Over the last few weeks since our last market update, I’ve seen continued, consistent, significant action across all of my listings.
Sellers are pleased, buyers seem quite happy.
Rates are low, somehow getting lower-
My economist client wrote me from China overnight, saying:
“It seems that premium cities are hot while the rest of the world is in the gutter.”
I sold his apartment June 2008, arguably the top of the market.
His timing and advice is worth hearing.
Gutter or Penthouse, there are a few things that remain true in this market, just as they were
3 years ago when we couldn’t get people to attend open houses:
1) “Unique” apartments are still hard to sell.
If an apartment is not broadly appealing, it will take time to market and sell.
Patience is in order, and taking every step to overcome whatever trouble spot you can erase.
That means staging, touch-up painting, decluttering, allowing access all the time for showings- and hiring the right broker to coordinate it all.
2) Buyers need to feel educated.
Buyers need to make sure they see enough property and get enough market insight to make decisions.
This takes time- and the right guidance- hint, hint.
Some sellers get concerned when buyers want to come for a second, third, and fourth visit without an offer.
Buyers who didn’t buy in 2007 are perhaps a little gunshy- they do not want to lose money!
This perspective is crucial.
3) High Maintenance is still scary to most buyers, and properties must price accordingly.
If a building has high maintenance, you must know exactly why- and see if the building has a plan to address this.
If we’re talking about a $5mm apartment with a $6000 maintenance, this isn’t a concern- perhaps a large staff, with lots of services.
80-90 year-old buildings need care, just like Grandma.
But one-bedrooms with $1400 monthly maintenance – we must find the upside- such as 73% tax deductibility!
Some would call it spin, but it’s more of a matter of perspective.
4) If you smoke, do it outside.
Buyers hate smoke.
I will side with Bloomberg on this one.
Nanny state or not with the soda nonsense, buyers want to feel home.
And smoke does not do that.
5) Lack of inventory does not justify throwing a crazy price on an apartment.
Unless you’re selling a trophy property, you must price your apartment to the market!
Adding 10% or 20% to the recent sale prices, just because there is no inventory, is a recipe for disaster.
This is my way of saying that you must have a reason for your pricing.
Otherwise, you’re sunk.
6) Open Houses still do not sell apartments.
Certainly, getting 30 people in an open house gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling, and sellers love action (who doesn’t?).
However, we only need one buyer, and buyers rarely
bring their buying glasses to an open house.
They either wear their Mimosa Goggles, or are distracted, nervous, or intimidated by the volume of other lookers.
Browsing at open houses is a pastime for many rent-controlled renters, when the weather is nice.
Buyers like the quiet time to reflect at normal, scheduled showings.
7) Properties need a full marketing campaign to get the maximum exposure.
This is my little plug.
Only a well-oiled system, from A to Z, putting a property in its best light, will ensure best price- that, and a good negotiator.
With that, I’ll wrap up.
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