Though the real estate crisis didn't rattle the tri-state area to nearly the degree that it did other markets around the country, construction still stalled on many new developments during the recent recession. It’s not only location or the newest or shiniest buildings that attract buyers’ attention. The market on both sides of the Hudson has since rebounded, and new developments are going up at a furious pace, so the pressure is back on brokers to distinguish themselves and their listed properties from a field crowded with gleaming glass-and-steel high-rises that all seem to feature the same list of high-end, ultra-luxe amenities.
Despite indications in some quarters that uncertainty about interest rates and the volatility of the stock market has many residential brokers unsure of what the market conditions will be like six months from now, Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan, president of Stribling brokerage in Manhattan, says that selling in today’s market is still all about well-priced apartments. “They are still in high demand and inventory is still historically low,” she says. “Buyers are used to an exceptional level of lifestyle and amenities now within the new development arena, and in resales, they want exceptionally appointed apartments that show well.”
History and Housewarming
While New York and New Jersey’s residential marketplaces are certainly different in many regards (prices in New York City are mind-blowingly high, and include large numbers of co-op apartments, which are relatively rare elsewhere, to name a couple of the more notable differences), the two have their similarities. According to Robert Oppenheimer, 2016 President-Elect of New Jersey Realtors and broker/owner of RE/MAX Fortune Properties in Englewood Cliffs, “One of the major differences between selling properties in New Jersey versus New York City is the extremely robust MLS system in New Jersey, which enhances cooperation between listing brokers and buying brokers. While the Fort Lee, Edgewater, and Cliffside Park markets are mainly vertical living like Manhattan, the rest of our market lends itself to growing families with a wonderful selection of single-family homes in many price ranges,” Oppenheimer says.
And whether vertical or sprawling, selling properties in New Jersey since the dark days of the last recession involves somewhat more than just hanging out a ‘For Sale’ sign, baking some homemade cookies and hosting an open house.
Some brokers have enlisted professional home staging experts to help transform the mundane into the miraculous, but it doesn’t stop there. “The initial appearance of the property is very important,” says Oppenheimer. “Not only is staging a factor, but it’s important to make sure that any cosmetic or structural issues are attended to prior to a property coming on the market. Buyers, especially first time buyers, tend to overestimate the cost of repairs or improvements, which makes it more difficult when negotiating a contract price.”