Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Don't Be A Bad Faith Negotiator

It has been a hairy three weeks.  One of our listings that has not found it's place in the sun with a buyer, decided to offer their residence for rent.  An offer was received within the first seven days.   It was -27% off the list price, yup, that's 27.   That's a pretty deep haircut for something that has just come on the market.  Nevertheless, the owner, whose career has been in significant commercial real estate transactions, attempted to work with the offer.

Term length, who pays for what operating expenses, start date and, of course, monthly rent, were all factors up for negotiation and compromise.  But compromise wasn't part of the plan apparently, for this would-be tenant.  Rather than respond to my owner's counter offer, the tenant changed his offer no less than three times, accepting it once and then backtracking twice more.  

What happens when a seller and a buyer, a landlord and a tenant, have completely different negotiation styles and philosophies?  In this case, it all fell apart.  The owner couldn't get past the tenant's inability to honor an accepted deal or-- if he had a change of heart-- try and reach a compromise that could work for both parties.  The tenant wanted what he wanted and felt it was a-ok to start from scratch with his new needs.  In Greenwich right now, it's a renters market.  And the renter played that card.

Was there any hope of bringing this deal together?  If the owner truly wanted to rent the property, he might have put aside whether the multiple re-trades were in good form or not and just focus on the final offer.  And the tenant might have stepped back to understand the negotiating style of the owner and try to adjust a bit.

Compromise... it always seems to come down to that.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Should We Take Our House Off the Market for the Holidays?

Should we take our property off the market for the holidays? Is one of the most common questions my Sellers are asking right now. The short answer is: "It depends".  Here are the four questions your realtor should examine with you in determining the right strategy in the coming months.

1.  How is the level of sales activity during a holiday period, based on history?  If you live in Greenwich, CT., the answer is "Typically, low."  The Spring Market is our strongest selling season, followed by the Fall.   However, your local market may have a different pattern of seasonality in sales, be sure that you understand it.

2.  How are sales in your price segment?  If you live in Greenwich, CT, 72% of sales Year To Date have been below $3 Million.  This segment is strong.  So if your property is priced in this price range, you may not want to lose buyers that are actively in the market.

3.  How long has your property been in the market?  If it's well over the average days on market, taking it off for the holidays is a consideration.  Use the time to examine what can be done to improve any and all aspects of your marketing plan so that when you return it's not the "same old, same old" listing.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Meaning of Home

Besides your workspace, home is probably the place you spend most of your time.  When you hear the word, "home", what are the first six words that come to your mind?  Those are the words that you should have at the top of your mind when you go house shopping.

When folks come to one of my listings, it is interesting to see how they approach trying the house on for fit.  Some folks walk through with a mental checklist of the things they need for they family and daily life.   That's the practical approach and it is indeed, important.

There are others that have an immediate "love it" or "hate it" reaction.  A side story on this:  A seller last week couldn't get over the fact that the buyers who came to see his house left within five minutes.   The seller chalked this showing up to a poor job by the buyers' agent in qualifying them for his house.  I can't disagree with his point that with the 27 photos of his home on all the real estate websites and MLS listing, there shouldn't have been any big surprise  that would cause the buyers to turn around almost at the get go.

What a house has that causes you to fall in love with it, is highly personal and sometimes difficult to put into words.  In Greenwich, we have homes as old as the early 1700s and as new as having received their Certificate of Occupancy last week.  Only you will know the right home for you.

Buying a home that both fits your family's needs and makes your heart sing when you walk in the door is a double blessing.  Take your time and know what is and isn't important in the decision.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey: Color Forecasting for 2015

Gone are the days when you could simply call your real estate agent to list your home and have it be as simple as a tour with them to review how lights and the alarm system worked. As one client getting ready to list their home said to us this week while knee deep decluttering 20 years of home life and considering quite a robust proposal from a stager that includes painting out rooms and staging 13 of them, "This is more than we ever thought about!" It can certainly be overwhelming.

But here's the rub: If you are trying to attract buyers who are young families and particularly young families living or influenced by sophisticated city life such as Manhattan, you need to have them open the door to your home with a sensibility that resonates with them.

Creating a feeling often starts with the color palette. So what colors are going to be popular in home design in 2015? In the past year, we have seen a preponderance of white, ivory, and grey--- all shades. This color combination was established by the the big furniture vendors--Restoration Hardware and their linen look, Mitchell Gold and their white and grey showrooms, Johnathan Adler with his white pottery... the list goes on and on.

Like many things, color trends in interior design tend to cycle. Our review of 2015 trends shows that the neutrals will still be a mainstay but color will make a return. And not just any color. Bold colors, including pinks and purples as seen in the new fabrics of China Seas and bedding of Matouk (carried at Lynnens in Greenwich) will be popular along with Mediterranean blues that are reminiscent of the church tops in Santorini.  Miles Redd, (a longtime favorite of mine) is always one to watch, and is working in palettes of the 1960s colors.  Alessandra Branca, believes that colors inspired by the Renaissance will return.

Speaking of color shades, and specifically, Fifty Shades of Grey--the long anticipated movie is now playing at the Greenwich Bow Tie Cinema.  On Valentine's Day, you can see it as early as 10:45 a.m. or catch the last show at 9:45 p.m.