Out and About: 2nd time is charm, 3rd better

View over Morningside Park toward Harlem

Listing  brokers like nothing more than being the second agent asked to sell a property.

When the first broker’s exclusive listing contract expires, that’s when the seller casts about for a fresh approach.

Sometimes the seller has legitimate concerns about the first broker — for example, unresponsiveness, poor marketing strategy, few open houses.

But the failure to unload the property often isn’t because of the broker: It is because of sellers who ignore or reject advice from the very brokers whose expertise got them the assignment in the first place.

Some sellers won’t make needed improvements, even fresh paint, clear out clutter or, most often, agree to lower the price.  Rarely does a listing return to the market with a new  broker without a new price.

So, second time is the charm.  Third is even better from a broker’s point of view.

Such was the situation with an appealing one-bedroom co-op in Morningside Heights between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.  With a modestly renovated kitchen and bath, acres of restored wood paneling, refinished floors, separate dining room and fair amount of closet space, the 800-sf apartment unfortunately looks only onto walls from its first-floor location.

It is in a 1910 pet-friendly low-rise with few amenities but with a policy of permitting washer/dryers and sublets.  The maintenance runs $980 a month, and the current price is a not unreasonable $575,000.

The unit first went on the market for $635,000.  That was last March.

There was a price cut to $599,000 in May, and the listing expired in July.

A new team of two brokers took over in August, but they listed the place at just $5,000 less than the prior price.  I was betting that the ask would go down before long, and sure enough it did but not until a couple of weeks ago.

Below are some other recently visited properties listed by various other brokers:

  • In the very low 70s between Amsterdam and West End avenues, an estate sale that has undergone an essential $100,000 price cut.  This one-bedroom co-op has an exceedingly narrow original bath, good layout, floors with stains and a kitchen so in need of attention that no photo is available.  In a 1925 pet-friendly low-rise with no doorman, the 850-sf apartment had an asking price of $699,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,227 until its reduction in August to $599,000, at which level it went off the market at the end of September.  Some of the listing’s overblown verbiage bears quoting nonetheless: “Live, Love and Laugh in an amazing neighborhood!”
  • A two-bedroom co-op just a block from an express subway stop in the low 90s on a corner of Amsterdam Avenue.  There are a huge center-island kitchen evocative of the 80s, a dining room that could become a bedroom, two old baths and a half bath that has been updated, three exposures (including open ones west and south), capacious closets, a welcoming gallery, full-size washer/dryer and floors in need of attention.  In a 1928 pet-friendly doorman building designed by Rosario Candela, the apartment is listed at an appropriate price of $1.495 million with maintenance per month of $2,145 plus a capital assessment of $237; unsurprisingly, it went under contract within two weeks.
  • In Lincoln Square, a 4,044-sf duplex condo with glorious views to the south and west.  With five bedrooms, five full and three half baths, walls of Venetian plaster, superb layout, two washer/dryers, automatic shades, computerized lighting system, nine-foot ceilings and expansive kitchen, this apartment, handsomely renovated 10 years ago, has lingered on the market for as much as $12.9 million since June 2011.  On its second broker in a 1995 building lacking no amenities, the place is listed now at $9.995 million probably within range of finding a buyer at long last.  Monthly common charges are $4,245 and real estate taxes, $4,504.
  • A very long hallway that dominates a two-bedroom, one-and-half-bath co-op in the low 80s of a Riverside Park block.  The biggest virtue of the apartment is the spacious living room, though it faces south into a courtyard.  The intended master bedroom with a width of merely eight feet has windows to the east and south plus that so-so half bath.  Although replete with laminate finishes and otherwise dated features, the open kitchen is pleasant enough.  And exposed brick walls along the hallway and into the living/dining room add warmth to the 800-sf apartment.  On the fourth floor of a pet-averse 1910 walk-up lacking much in the way of amenities, the unit is listed optimistically at $695,000 with maintenance of $1,577 a month.

Tomorrow: Auctions!

To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you have the option to search all available properties privately.

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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

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