conflicted about new loft at 20 N. Moore Street [CAUTION: conflict alert]

new, with a past and a present
#8E at 20 N. Moore Street is pretty new to the market (week before last), asking $3.45mm and $1,700/mo for "2,400 sq ft". I’d have blogged about it last week BUT it is my listing and I wanted to make sure that the sellers were comfortable with me doing a standard Manhattan Loft Guy treatment and that I was prepared to explain to you why I was blogging about my own loft listing.

conventional MLG treatment
The loft is a reversed Long-and-Narrow (master bedroom is in front, over N. Moore; common areas are in the rear with the open south and east exposures), with enough side windows for a 2d bedroom opposite the (interior) office. On this floor there is a long prospect from the common rooms south (and southwest), as well as east, with water towers, rooftops and sky.

The previous owners did a high-end renovation with Baultup kitchen, limestone baths (a very long master), floating ‘gallery’ walls and a lighting scheme that mimics the vaulted ceilings, emphasizng light and space.  These owners added built-ins and bookcases along the south wall, wired for a/c and changed the kitchen island top to stone.

the best comp?
The best comparable listing / sale for #8E is … #8E, which sold in June at $3.2mm. It then took less than 5 weeks and one price drop (from $3.4mm to $3.2mm) to find the buyers.

If this were another firm’s listing I would probably add something like:

The June-buyers-now-sellers believe that The Tribeca Loft Market has improved by 6% since June (or, that this much value has been added since then). We will see if The Market agrees.

And then I would say:

Open House Sunday March 9 from 1:30 to 1 PM
Open House Wednesday March 12 from noon to 2 PM

so conflicted
This can’t be a conventional Manhattan Loft Guy ‘new listing’ post because I am a fiduciary for the sellers. My license is at stake if I say anything without their consent that is not in their best interests in securing the most money from the most qualified buyer in the shortest time. So I gave my sellers the choice of whether I should blog about #8E or not, with the understanding that if I post about it I will use the conventional MLG approach (as reflected above).

Not every seller is interested in having their agent reveal — for example — what they paid for the apartment. While I promised that I would not reveal private information about them and this process, I would treat their loft on my blog as much as possible the same way I would treat any other loft — as I did with #4W when it went quickly into contract.

The downside potential for my sellers is that they will be embarrassed if someone criticizes their home, their taste or their price (heaven forbid, not their agent). Someone may say (as happens here from time to time) "no way is that xxxx sq ft", or "the loft on XX Street is in better condition and a better value", or (in the best tradition of Curbed’s trolls) "they are smoking crack if they think that is worth $xx."

They chose standard MLG treatment, bless their hearts, which makes it easy for me to be straight with my readers in identifying my interest in selling their loft, which readers can take into account when they consider what I say about other Tribeca lofts on the market, or any lofts competing with #8E

to flog or to blog?
I did not start this blog nearly 2 years ago to have a forum for marketing my listings. As time has gone by I find that I use the blog to stay current on the Manhattan loft market (a selfish goal, or at least a personal one) and to share my opinions with others (somewhat selfish — if it helps me get business — but also ‘helpful’ in the way that blogs can be).

In fact, until this listing for #8E, I had not been tempted to flog a listing on my blog. Let me be transparent about my thinking, because the potential conflict here is important.

I assume that it is obvious that most people blog for a mix of personal (‘selfish’) and public (‘helpful’) reasons. Some are more emphatically driven by business (for ad revenue, the way I categorize CurbedBrownstoner), for which being interesting is a means to generate revenue. Others are more interested in a public forum for musing about things of professional interest that have the secondary purpose or effect of helping them gain professional credibility and renown (indirectly, to generate business).  Jonathan Miller’s Matrix is my exemplar for this view.

Myopic as I may be, I have viewed Manhattan Loft Guy as more musing than business-generating.

What has changed my thinking and got me to ask permission to blog about #8E is that this blog has attracted enough of an audience in the last few months that it is a potentially powerful tool for informing interested people about the opportunity to buy this loft — that it is now a forum that I would be serving my clients poorly if they did not have the ability to "use".

what would X do?

When I considered what other Manhattan bloggers do I saw different approaches. I read 3 Manhattan real estate agent blogs semi-regularly. Whatever they think about what they are doing on their blogs, my view as a reader is that one talks about his listings as a matter of course, one refuses to talk about his listings as a matter of principle, and one talks about specific listings of other agents to make general market points but is really about something else.

The blogosphere is big enough for all these models, I realize.

My take on Peter Comitini of Corcoran is that he blogs about the Manhattan market, about things he is interested in with a real estate focus, and that he regularly talks about his listings. My take on Doug Heddings of PruDE is that he loves to blog about The Business of Manhattan residential real estate and that he will only talk about one of his (many) listings to make a point about something else (about the best-and-final bid process, about the benefits of video marketing). My take on Noah Rosenblatt at Halstead (late of Citi-Habitats) and his blog team is that he really wants to beat on the metrics, the economics, and will use specific listings of other agents to make a point about market trends, or to support an anecdote.

(As I said, these blogger agents may think they are blogging about different things than I have mentioned; these are my personal views on what their blogs are about.)

(Are there any other Manhattan agent blogs I should be reading??)

you be the judge
Long story short (yes, I can be very wordy), I will blog about my listings when my sellers give me permission and I will rely on you, gentle readers, to apply however much salt to my comments as you think you need to in order to find value or interest in what I present. Transparency is a key goal for me as a blogger, consistent with my fiduciary obligations to my clients.

I hope this musing makes sense. Any and all comments are welcome.

© Sandy Mattingly 2008

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