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Young Couple Talking to Real Estate Agent

How To Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

If you’re selling a piece of property for the first time, deciding how to go about it can be extremely overwhelming; but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to choosing a real estate agent to help you list your home, typically you can easily decide by word of mouth and reference, however, sometimes you don’t have enough trusted sources telling you where to direct your attention, so you need to take it upon yourself. As long as you know what you’re looking to accomplish and the right questions to ask, finding someone to sell your home can be as easy.

First, start with some research. Drive around your neighborhood and look online for the agencies that seem to be acquiring the most business in your area and read up on some reviews from past clients. While doing your research, if you notice any listings for local open houses definitely consider going and talking with the agent running the operation. Don’t just grab a business card and a free cookie and leave, really try to get a gage on their personality and who they are as an agent. 

Don’t just choose the first well-reviewed agent you come upon either, selling your home is a hugely complex transactional process so you want to make sure you can trust the individual that you’re working with to get you the best bang for your buck. This is where getting a referral would be best. According to Zillow, over 20% of sellers find their agent based on referrals from friends, family, or work colleagues. 

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Zillow also recommends meeting with at least three agents before making your final decision. 61% of sellers chose the first agent they come across, which may work out, but is also a major risk. Think of this process like a job interview and you’re the employer; because you quite literally are looking to employ someone. If this was a company setting and you were the boss, you wouldn’t just hire the first newbie to walk in the door, you’d want to see all of your options to ensure that you make the best choice for your business, in real estate, it’s the same exact thing. 

Asking the right questions is of the utmost importance when choosing a real estate agent as well. Again, like in a job interview it’s necessary to know what questions you want to ask, but the answers are what really count. If you have an idea in your head of what answers you’re looking for, then making your choice will be easy. According to Zillow, the following questions are a great standard for what you should be looking for:

“How long have you been working in real estate? Do you primarily work with buyers or sellers? How many active clients do you have at a time? Are you part of a team? What’s your specialty? Are you equipped to handle my unique situation? How will you market my home? Can you put me in contact with some references?”

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Once you’ve begun to finalize who you think you’d like to list your property, it’s important to let them know from the beginning what your expectations are as the seller. Clarify with them why you’re selling your property and when you’d ideally like to be done with the entire process. Make your communication preferences clear as well. Many sellers have issues reaching their agents at certain times because they could be with another client or out of the office. Discuss with your potential agent when you have the free time to fully dedicate yourself to all things real estate, this way you both are aware of when one another is most available.

Finally, define all of the important details regarding the property itself. Tell your agent what you’d like to get for your home and what sacrifices you’re willing to make to accomplish it. Discuss the projects within the home that you’d like to leave for the next owner, and how much more or less money you want to put into the property before selling it. As long as you’re keeping all means of communication completely open and are candid with what you’d like to gain out of the process, finding an agent will come easily.

Passing Keys

REaaS – The Latest Trend In Real Estate

Gone are the days when residential and commercial property was just bought when required. Nowadays, the hottest trend in America is REaaS, or “real estate as a service.”

But what does this mean? Rather than the customer purely looking at the space available, real estate agents are now being required to include amenities, experiences, and anything that improves on the actual floor plan. “Dressing” a property is something that has been done for many years in the residential sector, with many realtors spending thousands to get that property looking just right for their customers.

By selling a lifestyle as well as the building, many realtors can expect to increase the sale price significantly. No longer is there an unused room in the building that leaves the buyer to use their imagination. In apartment blocks, many communal spaces, such as hallways, laundry rooms, or even gyms, are being designed to create an environment that will encourage interactions between the neighbors.

Real estate design and marketing firm S&P’s president and co-founder Sid Landolt explains, “In residential real estate, for years, we’ve had amenities where you have to go into that amenity, experience it, and go out. Those are generally cold and quiet. We’ve been reading all these articles about loneliness… and in my mind, it comes from a lack of planning and poor design.”

Another aspect of real estate that appears to be on the rise is the option of co-housing with many families living in their own private apartment, but sharing common areas such as dining rooms, large kitchens and even recreational spaces. This allows those who may not be able to afford property a good start while also encouraging interactions between residents thanks to shared chores or group activities.

It’s not just the residential sector that is experiencing REaaS; commercial property is too. A recent report from ULI – Emerging Trends – quotes, “Beyond good gyms, more tenants and their employees are looking for features such as proximity restaurants and less tangible elements, such as a communal vibe.”

There is also a call for more flexibility on our ever-changing needs. Traditionally, companies have either purchased or signed up to long-term leases on commercial property, but this is not always what is needed in today’s society. Thanks to the development of video conferencing, more and more companies are providing their employees with the option to work from somewhere other than the office, meaning a specific base is no longer required. REaaS provides the option of renting space on an as-and-when requirement — with many spaces now offering “hot desks.”

There are also many companies providing short-term rentals, perfect for the many pop-up restaurants and shops that appear in towns and cities across the country. It’s not just America that is seeing this trend. Canadian company GWL Realty Advisors’ vice-president of research services and strategy Wendy Waters agrees with the idea:

“We think of the people who use our office space are our guests, and we try to provide a better experience for them. I think a lot of this switch to real estate as a service is a response to what consumers and businesses want, and what they need. You think about flexibility, the rise of co-working spaces and their huge success, and it’s because they offer space on a one-year lease, a three-month lease, whatever you need. And everything’s ready to go, it’s turnkey. It offers the experience you want, it’s all right there, given to you as a service. It’s not necessarily cheaper, but it’s simpler, and may offer better value in the long term.”

With shorter leases there are reduced retail footprints. Thanks to stronger wifi connections many employees — as well as the self-employed — are able to work from home or the local coffee shop. In fact, you could work anywhere including the local soft play area when your children are playing! This has seen an increase in profits for some establishments with many workers purchasing in-house items such as drinks and snacks in return for using the company’s internet.

With short term leases on offer in the commercial sector, it seems the residential sector are following suit. With many tenants struggling to find the costs for long-term rental, temporary leases may be the future for landlords. A recent report looking into REaaS stated that “many people are focusing [more] on monthly costs than total purchase price. While affordability is a factor, the REaaS trend also goes back to changing consumer behaviors as people look for more flexibility as their lifestyles and preferences evolve.”

As the REaaS trend continues to grow, realtors are seeing a blending of property types, with many no longer able to offer one thing or another. Rather than offering a standard space to live, there are now options that were not even considered only a few short years ago.

NYC Real Estate

How NYC’s Real Estate Market Continues To Change

As one decade ends and another begins, the New York City real estate industry is taking all it’s learned within the past ten years and applying it to 2020. Throughout the past decade, there’s truly been a shift and growth within the cities real estate market. Brooklyn has become a hub for millennials and young families, Manhattan has gotten pricier as always, and Harlem is going brownstone. The east coast concrete jungle is forever changing with the times and as 2020 approaches, agencies are preparing to keep up with that change. 

One of the major changes that’s taken over the city within the past decade is how many more condos have been built. Unfortunately, this trend isn’t exactly succeeding, as according to Bisnow Magazine, Manhattan currently has more than 9,000 condominium sale units still empty. Real estate agencies are blaming the constant influx in real estate prices in Manhattan; no one can afford the borough. 

“Everyone has seen the reports of unsold apartments, about 30% of the apartments sold have come on as shadow rental inventory. I do think we will see some repricing in the condo space,” Michael Givner, A Morgan Stanley Executive Director, said.

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Givner went on to discuss how condo repricing has already begun, and ever since Labor Day the industry has seen an increase in buyers as a response to a decrease in asking price and inclusion of more incentives. Prices in the city are becoming more negotiable through corporate sponsorship; however, the results haven’t been as successful as expected. 

Many of the residential buildings in the city are built around the same time, that’s how overall neighborhoods change in an instant. So while the demand may be there, the supply can tend to overcompensate. In addition, agents are noticing an increase in office space rentals over residential renting in areas of Downtown and Midtown. While the leasing market may be thriving through this process, the fact that more residential families aren’t moving into these spaces that were constructed for their market specifically hurts the industry in the long run. 

When certain areas of the city begin to be known as areas of business, or office spaces, that branding serves a long term impact, and it becomes way less likely that the intended market for that area will actually fill the space. That’s what agents are seeing happen in the Mid/Downtown areas. 

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“One of the millennials in my office said that Midtown is where fun goes to die. 2020 will be an interesting year to observe how Midtown rebrands itself. How long will it take, who will it attract and how will it evolve over the next 10 years,” said Colliers International NY Tri-State President Michael Cohen.

It’s also been reported that the hotel market in New York City has remained fairly stagnant for the past few years. While “stagnant” may not mean “declining,” that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing either.  A flat real estate market means not enough profit is coming in either and when it comes to the city’s hotel industry that’s what’s seeming to happen. Because of overall rising room costs, in combination with an oversaturation of hotels in the city and increase in popularity in services such as Airbnb, the industry just isn’t thriving as it used to. 

“The important thing that we found, in hospitality, is managing expenses and keeping a lean staff providing what guests want when they come to New York City. The hotels we are building have a great room, a clean bathroom, not a lot of amenity space and not a lot of staff, and what we found is that’s a recipe for success.” said Hidrock Properties CEO Abie Hidary.

While aspects of New York City’s real estate market haven’t exactly kept up with all the development it’s seen, agencies are learning from the mistakes of the past decade. As stated above, the hospitality industry is mainly focusing on what’s working and delivering that to its clients. That’s the general consensus over how to handle any and all of the problems in the industry, especially in the city.