2008 Dec 22nd

Some Hoboken Condo Sellers Don’t Really Want To Sell!

By Lori Turoff – [email protected]

“I Have a Great Idea, Let’s Lock the Buyers Out!”

We’re in the throes of the worst real estate market in memory. The economy is crashing all around us with little hope for recovery anytime soon. It’s probably the slowest week of the year in any real estate market. There are a whopping 513 condos for sale in Hoboken today. You would think that the owners of these properties would do absolutely everything within their power to get their condo sold. Or at least hire an agent who would do so. Yet that is not the case.

Maybe “Abracadabra” Will Open The Door

I was taking a serious buyer out to look at a few Hoboken condos yesterday and was amazed by my experience. We went to the first property on the list and walked up the steps. I stood there trying to open the front door for about 5 minutes to no avail. Fortunately, the listing agent happened to drive by and saw that I was having trouble. “Pull the key out just a teeny-tiny bit then turn” she said. After a few attempts and her indicating to me which key was the correct key and instructing me which way to turn, it worked. We got in the building. There were actually two units in the 4 story building for sale and we wanted to see them both. The apartment doors were not numbered, yet on the MLS sheet one was listed as unit #2 on the 2nd floor and the other as unit #3 of the 4th floor. Huh?

Does This Really Count as an Open House?

Next I brought my buyer to see an open house. The listing said it was unit 5L. Open houses are usually a nice break for me because I don’t have to go pick up and return keys, and the listing agent is there to answer any questions. We approached the building and saw the usual sandwich board outside. The flyer on the board also said unit 5L. Problem is, there was no bell labeled 5L. The doorbells were numbered 1 to 10. There was no sign on the door saying which doorbell to ring. No sign with a cell phone number. Nothing. Being familiar with these types of 5-story Hoboken buildings, I knew 5L was the top floor so the bell was probably #9 or #10. I rang both and we were buzzed in. There was no one there but the agent. No surprise there – how is a potential buyer supposed to know how to get in?

Guess Which Keys Fit Which Door?

With the last property we went to see I again couldn’t get the front door open. Someone happened to be going in and let us follow. This time we were headed for unit 1R. The doors once again weren’t numbered and there was no sign posted by the listing agent. As is often the case in Hoboken condos, each unit had more than one door to the hallway. I tried the doors on the right side of the hallway with no success. Maybe they mean right facing the other way so I tried the unit on the other side. The keys didn’t even fit the locks. I called the listing agent. Might I have been given the wrong keys? These had a big blue flashlight on the keychain. Did that sound right? He told me he had no idea but that he would call me back in a few minutes. He never did. Eventually I called the receptionist in his office who apologized profusely for having given me the wrong keys. I had to go back and swap them for the correct set.

Here is an Important Bit of Advice, Hoboken Condo Sellers:

Are these sellers really serious about selling? I suspect they are.  However, with 500+ Hoboken condos competing for the few buyers out there during the holiday season, they can not reasonably expect to find a buyer when they (or more justly, their agents) make it next to impossible for a buyer to find their property? If I were one of these sellers trying to sell my condo I would fire my agent today. Here’s a tip to you sellers out there. IF BUYERS CAN’T SEE IT – YOU CAN’T SELL IT! If you were trying to sell your Hoboken condo in today’s market, would you put up with this nonsense?

  1. Alexa

    Lori, I read your post and couldn’t help but think how true it is. My husband and I have been going to Hoboken open houses for the past 3 months looking for our perfect condo. Weekends are the best time for us to view properties, and I always make a short list of the properties we want to see. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to get to a property and not be able to view it. A few weekends back, we stood outside in the cold following the instructions on how to ring a buzzer to access a unit. After a few attempts, we realized it was not going to work. The listing agent did not have any specific contact details posted (just the hand-scribbled note on how to ring the buzzer), but I saw a sign stating it was a Liberty listing. I called the Liberty office explaining I was outside trying to get into the open house at this address and asked them to call the agent to let us in. They said they had no way of knowing who was running the open house or how to get in touch with them. I (somewhat sarcastically) said that this agent was not going to have any people able to visit this open house and probably wouldn’t even know why s/he had such a poor turnout. I thought it was odd that the Liberty office wouldn’t offer to do some research and get back to me. I found their handling of the situation very unprofessional. I never bothered to go back to see the unit. There are enough condos on the market where I felt I shouldn’t have to work that hard to go see this one. I also can relate to instances where the signage is extremely poor, and I feel like I’m lost in the hallway trying to find an unmarked door. As a prospective buyer, I just move on to view the next unit on my list.

  2. DKzzzz

    Last three months I have been going to different dealerships to take a look at Hammers and Cadillac Escalades. Surprisingly on my last visit no one wanted to talk to me.
    I though car dealers are so desperate for a sale they would be jumping from joy when they see me.
    I just don’t get it.

  3. Lori Turoff

    Alexa – stories like the one you tell make all us agents look bad. What a shame. Anyone who is in sales in any industry just has to realize that customer service is the most important part of the job. Those who don’t, just won’t last. I predict a fall out in the real estate business and think we will see some agencies in town closing up shop. God knows, we’ve got enough of them right now.

    – Lori

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