We’re Happy With Our Choice Of Barak Realty

In a previous post I bemoaned how hard it was to find a good realtor. Well, we picked one and are quite happy with our choice so far… We went with Barak Realty but it was more a matter of choosing agents rather than an agency. For starters they came in as a team of two agents (Maria McCallister and Francisco MenĂ©ndez) both of whom live in our coop, so they know the building better than anyone else. Francisco seemed to really understand our particular apartment, and Maria has a analytical side to her that compliments Francisco’s skills really well.

Another big selling point for us was that they were aggressive in what they planned to do, but not to the point of being tacky or inappropriate. Simply put, they were “hungry” for the listing. We had some other brokers give impressive presentations, but Francisco and Maria’s presentation beat them all – mostly through sheer hard work and preparation. Furthermore they were more creative in having marketing strategies that were particularly well targeted for our apartment. We figured if they worked that hard to get the listing they’d work equally hard to sell the the place once they had the listing. Some other agencies just wanted another listing to add to the long list of apartments they were selling – it wasn’t clear we’d get much special attention.

One agent from another firm even referred to Barak as “cockroaches”, but the comment backfired on them since what is better able to adapt after a disaster than a cockroach? Selling real estate in this market after the financial disasters of last year is much like a cockroach scrounging for food. It takes someone who thinks like a cockroach to really prosper in an environment like this.

Their first step was to have photographs, floorplans and virtual tours done by Digit-Tec. Here are the pics they took (click on the pics to see a larger version)…

Living Room - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3VFoyer/Living Room - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3V
Foyer - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3VFoyer - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3VKitchen - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3V
Master Bedroom - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3V
Master Bedroom - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3VMaster Bathroom - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3V
Second Bedroom / Office - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3V
Main Bathroom - 720 Fort Washington Ave., #3V

The pictures are good. The camera distorts things a bit since it had a fish eye lens, but that’s typical for real estate photos. The colors are a bit distorted in some of the pics – they made things lighter and brighter than they are, but again that’s typical for the industry. All in all good photos…

They also did virtual tours which are a bit freaky to watch since there’s so much distortion, but that’s true of all virtual tours. Personally I don’t like virtual tours, but other people like them…

But the real question is whether their efforts and plans are getting results. We had the first open house this past weekend and 21 people signed the signin sheet! That’s actually incredible – it was so far over expectations they ran out of listing sheets for people to take with them. They said about 5 were curious neighbors, but 3 seemed like real prospective buyers which is good as well. On top of that they’ve got a private showing set up for Thursday evening with one of their buyers, and another one late Friday afternoon with a client from another agency. Private showings are good since they tend to be more serious buyers.

A lot of brokers are taking this weekend off since it’s Passover and Easter. Instead Maria and Francisco are dedicated to doing open houses every weekend until there’s an accepted offer and this weekend they’re timing it so maybe they can get people coming from church (there’s one across the street from our building).

It’s been on the market less than a week, but we’re feeling if Maria and Francisco can’t sell it, no one can… They really are giving it their all… Hopefully we’ll get a good offer soon!

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