Let’s start with food, specifically our Easter dinner yesterday. Stanley and I outdid ourselves as usual. We had four guests. Started with a few rounds of my famous Cosmos, along with hors d’oeuvres from Trader Joe’s (why make them yourself when these are so good and so easy?), ham and cheese flatbread, seafood croquettes and parmesan pastry pups. Then we sat down to a scallop crudo with grapefruit, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro. Next up was a lemon sorbet from Grom, topped with a splash of Campari. Main course was carnitas, the wonderful Mexican pulled pork. Here is a link to the recipe:
I used at least twice the amount of garlic, lime juice, and spices called for in the recipe, added a good amount of cayenne to spice it up, and reduced the excess cooking liquid to a sauce which I poured over the meat when serving. Incredibly delicious! We served it with Hungarian cabbage noodles and deep-fried baby artichokes sprinkled with parmesan. For dessert we had rice pudding (Martha Stewart recipe, with golden raisins added), topped with Grom salted caramel gelato. Wow! Everyone loved it of course.
Bought the plane tickets for our trip to Spain this coming November (yes I am obsessive about planning ahead). We will pick up a rental car at Madrid airport and visit Leon, Burgos, Santiago de Compostela, Cadiz, Malaga, and Granada before returning from Madrid. Now researching hotels (and restaurants of course).
After a great year in the real estate biz in 2013, I’ve closed two more deals so far this year. No current listings, but a few possible listings in the pipeline. Also have a few potential buyers, and I wish I had more properties to show them. I don’t feel too bad because everyone I know in the business is having the same difficulty. Not enough people selling! Here is my 1st quarter 2014 NYC market report:
First quarter 2014 was characterized by a continuation of the trend toward lower and lower inventory, while demand has remained steady, with the highest number of closed sales of any quarter in the past seven years. New listings have not kept pace, pushing inventory to a record low, causing frustration for buyers, with no relief in sight. Prices for existing units continued to increase, but could be reaching a plateau, while those of new high-end condominiums have been soaring. Average and median prices are becoming almost meaningless as they are skewed by the super-luxury sales.
In light of these factors, we’re offering some advice to buyers and sellers for navigating this highly unusual market.
For sellers, the good news is that any property that is priced correctly will sell very quickly, often well above the asking price, but overpricing at the outset can result in a lower sale price in the end. Be wary of an agent who “tells you what you want to hear”, quoting a very high price without providing comparable sales to back it up. Be informed and ask questions. Buyers are cautious, but will bid high if they realize that others are competing with them. If a property remains on the market more than a few weeks, buyers see it as overpriced and move on to something else. Even if the asking price is subsequently reduced, the momentum will have been lost.
For buyers, there are strategies that can lead to being the winning bidder, but in multiple bid situations, having a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent is a must. Sometimes, the “bidding war” can be avoided by making a quick decision and asking the seller how much it would take for them to sell to you and not entertain any further bidding. Even though this will likely be above asking, it may get you a better deal than competing with other bidders, and can be less stressful for both buyer and seller. Another situation that can work in a buyer’s favor is a “stale” listing, one that started with too high an asking price and has languished on the market. Because other buyers are ignoring it, it may be possible to make a reasonable offer and have it accepted.
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