Turkish V Foreigners Part 1 + spot Johnny Foreigner

As a 2 part study over the next 2 weeks I will assess the differences between Turkish and foreign buyers, with a liittle game at the end!

While selling real estate in İstanbul,  it can be quite interesting to observe the differences in how Turkish and foreign clients arrive at their decisions to buy a piece of Istanbul real estate. No doubt it is a bricks and mortar world, but the psychology of the buyer is much more liminal and indeterminate than we may often imagine.

Firstly, after much experience, when I meet for the first time with a Turkish client, I do not go out of my way to demonstrate any particular knowledge on property in Istanbul, which is quite odd when you think of it. But one must understand the cultural context of the encounter. As a Real Estate Agent, the bestowed social status in Turkey is quite low, with probably about the same status given as to any tradesman (or lady). Many of my clients are newly minted rich and on the rise fast, and they have a few ideas of their own. Realty and property, as a profession, used to be to a large extent the domain of early-retired government workers, or in many cases the Kapici (bldg superintendent), who get their start by doing side deals with the properties under their management.

Needless to say, the profession as a whole is very much in its infancy. There are wide, sweeping reforms being discussed that would probably make it the playground of smartly dressed, multi-lingual young college grads. But for now, it is certainly not that. Think playground, Congo-style.

So with the Turkish “musteri” ( client, pronounced mooshteri) I opt for a low key profile and a certain humility (veiled, anyway) in front of my chirpy Turkish buyers. They usually assume that as a foreigner that your knowledge is very incomprehensive and incomplete. They also frequently come armed with a an extended crowd of relatives and it is not uncommon to have three generations being towed along on the tour. Now, I am hardly going to dive into a headlong debate on the merits or demerits of a particular property, being outnumbered as it were.

And the clients seem to play along well with this game, hardly deigning to ask me a question throughout, while they squabble and generally offer plenty of rich commentary amongst themselves during the process.

The really peculiar part of it all is… and I will contrast this with your typical foreign property buyer later…that Turkish buyers seem strangely oblivious to most of the normal metrics on real estate; rental yields, types of mortgages, property appraisals, square meter prices, interest rates, and so on. And this happens to be where I shine.

That is not to say they make poor decisions. They do not, they just arrive at them a different way. They are more intuitive and quite perceptive. They don’t use data to make their decisions (these are of course all generalizations). They seem to have a natural ‘feel’ about the location and price dynamic for a property.

And they do not seem to take well to the hard sell or the used car seller’s methods. They seem to like to be left alone to make their decisions whether they be with clan or solo for the day. And I respect that; in some ways even like it, though it does leave me feeling like the Maytag repairman at times.

So while Kemal, his wife and her brother and father enter the penthouse flat on the Bosphorous, I stand obsequiously in the backdrop somewhere, getting a positive jab in every now and then, “My, lovely original flooring, isn’t it?”

To be continued next week.

As a little light relief after that “highly” informative blog I’ve devised a game. I’m now exceptionally adept at spotting where a potential client hails from at 100 paces, feel free to have a go yourself and see if you can spot their great nation:

Renting in this big beautiful City

People who are familiar with the Istanbul real estate scene know that the rents in the city center are pretty high and the market is reasonably dynamic, producing a good yield if the property is purchased at the right price.

Not all of our clients are purchasers of Istanbul property, however.  Many come to us seeking long term rental properties in Istanbul city center, normally because they have been relocated by their company or a new job beckons. Luckily, we have lots of expertise in this area and we do our best to help clients find the best value, whether it be for a budget studio or a glamorous penthouse apartment in a luxurious compound.

High end luxury in a signature development

with a view to die for

It is hard to nail down per sqm prices in the neighborhoods because they really vary greatly from street to street and can also be based on the quality of the building.

In general, however, a furnished 1 bedroom apartment in a decent neighborhood with quality construction, starts from around 1800 TL or approx. 1000 USD and 2 bedroom apartments are on average about 20% more. Naturally, the price jumps up significantly with a sea view.

Great value with a superb terrace

http://www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com/rent/ 

Contracts are typically one year. If you plan to stay longer than a year, make sure you are aware of any rental increases prior to signing a contract. If you are not familiar with the language, have somebody along to help you with the contract process who is familiar. Mostly, the contracts are standard, but they should be read and understood prior to signing.

A note on the landlords. Unfortunately, in Turkey, the landlords are quite hands off, except when it comes time to collect the rent! You are assumed to take care of small items that need repair by yourself. Larger issues should be brought to their attention and should be handled by them. In our experience, if you pay the rent on time and keep the place in reasonable condition, the tenant/landlord relationship should be amicable.

Have a look at a few of our stunning rental offers this season…. http://www.lilimont-istanbul-realestate.com/rent/ . If there’s nothing to your fancy on my site then give me your needs, we’ll put the feelers out and I’ll don my detective mac…. our team enjoy a task and a city search.

Life, business and sport during Ramadan in Istanbul

Most foreigners who have not lived in a Muslim country will probably be surprised to hear that the holy month of Ramadan is not just about abstinence and self-restraint. Undoubtedly, for the devout, from dusk til dawn it is exactly that, with no food or even water being allowed to pass their lips for the duration. And of course, smoking is also forbidden during daylight hours. This kind of rigorous denial is often the focus of media attention.

But there is another side to Ramadan; the festive one that begins with the breaking of the fast and carries on late into the night. Lavish and extended meals compensate for the deprivations of the daytime and it is a time for family and reunions and an overflowing of life onto the streets. When Ramadan occurs during the summer months, as it has for the past few years due to the secret machinations of the moon, daytime activities slow down immeasurably as a result of the heat and the fasting. İt is a spiritual time and time for reflection, but it mixes in a good bit of old fashion family fun, too. As Ramadan nears its end, there is a Bayram holiday which could be said to be the equivalent of Christmas, where children receives gifts, mostly monetary, and people return to their native cities and villages to visit family and old friends.

The end of a long hard day

 

Personally, from a real estate perspective, we, too, like to consider this a time of reflection and we try not to worry about closing many deals during this period. We try to immerse ourselves in the spirit of the month and trust that Allah will keep food on the table in coming months.

İt is also a good time for planning, as traffic in the office slows to a halt. We often take a holiday and get recharged for what is usually a busy fall.

Finally, as Ramadan coincides with the Olympics, a word on how it affects sporting life.

Some people I know, though you may find it hard to believe, actually play squash while fasting. İ was stunned when one of my regular partners insisted on playing during the daytime. İ brushed him off, saying it would be too easy for me if he were fasting. Yet, when we did finally play, I was nothing short of flabbergasted to see that he actually performed at a high level. And here is Spartan me, who can barely muster up the natural strength to get out of the house without my two cups of coffee in the morning!!!

So, some athletes competing in the Olympics will fast and still perform, something for which they should get a separate medal for! In rare cases there are certain exceptions that can be made for fasting, however these instances are very unique and complex, and in some of these cases the fasting days can be made up at a later date.

Go Turkey Go

 

İn any event, whether you be laboring under the fast or not, let us take the time to celebrate this annual, yet unique and mystical event.

Kolay gelsin (Turkish)… ‘Let it come easy’