The Real.Est List
The Haggle: A Chelsea studio owner takes an (unavoidable) cut three years later
The studio apartment, which was located at 252 West 20th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, was about 400 square feet.
The owner had been renting the apartment out for about three years, but had decided to sell it, because he had completed the allotted period that the co-op board allows tenants to sublet.
The buyer was a woman in her early 30s, who had saved up her own money (read: no help from parents).
Pros: The apartment was in a great location and had a very large kitchen, as well as a working fireplace.
Cons: The alcove sleeping area and bathroom needed some cosmetic work, and at around 400-square-feet, it wasn’t large overall.
On the market: May 13, 2011
Contract signed: July 25, 2011
Closing date: October 17, 2011
HOW THE DEAL WENT DOWN
The apartment was listed at $369,000. Sadhnani, the seller's broker, said that figure was less than the owner bought it for during the peak of the market, sometime around 2004.
The buyer told her broker, Beitler, that she couldn’t spend a penny more than $359,000 and would be much happier spending $357,000.
The buyer's first offer on June 29 was for $349,000. The seller countered two days later with $365,000. Two days passed. Then the buyer countered with $352,000. The seller then countered with $363,000.
The buyer came back again with the same offer as before: $352,000. The seller countered again, this time for $360,000.
The buyer’s third counter, for $355,000, was accepted.
This was another instance of an apartment being listed at a price that was lower than the owner bought it for just a few years ago. But according to the seller's broker, it was a necessary evil.
"In today's market, if you want to sell something you have to price it right. If you price it too high, it will sit," says Sadhnani.
Breitler knew his buyer could pay a little more even though she didn't want to. In many situations, he says, it's helpful to disclose to the seller if you can spend more.
“If you can afford an extra $50,000, and can get approved for more money, that just gives you more negotiating power with a seller," he says. "The fact that you’re pre-approved for more than you’re spending tells the seller that you are financially sound.”
In this case, however, Beitler opted not to share that fact with the seller: "Chelsea is a hot area and I did not want to get caught in a bidding war. I kept it simply, 'the buyer only has....'"
The Haggle explores the anatomy of a recently closed New York City apartment sale in which the closing price was less than asking price...so that when the time comes to buy or sell, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.