January 7th 2015
New York Daily News
Finding an apartment in New York City can be a challenge.
The new year means it’s time to get rid of that old place.
But with apartment prices going through the roof and inventory at historic lows, that’s easier said than done.
Prices are expected to rise nearly 4% in 2015, so the market is only becoming more challenging. But The News reached out to experts in the field for tips to help you make a change you can afford:
In Brooklyn, the average apartment is sitting on the market for just 92 days, down from 143 days last year, so there’s no room for dilly-dallying.
Know what you can afford, get your financials in order, get pre-approved for a mortgage, find an attorney and have bank statements and references ready before even setting foot in an open house.
Then, once you see the apartment of your dreams, you’ll be in a position to seize the day — and bury the competition.
“Things are moving so fast so you’re at a tactical disadvantage if you can’t move with them,” said Jason Haber of brokerage Warburg Realty. “Being unprepared in this market would be like facing the Green Bay Packers with only 10 guys on the field.”
The early bird catches the apartment in New York. When a well-priced listing comes online, it’s crucial to be among the first callers, since great apartments are often snapped up within the first day on the market.
Find a knowledgeable broker, scope out the websites of every firm, scroll through listing sites such as StreetEasy, and eat, sleep and breathe real estate in order to find the perfect home.
“You need to be in tune with what’s on the market and what’s coming on the market,” said Wendy Maitland, president of sales at Town Residential. “He who hesitates is lost.”
Be open minded
With prices rising all across the city, buyers in search of a bargain should stay open to possibilities they hadn’t considered, whether it be a neighborhood further afield or a fixer upper.
“If you want the most for your money, it’s all about being a visionary and seeing the possibilities,” Maitland said.
Be a trend setter
Finding the next “big” neighborhood is no easy feat, but it is possible to predict where values are likely to go up.
One great piece of advice: follow transportation. The neighborhoods that will be the quickest to develop and gentrify will likely be those with great transport options, experts said.
“I tell my clients to follow the L train,” Haber said. If Bushwick’s Morgan Ave. stop is booming now, it’s probable that DeKalb Ave., just a few stops further on the L train, will be next.
With bidding wars becoming increasingly prevalent in all five boroughs, it’s vital to make sure you have an edge over your rivals — even if you don’t have a thicker wallet.
Buyers often think that the highest bid will always win but that’s not necessarily true, brokers said. Instead, make yourself known to the seller as a reliable, trustworthy contender who will treat them — and their apartment — with respect. Send them a personalized note telling them how much you love their home, tell them you can close quickly and be on call to give them additional information at any time.
“You want to give the seller as much confidence as possible that you’ll be there to close at the end of the day,” Haber said.