The Mitchell Gatto Team Discuss How To Know When To Move

Dated: February 22 2024

Views: 24

Welcome to Page Realty Live! My name is Chris Rao. Together with my parents, we run a family-owned and people-first brokerage here in Massachusetts. Each week, we'd like to bring you some interesting local stories, insights, and happenings on what's going on in the real estate market, so that you can be better educated. I hope you enjoy.

Cool, alright. So thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. You guys did 1.3 million in sales last month in 2022, you had 4.9 and then 6.7 million in 2021. How did you guys become a team? When did you get into real estate?

Uh, almost eight years ago.

Yeah, but you got into real estate much earlier than that.

Yes, yeah. I got into real estate in 2008, which was a very interesting year. I worked with my father-in-law for a very long time. And then we met in 2014. 

Yeah, and Leanne knew she had to work with this, of course. Um, I kind of grew up in the industry. My dad's a builder, my grandfather's a builder. My grandfather was a broker, he owned a bunch of different offices. So I basically grew up in new construction and real estate in general. And then we met actually at a yoga teacher training. And the rest is history, as they say.

That's awesome. What makes the Mitchell Gat team unique? Who kind of takes on what responsibilities?

This is our face, so she's a house. I do a lot of the marketing and sales part of our team. Um, of course, there's always a lot of give and take based on timing and our lives being really busy. Um, and Elizabeth does the bulk of the work, which is, um, a lot of like offer writing, negotiating, certainly pretty much everything that it takes to get from PNS to closing or offer to closing. So I Make It Rain and she closes all the deals.

That sounds like a division of labor.

Yeah, we definitely have a division of labor. Y so we have like 40, 50 agents in our company. Obviously, it's kind of a saturated market with real estate agents right now. What makes the Mitchell Gat team unique with the services you provide and stuff like that?

So we're really, really client forward. Um, and an enormous amount of our clients come from our sphere of influence, almost all of them and by referral. So I find that a lot of the time when people start working with us, the trust is already built. So when they start working with us, there's a lot of banter. Um, we work pretty much full service. So, um, we handle everything. And I think because there's two of us, we can really do a lot more for people. Our clients really like that we're accessible pretty much all of the time, except for in our dedicated time off. Um, and I also think the fact that we do our best to take dedicated time off can differentiate us as well, too, because we're making sure that we have the energy to keep helping people.

Absolutely, and that's one nice thing about having a team, right? Is one of you can sort of, if you have to take care of the kids for a day, or if one of you is taking vacation, you can kind of relay a little bit back and forth.

Yeah, we have four children since our team came to be.

So, yes, the time away to build our family and support our family. She's had two dogs, I've had two dogs, my biological dogs. It's pretty important.

Um, the other thing is we have a lot of familial connections in real estate, but also in building. So a lot of our clients really like that they can kind of tap into our resources in regards to construction as well.

Great, that's awesome. Yeah, you guys, so you teach, do you both teach yoga? I know one of you teaches yoga.

We both.

Okay, you're pretty involved in the community. What would you say is like your general sort of geographic market area that you want to focus on?

So we teach. Elizabeth teaches in Medfield, Natick, and Hopkinton, and I teach in Hopkinton and Natick.

Okay, for many years, we've sold quite a bit in Hopkinton, Upton, Holliston, and we also do quite a bit in our hometowns, which is like Medfield, Millis, Medway. Elizabeth started in Wellesley and Needham, so we've kind of done all over. And then we occasionally will do vacation houses for people at the Cape as well. Um, and we've had many clients that we've referred out to other states if they're selling with us in Mass and then moving to Virginia or D.C., wherever. Yeah, I mean, we've gone all the way up to Rye and all the way down to Falmouth.

Yeah, but um, I think most of the business being in Hopkinton, places we teach, and then also now that I have school-age children, kind of networking through those different channels into Millis has been kind of a new venture.

Absolutely, and it sounds like community is a big part of your business. Are you guys sort of out in the community a lot, working, shaking hands, kissing babies type of thing?

Well, we have plenty of babies to kiss. Yeah, community is a huge part of our business. I mean, the yoga community that we're part of, primarily at Shanti Yoga, which is one of our best friends owns those studios, we've been a part of that community for a really long time. So as often as we can be found doing real estate things, we can also be found at the studio and sometimes doing both at the same time. Um, so the community is definitely a big part of that. I found something that people really like at the yoga studios is that they can feel like they can ask us questions about real estate without feeling like they're going to get heavily pressured. Yeah, um, so people will kind of come to us to ask us for different resources and referrals to contractors or plumbers, electricians, painters, whatever it is. Um, and people seem to enjoy that perk.

Yeah, that's definitely big. We also started like, um, when I had, I think my first child, Leanne started doing like community connection videos where she would go into like Natick and she did a whole bunch of like, um, just sort of community connection, that type of video. And I think it's something that we're trying to get back into a little bit more. Um, tossing around some ideas about other ways to get sort of involved in the Millis community, maybe a coffee shop type situation. Um, so expanding into the locations we want to be in.

Awesome, kind of the markets we want to be in. Great. Yeah, out of your recent sales in the past month or so, do you have any customer success stories of, you know, helping people decide whether to buy or sell first or...

Oh, my, oh, my gosh, we've got a lot of customer success stor... We've got good, the most... Yeah, the most recent, uh, helping somebody decide if they want

 to sell their home of almost 50 years was probably huge, uh, was a huge success for us. But it was a huge success for them because when somebody comes to you and says, "We're ready to make this transition," but it is incredibly hard for emotional reasons and then also logistics, financially, like where, what happens if we don't sell, you know, I think that was a major success. Um, felt more of an emotional success helping somebody transition into that next phase, I would say.

Yeah, I think we could get honorary degrees as therapists at this point.

I would like to think, yeah, I think so. And I think that's a big part of it. I mean, we've also, like, we... Based on, like, age sometimes, help a lot of first-time buyers too. And helping first-time buyers kind of get over the hump of, like, a house is a house and it's going to have house things and it's going to have problems. Um, sometimes even new construction is a big emotional hurdle also and an educational, like, walking somebody through, like, a massive first-time purchase and educating them on, like, you know, what's the difference between information we can find out and then just, like, the joys of home ownership. Like, absolutely. The inspector can't see what's in the wall. Yeah. We do get a lot of feedback from our clients that something that they really cherish about their work with us is that we are efficient at managing expectations. Because we don't want people to think that it's going to be all butterflies and rainbows. Um, and sometimes it is, but most of the time it isn't. So it's nice that people's expectations are managed ahead of time so that they kind of deal with this period at the beginning of acute stress and then that starts to dissipate. Like, I would rather people have most of their stress at the beginning over possibilities and managing their expectations than have it be down the line with a real problem that they weren't ready for. Absolutely.

So that person that lived in their home for 50 years, you kind of coached them through making that decision, whether it was the right time or not. You want to walk me through a little bit, like, what that dialogue was in the earlier stages?

It had a lot to do with risk tolerance, I think. Massive, um, like when we talk about risk tolerance, we're almost always talking about money and we're having conversations about, um, how conservative people are with their assets and, like, finances. They're finite. It's a finite resource, especially if you're in retirement. So with downsizers, it's a big conversation about risk tolerance in regards to investment and assets. Um, however, there's also emotional risk tolerance, which I find holds people back much more. And sometimes people use their finances as a way to, um, walk themselves back because they're afraid to take the step towards moving, especially when they've raised their family in a house that they've been in for decades and in many cases built the house that they live in. I think the financial risk tolerance, which is valuable and we should all have it and be able to dialogue about it, um, and make sure that our financial health is a priority, but more often than not, it's the emotional piece, um, that people have to kind of get ready to risk it for the biscuit, 100%.

Yeah, I know someone who moved from California to here and they kind of said something interesting where in California, it sounds like people are a lot more likely to just sort of, like, say what the problem is, like, "Oh, this is too much money," or, like, "We don't have the funds for this," or, you know, like, "We have this really, um, time going on in our lives right now." It seems like people don't really do that as much over here on the East Coast. At least that's what I... I was told from that person. So, I mean, that's kind of interesting to think that some of the stuff might actually be unique to our market. What advice would you guys give to potential buyers, sellers that are thinking about entering the market in 2024, either for the first time or, you know, to resell something?

Do it! I just... I just had a conversation. I had, like, basically this exact conversation with a new client the other day who has worked with two other realtors and they got ghosted by their most recent. They got kind of fired by their first one and ghosted by their second one. Oh no. So when they reached out to me, I... I basically said to them... I'm paraphrasing heavily, but what I'm hearing and what you're saying is that your expectations are far too high for the market conditions. And what ends up happening when people find that their expectations are too high for the market, their in is that they either decide, "Okay, I'm going to adjust my expectations and move forward," or they say, "I'm going to wait for better market conditions." But the thing, the hurdle is, there are not better market conditions. There's always going to be something and life doesn't wait for perfect conditions. Yeah, there are no perfect conditions. Um, and every... Every first-time buyer that we've helped has been happy in the house they've ended up in. And I think that, again, is like the emotional risk tolerance of understanding that, like, yeah, this may not be your dream house. You're probably only going to live in it for 5 to 7 years and then you're going to take that equity and you're going to move forward. So, um, I guess what I would say to people that are wanting to enter the market, especially as first-timers, is to make sure that your expectations are flexible or, you know, set a lower bar so that you're setting yourself up for success. Because when you go into these houses... We just sold a house to a first-time buyer who ended up buying a house that has crazy equity potential. Like, insane. And they were extremely coachable. They took our feedback very well. They strategized with us really well. Initially, what they wanted was something that was turnkey. They could walk in, it was done, it was ready to go. But in this market, this house is going to be a massive part of their wealth building. Yeah, so I think, be open to feedback, um, be coachable, and be willing to admit that you don't know what you don't know. Absolutely.

Huge, that's awesome. You know, how do you... People... How do you guys help people sort of flush out their future goals with, you know, life goals, family, you know, coming in or going out, um, you know, going to college or something? How's that sort of part of your process?

Life stuff is always going to be a... is always going to be part of the home buying process and, um, inherently because you live in it, probably. Unless it's an investment, but even if it's an investment, it's part of your wealth portfolio. Real estate historically has been, like, the best, you know, most proven way to build wealth. Real estate is always going to appreciate. And this happens every single time we talk with a client. This house needs to hold water in regards to equity and it needs to appreciate over time. And it will. But if your house is going to be your biggest asset and it's going to be the way that you're going to, um, build wealth, you have to be willing to get a little dirty in there with sweat equity. Um, we have to be willing to overlook certain things cosmetically, certainly, um, to be able to do that because, you know, there's an old saying that's like, you don't want to be... You don't want to buy the nicest house on the street because then it's going to be much harder to build equity. Of course, in this market, you buy the nicest house on the street and you build equity right away anyways, but that's not always the case. So, um, you know, like when builders are looking, they're looking for, you know, the least nice house on the street because they know that that's how they're going to build wealth on that investment. So that's how we help people plan for their future.

And I think also taking a look at, you know, like we have two clients that are getting married, both of them at the exact same time, got engaged, came to us and were like, "We don't know what to do here." And it's like, okay, your wedding's important. You want to invest in that, but that is money that you throw into the wind that's not going to blow back. The money that you invest into your property, however, will. So, you know, like a personal example for me is I got engaged and then, um, planned my wedding for nine months later and then bought a property, got renovated it, and moved in two days before my wedding and then in two years made over a hundred grand on the property. So I think, like, that's a perfect example of how important that is because that was the way that, um, John and I were able to buy our next property, which has done the same thing for us in regards to equity. With economics the way that they are now, especially for people that are, you know, in the millennial age group and younger, um, we have to be willing to make hard decisions like that to plan for the future because if I hadn't bought that first property because I was afraid of timing or investment of time, I would not have had the opportunities that I've had.

Absolutely, yeah. Real estate has definitely been one of the best investments to make over time. You know, it's kind of been proving over and over again. In our first episode, Al REO was talking about how he essentially made a 100% return on investment on his first investment property because the rates at that time, it just, like, things were so crazy. It's such a different time, you know. I think he sold it for a hundred grand, bought it for about 50 grand, somewhere in those numbers. It's a challenging market 'cause there's almost, like, no good deal in this market, right?

Not today, but, like, in a year from now, there will be a good deal. The good deal is the deal you made five years ago. So you got, as long as you're going to stay in your home for, like, more than nine or 10 months, like, people are going to probably be making money off of the market 'cause we don't have the inventory to really have this supply-demand thing equal out for a while. So it's always a little bit, like, you have to have a lot to stomach on the buy side more than necessarily, like, the sell side. Um, you know, when... When a client is thinking, when they're sort of weighing those two, and, you know, the different towns that they could be moving from, are you guys helping first-time homebuyers sort of move out of the city out here or, you know, if they're coming from college?

We're definitely helping people... People moving out. And I was, you know, sort of noting that, in a way, it's kind of too bad, but, like, we used to be helping people move from the city out to Medfield, out to Millis, out to the surrounding towns. And I find that our net is getting cast, like, further out, absolutely, because that is what the first-time homebuyers can buy. So sort of directing them... They have a vision in their head, "We want to be in Medfield," and we're saying, "Well, look at Millis," you know, with the budget, with the things like that. So I think that, um, we usually... I think we've helped one person move in... Yeah, one, like, one in the middle of the pandemic, I think. She got a deal, and she did get a deal, she did. But yeah, I think, uh, 99.9% we're helping people move out and then sort of pointing them into the towns where there's, um, like, a... like, good potential for the investment, like, this is the best place to put your money given your specific needs, wants, and wishes. I think, yeah, yeah, I mean, our market has definitely been sort of, like, this up-and-coming area for the longest time, and now it's starting to... Now it's really starting to become something where people are seeing lots of wealth return when they're going to move. Um, definitely, you know, it's... it's challenging for the new homebuyers that want to be close to the city because they work in the city and stuff like that. But I mean, it sounds like you guys sort of coach your clients through that very well. Is there anything else you'd like to add before we wrap up here?

Um, I would say that one of the biggest pieces of advice that we give to people that I think can really, really help people in their search is that consider the list price a starting place. When you want to know if what you can afford based on your budget, ask your realtor to look at properties that have sold, see what they... how much they went over for. They probably did go over. See how much they went over for and what they sold at, because then you have a better idea of what you can afford at your budget. Because if your budget is 500, that's everybody's budget. So if your budget's 500 and you look at houses that are listed at 500, you're going to be... you know, so... Because those properties are going to go for 550, um, or 555 or 575. So it's better to look than at 450. It's harder to put together a super competitive winning offer when you're up against 13 other offers. It's hard when you're already at the cap. So yeah, having an agent that can give you kind of the range to be looking in that will help you succeed, um, or you're spinning your wheels. Yeah, and also have an agent... getting heartbroken and get... Yeah, have an agent for sure, yeah, totally, for sure. And also have an agent who will be a little creative.

Um, I would say that most of the time we're writing letters for our clients, um, because it doesn't always have to do with the most money. Um, a lot of the time it has to do with, like, the emotional connection that the seller might have. Um, so I think having an agent that can, you know, think of ways to creatively... It's like, okay, let's... let's... let's make sure we're connected. Let's make sure we're on the same page with this.

Absolutely, yeah. That's really good advice. Thank you guys so much for coming on the podcast today. I hope you guys had a good time. I know I sure did. I hope you guys listening had a good time too. And don't forget, um, if you guys want to subscribe to the podcast, it's gonna be in the link below. And, uh, thank you so much, everybody. Have a good one.

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Tim Lumnah

Hello, I’m a REALTOR® and Certified Buyer Representative graced with the great honor of buying and selling homes for the community of Greater Boston. I grew up in Massachusetts and work....

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