Chopping millions off prices
From the March issue: For the last few years, price seemed almost an afterthought in New York’s real estate market, as penthouses and brownstones speedily sold for record-high figures. But since the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the ensuing stock market crash, price cuts have emerged as the single most important factor in home sales. As Halstead Property executive vice president Brian Lewis put it, “properties that are not really keenly priced are utterly ignored by the buyers.” But with so few sales having closed since September and the stock market wildly fluctuating, finding the right price is a tall task. “It’s just a moving target,” said Kathy Braddock, the co-founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty. “Nobody has ever seen a market like this.” Nonetheless, a number of New York’s top brokers are beginning to crack the code, shepherding deals into contract despite the uncertain market conditions. To do this, they’re fearlessly hacking millions of dollars off listing prices, soothing sellers’ frayed nerves, and choosing buyers carefully to ensure deals actually make it to the closing table. This month, The Real Deal talked to some of the city’s fiercest “closer brokers” to find out how they do it.