We are here with entrepreneur Sep Naikan. He is the founder of CondoBlackBook.com Miami’s ultra-local condo portal, and owner/broker of HB Roswell Realty, a leading boutique brokerage in Miami Fl.
Q: Sep, what were you doing before real estate? What led you down the path to this industry and particularly to Miami?
A: Prior to real estate I founded and owned Advansiv, a “fusion” online and print marketing I started with my partner when the world was still either print or online, not both. I also used my skillsets to found GourmetFoodStore.com, a leader in imported Gourmet Foods online. I was young and anxious to become a millionaire overnight, so I sold all my shares to my business partner and got into the world of real estate. I always loved the concept of real estate, and I figured that I would have an advantage by coming into the industry with my marketing and technology skills.
Q: Are their differences in selling luxury properties versus selling in the common market?
A: The luxury client is more sophisticated and experienced in buying and selling real estate, so we can get past all the little stuff and talk about the big picture of the lifestyle and financial future they are trying to create for themselves and how I can help. They also sense the experience and knowledge base I come with, so I can build a higher level of trust more quickly than with a less experienced client.
Q: What is a common problem you see your clients have in choosing the right property? And how do you help them to decide?
A: Real estate is all about compromise. The tough part is explaining that to someone with a $2M or $10M budget. The more money you have, the less you need to (and should) compromise, but nonetheless there is always a little compromise at any price point. My job is to understand that non-negotiable attributes, amenities, and lifestyle they are looking for and remind them which properties really hit the spot.
Q: Can you give me an example of how your experience in real estate has changed the priorities of a client from what they thought they wanted or needed in a property to what would truly fit their lives and make them happy?
A: A classic example that occurs a number of times a year is the snowbird that wants to come down and buy a waterfront single family home, which is a true south florida dream. But the reality is that owning and managing a single family home from afar is either expensive or a headache, or both. My first advice is to shift to condo living, which at first look appears to be expensive given the monthly condo fees. But if you analyze the carrying costs of a single family home, including homeowners insurance, landscaping pool, service, repairs and taxes, you quickly see that the monthly condo fees aren’t so expensive after all. And with a condo you get security and piece of mind that all will be fine when you lock your door and go to your primary home for the summer.
Q: What are the top three questions your clients ask while showing a property?
- How much are propery taxes and maintenance?
- How stable are the financials of the condominium (if they are shopping for condos)?
- How walkable is the property?(More and more people buy with the idea of not wanting to drive any more)
Q: If you were giving advice to a family member outside of Miami who was in the market for a property, what would you suggest they look for in an agent?
A: Work with an agent that you can truly connect with personally, since you are going to be spending a significant amount of time with them and would benefit from a longer term relationship with them. Additionally, make sure your agent has the experience in the type of property and neighborhood you want to buy in, so you can get real value out of your relationship with them. And, finally, make sure the agent brings a high level of energy so that you can have someone on your side that can keep pace to get things done for you when the moment demands it.
Sep Niakan is a leading real estate broker in Miami, Florida since 2005. He is the founder of CondoBlackBook.com, Miami’s ultra-local condo portal, and owner/broker of HB Roswell Realty, a leading boutique brokerage in Miami. His passion is sharing his knowledge with clients and agents to make the real estate world a better place.
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