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Selling Co-ops and Condos Today

Real Estate Developments, Real Property

Selling your New York co-op or condo is not always a simple task. Buyers have the luxury of being particular and selective due to the influx of apartments available on the market. The competition however, makes the art of selling tedious. The City has seen a trend in relisting apartments at a lower price in hopes of attracting buyers however, high prices are not the only factor getting in the way. The New York Times asked Realtor.com to ask New York real estate agents what the greatest obstacles are when selling a unit.

So what are the six biggest issues sellers come across? In first and second place for being the worst features an apartment can have (unfortunately a very prevalent features in the city) are bad views and a lack of natural light. These usually come hand-in-hand with one another as many buildings have units where the windows are opposite brick walls and therefore do not get natural sunlight into the room. Co-ops and condos that were converted from studios and factories also face this problem as there are typically units with rooms below the ground floor, which unfortunately do not get decent light exposure.  Third, noisy streets. For anyone who lives on 1st Avenue or near lively areas with bars and restaurants, noisy streets are inevitable, but again not everyone wants to live in a quiet neighborhood.

Fourth place goes to walk-up apartments. If a co-op or condo sees this as a prevalent issue in the building, the board could always install an elevator. The building will have to strictly follow city codes (the Department of Buildings requires professionals to inspect the elevator per annum) and ensure adequate contractors and consultants are hired and that there are funds to keep up the maintenance of the elevator. Fifth, construction. Buyers are hesitant to invest in a property when there is active construction sites around the building. Sellers can offset this issue by getting timeline’s for completion. And last but not least, “eccentric design”, but this is a personal preference and buyers can always alter (to an extent) un-aesthetically pleasing designs.

Besides these main factors, units usually linger on the market due to their price. The vast competition for apartments in New York means that buyers are not willing to pay high prices in certain areas anymore. Buildings on the Upper East Side used to be the most desired because they are large, abundant with natural light and in a “good” neighborhood. However, now these buildings are competing with the array of luxury co-ops and condos downtown that are modern, spacious and in trendier neighborhoods.

Despite all these obstacles, the New York Times aptly explains that “most flaws can be mitigated with the right mix of perks.” And these perks are usually slashing the listing price. Douglas Elliman had a prewar co-op on the Upper West side for $1.425 million, but the large windows faced brick walls. The listing price reflected the poor view and was roughly $100,000 below market rate for similar apartments, however this low price attracted buyers. Other apartments have dropped their listing prices significantly more, which gives buyers the benefit of using the rest of their budget to renovate the unit and fix issues such as eccentric designs.

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