The holiday season is traditionally the slowest time in the Manhattan real estate market. Truth be told the real estate market never comes to a complete stop in the city. Foreign buyers come to the city to shop for property as well as some domestic buyers. I have had a number of contracts signed in December over the years.
Here are my tips to attract the most buyers and generate offers.
1. Hire a broker who won’t slow down in the slow season. Many brokers get lax during the holiday season. Select a broker who has a very aggressive and powerful marketing campaign that includes compelling video, staging and massive reach.
2. Update your listing if it has been on the market a while with some new photos. You want buyers to see your apartment looking fresher online. If you have a view of the park and it is a summer view then insert a winter view. Take some photos of your holiday decorations. Include just a hint of the decorations. If you decide to choose a new broker then have your new broker reposition, rebrand, stage and prepare a property video of your apartment. In other words, you want a complete marketing makeover.
3. Be flexible about showing times. You need to accommodate a busy buyer’s schedule. Weekend open houses don’t make sense during the holiday time. Early mornings and evenings are better. Make sure you tell your broker how critical easy access is to getting your home sold.
4. Plan a special event. Since holidays are a time to party then invite the people who live in your building for drinks and make sure they know your apartment is on the market. Word of mouth marketing is very powerful. Have your broker offer prizes. Prizes that I have offered are a gift certificate for staging with an expert, brunch at a fine restaurant or Tiffany’s gift certificate.
5. Reconsider your price. Have your broker conduct a new comparable report and share with you the important details of the latest monthly contract signed report. Your apartment may need a price adjustment so that it is positioned well to compete with the comparable apartments. Correct pricing is key in getting your home sold at any time of the year. Consider underpricing your home just slightly to attract more buyers and increase your chances of obtaining multiple offers.
6. Know your competition. Take a look at the listings especially in your building that are like yours as well as ones in other buildings. Your broker can arrange for you to go see the apartments that are actively competing with yours. You may want to consider coming in just under the natural on-line search break. For example: If the competition is selling for $2.1 million and the listing break is $2M then you may want to come in just below $2 million say $1,995,000.
7. Consider increasing the commission percentage to brokers. Ask your broker what the commission rate is on the competing apartments. Raise the commission rate on your apartment from say 6% to 7%. The incentive will get buyers’ brokers very motivated to show your apartment.
8. Freshen up your home. You want your apartment to look warm, inviting and immaculate. While fresh flowers and an enticing scent help savvy, buyers won’t be fooled. You need to organize your kitchen counters. Get your home cleaned until it sparkles. A clean fresh-looking apartment sells for more money. Declutter, store excess items and use high wattage bulbs. If possible take your children and your dog out when there are showings.
If you follow my advice you will greatly increase the likelihood of getting a contract signed during the holiday season. You can feel more relaxed and have one more big reason to celebrate the holidays.