Q: How far in advance of a purchase or sale should I start following the market and connect with a real estate broker?
My advice is to do your homework enough in advance that you’re not under pressure. Play the long game, seek guidance and do your research. In real estate, if you prepare slowly, you can act quickly.
A year before I bought my first apartment on the Upper East Side I had my eye on the real estate market. I would look at apartments for fun and read market reports. At the time, I didn’t even possess the financial ability to purchase — I was simply interested in real estate. Once I seriously began searching for an apartment, it only took a few days before I saw a listing in a price range I could afford. I ran over and made an offer on the spot. Had I not been following the market for a year, I would never have felt confident enough to purchase so promptly. People say I got lucky with my purchase, but life has taught me that, as Elmer Letterman said, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
One of the benefits of building a relationship with your real estate broker is that you create your own good luck through sharing experience and knowledge together. But don’t wait until the last minute to seek guidance: you should always have a relationship with a real estate broker whether you are looking to transact at the moment or not. That way, luck will be yours when the time is right.
— Michael Meier