Don’t let her short tenure as a licensed real estate salesperson fool you into thinking Inez Gomez doesn’t know the ins and outs of New York real estate. With more than 16 years of mortgage banking under her belt, this New York City native knows homes and she knows finance. In this Ask The Experts interview, she shares her unique perspective on residential real estate during a global pandemic and offers tips for navigating the current NYC market.

The Apple Peeled: It’s a fun fact that between mortgage banking and ESPINAL|ADLER you owned a wine store. How does being a former business owner impact your real estate approach?

Inez Gomez: It’s a good icebreaker for clients. Not to mention, bottles of wine always make a good gift! My favorite part of that job was finding new bottles that clients haven’t heard of but end up loving and that’s what I try to do with real estate sales: take what a client is looking for and find them the perfect home. I start by looking at what a client is dead set on, then I try to open it up to find new things. That’s the art and beauty of this profession – broadening horizons while managing expectations with finesse.

The Apple Peeled: What trends did you see in the beginning of the pandemic compared to what you’re seeing now?

Inez Gomez: Through January and February of this year, there was a trend of people moving from the New York City to Westchester. Now, the City is back and kicking. Things are opening up and many people are becoming more comfortable seeing if they can take advantage of the market. The demand is there, so there may be a point soon where prices creep up a little. I’m also seeing sellers holding the line on what they’re asking. All this considered, properties are still moving. It’s not a desperate market.

The Apple Peeled: What advice does that inspire you to give to buyers and/or sellers?

Inez Gomez: Buyers, don’t think you’re coming to the New York City market getting a 25% discount because no one wants to be here. You’re coming into a competitive market, but don’t be discouraged. Interest rates are at an all-time low and if you’re financing, your buying power is larger now than it will be when the rates increase – which is the nature of economics and banking. I would say the same thing to a seller. If you’re teetering, but decide to sell, you’re going to capture a lot of buyers for those same reasons. The bottom line is that even though the market is moving rapidly, an investment you make today will be worth substantially more money 2, 3, or even 5 years down the road.

The Apple Peeled: What’s the most important thing for buyers to know when shopping for a home?

Inez Gomez: Budget. If you don’t know your budget, I’ll sit down and figure that out with you. I’m an advocate for my clients and my whole team is highly financially literate – I was a mortgage banker, Marie has a background with investment banking, and we have a finance director on the team. It’s incredible how some clients will come to me and say they want to sell one unit and buy another, but they’re nervous and not sure if they can afford it. We’ll project a sale price and a reasonable price to buy, and most of the time they are blown out of the water realizing what they are able to do. Not all real estate agents do that, and it really sets me and my team apart.