Attention condo/cooperative board members and management. I know that times are difficult and that units are not selling like they were. This is particularly true since the tax credit has just expired. Westchester condos and coops are often the first step on the ladder to home ownership – so complexes that have entry to mid-level prices will be impacted the most by the expiration of the first time home buyer’s tax credit. The inventory of condos for sale Westchester NY is very high.
But nothing is worse for values in your complex than a ton of listings just sitting on the MLS going nowhere. Ok – so how can you help move these units ….let me count the ways.
1. Don’t make getting through the front line-security something akin to the landing at Normandy. Security is great – requesting a card from the agent is fine, but make sure that the building is actually accessible including the amenities. After all the buyer is often buying the lifestyle associated with the complex. It does no good for me to say “Oh and you should SEE the gym!” When they can’t see the gym because it is locked and no one has an access key.
2. Please don’t make us chase keys all over God’s great earth! You are shooting yourself in the foot when you don’t allow lock boxes. This stops more showings than you can possibly know. When you insist that the agent pick up keys at a brokerage you are often forcing them and their clients to take a scenic tour of several brokerages. Let’s say I want to show three units at three different brokerages in your complex. That’s three stops to pick them up. Then the showings, then another three stops – with my buyers in tow to return them. That’s six extra stops to show three units. Our area is urban – so this isn’t trivial. God forbid if I want to show them another complex that has the same issue.
Often, in those cases I will eliminate all but one unit, and only if they have a strong interest in the complex, will I return to show the rest. Meanwhile, other complexes got showings in all their units. Statistically, what do you think that means for the likelihood of the buyer placing an offer on your complex.
3. When I submit a form or have questions, I’m not calling you for my health and I’m not doing it to annoy you. Several management companies seem to regard agents as a lower form of life. I’m just doing my job and am trying to sell a unit in a complex that you manage. Please be polite and respond as soon as is convenient. I don’t want to pester you, but if I don’t hear from you for a week, I will start to stalk you.
4. If your complex is showing its age, the unit can be in terrific shape, but buyers won’t get past the dated common spaces. This is particularly true of buildings built in the 70s and 80s . If buyer’s aren’t biting at all, look at your carpeting, look at your wall paper. If it screams thread-bare or the 80s – it might be a good idea to consider changing it out. I know times are hard, but buyers are looking at the whole package. It may scream “deferred maintenance” and “future assessments” to them. So preserving the value of the units may require some coin.
5. If you require a board meeting – please don’t tell buyers that you only meet every other month except for those with five Monday’s in them. Banks are tough these days and getting a commitment letter is feat in and of itself. It also takes a lot longer than it did. Having buyers waiting for weeks because of a board that only meets occasionally can kill a transaction. Rate locks are expiring more than usual these days and this only exacerbates the problem.
6. If a bank notes a problem and refuses to issue a commitment letter for some defeciency such as not enough fidelity bond insurance. Please deal with it immediately. No, its not going away if the buyer switches banks. The banks are pretty much mirroring each other with respect to these issues. This type of problem will prevent any unit that is on the market from moving unless the buyer has all cash. I ran into this last year and it was a nightmare because management wouldn’t cooperate.
7. Finally, a word about tightening requirements or adding restrictions. The banks are tough enough these days. Just to get a loan with 20% down requires fingerprints, DNA samples and your first -born child as collateral. At this point, although boards need to be discriminating, piling on more restrictions and more constraints than before can be counterproductive.
One area of contention is pet-friendliness. With the new homeowner’s tax credit history – many of your prospects will be empty -nesters – and many of them cherish the companionship of their pets. I know that being pet-freindly has its challenges, but Westchester condos are notorious for their lack of accommodation to pet-owners. I think this is a mistake. If you are currently pet-friendly, you will surely decrease the pool of buyers by abandoning that policy. I know of one complex that has recently done so and another that is thinking of doing so. It’s a disturbing trend and it will reduce the buyer pool.
There you have it – several ways in which you can make your Westchester condo or coop complex more desirable to the limited pool of qualified buyers .
© 2010 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – https://thewestchesterview.com. All rights reserved.
Please feel free to contact me anytime to request additional information or to set up an appointment so we can explore your listing or purchasing needs. I am easy to reach by phone, text or email. Or, if you just want to continue your search online, the links below will help you get started.