Closing service thrives in downturn

By James Kelly | February 11, 2009 01:55PM

In yet another sign of the slowing new development market, Closers Consulting, a service that assists in coordinating the closing process in new development sales, has seen a marked increase in client interest over the past four months.

Outside the company’s normal course of assisting developers in selling out entire projects — which have included 20 Pine Street and Long Island City’s Crescent Club, located at 41-17 Crescent Street — Closers Consulting Founder and CEO Getzy Fellig said the company has recently received interest from developers to aid in finding lenders for buyers who cannot find cash on a unit-by-unit basis. The company has received around 50 inquiries for such jobs in the past 90 days, and has assisted in the closing of 35 loans for individual buyers, in addition to the full projects that are its clients, according to Fellig.

“A year or two ago, people were lining up closings for buyers who were preparing to flip the unit for $50,000 or $100,000,” Fellig said. “But it’s hard to get banks to lend now, and as the economy has worsened over the last 90 to 120 days, the business we are getting is better than I had ever dreamt of.”

Overall, client inquiries have increased since the beginning of the market’s downturn from around two inquiries a month to a peak of six to 10 inquiries per month now.

The company, which is hired by developers or banks who have foreclosed
on new development projects, deals with potential buyers, their
attorneys and buyers’ lenders, to help facilitate the final steps in
the closing of a contract in new buildings. The service is especially
important for developers racing to beat loan payments, who have a
strict schedule in terms of the number of units they must close in a
given period of time.

Closers Consulting appears to be unique. A spokesperson for the Real
Estate Board of New York said he had never heard of any other company
providing such services.

Specific services provided by Closers Consulting include scheduling property appraisals, meeting with lenders, speaking with attorneys and giving potential buyers walk-throughs of the building and unit in question. The company often acts as a mediator between the buyer and developer when there are complaints about the project’s build-out, which helps to alleviate tension between the two parties and facilitate closings, Fellig said.

For entire projects, Closers Consulting typically charges an average of $85 per unit in contract per month, with job contracts signed for between three- and six-year terms. In addition to 20 Pine Street and the Crescent Club, the company is now working with the Jade at 16 West 19th Street, and 580 Crown Condos at 580 Crown Street in Brooklyn.