Despite the uptick of property inventory that we saw in the beginning of fall, inventory in Manhattan inched down again this past month, and Brooklyn remained relatively flat. As we round out 2023, we anticipate more of the same for December, as would-be or will-be sellers hold off bringing properties to market through the holiday season until after the new year.
Like apprehensive sellers, many buyers are one toe in and finding plenty of reasons to not make a move. There is certainly a prevalent herd mentality, whether skeptical buyers acknowledge it. We suspect there will be many others who look back in 5-7 years, happy they stepped away from the herd. Practically speaking, interest rates almost certainly will come down, providing refinancing options; and despite low inventory, good options do exist, and sellers have signaled more negotiability, offering desirably priced properties. You can change your mortgage product at any time down the line but can never change the price for which you purchased the property.
People like to wrap up goals before year end, offering opportunities to lock in favorable pricing. Similarly, new buyers will jump in after the holidays to tackle their new year’s buying resolutions, potentially adding some competition to the playing field. For those current buyers and those looking to jump in the market, we wanted to offer some tips on how to better assess property listings. Unfortunately, with some listings, accuracy and perception are distant cousins. So, put on your decoder glasses.
Enhancements in virtual staging and virtual design have resulted in some deceptively good looking, but in reality not so great features, such as floors that are badly in need of replacing. Not a deal breaker for you perhaps, but a costly fix.
Empty spaces appear smaller than furnished – counterintuitive, but throws many buyers off. Most people are challenged to envision use of space. So virtual staging is a helpful, cost-effective solution for sellers. But sometimes virtual staging is not to scale. Reference the floor plan and see the unfurnished space in person before dismissing, and take measurements if needed to get a real sense of scale. Otherwise, you might pass up the gem that others passed up as well.
Missing images of a kitchen or bathroom usually points to a needed renovation. Don’t be surprised.
Sift through the window dressings. With an emphasis these days on Instagrammable content, some real estate images have turned more to perfectly contrived curio cabinet shots, versus representations of real estate. They conjure aspirational lifestyle imaging – pretty and fulfilling, perhaps. Enjoy the clickbait, but look past.
Review the property descriptions, even if some read like flowery love sonnets. Note the priorities for you, such as if the listing is marketed as a three-bed, but the reality is revealed somewhere buried in the description that the current two-bed layout could be somehow converted to a three-bed.
Don’t skip the end of the description – it can be a big reveal. Often the last few sentences can include important information such as planned building renovations, attractive seller concessions, costly assessments, maintenance increases or assignment of flip taxes.
As it can be, facts are not always facts. In the case of property listings, misinformation on website data fields isn’t typically intentionally deceptive – Often, third party websites don’t pull data accurately from broker databases. Or sometimes the sites retain historical data from prior listings that is no longer accurate about the property or the building.
Some data on listings is obsolete and not updated. Building policies can change, effecting how well the property meets your needs – The maintenance or common charges may just have increased significantly, the pet policy changed, new restrictions on allowable purchasing scenarios such as the allowable financing amount, gifting or co-purchasing may now be in place. There are many other conditions that may have shifted. Confirm any information that is necessary for you ahead of time.
Similarly, you and your agent can do some homework prior to a property viewing – Some information isn’t included in the listing, or sometimes it’s excluded. The listing agent should be able to answer your questions or find out the answers.
If a fourth-floor unit in a building without an elevator isn’t your thing, confirm there’s an elevator. If you have a dog breed that you think is questionable, find out if any breeds are restricted. If you own another home and plan to use this new property as a pied-a-terre, confirm it’s allowed.
These are just a few of many backend issues for attention. An experienced agent will assess your overall purchasing needs to do the appropriate homework ahead on properties – to sift through the available and not so available information and vet the appropriate options for you.
Manhattan Market Activity
Highlighting our market's past 30 days.
Highlighting our market's past 30 days.
Our month's featured listings on the market.
1912 Avenue H, 4C
Ditmas Park / Brooklyn
2 Beds / 2 Baths
192 Washington Avenue
Clinton Hill / Brooklyn
4 Beds / 3 Baths
130 William Street, PH64B
Financial District / Manhattan
3 Beds / 3 Baths
640 Ditmas Avenue
Kensington / Brooklyn
1,2 & 3 Bed Units
Various Layouts and Price Points
From the cool and eccentric to reserved and irreverent -
Our month’s pick of what's happening in New York City.
If you haven't already, you should:
Sleep No More.
At The McKitrrick Hotel.
Experience this award-winning immersive Shakespearian tragedy before it's gone.
Extended through January 28, 2024.