April 20th 2014
The headlines are true – real estate inventory is at historic lows. This is the case across all price points and neighborhoods, from the Upper Eastside to the Upper West Side, from downtown to Harlem. There are no longer fringe New York City neighborhoods. Desirable properties are selling fast, and many receive multiple bids within days of coming on the market.
Here are some insider tips to help a buyer succeed in this overheated marketplace.
1. Know the marketplace. Research comparable properties. A lot of buyers make the mistake of forgoing a buyer’s agent. A good agent knows the marketplace and how best to present your bid, especially in this competitive market.
2. Decide on your no-regrets price. I advise buyers to offer the price that they can comfortably say I will have “no regrets” if I lose the property. Offer your highest price and then don’t look back.
3. If you can, waive the financing contingency. In a seller’s market, cash is king. If you can’t pay cash, sellers are typically OK with a buyer obtaining financing as long as the contract is not contingent on the buyer obtaining a mortgage. Buyers should get a pre-approval letter from a lender. Only waive the contingency if you are able to do so confidentially and always consult with your lender and counsel before doing so.
4. Write a personal letter. The letter should discuss your connection to the apartment, why you love the property and position you as the best buyer.
5. First impressions count. Be friendly, courteous and positive when you tour the property. The seller’s agent is watching to see who expresses reservations and who might be a problem buyer. In a multiple-offer situation everyone prefers to deal with the nice guy, not the difficult purchaser.
Industry experts predict that demand will continue to outstrip supply for the foreseeable future. Despite this news, remain optimistic during your search. The right apartment for you is out there. Keep in mind that someone wins every bidding war.
Susan Landau Abrams is an associate broker at Warburg Realty.