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Secrets to selling co-ops in condo market

Market experts revealed the secrets to selling co-ops in what is considered a condo market at REBNY’s second Secrets of Top Brokers & Industry Leaders seminar last week.

Called “Is There Room For The Co-Op In The Year of the Condo?” the panel discussion was moderated by Bill Cunningham of The Corcoran Group, and featured speakers Cathy Taub of Stribling & Associates, Ltd., Stuart Saft of Holland & Knight, Louise Phillips Forbes of Halstead Property, and Diane Diaz of Argo Residential.

The seminar also marked the first Secrets of Top Brokers & Industry Leaders seminar with Barry James Brandt of Argo Residential as the Residential Brokerage Membership Committee’s co-Chair, alongside fellow co-Chair Corinne Pulitzer, who opened the seminar by welcoming and officially introducing Brandt to the audience.

The panelists, each of whom has had impressive and extensive experience in their respective fields, came ready, willing, and able to share their knowledge of today’s market, facts and figures, and other helpful pieces of advice to help attendees know when to how condos fare against co-ops, when to steer clients towards one or the other, and how to help potential buyers know which one of the two will work best for them.

“Only 38 percent of New Yorkers own property,” said Louise Phillips Forbes. “Of that 38 percent, 24 percent own co-ops, 12 percent own condos, and roughly 1 percent own townhouses.”

Other speakers agreed that these figures were reflective of their own personal findings, although some had varying theories behind why this is the case. These theories ranged from the high volume of condo purchases being due the nature of the inventory that is available, to the ratio of condos to co-ops which have amenities packages included.

Another explanation offered by Cathy Taub was the purposes for which these properties are being used:
“When I have a new buyer, I have a list of questions I ask them, and number one on that list, besides location, is usage,” she said.

“If someone wants to use the property as a pied-a-terre, for example, then there are a limited number of co-ops available. So that cuts down on the product right there. If they want an investment opportunity, then it’s almost exclusively condo ownership because of variables like restrictive sublet opportunities.”

The discussion turned to the applications and interviews, with Diane Diaz giving important pieces of advice to members regarding the application process.

“For every transfer agent in a management company, that person is processing applications for 40 other buildings in addition to yours,” Diaz said. “So as important as your application is to you, it’s just another application on his or her desk. So it can take some time.”

“Also, designate one person to call the agent and leave a message,” she added. “When I get ten phone calls on the same deal, I’m not calling them all back because I just don’t have time. It’s better to have one person call and leave a message, and make sure that person is polite and pleasing to speak with. It’s human nature to prefer dealing with pleasant people.”

Saft also jumped in, urging attendees to always make sure that buyers have read the application before they walk into the interview.

“You wouldn’t believe how many buyers think they don’t need to read anything before entering the interview. It’s a basic thing you need to make sure they know is very important to do.”

The seminar was followed by a reception with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, where members were able to further network with each other and interact further with the speakers.

For more information on upcoming Secrets of Top Brokers seminars, please contact Jeanne Oliver-Taylor at [email protected]

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