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Shayan Jalali, a real estate advisor at Berkshire Hathaway, shares his expertise in real estate and wealth management with Shuja Uddin, PR/Marketing coordinator at Parkaze. Watch the interview below to learn more about Shayan Jalali’s career in the industry, the effects of COVID on the housing market, and the role of parking.
How are you doing during this pandemic? How are you staying productive during this time?
I am doing everything I can to stay safe, keep my clients and my family safe. We’ve been fortunate that the pandemic hasn’t affected the housing market too much. People still have had to move, essentially sell their property or buy new ones. The reasons that people moved haven’t really changed because of the pandemic. So we’ve been very fortunate in that sense, from a business standpoint, to be able to still help our clients make those moves as much as they need.
How did you get started in real estate and what fascinated you about the industry?
What really fascinated me is that I wanted to start a business. And I like the type of business where you have a book of clients that you help, whether it’s in finances, wealth management, or real estate. I really enjoyed that, and housing is something that everyone always needs. So it’s a really good opportunity to help a diverse group of people from all walks of life, you know, with real estate needs.
You’ve worked in the real estate industry for quite long, how has it changed over the years?
To be honest, it hasn’t really changed that much. The mannerism in which people find properties still the same, Technology has started to play a bigger and bigger role into it, but in terms of the service that we provide as agents, that hasn’t really changed, we still are the go-to resource for property information. While technology has started to give people the opportunity to collect more information about a particular property that they are looking for, with sites like Zillow and Redfin, it hasn’t come in anywhere close to replacing us. We are still very much valued in the market.
I think you mentioned just previously that the industry hasn’t changed much during COVID-19. Has there been no shift at all?
The markets have definitely shifted a little bit. Interest rates have fallen, so that helps a lot with buyer demand, but we are seeing less inventory on the market. I think owners are a little hesitant to put their properties on the market. Maybe they don’t want people coming to their homes, and maybe they won’t get top dollar for their home if they list it right now. But starting in July, inventory levels have started to come back up. Where we are seeing a big change, however, is the rental market. With all the universities and everything, there is a lot of rental demand. Compared to the same time last year, there are about two and a half times more rentals on the market right now. It has become a tenant-oriented market. Tenants have more options to choose from, and it’s giving them more negotiating power. So they no longer have to pay such premiums for the apartments, they can negotiate a little more with the landlords. Plus, there are also a lot of rental buildings that are going up in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, that are offering crazy incentives.
How does parking influence the real estate space? What role does it play in terms of prices, marketability?
I think three premium features that most people look for in a home are outdoor space, in-unit laundry, and parking. A lot of people have cars nowadays, and especially with COVID-19, people have realized the importance of outdoor space and traveling within the area. I have a really good friend of mine who had a big trip planned for his honeymoon. Because COVID hit, he had to rearrange everything. So now he’s doing a cross country road trip with his wife. I think we’ll see more and more of those take place as it is a lot less risky as far as COVID-19 goes. So if landlords can offer parking, it makes the properties a lot more valuable, especially in places like Brookline where the city doesn’t allow people to get a resident parking sticker and park on the street overnight.
So how can a service like ours add value to the real estate market, not only from a realtor point of view but from a home buyer perspective?
Well, you definitely make it a lot easier for people to find parking spaces. In the city, people have to turn to realtors to buy a parking space, and a parking space costs anywhere from $100,000 to $400,000, depending on the exact block that you’re on. And I think you’re essentially monetizing the service to rent parking spaces so it makes it so much easier for people. So in a way, it’s taking a revenue stream away from realtors, but that’s not a major revenue stream for realtors anyway.
Finally, is there a particular project that is keeping you busy right now?
My projects are mainly my sales business, I am trying to help as many sellers and buyers as possible. I think this year, I’ve been fortunate to help at least over a dozen people buy and sell homes, and just kind of grow my business from there. As I do more business, I’ll be able to help refer more clients and service clients better. The more clients I take on the more efficient I’d become and our services become, so we’re really excited to grow the business in that regard.