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What You’ll Learn On Today’s Episode

  • Building relationships with key officials and partners can remove a lot of potential roadblocks to success. Be respectful of their time, and see how you can help them in your own capacity.
  • Don’t be afraid to put your cards on the table and encourage your counterpart to do the same. A mutually agreeable solution can almost always be found.
  • Prepare well, but know that you can’t prepare for everything. Improvising can be daunting for some, but quick thinking and finding solutions to problems on the spot is a huge asset for negotiators.

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Executive Summary:

Welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx Podcast! Our guest this week is J.B. Andreassi, co-owner of Andreassi Development and a realtor who listeners might recognize from the Discovery Plus show “Selling The Hamptons”. J.B. is a graduate of the Bridge program at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, where Aram is also an adjunct professor. As a real estate advisor and developer, J.B. ‘s guiding principles are trust, diligence and accountability, and those are the mottos that he lives by as he negotiates on behalf of his clients.

J.B. Andreassi: From The NHL To Real Estate

J.B.‘s father was a builder so his initiation into the world of real estate started at a very young age. Back in the late 1980’s, his father moved to the Hamptons, so J.B. ‘s childhood was spent “swinging hammers” and helping to build very large homes at a time when the area was fairly underdeveloped. But after graduating from Tuck, J.B. decided to pursue a career in his other area of passion: sports. Working for the NHL’s business development team, J.B. picked up a plethora of corporate skills that he could adapt to his own style and would eventually help him build his brand and his business.

From there, J.B. got the opportunity to work for a big real estate development firm serving Manhattan and other key markets in California, DC and Florida. This helped him blend his corporate growth-first mentality with the day-to-day world of construction. Combining his corporate skills with the lessons learned in real estate, he finally returned home to help his dad evolve his business. In his own words, J.B. has a natural affinity towards connecting with people which allows him to assist them in realizing their dream of owning a home in the Hamptons.

Negotiations In The Real Estate World

J.B. has to come to understand that negotiations never stop. Keeping clients and subcontractors aside, there’s always some sort of negotiation happening in one’s personal life, either with their family members or their significant other. Professionally, J.B. can divide his day-to-day negotiations into two distinct categories or buckets.

The first one involves him negotiating in the capacity of a real estate advisor, as a representative of a seller of a property, or a representative of a buyer/investor. In this category, the individuals he represents might change but his style and approach remain the same; being an advocate for his client.

The second bucket is negotiating as a builder, with all the subcontractors that are involved in the process of constructing and delivering a project. This category is more focused, with negotiations determining the alignment of all the individuals responsible for the completion of a project, with an emphasis on the bottom line.

When working with subcontractors, J.B. falls back upon his core values. Trust and accountability is what makes certain subcontractors stand out from the rest. Relationships of course, are key to the process of finding the right group of people for the job. Normally, a negotiation J.B. would undertake in his builder capacity would result in a certain degree of back-and-forth with his counterparts. Finding compromises and understanding how professionals can work together in the best interest of the client is what makes or breaks the success of a project.

Game Plan For Success

Working with buyers or investors presents its own set of challenges. Every case and every deal is different so J.B. recommends doing a lot of research and homework on both the property, and the players beforehand. Understanding what’s important for each player helps him to create a game plan and prioritize the resources at his disposal accordingly. While the deals may be different every time, in J.B.’s experience, people in general tend to be open to compromise and find a middle ground that works for all parties.

Nolan and Aram are huge advocates for negotiation prep. That’s why J.B.’s game plan resonates with other episodes in this series where preparation was front and center. For J.B., this game plan goes beyond the logistical hurdles one has to cross in the construction business. A large part of preparing involves cultivating relationships. Having good working relationships with local attorneys, home inspectors and other officials gives him a better chance of success in finalizing a deal. Additionally, he can leverage those relationships to negotiate better prices for the buyers and sellers J.B. represents.

There are times however, when things go wrong and J.B. has to deliver bad news to a client. At moments like that, he falls back on a lesson he learned from his head coach at Dartmouth. J.B.’s coach advised him to be as prepared as possible but when a problem arises that he hasn’t prepared for, it is important to know how to improvise. This lesson served him well, not only on the football field but throughout his career. The ability to adapt to new developments helped J.B. deal with disastrous situations like when there was flooding in the basement of a house on the day the papers were supposed to be signed. Instead of panicking, he called his family to help with the clean up and managed to get it done before the client arrived for the final survey.

Aram, Nolan and J.B. discuss a lot more about the world of real estate negotiations on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Write to us at team@negotiatex.com and let us know, how do you approach negotiations with clients and subcontractors?

Thank you for listening.


Nolan Martin : Hello, and welcome to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. I'm your co-founder and co-host Nolan Martin with me today is my good friend,co-founder co-host Aram Donigian. Aram as always. How are you doing, sir?

Aram Donigian : Oh, I'm great. And we've got an exciting guest lined up today.

NM : Absolutely let's jump right into it and introduce our guest.

AD : Yeah so our guest is gonna be familiar to a number of folks who've watched Netflix's “Million Dollar Home” or Discover Plus HGTV “Selling The Hamptons”, it's J.B.Andreassi. And I met J.B. a few months ago while doing a program we were both a part of.For the Tuck School of Business, where I teach for their Bridge program, which J.B. is a graduate of that program. I'll talk about J.B. a little more, a little more there. He did such a great job of that program and the participants enjoyed him so much. I was like, “Hey, would you come on our podcast and talk a little bit about your experiences?” And he's gracing us with his time. So let me just tell a little bit about J.B.SoJ.B. is a co-principal of the residential luxury development company, AndreassiDevelopment. He's a NestSeeker's luxury real estate agent.

He's a graduate at Dartmouth college where he played football and he is a graduate of the Tuck School ofBusiness Bridge program. He takes an in depth analytical approach to all of his business transactions. His love of the twin relationships between building and selling came later after college.In his early career, he worked for the National Hockey League as part of the business development team and was responsible for tens of millions of dollars of corporate partnership assets. He left the NHL to join the Related Management Group in two, 2016. And as an employee of one of the biggest real estate development firms in the world, heJ.B. gained invaluable real estate knowledge about selling, developing in the DC and Manhattan markets. After a successful year and a half with Related Management Group, he decided it was time to return home and be closer to his family.

Just as important however, was finding a position within a real estate group that represented his values and beliefs and shared in his desire to help individuals make their dream of being a Hampton's homeowner a reality.Nest seekers international was the obvious choice. Trust, diligence, and accountability are the most important items when it comes to representing a client and transaction on their behalf.In this ever changing and sometimes extremely challenging business, it is critical to know and trust that you have a representative who is accessible around the clock- it would be fun to dig into that by the way, as we talk about negotiation- and will do whatever it takes to help you achieve your goals. One of those goals is to keep a sustainable relationship and friendship wellafter the transaction is complete.J.B. goes the extra mile to make sure his clients have a comfortable, customized, and enjoyable experience when looking to purchase or sell their home in one of the most beautiful and unique places in the world. J.B., that's a heck of a bio.

J.B. Andreassi : Wow.That's a lot.

AD : Welcome to the program. Makes it sound like you're 60 years old to have doneso much.

J.B.A : Yeah. I've, crammed in a lot. And thank you again, Aram and Nolan for having me today and it's, you know, definitely an honor to be here and speak with you guys about my experiences and hopefully, you know, I wanna learn from you guys as well, because I think, and I think we'll dive into this little deeper, but I'm someone that's continuously sort of a sponge and wanna just learn from everyone and anything around me. And yeah, it does that. Bio did make me seem like I was 60, but I'm 31 years old and still, I think a lot of us out there in our twenties and thirties still trying to figure it out. So, and that's okay. So, but thank you again for having me

AD : J.B., I'm closing in a couple more years on 50, so I'll be 48 this year and I share your sentiment. I'm learning that the day we stop learning is the day we might as well just crawl and hole and die.

J.B.A : A hundred percent.

NM : And J.B., I don't know if you knew this, but Aram was actually my professor at West Point. In 2011, 2010, he was my professor. He was a lot younger. I don't think he had as much gray [laugh] but he definitely didn't have a beard since he was a major in the army. But yeah. So I don't know if you knew

J.B.A : I did not realize that, that's amazing. And I know Aram's touched a lot of different people, whether it's Tuck bridge or in the military. So it's cool to see it in the flesh and see a student here and now you guys are partners doing this thing. So this is very cool.

AD : Thanks J.B.

NM : SoJ.B. let's kick off the podcast. The first thing we kinda like to ask is your journey of getting to real estate and where you are today. And what I think we should first kind of do is figure out what's different with the type of real estate that you are dealing with and forms of development or the high-end aspect of things. First, what most people probably listening to podcasts understand as your traditional real estate salesman.

An Overview of J.B.’s Real Estate Journey [5:38]

J.B.A : Yeah, of course. So as you guys mentioned, I am a real estate advisor/developer out in the Hamptons. I think really, I've been asked this question a lot. I think for me, what it goes back to is just growing up around real estate and more specifically around construction. My father has been a builder his entire life. He's 71 now. And he saw an opportunity in the late eighties, early nineties to come out to the Hamptons where it was a place that was sort of, believe it or not, kind of underdeveloped back then 30 years ago. And he wanted to sort of take his skills and align it with a market that he saw as opportunistic. And so he moved out here and then married my mom and had me and my brother and sister.

And so we grew up my brother and I just, we were on backhoes. We're on bulldozers, we're swinging hammers and just really immersed into this world of building homes, very, very big homes and trying to figure out when you're 4, 5, 6 years old, who the heck is living in these things, it's certainly notstudents and classmates that are around me in Hampton public schools because we're sort of the, we call it the locals or the all year rounders here. But to answer your question when my first sort of love and passion started, I guess. And then, you know, my other love was sports and I took a little detour, I think, in my real estate career and trajectory. And, and I went into sports and I worked for the NHL right when I graduated from Tuck Bridge in Dartmouth.

And I'm so glad I did that and didn't jump right into the real estate thing because I was fully involved in just the everyday corporate lifestyle and being in Midtown Manhattan and being surrounded by super successful individuals, much smarter individuals than myself.And really having that ability to learn from them and just figure out, you know, different styles of how they transact, different styles of working with clients and experiential things. And I've learned how to take the really good things that I learned from them and the bad things and apply it to- not the bad things- but apply the good things to my own style and figure out how I can, you know, how I can make my own brand and business. And then, so I went into the NHL and I was great and then had an opportunity to work for one of the biggest firms in real estate related development.

Super big in Manhattan and some of the other key markets around the country, out in LA, in California, and then down in now, they're in south Florida, Miami, DC, where, you know, I had a stop down in DC for two years. I was telling you about Nolan. And that's where I really kind of married the construction day to day world that I grew up around with that corporate sort of client B2B business type of mentality. And I think I've done a pretty good job so far. So I took what I learned from Related, came back out to really help my dad evolve his building business, and then also do what I do really well, which is connect with people and sell and really kind of try and marry people's wishes and desires with their dreams of owning homes out here. So it's cool.

AD : J.B., we could probably end the podcast right here, cuz you've hit on three things that Istress with my students, right? The love of learning for lifelong learners, the hard work, your story is one of a lot of hard work and it goes, it certainly goes back to your dad and then connecting with people. You do those three things really well, you're gonna be successful in life. You're gonna be successful in negotiations. So guess we'll just end the podcast right there. [laughs] No I'm kidding. Hey listen. So as you look the work you're doing today in real estate, where, where does the skill of negotiation show up and maybe, you know, if we get really specifically who are the folks that you're commonly negotiating with, as you kind of marry up construction with real estate and over what sorts of things?

Two StylesOf Negotiations [9:20]

J.B.A : That's a great question. So I kind of have two different buckets. One: I can speak to as a real estate advisor, it's both representing either a seller of a property or a buyer/investor in a certain property. Both styles of negotiating. I think everyone kind of has their own style of negotiating, the players change, but your style and approach really doesn't in my opinion. So that's one bucket and then the other bucket is with building. And I think the biggest time I see myself negotiating besides with trying to appease the client, when we're building custom homes is with subcontractors.Meaning if we're the general contractor on a project, we need to make sure that our subcontractors, whether that's plumbing, siding, masonry, different landscapers, that they're all aligned with our common goal, which is to finish a product or finish a home in a certain period of time, but also main maintaining that integrity of the product and kind of, and I hate to, I'm gonna kind of save money a lot, what makes our business go is really that bottom line.

And so if we're able to negotiate with subcontractors to either either leverage the fact that they can, secure our business down the road with future projects, and that means maybe they're doing it for a little bit less money, whether it's, you know, again, they're doing the patio outside, it's usually $25,000, but if you guys do it for $18,000, we secure the next two projects that are already lined up down the road. So I think there's two different buckets there, but it's something Aram I do every day. I gotta say, it's exhausting sometimes.It is.Cause it's just it's every day, all day. And I think one of the questions that I think we'll get to is, and it doesn't stop when you get home. You're still constantly going with the clients and the subcontractors and the guys that work for you, but also in your home life, whether it's your significant other, or it's your family members, there's always some sort of negotiation happening, whether it's in the business world or in your personal life that I I'm sure you guys can attest to as well.

NM : Well, I'm sure we're gonna dive into that because we've had four pretty big negotiators on the podcast. And I'm curious to see what your answer to that question is with regards to negotiating with your personal life, how successful you actually are, but we'll get that kind of, at the end here. I kinda wanna follow up with something that you said here, and that was the relationship between contractors and subcontractors. So it's a lot easier to have someone take the deal now at a discount in hopes of getting the deals in the future when you have a lot of the power in the negotiation. But I'm curious to know, I mean, from your perspective, how powerful or how much power do the subcontractors actually have in the negotiation because you're kind of beholden to them and the work that they perform so that you can complete the project on time.

Working With SubcontractorsAnd Investor/Buyers [12:25]

J.B.A : That’s a really good question, too Nolan. I think so the put it simply, there's a few subcontractors that stand out because of their work and because of their accountability, more so than others. We may be going back and forth and it could be, I'll use this guy Silverio, who does our pools, you know, Silverio will say, “Yeah, J.B., like we can take a discount here, but who are you gonna call and know that they're gonna show up the next day? It's not gonna be anyone else it's gonna be me.” So it is, there is a little bit of back and forth and, and there is power there. And I think to more simply put the answers, it goes back to these core values, right? It's the accountability factor. It's the trust factor. It's the relationship between either A and B players within a negotiation. So I see it more often than not. I typically think they're gonna fold, but they usually come back with something strong and then it's sort of a finding a compromise and figuring out how to work together, going forward. It's a great question.

NM : Awesome.

AD : You know, that's a great little dive there on the subcontractor. On the other bucket with investors/buyers, do you see any trends in terms of when things don't go well, the cost when, when things are going really well, the benefit, the value that you're able to create with, with either a buyer or investor?

J.B.A : Yeah. I think, you know, what it comes down to is like every case and every deal is different. I think that a lot of times what I like to do Aram is I like to really- one, I think that this is the first step is really be super knowledgeable about, for me more specifically, it's about the properties and really about who the players are within this deal.Understanding what is the most important items for each player, whether it's a seller or buyer or investor and prioritizing those things. And once you have that information, you kind of come up with a game plan. For example, it might be someone that I know, a buyer comes in and the most important thing in their life is their family. So trying to understand that, we need to position them in a place where they're close to rec centers and they're close to parks and things like that and leveraging that sort of thing in a deal, but it differs in every single sense.

And every single deal's different, circumstantial. And it's, you know, I've found that, I don't know if you guys feel the same way. I've found that a lot of times, people justwant to be able to kind of compromise and it's just find a middle ground some way somehow. And if you're open to that and you're open to that dialogue and you don't just shut down, you don't just say, no, this is it. Take it or leave it. A lot of times it leads to a good thing. And a lot of people are better than they seem, but they just, they just want to talk it out and they just wanna have a conversation about it.

NM : So, something that you kind of said there, J.B. was building a game plan, you know, Aram and I are huge advocates of preparation before we go into negotiation. We believe that, I mean, ultimately that makes you really be successful or at least have the best chances at having a great outcome. So you kind of talked about a few things there, you talked about a bunch of different players in a deal, right. And so kind of figuring out the different needs and desires of each of these players and the path to get there. So kind of two-pronged here, but first, what path do you take? How do you prepare whenever you're trying to outline all of this for a negotiation, for a deal.

J.B.A : So I think for me, it goes back to, and this actually adds to my workload, but it's just relationships. And by what I mean by that is in a deal it's really important to be efficient with your time, but also understanding the pieces that go into making a deal. So for example, if I have relationships with a local attorney, a better relationship with a local attorney or better relationship with a home inspector or better relationships with the town building department, I give my person a better chance to succeed in a deal. And I can leverage those relationships in order to either expedite the deal or kind of box out other people trying to get in, and then use that as leverage when I'm going to negotiate a better price for my buyer or a higher price for my seller. When I was kind of thinking on this the last couple days about negotiating, I think relationships is everything.

And certainly as it pertains to my business and that takes more work, that means you're on your phone more often, that means you're doing more coffees and lunches and everything else.But I feel like that preparation and that sustainability of those relationships and being in front of those people, although it is more time consuming and it sort of, it takes away from maybe, you know, spending a little bit more time with your, your loved ones and things like that. Starting off in your career, it’s essential. You have to do it. And, um, it's really something that's helped me along the way here and something I'll definitely continue to do moving forward.

AD : Yeah. That's something that we would certainly espouse is the value, the importance of relationships.And I agree with you the amount of time that it takes to manage those well, cuz I assume you're not calling, you know, the town building folks or that attorney just when you need something, you're managing those relationships actively as you talk, you know, lunch and other things, in that part of that's your own brand too. That's hard work. That's probably a lot more work than people know it is

J.B.A : You have to, and it's not, you're not gonna get an answer if you just called and needed something, you guys know this. If you, you just pick up the phone and call and need something, a lot of times those guys will be like, oh, J.B., hasn't, you know, reached out for my birthday J.B., didn't invite me to his little summer soiree, you know? So [laughs], you gotta, you gotta be in front of everyone and just, just make sure that, you're on the same page. So it's super important.

AD : Uh, the other quest follow up in, on terms of prep, I mean, you talked about just knowing these properties and I remember this was something you talked about when we did that bridge program too. You, you do a lot of homework when it comes to understanding these properties that, that you are either getting people to invest or, or to purchase

Preparation And Improvisation Go Hand-In-Hand [18:20]

J.B.A : You have to. And I think it's really for me. And again, it's gonna tie in the relationship piece, but it's, I have a relationship with a title company. So every not every deal, but when there's a deal that I know that's, we're gonna have to separate ourselves a little bit. I'll reach out to the title company, spend a little bit of money out of my pocket to understand everything that's happened at that property, whether there's lies or anything that you know, that we can't see on the public facing view. Just so I have a better understanding of if I'm putting my, client in a bad position or a good position and understanding that I don't know many other brokers or advisors that do that. And I think that that's something that separates me and that's something that will give me an edge when it comes time to negotiate a price or negotiate commissions or things like that. That's something that gives me leverage.

NM : Yeah. I think J.B. kind of, kind of a question here. And I was just kind of thinking about the exciting parts of watching HGTV, and unfortunately at your expense, it's usually when something pops up and now that agent has to explain to the investor, to the buyer, to the seller, oh, crap. Something just popped up, something went horribly wrong. How do you then approach that bad news of giving it to your client?

J.B.A : Good question. So I think it actually goes back to my Dartmouth days. My head coach, who's still there head football coach. And I took a lot of things, a lot of different learnings from him. I thought he was extremely instrumental in both being a great football coach, but also trying to formulate how to be a good man. When you're between 18 and 22, when that's such a pivotal time I think in everyone's lives. And he said, you can be as prepared as possible for situations, but there's most likely gonna come a time when you're gonna have to improvise. So it's something that I use and he's like, you'll use it on the football field in the short term. And I promise you, you're gonna use it in life going forward.

And whenever you do in your careers. So I think, you know, the preparation is essential. It's required, but there will be times where something goes to strive or something goes wrong and you weren't prepared for it, but you have to have the ability to adapt. And you have to have the ability to be prepared with contingency plans when that happens. And it's never easy. It's never easy when you have to go to the client and say, “Hey look, the landscaping wasn't done. We had an open house and it didn't turn out the way we wanted. I scheduled it, he was supposed to be there. I called him. He was supposed to be there, but he got tied up in another project. So we didn't get to your home in time”, and it's gonna happen. But you find ways to make up for that. And whether it's you calling your brother to get a lawnmower down there, whatever it is, you know, you gotta figure out ways to get it done and adjust and improvise the situation. So it's something that I do all the time, and I'm sure you guys do in your own words.

NM : Hey, so gotta follow up there. Kind of putting you on the hot seat here, do you have an example of when something went absolutely wrong and maybe you handled it, how you wanted, or maybe you didn't, but could you share that with us? And the lessons learned from that?

J.B.A : Our last spec home that we built for AndreassiDevelopment, we had it on the market for 3.7 million in South Hampton.The client who we signed a deal before the home was complete. And I'm sure there actually might be a question later on to this, we might have to circle back to this, but the client signed on this home before it was complete. Meaning for the last three months of the project, while we completed it essentially turned into a custom build because there was change orders and this and that, that they wanted: wallpapers and they wanted different hardware in the kitchen, things like that. So before they signed, he had come out once with his family, we’d been back and forth over the last week, over the terms of what the contract's gonna be. And some of the customizations that we're gonna add to the deal, even though it was a spec home and he's coming out on Sunday, I believeit was actually last Memorial day weekend.

Now that I think about it, cuz the house sold in July. So he tells me on Saturday, he's coming out. We have to move out, move over all our plans that we had for Memorial day weekend and be there. But that Saturday night it was pouring, it rained. We probably got an inch and a half, two inches of rain. He's coming out Sunday with his family and really papers are gonna be there. He's gonna do a final walkthrough and figure it out. We get to the house probably 45 minutes before they were supposed to arrive. The basement wasn't finished yet.We go to the basement. There's two inches of water in there.

NM : Oh man.

J.B.A : Right?, I already asked him, I can say his name he's on his way out. And I call him seeing if hopefully he's delayed because of the rain. Nope. But what we had to do is literally call my little sister, call my mom. We got shot backs from our barn, literally trying to push out all the rain with brooms, everything. Because we knew if he and his family walked down to the basement and they saw a builder, no matter it's rain, right? It something's mother nature, you can't control. Butwe knew that we had to clear that water out and as fast as possible. So it was all hands on deck. It was clearing out the water as much as we could and was little damp spots. When he finally got there and I kind of held him up. We were walking the first and second floor being extremely diligent with everything, trying to buy time in the basement and put a couple, big tarps down so it didn't look like it was too bad when he got down there. But he never found out that that happened. [laughs] He didn't ask anything and it's one of those situations where you just, you prepare for everything, but sometimes it just something arises and you gotta handle it. So, and he ended up buying a house. So thank God.

AD : Sounds like you need to thank that little sister. So younger siblings, we take a lot advantage of 'em over the years, but there's a relationship that's worth maintaining

J.B.A : A hundred percent. Yeah. Little Hannah stepped up she's now. Yeah. She's 23 at the time. She's like I'm going out with my friends, but she showed up dirty. Like one of the boys, one of the brothers for the day.

NM : Everyone Nolan here. I gotta jump in and end the conversation right here. If you haven't already please rate, review and subscribe to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We'll greatly appreciate it. And we'll see you in the next episode.

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