Westchester Real Estate
I represent buyers and sellers of Real Estate in Westchester County, an area just north of New York City that features easy commute times to Manhattan and some of New York’s Highest Rated school districts. In my opinion, Westchester County offers home buyers a unique balance of both affordable and high-end housing stock and a lifestyle that is beyond compare. My family calls Westchester County (Chappaqua to be exact) Home…and unlike where I grew up, I think there is a strong chance that my children return here to raise their respective families.
If there is a downside to buying homes for sale Chappaqua or townhomes in Briarcliff Manor it is this: Westchester County property taxes are amongst the highest in the country. That can’t be denied. Coupled with High Closing costs in Westchester County, “Value” becomes a key differentiator when it becomes time for a home buyer to select a specific property from a long list of homes that he or she has toured.
The most contentious phase of any residential real estate transaction is negotiating items that arise at the inspection. This is true both if I am representing the buyer and paying him a broker commission rebate that will beat the Redfin Rebate in Westchester or representing the seller, charging a very low commission, and allowing my client to keep his or her hard-earned equity.
In New York State, the inspection of a property takes place after negotiations are completed and the seller has accepted the buyers offer and terms for the purchase. In some cases, the parties are very amicable and happy at this point. But in others, it is typical that one or both parties will think they are getting the short end of the stick. That’s the gas…
…and the inspection is the spark.
In general, the biggest impediment to having a buyer and a seller agree on a price is that the seller has an inflated view of his or her property and the buyer tries to find every reason under the sun to reduce the perceived value.
The same is true at the inspection. The seller often views his home as a perfect, mint-condition, turn-key, move-in-ready, pristine estate….and the buyer tries to prove his case that the property is akin to a dilapidated tenement. The truth is usually somewhere in between.
If not handled properly by all parties….and that includes the buyer, the seller, the real estate agents, the attorneys, and the inspector…the deal can and will blow up resulting in all parties returning to square one.
So here are some tips for both buyers and sellers…
Selling Westchester Real Estate:
1) Make the inspection easy by removing any clutter in front of key areas like electrical panels and crawl space access. Also, open any tricky doors or windows. You never want it to appear that you are trying to hide a defect of preventing something from being seen.
2) Make the buyers, the new residents of the home you have cared so much for, feel at home. Maybe write a short note welcoming them. A nice touch that I always recommend to my sellers is to leave a hot pot of coffee before leaving the house along with mugs and a note wishing them luck.
3) Speaking of leaving, sellers should NEVER stay onsite during an inspection. The buyers and their inspector should always be trusted and not supervised during this process.
4) Take a deep breath before responding to requests from the buyer for credits to make repairs or a request to have repairs made prior to closing. If a major request like “Repair the roof” or “replace your electrical panel” is made, it goes a long way when you respond with “We are going to get an opinion from a licensed contractor” versus just shooting down the request and saying “No”. Also, if you disagree with something that is being requested (which is likely to happen) always suggest that the buyer share the inspection report with you. After all, it’s your home!!!
Buying Westchester Real Estate:
1) New York State requires inspectors to be licensed and carry proper insurance to execute home inspections. Make sure that the inspector you choose is both licensed and insured.
2) Be flexible when scheduling the inspection. Try to provide the sellers more than one option with times to hold the event as its a big ask to request a seller give you private access to their home for four hours or more, especially when the seller either has small children living in the home or operates a business out of a home office. Further, try to schedule the home inspection as quickly as possible can following the accepted offer. Remember, time kills all deals and sellers in New York State can opt to sell another party at any point until the contract is signed.
3) Be respectful when inside your future home and try to leave items as you found them. Every attempt should be made to leave the house in the same condition you found it in.
4) I think this is the biggest one. Don’t nitpick!!! There are some issues that arise in every inspection. One widespread defect is the presence of broken GFCI outlets. I cannot think of a single home inspection where inoperable GFCI outlets did not get pointed out by the inspector. A broken GFCI outlet can be replaced for less than $20. Nickle and diming a seller is a sure-fire way to blow up a deal or make things unpleasant.
Buyers need to be prudent with their requests. I tell my clients that it is reasonable to request credits or repairs for items in one of two states:
Items that are Dangerous: This could include remediation of mold, broken steps, missing railings, high radon measurements, double tapped electric wires (very common), issues with regulating hot water temperature, exposed asbestos etc.
Items that are Defective: This could include a leaking or otherwise defective roof, a hot water heater, boiler, furnace or air conditioning condenser that isn’t working properly, broken windows, live leaks or other major systems that are not functioning correctly.
One important thing to remember is “Old is Not Defective”. At closing, a seller needs to deliver a home with working systems. Just because a system is old, does not mean the buyer is due a replacement.
5) Finally, be reasonable. Ask for credits that are backed up by contractor estimates and offer to share your inspection report with your seller and allow your seller to get his or her own quotes.
At the end of the inspection, there often needs to be an open dialogue and a willingness to compromise by both parties. Let your agent and your attorney do their respective jobs. When all parties are reasonable, deals have a way of getting done.
Broker Commission Rebates
If you are buying a new home in Westchester County, the best position to be in as a buyer is having flexibility. If the home you have chosen to buy needs more work than you thought, wouldn’t it be smart to work with an agent that offers a broker commission rebate that can help pay for those upgrades? If that sounds like an advantage you’d like to have, give NestEdge Realty a call because we would love to help.