Real estate is a verb. Everything you do ends with "ing." It's buying, selling, renting, researching, previewing, showing, going, signing, moving and living. Then repeating.
Perhaps the most important ing-word as a real estate professional is educating. Educating our clients is how we make our living. This is where inventory is key. They want a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights, but the budget affords a studio on Flatbush. The process of showing (another ing-word) what's out there is how we work with our clients to get them the right home at the best possible price.
I recently worked with two college kids who wanted to be near school in Brooklyn Heights and who were on a college student budget. The parents wanted them to be in a safe neighborhood. The challenge: only a handful of available apartments in the area fit the bill, almost entirely studio apartments. Try to get two beds into 350 square feet, let alone a chair or desk. But we went looking.
In a week, we went from "must be in Brooklyn Heights, to let's look at Cobble Hill and Prospect Park for something a little larger." Turns out, by leaving the Heights, you get a bedroom with that studio apartment. The walk to school is several blocks further away, and subways not quite as immediately accessible, but still convenient. And to the parental concern, still a safe neighborhood. It took the education process to get us all on the same page with needs and price. In the end, working with another broker we got the kids into a rent stabilized apartment, below budget.
So, getting back to the ing-words of real estate. It really is a verb full of more active verbs. Serving our clients is all about ing-words.
Another favorite verb of mine is running. As a lifelong running enthusiast, I find the best way to canvas a neighborhood or city is to run it. Oh the sites you see on the side streets and shortcuts, highways and byways when traveling on foot. A transplant from San Francisco, the way I learned the neighborhoods, and continue to do so, of Brooklyn and Manhattan real estate is getting out there and putting in the miles in my running shoes. Yet again, it's all about educating – myself and my real estate clients.
On the Run...
What a difference a doorman makes. Stating the obvious here, but running around town I see my fair share of doormen and concierges. It strikes me that, in my opinion, there are only two categories: fantastic and asleep.
Not long ago, I had a memorable experience with a concierge in a new building in Brooklyn Heights. I walked in the front door and he immediately stood up to greet me. Another doorman in the Heights was out the door already holding it open for me by the time I finished crossing the street to approach the building. Very white glove, if you will.
On the flip side, another building in the neighborhood has concierges you can't even see when you arrive at the front desk. The counter is too high, their chair is too low, and the computer screen is too big. They are literally hidden. This then trickles down to service. When you are nearly invisible, why greet people when they come in? Very asleep, if you will.
My goal is to identify the level of first contact employees that exists between these two universes of fantastic and asleep. I know it's out there. I'll put on my running shoes and go find out.
Karen Monroe practices real estate at Coldwell Banker Bellmarc Realty at the Gramercy Chelsea office at 48 West 22nd Street. She lives and represents buyers, sellers and renters in Brooklyn Heights. Karen can be found walking her dogs and running the parks, paths, streets and bridges of Brooklyn and beyond. For feedback and all of your real estate needs, contact Karen at [email protected].