Survey Says….

When trying to match our clients with the perfect home, we ask a multitude of questions (over 65) about how important certain characteristics and amenities are to their search. Our questions range from the importance of location and transportation options to willingness to live in a walk-up and desirability of a building with a swimming pool. While price ranges ($100,000 to $5.5 million) and neighborhoods (all over Manhattan and Brooklyn) of buyers who filled out our survey varied widely, we found some interesting commonalities.

What buyers “want” (amenities which are indicated as “must haves” or “wish list”):

1. A light filled apartment 98%

2. Ample closet space 87%

3. Outdoor space 61%

4. Space for a home office 58%

5. Bathroom in the master bedroom 52%

6. Doorman Building 52%

What buyers “need” (amenities indicated as “must haves,” removing “wish list” items from the equation)

1. Light filled apartment 53%

2. Ample closet space 27%

3. Bathroom in the master bedroom 25%

4. Doorman building 20%

5. Space for a home office 14%

6. Washer/Dryer in unit 12%

Taking a look at what buyers see as “deal breakers” 44% of buyers will not even consider a walk-up apartment, and 40% ruled out living on the ground floor. Only 26% of buyers said they definitely would live in a walk-up and 20% said they definitely would live on the ground floor. The preference in both cases is nearly two to one. Additionally, 35% of buyers indicated that they were unwilling to do a major renovation.

What this means for sellers: You may not have an apartment with brilliant exposure, but make sure you turn on all of the lights and open the curtains when you have showings, even during the day. If your definition of “showing ready” means stashing all of your stuff in the closet, think again. Move some things into storage if you need to, and consider installing a closet organization system if you don’t already have one. Terraces, patios and gardens should also be paid careful mind, since outdoor space can be a big selling point. If you have it, consider converting an alcove space or a spare bedroom into a functional home office.

Lacking some of these top amenities? Don’t worry, most apartments aren’t perfect. Just do your best to maximize the space and features you do have and remember to price accordingly. A home in need of gut renovation is not going to fetch the same price as a comparable apartment that has been recently remodeled, so you’ll need to keep your expectations in line with the realities of the market.

What this means for buyers: Want a light-filled apartment with huge closets, outdoor space and a home office in an elevator building? So does everyone else. If you’re willing to be flexible in your requirements, you’re likely to get a better deal on a home. Decide what’s most important to you and stand firm on those features, but be willing to consider apartments that don’t entirely fit the bill for your “wish list.” If you’re budget conscious, consider looking at ground floor apartments or walk-ups where prices are likely to be lower and where you’ll find less competition.

Keep in mind that the more of these top amenities that an apartment offers, the larger the pool of buyers who are going to be interested and potentially making offers. You will need to act fast and make the most appealing offer possible if you want the seller to accept it. This means being pre-approved if you’re using financing, having your financials in order and being willing and able to outbid the competition. The larger your down payment, the more appealing your offer will be, and an “all cash” offer is going to trump a comparable offer that is contingent upon financing.

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