Out and About: Why walk, when she should run?

Early happy Halloween! (Flickr photo by minipixel)

At her open house, the listing  broker was gnashing her teeth.  (Thus the photo at right.)  Nobody but me had come to look at the three-bedroom apartment.

Previous open houses were hardly better.

Yet the place had charm. In the low 100s between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, the homey three-bedroom, two-bath unit in a 1910 doorman building has a mix of pluses and minuses.

The rooms are small, one of the two updated baths combines shower and toilet (don’t ask), the kitchen is large and expensively finished, there is a washer/dryer and the woodwork is original, albeit painted to its detriment.

“Elegant and rambling, this apartment will not last long,” goes the broker’s babble in the listing.  Right.

In fact, it went on the market in May, for $1.95 million with monthly maintenance of $1,881.  In June, the price was dropped to $1.875 million and went temporarily off the market five days later.

“I resigned the listing because he wouldn’t reduce the price,” the broker complained. 

But she took on the marketing again a month later, when the owner agreed to a reduction to $1.695 million.

The listing broker has been wrestling with the owner, to whom she originally sold the place, ever since in the hope of getting the price cut again to a number that might tempt buyers.

She is experienced enough to know that the price needs to come down and doesn’t need me or the other brokers she has queried to appreciate that a small reduction won’t do the trick.  Yet against her better judgment, she is wasting her time, time better spent being productive.

What’s the correct asking price? $1.295 million.

Get down to that and maybe — only maybe — the market will take notice, though, as everyone knows, chasing the market with an increasingly stale listing is a perilous undertaking.  

Below are some of the other properties that are listed by various brokers and that I have visited:

  • A well-worn but not shabby studio in the mid 80s just west of Columbus Avenue.  With northern treetop views, an inexpensively renovated kitchen that has diminutive stove and sink, and a bath that also shouts out penny-pinching improvement, this 550-sf co-op in a pet-friendly 1931 mid-rise that has a part-time doorman and laundry room as its amenities should sell below its asking price of $329,000 with monthly maintenance of $778.
  • In the very low 60s near Central Park, a sunny two-bedroom, two-bath corner co-op that offers open exposures south and west.  Although walls are freshly painted and floors newly refinished, this agreeable 1,250-sf apartment needs attention from the fastidious buyer.  It is  crammed with built-ins, and the master bath is burdened by an oversize whirlpool tub and steambath enclosure.  But there are a washer/dryer, recessed lights, many closets, a serviceable kitchen with much potential and, yes, all those built-ins.  Reduced from $1.375 million in July to $1.305 million and then $1.25 million in September with maintenance of $1,757 a month in a 1957 doorman building with a garage and lovely garden, the unit is well priced, explaining why it went under contract just 10 days ago. 
  • A three- and potentially four-bedroom, three-bath apartment in the high 90s that requires a nearly block-long walk and the negotiation of five separate mini-flights of stairs from the lobby.  This combined corner apartment doesn’t quite clear the roofs of neighboring buildings, features a very large 90s kitchen in its center and a row of bedrooms down a hallway that is reminiscent of a dormitory or boutique hotel (not that there’s anything good about that).  But the more than 24-foot-long living/dining room is inviting, provided part of it doesn’t eventually end up as the fourth bedroom.  Closet space is generous, but none of the baths is even close to the master bedroom.  Although priced high at $2.15 million with monthly maintenance of $2,877, this place between Riverside Drive and West end Avenue found a buyer in a matter of weeks.
  • In the very low 70s on Broadway, a one-bedroom, one-bath co-op with everything built in but the bed.  This 635-sf apartment has views south and west from a high floor, a washer/dryer, updated galley kitchen and a tub with its rim so high that most bathers will yearn for a stepladder in a high-styled and windowed bathroom.  The unit is in a 1977 building lacking distinction, and its asking price of $625,000 with exceptional maintenance of $1,633 attracted a buyer within two weeks.

Tomorrow: Don’t underestimate closing costs

To take a bite out of the Big Apple, start your search for a new home here.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

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