Carol Staab
Associate Broker
Douglas Elliman
111 Fifth Avenue
New York , NY 10003

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Five Challenges Manhattan Sellers May Face & How To Handle Them

Wouldn’t it be great if your apartment was perfect and the buyers who saw it all fell in love with it? Where buyers put in multiple offers and you ended up getting more than the asking price at closing! Many sellers are faced with a few challenges however if they are handled properly they won’t deter buyers.

Here are five challenges sellers face and what you can do about them.

1. Construction – Whether it is happening in your building or close by ongoing construction can make your home less appealing. Construction causes noise. You can solve this by installing sound proof windows.

Windows don’t help with the other construction problems such as congestion and dust. Have your broker find out the time-line for the construction. If you have this information and provide it to perspective buyers then they can better deal with the challenge since they will know when it will end. Construction can be a good thing because it will improve the quality of your building and possibly your view in the long- term. If you have the luxury of waiting to list when the construction is over then do so.
If you plan to list your home and your neighbor is renovating find out his or her time line. You may want to list when the renovation is nearer to completion so you can let buyers know when the renovation will be finished in a short time.

2. Another Owner Selling In The Same Line- First thing you should do is to go and preview the apartment with your broker. Your broker should develop a keen strategy on how to best position your apartment to best compete with the other apartment. Maybe your apartment is on a higher floor and gets better light or is renovated and the competing apartment needs work.

Another solution is to make some minor renovations such as painting and re-staining the floors before putting it on. If it is already on the market then take it off, do the renovations and re-list it. This has worked for many of my clients faced with a competing apartment in the same line.

3. Lot-line Windows – A developer is building in the adjacent lot and there is a chance that your windows on that side of the building could get covered up. The challenge is the uncertainty! If you know the building is going up have your broker check to see if the plans have been filed. If plans haven’t been filed you may want to try the following that worked for one of my clients. Price your apartment as though the windows are covered and don’t exist. If they do end up not being covered than the buyer will fill like he got a deal. Problem solved!

4. A Dated & Tired Apartment – This can be very challenging since buyers are also looking at new developments that have top of the line appliances and finishes. What I find works very well for my listings in need of a renovation is to have a pre-sell renovation package that includes photos, renderings and a bullet point list of the renovation costs. One of my concierge partners provides this service to me. It helps buyers to visualize how the apartment could look when renovated and the costs. Many buyers lack vision when they see an apartment that needs renovation. They also think that the renovation costs are much higher than in reality. Also, key of course is correct pricing.

5. The Price Isn’t Right – At the end of the day no matter what keeps buyers away the right price solves all problems. Price your apartment appropriately. Buyers respond to price. Selling a home can be an emotionally charged project. Your broker should provide you with a comprehensive comparable analysis and help you arrive at a competitive and realistic price. Pricing your apartment at too high results in your apartment languishing on the market with no buyer interest. If you reduce the price multiple times buyers begin to think there is something wrong with your apartment. Don’t be lured by looking at the prices of active comparable apartments on the market. The prices that count are those that are in contract and those that have sold. These prices give you an accurate account of what is going on in the market.

Also consider the “psychological” aspects of pricing. These include the price brackets that buyers use when searching for properties on line. Also pricing at seemingly more attainable number such as $2,900,000 instead of
$2,999,000. The last and best “psychological “approach to pricing is to price your apartment slightly below the market. This works like a charm. I have done this successfully many times. This approach attracts multiple offers resulting in a price that can be higher than if you priced your apartment at market price.