Westchester Real Estate

Buying Real Estate in Westchester County is often the largest purchase of my client’s lives. Whether my clients are shopping for Homes for Sale in Briarcliff Manor, Estates in Scarsdale or anything in between, the negotiation can often times best be described as a “game”.

Once one of my clients decides which property they want to purchase, there is, of course, a large amount of science and mathematics that go into estimating the value of the property. That job lands firmly in the hands of your trusted real estate agent.

Broker Commission Rebate

If you’ve been smart, you’ve hired a real estate agent that will undertake 16 key tasks. As I have discussed on various pages of this website, your Real Estate Agent should be providing a generous broker commission rebate that will help to offset closing costs or help avoid the mansion tax. And yes, that rebate should be larger than the Redfin rebate.

Another key item for your realtor to provide are relevant comps that will assist in estimating the true value of the property and the realtor should recommend a bidding strategy.

Many factors should go into the estimation of value. Compared to recent sales nearby the realtor should take into account the age of the home, the condition of the property, how long the property has been offered on the market, market conditions, the amount of Westchester Property Taxes and a slew of other data points. The realtor should then present this analysis in an easily understandable way.

The next logical step is the formulation of an effective bidding strategy. At this point, the science ends, and the art of negotiation begins. Many factors need to be taken into account when plotting when to bid and how much to bid. Among these factors are:

  • How is the property priced? Is it priced too high? Is it priced at its fair value? Or is priced to attract a bidding war?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • How is the market in that Top Rated Westchester School District or town?
  • What time of year is it?
  • Is there a high or low inventory of similar homes available on the market?
  • And most importantly…what kind of seller is it?

It is the last item, the type of seller, that I want to discuss here. Painting a picture of your seller and gleaning as much information as you possibly can about his or her motivations for selling is an art form that the best negotiators can take advantage of.

Hints as to the motivation of the seller are everywhere. Some are even given away by the listing agent during a tour. And even if they are not, you can ask. The best listing agents, besides charging a very fair commission rate and attending all showings as we do here at NestEdge Realty; know to keep there seller’s motivations very close to the vest.

One hint I always ask the listing agent for myself or have my buyers ask is “Why are the sellers leaving?”. About 50 percent of the time the listing agent will provide an answer. Whether or not that is an answer is the truth, well, you’ll need to judge their poker face.

Here are some common answers and what they are likely to mean:

  • “My client’s kids have graduated and they are downsizing”: This is a common one. In this instance I generally feel as if the seller is less motivated, is more likely to wait for a strong bid and may be difficult to negotiate with.
  • “My clients have a growing family and are looking for a different property”: These are generally clients that are on the move and the sale is a limiting factor. These sellers are generally more motivated
  • “My client is being relocated for work”: This is generally a good scenario since relocation companies are often involved and assist the seller with protection. These are more motivated sellers.

Of course, there is a slew of other answers and each one dictates a separate amount of seller motivation. More often, however, the question is not answered and the buyer and agent are left to their own devices to try to figure out the situation.

The good news is that hints are generally everywhere; some of these are easily learned on a tour and some come with the aid of a sharp eye and the knowledge of what to look for. Here are some hints to be on the lookout for:

Are the sellers currently living in the house? This sometimes is difficult to discern as many homes are staged with rented furniture the inhabitants have moved out. One great way to check is to open the refrigerator. If the seller is not living in the home or the home is empty, you are most certainly dealing with a more motivated seller

Is the house in sparkling condition or is it run down? A house in sparkling condition generally portrays a seller who is not in financial distress and is less motivated. But a home that is obviously not being kept up well, as would be evidenced by chipped paint, overgrown landscaping or property that shows evidence of being largely ignored portrays a seller in distress that is motivated to sell.

Is the house being rented? If the realtor needs to accommodate a tenant’s schedule in order to show the property, this is generally a landlord looking to unload his investment. This is generally a ‘middle-of-the-road’ seller, ie not desperate to sell but would move the property for a fair price.

Are there kids present? If you see kids rooms that are uninhabited and show graduation photos on the wall or other high school memorabilia, then these sellers are likely downsizing and are usually never in a rush or desperate to take a bid.

Does it look like a hoarder was there or are there a large number of medical devices on hand? In these cases, it could likely be an estate, a sign of a more motivated seller.

Does it look like a family is living in the home…but only one person’s clothing in the master bedroom? Not to be sinister, but this is likely a divorce, and generally a motivated seller.

Is the house new construction but has already been completed? This is the ultimately motivated seller. Builders who build on spec that have completed properties are often highly motived to get their investment out and move on to the next project. Bid low, these sellers need you to buy.

Buying a New Home in Westchester County

A buyer cannot formulate an effective bidding strategy, one that results in the buyer getting the desired property, at or below the desired price without having some idea as to the seller’s level of motivation. There are times to low-ball or bid low and wait. There are times to pay what the price the seller is asking. And yes, there are even times to pay more than the offering price. If you’re a client of NestEdge Realty looking to buy a home, i’m going to undercover everything there is to know about the seller. And you, the buyer, are going to walk away with a great home at a great price.