5 Ways to Sell your House for Top Dollar in Queens NY

by George Herrera, Realtor and Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.

home-valuationIf you own or live in Queens, then you already know that we do things differently here. Not only are we the most diverse county in the world, but we also are part of New York City which means that we have a whole different set of rules when it comes to real estate. In our experience, we’ve seen the Department of Buildings, Environmental Control Board, Housing Preservation & Development, Zoning, Air Rights, etc. To add to that, we have buyers coming here from all over the world. The good news is that there is a simple formula that will guarantee you sell your home for top dollar in Queens NY. With the Spring season right around the corner, we felt it very appropriate to compile and share a list of what we believe you must do in order to make sure you net the most profit from the sale of your Queens home.

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1. Price Right

pricing-triangleIn our industry we have a few sayings, one is that “Price + Condition = Value”, the other is that “80% of Marketing is Price”. So, the importance of setting the right price for your property cannot be understated. Pricing is a science, especially in Queens because we have Coops, Condos, One Families, Multi Families, Building Possibilities, etc. To set the right price you really need to go through a thorough market analysis of sales, pendings, active listings, and month’s supply. We meet with Sellers all the time and when we go through comps with them, we see listing after listing that were on the market for 100, 200, 300 days, etc. These are people who set the wrong listing price to begin with, and as a result, end up chasing the market. You never want to chase the market because the longer you are on the market, the more stale your listing gets and the lower the eventual selling price.

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2. Maximize Listing Exposure

In Queens, we have buyers and agents coming from all parts of the world. Some are coming from Overseas to live, some are foreign investors, some are being priced out from Brooklyn & Manhattan, and some are your classic first time/repeat buyer. As a result, it’s very important that you give your property maximum exposure to these groups if you really want to sell for the most money possible. The reason why is because you really never know how much a buyer is willing to pay for your property until you open it up to the market place. We see this time and time again with our own listings. For example, last year we had a listing that sold for $60K over asking price! Appraisal came in at $750K and the buyer was still willing to buy. This may seem like common sense, and it may seem like something anyone can do, but the truth is that it requires a lot of time, research, and money to do so.

Property-appraisal-button3. Cooperate with Agents

realtors-playing-in-a-sandbox2When we say Agent cooperation, we mean listing agents cooperating with Buyer & Broker agents. This is extremely important if you want to get maximum exposure, however, due to traditional practices here in Queens, it’s something that unfortunately doesn’t always happen. This is a big problem that we see in the industry and one reason why is because some listing agents take a listing with the objective of getting both sides of the deal, because that means double the commission. This is a win-lose situation because while the agent makes out with a large commission, the seller ends up selling below market value which means less profit. We see this a lot, and we believe it is the high price points in Queens that can make some agents compromise their own values and violate their fiduciary duty. That’s why whenever we take a listing, we invite every single agent we know to bring their buyers, and as agents call us for availability, we are very cooperative in helping them get their buuers in to see it. As a result, most of our listings sell to other agents because most of the time, someone else has the buyer that is willing to pay the most money.

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4. Make your Home Accessible for Showings

PAccessibility is huge in Queens. Why? Because we are in a very desirable area of NYC, so if you price a property right, you will definitely have people calling you to see the place. The problem comes when we can’t get in to see the place, either due to an owner’s limited availability, or because of tenant issues. Either way, this can be disastrous if your goal is to sell for the best price possible. Ideally, you want to make sure that there will be plenty of access available so that every buyer that wants to see the house, actually gets to see it. There are strategies we use for gaining accessibility, especially if you have tenants. If your property is owner occupied, then just know that you need to make your home accessible, and if you have tenants, you need decide whether you will sell without tenants, or make sure that they will cooperate with showing appts. This will help you get the most offers possible.

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5. Prepare the Home (Condition)

You only get one chance to make a first impression, this is true in life, and true in real estate. If you want to net the most money from your sale, you need to make sure the home shows in it’s best light. That doesn’t mean you have to go and renovate the whole house, but you do need to prep the home for the sale. If your property is in good condition, then stage it using your furniture and de-clutter to showcase the space, and maximize lighting. This will help you sell faster. If your property needs work, then just make sure you touch up old damage areas and make sure it is de-cluttered, this way the renovation projects seem less daunting and more cosmetic to potential buyers.

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Blog and Site Courtesy of George and Abigail Herrera, Realtors & Owners of one of the Highest Rated Real Estate Agents in Queens, the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Landmark II

George and Abigail Herrera_Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty 2_HEADSHOT_ROUNDBUY: www.exclusivequeenshomes.com | SELL: www.queenshomeselling.com

Minor Repairs and Improvements that Make all the Difference in Queens

by George Herrera, Realtor & Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.

minor-home-repair-houseWhenever we meet with Homeowners who are thinking of selling, we usually give them some homework before putting their property on the market. Reason why is because there are always little things that can be done in order to show the home in it’s best light. We don’t typically recommend expensive renovations but we do make very affordable suggestions that make all the difference when we start showing. The difference in the offers you’ll get if you make these small repairs can be anywhere from $10,000, $20,000, even more depending on the neighborhood. Suffice to say that these small investments have a very good return on investment, especially if you are selling a long time Family home that has a lot of wear and tear. With that said, below is a list of the most common repairs, improvements, and homework that we give to our new Seller clients before hitting the market:

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1. Take up Carpets

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If you know Queens then you know that most people like wood floors. Being that most homes were built a long time ago, chances are that your house has wood floors as well. So, if you have carpeting in your home or apartment, take it up. You don’t even need to refinish the floors, just showcase the wood and it will show much much better.

2. Cracks on Walls

A lot of the homes we sell in Queens have settlement cracks throughout the home. This is nothing to be alarmed about, and it is actually very common, however, for a first time home buyer, this can look scary and lead them into thinking something is wrong (or will be) with the house. You can eliminate this concern by simply touching up these small areas.

3. Fresh Coat of Paint

lightpaint-colors-neutral-color-painting-ideas-2This is an old adage, and you probably have already heard the benefits of throwing a fresh coat of paint on your home. We as Queens Realtors, have seen this first hand, and we can say without a doubt that homes with a fresh coat of neautral color paint can go a really long way! It’s not that expensive so the return is definitely there, and best of all, it makes the home show much much better than it would with old worn out paint. Even if the property needs work, a fresh coat of paint will make it look less daunting for potential buyers.

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4. Lighting

Before you list or sell your home, you definitely want to make sure all of your light bulbs are working, and more importantly, make sure you have enough lighting all throughout the house. We sell a lot of properties that are very dark & dim when we see them for the first time. This may be okay when you’re living there, but truth is that buyers like bright homes. What we typically do is tell our clients to replace non-working light bulbs and buy cheap lamps for areas of the home that need more lighting. This make all the difference once we start showing, and it actually makes the property look even bigger!

5. Sand & Paint Old Damage Areas

When we tour homes (specifically older ones) we tend to see spots on walls and ceilings where it is obvious that some damage has occurred. These spots have usually been repaired, however, when a buyer sees it they will not take your word for it. Buyers will make a big deal about things like this, and their inspector will most likely not be any help. So, what we typically advise our clients is to bring in a handyman who will shave the area down and repaint it so that it is not noticeable. You can have one handyman go through and take care of all old damage areas and once complete, the walls and ceilings will look much more turnkey which leaves a buyer worry more about cosmetic repairs.

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6. De-Clutter, De-Clutter, De-Clutter

dont-just-declutter-deownIf you’re selling an older home (which is usually the case), chances are that you or your tenants have accumulated lots of stuff over the years. As a result, the house is probably cluttered and does not portray the actual amount of living space that is offered in your property. We almost always tell our clients to throw out unnecessary items, start boxing things up for the move, and hire a clean out company to get rid of larger items that don’t add to the house’s appeal. This one is so important, and we see again and again that it works to get better offers much quicker. The truth is that we live in New York City and as a result, space is a premium. A good job of de-cluttering can showcase another 100-200 sq ft, and in Queens, that is HUGE. Sometimes we give our clients homework, and we come back for the photo session, it looks like a completely different house! Always results in more buyers and higher offers…

For help, tips, or recommendations in getting your property prepared for the big sale, feel free to reach out to us anytime. We have a great list of trusted vendors from Handymen, Clean-out Companies, Painters, etc…

Blog & Site courtesy of George & Abigail Herrera with the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Landmark II.

George and Abigail Herrera_Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty 2_HEADSHOT_ROUNDBUY: www.exclusivequeenshomes.com | SELL: www.queenshomeselling.com

Queens Real Estate Market: 2015 Year in Review

George Herrera Keller Williams_HEADSHOT_ROUND   by George Herrera, Realtor & Co-Owner of the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty

Queens Real Estate Market 2015 Year in Review

Welcome to our first edition of the “Queens Real Estate Market: Year in Review”. Rather than comparing one month to the previous month and the same month of the previous year, this report will compare one 12 month period (2015) to the previous 12 month period (2014). This will give us a clear picture of what is happening with the Queens real estate market because a 12 month comparison takes into account all four seasons of the real estate market. Therefore, we hope that this report will give you a bit of insight as to what happened in 2015, in comparison to 2014, and what we are predicting for 2016 based on market trends we are seeing.

Absorption Rate: 759 sales/per mo.

Current Available Inventory: 3,538

Month’s Supply: 4.7 Months

Last Month: 5.4 Months

Last year: 6.3 Months

*Month’s supply over 6 months is said to favor buyers, month’s supply below 6 months is said to favor sellers, and month’s supply of 5-6 months is said to be a balanced market.

Queens_Real_Estate_Market_2015_Year_in_Review_Courtesy_of_George_and_Abigail_Herrera_Keller_Williams_Realty_Landmark_2Click Here for a Free Appraisal of your Home

Interest Rates

Interest_RatesInterest rates held steady in December as the Federal Reserve’s change to the base rate was anticipated well in advance. Currently, Freddie Mac reports the following figures: 30-year fixed rate, 3.96%; 15-year fixed rate, 3.22%; 5/1-year adjustable rate, 3.06%.

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Queens Home Sales

Queens_Real_Estate_Market_Home_Coop_Condo_Sales_2015_2016There were 8,444 Queens homes sold in 2015, a decrease of .2% from November and an increase of .6% compared to 2014. So what does this tell us? Well, for most of 2015, we were seeing year over year decreases in home sales, however, in November and December, we saw the first increases in year over year sales. While the increase is minimal, the trend is quite significant. What this tells me is that sales may start slowly trending upward, however, a lot of this speculation will depend on what happens with the interest rates and inventory levels this year. From my perspective, demand is still high, but there still seems to be a shortage of supply for home buyers.

24 Month Home Sale Trends

Queens_Real_Estate_Market_Home_Sale_Trends_Last_24_MonthsClick Here for a List of Exclusive Homes for Sale in Queens NY

Queens Home Prices

Queens_Real_Estate_Market_Home_Coop_Condo_Prices_2015_2016In 2015, Queens home prices rose 7.7% compared to 2014. That’s a more modest increase than the double digit increases we were seeing in 2013 & 2014. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story because this is a general increase, including all property types. So, to be more specific: Residential home prices in 2015 were up 5.9% compared to 2014. In 2014, residential home prices were up 6.7% compared to 2013 so that can give you a little perspective and trend outlook. As for Condo prices, they were up 9.6% in 2015 (compared to 2014), and were up 1.5% in 2014 (compared to 2013). This was the largest price increase we saw and it is likely due in part to the increase in Condo development in 2015. Lastly, as for Coop prices, they were up 5.6% in 2015 (compared to 2014), and they were up 4.7% in 2014 (compared to 2013). In my opinion, last year reflected a steady increase in Residential and Coop prices that would likely be considered healthy among local economists. The more significant increase in Condo prices may speak to another trend that is harder to predict so we will need to keep an eye on that. Overall, I see a trend away from the extreme home price increases, and a move to more steady and modest home price appreciation in 2016.

*Economists tend to say that a healthy appreciation rate for home prices is one that follows along with general rate of inflation, about 4-5%.

24 Month Home Price Trends

Queens_Real_Estate_Market_Home_Price_Trends_Last_24_MonthsClick Here for Free Market Report of your Neighborhood

Queens Housing Inventory

There are currently about 3,538 homes for sale in Queens county. That’s down 32% compared to the inventory level at the beginning of 2015. For perspective on that percentage, in January 2015, there were 5,190 homes for sale in Queens, and at this moment, we have 3,538 available. This is a very significant decrease in inventory and most likely the reason why we continue to see home price increases and multiple offer situations on many listings. There is still a feeling of much needed inventory for the demand for homes which continues to outpace the supply of homes hitting the market. In my opinion, the most important factor that can impact inventory will be interest rates, and how much they increase in 2016. Month’s supply at this time is 4.7 months, which means that for most Queens neighborhoods, the market is still in favor of Sellers.

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Blog Courtesy of George & Abigail Herrera w/the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty Landmark II.

George and Abigail Herrera_Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty 2_HEADSHOT_ROUNDBUY: www.exclusivequeenshomes.com | SELL: www.queenshomeselling.com

Original Article: http://blog.queenshomeselling.com/buying-a-home-coop-condo-in-queens-ny/queens-real-estate-market-2015-year-in-review/