LRE® Blog

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November 19, 2014

Where the Heart is

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty As I wing my way east across the country for the third time this month, I look forward to getting home. What a powerful concept home is! For me, a fifth generation New Yorker who loves everything the city has to offer, home denotes both the specific apartment in which I live and the city itself. More broadly, it also embraces the rolling hills of Westchester County, where I spent my childhood summers and week-ends at my grandmother's house, up through the northwest corner of Connecticut where I spend my week-ends now. It's my landscape and I feel at home in it, a member of the herd on familiar ground.

November 14, 2014

Small is Beautiful

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty To judge from reports in the press, New York is a city filled with foreign billionaires. They plunk down $30, $40, or $50 million to buy crash pads in which they will likely reside no more than 45 days each year. There is no denying that market does exist, but it represents a tiny fraction of the real life transactions which are consummated each year. While the mega-market has slowed, both for condominiums and co-ops, properties under $2 million remain both sought after and fought over. 4.5 and 5 room apartments are THE hot commodity of 2014!

November 5, 2014

First Time

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty My son and daughter in law are contemplating the purchase of a house in Boulder, Colorado. Involving myself (slightly) in their search has reminded me of advice I gave to first time home buyers at an earlier point in my career (nowadays I don't interact much with first timers.)  These buyers are almost always nervous: worried about value and fearful of making a mistake. Here's what I used to say, which holds just as true now as it did 20 years ago:

October 27, 2014

How Technology Redefined Us

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty Technology has revolutionized  the residential real estate business. I was an agent in the day of file cards, when each listing was represented by a hand-typed 3 X 5 card, sorted by address and lodged in trays which we flipped through when doing a search. The early computers, which came in during the mid-1980s, were actually MORE laborious to use than the cards, but we knew it was the wave of the future so we persevered, each of us with a giant monitor on our desk and a manual as thick as a phone book instructing us on how to use the system we had acquired. Gradually the programs improved, the system speed accelerated, the Internet entered the picture, and thirty years later we find ourselves micro-processed, frustrated if seconds pass before all the information we are seeking appears on the screen.

October 14, 2014

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty It’s always fun to hobnob with your peers. This past week I attended the International Luxury Real Estate Conference held by luxuryrealestate.com in Boston. I was delighted to have been asked to present on “Negotiating” and as part of a panel discussing Social Media (my topic was blogging!) Most of all, however, listening to colleagues from across the world defining our role in the transaction fascinates me.

February 26, 2014

Why Whisper?

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty Has the internet ushered in a golden age of transparency for real estate sales? Today, prospective buyers and sellers have access to a variety of websites providing the same information which was formerly the exclusive purview of real estate agents. I assumed that most consumers, as well as real estate practitioners, accepted that this greater access to information has been a good thing for everyone. So why is the pendulum moving, gradually but clearly, in the other direction? Welcome to the world of the “whisper” listing.

February 20, 2014

Who’s On First?

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty In October of last year, my daughter came to do strategic work at Warburg. She has never been, and may never be, a real estate broker as I am. But she is a brilliant strategist with an MBA from Columbia, and she learned an enormous amount about process as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, where she worked for three and a half years (which is the equivalent of about six years in a normal 9-6 job!) I had always hoped to have one or both of my kids work with me, so to me this seemed like a great idea. And it is! Not only do I get to see her highly honed skill set in action, but I feel that she, for the first time, really understands what I do all day, and have been doing for most of her life.

February 13, 2014

Beginning at the End

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty Why do we so often start with the conclusion? Today, at a retreat for a non-profit Board I chair, we had to struggle throughout the day with the danger of believing we already knew the answer and then framing the questions accordingly. I see this often in my professional real estate life as well. And sometimes I am certainly guilty of it myself.

February 10, 2014

An Idealist Meditates on the State of the Union

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty Income inequality is as old as income. It will always exist, since people aspire to different things, which they pursue with differing levels of ability. In the real estate business in New York, we work with the most fortunate members of our economic society. The price points even of smaller units rule out home ownership in Manhattan and its close environs for any but the wealthy or well compensated. This IS a problem, for both our city’s economic and moral future, and this problem requires a solution.

January 29, 2014

What Technology Can’t Do For Us

Courtesy of Frederick Peters, President of Warburg Realty Every year, new real estate companies appear on the New York scene. Often they fail. One way or another, they tell us in their promotional materials, they are going to revolutionize the industry. First Foxton’s came in with their ultra-reduced commission model. They could not get traction in either the broker or the exclusive marketplaces: good agents did not want to go to work for them and so they were unable to list good properties. Soon they were gone. Then there was a wave of firms whose differentiating allure was a radical and pumped up approach to marketing. While mostly these firms and their CEOs were savvier, they too did not fundamentally alter the marketplace (although seller expectations about marketing have become more sophisticated in recent years.) Some of these firms are still around, some not. For many, it has been easier to penetrate the rental than the sales market, rentals being much more transient and less relationship-focused.
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