Welcome to the H5|Blog! It’s Monday and that means the start of a new week. Every Monday, we will be publishing an interview featuring a realtor or developer that inspires us to do what we do. The people that we work with play a huge role in keeping our energy level high and our desire to go above and beyond at its peak. To kick things off, we sat down with Scott Klein of Compass Real Estate last week and spoke to him about what inspires him to do what he does.
Scott Klein has been an agent in New York City for over twenty years. He runs the highly successful, award-winning Scott Klein Team at Compass, which prides itself on diversity and transparency. Thanks to Scott, his team conducts open biddings where multiple offers are shared with buyers and sellers alike to help level the playing field. He manages a group of agents that work primarily in Brooklyn, because as he says, “one of the reasons [he] likes mostly working in Brooklyn, is it’s a little more laid back.” And that’s one of the reasons we love working with Scott. He is a really good guy who does everything he can to keep people at the center of all that he does. Talking with him was one of the highlights of last week.
So I want to start off with talking about what inspires you to do what you do.
Well, it’s sort of funny, because I’m probably different from a lot of brokers. A lot of my colleagues love property. I don’t love property. I find it interesting. I like to see how people live. I like to see the design. But what I love most about working in real estate is the people aspect of it. I like bringing people together. I’m a people kind of person.
How long have you been working in real estate? And how long have you been using H5 to create your marketing assets?
About twenty years, primarily in Brooklyn. I manage a small group of ten people and I like the synergy of us working together. As for working with you guys, that’s a good question. Probably about six years now. I remember I was competing with two other firms for a listing of this loft in Brooklyn that was essentially just a big white box and Lars (H5’s CEO) was a big part of our getting the listing. You guys created an Augmented Reality for us. Potential buyers could use it to walk through the apartment with an iPhone or an iPad and see on their screens what this big white box of an apartment would look like when it was furnished and decorated. It was extraordinary! And this played a major role in selling that apartment for a very good price.
What tools do you find most useful doing what you do?
You always need good photos. Some of the parts of Brooklyn that I work in, you often see photographs of properties done with an iPhone that are so frightening that you would not believe someone thought using those images was a good idea. For example, back in October, I had a house in Dyker Heights which is a neighborhood where there are a lot of low commission brokers, and there were a fair number of houses at the same price point as a property I had in the area at the time. You guys created the assets for my listing, and I sold the property in two weeks. Many of the properties that I was competing against to sell in the neighborhood are still on the market, four months later.
I mean, buyers are sophisticated, so you have to ask yourself: Who would go to a house in the same area at the same price point with horrible pictures, with no floorplans, with nothing? No one, that’s who. My philosophy, and it’s worked pretty much throughout my entire career, is that you get one chance to make a first impression. And you should be putting out the highest quality assets possible. Good floor plans, good staging, good photos. You want to attract as many potential buyers to the property as you can. That’s how you get your seller the best buyer at the highest price. What I do is not rocket science. These are some really basic principles.
It sounds like you keep everything pretty simple. I imagine that’s refreshing for a lot of your clients. What anchors that simplicity for you? What are you keeping foremost in your mind when thinking about properties?
People. This goes back to what I was saying about inspiration. I keep people at the center. For instance, I had a listing in a small co-op, and for a small co-op, you really need good people. You want a buyer who wants to be a part of something, since, as an owner in a co-op, you do a lot of the work yourself. And in another example, when I was on the buyer side, the seller had raised three kids in a house they were selling and they really wanted to share that experience with whomever was going to be buying it. As long as you don’t discriminate against a protected class, you are allowed to sell your property to whomever you want, and they wanted to sell to a family. They weren’t focused only on the highest offer. So the people aspect of this is huge. Coming back to what I said earlier, the people involved are what excite me the most. The more people, the better.
What do you account for your ability to attract people to your listings?
Well, you guys. And I’m not just saying this because you’re interviewing me, but really H5 has contributed a great deal to my business. Listen, this past fall was a little slow for everyone, but in Dyker Heights alone, we had at least twenty people at our open house. That was due in large part to the marketing assets you guys created for us. The quality of H5’s photography is consistently high. I never have to worry about that. You guys just shot a duplex apartment for us in Greenpoint on Wednesday and the pictures came in yesterday (Thursday) and they are just spectacular.
That’s great to hear, because we love doing what we do. I don’t want to take up too much more of your time, so to wrap things up, one last question: what do you hope for in the future of real estate?
What do I hope for? Well, it’s sort of funny. I grew up here, and I’ve lived in New York for most of my life. I grew up in Queens, lived in Manhattan for a little while, and then came out to Brooklyn a good many years ago. I still get goosebumps when I take the D train over the Manhattan Bridge and look at the skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance. I find that though there are many places in the world that I truly adore, in a strange way, I appreciate New York now more than I ever have. I think the diversity, the energy, makes New York an extraordinary place. The key to New York’s vitality is its ability to house people of all backgrounds. So I hope to help New York maintain that ability. I hope New York remains a vital, creative, wonderful place, as I’ve experienced it my entire life.