I was having lunch yesterday with customers with whom I have worked for over a year, and we are now happily in contract for an apartment that makes them feel good just spending time in it (even if the reason we are in it is to meet with contractors to plan a lengthy renovation!). While talking to them about our process (and about the course yet to come of selling their current apartment), they mentioned that they had been surprised at how many aspects of the journey I had been able to help them with, not just the obvious ones of sending them listings, making appointments to see apartments, negotiating the terms of their offer, etc. It occurred to me that I have never stated something that I feel strongly: I want to be your resource for real estate in NYC, and for so much more as well. There is never any obligation to ask me a question for yourself, or for a friend or family member, and I love doing it. Here are some examples of issues I have dealt with/ questions I have answered for people before, some of whom go on to become customers, and others who might become so in the future, but are not currently:
- Questions about the market: How’s the coop versus condo market? What are interest rates likely to do and how will that affect sales? What generally happens to the real estate market during an election year?
- Questions about value: What is my apartment worth? Can I get an apartment in another neighborhood with more space/light/quiet for the same price I am currently paying/for what my apartment is worth? Can I buy an apartment for approximately the same monthly costs as I am currently paying in rent?
- Questions about neighborhoods: What area of NYC is a possible value play these days? How is X neighborhood evolving?
- Questions about investing: What are the value neighborhoods where an apartment would be rented quickly and profitably? Does it makes sense for me to buy an apartment for my student or young adult to live in? What kind of appreciation might I get if I keep the apartment for X years?
- Questions about other professionals: Do you know a good real estate lawyer/accountant/insurance agent/mortgage broker/interior designer/contractor/stager/housekeeper/moving company/dog walker/pet groomer? (Answer:Yes!)
- Questions about new development: What’s going on in the super-luxury market? How do new development sales affect/relate to traditional coop sales? Are there any new developments in X neighborhood/for X price point?
- Questions about moving/relocation: Can I get a rental/buy a coop or condo if I don’t have a green card/visa? Can I use an out-of-town guarantor? How I can set up a bank account in the US before I move? Can I wire money to my lawyer and have her bring the funds for my condo at closing? How do I set up with Con Ed/Verizon/Time Warner?
- Questions about dealing with a landlord/coop or condo board: How can I go about getting an alteration agreement approved? Is my landlord required to get rid of the rats? (Note: this question came to me while on vacation from the panic-struck out-of-state friend of a customer, whose daughter was a new renter in the city!)
- Questions about timing: What is the best time to look for a rental? What is the best time to put my apartment on the market if I choose to do so? How does the outdoor space in my apartment affect when it might best sell?
- Questions about living in the city: How do you handle deliveries in a non-doorman building? Will Seamless/Fresh Direct/Ikea deliver to a fifth-floor walk-up? What are the recycling rules? How can I get tickets to Hamilton/discount tickets to other shows? How does Citibike work?
These are just samples of the many types of questions I have been able to answer in the past. Let me say again – none of these questions obligate you in any way! Of course, if you are looking to buy or sell, I would like you to give me a chance to explain what I can do for you, but I do genuinely love being a resource without any expectation in return. One more thing, when preparing a package of information to give potentials sellers last week (I do have the exclusive on their apartment now, and it will hit the market next month), I was struck again by the Corcoran mission statement (shown below) and how perfectly it dovetails with my own standard of behavior as a real estate agent. I have been told on more than one occasion that I “don’t seem like a real estate agent” to which I reply, “If I had to be the kind of real estate agent you are referring to, I wouldn’t be in this business.” Luckily for me, Corcoran supports my own desire to put the customer, not the payday, front and center of every decision, and to provide exceptional service.