combination, although sometimes more expensive after all is said and done, the buyer can remain in his home while renovation is going one and simply travel in the elevator to check up on the contractors. Since the buyer is already a building resident (and has hopefully been tipping generously at Christmas for years) he knows that the staff will have his back with the contractors and subs. That can really make a difference when the electrician wants to work 40 extra minutes after the building’s closing time in order to get the job finished!
As capital gains taxes increase, the number of people who move while remaining in exactly the same space has also escalated. My wife and I have recently done that. Our apartment, a spacious three bedroom when we first bought it as newlyweds, accommodated first one child, then two, then an au pair, then a dog. What was (at least in my mother’s opinion) a ridiculously large space for people our age when we bought it was bursting at the seams a decade later. Then, miraculously, it began to empty out. The run of Swedish au pairs ended as the kids were in school full time. One of our kids went to college, followed a few years later by the other. We were left at home with the dog, who attained a good old age and met his maker. Suddenly it was just us again. And we discovered that the apartment, which had once seemed so big, and then so small, is now just right. My daughter’s room is now my wife’s office. My son’s room is now our guest room. Our dining room now doubles as a TV room. The au pair’s room is a giant pantry closet.
One reason there is so little available inventory is that all over the city owners are re-purposing their spaces to fit changed life circumstances. Fewer people want to pay the larger-than-ever tax bite in order to scale down. Instead they get creative. One bedroom becomes a studio. Another becomes a library. A third becomes … nothing. That door just stays closed. If people like their spaces, increasingly they just stay in them. Not great for us real estate brokers, or the lines of buyers who wish they could acquire them. But for now, at least, I think the trend towards staying put will remain a big factor for our marketplace.
You can read more on the Warburg Blog.
This week I asked Warburg agents what they are experiencing in the New York real estate marketplace. While the replies varied somewhat, several major themes emerged which are both interesting and surprising. Here are the highlights:
• While in the first days the government shutdown did not seem to be making a difference, it has now begun to drag on the market. Uncertainty is always the enemy of action; people making big decisions want to feel confident about the future. The concern in the business community about the end of the Bloomberg era and the likelihood of a DeBlasio mayoralty exacerbates that sense of uncertainty. In such an environment buyers often hold back.
• Competitive bidding is still taking place for select properties. For this to occur, the three major factors: location, condition, and price, all need to be aligned. Just this past week-end a mint 1550 square foot property on the Upper West Side received 24 bids! It was priced right, in a great location, and completely renovated. Price and condition are particularly important, especially in Manhattan. In Brooklyn the supply/demand ratio is still so tilted towards demand that almost everything sells with multiple offers.
• Priced right, properties move fast. If the property is priced wrong, especially in the co-op market, it is likely to sit. All too many sellers read descriptions about penthouse sales in new condominiums and believe that information applies to their older co-ops as well. In fact the two markets are following very different trajectories. The high end co-op market remains stagnant, with numerous overpriced properties lingering on the market for months or even years. Often even price reductions fail to re-energize these properties after a long period on the market.
• High end sellers are often content to sit it out. With the enormous appreciations in real estate values in recent years, and the new tax laws which translate into paying the Federal, state, and city governments close to 35% of the capital gain, there is less financial incentive to sell a large, highly appreciated property. This contributes to the shortage of viable inventory in the marketplace.
• Buyer behavior is increasingly unpredictable. Often they will rush to bid high in a best and final, only to have second thoughts after succeeding and back out. One of our agents has had this experience with each of her three new exclusives: the high bidder backed out after a deal was struck and the property sold to the second or third in line. Other buyers are simply more hesitant or have more of a wait and see attitude. Still others know there is little inventory but are baffled and frustrated because when they analyze recent comparable sales they find current prices unreasonable, even as other buyers are paying them.
• Co-op Boards have displayed high expectations during 2013. Many buyers, even those with high income, do not have the sort of assets Boards want to see in a purchaser. These buyers, who often cannot afford the new condos which are priced at least 20% higher than co-ops or older condos, end up with very limited options.
• Many sellers are not negotiable, and certain properties ARE selling at 15% or even 20% above comparable sales from a year ago. The rapid price escalations during the first eight months of 2013 thus make it hard for buyers (and sometimes brokers!) to keep up with the market.
• The busiest market remains that for properties priced at $2,000,000 and under. Excess inventory which existed earlier in the year has been absorbed, and Warburg agents dealing with these properties report that inventory is low and well-priced one and two bedrooms in good condition move very fast. Often the buyers for these units have already lost one or two apartments by not offering enough; after a few losses they become more determined and aggressive in their bidding. At the beginning of the year we were advising buyers to go 5% over ask when bidding in a best and final situation. By May we were advising 10%. In the last two weeks we have had two buyers go between 15% and 20% above the asking price and STILL not succeed.
• The condo market south of the mid-60s has a life of its own. Foreign buyers, especially from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan but including Europeans, Brazilians, Russians and Koreans, seek mid-priced investment properties in both new and established buildings. The supply of foreign money seems inexhaustible.
• Open Houses in the under $2,000,000 price range are thronging with brokerless buyers. These buyers are rarely knowledgeable or strategic enough to be successful in competitive bidding situations.
Today’s market displays complexities which are unique in my memory. Neighborhood, property type, price range, condition, time on market all combine to render each transaction unlike the one before. Buyers and sellers need both careful analysis AND bold behavior to achieve their objectives. And, like never before, they need a skilled agent to help them navigate this fast-paced and multi-layered environment!
You can read more on the Warburg Blog.
Tonight at 5:30 PM, all the lights in our house in Connecticut went out. This is not unusual; we waited for the generator to kick in. It didn't. Like our pool heater, it is subject to the depredations of mice, who seem to feel a special attraction to wiring. So we went to the movies, figuring that by the time we got home the electricity would be back on. It isn't. At 9:30 PM, I am writing this by candlelight.
The distribution grid here is all above ground, making it susceptible to wind, which is what knocked out the power today. In New York City, the grid is all underground, making it susceptible to water. And just as we are subject to the vagaries of the wind atop Sharon Mountain, New York is subject to the surges and eddies which can overwhelm its harbor and low lying areas. This was clear a year ago when Superstorm Sandy struck, but I fear that, with the short memory of the optimistic, we are not doing enough about it.
In every hard hit section of the city, rebuilding is taking place which, while perhaps more structurally sound, does not often take into account the fundamental fallibilities of our strategy. Shouldn't there be a master plan for catastrophe management when it happens again? Should we be building SO close to the water again in the lowest areas?
Every year, urban populations grow. This makes sense to me. Cities not only use less energy, but they are also more convenient, more vibrant places to live. I never understood suburban life, with its isolation and its car culture; I am a city boy through and through. And I believe in development. We need new housing, especially affordable housing, everywhere in the city. But I am uncomfortable with the height of some of the new towers that are going 80 and 90 stories into the air. What happens to people on the 85th floor in the event of a blackout, especially if then the generator fails? (There are mice everywhere!) Not only do these buildings cast enormous shadows, they also feel ill-conceived for integration into our urban landscape.
Urban areas change and evolve; that's a trait shared by every vital organism. They keep the best of the past while pointing themselves firmly towards the future. But the future we see before us is more complex than we had once imagined. It includes the likelihood of more extreme weather, rising oceans, and the grid interruptions and other difficulties those issues will visit on coastal cities like ours. We must move forward, but we need to make a distinction between what we CAN do and what we SHOULD do.
You can read more on the Warburg Blog.
The recession changed my thinking, for a while. After years of expanding Warburg Realty and trying to enter new markets, I had to pull back. I closed two of my offices in early 2009, leaving the firm with three. I had to let a number of employees go. Because I acted fast, we did not suffer much financial fallout. Our base was steady and, when the recovery began for real estate in April or May of that year, we were poised to take advantage of it. Most of the city’s other high end firms had a similar experience. We were careful, we weren’t overextended, we had reserves, we did just fine. But it made a big impression.
I bought Albert Ashforth’s Manhattan residential division and created Warburg Realty at the end of the last big recession, in 1991. I was thirty nine years old, and scared. Here I was committing capital and career to a proposition that, if 1989 and 1990 were any indication, could leave the company in negative financial territory in no time. But it didn’t happen. Every year we grew our profitability, starting with 1991. So that too changed my thinking. I saw that taking risk was necessary, that nothing good is built without putting your beliefs on the line. We put together a management team which tried to stretch, in terms of technology, in terms of the boundaries of the sales world in Manhattan, in terms of our commitment to core principals of integrity and respect in all our interactions.
After the 2009 recession, I needed to sit still. My belief in the system, and real estate’s place in it, was shaken. Even as the market improved throughout the second half of 2009 and 2010, I held to the status quo. Not too much change! Not too much risk! I needed to know that our national economic ship would continue to right itself.
About a year ago, I remembered what I had learned in 1991. There is no reward without risk. So we moved our flagship office from its rather tired quarters at 969 Madison Avenue to our new space at 654 Madison, which I love. We took advantage of our terrific, reliable IT department to update our website and begin work on our new Warburg iPad app, launched last week. We are adding desks at our Tribeca office and looking for new opportunities in other parts of the city. We have just hired exciting new PR counsel and we are retooling our marketing. Our core values remain the same, but a lot of things are changing.
Every year, our management team members review each other. In my review this year, my colleagues were evenly divided between “Excellent”, “Good” and “Fair” regarding my enthusiasm about change. And they are right. My relationship to change is complex. I have been married to the same woman and living in the same apartment for 36 years. When something works, I don’t want to mess with it. I feel comfortable when things stay the same.
I also know that in business, you are either moving ahead or falling behind. For three years, after I closed my offices, I wanted to regain my footing. The firm was in a holding pattern. Then suddenly, I stopped looking down and started looking out. Now every day I think – let’s do this! Let’s do that! I am excited and filled with energy about what’s next.
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
What makes cities livable? That was the theme of a conversation I had this afternoon at brunch with a brilliant urban planner/sustainability expert from London (we are at a house party together in southern Sweden.) And it hearkened back to the teachings of Vincent Scully which I imbibed as a Yale undergraduate many decades ago.
First and foremost, we need street life. Luckily this is no issue for us in New York, where the city has not turned into a hollowed out donut as so many other American cities have. Each neighborhood has its grocery shops, restaurants, dry cleaners, and wine merchants. Many of us know the owners of these emporia, and they know us. Our neighborhoods function like villages: we see people we know in the lobby or on the street, we know where to go for what - there is a cozy familiarity which belies the reputation for anonymity which most cities retain. And, critically, New York is a walking city. Most New Yorkers don't drive. We take public transportation or we walk. This creates the busy, vibrant streets which are at the center of urban life.
Carefully planned vertical density also makes for successful cities. Tall buildings vastly reduce the carbon footprint of each individual resident as well as the amount of ground space they displace. As urban populations swell (my favorite statistic for today: there are over 400 cities in China with over a million residents!) verticality increasingly looks like the only solution. But both the top and the bottom need to be closely regulated. At the top, the profile of the buildings needs to be managed so as not to block light, air, and a sense of sky, all of which are essential to a high quality of life. At the bottom, stores, plazas, and green spaces are all vital to maintaining that same sense of relationship to the sun, to a feeling of open space, and to Main Street/village green human and commercial interaction.
Inexpensive and efficient public transportation is a third criterion for a successful urban plan. While we pretty much have that in Manhattan, the other boroughs are much less well provided. Red Hook, with its fabulous waterfront location, has neither subway nor decent bus service. Bay Ridge is only somewhat better. As the need for more middle class housing becomes critical in the city, part of the plan must be enhanced bus and subway service in the areas where such development is financially practical. If you build it, they will come, but only if they can also get to work!
Finally, it seems increasingly clear that effective public/private partnerships are the best way forward. Neither the public nor the private sector can manage urban infrastructure issues on its own. New York has been pretty good at this in recent years (at least, according to my friend, compared to London), but we still have a long way to go. Urban planners, government officials, and developers and contractors must continue to work together to craft the plans, tax incentives, and efficiencies which will allow New York to build sustainable, accessible high density affordable communities on underutilized land citywide. THAT would be something to brag about!
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
New Yorkers have gotten nicer. It’s true. My friend Joe Barbaccia, who runs Essential New York Real Estate, e-mailed me this week to comment about how nice neighbors, service people, and strangers on the street have all become. While we New Yorkers have a reputation for being in too much of a hurry to help, I think over the last two decades the reality has changed. That standoffishness, often driven by fear, has dissipated and beneath that vanishing façade most of us are friendly, helpful people.
You see the change everywhere. Tourists ambling through Central Park are offered not only directions but also tips on where to go and what to see. People talk to each other on grocery and movie lines (or is that just me?) We smile at each other in elevators. We congregate in the Parks for concerts and theater and we are not afraid to walk home afterwards. Sometimes the city doesn’t even seem like the same place it was in 1992.
It seems to me that a few things have made a huge difference. Greater police presence made New Yorkers feel that they could take back their own streets and neighborhoods without feeling fearful. Public/private partnerships, like the one which has transformed Central Park, have been enormously successful, depending on public know-how and advocacy paired with personal and corporate donations. And those donated dollars mean more for the giver than ever in the 2013 tax environment. Newly constructed and refurbished buildings, many by world class architects, continually reshape and revitalize our skyline. Real estate development, despite the almost constant litany of complaints one hears about it, is in my opinion critical to the city’s health. New apartments expand the tax base, and every new building requires workers at a variety of skill and salary levels.
A place where additional public/private partnership is needed is in the development of affordable housing outside central Manhattan. As rents continue to skyrocket, the men and women who provide the backbone of our urban labor force are often forced to move further and further away to find affordable housing. The governor, the next mayor, and the real estate industry need to work together to overcome this increasingly critical problem.
But overall, the city is thriving and this good health is reflected in the warmth of its citizens. The city is a home and haven to everyone: single and coupled, straight and gay, foreign and local, sports fan and opera fan, walker and biker, subway rider and taxi rider (and of course now Uber rider!) It’s a great place to start a business and a great place to run a business (and we have to make sure that the corporate tax burden does not become so great that it discourages this.) As the city continues to expand, every one of us New Yorkers must be a personal ambassador and representative for New York. That includes supporting its institutions, obeying its laws, and working to extend its joys and benefits to as many of its residents as possible. We are all in this together.
And by the way, a public service announcement: it DOES matter who the mayor is. So vote in your primary this Tuesday!
You can read more on http://www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
I am a floor plan addict. Andrew Alpern’s book “Apartments for the Affluent”, replete with plans, was largely responsible for getting me into real estate. Night after night I pored over the plans of apartments large and small (including the one, at 635 Park Avenue, in which I had grown up) with which the book was filled. I was hooked! During my first years in the business, I spent every spare moment with the Select Register, volume after volume containing plans for most of the city’s apartment houses. And sooner or later I got to see them all! It was, and remains, a fabulous perk of the job.
People often ask me, “Isn’t it hard for you, who see so many extraordinary apartments, not to want to live in them?” Honestly, the answer is no. It’s like visiting the Met; I don’t expect to own the paintings there, but I do love to see and appreciate them. My wife and I are perfectly happy in our cozy 3 bedroom apartment on Central Park West, and I feel no need to move. Mostly, apartments look like inventory to me. But there are some exceptions – usually the quirky, the unexpected, the surprising – these are the ones I can imagine inhabiting in an alternate life. Here’s a list of a few of them, in no particular order, and why:
- The “C” line duplexes at 1220 Park Avenue. 1220 is probably my favorite Candela building, for a variety of reasons. At 95th and Park, it will never be TOO fancy. The proportions are both grand and welcoming. Nothing feels over scaled, as in some of the grander Candela buildings downtown. These duplexes, which don’t start until the 6th floor, have beautifully proportioned, comfortable rooms radiating off a demi-lune staircase. They face south over the Armory and are filled with light. They epitomize the best of Candela’s Italianate grace.
- In a different vein, but equally wonderful, are the “K” line duplexes towards the top of the Beresford. They don’t face the Park; their exposures are primarily North and West. Because the building is setting back on each floor at this height, each of these apartments is different (there are 4 of them, starting on the 15th floor and culminating with the penthouse). They all contain three bedrooms, oddly shaped, with cool piercing light and unexpected windows. Emory Roth’s high ceilings and unadorned Art Deco aesthetic makes these apartments feel as if they are floating above New York. The effect is magical.
- The apartments at 29 and 39 East 9th Street have always filled me with a sense of tranquility. In the front appear modest five room suites with story-and-a-half high living rooms and a wood burning fireplace. In the back there are charming little duplexes, four and a half rooms in size, facing the buildings across the courtyard but nonetheless replete with a uniquely New York sense of glamour. The first one I ever saw, back about 25 years ago, had leopard skin carpeting, which seemed so downtown to me. I never forgot it.
- I am a huge fan of the architectural work of the Blum brothers, George and Edward, who built a number of unconventionally glamorous buildings, mainly on West End and Park, in the decade between 1910 and 1920. My favorite is 610 West End Avenue, built in 1912. Modestly perched on the southeast corner of 90th Street, the exterior has lovely terra cotta detailing but gives no hint of the sprawling apartments which lie within. I particularly love the “B” line, which has three huge contiguous entertaining rooms-living room, reception room, dining room-spanning about 70 feet and including a fabulous dining room bay window looking south over brownstones. The three bedrooms are oversized, and the master has both an enormous bathroom and a commodious dressing room. This is the perfect place for a salon, or a book club dedicated to Proust.
I first discovered several of these apartments in Alpern’s book. Others I found while cramming my head with plans during off hours at the office in my early years on the job. Not all apartments live up to the titillating promise of their plans, and some, especially in buildings of the 50s and 60s, can be better than the plans suggest. But for the most part, the plan is a key to the kingdom: you hold it in your hand (or click on it online) and see if it creates within you that telltale little shiver, that Aha moment, when you realize, this is a good one! This could work!
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
The last weeks of summer are always bittersweet. Although the arrival of Labor Day no longer changes my life in any significant way, I still have a school year sensibility. I mentally prepare myself for the challenges of the next grade, getting ready to step it up. As I sit looking out at the fabulous bird life swooping and darting over our pond here in Sharon Connecticut, I thus find myself thinking about leadership. The swallows follow one another across the sky, my wife left early this morning to run a Board retreat on leadership and vision (among other things) for a small non-profit up here, and I am wondering: what does it take to make people follow you? Why should people listen to what you have to say? Here are some conclusions I have reached during my career:
- You have to articulate your values, and stick to them. Nothing is more important than knowing what you believe in and sticking to it. A passionate values-driven commitment is compelling to others and helps you keep your own focus. By the same token, espousing values but not upholding them is the biggest possible turn-off.
- You have to have a big vision and be positive and excited about it. Your goals have to be steppingstones on the way to achieving that vision. This is tough. We all want to coast from time to time (which I think is OK.) But as a leader it’s necessary to think ahead and know where you want your group to be going and have at least some sense of how to get there (if you are the head in the V formation of geese which are beginning to fly overhead, you are going South! But you’ll be back)
- You have to listen, and embrace the ideas of others when they are better than your own. It’s sometimes hard to know when someone else’s idea is better, especially when it contradicts long-held beliefs you may have about your organization. Yet openness to change is a critical component of being good at anything. By the same token, you cannot make decisions just to please the crowd. Sometimes even when most of those around you disagree, you have to trust your gut. And you must decide, and, once decided, move forward with the plan. Some second guessing is inevitable but too much is dangerous.
- You have to treat people with respect. That’s not just being polite. You need the courage to show yourself, to make yourself vulnerable, in order to win the trust and respect of your team. We are all drawn to the humanity in those around us. If you fear showing your humanity, you probably won’t see much of it, or the loyalty which comes with it, in return.
- You have to let others carry the ball. None of us is good at everything. Many executives want to maintain total control and yearn to micromanage everything. But no successful organization (including a family) runs best that way. Competent people need to be trusted with the right to act independently, whether they are your management team, your staff, or your children.
- You have to love what you do. If you love it, it shows. If you don’t, it shows.
Have a wonderful Labor Day holiday, dear readers. Come back committed and energized for whatever happens next.
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
I read a blog this past week expressing the author’s surprise about the fact that real estate agents had not gone the way of travel agents. In truth, even with all the technology tools now available to buyers and sellers, there are no more FSBO (for sale by owner) listings than there were 20 years ago. And the majority of buyers also continue to work with an agent, even though they are doing online research on listings themselves night after night. Why?
Clients and customers continue to works with agents for many reasons, but I think the primary reason is that smart people know what they don’t know. Buying a home is NOT like booking a vacation. The dollars are vastly much greater, the complexities are considerably more significant, and the complications of making a mistake have a much longer and more serious impact. The Internet has clearly parsed the difference between information and expertise. Most buyers and sellers have plenty of the first (it’s available at the touch of a keystroke) but not much of the second. Limited time and a desire for human interaction and feedback around such an important decision are also significant reasons to work with an agent. I cannot overestimate the psychological benefit implicit in a positive agent/customer relationship when it comes to decision-making. It makes deal-making possible.
For us as agents, this relationship creates an enormous responsibility. We need to do right by our customer – to put her needs in front of our own, to make sure she knows everything (even the bad stuff, even if it costs us the deal) so she is making a fully informed decision. We don’t aim for the property with the highest price, or the best commission. We want the relationship, the trust, more than we want the deal.
In September a class of 14 agents new to the company will take our Warburg Realty agent training. While not all are new to the business, all are new to us; we want to make sure they understand how we do things and what our perspective on proper professional behavior is. Since we are a values-driven company, I like to focus the sessions on values, regardless of the topic: values in building a business; values in negotiating; values in working with customers. I want everyone who carries a Warburg card to actually believe in doing the right thing, not the expedient thing. I want money to come to us as the result of our ethical behavior rather than to be chasing money at the expense of ethical behavior.
This is how an agent builds a business. Each transaction should create an ambassador for us out in the world, someone who will recommend us to friends and family. I am not a believer in cold calling. I want my agents to build and work a sphere of influence, making each transaction a beacon carrying their message of expertise and integrity out to everyone the buyer and seller know. And I want them to keep transmitting that message with each subsequent transaction. Everyone with whom we interact has the potential to help build our business. Whether or not they WANT to help is up to us.
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
It has been hard to open the paper in recent weeks without reading about either Anthony Weiner or Eliot Spitzer. Like many politicians, they need to play out their desire for forgiveness and acceptance on the broadest possible stage. Sexual peccadilloes aside, aren’t good judgment and the ability to manage inappropriate behaviors important traits for people in the public eye?
For real estate agents, like politicians, our constituents are actually more important than we are. And real estate agents, like politicians, can sometimes find that hard to remember. Having read a number of articles recently about the real estate reality TV shows, I am anxious about the way the longing for celebrity has infected many in our highly service-oriented business. Buyers and sellers don’t need to care about how we look in the shower, or how our wedding week-end was, or whether we prowl restaurants looking for other brokers whose customers we can steal (all these things have taken place on “Million Dollar Listing.”) Does who we are sleeping with, or married to, or asking out, actually have any impact on the service we offer our clients and customers? Or has Andy Warhol’s premise that we should all aspire to 15 minutes of fame caught up with service business providers?
I am not sure if I am part of the “Me Generation”, but it is clear that we live in a time when an awful lot of people seem to be willing to do anything to become famous. In a service business, however, the focus should not be on the service provider. Our job as real estate agents is to attend to the other person’s needs. While that is often not a very glamorous position, it is one with considerable satisfactions. We create transparency in an often complex process. We manage expectations so our clients can be optimistic while being realistic. We strategize together, sometimes requiring plans of considerable complexity. And when it all works, we enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that we have facilitated one of life’s most significant transitions.
Warburg Realty has participated for the last several years in “Selling New York”, one of the first real estate reality shows. When we were approached about participating, one of my ground rules was NO personal stories. The reality on the show is often only somewhat real, but none of us are, or will be, naked, or trying to steal each other’s’ clients, or filmed on dates or at our weddings. I am proud of the show; it promotes the notion that real estate agents actually work hard, often day and night, and it shows that much of the time we come up with nothing: the deal doesn’t get made, the customer is not ready to buy, the seller takes the property off the market. But the public seems to enjoy more salacious information about agents’ personal and professional lives. Warburg is not, now or in the future, going in that direction. We know what Mr. Weiner and Mr. Spitzer OUGHT to know: it is not about us!
You can read more on www.warburgrealty.com/blog.
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