A Conversation with Dan Geller, President of the Geller Group, Keller Williams NYC, New York City
Are You Considering Buying or Selling in New York City?
When given the privilege of writing this guest piece for “Diaries of a Mad Mortgage Broker” I was given a set of guidelines for the column. As a think-out-of-the-box real estate agent and head of one of the most full service residential real estate teams in New York City I decided to do what I always do: break the rules in order to deliver for my clients, or in this case the reading audience.
The Greatest Deal Ever Made
I was asked to share a brief history of my marketplace. Well, my marketplace is the island of Manhattan, so storied and rich in history that it would take years in order to convey the depth and breadth of its magnitude. However, I will share a little something that you’ve already heard but isn’t completely accurate. Legend has it that the Dutch sold Manhattan Island for $24 plus some beads and possibly a giveback of a pair of wooden shoes and a few tulips. What most people don’t know is that the dollar had not yet been created, so $24 is the valuation assigned by historians. And it is the greatest real estate deal in history – at least for the buyers. Had I been the buyer’s agent I would have negotiated the price under $20. And why not? There were no other bidders!
Regardless, I would have earned 72 cents assuming there was a seller’s agent with whom I would have had to split the 6% commission with. Then there would have been the cost of renting a canoe to row my buyers around the island to view the property, possibly a lunch or two (undoubtedly something served with Hollandaise sauce), and then the closing gift. I would have netted approximately 67 cents. Not bad for the deal of the millennium.
Can You Profit?
With what is perceived as the most valuable real estate in the US, does this mean that you can’t make a great deal?Absolutely not. There has never been a better time to buy or sell in New York City. But that’s what all real estate brokers are supposed to say. Now, I’m going to prove it.
I’ve chosen the Upper East Side as an example.But if I were to randomly select any other submarket of New York City the results would be virtually identical. The chart below (Source: Urban Digs) shows something very interesting. Over the past two years the number of contracts signed versus apartments on the market follows each other at nearly identical paces. In other words whatever is put on the market will in all likelihood sell provided it is correctly priced and properly marketed.
Back to our graph: if we look closer we see something even more interesting. As of April 24, 2012 there were more contracts being signed than there were apartments available. How is this possible? The answer is simple: the selling market is trying to keep up with the buying demand, creating a seller’s market. However, for the first time in years sellers are being reasonable with their pricing strategies forcing the buying market to flock in droves. If you’d like to see for yourself feel free to visit one of the open houses the Geller Group hosts. You won’t believe the crowds. And if you are one of the Geller Group’s buyer clients you will experience the competition faced when trying to get your offer accepted over other competitive offers (a challenge I’m proud to say my team is expert at overcoming).
So now we’ve shared a cute story with the hope of engaging you, showed a graph that’s supposed to educate you, and even analyzed the data in order to convert you into a buyer or seller. In other words, I’ve told you nothing worthwhile that anyone else couldn’t convey. Yet.
To truly understand what all this means you have to look behind the curtain that sits behind the chart. Behind that curtain lays the entire fiscal structure of the New York City real estate economy, which is different from any other in the US. Why? Because New York City real estate always appreciates. Period. And behind that curtain rests the mortgage infrastructure, which is nothing more than interest rates versus consumer credit worthiness. If you have great credit you are seeing the lowest interest rates in history. That means your buying power is the greatest it’s ever been, giving you the ability to buy more for less. And if you are a seller your buying audience’s dollars are able to stretch a little bit more than ever before. However, these interest rates will fluctuate over time, which gives you a choice. Do you buy now while you have more buying power? Sell now with greater return and use that money to create greater investments yielding even higher returns? Or do you wait and chance having the opposite occur? Personally, I’ve allowed too many opportunities to slip through my hands over the years and am not willing to let it happen ever again. And I certainly won’t let it happen to you. My job is to protect your assets and the ones you will eventually own.
Mom Is Always Right
When I was a child and would try to find a toy that I lost my mother always uttered those words that a young boy hated hearing. “Look with your eyes, not with your hands,” mother would say. I have to admit –especially being the father of twins, that mom was right. And the same applies today. All one needs to do is open their eyes and they will see all the evidence they need to make a decision. The City of New York is planning for the future growth of Manhattan. Construction of the Second Avenue subway is well underway, creating a vehicle to move more East Siders more efficiently. The Long Island Rail Road is building a hub to move more people to Midtown East. Other trains are moving farther west to accommodate the growing West Side in Midtown. And like magic the Financial District has become one of the chicest places in town to call home seeing incredible construction and conversion projects at every turn. Furthermore, if you like “Green” then consider downtown, home to the greenest high-rise apartment ever built. Can you imagine the value of homes ten years from now that you were savvy enough to purchase today?
The Broker With the Most Toys Causes His Client to Win
Being a real estate professional is far different in today’s fast-paced market with so many time conscious buyers and sellers. For instance, the Geller Group employs many different proprietary tools to make the buying and selling experience smoother for clients. If you are a buyer we employ an Internet based platform called Buyfolio, an exclusive service that streamlines the home selection process for the buyer. The Geller Group and the client virtually select potential homes through an interactive platform that effectively narrows the home search parameters resulting in saving time, money, and getting the client to the finish line ahead of the competition. In Buyfolio you will see descriptions, floor plans, photos, maps, etc. We (buyer and agent) communicate through Buyfolio, adding comments to each listing. Our clients are crazy about this tool. In a survey we learned that buyers find this the most effective way of achieving their goals in the shortest time possible.
If you are a seller the technology available to you makes selling your home a much quicker process. The Geller Group uses a platform that electronically qualifies buyers the moment they step foot in your home, whether for an open house or private showing. Then, the program filters the [potential] buyer into a number of categories and this information is conveyed electronically to the seller along with comments that help us adjust expectations (if needed) based on the feedback received. In many cases our group knows more about a buyer than the agent representing them. And remember, he or she with the most information ultimately makes the best deal.
The Geller Group is part of Keller Williams, the nation’s second largest and most successful real estate brand. We employ numerous value added services available nowhere else making our clients fans for life, whether celebrity, international businessperson, or newcomer to the world of New York City home ownership. All real time statistical data the Geller Group provides to its clients through the Urban Digs platform is 99% accurate, which is 18% more reliable than competing firms’ data.
If you are considering buying or selling an apartment in NYC, whether on the Upper East Side, trendy Chelsea, or in a Philippe Starck full-amenities masterpiece in the Financial District, give the Geller Group a call and our team of specialists will guide you every step of the way including after the deal is completed. Our exclusive vendors include award winning architects, interior designers, security consultants, home media design and implementation specialists, contractors, movers, school placement consultants, dog walkers, and board package preparation specialists. The Geller Group is here to make your life easier. That’s our purpose and the goal we strive for with every single client, every single day regardless of budget. So if you are looking for that quaint studio, the perfect two bedroom with exquisite outdoor space, or a three bedroom with a spa-like vanity room and peaceful, sun-drenched southern exposures, or a prestigious townhouse or brownstone the Geller Group is here to help you.
Contact Dan Geller
Direct: (646) 737-9665
425 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022