2009 Jun 11th

In the “I Just Can’t Believe It” Category

Want to Sell Your Hoboken Condo? Don’t Give Your Agent a Key!door

I was out showing properties with clients this weekend and had one of those frustrating moments of fumbling at a front door with keys that just didn’t want to work.  We tried and tried and finally moved on to another property.  I called the listing agency’s  office and got the usual response –  “did you try jiggling the key?”  I called the listing agent but got voice mail.  Eventually the listing agent returned my call.  Much to my amazement, when I told him of our plight, his answer was “oh, we don’t have a key to the building – just try ringing some doorbells until someone lets you in”.

I can’t help but wonder, if you lived in this seller’s building and agents kept ringing your doorbell for access would you not want to strangle the seller? If you want to sell your condo, don’t you think it helps for showing agents to have a way to unlock the door?  You just gotta wonder what people are thinking sometimes!

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently No Comments »

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?

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 3 Comments »

2008 Sep 22nd

The Key To Hoboken Real Estate

You Can’t Sell a Hoboken Condo You Can’t SeeKeys to Hoboken Condos

Weekends are the busiest time for the Hoboken real estate market. There are typically multiple appointments on a given Saturday or Sunday for different Hoboken agents to show the same for-sale Hoboken condo.  You would think the listing agent of the property would fulfill his or her duty to the owner and do everything possible to make it easy for the property to be shown. Yet countless times there are problems accessing the property.

Have Your Listing Agent Make 5 Sets of Keys

Many times a listing agent makes only one or two sets of keys to a condo for sale.   Very often, on the weekend, they are checked out when the real estate office opens by an agent whose showing appointment isn’t until late afternoon. Other agents who want to show the property come to get keys only to be told someone else has them.  There is nothing more annoying for a busy agent with buyers in tow than to have to spend half of a Saturday morning on the phone trying to hunt down the keys.  If you are selling your condo you want every agent with a potentially interested buyer to show the property!  Sellers, keys are cheap.  Ask your listing agent why they have not made at least five sets of keys to your Hoboken condo.

Is It Clear Which Key Opens The Door?

While you are at it, ask your listing agent if they have labeled the keys.  Again, having the agent fumble at the door for five minutes trying to figure out how to unlock it does not help sell your property.  Buyers get impatient and say “never mind – let’s just go see the next one” when the agent cannot easily get in.   Labeling the keys is crucial when the property is an older Hoboken brownstone or multi-family home.  It can take 15 to 20 minutes to figure out which key is to which lock on which unit in these properties.  A simple piece of tape with the words “top lock, unit 1” or “basement door” is all it takes.  If your listing agent has not done that, you don’t have a very competent listing agent.

Does Your Realtor Sleep Late On Weekends?

When agents are taking out buyers on the weekend, they often start as early as 9:30 or 10am.  Yet there are a few real estate offices in Hoboken that don’t open until 11:00.  This makes it difficult for an agent to get keys to show your condo.  Considering that Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days for real estate sales in Hoboken wouldn’t you think that the offices should be open early on the weekend?  Maybe your realtor values sleeping in over selling your home.

Does Confusion Reign?

Security is certainly a legitimate concern to a seller.  When there are multiple sets of keys to a for-sale property there has to be a good system for keeping track of who has the keys, when they were signed out and when they were returned.  Yet you merely need to walk into some Hoboken real estate offices on a busy weekend morning and observe for a few minutes to see that confusion reigns.  When you are deciding to list your Hoboken condo for sale, ask the potential listing agent how keys are handled. Who gives them out?  How do they keep track of them?  Is there even a receptionist at the front desk at all times?  At some Hoboken offices, there are no receptionists.  The agents take turns sitting at the desk.  Is your agent’s job to sell your property or to play receptionist?  The better the system, the more organized it is, the more secure and the more likely your property is going to get shown.

Is the Key to Your Hoboken Condo in Hoboken?

This is one of my pet peeves.  An unknowing seller lists his Hoboken condo for sale with a Jersey City real estate agent.  The agent makes keys to the unit but they are kept at the Jersey City office.  Do you really think many Hoboken agents are going to bother to go all the way to Jersey City to pick up and drop off keys to show a Hoboken condo?  Let me give you a hint – there are plenty of Hoboken properties to show that have keys located in Hoboken.  It’s going to take quite a big incentive, like maybe an 8% commission, to get Hoboken agents to drive back and forth to Jersey City to pick up keys.

Be Sure To Get Your Hoboken Condo Shown If You Want To Get It Sold

There is a vast inventory of Hoboken condos for sale today.  If agents cannot access your condo, they cannot show your condo or home.  If they cannot show it, chances are it is not going to sell.  While these items may seem like small details, small details are often what make the difference between a good agent and a bad one and, ultimately, a sold home or one still for sale.

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently No Comments »

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