An app for Echo Brickell enables agents to show shoppers 3-D visuals of not just the building but individual units, decorated to order. “Buyers can see how different flooring, different paint colors will look in a unit,” Studnicky said.
Agents also are encouraged to hone their social media skills.
However, the key element remains solid connections. “Our secret sauce,” said Studnicky, is having good ties to a network of real estate brokers, including many in foreign countries where investors are looking for overseas investment options to safeguard their money.
“The network ISG has developed over the years — that’s the backbone of the business for us,” added Spiegelman, who often confirms or elaborates on his partner’s words.
ISG has more than 200 agents licensed with the firm and hundreds of outside agents throughout Latin America that bring deals to the table.
The more perilous the political or economic environment in the source country, the better for ISG. Venezuela is a case in point: Under the Chavista regime, Venezuelans have been prolific buyers of pre-construction condos in Miami, a textbook example of capital flight.
The policies of Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner have made that nation fertile turf for brokers hawking new Miami high-rise units, too. And recently, interest among Colombians has resurged. Many Colombians are concerned that negotiations to reach a peace agreement with Colombia’s FARC guerrillas is dragging, said ISG’s director of international sales, Liliana Gómez, who recently returned from a marketing trip to Bogotá with Studnicky.
For now, Studnicky and Spiegelman insisted, there is no condo bubble in the making in Miami. One thing to watch for, they said, is if lenders start to loosen their purse strings to allow for less equity and higher leverage in developments.
A reduction in the percentage required for buyer deposits would also be a red flag, they acknowledged, because the less skin in the game, the more likely a buyer will choose not to close.
“I’d rather struggle to find qualified buyers than go back to that sleigh ride we were on,” Studnicky said.