Entrepreneurs rush into NYC real estate market…

Posted: February 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Manhattan Real Estate, Private Property Management, The Real Deal | Comments Off on Entrepreneurs rush into NYC real estate market…

By Candace Taylor, The Real Deal magazine, February 2011

Newly launched Staunton DuBrovin is tapping into a market of jet-setters who need someone to take care of their pied-à-terres while they’re away.

The Manhattan-based firm was launched in September 2010 by longtime friends Carastina DuBrovin and Jennifer Kilmurray. Before starting the company, DuBrovin was a real estate agent at Brown Harris Stevens and Kilmurray worked for Quintessentially Concierge, a concierge service based in Manhattan and London.

With more international buyers picking up deeply discounted pied-à-terres in the downturn, the two saw an opportunity. Both noticed that their clients were asking for more help with everything from waiting for the cable guy to furnishing their newly purchased homes. When the duo launched Staunton DuBrovin, they had been providing these kinds of services to their clients individually for some time.

They now head a team of 11 employees — seven in New York and the Hamptons, two in Miami and two in Houston. When a client is coming into town, their staff can be on hand to stock the fridge, turn on lights, heat the pool or do a number of other tasks that Kilmurray said other concierge companies don’t do.

Recently, for example, a Miami client was about to leave for a ski trip when he realized that he needed long underwear. “We had one hour to get thermal underwear in Miami,” Kilmurray laughed.

While the firm caters to the very wealthy, Kilmurray said it’s actually a money-saver for many clients, since they can use their services as much or little as they need, rather than hiring a full-time staff. “We’re a cost-efficient way of managing your home,” she said, noting that the money-saving benefits are especially attractive in the down economy.

Payment plans are customized for individual clients. Some keep the firm on a monthly retainer, paying anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. Others opt for an hourly rate of $60 to $120. The company currently manages 12 apartments in New York City, four homes in the Hamptons, six homes in Miami and three apartments in Houston, Kilmurray said.

Staunton DuBrovin has an office at 71 Gansevoort Street, but overhead is low, Kilmurray said, since staff is paid by the hour based on clients’ needs. She said the company has been profitable since it started, but she declined to say how much money the partners have invested.

The two founders are confident in the model because, while the real estate market may fluctuate, “there will always be people who need our assistance,” DuBrovin said.

Source: http://therealdeal.com/newyork/articles/entrepreneurs-rush-into-nyc-real-estate-market




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