May 3, 2016

Spring Selling | Clean is King


The First Impression

Did you know that within 15 seconds a buyer has already developed an opinion of your property? This is why establishing the right first impression is critical to achieving a successful sale. Following is a list of elements which create the overall first impression, including suggestions on how to make sure the buyer reacts favorably.

A fresh coat of paint can be one of the best investments you can make to increase the value of your apartment. If you do not want to spend the money to paint the entire apartment, consider just the entry at least.


Attractive windows can help increase appeal.

* Replace any cracked or broken glass.
* Make sure the windows are sparkling clean.
* Apply touch-up paint where needed.


The doorway is a focal point of your home.

* Repaint the door.
* Apply new door hardware.
* Install a brass kick plate.
* Replace apartment numbers.
* Install a new front light fixture.

Appeal to the Senses

There are many ways to create a more exciting and saleable interior, at surprisingly little cost.


People react more favorably to property shown under bright light than dark.

* Keep windows clean.
* Use adequate wattage in light bulbs.
* Consider replacing older fluorescent lamps, which darken with use.
* Use mirrors to magnify the feeling of light and space.
* Use track lights to create a high-tech look.
* Use light wall colors.
* Open drapes and blinds and turn on lights prior to showings.


Keep colors neutral and light.

* Shades of white, off-white and very light pastels are the safest choices for the interior.
* Avoid highly patterned wallpaper whenever possible.
* Try to limit bright colors to accents like fresh flowers, towels, area rugs and shower curtains.


The sounds of peace and quiet are some of the best sounds to have when your home is being shown to a prospective buyer. But there are other sound considerations you should also be aware of.

* Avoid barking dogs and noisy children, if possible.
* Also avoid sounds of work like vacuums, dishwashers and lawn mowers.
* Make sure there are no sounds of mechanical problems like banging pipes or faulty appliances.
* Light classical or instrumental music can be effective in creating a pleasing atmosphere.


Smell has more impact than you might expect. It can work for or against you.

* The smell of newness is positive. This scent can be achieved by applying a fresh coat of polyurethane to natural wood or latex paint to walls.
* The smell of cleanliness is important to the selling environment of your house. Beyond actually cleaning, lemon oil or lemon wax can help create a lasting scent of freshness. Fresh flowers can also be effective.
* For a real heart-warming touch, place a dish of vanilla in a warm oven to create the aroma of fresh-baked cookies or bread.
* Sweeten the refrigerator with a box of baking soda.
* Smells to avoid include strong pet odors, tobacco, and cooking oil or gas.

Packaging the Interior


The entry is where the first impression of the interior is created. Here you have the opportunity to make a big statement in a small area.

* Repaint the entry using light, neutral colors.
* Move a prized antique or attractive furnishing to the entry, where it will have maximum impact.
* Install simple chair rail molding on the wall.
* Apply a fresh coat of polyurethane to a wood floor.
* Tile or linoleum flooring should shine.
* Replace plastic switch plate covers with brass or porcelain.
* A new hall light fixture can make a great impression.
* Make sure the room is well lit.


The kitchen is an important room in the apartment. Here is a list of ideas to increase the appeal of your kitchen without spending a great deal of money.

* Make sure the room is virtually spotless and smells fresh. Try putting a quarter section of a lemon in the disposal and grinding it up.
* Consider replacing outdated light fixtures with new track lighting.
* If your appliances are dated by colors like harvest gold or avocado, consider having them professionally refinished in a new color like almond or plain white. This will make appliances look new at a fraction of the cost of actually replacing them.
* Spruce up kitchen cabinets by installing new knobs or hardware.
* If your cabinets look especially old, you can have a professional replace the doors or door fronts.
* Organize your kitchen cabinets to demonstrate how much room you have. Cabinet organizers are a good investment for this.
* Remove small kitchen appliances and gadgets from countertops to create an uncluttered look.
* Chipped or damaged countertops should be repaired or replaced.
* If your floor is badly worn, replace it with neutral no-wax flooring or tile.
* A freshly painted kitchen may be well worth the investment.


The bathroom has become an important selling feature in today's home. It is a room that has moved from the utilitarian to the exciting. There are many ways you can improve deficiencies and create interest through various levels of enhancement.

* Place a vase of fresh flowers on the vanity.
* Install a wall telephone for a high-tech look.
* Replace an old toilet seat.
* Replace an old light fixture with a new style light strip or make-up light.
* Refinish an old porcelain tub using a porcelain finishing service.
* Place all personal care articles out of sight.
* Freshen the air with lemon scented products.
* Replace an old towel rack with one of brass or oak.
* Add color and richness with new towels and shower curtain.

Living Room

The living room is a major selling point of an apartment. Buyers look for elegant and impressive living rooms to make the right statements to their friends and relatives.

* Use mirrors whenever possible to enhance the perception of size.
* A fireplace is one feature that everyone can appreciate - show it off to its best advantage. Sweep it clean and make sure the screen is in good condition
* Use inexpensive free-standing "can" lights to create dramatic visual effects behind large plants or pieces of furniture.
* Use chair rail or cornice molding to create a feeling of elegance.
* Professionally clean wall-to-wall carpet or large area rugs.
* Sand and refinish stained hardwood floors.
* Clean windows and light fixtures.
* Make sure all cosmetic plaster cracks are repaired. (This applies to every room in the house.)
* Use lemon oil on hardwood furniture to create the right look and aroma.
* Liberal use of fresh flowers and plants will enhance the environment.


The bedrooms can do as much to sell your house as they can to turn off a buyer.

* Make sure the bedrooms are absolutely spotless.
* Rugs should be cleaned, windows washed and fresh smells from flowers or lemon oil should be in the air.
* Organize closets to increase their perceived size.
* Rubberized wire closet organizers do a great job of helping fully utilize space.
* Mirrored closet doors can add dramatically to the feeling of size in any bedroom.
* Bedrooms should be well lit. You may want to add track lights in the master bedroom.
* A ceiling fan can be an attractive and practical accent to any bedroom.

By showing attention to detail and understanding the buyer's needs to visualize your home against a neutral backdrop, you can dramatically increase the salability of your property.

Click here to find out how much your home is worth in today's market?.

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Apr 29, 2016

REBNY Residential Sales Report for 1Q of 2016

1Q2016 Residential Sales Report Recap
The REBNY Residential Sales Report for the first quarter of 2016 was released earlier this week. Some of the highlights include increases in total consideration for citywide residential sales and the number of home sales in the city. 

Total consideration in NYC in the first quarter was $10,771,285,122, a seven percent increase from the first quarter of last year. The total number of citywide sales recorded was 11,827, a five percent increase when compared to the first quarter in 2015. The following tables also include the breakdown of these statistics by borough.

Source: Mike Slattery, 
REBNY Research 

Apr 28, 2016

Riverside South Park Expansion Planned

Riverside Park South that runs from 59th to 72nd Street along the Hudson River is undergoing an expansion plan. NYC plans to add new bike paths, fields, bathrooms, picnic tables and basketball courts by 2018.
The park is being designed by the New York firm Thomas Balsley Associates and has been under construction since 2001. The plan for the park has six phases, four were completed before 2008. 

The first four phases of the project cost $43.7 million and the engineering firm predicts that the last two phases will cost an additional $49.6 million.
Construction for phase five of the plan is set to start in June 2016 and will continue until the winter of 2018.

Apr 24, 2016

Belnord Upper West Side Condo Conversion


 Belnord | 225 West 86th Street
The Belnord – the handsome, century-old landmark residential complex in the heart of the Upper West Side at 225 West 86th Street is officially going condo with a total price tag of $1.3 billion according to the Real Deal.  The Belnord conversion may become one of Manhattan's most expensive condo buildings. Apartments are expected to average in price around $6million.

The Belnord, a limestone-and-brick structure that stretches the entire square block between 86th Street and 87th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, was built in 1908 by the Astor family. The building is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was designed so that carriages could drive around the entire courtyard, which has canopied entrances at the four angled corners.
The Astor courtyard buildings (Apthorp Apartments) (The Astor) were built in conjunction with the IRT subway expansion to lure wealthy Manhattanites into apartment living from their elegant single family brownstone townhouses. 

They've increased enormously in value since they were built in the early 20th-century. John Jacob Astor on his deathbed in 1848 was asked if he had any regrets he replied: "
If I could live all over again, I would buy every square inch of Manhattan."

Photos ©Mitchell J Hall
The price came out to roughly $1,000 per square foot or $2.64 million for each of the 218 units, many of which contain original moldings and overlook the building’s central courtyard.
According to the offering plan, the condominium will have 213 residential units. The developer’s plans for rent-regulated units are unclear. Parking is not included in the plan.
The Belnord’s 213 condo apartments will average in price range to around $6.1 million.
Prewar condo apartments can command a premium since there are so few compared to new construction. 

Anticipated sales target date Q2-2017. Anticipated Occupancy planned for Q1 2018

Apr 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day: Earth Photos by Astronaut Sunita Williams


Apr 20, 2016

2015 NYC Residential Sales $113.4 billion

All Real Estate Sales in 2015 compared to 2014
In 2015, the total consideration for all real estate transactions was $113.4 billion, a 33 percent increase in total consideration compared to $85.2 billion in 2014. ­­­­­­­­­­­­In 2015, there were 53,904 real property sales, a 10 percent increase over the 49,099 in 2014.

The information for the citywide residential home sales is taken from the REBNY Residential Sales Reports. These properties include 1-3 family homes, condominiums, and cooperatives. 

The information for the citywide investment property sales is sourced from the REBNY Investment Sales Report. Investment properties include commercial, manufacturing and multifamily rental properties. "Consideration" is the sum or total monetary value for completed transactions. "Real Estate" transactions do not include air rights and ground leases.

source REBNY

Apr 15, 2016

Manhattan Market Report | March 2016

Manhattan Market Report | March 2016

Market Wide Summary

Overall Manhattan contract activity dipped slightly compared to last year, but rebounded from last month’s atypically low number of sales. Condo sales declined by 5% compared to this time last year, while co-op sales dropped a modest 3%.

Average and median sale price declined year-over-year in the condo market. In the co-op market, average price held approximately level with last year while median sale price fell 8%. Price per square foot trends diverged in the condo and co-op markets, with average price per square foot down 7% year-over-year in the condo market but up 5% in the co-op market.

The length of time from listing to sale changed little in both the condo and co-op markets compared to last year, and was in line with the twelve-month average. Condominium inventory continues to increase, with listed inventory up month-over-month and year-over-year. The co-op market bucked its 16-month trend of annual declines in inventory, with total co-op listings rising year-over-year for the first time since November 2014.


Apr 2, 2016

Manhattan Market Report | 1Q- 2016


Manhattan Market Report  | 1Q- 2016

The average sale price surpassed $2 million for the first time, reaching $2.089M, up 8% from last quarter and 15% from last year.

Average price per square foot also reached a record high, up 5% from last quarter’s record to $1,832 per square foot. All bedroom sizes had increases in median price, lead by three+ bedroom residences with a jump of 30% from last year.

Mar 31, 2016

Zaha Hadid Visionary Starchitect

 (Images courtesy of designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid.
520 West 28th Street - Hadid’s first New York residential project. The design includes a one-of-a-kind chevron detail at the building center, which is both futuristic and functional—the detail creates two separate elevator banks to provide intimate residential entries. Generously scaled two- to five-bedroom residences will offer a lucky few the opportunity to live within a work of art.

"Today the world lost a visionary architect, Zaha Hadid, and all of us at the Serpentine Galleries lost a dear friend. Zaha’s creative genius broadened the horizons of what is possible in architecture and her contributions to the Serpentine helped make it into the institution it is today. Over two decades as a trustee, her input and guidance were always invaluable. As an artist, she helped establish a great tradition by designing the inaugural Pavilion, and created one of London’s most exciting new arts spaces with her design for the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. She’ll be dearly missed, but she’ll live on through the many extraordinary buildings she designed around the world."   Mike Bloomberg 


Mar 14, 2016

Brooklyn Market Monthly Report | February 2016


Brooklyn Market Report | February 2016

Market Wide Summary

This month average price, median price, and average price per square foot were all lower versus last February. The year-overyear comparison was skewed by a downward shift in the market share of sales over $2M. Last year, sales over $2M accounted for 13% of sales, while this year just 4% were above this threshold, a parallel trend to Brooklyn overall.

Two bedrooms had the largest decline in average price per square foot, but this was partially due to an increase in sales activity in BedfordStuyvesant and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Studio price per square foot rose, but there were too few studio sales to derive any meaningful conclusions.

Contract activity dipped 18% versus last February; this double-digit decline has not been seen in nearly two years. Inventory was up 8% from last year but even with more choices for buyers, negotiability still remained very tight. 37% of sales sold for below the asking price, up from 32% in February 2015. Days on market has remained below 60 days for the past four months.

Brooklyn Apartment Listings 

Apartment inventory rose 8% from February 2015 to 2,097 listings. This is the twenty-first month of year-over-year inventory growth in Brooklyn. Despite the increase in inventory, the number of listings in February was just 2% more than the 13-month rolling average of 2,065 listings.

Mar 12, 2016

Manhattan Market Monthly Report | February 2016


Manhattan Market Report | February 2016

Market Wide Summary 

The Manhattan residential real estate market has tempered somewhat compared to the fast pace of last February. Contract activity was down year-over-year in both the condominium and co-op markets. The substantial month-over-month uptick in condo and co-op sales is in line with seasonal norms.

A number of price indicators showed positive signs this month, with condominiums and co-ops alike seeing year-over-year gains in average price and average price per square foot. Price per square foot either grew or held steady in all bedroom types except for condo two bedroom units and co-op studio units. The length of time from listing to sale increased moderately in both the condominium and co-op markets compared to last February.

Listed condominium inventory increased 15% over last year. With this increase in buyer choice, condominium buyers were more successful at negotiating the purchase price downwards compared to last year. By contrast, negotiability remained nearly non-existent in the increasingly constricted co-op market.

Condominium Market Snapshot 

Condominium sales declined 21% this month compared to this time last year. Despite the year-over-year decrease, however, this month’s sales figure was 34% higher than January’s. Listed inventory rose by double digits versus both last month and last year.

The average sale price rose 6% over last February but fell compared to last month’s atypical high. Median price was down versus both last month and last year. Average price per square foot rose by 6% compared to February 2015, led by studios and three+ bedroom residences, which both rose by double digits. Only two bedroom units declined on a price per square foot basis.

The length of time it took for condominium units to sell rose 7% year-over-year to 112 days, the highest level since January 2015. Buyers had greater success in negotiating the sale price downwards compared to both last month and last year. Negotiability in the condo market is now at its highest point in over two years.

Cooperative Market Snapshot 

Market signals in the Manhattan co-op market were varied in February, with average sale price up 5% but median price down 5% versus February 2015. This spread between average and median price is partially explained by the high proportion of co-op sales above $3 million this month compared to last February.

Average price per square foot rose year-over-year in all bedroom types other than studio units, which saw a 9% decline in average price per square foot versus February 2015. Co-op listed inventory entered its fifteenth consecutive month of year-over-year decline, dropping 5% versus February of last year.

The shrinking pool of available co-op inventory is partly responsible for the 21% year-over-year drop in co-op sales. Days on market inched upwards to 83 days, a 5% increase over last February. As it was a year ago, buyer negotiability is minimal in the co-op market, with co-op units selling for just 0.3% below the asking price on average.

Manhattan Total Listings 

In spite of the steady contraction of co-op inventory, Manhattan total listings continued their gradual increase in February. Total listed inventory grew by 6% versus last year and 10% versus last month. The growth of available inventory is driven almost exclusively by the condo market, which has been expanding as a proportion of the listed total since May 2013. Condominium residences now represent 53% of total listed units, a market share not seen since January 2009

Negotiability in the Condo and Co-op Markets 

With co-op inventory now in its fifteenth month of year-over-year decline, negotiability in the co-op market is near historic lows. Co-op residences sold for just 0.3% below the asking price in February; negotiability disappeared entirely from April to July 2015, with the average sale price higher than the average asking price. By contrast, negotiability in the condo market has been increasing slightly year over-year for most of the past twelve months.

The average condo sale price is now 2.6% below the asking price, the greatest difference since October 2013. Despite these increases, however, negotiability in the condo market remains very limited compared to historic levels, with the difference between last ask and sale price far smaller than levels seen prior to 2013.


This blog site is designed and published as a consumer service by local real estate broker to help Manhattan, New York City buyers, sellers and renters make informed real estate decisions. This site and its feeds are owned and operated by Mitchell J Hall, a NY State licensed real estate associate broker associated with The Corcoran Group and member of the Real Estate Board of New York.

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