"The only thing that matters to us is the person who is relying on us during one of the most significant transactions of their life. We do what is necessary to find them a suitable property, and they can be confident that we will look after them and give them the entire professional support package they need", says Dror Perry, owner of Open House Real Estate.
The firm, located at 40 Basel Street, Tel Aviv, places emphasis on meticulous professionalism and equally on principles and values. "Professionalism, integrity and reliability are the agency’s cornerstones", says Perry. "Any customer who wants to hear recommendations can receive from us many phone numbers and videos of satisfied customers, sellers and buyers, who return to us for additional deals and recommend us to their friends".
The established firm, which has operated since 2009 in the prestigious Basel neighborhood, focuses on selling secondhand apartments in Tel Aviv’s Old North, New North and center, and selling apartments in TAMA 38 projects in these areas. Perry and the seven real estate consultants in the agency, who live in the city, know every corner in the city. "As someone who grew up in Tel Aviv and has known it since childhood, I and the rest of the team in the agency can give high quality solutions for all the customer's needs. We live here and know Tel Aviv life, and are able to give the customers full information about recommended schools, proximity to kindergartens, parking solutions, and more", he says.
Knowing the area and a unique marketing method
One of the agency’s outright advantages, apart from rich experience acquired over the years and direct knowledge of the area, is the agency’s unique marketing method, which maximizes the offered price for the sellers’ properties. "Every customer who comes to us meets one real estate consultant, but the other consultants in the agency also work for them, because we believe in collaboration. Apart from collaboration within the firm, we also work with many real estate consultants from other firms in Tel Aviv, and in fact with a huge number of consultants", Perry explains. "We work for every customer who comes to us. Thus, while we look after the property and its management in our agency, we maximize the number of offers that the seller receives, and correspondingly the price that we can acquire for the seller is higher".
Perry founded the agency in 2009 after he returned from New York where he was exposed to American service awareness. "After 16 years in New York where I founded a company for importing and exporting consumer goods, I decided to return to Israel", he says. "When I arrived here, I looked for a property for myself and I felt that the agents who dealt with me weren’t listening to my needs and requirements, and showed me properties that were not relevant for me. In the end I decided to enter the field because of my love for real estate and particularly because I saw room for improvement in terms of professionalism and the level of service in the sector and I wanted to do things differently".
What marketing methods do you use?
"We advertise on all the important websites in Israel and abroad, and also on major platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Google, where we follow buyers using unique methods and market the apartments to them directly. One of our important tools is to create 360-degree videos that enable a virtual tour of the apartment. These videos receive much exposure in the web and bring many interested people. On more than one occasion customers have bought an apartment on the basis of the video without actually going there.
"Apart from marketing on the internet, we market on billboards and distribute thousands of flyers near the property. These methods are very effective and speed up sales. Usually, the buyers are people who want to upgrade and come from the same area as the apartment that is for sale. We also have a database of nearly 6,000 customers who are looking for apartments in Tel Aviv. Often, when we see an apartment, we already know which customer it will suit".
Perry adds that integrity and transparency are extremely important values in the firm. "We always tell the customers all the truth about the property at the beginning of the process", he says.
What complementary services do you offer your customers?
"We provide our customers with a professional support package in which they can find a solution with us for every need that arises. Our firm works with a large team of professionals: professional lawyers, experienced architects and interior designers who work with us for special prices, top mortgage consultants and excellent assessors who handle the hottest taxation subject in town – the betterment levy. There have been cases where our assessors have reduced the betterment levy to zero for our customers. We also carry out radiation tests in the property when asked".
An additional service that Perry’s firm offers sellers is measurement and drafting of an existing architectural plan. This is for the benefit of potential buyers who want to see the apartment’s layout, and thus ensure that it matches the original permit, that there are no building irregularities and to closely examine its potential.
"In the case of apartments that are intended for renovation, our team prepares new architectural plans in collaboration with architects", he adds. "When potential buyers visit an apartment that is due for renovation, it is difficult for them to get an impression and imagine how they could turn it into their dream apartment. On the other hand, when they see blueprints with several possibilities, the potential is clearer, and their chance of making an offer and buying the apartment is greater. In this way we maximize the price for the sellers".
In TAMA 38 projects, what does your assistance involve?
"First we meet with the developer and go over all the plans, specifications and legal aspects of the project together. The developers usually consult us about pricing the apartments, their size and the number of rooms, as we live the market, and know whether there is a demand in the specific area for two-, three- or four-room apartments, and what the right pricing is for them.
"When customers come to us and are interested in an apartment in the project, we explain all the details that we have received from the developer, go to the site with them, tell them about the area, places for entertainment, schools. etc., and in the end conduct negotiations for them with the developer. Because of our great experience in the subject, we usually manage to get the best price for our buyers. It’s important to emphasize that we accompany the customer and are available for any need or question even after the deal has been signed".
What mistakes are made by sellers who don’t use an agent?
"The fatal mistake that many sellers make is to price the apartment incorrectly. If the pricing is too low – the seller loses money. If it is too high – the seller loses potential buyers and the momentum that is lost. In addition, many sellers are not available to show the apartment at times that are convenient for buyers and this negatively impacts the marketing. On the other hand, when we receive a key and show the apartment around the clock, the chance of receiving offers is much higher".
Perry adds that "another major advantage of using an agent is that we bring many buyers to see the property, and that enables us to conduct a bidding war between them and get the maximum price for the apartment for the seller.
"Finally, there is the safety aspect. When we bring someone to an apartment, there are no surprises, we have their full name, there ID number and address and it’s already safer", he says. "It happened in the past that a woman who showed her penthouse to a buyer was robbed at gunpoint. That’s unusual, but on the whole, it’s not a pleasant feeling to open the door to a stranger and invite them into your home. When we show the apartment, it saves the customer from having to do so".
Tell me about particularly challenging real estate deals that you have managed to close.
"Our firm specializes in selling inherited apartments. It’s not simple, and we carry out all the work involved in this. Recently we sold an apartment where there were 17 heirs and we managed to get all of them to agree on the price. However, the most challenging deal that I closed was the sale of an apartment that was registered under a housing company. When the buyers’ lawyer examined the original lease, the document which is the evidence of ownership of the property in the case of a housing company (the equivalent of a land registry office abstract), he realized that there was a mistake in it. In the 1960s when the original lease was issued, the plan of the adjacent apartment was attached by mistake. The buyers’ lawyer did not permit them to continue with the deal because of this mistake".
Perry says that to correct the lease he brought a surveyor he knew in order to measure and draw up a plan of the apartment. In addition, as there was no functioning committee in the building, and the committee chair is the person who has to approve a correction to the lease, Perry organized a tenants’ meeting and they appointed a new committee chair who became a signatory of the housing company. The committee chair signed the new blueprint, Perry went to the land registry office with the documents and the original lease was corrected after 60 years. The process took a few months and after the lease was amended the deal took place to the customers’ satisfaction.
"We are not deterred by obstacles, and we do everything for our customers", Perry concludes. "I want to say that I and the mortgage consultants in my firm give our hearts and souls for our customers. We represent them with respect and professionalism and we get results. We have sold many apartments for satisfied sellers and to satisfied buyers and we have letters of thanks and many testimonial videos from our customers. We work 24/7 and really give 100 percent of our knowledge and energy for our customers".