new loft price needs to be justified

asking 20% more for 2006 mints??
When I first saw the listing description for a Manhattan loft brand new to market (chock full of mints, renovation news, adverbs and adjectives) I assumed that it is priced almost 20% above the 2006 clearing price because all of the broker bragging was about new elements that had not been priced into the 2006 transaction. Silly me.

But listen to some of the babbling done by a different firm in 2006:

pristine design … sophisticated elegance … stunning loft …. Featured in [omitted] Magazine … masterful appointments … [omitted] architectural detail … distinctive custom finishes … bright windowed chef’s kitchen features top of the line appliances ….

The new listing description is remarkably similar to the old one. The floor plans are identical, 2006 and 2009. But the kitchen photos show that the old chef’s kitchen with those top of the line appliances has been changed. Looks like new cabinets (which now get proper proper names) and the cooking elements have been increased, and moved. Doesn’t look to me like $300k worth of upgrades, however….

unsolicited advice

I got into

a discussion on StreetEasy earlier this week

started by a guy who believes that sellers should have to prove the renovations they did, in the interest of greater "transparency". In my first contribution to that thread I talked about having represented an apartment for sale that was priced


above a very recent very nearby comp, for which we justified the premium by the quality of the renovation. In that case, I had before-and-after photos and contractor bills and materials to prove how much money got poured into that place. (In fact, that seller spent way too much money to create a very personal space; more money than she could have hoped to recover from a buyer who did not share exactly her taste.) My broker-babble there posed the challenge directly: "An exquisite renovation that is priced accordingly. Your only question may be ‘does it match my taste?’"

For this loft, I assume the 2006-buyer-turned-2009-seller premises some of the premium on the new kitchen elements. If so, that seller may have to prove the value of that improvement. Otherwise, adding nearly 20% to a 2006 clearing price is not likely to be a successful marketing strategy.

© Sandy Mattingly 2009

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