Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sun-tsu: ''Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer'

With all of the developer based or developer catered companies on the market and with such strong exposure to the consumer population by some other companies, you might be asking yourself 'Why KTRE?' Despite a somewhat limited time in the industry, I have prided myself on my ability to learn and adapt as quickly as possible to current market conditions and competition on the market. This has allowed my to strive successfully in an ever more competitive market especially with all of the blossoming companies on the market.

The competitors:
Senate Realty
Urban Land Company
Urban Pace
Ken Taylor
McWilliams Ballard

My impressions based on client feedback and corporate interaction!
Strengths: Great company, wonderful brokers and the right core branding strategy with extremely aggressive exposure for clients as well as a website that has been brilliantly set up to make consumers feel like has many more clients than they actually do, driving up inquiries by potential buyers for greater business leads for in-house staff. seems to always be the first mover in the development arena. (at this point you are probably asking yourself 'whats wrong with them then?) Well heres where it seems like faults...on my two interactions with them on different projects and with different members (one of which was with the broker) I was given a very poor service. Let me explain....on one of their projects, by Macy Development, I was the selling agent on one of their units. At first everything was wonderful, they did a great job marketing the building and staging a unit. My clients were ecstatic the moment they walked in the model and immediately after our first day showing property, were ready to write an offer. far so good. After days of painstaking negotiations with their agent over a measley $2000 we came to terms and ratified. They used a mortgage lender, Leila Search, from First Madison Mortgage, whom I recommended & is a personal favorite of mine. Everything was perfect. Three weeks later we went to settlement and my clients were ecstatic.

A week goes by and my client moves in only to find out that Macy Dev had destroyed a Verizon router box on the property and my client was unable to get service because Verizon claimed that they wouldnt service the entire block until Macy paid for the box and Macy's claim was that there was no box. To this day I dont have proof either way but what killed me was the agents reaction to the situation..."its not my problem now that we've settled, contact the developer." What happened to commitment to service?!?!?!?!

On another development, the Metropole, a wonderful building caddy-corner to my building with incredible finishes and wonderful craftsmanship, I was working with a client interested in several of their units. Thats right, several! My clients needs are 3000+ sq ft, two car parking, outdoor living space etc. I thought I had found it. The Metropole has three units, 612, 613, and 614, priced between 650k and 750k, that my clients had the interest in combining and turning into one spectacular unit according to their needs. Well one afternoon they had the afternoon off and decide to stop in the sales office to get some information about the building. That afternoon we spoke and to my surprise they told me that didnt seem like they were willing to accomodate any requests of my clients whatsoever regarding information about the three units. So I figured maybe they were asking the wrong questions and decide to go in for myself. Well, they were spot-on. I requested architects plans for the three units and was told I would receive them in a timely bases. A week goes by. Nothing. I call and ask. Another week goes by. I stop by and ask. Nothing. Two more weeks go by and still nothing. I go in and leave a note. SIX weeks after my first approach and my sixth time in the sales office did someone FINALLY go in and get the plans for me. What kills me even more is that my clients may have been willing to do all of the work themselves out of pocket and all we wanted were the plans.
Enough complaining....its not for me!

Urban Land Company.
A great little company with a very niche market stemming from work in the Ledroit Park & Eckington area. An area that my associate Melanie Moses happens to specialize in as well. Well the company is headed by a gentleman by the name Girard who, from my impression, has his company well under wraps and has done quite a job exposing himself to the market. My issue is that it seems to be the Girard show and their commitment towards developers is much less catered than I am hoping to offer my clients allowing them to keep me as hands-on & as hands-off as they need me to be. So where's the room for the aspiring agent? I dont know if there is any.

Senate Realty:
Great company, solid reputation, great exposure. A little bit more into the lower priced developments than I would like to be.

McWilliams Ballard:
Great company, wonderful reputation. I think they may be a little pompous for me though. I havent spoken with them much but my impression is that they are already too big to offer the catered services to their clients & I dont know how influential the agents are at this point to their developers. There seems to be a disconnect between the agents and their broker.

Urban Pace:
Wonderful company, solid foundation and wonderful reputation. I dont know what else there is to say. They are very well established, work with very high-end clientele but where is the room for growth. They may have maxed out their ability for dynamicity at this point.

YAY!!!! Ken's reputation is solid, they have a wonderful reputation in the industry and his track record is impeccable. The company, partially directed by Vice President of the company, Tomas Guirola, has started its treck towards stardom. Ken is the brainchild (or should I say brainman) with 25 years experience, he is always available and has a very similar core set of values that I know I bring to the industry. Tomas is aggressive and HUNGRY, just like I am. They have their foot in the door with developers but nobody directing the show. This is where I come in! There seemed to be a position open in the company for developer liason, working on the day-to-day activities with the developers themselves that Tomas had been handling previously. Well, here I am today, and I couldnt be more confident of my choice. Ken and Tomas have been wonderfully supportive and we are already on our way to three new developments including the potential for two-nine million dollar projects in DC and an additional one in Maryland. Its on!

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