David Kramer is a real estate agent at Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills. He was the agent for the buyer of the Spelling mansion and was ranked #15 in real estate agents nationwide by the Wall Street Journal. He answers questions for Yahoo! Shine about the best and worst times to sell and finding the right home for you.
"The most exciting sale I had," says Kramer, "was the sale of the Spelling mansion in Holmby Hills." He notes that it was an interesting real estate deal for him to make. "You had a lot of very powerful people and you're wedged in between them. And everyone needs to be happy because they have the money to do what they want, and you're the ping pong ball making sure that they are happy." He and his client were at the right place at the right time, he says, and Candy Spelling was ready to sell, simplify her life, and move on.
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He adds that the transaction was difficult but a lot of fun, noting that the new owners didn't really care about the specific rooms (like the doll rooms and the gift wrapping room). They wanted to make it their own--and they did.However, they did keep the bowling alley, which Kramer says has elements of a chic club. The 56,500 square foot house (not including the attic) was listed at $150 million, and he got it for his client, a 22-year-old heiress, at $85 million in 2011.
According to Kramer, "When you're dealing with the high end, I have an expression I always say. 'We're not in the need business, we're in the want business.'" He has clients tell him what they want, not what they need."Everything goes. And we're in the business to find it for them."
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THE RIGHT HOME FOR YOU
Kramer says that people often have a dream home scenario in their head, but a lot of times it doesn't exist. "What I tell people to do is put together a list of what you need and what you want and what you expect in a home, and then don't look for a house. Just say, I'm going to look at homes, but I'm not going to look for a home. And get an idea of what's out there. And you might surprise yourself and find something you didn't think you would."
Everyone wants to know how to get a good deal in real estate, says Kramer. He notes that typically there are seasons to watch. According to Kramer, a good time to sell is pre-summer and summer, when people are looking to settle into a new home before the next school year begins. December can also be a good time for sales, as some buyers want the tax benefits before the end of the year. Conversely, if you are looking to buy a home, there may be more inventory at these times, but there is also more competition.
"The most important thing you can do," Kramer says, "is really diligently learn the scenario of the seller and the situation. Beyond that, the best way to get a good deal is not to be emotionally attached to the house." He adds that you have to think about your motivation. Is it to get the house you want or to get the better deal? "If it's a better deal, then be prepared to walk away."
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Real estate is always a good investment, says Kramer. "There's a saying that real estate gets sick but never dies," he adds.
"When you're buying a home, make sure it's something you're really happy with," says Kramer. "It may not be exactly your dream house. But it is your home and it's going to be your home for a long time. You may raise your children there. So don't save a few dollars on a purchase and get the one you don't want. Make sure you're happy."