Cody Vichinsky declines, when asked, to give advice to Donald Trump as the President attempts to sell his multimillion-dollar Caribbean estate. "He's in a league of his own," laughs the co-founder of Bespoke Real Estate, which deals in luxury properties primarily in the Hamptons. But Vichinsky is not above giving advice to folks with less experience.
In fact, he has built his business on being able to contribute in a meaningful way to a costly and often fraught transaction. "When you're dealing with someone where time is the most valuable commodity they have, you have to be precise. With precision comes real added value," Vichinsky tells CNBC.
In the three years since he and his brother Zachary launched what has become one of the country's premiere real estate companies — their portfolio is currently worth $1.2 billion, Vichinsky says, and Bespoke "cleared $400 million as a team last year" — they have learned that, as much as buyers appreciate transparency, empathy and discretion, market intelligence is also key.
Here, the broker digs into that market intelligence to identify the biggest mistakes people make when buying a high-end home.
"When you're buying a property, it depends on what that property's purpose really is," says Vichinsky . Try to understand from the outset what you're looking for from a house, or you can end up disappointed. Will you want to sell it yourself in a few years? Or will you want to keep it in your family indefinitely?
And really consider before you make that choice. "A lot of the mistakes I see is people thinking, 'This is a forever home.' Circumstances change all the time. In 10 years, your lives you could be completely different," he says.
If you do need or want to sell, you'll find that it's much easier to move a property that hasn't been too thoroughly personalized. Some owners, says the broker, "make love to their own real estate ... they make their real estate extremely taste-specific." The trouble, he says, is that they, "in time, have an asset that's hard to get rid of."
On the other hand, Vichinsky notes, "if it's a legacy property for you, you can't really make a mistake. It's just about location and if it fits for your family."
When it comes to "trophy-level property," Vichinsky says, "you have to measure twice and cut once.
"I think you really need to spend 90 percent of your thinking in the beginning from an investment lens, and then the last 10 percent can be pure emotion. Not the other way around."
Most his clients know this. "They have a unique intelligence and savvy when it comes to money, and of course there are some who buy with their heart. Most do. But in the beginning of the pursuit, they're calculated. They spend a lot of time investigating the micro-market of the purchase" before they commit.
"Patient buyers often make the best investments," says Vichinsky . "If you're a little less emotional and a little more savvy, ultimately," you can have it all.