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Six Questions for the People Who Work With NYC's Whales

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What is it like when a high-end buyer hunts for home? We turned to a few people who work with Manhattan's real estate high rollers, including brokers and listing photographers, to answer questions about whales' home-buying quirks and interior design tastes, and about what's involved in getting a high-end deal done.

Curbed: What's the difference between working with a high-end buyer and a more "regular" buyer? What are some things high-end buyers in particular look for?

"Most of my high end buyers are looking for trophy properties?something that is irreplaceable?.I recently sold the most expensive house in Miami-Dade County history for $47 million on Indian Creek?.The same "whale" client who bought the Miami house also owns one of the penthouses at 15 CPW and he is what you would call a trophy home collector."?Tal Alexander, Elliman

"High-end buyers are usually very particular?but the truth is, they have a big budget, and they want something that's perfect?I have a high-end client who is very specific in that he wants a huge terrace and he wants to be able to put a hot tub on the terrace?I can't say that high-end buyers are necessarily more difficult. Sometimes the people that are spending a million dollars can be more difficult to work with?a first-time purchaser at that point is often very particular, and very nervous."?Michele Kleier, Kleier Residential

"The biggest difference between high-end buyers and "regular" buyers is the number of people you will work with on a deal. Most of the uber-rich buyers have an entourages or large teams and they all have different personalities and different opinions about the property?.It wouldn't be unusual for me to speak with assistants, business managers, accountants, siblings, dog walkers and agents when working with a single high-end buyer."?Ryan Serhant, NestSeekers

Are there any design trends that you notice in high-end listings?

"I have been seeing a lot of beige-on-beige recently. It's extremely difficult to photograph but it's a restful and calming design scheme that can accommodate various kinds of furnishings from modern to traditional, often in the same room."?Evan Joseph, Photographer

What's the anatomy of a deal at the highest end of the market? What are the difficulties of getting them done?

"I think sometimes [high-end buyers] have very high-powered attorneys. You can get the buyer who loves it but the attorney gets involved?especially with celebrities, their money manager is saying, you can't spend $25 million. There's very often an extra party involved who is really advising them as opposed to doing what they want them to do. Very often they will listen to that person?A lot of buildings have a requirement that someone on the board in the building knows you. If you don't have someone in the building who's going to speak up for you, they're not letting you in."?Michele Kleier

How can someone who isn't wealthy get into a really high-end open house?

"A lot of high-end properties never really get out to the whole world?seven or eight brokers might have the clients for it?.If they don't fit the right profile, it's unlikely they're getting in. For townhouses and condos, I want to know their net worth, I want to know their background.

I had the clock tower. Every lunatic in?the entire universe wanted to see that apartment. So I would get calls from brokers who would get a call from somebody who would call me up to show that apartment. The first few times I did it?and I realized I was going to Dumbo for no reason. A tech guy in California wanted to buy it with two of his friends. I said, do me a favor, send me a bank statement."?Michele Kleier

Is there anything you do differently when photographing a really high-end listing compared to a more normally-priced listing?

"I shoot all properties to the same extraordinary standard of care, but there are always more stakeholders in shoots of the higher-end properties (the broker, the brokerage's marketing department and senior leadership, the graphic design team, PR firms, all the people on the seller's team) so I will always schedule more time both in shooting and in the post-production, to accommodate the additional time needed for working closely with all these stakeholders throughout the process."?Evan Joseph

If someone wanted to get started in real estate investing, where would you recommend they start?

"I think they're better off buying something in a good building where the price is going to go up, rather than trying to get the most [space] for their money."?Michele Kleier
? All Whale Week 2013 coverage [Curbed]