Making the Sale Even in a Seller's Market, It Pays to Spruce Up

The co-op and condo market in New York City has been booming for some time now, so when properties go on sale, it's not very difficult to find a buyer. It doesn't really matter if it's a sprawling penthouse in a hot neighborhood or a small studio on an out-of-the-way street - if it's got four walls and running water (and sometimes even that is negotiable) your unit will sell.

If a seller is to get their asking price and maximize their property's potential, it's important that they do what they can to make the unit as attractive and appealing as possible. But it doesn't stop there. It's not only the unit that people care about - part of what makes an apartment attractive to a prospective buyer is the building itself: its appearance, services, amenities, sense of community, and overall financial and operational stability.

First Impressions

The first thing a prospective buyer will see when they come to view a home is the exterior of a building. Therefore, it's important that boards and managers concentrate on what's on the outside, both with small and major improvements.

"An example of this is the building at 32 Gramercy Park, which had a major change out over the last several years from street to elevator banks to hallways in the buildings," says Douglas Wagner of Benjamin James Associates, a management agency in Manhattan. "Everything was done over to make it look like a much more substantial residence with such an important address."

"On the small scale, a board or manager should do things like make sure awnings look good, and front entrances are clean. Lay down some nice mats, get some planters - make it look like a more homey type of building. There are lots of little things you can do that don't cost that much money," says Karen A. Berman, vice president of Argo Residential, a management firm based in Manhattan. "And if it's a doorman building, the doorman should look very professional. Uniforms are a good start."

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