2010 Jun 28th

Does Your Hoboken Condo Suit Hoboken Demographics?

Steps to Selling your Hoboken Condo

The average age in Hoboken is, what, maybe 35?  That’s certainly the age of the average condo buyer, if even that.  What sort of decor do you think appeals to that group?  Formal cassics from Ethan Allan?  Extreme modern from Ligne Roset?  Or casual and fun furniture and accessories like those found  at Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel?  (Don’t get me started on the frat-boy-dart-board-beer-can-pyramid-mattress-on-the-floor decor I have too often seen).couch

Today’s real estate market is still quite competitive with over 500 condos for sale in Hoboken.  Many of them are very similar.  How to make yours stand out in a crowd?  Of course it has to be spotlessly clean and neat as a pin.  Decorating with your target audience in mind is also going to help it sell.

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I’ve recently seen two one-bedroom condos for sale for almost the same price, in the same building, with the exact same floor plan.  One had lots of fake greenery above the kitchen cabinets, heavy drapery, a dated-looking wall paper border around the top of the walls, wall-to-wall carpeting over the hardwood floor in the bedroom and some very ‘unique’ plastic shower doors attached to the tub behind the shower curtain.  The overall impression I got was that I’d walked into someone’s grandmother’s apartment.  The other was very neutral, (maybe a bit too neutral) but looked like a younger person’s home with clean lines and modern touches.  This young, clean style makes your home much more attractive to the younger buyer. Alternatively, if you don’t want to change your decor you could drop your price by 30% or so.  If you are the real bargain compared to the other seller, that might work too.bar

First time buyers often have a hard time looking beyond the surface and imagining what a property could look like. They are heavily influence by how it does look.  True, it might be impractical to buy all new furniture but accessories like pillows, pictures, lamps and paint are not extremely expensive yet can have a huge impact on a condo’s appearance.  Something to think about when you’re wondering why you haven’t had any offers yet.

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  1. Craig

    I don’t know what the average age in Hoboken is, but the median age was 30 according to the 2000 census. Another interesting statistic is that 77% of Hoboken residents are renters with only 23% owning their home. So I think you’re more likely to find Ikea or Bob’s Discount Furniture in most Hoboken apartments rather than than Ethan Allen or Ligne Roset even if that stuff was appealing to younger folk. I’ve found that people tend to not spend a lot to furnish when they rent.

    I too have seen some questionable decor in condos I’ve looked at. Paint your walls pink if you wish, but when it comes time to sell, you have to switch to more neutral decor and can’t really decorate to your personal taste anymore. In addition to the frat-boy decor Lori described, I’ve seen cat litter boxes and other questionable stuff that doesn’t exactly endear one to a place. One last thought: people also need to remember that buyers will look through your closets, so be careful what you stash in there…

  2. bill

    Re-do your decor or drop your price by 30%?

    Are you serious?

    Are people putting in solid gold counter tops or something?

  3. Lori

    Craig – are all those stats from 2000? I would suspect things are a bit different a decade later. The furnishings one might find in a rental unit are beside the point. I’m speaking about those people trying to sell.

    Bill – if you are competing with a near-perfect showing unit, no gold counters – granite, maybe, but also stylish, appropriate furniture, a good paint job, the right decorative touches and neat, uncluttered closets, versus the same unit with the same floor plan but obvious hand-me-down decor, and shows like a dump then yes, it could take 30% to get the second place sold. That’s just the reality of today’s market.

  4. bill

    So you are saying that you have two units…both with the same appliances and finishes (counter tops, flooring etc stc) that the one with the nicer furniture and better paint job will command 30% more?

    I can’t believe that.

    If you are saying renovated vs un-renovated maybe…but not decor alone.

  5. lori turoff

    No – what I’m saying is that while the nicer one may sell (may – we’re doing maybe 10 closings a week on 500 units – what are those odds?) that the not nice based on decor alone will NEVER sell, unless it is priced significantly below market. There are simply too many options from which the buyer can choose.

  6. teaorcoffee

    I’ve spent years watching HGTV and from my couch have always yelled at people on the screen who get caught up in the decor of a place, rather than the bones. I’ve spent years listening to experts tell others to look beyond the decor. And my own common sense tells me that I will decorate my own home the way I want.

    Now we’re house hunting, and, even though I know better, I can’t get past the decor in some of the homes. When I see borders and forest green and burgundy decor, I can’t stop myself from ruling out the home. When I see a more contemporary design, even though it is the same old-same old Crate and Barrel/Pottery Barn cookie cutter stuff, I find the home more appealing. I have to actively remind myself to look past the furnishings and clutter.

    So I absolutely believe that decor can have the effect that Lori is saying.

    (I still remember a Maxwell Place listing from a couple of years ago for a unit that had way too much mis-matched furniture in it – your eye just gravitated toward the junk and did the whole unit a disservice.)

  7. Craig

    Lori – yes those figures are all from 2000. It’s the most current info we have until the 2010 results are released. I imagine things have changed somewhat, but as a resident of town since 1996 I can’t say I’ve seen a huge change in demographics. I’d say we’ll find the town has trended a bit older because of the expense of living here and more families have stuck around. I expect to see a ratio that still shows the vast majority of Hoboken residents rent their homes. On the topic of decor, I can say furnishings didn’t influence my opinion of a unit, but paint and fixtures did. Why? Because I just wanted a turn key property. I didn’t want to do any work. In this market you’ll find turn key properties have the edge.

  8. whynot

    There must be some really (really) dumb buyers out there if they’re are paying a 30% premium because of decor!!! ;(

    I think shortsequalmarket and I can agree on that!

  9. Lori

    This is not that complicated a concept – no one is paying a 30% premium, that’s not what I said. But to get the junk to sell (and yes, a unit that shows very poorly, even if is because of primarily cosmetic reasons, could take a big discount – yes, maybe even 30%, to sell. There is difference in these two statements.

  10. Lori

    Haven’t seen a change since 1996? You’re kidding, right? Have you been to Elysian or Columbus Park in the middle of the day recently? No way were there that many babies and little kids back in ’96. What proportion of people rent in Hoboken if you eliminate the subsidized units at Marine View, Church Towers & Applied Housing?

  11. whynot

    “Alternatively, if you don’t want to change your decor you could drop your price by 30% or so.”

    Decor alone does not cause anywhere near a 30% decrease in price! :) :) :)

  12. Tiger

    I am with Lori on this one. I’m sorry, people are very visual, even appraisers, and it’s just hard to see ‘the diamond in the rough’. I once read in a sales book that people don’t necessarily remember you sales pitch, they remember how your sales pitch made them feel. Did it make them feel good? Clueless? bad? that’s what counts.

    Staging your condo in a way people see themselves there definitely gets more interest. In fact, all those luxury buildings pay thousands of dollars on staging, they can easily show you an empty unit, right? In fact the empty unit shows the true dimensions. But they show you the staged unit, because it’s about you seeing yourself there.

    whynot, offwhite rug does wonders too! 😀

  13. whynot

    shag rug! :)

  14. Tiger

    Not shag :/ 😮

  15. whynot

    come on, from your old post, “white shag rug” – very zexy! 😉

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