When I meet with sellers, I have found it useful to go through a checklist of criteria which buyers go through to determine value for themselves, and in comparison to other properties.
The actual price can vary wildly whether a condominium or cooperative, or based on the items we have distilled over time.
Here is our Top Ten Things NYC Buyers Want, and will pay to get:
You may have heard this before:
What are the first three rules of Real Estate?
Location, location, location.
There is much truth to this.
This can be proximity to parks, schools, family, work, houses of prayer, hairdresser, subway, parking what have you.
Some locations seem to be important to a large number of people- hence the competition for Parkside properties, units along Central Park, units within a specific school district.
This is pretty straightforward.
2) Doorman – while many argue that an attended lobby is not important, there is no question that in
the highest priced
apartments are in buildings with doorman.
They have the broadest appeal, whether you agree or not.
3) Pet Friendliness- Does your building allow dogs?
If it doesn’t, your value is not reaching its full potential.
Say what you will about yapping dogs, but if you live next to a park, buyers who want to live in your building have dogs.
This is a hot button topic, but I don’t make the rules, I just write them down.
4) Elevator- If you live in a walk-up, Europeans will not mind.
Americans, on the other hand, will largely avoid looking at your apartment.
I’m painting with a big brush, but the numbers bear this out.
Junky apartments with elevators will often outsell gorgeous 4th and 5th floor units up the stairs.
5) Move-In Ready – buyers looking for less than 3 bedrooms want an apartment they can move right into.
I attribute this to 2 main factors.
First, the cost factor- If an apartment has one bath, an owner must move out while that bath is being renovated, and therefore must carry 2 apartments (either owning 2 or renting one and owning one).
Rarely do people have access to a free accommodation.
This can be too expensive for most New Yorkers who have assembled the hundreds of thousands of dollars to make their purchase and have liquid assets in reserve.
It can be a bridge too far.
Second factor I would dub the “blindness factor.”
Most buyers unfortunately lack the vision to see what a renovated apartment looks like before the work is done and shy away
from unrenovated units.
Add to this the time, energy and coop board challenge- and one can see why renovated units are much easier to sell (and to buy).
6) Views – the most open the view, the broader the appeal.
I’ve found a segment of buyers that want to be floating in the sky, and another segment who gets a little afraid of heights.
Assuming that once an apartment attains an open view, there will be enough buyers to fill either elevation.
The units that face a brick wall, rear of another building- etc- these are units that take much longer to sell.
There better be tremendous upside in the other Top 10.
Or be priced accordingly.
7) Storage – Lots of closets, building storage, and any other common storage can be a major plus.
Location of closets can also be a draw.
The simple pleasures of having things put away adds value.
Perhaps you can recommend to a buyer that he moves to the suburbs and gets all the storage, basement or otherwise, but most buyers will tell you they want a basement storage unit- and will send the extras to their mother-in-law in Jersey (admit it, you do this already).
8) # of Bathrooms – The ratio of bathrooms to bedrooms should be 1:1, to ramp up the sales price.
Adding a powder room or full bath to an apartment can increase the value by 10-15% per bathroom.
The jump from a 2bed/1bath to 2bed/2bath can be 20%.
Bathroom location becomes key, but let’s focus on the number here, not the location.
The more likelihood of entertaining, the larger the importance of a powder room.
On and on.
Europeans, feel free to make fun of silly Americans on this one.
This is a luxury items that New Yorkers value greatly right now.
9) Monthly Costs – What are you monthly costs on a per square foot basis?
Live in a coop?
Not sure of your square footage?
Let’s keep this calculation simple.
The correlation between monthly carrying
costs (excluding your own mortgage)
and sales price is very strong.
Generally, sales prices are
much lower, probably too low,
overcompensating for high common charges.
Never mind that locking in lower monthly mortgage with a higher maintenance (or common charge) means a slighly higher out of pocket, but lower up front costs of purchase- and there is a time value of money.
My take is that there is a control element, which means that the higher the monthlies start, the ever-higher they will go- so starting low is the right move.
I can see both sides.
10) Washer/Dryer – last but not least, the washer/dryer in the apartment has become a status symbol, a value proposition, a major selling point.
Never mind that many people send out their laundry, but I would argue that many other
people use a washer/dryer more than a stove in their apartment, if it’s there.
Many people use it more than the dishwasher- Post-war buildings, I have found, do not allow them in the units, with far stricter rules on plumbing use than Pre-War buildings.
If you can put in a washer/dryer, do it now- you will make your money many times over on the sale.
For more questions, please email me or call.
I’d love to see how your apartment matches up to this list, and what you can do to maximize your value.