A proper spell of winter weather in Istanbul, with back to back days of snow. Istanbul is uniquely beautiful while snow-capped…for about 24 hours. Then it turns into a chaotic mess, so let us hope it clears up this week.
As we have had a surge in incoming inquiries, I thought it might be a good idea to give an overview of how we operate.
In terms of property sales and management, we are a 6 person team. Generally, I vet all the properties that we sell and look for new opportunities wherever they may be. I am also often involved in the negotiations. If not me, then usually Selin. Selin also handles most of the procedures leading up to the sale; organizing deposits/contracts, ordering valuations, online banking procedures and follow up with the Land Registry and other municipal offices. At any one time, she is engaged with a handful of negotiations, so if you want to learn the general tenor of how that is going these days, you can reach out to her.
I also try to handle client intake as much as possible. I like to have 1 to 1 zoom sessions, but if that is not always possible we try to offer drop-ins, group sessions and semi-private.
What is needed from the client in this process?
1- Of course, we need as detailed as possible brief on your property needs. If you are not sure or have no idea, that is fine. Just let us know that.
2- We definitely need a time-line. If you are an online buyer, we also need to know that. If you are planning a viewing visit, please keep us updated on your travel plans.
3- You should also be added to one of the whatsapp groups.
4- Attending the weekly Sunday zoom sessions at 8PM Istanbul time is probably the most necessary step in getting connected to the system. It provides a great base of information and many of your questions will likely be answered there. In addition, there is an amazing cast of supporting and dazzling characters who frequently stop by. It is the best time of the week for me as well, where I feel I can connect with a lot of people efficiently. We usually have some sort of theme which stems from my weekly zoom notes (https://www.mybricksrealestate.com/category/keith-weekly-property-news/ ), followed up by a preview of a dozen or so properties. Finally, we have an open Q&A.
5- If you need one on one consultation, please contact me and we will arrange a zoom session. For the foreseeable future, we will be hosting informal drop in sessions over several hours on Thursdays, so you might want to make note of that.
6- We put out pretty regular videos of representative properties on the whatsapp channel. If you see something you like, just ask me for details.
7- If you are in Istanbul, you can join daily property tours. We try to tailor these for specific requests for clients, but it can also be useful to see all different kinds of properties to gain insight into the market.
8- We have CBI lawyers who can answer your CBI specific questions. I can provide contact details.
9- If you are planning a viewing trip, we suggest a minimum of 5 days.
10-We cannot source properties for every client, but we certainly try. It really is a collaborative effort and we rely on clear signals from you.
On the renovation side, Angelina has two full-time designer/architects and two full construction teams working on anywhere from 5-7 projects at any given time. Doing renovations on this scale is a very hard job anywhere in the world. You can see some sample projects on the link provided below.
We are working to revamp the website, as it is more or less useless in terms of actionable properties. The whatsapp experience is much more immediate in my opinion. The really good deals just do not stay around long enough to even make it to the website, so I am thinking how to deal with this. Also with the wild currency swings, prices there become outdated in a matter of weeks.
We have an office on 38 Baytar Ahmet St in the Meşrutiyet neighborhood, very close to Nişantaşi. In reality, we often meet with clients in cafes or hotels and are a pretty mobile operation.
We often have informal social gatherings and as the community of property owners grows, we also want to increase everyone’s opportunities to network and socialize. I think it will be a great Spring, with many owners returning and many new clients coming in. There is no better way to gain knowledge than to reach out to some of my past clients.
More and more, I feel the need for feedback from past clients on how to move forward. As you know, there have been many struggles and challenges in the past few months and we want to continue to operate transparently and fairly, while getting solid deals for our clients. We also need to figure out how to meet the immediate needs of the day.
Yet, in some ways, I have to come to terms with failure to source some properties for clients. It is very agitating. We have at least 10-20 people ready to pull the trigger at any given time, but sometimes I find myself back-pedalling, sitting on offers, not pushing them through to conclusion. I know I should be just bulldozing through them, but when I see some of the risks – currency shifts, making decisions for people buying remotely, general uncertainty related to what is going on in Turkey – I get a bit trigger-shy. And for people trying to get their CBIs done, I know this can be exasperating. Also add to it that we have had an inordinate amount of negotiations breaking down in the past months. And the real circuit-breaker, ‘Would I buy this myself?’ is the ultimate joy-killer and one which I often inject into any deal. I probably need to re-set that mindset, but it is to some extent hard-wired.
My tendency is more to defence these days; not how to maximize profit on a client investment, but rather what is the most likely path to avoid loss and the most likely path to attain a decent profit. It is pretty cautious, but still leaves many doors open. Buy in those neighborhoods that are beaten up badly in USD terms or buy safe haven properties. Those are the two options in a nutshell. It is all a bit paradoxical. I think any international property investor who does not have a foot in Istanbul should have their head examined. And then, on the other hand, I have this pessimistic streak in me.
As many of you know, when you come to my ‘shop’, I do not often actively try to sell you something. I want people to browse, to lean on me for an opinion or for some numbers, but to ultimately make their own choices. I often give hints about what I would buy if I had the capacity; a promising new build with sweeping views in Izmir, a fixer-upper in Bomonti, Mesrutiyet, Ingridstan, Kurtulus, etc, a low sqm price in Kagithane on a new-ish property. Maybe a place with a great view in Uskudar. I’m a bit cold on property in Beyoglu. Try finding a good deal there. Not easy. I like Beşiktaş, too, but it has become harder to pick up properties there.
Zeytinburnu has something to offer if you accept to invest in area out of the center. I think the Financial Center has been over-hyped and outlook is uncertain.
In the end, I suppose, it will either go north or south.
Now on to preview this week’s properties (Links shared in meeting).