Broker Incentives and More Square Foot Woes

Broker/Buyer Incentives Surfacing?

I’m sitting in my office right now listening to the live broadcast of our weekly business meeting.  I couldn’t resist blogging about something I just heard.  Avonova, one of the latest condo conversions on the Upper West Side located at 81st and Broadway is launching a new program offering broker and buyer incentives for upcoming sales.  Buyers will receive a $10,000 gift certificate towards the purchase of California Closets and their agents will receive a full 4% commission and an additional $2500 American Express gift card at closing.  The reason I share is that incentives are rarely seen in a hot market where demand outweighs supply.  Perhaps this is a sign that the Fall market isn’t providing the demand that sellers and developers had hoped for.  This time last year many Wall Streeters began shopping for apartments that they would buy with their January/February bonus money.  Not so much this year…so far.  Perhaps this incentive is just an isolated incident or perhaps it’s a sign of things to come?  Only time will tell.

UPDATE:  Just received email from The Atelier offering a trip to St. Thomas ("airfare included"…that’s a good thing) to the agent who sells the most units between now and December 31st.

More Square Footage B.S.

As most of my readers know, I’m on a mission to try to solve the problem of square footage inaccuracies.  Check out TrueGotham television (TGTV) for our 5 part series discussing methodology, accountability, and policing.  Episode 5 airs this Thursday. 

The impetus for the TGTV series was both buyer and broker frustration.  Many of my readers are as "mad as hell and they just aren’t gonna take it anymore!"  (Network)

A reader of TrueGotham who also was a recent bidder on a property of mine just sent me this floor plan of an Eastside property that is being marketed as 800sf! 

By my calculations (and I’m being VERY generous) I get approximately 560sf.  They are overstating the number my more than 40%!!! 

Anybody out there see how this space is 800sf? 

7 Responses to Broker Incentives and More Square Foot Woes

  1. avatar Blingo says:

    Add 11.4, 8.1, 11.4, 8.5 and figure a generous 6 for the bathroom. Then add 4 feet total for the two exterior walls and 3 feet total for the interior walls. That gives you 52.4 long.
    For width, figure 11.4 plus 4 feet for the two walls. 15.4. Multiply the two numbers and you get 807. Presto.

  2. Not a bad attempt Blingo but here’s how I see it:
    Add 11.1, 7.5, 10.5, 8 and 6 for length of roughly 43′. Add 3′ for interior wall thickness and forget about measuring to exterior walls…that’s a joke IMHO. So 46′ long x 11.4 wide (again forget exterior wall thickness and note the chunk missing at corner of bathroom). That gives you about 521 sf. Adding exterior wall thickness is a liberty that even most developers will only take 1/2 of. This is just another example of grossly overstated square footage in my opinion.

  3. avatar David Fluet says:

    I have to agree with Doug. And working in the NY Condo Market, the interior wall thickness of this unit is lucky if it accounts for 18″ overall. That chunk from the bathroom is about 10 sf. Your lucky if you get up to 500 sf. This is a horrific overstatement of square footage.

  4. avatar Ima Broka says:

    Avonova could be suffering from problems other than the current “Fall market”. It is not new construction, from what I can glean on the website. I am not aware of the pricing and have not been to the broker open houses to see the layouts, but perhaps the product does not match buyers’ expectations. Just a thought…
    As for Atelier, they’ve done the same vacation promo more than once since opening for sales, so this is no new news or indicative of any trend other than a marketing one.

  5. Good thoughts “Ima” but my question is whether or not we are going to see a trend going forward of “product not matching buyer’s expectations.” I’m already experiencing some “stalemate” type negotiations where buyers want more than what sellers will agree to and the sellers aren’t able to unload the property. Something has to give in these situations. Also seeing more mortgage contingencies in contracts which hasn’t been the case for a decade.

  6. avatar emarchitect says:

    I’ve worked on many condo projects and I can tell you that it is permissable to include the area of the exterior walls, measured to the exterior face, and walls dividing your apt from the adjacent apt and the corridors in the condo offering plan. In some apartments this can add up to several hundred sq feet. Look at that building on B-way & 110th St that has 1400 sf 2 bedrm apts that look like low income housing units in plan. Conversely, most prewar coop apts are measured by an architect (for the floor plans shown on the brokers website) from the interior side of the exterior walls and usually appear to match the stated area more closely. And, it should be noted, that area is a legally amorphous concept that is never gauranteed and is highly disclaimed in all advertisements and literature. In short, you have to measure it yourself to know hwat you’re getting.

  7. “Permissable” is precisely the problem IMHO. The lack of standardization and methodology of measurement is outrageous. Each architect on any given project has carte blanche on how they want to “measure” space to represent for sale.
    If every single property out there was measured exactly the same way as this particular unti then at least we could compare overstated apples to overstated apples. It’s the fact that some measure one way and others measure another that chop blocks the consumer making it difficult to navigate value in our market. In 2 words…IT SUCKS!
    It’s precisely why we started TGTV and rolled out our first 5 episodes on square footage. It is absolutely ludicrous to me that some form of standardization or methodology of measurement can’t be agreed upon and that those who choose to overstate by say more than 5% (and that’s generous) aren’t fined for doing so. Tune into tomorrow’s final episode on square footage for more from our panel of experts.

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