Kayla was in town last week for her sister’s college graduation. We didn’t get a chance to put it on video, but we did discuss what it’s like to sell homes in Manhattan!
Her team has several listings, and she does open houses regularly. The format there is quite different – they only do open house for an hour, and don’t use any signs, so the only people who come are those who see the advertising.
But it works – she has sold two homes to buyers who came to the open house, and bought it!
The negotiation process is unbelievable though. In California she got used to making written offers on our standard forms that have a three-day expiration date built into the boilerplate.
But in New York City, they negotiate verbally, which leaves it wide open for the listing agent to take days or longer to respond. It might be worth waiting to see if there were other offers if it’s a new listing, but I wouldn’t want to frustrate a ready, willing, and able buyer in a shaky market.
Once they come to an agreement between buyer and seller, they memorialize it by email. Then the lawyers go to work, and 2-4 weeks later they finally deliver contracts for signature. It seems like an environment ripe for shenanigans, because nothing is signed until then.
There is one other head-shaker.
They don’t do dual agency. Instead, when she brings the buyer for one of their own listings, they sign a form saying that they are unrepresented – no agency! I would imagine that there still has to be some assistance provided to get the deal closed, but technically their lawyer is the only one that is on their side officially.
I asked her about the Compass broker who said on camera that the home values in Manhattan have dropped 10% in the last year, and she said it’s probably true on the higher end, but entry level (under a million) is still hot. Here’s an example – she sold this home while she was here, and got within 3% of list:
Because a 1br/1ba, 759sf home with a HOA fee of $1,335/mo that’s priced at $899,000 is out of reach for many, the rental market is hot too. Kayla has helped a couple of people from San Diego find a good rental!
If you, or someone you know is thinking of moving to the Big Apple, contact her– she’d love to help bubbleinfo readers!
I’d like to think that Kayla has had the best upbringing of any realtor because she got to hear the sage advice from Doug Harwood – here we are in July, 2014 but his thoughts might be even more relevant today:
Kayla returned from Manhattan for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and we were talking about the sluggishness in New York City market, which has been going on for 2+ years. By now agents have learned that there’s no use fighting it – you have to learn to adapt.
It was in the year of her birth, 1991, when I experienced my first market slowdown. All I knew was that there wasn’t a buyer for miles, and with a newborn child, I need to hurry up and figure this out!
This is my third time around the block, so I offered her a few ideas.
First let’s acknowledge how it works in a seller’s market. Buyers find a house that is a good fit, and they buy it. Agents might offer up a strategy to get a discount, but for the most part, buyers pay the sellers’ price. It’s binary – it is yes or no, is this the right house? If it is, then pay the price.
Now it’s different, and if you can get a buyer to look at homes, their answer will be the same everywhere – ‘no’. Because they are looking for any reason not to buy – and every house has one – once they find it then it’s game over. But rather than just saying no to every house and never buying anything, let’s take it a step further.
At what price would you be a buyer?
Price will fix anything, and the price itself is usually the problem – it’s too high.
If the buyer would be interested at a lower price, then all you have to do is present a powerful case to the seller and listing agent to see if there is enough motivation to at least listen, and hopefully make a deal.
If you just make a lower offer without justification, I can already tell you what the answer will be: “No, and get off my lawn”.
To get something, you have to give a little. Here are ideas:
Make an clean offer with quick close date. These work best on vacant properties where sellers might be eating an extra payment.
Make an offer using older comps, and point out that the Case-Shiller pricing (or other) has retreated back where it was X months ago.
Make an offer based on the cost of the needed improvements, and include contractor quotes when possible.
In all cases, include a photo of the family and pets, and an introduction that explains the offer. Usually the listing agent will just forward the explanation right to the sellers, so it’s a way to have influence over the outcome. Without an introduction and explanation, the listing agent has to justify the low price himself, and he won’t try too hard and risk looking bad.
We need price discovery!
The only way to find out what the seller might take is to put an offer on the table. It may seem risky to be among the first to take the plunge, but by April/May we should see more people finding a way to make a deal. Those will probably be with the sellers who have been trying to sell for 90+ days, and are tired of the process. Let’s give it a shot!
Hopefully we will be getting an occasional glimpse of what it’s like for Kayla to be selling real estate in Manhattan. The vertical living couldn’t be more different than what we’re used to around San Diego – she’ll never see another tract house with two-car garage and a yard!
She’ll be starting on the ground floor, literally and figuratively, but eventually she might get to see a few like this – thanks daytrip:
Selling homes in Manhattan is competitive, even without a central MLS run by the realtor board. Once an agent uploads a listing onto their company system, it gets distributed immediately to the regular portals StreetEasy (owned by Zillow), realtor.com, etc. where agents and consumers access the same data.
So even though there isn’t an official MLS, there is a commitment to full market exposure, and giving every agent a shot at selling each listing.
William (KK’s new boss) said that if agents were keeping listings in-house, then the Manhattan board of realtors would step in and do something about it.
It’s going to be competitive everywhere, but if every agent was committed to doing what was best for their sellers, then we could all get along nicely.
He also said that it is very rare that they do a home inspection. There isn’t a requirement for seller disclosures either – it’s up to the buyer’s attorney to include any questions about the property in the contract.
It has been a buyer’s market around Manhattan for the last couple of years. Maybe a sign of things to come everywhere?
Kayla will start her new job there on August 27th! I will let her share her experience here as she sees fit, but she couldn’t be more excited to begin this new chapter in her life!
Kayla has dreamed of moving to New York City for years, and has friends who have moved there already. In our annual Christmas letter last year, she told everyone that she planned to move to Manhattan in 2018 – and she’s doing it!
She has amassed five solid years of experience here, and is ready for a new challenge. She passed her New York real estate license test this week, and will be joining a successful realtor team in Manhattan next month.
While it will be devastating to not be around her every day to enjoy her sass and wit, we will carry on with our own adventures here, and enjoy watching from afar – and taking an occasional trip there ourselves.
I am incredibly proud of you Kayla, and love that you have the guts to pursue your dreams. It is a big step, but I know you can handle it!
I am the QUEEN of buying tons of groceries/bringing home all my leftovers and just throwing them in the fridge … and then eventually throwing them out – ask any of my roommates!
Did you know that 40% of the food in the US goes uneaten? Which means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 BILLION each year! Yeah, I’m not helping the cause but HEY it’s time to change!
Some of you might already know these, but here are some tips I have learned about organizing your refrigerator!
1. Set your refrigerator to 40 degrees or lower – bacteria grows rapidly between 40-140 degrees.
2. Refrigerator door is the warmest – try to only store condiments in this area. Anything dairy (especially milk) or eggs will go bad quickly – the temperature fluctuates too much in the door.
3. Upper shelves are the slightly-warmer section – store foods that don’t have a health safety risk aka leftovers, drinks, ready-to-eat foods. Getting clear containers for leftovers is also helpful because it will help you see what the heck are in those white take out boxes!
4. Bottom shelves = coldest section – store meats, poultry, or any other raw meats. This also prevents drips from contaminating food below. If you take it out of the meat packaging, put it in a bowl.
5. Mason jars for salads – mason jars are the longest-lasting way to keeps salads. Dressing on the bottom, veggies and other salads goodies get piled on top. If you have a lid for your jar, they can last up to 5-7 days!
6. Containers – if you haven’t figured it out by now, I LOVE the Container Store! Here are some great containers to use for wine bottles, soda cans, eggs, etc!
Elle Decor featured an article that I thought I would share! We always like to get ideas from Pinterest, interior designer’s blogs, Instagram, etc. to make our home not only “homey” but TRENDY! But there are times when we think we are pro designers (when we totally are not) and tend to over-design.
1. Matching art to decor – I am totally guilty of this one. I have matched my entire bedroom to my wall art… that is a major no-no. I now like to have muted tones for my furniture and then have the art and decor be pops of color.
2. Poorly positioned art – I think everyone can agree on this. There is nothing worse when you have to look up (and eventually get a crick in your neck) at art. Same with the TV! No one wants to watch a movie when that requires you to lift your head for 2 hours.
3. Too many open shelves – This just stresses me out. It’s nice to have some doors to hide the chaos especially in the kitchen – I don’t have enough time to straighten out all my mugs, cups, wine glasses, etc! Plus I’m not sure if we need to show off my souvenir mug I got from Disneyland ten years ago…
4. Skimpy curtains – This honestly reminds me of a fraternity house. Believe it or not, there are people that have curtains too short for their window! The designer Natalie Kraiem (http://www.nataliekraiem.com/) prefers to have them hang an extra inch or two longer. She also likes to hang the rods or tracks below the crown molding to make the ceilings appear taller.
5. Too much clutter – Less is definitely more. I love to accessorize the wall decor, but sometimes one larger item is better than tons of mini items.