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Priscilla Toomey: June Is Unusually Busy Month for Bronxville Village Real Estate PDF Print Email

Jun. 11, 2014:  When we looked at the market at the beginning of January, there were only nine single-family homes on the market in Bronxville Village, of which two were townhouses and two already had accepted offers. We noted that inventory was painfully thin at that time. But times have changed!

As of June 1, there were more than four times the number of single-family homes on the market--39--of which five were townhouses. The average asking price was over $3MM, driven in significant measure by a larger than usual number of higher-end listings--fourteen above $3MM as of June 1.

According to past patterns, the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday would have been the start of the spring market, with sellers putting their homes on the market and buyers out looking so that they could be sure to have their children settled well before the start of school--assuming time to find a home and another 60 to 90 days for their purchase to close.

But this year, Mother Nature intervened. It was so cold, snowy, and icy that both buyers and sellers seemed to be hibernating until the weather improved in April. Then the frenzy began, with homes coming on the market almost daily and buyers pursuing them vigorously. Bidding wars were commonplace.

In addition to the homes currently on the market, another 30 were under contract, and the sales of 25 had closed since the beginning of the year. The single-family-home market in Bronxville Village is now more balanced between sellers and buyers and is not the strong sellers' market it was just a few months ago.

The average price of homes sold year-to-date is $2,045,913, and the average price per square foot is $632.24. These figures include both freestanding homes and townhouses.

For coops, the average price of those whose sales have closed since the beginning of the year was $496,109, and the average price per square foot was $382.13. However, these numbers don't reflect the premium prices for the larger three- and four-bedroom apartments for which strong demand has driven up prices to, in several cases, over the $1MM mark. Very few condo apartments have been on the market for sale since the beginning of the year.

June is traditionally a quiet month in Bronxville Village real estate. This year, June remains busy and is expected to pick up even more once graduations and the usual June events are behind us and the drive to be settled before school resumes.

Pictured here:  Priscilla Toomey, associate broker, JD, ABR, Top5, certified EcoBroker, SRES with Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty; cell, 914-559-8084; e-mail, CLOAKING .

Photo courtesy Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty

Priscilla Toomey: Preparing for the Spring 2014 Market, Part 2--To Renovate or Not PDF Print Email

Feb. 19, 2014: The first question people grapple with when it comes to renovating before selling a house is: "Where do I start?"

It's important to be able to see your house or apartment in its best light before you get started. To do that, the first step is to declutter. Be as strict on yourself as possible--less is more.

Next, see what you can do by "refreshing" your spaces. "Refresh" is actually a term people in the design and staging businesses use. For example, if you have a few pillows on your sofa that look like they've seen better days, find new ones that look fresh and crisp and make you sit up and take notice of how much potential your living room has.

Also check to see whether touch-ups of paint or window washing are needed. The room may look very different by the time you've finished this process. If you feel you need a second opinion, get one from a designer, a stager, or a friend with a good eye for decorating.

Also, take a look at the items listed on the homeowner property disclosure statement and use it as a checklist to be sure each of the items listed there is in good working order. They're the same items an inspector will look at.

Then it's time to review your budget. How much do you have to work with and what will that amount enable you to do? Keep in mind that kitchens sell homes, so if you have to make a choice, your kitchen is probably the best place to invest. Learn what kitchens at your home's likely price point look like and emulate them. Here are some suggestions:

  • Work with a design professional. Kitchens are sophisticated spaces that are difficult for an amateur to get right. 

  • Kitchens used to be separate spaces, but they are now the heart of the home, and the most desired ones flow into living and dining space. 

  • Take the time to research cabinetry, appliances, and plumbing fixtures, and make sure your eventual design is timeless. 

  • Keep it uncluttered. It's space where you and your family will live. Adding a desk is likely to add clutter. Find someplace else to put the desk. 

  • Make sure it's a great kitchen even if you don't cook much. Someone else in your family, or at some point in the future, will.

Why is it so important to focus on the kitchen? So many homes have more than one bathroom, so if new owners want to renovate a bathroom, they can use another one in the meantime. That is not true of the kitchen, where the period during renovation can be a major inconvenience. New construction is very attractive to today's buyer, in part because they can move in without having to do any major work.

Try looking at your house through a buyer's eyes--even if you are not planning to sell for a few years. What would you want redone? If it's in your budget, do it now and enjoy it during the intervening years.

If it isn't in your budget, make what is already there as attractive as possible. People know cosmetic fixes are the easy ones. They can help your house look much more attractive, have greater curb appeal, and woo more prospects.

But if you have the budget, tackle the tough stuff. It will give you a good return on your investment.

Editor's note:  Priscilla Toomey can be reached at Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty, cell: 914-559-8084, email: CLOAKING .

Priscilla Toomey: Bronxville Real Estate Is Hot and in Short Supply PDF Print Email

Jan. 15, 2014:  As of January 1, 2014, inventory in the Bronxville Village real estate market was in painfully short supply with only nine single-family homes on the market, of which two were townhouses and at least two already had acceptable offers. The average asking price was $2,197,722.

At the end of the third quarter of 2013, there were 21 houses on the market, of which three were townhouses. They had an average asking price of $2,934,190.

At the end of the second quarter of 2013, there were 31 homes on the market, of which four were townhouses, with an average asking price of $2,631,194. Sales activity in Bronxville Village remains very strong, with multiple offers becoming commonplace.

Four single-family homes were under conditional contract in Bronxville Village as of January 1, and the sales of six single-family homes, of which one was a townhouse, were pending (all conditions met, just waiting to close). Townhouses are a regular point of entry to living in Bronxville Village, so the competition for them, and the desire for houses in that general price range, has been fierce.

During 2013, 84 single-family homes, including 24 townhouses, had sold by December 31, 2013, with an average selling price of $2,133,000 for detached homes and $996,673 for townhouses. Of these, 11 of the 60 detached homes and 7 of the 24 townhouses yielded prices at or above their asking price. 

For the same period the previous year, the sales of 62 detached houses had closed, with an average selling price of $2,132,726, and the sales of 22 townhouses had closed, with an average selling price of $902,682. 

Year-to-date, 12 of 54 co-op apartments and 2 of 6 condominium apartments closed at or above their asking prices at the time of sale.

For the full year 2013, the average price per square foot for detached single-family homes in Bronxville village was $621.55. For the same period in 2012, it was $557.71. For townhouses, those numbers were $540.50 for 2013 and $478.37 for 2012.

The question for the first quarter of 2014 is whether enough sellers will put their Bronxville Village homes on the market to satisfy at least some of the demand.

Pictured here:  Priscilla Toomey, associate broker, JD, ABR, Top5, certified EcoBroker, SRES with Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty; cell, 914-559-8084; e-mail, CLOAKING .

Photo courtesy Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty


Seminar on Relocating the Empty Nest January 14 at Bronxville Public Library by Bronxville-Ley Real Estate PDF Print Email

Jan. 8, 2014:  Bronxville-Ley Real Estate will hold a seminar titled "Relocating the Empty Nest" on Tuesday, January 14, with a panel of experts. The event will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the Yeager Room of the Bronxville Public Library.

Homeowners whose children have flown the coop might find this the time to do something exciting and different with their lives--perhaps experience a lifestyle that has only been a dream, or escape escalating real estate taxes and utility bills, or, better yet, flee the responsibilities of yard work, snow removal, plumbing repairs, and roofing maintenance once and for all.

Members of the panel include a move/transition manager, a CPA, a New York City real estate broker, a home inspector, and a local senior real estate specialist who will discuss turning your dreams into your new reality.

The cost is free, but the information is priceless!

RSVPs are not required, but for more information, please contact Leah Caro, principal broker, Bronxville-Ley Real Estate, at 914-337-1234 or CLOAKING .

Pictured here: Leah Caro.

Photo courtesy Bronxville-Ley Real Estate

Priscilla Toomey: Preparing for the Spring 2014 Market--It's Already Here PDF Print Email

Dec. 31, 2013:  If you are considering selling your house in the spring 2014 market, know that the spring market has already arrived. There are buyers eager to go to weekend open houses in the snow, not to mention many individual showings by agents then.

As we have been saying, inventory is in painfully short supply at the moment in Bronxville Village and buyers want to get a "jump" on the market.

Some sellers, too, want to take advantage of supply and demand leaning in their favor and are willing to allow their houses to be shown, even on sloppy days.

If a sale is in your plans, now is the time to prepare as quickly as you can and get your house on the market as soon as you can. The buyers are there and the "official" start of the spring market, the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday, isn't far off, although some sellers want to take advantage of current market conditions and are eager to sell without waiting.

The first step, if you haven't already done so, is to de-clutter. Just what does that mean? Store or get rid of as much "stuff" as you can. Browse through "shelter magazines" like Architectural Digest to see how homes there look--so you can get as close to that look as possible with your own home.

Keep in mind that we live in a visual world, so photos are vital to promoting your property. It's best to work with a professional photographer if you possibly can. Their wide-angle lenses and correct resolution make the world of difference in what prospective buyers will see on the Internet, which is where the vast majority of them begin their search. Also, keep in mind that if you haven't had photos taken and the photos that are taken now show your house surrounded by snow, have those photos retaken as soon as we're past the snow season.

Buyers tend to respond to the emotional pull of the kitchen or some other aspect of a house. You as a seller, however, are supposed to be objective about the place you have considered your "ivy-covered cottage" for several years. For you to do that, you need to see your house as a commodity once it goes on the market. Feedback from both your agent and prospective buyers should be viewed dispassionately, not defensively. With your focus on reaching agreement with a buyer on price and terms, you will be in the best position to do what you need to do to "get the deal done."

This is the first in a series of three articles. The next two will cover "What to Renovate . . . Or Not" and "Pricing it Right."

Pictured here:  Priscilla Toomey, associate broker, JD, ABR, Top5, certified EcoBroker, SRES with Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty; cell, 914-559-8084; e-mail, CLOAKING .

Photo courtesy Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty

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