Buying Like a Developer

Vivian S. Toy wrote an interesting article about developers living in their own buildings, which can change almost everything about the buildings:

"When you start out, it’s not a conscious thing, but your tastes and preferences are going to come out," he said. "When you’re choosing a lounge chair for the lobby, for example, you’ll pick one that you’d want in your house."

He plans to move into a three-bedroom apartment at the Element with his wife and two sons and admitted that "maybe I am making some conscious and subconscious changes because I’m sort of protecting where I’m going to be living as well."

There were two features that he added to the building because he knew he would appreciate them. One was a guest bathroom in the lobby and another was an elevator button that the concierge could push as soon as a resident entered the building, to shorten the wait for an elevator.

Developers also often tailor projects to suit their current lives. Mr. Liberman said that when he and Mr. Chamberlin first started building apartments, they were single and built only studios and one-bedrooms. They started building larger apartments when they both married and started families. "We’ve built to our own demography," Mr. Liberman said. "It’s hard not to project yourself into what you do."

You hear discussion of these kinds of arrangements fairly often. Typically some developer has taken over this or that penthouses, in some cases at cut rates, before the building is publicly available. Makes people a little jealous, I guess, at times, which is probably why it comes up so much.

Personally? Iwould perceive the developer taking an apartment in his/her project as a positive, and I’m not too concerned how much they pay. The obvious benefit to having the developer take up residence in the building is the additional commitment they will have to maintain and improve the building over time. There is no better sign of someone’s commitment than seeing that developer “walk the talk.” As a real estate agent and a property owner myself, I would be much more inclined to buy in a project where I new the Penthouse was occupied by the person putting their reputation on the line by constructing the project in the first place.

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