2016 Jan 27th

Five Brutally Honest Tips For Selling Your Hoboken Condo That You’ll Never See on HGTV

(You’ll not likely hear them from any other Realtor either)

Everyone who has ever consulted with a Realtor, or watched one of those sales-shows on HGTV knows all the classic pieces of advice with regard to preparing a home for sale.  De-clutter, de-personalize, yada, yada.  Here are some real-life tips that are not always easy to hear or accomplish, but that will make a huge difference in both the time it takes, and the amount you’ll get when selling your home.

1.  Make nice with your inconsiderate neighbors

I’ve seen countless instances where a buyer will walk away from an apartment that is otherwise perfect for them because they could hear children running above them, or because they could smell cigarette smoke through the walls.  You might even be selling because your neighbor leaves strollers, toys, boots, pet products or other personal items in the halls making it difficult for you to pass.  Maybe their dog barks like mad whenever someone walks by, or cries all day while the owner is out.  Whatever the reason, it behooves you, as difficult as it may be, to talk to them.  Beg them to take the kids to the playground or the dog to the park on days when you have open houses or appointments.  Offer to pay for movie tickets or doggie day care to get them out if you have to.  Ask the smoker to please smoke outside until your unit sells.  Make sure they realize it is in THEIR best interests for you to sell your place for the most money possible.  Your sale will be their comp when they go to sell.  Helping you to sell high will raise their property’s value.

2.  Make nice with your condo board too

The first thing a buyer sees when they come to your home for an appointment or open house is the building and the corridors leading to your apartment.  If the lights in the hallways are dim, damaged or broken, or if there are stains on the carpeting, scuff marks on the walls and broken spindles on the banisters, then it doesn’t matter how beautifully you’ve staged your apartment.  The buyers are already are walking in with a negative first impression.  This can be especially tough for small condo associations that may not have a lot in reserve.  You need to impress upon your fellow owners that it is in everyone’s best interests for you to sell high (see #1 above.)  You can sweeten the pot by offering to do some things yourself like shop for new light fixtures or offer to clean (or even paint) the halls yourself.  Yes, the halls are the condos responsibility, not specifically yours, but knowing that won’t make you feel any better if you get offers for tens of thousands of dollars less than you seek because the building has no curb appeal.  Another thing – every morning, throw away those piles of supermarket circulars that clutter up the vestibule.  Put the trash cans away that the garbagemen left strewn about, and when you get home, make sure the bags or trash are actually in the recepticles and that the lids are shut.  If your building has a superintendent or a cleaning service, slip them a couple of extra bucks to do it for you.  It may irk you to have to pay to get things done that should not be your responsibility, but you are the one that stands to benefit.  And make sure there are flyers in the flyer box.  A good Realtor (like me) will provide you with plenty so that you can replenish when stock is low.

3.  Vote in ALL local elections (even the ones you don’t care about)

Here’s one that everyone should start thinking about and doing right now, regardless of whether you plan to sell in the near or distant future.  Statistics show that only X% of Hoboken’s population voted in the last counsel person election and even fewer (X%) in the last school board election.  The low turnout is due to three major factors: (1) Hoboken has a large renter population who don’t take “ownership” in what goes on around town.  That also means that many of the landlord/owners don’t live in town and don’t pay attention to local elections.  (2) People without a vested interest (like people without children for instance) don’t pay attention to issue that don’t concern them (like schools.)  (3) People are lazy and local politics bores them.

The low voter turnout means that it takes very few votes to turn an election.  Elections in Hoboken are often decided by hundreds (not thousands) of votes and sometimes fewer than that.  I’ve seen elections decided by a dozen votes.  These local elections DO MATTER, even if you don’t have kids, even if you don’t plan to stay in Hoboken for a long time and even if you don’t live in Hoboken at all.  They matter because a good school system raises property values.  That Hoboken is a charter school district is one of the driving forces that have changed Hoboken form a down-and-out neighborhood to one of the most desirable places to live in the entire tri-state area.  They matter because rent control laws may matter to whomever wants to buy your place, even if you are an owner-occupier and don’t care.  They matter because the local officials who decide what roads get paved and what parks get built may have a huge impact on your ability to sell.  So get involved. Read about the issues.  Ask questions.  If you own a home, it matters!

4.  Don’t be cheap, don’t be spendthrift

People frequently will upgrade a kitchen or bath in anticipation of a sale.  Because I am a certified staging professional they often ask me for advice before doing the renovation, and when they are done they almost always say that they should have done the work sooner while they lived there and could enjoy it.   So what are you waiting for?  If your kitchen is dated and you plan to sell in a year or two, get it updated now.  Paint the place.  Put in a new tub.  Don’t think “I’m going to sell the place so I don’t want to waste money fixing it up.”  You’re going to want to spend that money anyway, so go ahead and enjoy it a little.

BUT (there’s always a “but”) remember that if your fixing the place up to sell, you want to think like a seller.  Don’t spend thousands for a diamond-encrusted toilet seat.  You’ll not get your money back.  Don’t paint the walls silver and black because you love the Raiders.  Not all buyers will share your eccentric taste.  Spend a respectable amount for good, solid, timeless beauty and you’ll get $2 back for every $1 you spend.

5.  Don’t hire your cousin Vinnie or your friend from your kid’s play group to list your place

I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me “I read your blog religiously.  You’re the best Realtor I know.  But I just listed my place for sale with my wife’s brother.  I’d rather have used you, but it would be uncomfortable having Thanksgiving dinner with him if I didn’t use him.”

Really?  So, you think it’s going to be comfortable having dinner with him if he does a lousy job and costs you tens of thousands of dollars on your sale?  Are you going to be able to tell him that he is not doing a good job if that is the case?  Are you going to be able to fire him, or go to his broker if he isn’t delivering what was promised?  Here’s the easy way to handle it – tell him you’ve had bad experiences dealing professionally with friends and family and that you prefer to work with someone with whom you do not have a personal relationship.  They’ll not be pleased that they didn’t get the listing, but if they love you, they’ll understand and get over it.

I’ve also heard “I want to hire you, but my husband wants to use his friend from the book club.”  Many Realtors join clubs just so they can make connections with homeowners in town.  Some are excellent Realtors.  However, most sales (something like 95% of all sales) are done by a very small percentage (less than 5%) of all Realtors.  The vast majority of Realtors are people who got their real estate licenses as a way to make money in their spare time while not really working.  Chances are that’s who you are going to meet at your kid’s play group or the garden club.  Do you really want to entrust the sale of the single most valuable asset you own with someone who does a handful of transactions a year (if that) because your spouse don’t want to piss off a friend?  You’re moving away and will probably lose touch with them anyway.  That’s not a smart way to conduct business.

I write this blog as a public service.  I don’t charge anything and I don’t require you to register.  I don’t advertise my own listings and I don’t plug myself too often.  But trust me – I do this to create goodwill in the hope that it will generate business and I’m one of the very best Realtors in Hoboken.  I live in, work in and specialize in Hoboken.  I’ve made the Circle of Excellence for 11 straight years and I’ve sold more real estate each year than the one before in each and every one of those years.  Good markets and bad, I get the job done.  My background as a lawyer (couple with my husband’s experience as a CPA and my brother-in-laws assistance as an architect) makes the Turoff Team, by far, the most educated, experienced, qualified real estate professional team you’ll find ANYWHERE!  If you’re thinking of listing your home for sale, don’t be a putz.  Call us.

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 6 Comments »

2011 Nov 26th

The Hoboken & Downtown JC Open House Google Map for 11/26 and 11/27

Some Interesting Recent Real Estate News

For all of the new HREN readers who are visiting the site for the first time because of the article in this Sunday’s NY Times… Welcome! We hope you enjoy it.  Please tell your friends.

According to the National Association of Realtors (“NAR”) data, existing home sales are up and prices are down.  Here is a chart of October home sales, nationwide.  NAR’s chief economist said the market has been fairly steady but at a lower than desired level. “Home sales have been stuck in a narrow range despite several improving factors that generally lead to higher home sales such as job creation, rising rents and high affordability conditions. Many people who are attempting to buy homes are thwarted in the process,” Lawrence Yun said.  What struck me was the statistic that 33% of  contracts failed due to a combination of an inability of buyers to get financing, appraisal issues, inspection issues and buyers being laid-off.  I’ve seen problems in Hoboken with deals falling apart but not as great as one third of all deals.  My guess would have been closer to a 10% contract failure rate in this area.  The November Hoboken condo sales results we will be posted in a few weeks.

In other news, the Hoboken City Council has been ordered by a court to reconsider a variance application for a proposed 12-story tower developer Kane Properties wants to construct on Observer highway.  Residents of the Skyline objected to the variance on the ground that it would block their City views.  The decision was not based on that objection but on the fact that the developer did not qualify for the variance.  Look out people, major development is coming to that part of town where NJ Transit owns 52 acres.

************************************************************************************************************

Just click on the map below to see every Open House in Hoboken snd downtown Jersey City this weekend as compiled from the Midweek and Hoboken Reporter, the MLS, every Realtor website and email and Craigslist courtesy of the Turoff Realty Team.

You can now click the “Address”, “Price” “Bed” or “Details” columns to sort them in ascending or decending order.

No need to register! No silly form to fill out!  Just click on this map:

hoboken-open-house

Click to see the Downtown Jersey City Open House Map

Click on the location marker bubble to see:

Place markers on the map are color coded:

  • Studios & 1BRs for Hoboken are red
  • Studios & 1BRs for Downtown Jersey City are fuschia
  • 2BRs for Hoboken are green
  • 2BRs for Downtown Jersey City are turquoise
  • 3BRs & Bigger for Hoboken are yellow
  • 3BRs & Bigger for Downtown Jersey City are purple

New listings are marked with a Push Pin icon (in the same color scheme.)

Who Represents Whom?

Did you know that the agent hosting an open house represents the Seller? The hosting agent has a fiduciary duty to the seller to get that seller the highest possible price for that property.  If the host says “oh, it’s not my listing, I’m not the seller’s agent” they are just flat-out wrong. The listing agreement a seller signs is between the seller and the brokerage company (Century 21, Coldwell, Remax, etc.). EVERY agent from that firm is the seller’s agent! So protect your interests. You’re making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

Do you think it might be a conflict of interest for that same person to then represent you? Many people think so. In fact, in many states (other than NJ) it is illegal for the same agent to represent the seller and also work with the buyer. If you do wonder into an open house, you might want to tell them that you have your own agent (even if you don’t yet) and if you like it, go back to see the property again at a later date with someone who is working for you instead of the seller.

Think you Will Get a Deal On New Construction by Going Straight to the Toll Bros. Sales Office?

Interested in new construction – like Maxwell Place or Hudson Tea? Before you walk into the Toll Brothers Sales Office know what you are getting in to! Once you talk to the sales office – even casually – they WILL NOT compensate your agent if you go back with an agent. Of course, you should go back with an agent because:

1. The sales office works NOT for you but for the developer!  They are Toll Brother’s agent – not yours!

2. Despite what you may have heard or come to believe, Toll Brothers is NOT going to cut you a deal if you work with them without an agent.


Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 4 Comments »

2011 Nov 18th

The Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City Google Maps for 11/19 and 11/20

The Original and Best Open House Google Map Just Keeps Getting Better!

Just click on the map below to see every Open House in Hoboken this weekend as compiled from the Midweek and Hoboken Reporter, the MLS, every Realtor website and email and Craigslist courtesy of the Turoff Realty Team.

We have once again improved our map to provide you with better pictures, more listing information and a faster user interface. Not only that, you can now click the “Address”, “Price” “Bed” or “Details” columns to put the open houses in ascending or decending order.

No more need to register! No silly form to fill out!

From now on, to see the HOBOKEN OPEN HOUSE MAP just click on the map picture below:

hoboken-open-house

Click to see the Downtown Jersey City Open House Map

When you look at the map, place markers are color coded:

  • Studios & 1BRs for Hoboken are red
  • Studios & 1BRs for Downtown Jersey City are fuschia
  • 2BRs for Hoboken are green
  • 2BRs for Downtown Jersey City are turquoise
  • 3BRs & Bigger for Hoboken are yellow
  • 3BRs & Bigger for Downtown Jersey City are purple

New listings are marked with a Push Pin icon (in the same color scheme.)

Click on the location marker for:

Who Represents Whom?

Did you know that the agent hosting an open house is the Seller’s agent? Whether it is the actual listing agent or any other agent from the same company, that person legally represents the sellers. Not only that, the hosting agent – by law – has a fiduciary duty to the seller to get that seller the highest possible price for that property. Do you think it might be a conflict of interest for that same person to then represent you? Many people think so. In fact, in many states (other than NJ) it is illegal for the same agent to represent the seller and also work with the buyer.

If You Thought Sunscreen & Condoms were the Only Protection You Need – You Are Wrong!

Interested in new construction – like Maxwell Place or Hudson Tea? Before you walk into the Toll Brothers Sales Office know what you are getting in to! Once you talk to the sales office – even casually – they WILL NOT compensate your agent if you go back with an agent. Of course, you should go back with an agent because:

1. The sales office works NOT for you but for the developer! They are Toll Brother’s agent – not yours!

2. Despite what you may have heard or come to believe, Toll Brothers is NOT going to cut you a deal if you work with them without an agent.

Looking at resales? Did you know that when you go to an open house you can see the property at the open house on your own and then go back to it with your own agent? So if you see something you like at an open house you find your own agent who does not work for the seller. By the way, if the host says “oh, it’s not my listing, I’m not the seller’s agent” they are just flat-out wrong. The listing agreement a seller signs is between the seller and the brokerage company (Century 21, Coldwell, Remax, etc.). EVERY agent from that firm is the seller’s agent! So protect your interests. You’re making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.


Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently No Comments »

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