Keith’s Weekly Property News May 2-2021
So, as we enter our first week of a 3 week lockdown, it seems like an appropriate time for reflection. The past 6 months, in many senses, have been a sharp learning curve. The CBI program has brought in many new and diverse investors, but with it many challenges and complications. The volume of sales is up manyfold from previous years, so that is a welcome development. But things often change in Turkey – and quickly, and without much notice. As an agency, we need to remain adaptive to respond to what lies ahead.
Therefore, we are taking a step back to assess the overall situation. From our perspective, there has to be a balance between an influx of new clients and the sourcing of the kinds of properties we are proud to acquire for our clients. And there are some issues with our model. We are aiming for the top 10% of properties on the market, and there is naturally competition there. And our pool of options is further reduced by CBI restrictions (the main one being the fact that it is hard to move on properties with mortgages). Our timing on the deals is often not as quick as that of a Turkish buyer. This week we lost two great properties due to such issues.
As many of you know, we are slowly expanding the reach of our search area, including swathes on the Asian Side. That makes sense. There are pockets of value in many neighbourhoods. We still like the idea of focussing on the triangle around Osmanbey Metro, but if there is anything compelling in other areas that are well-linked by transport, we are always keen to explore for our clients.
We are also taking a step back from our hard line approach that most of what we source should be renovation projects. The reason we had a strong preference for this in the past is it came with the least surprises and headaches. We know what the end product will be like, we know that we will get a bump in value from the upgrades and we know much more accurately the rental expectation and the type of tenant we will get. However, these days we are willing to look at properties in the middle, or ones that require partial renovation. This is a more complex undertaking, as in the end, you still need to produce a property that is cohesive in terms of the aesthetic, layout; uniform in quality. It can be done. It just requires many more decisions. We are willing to do this as it opens up the number of properties we can consider.
To sum up, we are also paying attention to properties that have ‘in situ’ tenants with decent yields. This is complicated by the fact that tenants who have been in properties for several years will have signed contracts when the USD was much less, so the current TL-based rent appears quite low. If it is too low, it seems like the only option is to negotiate before purchase to have the tenant vacate. If the yield is ok, 4.5-5%, we may want to consider having them stay on. From time to time, we can get 6-7% yield in this situation, but I would put that in the rare category. Normally, 7% + is reserved for properties which we have added value to through renovations. But if the last 6 months has taught me anything, it is to be open-minded to new types of properties that offer value. With all of the above in mind, we hope to be able to meet demand in the coming months.
On a final note, I am still keen on working with investors who may have a more ‘experimental’ approach and are willing to consider alternative property types in yet other areas (warehouse conversion in Kagithane, for example). I think buying the underlying real estate at good value can mitigate much of the risk and free up some room to allow for creativity in producing unique properties for the market. This is something I put more time into in recent weeks. I have to say I have come up empty so far, but that little voice in my head tells me to keep going. It is out there. It will not come without complications and a measure of uncertainty, but the upside could be quite significant. It is a bit like threading a needle; not at all easy, but a prerequisite for getting our job done properly. Bringing something unique to the market, which our clients can profit from, has to be at the top of our list….always. The closest thing I found so far was a car-wash. Pity about the gas station attached to it ( :
Our search area map:
This should be invaluable for clients. I will add much detail and sophistication to this map in upcoming weeks/months.
NOTE ON LEGAL:
I have been dealing with about 6 different client lawyers, each with their own idiosyncratic approaches and levels of responsiveness. It has been exhausting and very time consuming. In addition, I am in many whatsapp groups with clients and lawyers. Following the threads, documentation issues, banking issues, property issues (my main focus) has brought me well out of my comfort zone.
I have found a new lawyer that I am comfortable working with. He has processed many citizenship requests and seems keen and responsive. I am cross-checking various client queries with this lawyer and expect some answers this week. I still work with my previous lawyer, but only for simple cases. We need someone who is adaptive and responsive to the disparate needs of the kind of clients I have (born outside of the country of their passport, marriages outside of the country of passport, etc).
We are going to put together a document that outlines all of the banking procedures that need to be in place before transacting on a property. We will focus on 2 banks only, Al Baraka and Ziraat due to the fact that 90% of our clients use these banks. As always, if you are on the ground, we can help you set up the account, otherwise if you do it remotely, it must be done with a POA/lawyer. We had a new snag in a transaction this week. There was a daily limit on the amount of USD a client could convert to TRY. These require forms to be signed. I think we have now got our bases covered in terms of all the possible snags that can come up on transaction day, so we will be sharing that document.
Notes on lockdown:
-limited property viewing.
-land registry, banks and government offices will be open but at reduced capacity.
-It is a slightly softer lockdown. Movement around the city is possible.
-It is set to end May 17th.
Thanks to Agate and some feedback from clients, we are developing a robust and comprehensive database that will include all documents and details related to every client property. This database will be accessible to all clients. It will be viewable this week. For any newcomers, feel free to contact Agata to get all information about our property management services.
Property links distributed during weekly zoom session
Tagged: Istanbul property, buying property in Istanbul, central Istanbul, Istanbul apartments, Istanbul buildings, Istanbul investment, Istanbul property, Istanbul property sale, Istanbul real estate, Istanbul renovations, Property in Istanbul.