Low-cost buyer’s agent real estate agency opening in Manhattan
Apr 2011 19

Crackerjack real estate broker and all-around nice guy Noah Rosenblatt continues to break the mold, unveiling his newest service, Flat Fee Consulting for Manhattan Buyers.

He explains the concept on the Urban Digs website:

I am going live this week with what I think is an innovative new service for Manhattan buyers out there who do not want to take on a full buyers broker. A flat fee consult basically consists of all the ‘meaty’ parts of a buyer broker’s job without the buyer broker. As the buyer, you will submit the offer directly with the listing agent while hiring me as a third party consultant for the initial property valuation, comps analysis, bidding strategy, negotiating strategy, etc.. The centerpiece of this new service is a new tool I just developed called The Digs Report. Let me formally introduce it this new concept today.

Offering limited services to buyers in exchange for a discounted fee makes a lot of sense … for a specific type of buyer. Most buyers want the “complete package” when it comes to their agents. Advice, consultation, support, someone to drive them around … etc., etc., etc.

Some people, however, feel they can do all the work themselves. Or, they’ve already done the work, perhaps by going to open houses and looking at properties on their own. Maybe they’ve already found the home of their dreams, but now they need data, data from an unbiased source. The only way to do that is to pay an expert.

Massachusetts does allow agents to offer a similar level of service. It’s called a Facilitator. This agent provides a buyer with comparative market analyses, can give the buyer listing sheets, etc., but cannot offer advice on how much to offer to buy or negotiating strategies. The agent owes no “loyalty” to either buyer or seller. The facilitator is paid at closing, from the proceeds of the sale. In theory it works, but I’ve never encountered anyone who has actually used a facilitator. And, there is still the risk of threats of “bias” since the facilitator only gets paid if the buyer goes through with a sale.

An example of when this sort of arrangement might make sense is if you, as a buyer, visited the Boston Condo Blog and searched through the listings and decided, I can do all this work myself, all I need is a list of all the properties on the market. As a facilitator, I could provide you with all the data. If you find a property you wish to buy, you could then ask me to create a competitive market analysis of how the price of your property compares to other properties that have recently sold. Then, you’re on your own. If you go through with the sale, I get a commission, usually discounted from the traditional 2-2.5% that a buyer’s agent receives.

Many “traditional” agents fear this type of thing. Most people are afraid of change. Offering real estate services for a discounted fee chills many agents to the bone. Anything that puts their 2.5% commission at risk is evil. Flat-fee services such as those offered by Redfin and CondoDomain have rocked the real estate world. (They’ve yet to have shown they are viable business models, but that’s a different story.)

What do you think?

For more information, please contact me.

And, good luck, Noah!

Below, details (in summary) from the Urban Digs website. Check out his site for specifics.

The service will work like this:

1. Initial Property Valuation

The first step in the process is for me to verify that enough data exists to even run a comparable sales analysis with confidence. Generally, this means having enough sales data in the building that you wish to place an offer in.

Just like any buyer broker would require, I will need access to the target property to inspect: views/exposure, layout, condition, building amenities, etc..

2. Comparable Sales Analysis

What is the place you are about to bid on worth in today’s market?? The meat of the buyer brokers job!

As your outside consultant, I will perform a Comparable Sales analysis using in-building sales as well as current inventory trends for your local Manhattan submarket …

3. Devise a Bidding Strategy

The next step in the process is to discuss the analysis with you and devise an initial bidding strategy before submitting the offer …

4. Submit The Offer

Submitting your offer the right way helps your chances of getting the deal done immediately! At this stage we probably know where your initial offer will come in, which leaves writing up the offer letter the last job to do …

5. Negotiating Strategy

In this stage, I will act as your adviser behind the scenes as the seller counter’s your initial and updated offers.

5. Sign The Contract / Walk Away

a) continue and move forward with attorney phase
b) walk away

Simple. Clean. One-time service. Perfect for buyers that want to work on their own, yet feel they can use some assistance when the right property presents itself!

Multi-milion dollar sale recorded at W Boston Residences
Apr 2011 07

A penthouse condominium in the W Boston Residences sold yesterday, the 35th in the 123-unit mixed-use building.

The penthouse sold for $3.7 million. It has ~3,082 square feet of space, three bedrooms, three and ½-half baths and came with one parking space included in the price.

Warren Residential Group (us) represented the buyer on the sale.

It is the third penthouse sale in the building and, because of our skill at negotiating, the lowest-priced per square foot. The other two penthouses include PH4, which sold for $3,537,000, ~2,631 square feet at $1,344 per square foot, and PH3, which sold for $3.2 million, ~2,574 square feet at $1,243 per square foot.

The internal sales team at the W Boston Residences has now sold 28% of the units in the building but many remain of all sizes in all prices. A ~427 square foot, 19th-floor studio, for example, is listed for $445,000. An 18th floor two bedroom, with ~1,286 square feet of space is listed for $1,265,000.

Please contact me for more details on recent sales in the building and to discuss buying strategies.

Dog bark, dog park
Mar 2011 21

Happy Spring!!

Well, dogs can’t read, you know.

Massachusetts real estate salespersons requirements changing
Mar 2011 12

Big changes are scheduled to be implemented later this year that will make it harder for people to become licensed salespersons and brokers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

According to the Mass.gov website:

On or about August 11, 2010, the Legislature approved a statutory amendment to Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 112, Section 87SS. As of June 1, 2011, the Board shall require the following:

1. Prior to the salesperson examination, a candidate for a salesperson license shall complete forty (40) hours of pre-licensure salesperson education.

2. Prior to the broker examination, a salesperson shall complete forty (40) hours of pre-licensure broker education AND must affiliate with a broker for three (3) years for a broker license.

Currently, candidates for the salespersons license need take only 24 hours of classes and candidates for the brokers license need take another 24 hours of classes plus be affiliated with an existing brokerage for just one year.

So, much tighter requirements.

The bottom line is, if you’ve been even thinking of a career in real estate, now is the time to act. At least take the class (it’s usually about $150) and take / pass the test (another $100?). You can then decide whether or not to go forward. And, the license doesn’t expire for four years, so you can always change your mind in the future.

If you’re already a licensed salesperson, I recommend becoming a broker, now. While you may never end up going out on your own as an agent, you at least will have that option without fulfilling the onerous new requirements.

The state’s website has a list of Authorized Massachusetts’ Real Estate Schools

Come work for the most exciting Boston real estate agency
Jan 2011 23

Warren Residential Group is looking for real estate sales and leasing agents.

Opportunities exist for new and experienced agents.

Warren RE has two offices with plans to expand rapidly in the near future.

Our Back Bay office, on Newbury Street, is a full-service agency focused on both sales and rentals. Agents have the opportunity to work with clients in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. Demand is always strong and, with the high-prices of homes in the area, the opportunity to have a lucrative career is always available.

Our new office in Allston focuses on the rental market. Because of our strategic location on Commonwealth Ave, we are very popular with students attending nearby colleges including Boston University and Boston College. Agents have the ability to make a lot of money (if they’re willing to put in a lot of work).

To succeed you need to have a strong work ethic and a fun and friendly personality.

To learn more, please contact Warren Residential Group, today.

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