By Orlando Lee Rodriguez
If U.S. sociological surveys are correct, people in the United States consider one of the most important and personal experiences they will have in their lives is the purchase of a new home.
This transaction experience, as many of us know as one time buyers, can be super emotional, mind boggling and extremely stressful.
But in the viewpoint of Max J. Kozower, president and founder of Max Jacobs Inc., primary residential shopping should be a pleasurable relationship based experience, one where your broker functions as an empathetic confidant whose fiduciary duty to a client takes prominence over all else.
“90 percent of time you end up being closer with your client on a personal basis after having worked and representing them,” says Mr. Kowozer from his Manhattan office. “We really try and focus on the relationship that we have with our client rather than the transaction. Often times we will discourage buyers from purchasing a property if we don’t think it is a good investment.”
With clients Mr. Kozower shares a common bond. A bad experience during his own home purchase was the preverbal tipping point that pushed him into the real estate business in 2001.
“My wife and I sold a two bedroom and bought a 3 bedroom when we were expecting our first child,” he said. “I was so frustrated by the lack of professionalism in the industry at that time, I said ‘there’s got to be an opportunity to for somebody that has integrity and really acts as a fiduciary to do well in the industry.’”
That he says was the “light bulb moment” that birthed Maxwell Jacobs Inc.
11 years later, his firm has now grown to include three offices throughout the tri-state area. Headquartered in Manhattan, they also have satellite offices in located in Westchester and Fairfield counties.
Properties in the Maxwell Jacobs sale portfolio typically start at over $1 million. Like all firms, the average of total transactional sale prices can vary year to year. Over the years Mr. Kozower says, sale prices at Maxwell Jacobs have ranged between 2 and 3 million dollars per unit on average.
The sales inventory, he said, is reflective of his team of sales agents, many of them parents with school aged children.
“A lot of my agents used to be in the workforce full time prior to having children,” he said. “They took time off to raise their kids and are now at a stage of life where their kids are in school all day.”
“It tends to be the case that lots of their friends and clients are people who are doing transactions in that price range, going from two bedrooms to three bedrooms,” he said in describing the average rate of sales prices.
Although the owner of a boutique firm, Mr. Kozower shied away from notions that he is aggressively competing with larger, more corporate firms, pointing out that he is the co-chair of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) small firms committee and maintains good and active relationships with other members of the real estate community.
However, he did differentiate what kind of experience a client would have with his firm compared with a large corporate entity.
“They [clients] get the individualized attention that a boutique firm can offer with the benefit of getting my attention when needed and desired,” he said. “That is something that a large firm would struggle with.”