The Sotheby’s Sensibility
Anchored by Pati Holmes, Brokerage Sales Manager, Julia B Fee Sotheby’s Realty ended 2019, a very challenging year for residential real estate, on a high note. “The market was super-late and there was too much inventory in the $2 million to $3 million range, but we saw a steady increase in sale prices as the year went on and ended up selling 29 homes in the fourth quarter,” she reports.
Agents have been prepping their listings and a buoyant spring market is about to burst forth, says Holmes.
According to one of Sotheby’s top agents, Laura DeVita, the market is happening now, due to low interest rates and sound pricing. “I tell sellers that you either price your home to see how it goes or price it to sell.”
There is an art to pricing, according to Fiona Dogan, another top broker at Sotheby’s. “You need to arrive at a bracket and all of you need to be comfortable with the list price.” She adds, “I will not take a listing if the price the seller wants is wholly unrealistic.”
DeVita talks price to death with sellers. “This is a business transaction and there is lots of emotion at play. We have to get the price right.”
While the year is young, Sotheby’s agents are seeing a different character in the market in 2020. There is not as much new construction, which has given a boost to older homes, which just may be the new thing because buyers are seeing value there. Unabsorbed inventory is already coming back on the market and will have to be priced close to appraised value and staged, actually or virtually.
“Visuals are key,” emphasizes Dogan, who is a super stager as well as agent.
While more and more buyers do a lot of online searching before contacting an agent or agency, in Holmes’ view sellers need agents earlier and earlier to ensure that homes are prepped to sell, not sit on the market.
“When you list your home, you’re giving it to the market,” says Dogan. “You need to know your realtor is your number one cheerleader.”
“Rye is the trifecta for buyers, sellers, and agents,” offered DeVita, “because, on average, people live in two to three houses here.”
Sotheby’s agents stay on top, says Holmes, “because they are 1 percent realtors. They have a passion for real estate and want to transact.”