The information gap
Probably this week, more than ever, I realised that there is a lot of information clients need to be getting, but that it is hard to disseminate, from online banking to CBI regulations to information about POAs and lawyer selection to the valuations process to how the deposit and closing process works. As it is actually a wealth of information, I think we will create a large FAQ database. I think we will just start off with ‘Online Banking’ and ‘Closing costs and deposit process’. As our closing process is a bit unique (I put down deposits on maybe up to 50% of our deals), it would be good to lay out how that all works.
Staff + Sales
This week, we hired two university educated design students to help Angie with the renovation projects. For renovation projects, if clients want extra detail we can do the 3D projects for them in-house, so it will be more cost-effective.
With these 2 new additions we now have 8 full time employees plus countless construction workers who form the core of the team. Arman (The Tiger) has also joined the team in a free-lance, but important role; giving 1 to 1 service for clients in buying position, or in imminent buying position.
How that usually works is I set up a whatsapp group with Arman + the client and links are shared, views are shared, calls are made (when needed) and I am in the loop and often jump in with comments. When we are in the closing position, either myself, Selin or Arman handles the negotiation. I view the property before we finally sign on. If you want to start such a 1 to 1 service, contact Selin and she will arrange. I might have 1 more individual to assist with that if demand is strong. I think it is very useful for clients in that position, so do not be shy if you fit in that category.
With our new capacity, we should be able to source many more property options, as the 2 new hires will also be sellers. Basically, everyone on staff helps with sales; from Selin to Arman to Angelina.
Regarding sales, they remain brisk. I estimate 4-5 per week, on deals usually starting at 400.000 and going up to 3 million Try. This month was heavy for renovation starts; 7.SD and impact on marketAs Lira slumped to 9.26, many deals in progress felt some degree of stress, particularly a few where we had to extend closing due to POA delays or other paper work delays. Also, the 10 % slide in less than 3 weeks caused some chaos for CBI buyers, with a few buyers slipping under the 250K mark when they had a comfortable cushion just a fortnight ago. I suppose it is a good thing, but it requires dexterity on our part to come up with solutions.
As for the sellers, no one has returned us our deposits yet, so that is good. However, our negotiation power is severely diminished. Given the fact that we are already inherently targeting good value properties, the chances of getting much discount, do not look good. In the past, we were always able to negotiate, but now it is much harder. Often we are happy to secure the properties at near asking price. Many look to be quite nicely discounted for hard currency buyers and are way cheaper than they were even 8 years ago.
MINT group purchase project:
We completed the first sales on Friday and should finalise the remaining sales this week and next (we still have to wait for several POAs to be issued. We received great news: the sales were exempt from Stamp Duty as the units fall under the ‘Urban Regeneration’ program. Add 2% savings to the 16% off list price that we got and then also consider USD rise and we are looking at an impact of anywhere from 20-25% less. Mint has given us two more units on very decent floors, so any last minute buyers can still jump in and benefit from the discount. Inquire with Selin for more info.
One to one zoom sessions
Last week was a heavy week on all fronts and I had to cancel a few zoom sessions. To compensate, this week, I will host 8 one to one sessions of 30 minutes as well as the usual 3 semi-private sessions (which are great if you just have general questions). Times will be announced tomorrow, Monday.
I feel like I could write forever today, but as always, it is a race against time. But it would be amiss if I didn’t pass on this observation. I was sitting there in our lovely apartment, with stunning views, renovated by my wife Angie, being tenanted by my CEO Terry (the lowest paid in history haha), and surrounded by so many great people with a common purpose and vision. Apart from building my business back from the ashes of post-coup 2016, I realised that I had a part in building a community that features such an interesting mix of maniacally driven and delightful people. All real characters; mostly with awesome senses of humour. I will not give names, as they are too numerous to list. I don’t want to dip into self-aggrandisement, but I will say that I felt a surge of pride. Thank you, again.
I also hit the group limit of 256 for a Whatsapp channel participant. I didn’t even know that existed. Thank you to Andreas, the brainchild (er…father) of Istanbul Insights, the best marketing tool ever.
I need some feedback tonight on how to better utilise the channels. ‘In Country’ is pleasantly chaotic and perhaps ‘Insights’ is perhaps too reserved.
For people who are new to this, these are the functions of the channels:
Insights is a 1 way, non-interactive channel where I distribute quite randomly about 1 property video per day. It gives a snapshot of what is available.
The country’s main function is to showcase the properties that we view every day. There will be some ‘dogs’ as we often view them for first time. People can jump in, and often do, to make comments on the properties. I also make regular comments. If you are an imminent buyer, you should probably be in this group. There is also a lot of other traffic as people discuss any issue under the sun, but mostly property, or tangentially, Istanbul-related developments. Sometimes, it’s just to share a laugh. I love it, but feel we may need to make some changes in how these groups function. Open to feedback.
Tiger’s eye (comments from the field by Arman)
Due to the exchange rate rıght now market ıs almost ın favour of sellers not much negotiation works and as sellers are receiıng offers everytıme they tend to resıst on theır initial sellıng prıce leavıng the market or addıng tax and sales expenses on to the seller sıde addıng to thıs tıme zone dıfferences and avaılabılıty of clıents, lawyers makes communıcatıon more tıme-consumıng and diffıcult. Closıng seems to be harder than 3 months ago as they have a tradıtıon of linking the value to USD so negotiation works the opposıte sometımes and seller uses these breaks we need for communıcatıon wıth clıent and lawyers as an opportunıty to add condıtıons or change theır mınds.
Editor’s Note: I like speed in closing. Hit them with a reasonable offer and push them to accept a deposit. Give them less time to think it over.
Property links distributed during weekly zoom session