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  • 1. What should I do First?
    Decide on the ideal timeline-Time is literally money when you have carrying costs each month- and one of the leading causes of stress in real estate deals. Establish the expected price range for your apartment- recent building sales, as well as neighborhood and city comparables are a great starting point to consider. Remember that published sales #'s most likely occurred months ago but a local agent can tell you what the current trend is. Define what your successful sale would be- Highest price or quicker sale? or somewhere in between? Find an agent who specializes in your neighborhood - they can share information on pricing, and also what's most appealing to recent buyers specifically in your area or building. They can also help you decide on whether doing renovation work is worth the time and effort. Decide on any work to be done- and discuss with agent. Renovations take time and your agent can help you decide if it's worth it.
  • 2. DIY/Staging- What improvements can I do myself?
    Declutter- this is the perfect time to begin organizing the move out. *Pro tip: rent a storage locker and begin removing any seasonal items, or extra furniture. Deep clean- especially if you have carpeting. Depersonalize- help the buyer imagine themselves there. Reduce bookcase and wall artwork to a few minimal pieces. Address any odors- unlit scented candles by entryway and bathroom do wonders. Paint- a simple coat of white or neutral has been proven greatly improve sales and appeal to the widest group of buyers. Start with entryway, bathrooms and any rooms that feel 'dated'. Replace old light switches, outlet covers and dated light fixtures- your building super or handyman should be able to install these in a few hours and they really make a difference at relatively small expense. Flowers/Fruit Bowl- simple replica arrangements work best and are a perfect way to add a splash of color to the buyers subconscious mind when evaluating the room. It's easy to overdo it, so I always suggest 2 pieces max per room.
  • 6. Closing costs- What do I pay as a seller in NYC?
    This will depend on whether you are selling a co-op or condo. Your attorney will be able to prepare a detailed list, but use this PDF to get a sense of what the items will be-
  • 5. Timing- How long does it take to close once I have an accepted offer?
    Once a contract of sale is signed the process can typically be as soon as 2 months, or as much as 4. If the sale is in a co-op and during the summer months, vacation schedules of board members can also add delays. There are a few items that will affect the time frame. Is it a co-op? If so there will be a board approval process and the length of that will be determined by the responsiveness of the board. Will it be financed? There will be bank underwriting process as well. Have your buyers sold their current home? - if they haven't, and need to, they can find ways to drag their heels. Your agent and attorney should be able to work with you to set timelines and incentives for the buyers that work for you. If all goes fairly smoothly you should expect 2-3 months, but I always suggest having a plan B in case it takes a few weeks longer than expected - it usually does.
  • 3. Renovations- Which offer the best ROI?
    Reglazing tubs and sinks- can be done ~ $500-1k. The process takes 1-2 days and will make them look bright and clean and really freshen up a tired bathroom. Replacing older appliances- unless part of a complete renovation, I'd suggest staying mid-range on price and stainless steel for a clean modern feel. Cabinets- repainting and installing new handles can do wonders at a very reasonable price compared to a complete kitchen renovation. This is one that I feel when combined with #2 really makes even a dated kitchen feel like it could work for the short term for someone who may be trying to avoid a complete renovation. Unfinished business- Complete any unfinished repairs you've been meaning to do. The less projects the buyers think they have ahead of them, the more comfortable they will be reaching on price.
  • 7. Pricing- How do I know if it's a buyers or sellers market?
    While national economic stories and macro trends matter- ultimately all real estate pricing is locally driven. To stay on top of the market, I suggest looking at three things: Supply- I use our Monthly Inventory Report- it tells us how much supply is currently listed versus the numbers of sales happening. Demand-Weekly Contracts Signed Report. This tells us how many buyers have committed to new purchases in the last week. Macro Trends- I use Greg Heym's Last week in Research report for a rundown on everything happening in economics and real estate. Supply: Demand:
  • 4. Showings- How should I prep for my showings?
    Here's a quick checklist: Kitchen Remove garbage Run the dishwasher Put away removable counter items-makes it feel less congested. Wipe down counters & sinks Living Area Straighten and tidy up couches and chairs Quick vacuum or dust Bathroom Toilet-quick clean and lid down! (you would be surprised how often left up) Shower wipe down Toiletries put in a caddy and tucked away Bedroom Bed made and pillows fluffed Quick tidy up- clothes put away Personal items put away.
  • *Bonus* Professional referrals- Do you have a recommendations for lawyers, contractors, movers, etc?
    Yes! If needed I can refer you to- lawyers, decorators, contractors, movers- pretty much anything related to property and life in NYC in general. One of the benefits of working with an agent is having someone to call when you don't know who to ask. From pets, to property my network is yours when we work together.
  • What are the added costs to have a Buyers Agent? Do I need a buyers agent?
    Great questions. Costs- There are NO additional costs to use a buyers agent in NYC. And you don't need to sign any commitment to work with me. In NYC sellers who work with REBNY members agree to co-broke when they list, which means the commission has already been carved out by the seller to be split between buyer and sellers agents. This allows you to have an agent that is responsible to you and your best interest- not the sellers. Your agent gets paid when they find you a property that is best for you. Do I need a buyers agent?- With all the information available online, many buyers start the buying process feeling that they can represent themselves and while the process of making appointments, coordinating showings, etc can be done by buyers themselves- there are a few (5) often overlooked reasons successful home buyers work with an EXPERIENCED agent- at no additional cost! What you can expect when you work with me- Loyalty & Objectivity-The Sellers agent will always be working for them- not you. Although New York State Law requires sellers to sign a Property Condition Disclosure Statement to buyers, many buyers do not realize this form is not required in the sale of condominiums or cooperatives. What you don't know can hurt you! Trained Negotiator- specific to the items in real estate that you may not realize are negotiable. Board Application Prep-experienced with board and making sure your application is presented in the best possible light. Access to All Listings+ Off Market and Future Network of Reputable Vendors
  • How are New Development purchases different from re-sales?
    Purchasing a new development property in real estate differs significantly from buying a resale property. New developments refer to properties that have recently been constructed or are still under construction, while resale properties are pre-owned homes. New developments offer the buyer the opportunity of being the first owner, in a typically cutting edge building, often with modern amenities and energy-efficient features. However, they can be costlier upfront and may have longer and unpredictable completion timelines. In a re-sale the occupancy date is generally know and much more predictable. Besides the move in, there are expenses that make the buying process much different: - Supers unit- typically each new owner in the development will contribute to a fund that buys a unit for the buildings super. -Transfer taxes- typically aid by the seller in resale deals, in new developments sposnors often try to get the buyer to pay- which means you will pay them twice, once when yu buy- and again when you sell it on what will then be a 'resale' transaction. -Sponsors attorney fees- although negotiable, sponsors often try to work into their deals that their attorneys fees are paid for by the purchaser. *Key point- everything is negotiable. Your agent should be able to tell you where the current market is on all these and whether they can be negotiated.
  • What is 'local law 11' & why should buyers ask about it?
    The NYC Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), known as Local Law 11, requires NYC buildings taller than six stories to have their facades inspected and repaired every five years. The law was recently enhanced in order to protect New Yorkers from falling debris after several deadly accidents occurred. Why should buyers ask about it? It's one of the items that can cause a building to announce an assessment to cover the expense. Nobody likes unexpected expenses- especially new buyers.
  • What is a 'Sponsor' Unit?
    It’s an apartment that has never been sold. Typically it's either - A. An apartment that has been owned since the building was converted from a rental to a condo or co-op (often owned by the building corp. itself). B. it's in a New Development- in which case the developer owns the sponsor units. The biggest difference or advantage when buying a sponsor unit, is in a co-op. This is because the buyer (you in this case) is not beholden to the usual, arduous approval process that goes with buying a regular co-op unit. You won’t need to compile a complicated co-op board package or sit through an interview. *A few important things to note- Just because the building previously rented its sponsor unit doesn’t mean you can too. Check the current house rules for owners. Despite the convenience of bypassing the co-op board when buying a sponsor unit, special privileges stop at the first purchase. As an owner (and for any following owners), you then become the same as any other owner in the building and bound by the house rules. Your buyer (when you sell) will have to go through the buildings board approval process.
  • What is a Condop?
    A condop, short for "condominium co-op," is a unique hybrid real estate arrangement primarily found in New York City's real estate market. This innovative concept combines elements of both condominiums and cooperative apartments. In a condop, residents own individual units within a building, just like in a traditional condominium. However, unlike typical condos, the condop also functions as a cooperative, with a corporation owning the entire building. Residents of the condop purchase shares in this corporation, granting them the right to occupy their individual units. Condops often come with a board of directors, similar to co-ops, which can have specific rules and approval processes for prospective buyers. This dual structure provides residents with some of the benefits of both condominiums, such as property ownership, and co-ops, such as a sense of community and control over building management. Condops offer a unique and flexible housing option for those looking to navigate the complexities of New York City's real estate market.
  • What is a 'land-lease' building, and what are the potential issues?
    A land-lease building is a building that doesn’t own the land it sits on. Instead, the building rents the land from a separate landowner, who retains ownership of a parcel of land but leases the building constructed on it. Land-leases are typically around 100 years in length at their inception. In the event the lease isn't renewed, the building may be seized by the landlord. Understanding the lease and the renewal terms is essential to properly evaluate a purchase. The biggest benefit? More square footage for the price. The potential issues? Lease renewals can be contentious and expensive- you need to know how many years left, who is the landlord, and what are the terms regarding the renewal. Typically have higher monthly expenses Lower resale value
  • What is a co-op and what are the benefits?
    Co-op is short for “cooperative.” When you buy a co-op apartment, you are actually buying shares in a corporation that owns the building. That might sound strange given a co-op listing advertises a specific apartment but technically, the buyer is purchasing shares. Mortgage Tax Relief- Because you are purchasing shares and not real property- there is no Mortgage Recording Tax-1.8% on mortgage amounts under $500,000 and 1.925% on mortgage amounts above $500,000 in NYC (this includes the recording tax for both New York City and New York State). NY state imposes a mortgage tax rate of 0.5% Lower Purchase Price- Cooperatives generally come with a lower price tag than condos or houses. High owner occupancy- means that other tenants are just as invested in the shared spaces as you are, lending to a greater sense of community and long-term housing security.
  • What should I do first?
    Establish your budget- if financing, get a pre-approval so that you know what your options for financing are, and your budget will look like. Use this estimate in addition to the maintenance of the properties you are considering to determine affordability. Pick the Areas -determine the areas you'd like to live in, spend some time walking around and getting to know which blocks you prefer. Make a list of must haves- # of B/R & Baths, amenities (w/d, gym, elevator, doorman, etc). Create an ideal timeline- are there are ant time constraints? leases, work/school schedules to consider? Know what your restrictions are- are you financing? do you have pets? getting a gift or making a co-purchase? Will it be a pied a terre? * please remember - if you are buying in a co-op, the building may have restrictions on some or all of these. Your agent can help guide you to buildings that will be viable options so that your aren't spending time with apartments that aren't going to work based on what you've shared.

The contents of this blog are tailored to New York City real estate and how the concepts discussed apply to a New York City transaction.

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