Author Archives: Focus Real Estate

  1. Talking Manhattan – The Buyer’s Market

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    How much leverage do buyers have in the current market?

    Our very own team leader, Russ Putterman, met with Noah Rosenblatt of Urban Digs back in October to discuss the state of the NYC marketplace. Urban Digs is a real estate service provider that helps brokers to find comps, past sales and recent market analytics in NYC neighborhoods. Insights that were taken away from this discussion include:

    • We are in a buyer’s market – The market is moving in a cyclical approach. However, buyers have more leverage at the moment. Homes are not selling like they did in 2008, but if the property is priced properly, it will move. The real estate market is not slowing the stock market down which can sometimes be the case.
    • Some other factors that have recently influenced a buyer’s market include:
      • There is currently a lot of inventory
      • The dollar getting stronger and this had made a notable impact on foreign investment
      • There is still uncertainty around taxes since plans may not be confirmed until springtime.
    • What does buyer behavior look like today vs. a couple of years ago? Buyers are actively looking and have interest in purchasing homes. However, the pool is getting smaller. People are not bidding as aggressively. A couple of year ago, an open house could have consisted of 50-60 people where now a large pool seems to be in the range of 15-20 people. Back in early 2010s sellers were often getting there ask where now, where now sellers are having to come down on ask. This is currently a tough market for “aspirational sellers” and the sense of urgency from buyers has faded away.
    • Is this market an investment opportunity for buyers – There is most leverage in new development.

    The fully aired Urban Digs episode can be found here.

    Connect with Focus Today!

    If you are interested in learning more about buying in NYC or Long Island, contact us today and we will connect you with one of our Specialists. If you’d also like to learn more about the buying process in NYC, download our Buyer’s Guide today!

  2. 2018 Market Trends and What to Expect for 2019

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    Real Estate Carpool: Episode 1

    On December 20th, the Focus Team conducted their first ever Real Estate Carpool. Our team lead (Russell Putterman) and LI Expansion Partner (Matt Lenner) answered burning questions on the 2018 real estate market, trends to expect for 2019 and much more. Here are our biggest takeaways from the carpool:

    Carpool Real Estate
    • It is a buyer’s market in both the suburbs and the city
      • Matt identified that it used to be a seller’s market in Long Island, but has shifted to a buyer’s market – especially for the luxury segment. It is important to have an up-to-date home to ensure that prices are not dictated by buyers.
      • NYC is also seeing similar trends for the luxury market and foreign investments have decreased over the years. Price points are also lower, which is giving buyers more leverage. Mortgage contingencies are actually becoming more popular on buy-side deals as well.

    If you are looking to buy, download our NYC Buyer’s Guide for more info >>

    • Fed rates have raised yet again
      • The market and consumers saw this coming and we are still at a historically all-time low – even at 5%. The team is surprised to see the feds raise the rate again, but anticipates for this to level out over time.
    • What was 2018 like for the Focus Team and projections for 2019?
      • The Long Island team had 60 transactions and are expecting to see upward trends for the 2019 period.
      • The NYC team saw similar numbers to the year before even with major market shifts. The team implemented many systems for automation and growth throughout the year.

    The Focus Team approach affords our clients a concierge experience through our expertise in specialized roles to provide an unparalleled level of service throughout the buying, selling and leasing process. To learn more about our team or to book an appointment with us today, contact us.

    To view the full episode, you can view below and please let us know if you would like to see any other topics in future videos:

  3. NYC Buyer’s Checklist

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    Here are our top tips before you buy.

    The checklist below will help you prepare for your home search and ensure you are able to find the perfect home. 

    • Evaluate your budget
      • Know what to spend for a down payment as well as monthly expenditures (i.e.; maintenance or common charges and real estate taxes, monthly mortgage payment, utilities, parking, etc)
    • Obtain mortgage pre-approval
      • You must know how much you can spend before you spend it. Condominium apartments require at least 10% down; cooperative apartments generally require at least 20% down. However, every building is different. 20% of Manhattan’s buildings are condominium buildings and the other 80% are cooperatives.
    • Select an attorney who specializes in New York City real estate
      • The buyer’s attorney does ‘due diligence’-reading minutes, financial statements of buildings etc.
    • Prioritize top needs
      • Space, light, views, building amenities, are all factors to keep in mind while making the time to view at open houses.
    • Identify the timeline for the move
      • Factors that can go into include but are not limited to: confirming the right moving team, taking time off of work, and making sure that your children are set to go to school in a new location. 
    • Explore different neighborhoods to identify your preferred needs 
      • Some of the top priorities when it comes to neighborhoods are the commute to work and the distinctive flare that each offers.
    • Research schools in the selected neighborhoods(s)
    • Evaluate access to transportation in the selected neighborhoods(s)
      • Again, each neighborhood can have an impact on daily commute, so you will want to make sure that it is manageable for you.
    • Work closely with your broker to gather supporting materials for your mortgage application and board package
      • Cooperative apartment buildings require board approval before a closing can take happen. Condominiums require an information packet to be completed before a closing can take place.
    • Once the apartment has been selected, review building financials with your broker and attorney.

    To learn more about the buying process in NYC, download our full guide here. You can also contact us with questions or if you would like to speak with our buying specialists.

  4. 4 Tips for Your Upcoming Board Interview

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    After months of searching and studying up on board rules, you have found your perfect co-op! It offers everything you had Handshake Imageon the checklist and the long hunt through NYC is officially over. However, there is one final hurdle to overcome – the board interview. This is the step of the buying process where you will meet the board and be asked a series of questions prior to final approval for tenancy. For many people, this can be a nerve wracking step in the process since you have come so far with bank approval, signed contracts, etc. To lighten the stress that this day can carry, we have provided a couple of key tips that we have gathered from experience of dealing with board approvals:

    • Be on time or a little bit early – punctuality is important and shows your care for the tenancy. It is always recommended to double check with your broker before attending to make sure you have everything you need as well as the correct time. You may even want to meet with your broker at a nearby location 15 minutes in advance to make sure that you are prompt.
    • Be prepped for personal questions – The board will likely want to get to know you so personal questions will likely arise. Some questions may related to previous job experiences, salary changes, frequency of recent moves and this is common in the process. However, you will want to avoid offering any personal information that is not asked for.
    • Prepare in advance if there will be more than one person with you – If you are going to be interviewed with someone else, plan out who will speak to financials, personal questions, etc. It will mitigate any confusion and show preparedness for the interview.
    • Don’t lie – This one is self-explanatory, but as quoted by Baltasar Gracian – “A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity”. It is important to be yourself as the board is looking to learn more about who their next neighbor may be.

    To learn more tips on handling your next board interview, download our full guide here. If you are planning to search for a co-op, contact us here and  one of our buyer specialists will gladly assist in your next steps. 

    Board Interview Full Guide >>

  5. How to Lead Generate and Create a Team of Specialists

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    Recently, our very own Russell Putterman was featured on the Spacio podcast – The Sales Pitch – designed for real estate professionals seeking to amp up lead generation, discover valuable strategies, the playbooks of top producing agents and business Sales Pitch Podcastcoaches. In episode 4, Russ explains why lead generation is one of the most important habits for any agent and how it builds momentum that makes everything else work. The full episode can be found here to listen, but some of the key takeaways that you will get from listening include:

    How have Russ and the team expanded their network of clients?

    There are a few different sources that we have noticed the highest success for expanding our network. This includes constant updates to the database, consistent open houses, hosting or attending networking events and being open to connecting with people that we may not know.

    How does our team perpetually differentiate ourselves within Manhattan?

    We do our best to run our model per the “Millionaire Real Estate Agent” by Gary Keller – The methodologies from this book allow us to have specialists such as team members on the buyer side, commercial and seller side. With this is in mind, we are able to direct leads in different directions through our systematic workflows in our internal CRM system and hold high accountability for team members to follow up with these leads.

    How to build rapport with someone you don’t know and what are Russ’ favorite conversation starters?

    An easy way to build rapport is to find commonalities and ask open ended questions that can continue to grow the conversation. Some examples of simple starter questions include – where are you moving from or how long have you been looking.

    How is the Focus team trained?

    This is a two fold answer – The team is offered training through the Keller Williams NYC market center. Team members are advised to attend training at least once a week and the market center offers trainings almost daily. We also offer team level training – everyone has a weekly consulting and reporting meeting to goal setting, finding what they are looking to achieve. The team also offers the component of hands-on training. This would include hosting open houses and taking buyers on tours – agents who have more experience are also available to provide leadership and guidance along the way.

    What is Focus’ system for following up?

    This all truthfully depends on type of contact. As mentioned previously, we segment contacts by specialist but we also segment those who have been “met” vs. “not met”. For those who have been met, we set a goal of reaching out 30 – 40 times per year through the phone, email, mailers and events. For those who have not been met, we often start with more frequent touches and then decide after a certain amount of weeks how to categorize.

    How can agents up their sales game?

    The key is LEAD GEN – make sure you track in your CRM or spreadsheet for every communication that you have with people – the follow up is just as important if not more important that getting the initial lead.

    To listen to the full podcast which includes more information on average conversion rates and channels used to nurture leads, click here. If you are interested in learning more about our team, contact us today or text us (347.974.4079).

  6. Determine Your Renting Wants and Needs

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    The process of rentiRentals in NYCng an apartment in NYC is unlike anything else in the world. Often times, there is limited inventory and strict requirements that produce a competitive and face-paced environment. Being prepared can make all of the difference in locking down your apartment or falling flat and the first step is determining what exactly you are looking for.

    It is important to identify your wants and needs as you will be able to fine-tune your search even further instead of getting overwhelmed by options and the fast turnaround. A strong place to start is by identifying the following:

    • Your Price Range – You should have a minimum and maximum in mind so that you could plan budget appropriately and also keep utilities in mind for cost. If you are living with roommates, it is also important to make sure that everyone is on the same page for the min and max budget.
    • Location – In NYC, your defined neighborhood could make all of the different in what you pay for rent. Make sure that you are comfortable with the cost of the neighborhood you are picking and could of course envision yourself living there for at least one year.
    • Amenities – Decide what your must-haves vs. nice-to-haves are before the search. This will help to reduce the stress since you will be able to better weigh pros and cons of each place you are looking into.

    As a next step, you will also want to consider working with a licensed real estate professional as they will be able to do the heavy lifting of searching the market, making sure that showings are scheduled for you and can also assist with weighing the pros and cons of each unit. A professional could also help you to find the unicorn quickly as this is their primary focus and they know the neighborhoods/price ranges associated.

    At Focus Real Estate, our rental specialists have a deep understanding of the market and can quickly secure appointments in this competitive market. For more information or if you are looking to rent in the near future, contact us at info@focusreg.com or text us at 347.974.4079.

    Download our full guide to renting in NYC >>

  7. Our Top 6 Takeaways from this Year’s Mega Camp

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    Hosted by Keller Williams, Mega Camp is where top-producing real estate professionals go to connect with esteemed leaders, learn groundbreaking strategies and trends to make business successful. This year, a couple of our own team members were able to attend in Austin, TX. Through the week-long seminars and networking opportunities, we have gathered the team’s top takeaways from this year’s event:

    In Referral Business, Trust is Everything – In day one of Mega Camp, Ruthy Taylor in Tacoma, WA said that she has built her business around referrals. “The database and your relationship to it is the heart of your business.” Ruthy went on to also discuss the importance of knowing more than just surface level information about your clients – “When you look someone in the eye, you know their kids’ names, that’s invaluable. We’ve made it our mission to hold events to get face-to-face with our clients.”

    There Should Be Differences in the Way to Treat Database – James Hern from Kansas City was on the panel and gave advice for making the most of a database. The biggest takeaway being that segmentation should be hyperlocal. “Be your database’s Angie’s List in any facet of their life. If they lost their job, be their advocate.” Michael Hern also from Kansas City says to make your business a VIP experience through events and client appreciation.

    Rapport is Key for Your FSBO Strategy – Marc Fox from Portland mentioned “We need to put on the hat that they’re wearing.” And, his approach isn’t ‘salesy’ – his goal is to build rapport and establish his expertise. Areas of opportunity include asking questions about understanding the FSBOs goals to be able to sell effectively (ex: finding out about importance of price drop or adjusting the marketing plan).

    The Power of Texting – Richard Schulman offered insights to the simplicity of texting and how this simple relationship building tool could lead to major opportunities. A simple text that reads “Hey, [client’s name], do you want to grab coffee next week?” The goal is to just spend 20 minutes or so catching up a client, answering their questions, and reminding them about their expertise.This can also be beneficial for contacts that you have lost touch with overtime.

    This is a value-based business. Give before you receive.” – Gary Keller

    Emerging Technologies are Coming Through Command Labs – On day two of the event, KW Labs took the stage to explain some of the groundbreaking technologies coming to the industry to continuously improve the consumer experience.

    Focus Real Estate is a team at Keller Williams Realty International who leverages the network of over 180,000 agents, in over 800 offices, in 34 countries worldwide. For more information about our team, contact a member of our team today.

  8. Mega Panel Recap: Top 5 Takeaways

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    On July 27th, our very own Russ Putterman was part of the 500 Million Dollar Panel in Asbury Park. This Mega Camp event was open to all agencies and discussed tips for team building, lead generation tactics, preparing a pipeline and preparing for the shifting market.

    Alongside Russ were the following panel members:

    In this two hour event, everyone had a chance to explain their business processes and what has gotten them to their current level of success. A list of the top takeaways include:

    1. Lead Generation Successes – Every single team had a different approach to processes that work well for their lead gen. The most talked about tactics included:

    • Heavy OSA lead generation
    • Open Houses
    • Getting into the digital space
    • Calling FSBOs
    • Circle Prospecting
    • Scheduled timeframe to hit a certain amount of leads
    • Door-knocking

    One crucial item that was brought up was to also evaluate performance every couple of months to see what lead gen sources are performing best and what could be removed from strategy.

    2. Team Engagement – The panel offered some ideas for how to get teams engaged and also hold everyone accountable for their roles. At Focus, we have a weekly meeting to go through the “411” – This is a report that reviews the staff’s big yearly goal that is wider scale, followed by a monthly goal that will help to achieve the year long goal and then smaller goals for the week that will help to reach the month goal. Other approaches on the panel consisted of coaching to assist with goal setting, timely structure for prospecting, accountability meetings to track patterns throughout the week and role play practice.

    3. Importance of Your Database – When asked the question – “How important is your database to your business”, the answer was unanimous – very important. Real estate is a relationship building business and teams must be utilizing it to maximize opportunities with leads. In this digital age, it is especially important to segment leads and offer different opportunities. For example, if there is a VIP client list, the contacts here may require a heavier amount of communication MOM. 

    4. How to re-engage a database that hasn’t been touched in a while – Every once in a while, life can escape us and constant contact engagement can be put on the back-burner. If this is the case, it is recommended to call your past clients, apologize that  you haven’t been in touch in a while, let them know that you are still in real estate and see if you could be of any assistance. With an unengaged database, sharing market updates, community news, interest rates, etc. can also help to get leads more engaged. The goal is to give value to get value back.

    5. Market Shifts – As far as NYC real estate goes, we have been in a buyer’s market that started about 60 – 90 days ago. Trading is still occurring, but buyers have leverage.

    More information on each panelists’ successes and team strategies can be found in the video below.

    Focus Real Estate Group was founded in 2010 and centers around commercial and residential listings in NYC and Long Island. To learn more about working together, contact us today.