Facing Market Challenges
September rolled in with what seemed like a positive trend in upward property showing requests and general buyer activity, in contrast to sluggish summer activity. This past month, our New York City real estate market overall saw a decrease in contracts signed and an unexciting increase in inventory. Buyers and would be buyers are continuing to navigate rising interest rates, with the most notable industry surveys showing the 30-year fixed mortgage – the most common loan product – hitting an average rate last week around 7%. That, and a nail-biting stock market are contributing to buyer apprehension and sidelining. Buyers who are out are generally serious, though a lot of activity seems like window shopping and tire-kicking, with more time and repeat property visits before a decision gets made.
Amongst first-time buyer offers, this past month we navigated a noticeably higher amount of deeper discount offers. We also had several contracts that were sent out on accepted offers, only to have the buyers back out of their deals shortly after, without any real legitimate reasons owed to the property. This is a time when buyers, and especially first-time buyers, need increased empathetic guidance from their brokers and attorneys, and many are not receiving that support unfortunately.
Despite the market, standing out is essential for sellers. But often sellers overlook low-cost/high-impact opportunities. Buyer reception isn’t just based on reactions to killer views and dazzling designs. Buyers are motivated by the impact of perception, of how they feel when they are in the property and the emotions they walk away with. Here are some overlooked quick tips to discuss further with your experienced agent even if you’re just considering a sale.
Explore the things you didn’t do and always wished you would have done or at least considered. Many buyers are likely to have similar ideas, and some answers and guidance for them can help. Was a HVAC spit-system on your wish list? Removing that wall that could totally open up the space and catch the view out that big window? Or what about putting a half-bath in that large walk-in closet that abuts your full bath? You’re not going to do them anymore now, but answers on potential could help improve the desirability for a buyer.
Similarly, make those easy improvements you should have done and didn’t get around to – finally. Maybe your appliances are from a different era and replacing one or all would transform your kitchen; having a shower glass door instead of that curtain would open up and enlarge your bathroom; or replacing those hardware store light fixtures with some more stylish options would elevate the property.
Edit and edit some more. People want to walk into homes that have room and room to grow as needed. If your closest, drawers and cabinets could stand to go on a diet, start now. And while at it, a minor investment in nice, consistent hangers makes a closet look a lot more organized than all those random mismatched ones jammed together.
Take a detailed walk-through of your home with your experienced agent. You’re super used to your space, and comfortable overlooking less attractive features. You’re used to living, particularly through the pandemic, in your specific way. You also likely aren’t in properties every day with buyers hearing their feedback and observing their reactions to spaces. A real professional perspective is in your best interest.
Note needed repairs and tackle them now. Every property has something that needs to be fixed – a leaky faucet, a dead electrical outlet, a flickering light, a cracked window. Do the repairs now. A well-maintained property enhances perception, and the fixes now avoid headaches before the closing.
Building common areas contribute to your quality of home life – and buyers notice. This last one is almost always overlooked. Do your neighbors keep 20 pairs of shoes next to your door in the hall or a stroller that requires climbing over? Have a nice cordial conversation about your intents to sell and upcoming showings, and kindly request they address the obstacles. Ask the super or managing agent to touch up dinked and scratched hallway walls or your unit door. Replace dead or flickering hallway light bulbs. Pick up random trash on the front stoop, and quickly organize the hodge-podge delivery boxes in the entrance.
Life doesn’t stop when interest rates climb or the stock market ping-pongs. There will always be people who need and want to buy or sell, in any market. And regardless of the environment, being the best presented and correctly priced property are always part of a sound sales strategy. So even if you’re sitting on the fence considering whether to sell, the prep work will at the least help you enjoy your home more if you ultimately decide to stay put.
Manhattan Market Activity
Highlighting our market's past 30 days
Our month's featured listings on the market.
Theater District / Manhattan
2 Beds / 2 Baths
Brooklyn Heights / Brooklyn
2 Beds / 1 Bath
Upper East Side / Manhattan
1 Bed / 1 Bath
Crown Heights / Brooklyn
3 Beds / 3 Baths
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:
Now through October 12, 2022.