Mediocrity Abounds In Manhattan Real Estate Market

Sales volume has definitely picked up since mid June but the qualtity of property hitting the market seems to be lacking for the most part.  90% of my business is representing sellers with the sale of their homes but the 10% of business that I conduct with buyers often takes a great deal more time and energy.  So imagine the frustration when you’re fortunate enough to have well-qualified and ready, willing and able buyers for months while nothing "magical" hits the market to suit their needs. 

That’s precisely what I have seen over the past 6 months.  Of course some buyers are pickier than others but a lot of mediocre property has hit the market recently most with price tags that are way out of line with their "just average" features and amenities.  I think that part of the problem lately is that some sellers and their agents are coming to market as they would have during the height of the housing boom expecting a quick sale at top dollar despite the property’s condition. They aren’t making the effort to decluttter, touch up paint, stage, or even clean windows.  Why would they as EVERYTHING has sold over the past decade?

Now, there is some resistance by buyers.  Most have little or no desire to take on large renovation projects unless of course the property is fairly and attractively priced with the renovation costs considered.  Some buyers even comment that they don’t want to do a kitchen, a bathroom, or even floors for fear that they won’t recoup the cost of their improvements should they have to sell in the short term.  I have very strong feelings about renovating to sell an apartment.  More often than not, I’m against it unless the price is so discounted that it makes financial sense.  That said, I’m a HUGE fan of sprucing up a place to help effect a sale.  I know I have said it before but here are just a few things that almost every seller can benefit from when selling their home:

  • De-clutter:  make sure books on bookshelves are vertical, not too many family photos, maximize amount of exposed floors, and pack away the extra books, toys, photos and chachkes.
  • Touch-up paint:  dingey rooms or hallways that are faded, scuffed or just tired should be spruced up with some fresh paint (eg.  One of my sellers painted her apartment after 2 months on the market and it sold immediately.
  • Consider some floor work:  polishing, waxing or buffing floors may be all you need to restore the shine but a minor sanding and refinishing may be worth it if the floors are in horrible condition.
  • CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN:  first the windows and then everything else!  The home should be spotless.  I can’t tell you how many times I suggest a seller clean the windows and they are stunned at the amount of sunlight the grime was blocking out.  Additionally, dust and grime in the home are also off-putting so get rid of the dirt before showing the property.
  • Minor renovation?:  If you’re really bent on renovating prior to selling, consider a minor job rather than a complete gut.  Painting or refacing kitchen cabinets, replacing old hardware with polished stainless or brushed nickel, or replacing old appliances may help your apartment stand out from the rest.
  • Staging:  It’s likely that a good stager can take what you have and re-work it to freshen up the look of your home.  if not, you may want to consider renting furniture but make sure you get more than one broker/agent opinion on this before incurring the expense.

These are just some suggestions for minor repairs and touch ups that will create a new first impression of your home for the prospective purchasers.  And who knows, you may like the new and improved digs so much you will no longer want to move.

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