The Houlihan House
The crocuses are emerging from their long winter’s nap, and along with them home buyers in all price ranges.
What is the crop of buyers coming out from the city looking for? “Community. Neighborhood. Walk to town,” say seasoned agents at Houlihan Lawrence.
“Not everyone wants a house that is essentially one big room anymore,” reports April Saxe, who has been an agent for 20 years. “And very large homes are not as appealing as they were just a few years ago.”
Whether a house was built in the 1950s or the 1990s, “if it needs work, the seller will have to do some or all of the work, because most of today’s buyers have neither the time nor the interest in renovation,” adds Joan O’Meara, who has been a realtor for 24 years.
A buyer’s first decision is made after she or he spends time searching online, so staging is key, says O’Meara. “Staging doesn’t work, however,” notes Saxe, “if the price isn’t right.”
There is no downside to open houses, which remain essential sales tools and have gotten more elaborate and exciting. For one, Saxe hired a belly dancer. O’Meara has been known to raffle off iPads and iWatches, and if her listing needs more than fresh flowers in the entry to attract buyers, count on her to run over to Home Goods to pick up a few decorative items in time for the open house.
Before John Gardner became manager of Houlihan Lawrence’s Rye office, he was a successful real estate attorney. “In that capacity I saw lots of real estate mistakes,” he says. “The quality that separates good agents from mediocre ones is that the good ones don’t make mistakes. They avoid mistakes by paying attention to every detail. They do enormous prep work before putting a house on the market and are at the closing making sure everything is in order.”
With agents working harder than ever, in its Rye office Houlihan has four administrators in place to provide the marketing and processing support they need. In Rye Brook, they offer agent development training.
Buyers looking for good value in Rye will be encouraged to learn that the “Little Dublin” neighborhood off High Street is up–and–coming.
For sellers whose children are grown and aren’t sure where they want to spend the next act of life, O’Meara says the smart play is to rent. Houlihan can help with that transition, too.