The listings database is filled with properties that have gone unsold for months and months.
One example of many that I recently visited happens to be a one-bedroom co-op in Lincoln Square. The 700-sf apartment went on the market for $479,000 last April and has ticked down in three steps to $429,000. Its last reduction: $10,000 back in June.
The problem with this ground-floor unit is small rooms coupled with courtyard exposures.
But those flaws are not why the apartment hasn’t sold, is it?
Properties don’t fail to sell because of a sluggish housing market, ugly exposures, warped floors, low ceilings, bad condition, noisy neighbors, awkward flow or impossibly small and dated kitchens.
They languish for a single reason, and I know you know what it is: Price.
Imagine if the co-op in question were listed at $1,000. Would it sell? Of course. $10,000? Ditto. And so on. There always is a price, undoubtedly lower than the offering price, at which an apartment will find a buyer. Just like every man or woman has a price, as the saying goes, so does real property.
Consider the analogies of the stock market or of clothing sales. Stocks and apparel are assets; they invariably find buyers, though at far lower prices than their sellers prefer when the market is distressed.
Shell announces that earnings remained “under pressure” last quarter, and its stock slumps 2.6 percent. That, of course, is because buyers bought the company’s stock only when they decided that the price was right. The same holds true for Macy’s when it marks down clothing by 40 percent or for Century 21, where everything is on sale.
There always is a right price. What doesn’t always exist, however, is a seller willing to lower the price enough to attract buyers.
So, the fact is that sellers need to recognize the efficiency of markets and respond accordingly. When they reach the right price, sellers also will reach their objective of trading in their frustration for a contract.
Sellers of real estate may wish upon star, but failing to offer their property for the right price mean they inevitably will get burned.
Priced right, there is no piece of real estate that cannot sell–and quickly.
Below, some of the properties listed by various brokers that I have seen recently:
- A pristinely gorgeous, but deeply flawed triplex in the low 80s between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues. In a 1900 townhouse, this combined co-op contains seven and a half rooms plus two “rec” rooms used as bedrooms below ground. There are three and a half stylish baths, two wood-burning fireplaces, private south-facing garden, formal dining room, stunning eat-in kitchen, central air conditioning and 2,450 square feet. Entry is street level to the main floor, which has three small bedrooms and the living room. The big flaw: Presence of but a single bath on that floor, there being two in the basement and half bath upstairs, where the dining room and kitchen, are situated. The offering price of $2.625 million with monthly maintenance of $3,162 is out of line, given the underground “rec” rooms and bath deficiency.
- In the high 70s west of Amsterdam Avenue, a two-bedroom apartment with pleasant open kitchen unfortunately just opposite the entrance to the unit, which is five flights of stairs from the street. With a loft of questionable headroom, moderately open exposures to the street from the living room and one of the bedrooms, a single bath, breakfast counter and exposed brick, this co-op in a pet-friendly building without amenities is way overpriced at a twice-reduced $699.000. Maintenance per month is $1,116.
- A three-bedroom, one-and-a-half co-op on a southwest corner of Broadway in the mid 90s. This apartment has a great kitchen, terrific hardwood floors and attractive built-ins, but virtually all of the rooms face courtyards from a single-digit floor. The oddly configured space suggests that walls were moved, leaving one bedroom without a closet and an oddlly placed master bedroom sans en suite bath. In a 1925 doorman building that permits pets, sublets and washer/dryers, the 1,200-sf unit is listed for far too much money at a reduced $1.25 million with monthly maintenance of $1,114.
- On Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights, a pleasant two-bedroom co-op that has just one bath, which has been decently updgraded. The amount of closet space is barely adequate, the kitchen is average and the views south are partially open. In 1922 building that allows washer dryers and pets while forbidding pieds-à-terre, the place was been offered for too much, by definition, at $800,000 with maintenance of $1,358 a month since it was listed in October and even until its cut to $775,000 last month.
- A two-bedroom co-op in a permissive 1925 Emery Roth building on a corner of Amsterdam Avenue in the high 80s. With most exposures facing courtyards or walls, a pointlessly expanded kitchen that has somewhat dated appliances and a pass-through into the unit’s foyer (apparently to unload groceries), adequate closet space, one vintage bath and one slightly upgraded en suite, this 1,250-sf apartment should be listed for far less than its $1.295 million with monthly maintenance of $1,782 (including utilities.) The doorman building offers a gym, basketball court and landscaped roof garden, among other amenities.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022