66 Madison Avenue loft seller wonders when is a full price deal a cause of regret?

when you paid more in 2006
I have a fantasy that the seller of the Manhattan loft #6A at 66 Madison Avenue (Madison Parq; how I hate that name!) walked around with sandwich boards that read “motivated seller”, not because (as you sometimes see) the broker babble had some heavily punctuated cheese like “owner says sell!!!” but because his asking price was lower than his 5 year old purchase price. This is how you spell M – O – T – I – V – A – T – I – O – N :

  • Jan 31, 2006 sold $595,000
  • Mar 4, 2011 new to market $549,000

The good news (for the seller) is that he got his price, with a full-price contract by April 12 that closed on June 16.

was that a tasty bullet?
I am going to say it out loud: I hate coop listings that don’t have an indication of size, unless there is no reasonable basis for offering a measurement. (Usually, in the offering plan Schedule A.) Of course, condos that do that are worse (as there is almost always some official measurement of the unit), but this comment today is directed at Madison Parq and the difficulties in coming in a coop with many different floor plans but no size figures other than (for loft #6A) “3.5 rooms”.

The loft #6A 2006-buyer-turned-2011-seller bit the bullet by asking 7.7% less than he paid. That bullet might have tasted worse, but at least he got his full ask. I wonder if the experience of the selling neighbor in loft #9-I made that bullet taste a little more bitter:

Nov 3, 2006 sold $804,417
Aug 19, 2010 new to market $899,000
Mar 11, 2011 contract  
May 24 sold $860,000

That loft is not a direct comp for #6A because it is a converted-3-bedroom duplex, but it jumps out at me as a loft that was purchased in a stronger 2006 market than that in which #6A was bought, yet just sold at a 7% premium to 2006 instead of a 7.7% deficit. Through a contract signed just a week after #6A came oh-so-modestly to market.

Some people in that situation would rue their asking price enough to consider raising it. But the loft #6A seller instead just held firm. And got it.

a (years old) $200/ft renovation?
While loft #9-I is not a good comp for #6A because it is larger, with much greater functionality (a shoe-horned 3-bedroom duplex layout), loft #11A has the same footprint as #6A and (god bless their hearts) a quoted size of “780 sq ft” and it closed 10 weeks before #6A. But #11A closed at a dramatically lower price than #6A: $410,000, a small discount from the $425,000 asking price.

In that context, #6A at $549,000 might be a sweeter bullet to have bitten.

Obviously, the conditions of #11A and #6A must be very different. The loft #11A babble is very modest, bragging only about bones and “new paint and floors refinished, so ready to move in”, with a kitchen photo that is rather … prosaic. In contrast, the #6A babble presents a euphoric experience, with many upscale finishes and details:

As you walk into this turnkey home your senses will experience a delightful mix of prewar detail with contemporary flair. The rooms are generously proportioned allowing for a great size living room with a dramatic wall of windows, a cleverly placed custom designed home office and full sized dining area. The bedroom is equipped with a wall of custom closets enclosed with wood and glass sliding doors that allow for easy access and the bathroom has been renovated to perfection. A sizable modern kitchen with top of the line stainless appliances and wonderful storage are the perfect complement for the budding chef. Soaring high beamed ceilings, recessed lighting throughout, ebony hardwood floors, built in surround sound, custom walnut pocket doors and exquisite antique leaded stained glass doors which lead to a wonderful walk in closet are just a few of the bonus features you will encounter.

Note the market valuation of the difference: the much lower floor unit sold for one-third more. On a dollar-per-foot basis, the spread was $178/ft. Personally, I doubt that it cost $178/ft to add a “cleverly placed custom designed home office”, plus “custom closets enclosed with wood and glass sliding doors”, plus a renovated bath, plus “top of the line stainless appliances”, plus recessed lighting, plus surround sound, plus “custom walnut pocket doors”, or even plus “exquisite antique leaded stained glass doors”. Especially as this work seems to have all been done before the prior sale in January 2006. (For some reason, the surviving 2005 listing on StreetEasy omits those “exquisite antique leaded stained glass doors”, but they are in the listing description in our data-base.)

There is another difference between the 2005 babble on StreetEasy and that in our data-base, one about the neighborhood that brought a smile

is the dog still there?
The 2005 babble highlighted one particular food item:

This newly vibrant area owes much of its popularity to the revival of neighboring Madison Square Park , not to mention the historical landmarks and the new condo conversions taking place throughout the neighborhood. From world class dining to fabulous shopping, plus the best hot dog in the city, just step out your door.

I wonder if that hot dog is still just a step away, but I cannot for the life of me think of a famous nearby hot-dog purveyor. Maybe this is an homage to the Second City Bird Dog??

© Sandy Mattingly 2011

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