Sara Golan at Online Homes Real Estate talks about how first time home buyers can avoid losing out on their dream home, due to unrealistic expectations.
Online Homes Real Estate Licensed Agent Sara Golan
SBT: Hello, this is your host Lidia Didriksen, and today we have a guest, Sara Golan. In this interview, we’ll be focusing on the real estate industry. Sara, can you please tell me more about what you do and the types of customers you have.
Sara: I have a real estate office in Bushwick that I own with my husband. We’ve been in the business for over 18 years. We sell residential homes: one, two-family homes in Bushwick, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Cypress Hills.
SBT: You basically help families to find their new homes. Is it correct?
Sara: Yes. I work with first-time buyers looking to buy their first home, traditional buyers. We try to help everyone who comes to us looking for a house to buy.
SBT: What led you to this field?
Sara: I started 18 years ago working for a real estate development company in Queens. That’s actually how I met my husband. It was just something that interested me. I also worked in the mortgage industry for 6 years before we opened our own real estate office. In terms of sales, I got into it about 4 years ago when a friend came to me looking for an investment property in Bushwick. I started showing some houses to him and something clicked. I understood I had all this background knowledge about Bushwick and Brooklyn, because I actually grew up in Bushwick. So I took him around. He didn’t end up buying a house but I kept at it. I started taking out clients; I got my real estate license and just took it from there. And I enjoy working in Brooklyn.
SBT: I understand that you’re quite an experienced real estate agent. You’ve probably met different people and worked with different backgrounds, right?
Sara: Yes, I come across people from different walks of life. I’m dealing with musicians, lawyers, doctors, teachers, people in the social field. Everyone is different, everyone has their own criteria where they want to live, and we try to deal with each client in an appropriate way. Whatever neighborhoods, whatever type of houses they’re looking for, whatever their budget is – we can accommodate everything and find them the best one. Not really selling but listening and paying attention to what they’re looking and showing them the right houses.
SBT: And you have probably encountered different misconceptions first-time homebuyers have about buying a house.
Sara: The biggest misconception I would say is that a lot of people who look for houses, are shopping online. So they come to me with the things they see advertised. You know if they’re coming into Bushwick looking for a $500,000-house, it doesn’t exist anymore. Everything we’re selling is over a million dollars, so they come with unrealistic expectations, and you have to really sit down with them. They have to go out and see what’s out there. Most of the time, it’s usually unrealistic budget expectation.
SBT: How do you help them to get rid of this unrealistic expectation?
Sara: What I do is I always ask the questions: “Hey, have you qualified for a mortgage? Do you know what you’re able to afford and how much you can spend?”. Based on that piece of information, I’m able to say, “Okay, these are the neighborhoods, these are the prices, and let’s start from there”. We always come to a mutual decision. You know where to start: what are the best neighborhoods for the client within the budget.
SBT: You get success with this approach?
Sara: I do. As a matter of fact, if you’re honest and you’re giving them the information and they see that you’re working for them, and you’re not just trying to sell them a house but rather find something that you know they’re going to be comfortable and happy with, that’s the end-game. You want clients to be satisfied with their purchase.
SBT: Can you think of an instance when your customer got positively surprised about how you operated?
Sara: The one thing that they’re usually surprised about is that we’re a small company but we’re very personable. We pick up phone calls at 11:00 and 12:00 at night. I’m texting back my clients. They can always reach someone. If I’m not able to make an appointment, I have a great team. I have my husband that I work with. I have two partners, and someone is always available to give advice, to show a house. We’re not the kind of brokerage that goes, “Hey, you have to call and make an appointment and you’re going to see the house a week later or two days later”. We get you in as soon as we can, and a lot of that stems from the relationship we have with sellers because the sellers we’re dealing with are investment companies and developers. It’s a factor. They give us access to their homes even before they’re ready to market or give it to a branded brokerage like Corcoran or Compass. We have access before everyone else.
SBT: What makes you different from all the competitors in your market?
Sara: I think what makes me different is that I really listen to my clients, and I give them the best service. I always put myself in their shoes. How would I want to be treated if I was out there not knowing the market, not knowing where to even start, how to go about this home sales process. I would want somebody who’s giving me accurate information, and not steering me towards a house but making sure that this is what I need, and this is where I’m going to live and be comfortable. Another thing, I always strive for perfection in whatever I do, so I take every sale very personally, like I’m buying this house. And I respect my clients. I respect them putting their trust in me to help them find a house.
SBT: Right. If those people with unrealistic expectations would like to find a house on their own without your help, what would be your best piece of advice for them?
Sara: I tell them, “Go and shop”. I always tell them, “Go, you don’t have to commit to me”. Just go and see what’s out there. Speak to other companies and brokers. And you know what, they always end up coming back and say, “Hey Sara, you were right. You were right about the market. You were right about this”. It might take them 6 months. It might take them 9 months. I sold the clients that I’ve been working with over a year and a half. When they feel comfortable and ready, and they saved up a little bit more money, they come back and are always willing to shop with me.
SBT: Smart. How can anyone who would like to buy a house, their first home, connect with you?
Sara: Well, they can always go to our website which is: www.onlinehomes.nyc. They can reach out to me via my office phone number. If they are ever in Bushwick, they can always drop in by my office. It’s at 1024 Broadway in Bushwick. I’m on Facebook and Instagram, Sara Golan, and there’s always a link to my company. Of course, you can Google “Sara Golan” or search for “Sara Golan real estate agent in Brooklyn”. Another way to reach me is on Zillow, Trulia or Streeteasy- we are on most of the real estate sites.
SBT: Thank you so much, Sara, for sharing these insights with us. It’s been a very informative interview.
Sara Golan is a Licenced Real Estate Salesperson that helps first time home buyers get their dream home, by focusing on her clients’ needs.
She runs Online Homes Real Estate with her husband in Brooklyn, NY. Her secret is to care for her clients, by putting herself into their shoes and accommodating their needs.
In today’s interview Sara talked about how first time home buyers can avoid losing out on their dream home, due to unrealistic expectations.
You can find out more about Sara Golan at:
Or contact her directly at:
Online Homes Real Estate LLC
1024 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11221