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Louise Phillips Forbes -
New York Luxury Real Estate

Louise Phillips Forbes, a pre-eminent luxury real estate power broker at Halstead Property in New York City, has been buying and selling properties for over 27 years with career sales in excess of $2.5 billion, and has been recognized on multiple occasions for her exceptional abilities.

With her pulse on the market, she is regularly engaged in conversations with mortgage lenders, politicians, developers, buyers and sellers, enabling her to effectively predict real estate trends and other variables in the housing market, including the next "hot and emerging" areas to watch.

Louise Phillips Forbes

From singles to large families, domestic investors to international buyers seeking a place to park their money in American real estate, specifically New York City, Louise has been a vital guide through the red tape and confusion that the process can often entail. She considers herself more of an "educator" than a salesperson.

Forbes shares, "Real estate is the business of people and I've always considered it an honor and a privilege to be a part of the process of helping people find their home. It is such a big decision for them so it's a responsibility I don't take lightly."

Moreover, she says, "I want my clients to experience a connection with a place and let their hearts dictate the decision as much as their budget." She cleverly refers to it as "Real Estate Matchmaking," which is the art of finding the right home at the right price for the right customer.

Louise goes beyond the boundaries of traditional brokers. Not only does she work closely with buyers and sellers to negotiate successful deals that result in very happy clients, Louise also takes a hands-on approach with high-end developers.

After more than 30 development projects to date, she has an extensive knowledge of construction and knows what today's buyers are looking for in new developments. Often times she brings the team together, collaborating with architects, designers, contractors, and other professionals who contribute to the success of the final product.

Louise has even been credited with establishing residential neighborhoods in areas of Manhattan where they didn't exist prior to her directing sales for developers who listened to her advice resulting in record-breaking price per square foot numbers. Forbes confides, "There is a sense of pride that I experience when I join forces with developers and put the design team together to change the landscape of the city while maintaining the integrity of cherished landmark buildings and curating a residential community of home owners."

Louise Phillips Forbes

Currently, Louise is directing sales and marketing for a new development at 498 West End Avenue, a pre-war condominium conversion from Samson Management who partnered with notable architects CetraRuddy, that is quickly becoming a sought after address in Manhattan's trendy Upper West Side. A landmarked, grand pre-war building built in 1910, the original architect was Neville & Bagge, established in 1892.
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In today's new design, CetraRuddy's team is keeping and restoring many of the original details while combining floor plans to create very spacious interiors that accommodate modern living. It was Louise who encouraged the developers to attend to the needs of growing families and restore the units with an eye towards large apartments with more bedrooms and bathrooms, an oversized communal kitchen and enlarged living space. They even provide a room for a live-in nanny or adult relatives who may care for the children.

A mother of two boys (10 and 12), Louise is empathetic to the needs of children - and their parents - so there is a kids' playroom in the building's basement specially designed with custom features, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness center for the adults, and other meaningful and appreciated amenities.

Another property Forbes is particularly proud to bring to market is 50 Madison Avenue in the Flatiron District, a spectacular full-floor loft condo with 2,646 square feet. The key-locked elevator opens directly into an awesome grand room with 14-foot ceilings and 8-foot picture windows bringing light and stunning unobstructed views of the six acre Madison Square Park as well as many iconic NY landmark buildings from the Flatiron and Metlife Clock Tower to the new Freedom Tower, from its ninth floor vantage point.

The 3-Bedroom/3.5 Bathroom unit boasts a large master suite and spa-like bath, state-of-the-art chef's open Varenna kitchen designed by Poliform, and much more.

Regarded as a true visionary, Louise is looking to the future and feels that this year will bring some interesting changes. Millennials will continue to be a major buying force with the majority of first-time buyers being between 25 and 34, and in New York City specifically, they will push boundaries even further out in the boroughs. Brooklyn has been hot for the past five years and will be even more appealing given the new developments launching this year in emerging areas.

Additionally, more and more people consider Queens and the south Bronx as the next frontiers. She suggests keeping your eye on Jamaica, Sunnyside, and Flushing in particular. Louise also predicts that many buyers in their mid-30's will trend towards the suburbs if they can get more home for less and take advantage of good public schools instead of paying for private schools in the city.

Helping to buoy the market, the Baby Boomer generation could provide double transactions by selling the properties they currently own and buying smaller homes to lower their cost of living and maximize ease of retirement.

Lastly, Louise predicts that new home construction will focus more on affordable housing as opposed to luxury housing, even in urban environments. That being said, New York City in particular is still very much a leader in the international luxury real estate market, attracting a variety of wealthy elite foreign and domestic buyers who recognize the value of owning property in Manhattan, especially when the price per square foot is still considerably less than in other major cities globally.

Even after the UK's recent exit from the European Union causing economies and stock markets around the world to tumble, Louise doesn't see it having a negative impact on the U.S. real estate market. She says, "History has shown that difficult times create hardship for some individuals and opportunity for others. The United States still has the most stable economy in the world."

Despite the fact that a pause in the real estate market was in effect before the surprising Brexit decision, American real estate, notably that in New York City, is still more financially desirable and has better value than property in London, Singapore and Hong Kong, to name a few of the most sought after real estate investment markets.

"With the volatility in the stock markets worldwide on the heels of this international development, London real estate will likely be impacted negatively by the current financial climate," adds Forbes, "however New York may benefit. Our real estate offers a diversified, more stable investment option."

Moving forward, Louise will continue to serve prominent New Yorkers and international buyers alike, from the Upper West Side and Upper East Side to the West Village, Tribeca, Wall Street, and the outer boroughs. She has achieved a stellar reputation with the cooperation of her respected teammates, who collectively bring skills and talents from a variety of professional backgrounds that complement hers. Forbes declares, "Teamwork is everything. I am very fortunate to have hand-picked and assembled a team of exceptional professionals that includes seasoned sales persons and cream of the crop marketers."

Working in unison like a well-oiled machine, the combined experience of her teammates and the award-winning Halstead brand enables Louise to have unparalleled knowledge and assurance that she is providing outstanding customer service. She boasts, "I call it the Team Effect - More People, More Experience and More Service."

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Louise Phillips Forbes

Need to know real estate information from an expert - Q&A with Louise Phillips Forbes:

1. How do I determine whether the value of a property is reasonable?

I've always considered myself more of an educator than a salesperson in real estate. It's my job to provide the hard data to balance out my client's emotional connection to a home. Accurate data is essential to determining the value of a property. A good broker will look at three things in order to advise a client: (1) the sold & closed history in the area for the past 6 months; (2) all of the comparable active listings; and most importantly, (3) the comparable properties that are currently in contract and the amount at which the deal was done (vs. the original asking price).

This contract signed price is not public information so it takes a well-connected broker to get that data, but it's the best indication of where the market is really at in a given point in time.

2. How do I know if a real estate broker is good?

Real estate is the business of people. I'm relationally driven so I love establishing a partnership with my clients and discovering what makes them tick during our process. Finding a home is a very personal and intimate experience so it's important that you work with a broker with whom you feel a connection to and can trust. Don't just rely on research you do online to find a broker; meet them in person and rely on your gut instinct to direct you.

Additionally, observe how the broker treats their colleagues and other industry professionals. That is a great reflection of their character, and having good relationships with colleagues is crucial to achieving successful deals in this business.

3. Do you think this is a good time to buy real estate? I keep getting mixed messages when I read about it.

Across the nation today, it's less expensive to buy than rent in approximately 68% of major cities. Many experts believe the real estate market is peaking so prices may adjust down over the next 12-18 months, but the ability to borrow money for 30 years at a rate of 3.1% gives purchasers more buying power than we have seen in decades. Owning a home is not just the American dream, it's a smart way to build wealth and diversify your asset portfolio.

4. Is there a best time of the year to buy or sell?

Traditionally, spring was the most popular time to buy and sell but the rhythm of the market has shifted over the past 6 years. Many buyers begin looking now in the fall so that they are ready to buy in the early part of the new year and contract to close at the end of the school year. That being said, there are always serious buyers looking and waiting for the right home to enter the market so you should do what's best for your family in terms of listing to sell.

5. What is your best advice for buyers?

Build your team early so that you can act quickly when you find home sweet home. The last thing you want is to lose out on a property because of some unnecessary mistake that occurred because you weren't organized. Your team should include: a real estate broker, real estate attorney, mortgage lender, appraiser and inspector (if necessary). Most important is know what you can afford. Take the time to meet with your financial advisor and/or mortgage broker. It's also an advantage to get pre-approved for a mortgage; sellers are often more prone to accept an offer that's accompanied by a pre-approved mortgage. Pre-qualifications don't mean anything because there's no reviewing of documents.

6. What is your best advice for sellers?

It's what I call the Three P's: Pricing, Preparation & Presentation. The first step is to understand the value of your home in today's market. Listing with an accurate price is critical to achieving a successful deal.

Secondly, survey your home to prep it for sale; think like a buyer, see it through their eyes. They will be most concerned with space and condition - can they live there comfortably.

Lastly, you want your home to look and feel the best it can, so after you have cleaned it up, fine-tune the presentation. Tasteful staging and styling are impactful!

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