Archive for Sellers


Purchaser’s and Sellers Closing Costs Guide

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Closing Costs Guide-Created by Jerry Feeny

Real estate closing costs can be confusing. These PDFs created by Jerry Feeny,  a well known and respected New York Metro real estate attorney, cover closing costs (coops, condos, townhouses-and other real property)  for buyers and sellers in New York City , The Hamptons and Westchester & Rockland Counties.

We hope you find this guide helpful in ‘demystifying’ the age-old question of buyers, ‘what are my closing costs?’ And from sellers, ‘what costs do I have to pay at closing and what is left over from the sale price?

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So You Want to Sell Your Upper East Side Apartment

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You’re ready for a change.  You want to sell your apartment… or Do you?  Carefully consider these questions before you take the plunge.

1) Is the apartment ready to Sell?

Most properties could use a little sprucing up. Some apartments need some renovation . Listing the apartment before it is in ‘show perfect’ condition can cost you days on the market and/or sales price

2)  Are you motivated?

  • Will you be flexible enough to allow the property to be shown when a buyer wants to see it?  
  • Will you trust your broker’s judgment on proper pricing? 
  • Are you open to advice on staging and presenting the property to sell?

3) Do you have the authority and capacity to sell the property?

Make sure the title/proprietary lease is clear and under your management. For example many coop Board have special requirements when an estate owns the property. In the case of Divorce, will your spouse need to agree to the sale? Rely on your team broker, attorney, accountant financial advisor to guide you.

A “NO” answer to any one of these questions may mean you are not ready to sell and could cost you time and money.

Categories : Selling
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Sellers in Manhattan are Renovating

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The decision to sell an old apartment can be liberating.  Old counter tops and kitchen appliances can start you dreaming of a fresh start in a new kitchen with shiny appliances and granite countertops.

But buyers are more discerning than ever, and squeaky or stained floors and cracked laminate countertops can sink a potential sale as fast as an outdated kitchen or bath.

Renovations before the open house can attract a buyer faster.  Buyers today want move-in ready, a far cry from the boom years when buyers would buy anything with walls and a floor, and often will pass up the older units in need of updating.

It might go against the grain to spend money on an apartment you’re leaving behind, but it can be money well spent, setting your apartment above the dozen or so apartments a buyer is considering.  You may not be able to add the cost of the renovation to your asking price, however in most cases, if you don’t renovate, you may need to reduce your asking price, causing people to wonder what is wrong with the place.

It may not make sense to spend a huge amount of money.  With a fresh coat of paint and skillful staging, you can present a buyer with an attractive property, even if you can’t swing the $50,000 kitchen renovation.  Of course every case is different and you should consult your broker when making a decision on whether a renovation is ‘worth it’ in order to sell. 

 Inspired by New York Times article by C. J.  Hughes published November 4, 2011.

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What’s the Best Day to List Your Home?

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According to a Redfin study which analyzed 1.2 million listings in 16 markets over 21 months, Friday is the best day of the week to list a home for sale.

  • Homes listed on Friday were 12% more likely to sell within 90 days.
  • Homes listed on Thursday or Friday sold for slightly closer to list price – 94.4% compared with 93.9% for homes listed on a Sunday or Monday.
  • Homes listed on Friday were viewed 19% more by buyers than homes listed on any other day of the week.

“Our theory is that since home buyers tend to tour homes on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday have 2.5 times more tours per day than weekdays), homes listed on Fridays are the freshest in buyers’ minds when they’re making their weekend plans,” the brokerage said in a blog post about the findings. “It also seems likely that many home buyers sort their weekend ‘must see’ lists by date listed, going to see the freshest homes first so they have the best chance of getting in on a potential good deal before other buyers. These factors put homes listed on Friday in front of more touring buyers on the weekend. More tours lead to more offers, and more offers leads to a better price and a better chance of selling.”

Listing in Manhattan? Since we don’t have an MLS here, make sure you take into consideration the 24 hours it takes to submit the listing to the various web sites that will be used by consumers. I suggest, posting Wednesday to ensure total distribution by Friday.


Source: “Best Day to List Real Estate for Sale: Friday,” Inman News (Oct. 18, 2011)

Categories : Selling, The Process
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New York City Real Estate is different – and navigating the waters can be difficult without a network of friends or financial resources to help you.  There are many websites you can visit, but here’s a few to help you get started:

StreetEasy has searchable listings and user forums geared towards sales rather than rentals. For $15/month you can get sold prices of coops, condos and townhouses. A must have if you are trying to determine what the “correct” selling price should be.

Trulia  has searchable listings and interesting neighborhood stats.

The New York Times website  has articles and searchable listings.  provides you with comprehensive and detailed data including zoning, permits (Department of Building information), property tax information etc.

Curbed NY  is a cross between commentary and gossip, it is a good place to get a feel for New York real estate and learn about new developments and conversions. Tongue-in-cheek

The BrickUnderground gives practical advice, with current prices and advice on rental apartment living.

Hotpads A search tool with thousands of apartment listings plotted on a map.

NabeWise ranks neighborhoods based on various characteristics.

If you have certain neighborhoods in mind, for rentals,  sites like Naked Apartments and RentHop  provide search tools to narrow preferences

Navigating the waters of Manhattan real estate is not for the faint of heart.  It takes stamina and persistence to find just what you want at a price you can afford.  Educating yourself is a great first step.

 Adapted from a New York Times article by Joseph Plambeck


Selling with Facebook?

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Who do you know that uses Facebook? Maybe the easier question is who doesn’t?  Have you told your friends your apartment is for sale?  There’s a growing number of people who are looking for their next apartment on Facebook, forsaking Craig’s List due to the list’s increasingly negative reputation.

Someone will post on Facebook they’re looking for an apartment in a certain neighborhood or building.  Chances are good that someone else will know a person who knows about a vacancy or apartment for sale in the building or neighborhood.  It’s a case of the good old American Know-who.  If your friends and their friends are on Facebook, chances are, one of them know someone in the market for a new home.

If a Facebook friend points out a listing, consumers are more likely to trust them.  If your friends know your apartment is for sale and they know someone is shopping for an apartment, chances are very good they’ll point them to you and your apartment for sale. 

 Sometimes it’s not What you know but WHO you know.

Inspired by an article in The Real Deal.

Categories : Selling
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You have to live here too… Living in a Staged home

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Your apartment is on the market.  It’s been de-cluttered, polished and photographed.  Possibly you’ve spent good money on having your apartment professionally staged.  It looks like a spread in a glossy magazine. 

 But wait, you have to live there too.  “Do I have to keep it looking like this all the time?  How on earth can I do that while we live there?”  The short answer is you don’t have to.  Follow these tips to be able to show at a moment’s notice: 

  • Keep new purchases to a minimum
  • Don’t shove everything into a drawer, cabinet or closet.  Buyers are going to open every drawer and door to judge storage needs
  • Use a pretty basket or covered box to put mail, keys, calendars, etc. and place on a closet shelf or other out of the way place to keep things neat and protect your privacy.
  • Use baskets in the bath to keep cosmetics, toiletries and appliances looking neat.  Use a plastic basket for all your shower supplies that you can store in a cabinet or closet when not in use.
  • Keep your ‘company’ towels neatly folded on the towel bar and spares neatly folded or rolled up in the linen closet.  Your ‘everyday’ towels go in the washing machine or laundry bin prior to showing.
  • Make sure the kids’ toys are neatly stored in storage bins or chests.  Make sure the toys are picked up before bedtime or leaving for the day.
  • Pets are a touchy subject.  Not everyone is a pet lover.  Pets and their folderol should be removed if at all possible while your apartment is being shown.
  • Make the beds and fluff the pillows every day before leaving the house
  • Dishes should be washed or rinsed and stacked neatly in the dishwasher right after using them for last minute clean up of the kitchen.

Keeping your apartment in tip-top condition at all times might be a strain on the nerves, but the prospect of a quicker sale should help motivate you.  Make these practices part of your daily routine to reduce the stress. 

Read more about presenting your home in the best possible light from an insightful home stager I have worked with, Donna Dazzo.

Categories : Selling, Staging
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Open House Checklist

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In Manhattan, Open Houses are a way of life when trying to sell an apartment.  Think of an Open House as opening night for your favorite Broadway play.  You want the rave reviews that will bring in the offers!

You’ve done all the cleaning and maintenance recommended by your Broker or Stager.  Here are a few last minute things to do before your open house. 

  • Pick up and store loose toys
  • Pick up and put away anything that doesn’t belong in the space
  • Put away last minute clutter (mail, newspapers, keys, etc) in a safe place
  • Put away toiletries, cosmetics, appliances in bath and bedrooms and store in basket/caddy in linen closet or vanity
  • Secure small personal valuables (electronics, jewelry, etc)
  • Turn on all the lights in every room
  • Turn on interior cabinet lights
  • Open blinds and window coverings
  • Make sure your apartment is spotless:  wipe down cabinets and countertops, tables and mirrors.
  • Vacuum high traffic areas
  • Fluff pillows and straighten coffee table
  • Close closet doors
  • Make sure your pets are out of the apartment for their safety and the safety of visitors.  Also make sure their dishes, litter boxes, beds are removed.
  • Empty garbage cans, especially kitchen and bathroom
  • Set out ‘good’ towels in bathroom
  • Toilet seats and lids should be down
  • Make beds and straighten pillows in all bedrooms
  • Fresh flowers in strategic locations (but don’t overdo it!)

 Read more about presenting your home in the best possible light from an insightful home stager I have worked with, Donna Dazzo.

Categories : Selling, Staging
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Recently I wrote a 3 part series on Coop financial statements. In Part 1, we discussed the General Principles of a Coop Corporation and the Telltale signs of a GOOD Building. Part 2 discussed what to look for in Coop Financials. In Part 3 we look at assessing a Coop’s financial condition.

As I pointed out, Coops seldom conduct a study to determine the remaining useful lives of the building’s systems and major components. Additionally, coops are seldom required (if ever) by their governing documents to accumulate funds in advance of the need of such repairs.

Depending on the size of the building, emergency and unplanned repairs can result in a serious increase in maintenance or special assessments. High maintenance and assessments drive down apartment selling prices.

The board did all of this work without raising maintenance or passing a special assessment.

With an Engineering Systems Report, a 5 year Capital Budget Plan and a culture of working together for the benefit of all residents, 360 East 72nd Street was a rare example of a Coop, thanks to its Board, that took a building with serious problems and rebuilt most of the infrastructure….The board did all of this work without raising maintenance or passing a special assessment.

The Costs:

Brick replacements/balconies $8.5 million
A/C chiller $995,000
Oil tank $213,000
35th floor roof $510,000
Elevators (machinery) $510,000
Elevators (cabs) $170,000
18th Floor roof $249,000

Total $11,600,500

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New York City Consumer Confidence Up

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Consumer confidence has always been, in my opinion, one of the major leading indicators for the real estate market in New York City. When people feel bullish about the future they are more likely to buy a coop or condo in Manhattan. Great news for sellers.

Overall Consumer Confidence increased in eight of nine New York State MSA’s (metropolitan statistical areas) in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the latest Quarterly Consumer Confidence survey released today by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI).  At 70.4, the New York City region had the highest overall consumer confidence of the nine regions, and the Binghamton region had the lowest, at 58.4.  Current and future confidence increased in eight of the nine regions. 

  • New York City region had the highest overall consumer confidence of the nine regions
  • Consumers in New York City and Long Island are most bullish about the future
  • With this consumer stability and in some case increased optimism, we have pent up demand beginning to register in plans to buy especially computers and furniture with home buying showing some signs of life.

Although the May report shows a decrease of current confidence 66.3, there was an increase in future confidence to 72.7

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