2008 Aug 7th

When is a Hoboken Condo For Sale Listing Really New?

New Does Not Always Mean New

If you’ve been paying close attention to the Weekly Wednesday Wrap-Up, or are just actively involved in looking to buy or sell a condo in Hoboken, you may have noticed something strange in the new listings. There are Hoboken condo properties that show up as new listings when, in fact, they are not. How can that be, you might ask? Well, they were originally listed at a certain price and did not sell. Sometimes that price was reduced. Often it was reduced more than once. Yet the property still did not sell. So rather than cut the price yet again, the clever agent or owner let the listing expire or had it withdrawn by the owner and re-listed it as if it was the first time.

Why Does This Matter?

For one thing, when a property is listed for sale, the “days on the market” clock starts ticking. Buyers who are smart often realize that when a condo has been languishing on the market for months and months in Hoboken, that usually indicates that something is wrong. Either the price is too high or there is something about the property itself, like a bad location, strange layout, or terrible condition that is preventing it from selling. So to avoid the stigma of too many days on the market, some agents relist the property to restart the clock. That lets buyers who don’t know any better think that the property is a new listing and not a stale, overpriced old one. If I were a buyer in the Hoboken condo market thinking of making an offer on a property I would want to know the true number of days it has been for sale. Wouldn’t you?

Two Examples Of New Hoboken Condo Listings That Are Really Old

A certain condo in Hoboken just hit the MLS as a new listing this week priced at $499,000. In fact, it was originally listed by the same listing agent and the same agency at the same price on December 6th of 2007. It sat on the market for 229 days and the listing expired on July 21st of 2008. So the true number of days it’s been on the market is closer to 232 than 3. If I were interested in buying that unit, I would want to know that. Strangely, the prior history of the listing does not even appear in the property history report and I honestly don’t know why. I happen to know the unit and recognized it as the same one. So be sure to ask these questions when your shopping for a condo.

Another condo in Hoboken also hit the MLS as a new listing this week priced at $794,500. This time, the property history does show what had happened in the past. It was first listed in March of 2008 for $879,500. That was reduced to $874,500. It was reduced again to $797,500. Still no luck (or buyers) and the listing expired in mid-July. It has now been relisted at the new low price and the fact that it was on the market for 123 days previously is not obvious.

What Is a Hoboken Condo Buyer to Do?

First of all, if you are a buyer working with a realtor, your agent can pull the history report for the property off the MLS. This report shows the date the property was first listed, the price at which it was listed, and all prices changes and changes of status. If you are a buyer and you see that the condo was listed a year ago for $200,000 more than the current asking price, had 5 price reductions (or “improvements” as they are now called) and was under contract twice but never actually sold would that not change your negotiating position with the seller? If you are buying directly from an owner with no agents involved you should ask (in writing if possible) when the property was first offered for sale and for what price. Otherwise, it is caveat emptor or “buyer beware” since this very useful and valuable information about the condo on which you are about to make an offer may be hidden from view.

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  1. Frank

    geez, bet the sellers of these properties are real happy you’re bringing this up!

  2. Lori

    Perhaps other sellers can learn why it’s so important to price a property for sale correctly when it’s first put on the market. Some agents also might realize that agreeing to take overpriced listings is not necessarily in their best interest.
    – Lori

  3. stan

    Lori you are right, both sides are helped with a little transparency.

  4. Lori Turoff

    Thanks.

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