For Raziel Ungar of Coldwell
Banker, selling luxury real estate in the areas where he grew up – Burlingame,
Hillsborough, and San Mateo, California – is second nature. And it’s this familiarity to his market that
has propelled the 30-year-old to become one of the Top 10 Agents in Burlingame,
to become one of the Top 1 Percent of all Coldwell Banker agents nationwide in
2011, and has put him on pace to close nearly two dozen deals this year.
As the youngest agent in his office, Raziel
is bringing an entirely new and different way of marketing to the industry – in
the form of video. Find out how this
former Jeopardy intern and film and video buff has successfully incorporated
all of this and more into his business – and how it even helped him snag a $1.5
million buyer and others from the internet.
Raziel gives Institute for Luxury Home Marketing members his insider perspective on
the Burlingame, Hillsborough and San Mateo County market.
the typical starting price for the luxury homes segment of your market?
RU – In Burlingame, the
starting point would be approximately $1.5 million, while Hillsborough would be
the low-to-mid $2 million range.
What will $1.5 million buy you in Burlingame? How about $2 million in Hillsborough?
RU – In Burlingame, you’d likely get 3 bedrooms and
around 1,800 – 2,400 square feet. The
age of the home would vary and could be a refurbished home that could be as old
as 80 to 90 years old, or it could be a much newer home. A new construction home in Burlingame
typically sells for around $2.2 million to $2.4 million and is usually 3,000
square feet on a 6,000 square foot lot.
Hillsborough, all lots are a minimum of ½ acre.
And at the $2 million price point, a buyer can expect to get 2,500 to
3,000 square feet, likely 30 to 60 years old that may or may not have been
updated. The average priced home in this
market in late summer was $3.2 million.
would you describe the pulse of your market?
RU – There is a lot of
action and not a lot of inventory.
Here’s an interesting example of how hot the market is in San Mateo
County; the average sales price is 104 percent of the asking price. Inventory is incredibly low – as much as 40
percent lower than previous years.
One of my more popular blog
posts this summer took a look at Burlingame’s inventory over the past 24
months and came to this conclusion; in August we had the fewest number of homes
for sale than at any point in the last 24 months.
different is your market from last year at this time?
RU – The market is a lot
stronger than last year at this time.
Prices are up 5 to 10 percent. A
lot of the activity is certainly due to the low interest rates. Ten percent of buyers in Burlingame last year
were cash buyers, primarily from the tech, biotech or financial services
The level of enthusiasm and low inventory are
what sets this year’s market apart from last year’s.
Which segments are hot and where are the best
opportunities in the market?
RU – Move-up buyers
have the best of both worlds; low interest rates and they can take advantage of
the appreciation from the last few years and move those gains into their next
purchase. First time buyers flush with
cash from a recent liquidity event are also driving the lower-end of the market
for sub $1.2 million homes.
How are you adapting your business to the
market conditions and opportunities?
RU – My marketing is
pretty different than most agents. I
focus a good amount of resources on video and feature my client’s properties,
documentary style short films about the Burlingame community through my web
series, Burlingame Buzz, and educational videos for buyers and sellers on my YouTube
channel here. I’ve just completed work on a video series
featuring each neighborhood in Burlingame, and am aiming to produce videos for
each neighborhood in my marketplace.
In fact, I employ a videographer 20 hours per
week and I feature every neighborhood in Burlingame. This has really helped my search engine
rankings and was the reason a $1.5 million buyer found me and is now a client.
Film and video always interested me. I went to college at UCLA and was even an
intern on Jeopardy. I’ve always had a
huge interest in video and it’s great because now I get to incorporate it into
my business and the marketing of my clients’ luxury homes.
What do they see ahead short and long term
for your market?
RU – In the last 10 years
or so, we’ve seen a shift in this market with buyers. Places like this are a premium destination and
buyers buy because they really want to be here for the long haul.
In the short term, I think we will continue
to see low inventory levels through the end of the year, with perhaps an uptick
in inventory next spring. In my eight
years of practicing here, I’ve yet to have a client tell me they felt like
there were a lot of homes to choose from.