Excerpts From: House Proud
By Candace Taylor
The Real Deal, March 01, 2011
In surveying the divisions within residential real estate,
it's helpful to borrow from the classic 1980s movie "The
Breakfast Club." The jock played by Emilio Estevez embodies
the stereotypical, aggressive broker in the fast-paced
world of new condos; popular, wealthy Molly Ringwald
represents socially connected co-op brokers; and until
recently, the more cerebral Anthony Michael Hall would
approximate the townhouse specialist -- operating in an
often separate world of facts and figures. ...
The niche is complex: Many New York townhouses are
landmarked, requiring extensive knowledge about zoning,
taxes and air rights. ...
Longtime townhouse broker Dexter Guerrieri, who founded the
West Side townhouse brokerage Vandenberg Inc. in 1989, said
he had "an old-fashioned apprentice relationship" with
Austin Haldenstein, founder of Austin Haldenstein Real
Estate, the "go-to company for townhouse sales" on the West
Side in the '60s, '70s and '80s.
But as prices have risen, more and more brokers have been
tempted to try out townhouse sales....As a result, the once
distinct line between townhouse and apartment brokers has
become increasingly blurred, especially as websites like
StreetEasy and PropertyShark make once obscure townhouse
information more widely available. ...
Preferring known quantities
Despite the growing competition, a handful of brokers still
do the majority of townhouse deals...When it comes to
townhouses, which tend to be much pricier than other types
of listings, established brokers have a considerable
advantage over newcomers to the field. ...
Plus, established brokers prefer to deal with each other
than to take a chance on someone who might jeopardize a
pricey, complex deal...In this economic climate in
particular, with fewer townhouse sales, clients are more
likely to choose experienced brokers than inexperienced
ones. According to Miller Samuel, there were 197 Manhattan
townhouse sales in 2010, down from the annual average of
246 over the past decade...
It's not impossible for a new broker to develop an
expertise in townhouses...Still, it's not easy. "You've got
to pay your dues and hang in there," Guerrieri said.