Monday, April 12, 2010

Buying and Anxiety

A rather accomplished gym friend of mine and I were on the elliptical machines at the same time when he told me of his nervousness about buying an investment property near his current residence. I am not representing him as a buyer as he started this process before we really got to know each other better. He is a smart, capable guy, who has lived with a chronic disease most of his life very successfully. He also is very successful at his work.

However he confessed how anxious his is about his purchase, even though he bought it for an excellent price and the property will generate enough income to pay his expenses.

I remember when I worked at my old firm, I answered the phone one morning when I was the only one is the office. A distressed gentleman called and asked if anything was wrong was him as he was having sleepless nights. He told me he was purchasing an apartment closer to work in Upper Manhattan and selling his apartment through our firm. I responded that buying (and selling) real estate in New York City, can be very anxiety producing. I have written about this before, but I want to emphasize that it is a more complicated process here and cause for much anxiety. I calmed the buyer-seller somewhat and ended up selling his apartment to one of my buyers.

I think it is important to work with a good team of professionals: broker, mortgage broker or banker and lawyer-all these people can ease some of your fears. The other important thing to remember is that you are dealing with property. Though your home is an important part of your life, and important to your well-being, anxiety is never helpful and none of the issues that surface are life-threatening. It is important to keep a perspective about the process and your life. It is all part of the journey.

For first-time buyers, the process can be particularly daunting. Again, it is important that a first time buyer, in particular work with professionals he or she can communicate well with, feel confident about. As always, feel free to contact me for any advice or counsel, or to suggest professionals to work with.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Not Judging the Actions of the other party

When a deal is struck between a buyer and a seller, it often takes some concessions by each party. In a more level environment which we experience in New York City, the seller and buyer each have a certain amount of leverage. Buyers, for example, who have all cash, can try to get a favorable outcome. Sellers who have more desirable properties, whether the location, the quality of the building or its amenities if it is a coop or condo, or have access to private outdoor space for example can also have more leverage.

I try to advise my sellers in particular not to spend a lot of time figuring out the motives of buyers. It is not a good use of time. I don't want to give buyers or sellers unreal expectations either. If I represent a seller and a low bid is placed, it means the buyer has to "travel further" to meet the seller's needs. Often a deal is not made, but sometimes it is. Buyers can be testing the seller to see how flexible he or she is, but are willing to go considerably higher on a offer. As for buyers, I try to suggest bidding at a place that shows you are serious, but will still get you the best price.

In the fall, a buyer asked me to represent him and negotiate for him. I got a price lower than he was willing to pay and I suspect he was very pleased. Years of experience helps in this regard.

A deal is about bring parties together. If you have a qualified buyer involved with the transaction, spending a lot of time figuring out motivations is probably not a great use of time. We're all human and we all do it. Better time is spent engaging the parties to find a common ground and effect a sale.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Working With A New Buyer

Last night I showed an old friend an apartment to buy. He has lived in a rental apartment for a very long time. And he is excited to think about buying for the first time. As we have discussed, change is good and owning is better than renting.

It was wonderful to go through the apartment and see what he liked and didn't like, to observe his responses and hear his thoughts. I love working with both buyers and sellers and I am thankful I truly enjoy what I do.

After we left, we had a good discussion about what he would like to do to make the apartment more comfortable, how much it would cost. We crunched some numbers and he was going to sleep on it. We plan to talk soon. I pride myself on being a good negotiator and try to be a good listener, all important parts of the sales process.

A colleague commented that I had found my calling, that I am doing what I should be doing. I do truly enjoy what I do and for that I am grateful. It took a while, but here I am. A great weekend to all-enjoy the weather!