did it really take 3 contracts to sell top floor loft with private roof at 303 Mercer Street for 99.3% of ask?

I hate these fuzzy histories
This much we know: the Manhattan loft triplex with roof terrace #A608 at 303 Mercer Street (in the oh-so-poetic Snug Cove [oops] Harbor 3-building coop) came to market on July 5, 2011 at $2.995mm and closed on April 30 at $2.975mm. Nearly 10 months to close at a 0.08% discount to ask is rather odd. Clearly, there was a failed contract, and the loft was correctly priced all along, but the listing history in StreetEasy is hardly helpful in understanding when this loft was being actively marketed. Worse, the listing history in the inter-firm system is the very model of a dysfunctional approach to market transparency among firms, yet one more exhibit for why we need a real multiple listing service, one that cares whether firms share accurate information.

The most obvious inaccuracy in the StreetEasy history is that the deed was transferred on April 30, but the biggest difficulty in understanding this as a marketing campaign is that the gap between the two contracts is unexplained. I will relay the Streeteasy history complete with some of the miscellaneous gaps that I normally skip over, and with the tardy “sold” date:

July 5, 2011 new to market $2.995mm
Sept 20 no longer available  
Oct 6 re-listed  
Oct 7 contract  
Jan 18, 2012 no longer available  
Mar 26 contract  
May 5 sold  

Since StreetEasy could not match unit #A608 with the April 30 deed record (denominated unit “#A6088”, a unit that does not exist in the building, and which is somebody’s typo at the closing or when the coop was formed), it had to rely on the listing brokerage to update the listing as sold. But REBNY has rules about accurate and timely data-sharing, which is why the mistakes in the inter-firm data system are less explicable:

July 6, 2011 new listing
Sept 20 contract signed  
Jan 10, 2012 back on market  
Jan 17 temporarily off the market  
Feb 15 contract signed  
April 20* temporarily off the market  
April 20* back on market  
May 1 contract signed  
May 5 sold (no price given)

(* Yes, the inter-firm system has 2 entries on April 20, in that sequence, neither of which is accurate.)

call me cranky
Here’s what probably happened, more or less:

July 5 new to market on firm website $2.995mm
Sept 20 contract signed  
before Jan 10 contract failed  
before Jan 17 (6 mo?) exclusive listing expired  
before Feb 15 old buyer re-emerged  
Feb 15 contract signed  
April 30 sold $2.975mm

Who cares about this stuff? I do, and anyone else that prefers accurate market information over more-or-less or even wrong data. The inter-firm system has 3 contract signed dates, one of which is after the closing, which can be blamed only on the listing firm. I don’t know how StreetEasy gets its data, but perhaps from the listing firm’s website (a source different from the listing firm sending updates to the inter-firm system).

My guesses about the sequence are based on the fact that many exclusive listing periods are for 6 months, and that sellers and firms don’t always extend the exclusive listing agreements after a contract is signed, even if the agreement expires between contract and closing. So far as I know, the inter-firm system does not require that a listing be proven to have been extended, and my scenario above about an old buyer re-emerging is consistent with a contract being signed by February 15 without a newly active marketing period just prior to the contract. (Since the February 15 contract was an update in the inter-firm system, i assume it came from the listing firm; where StreetEasy got a contract update as of March 26 I have no idea, but I doubt that a coop purchase agreement signed on March 26 can close by April 30.)

change in plans
In case you miss it the first time, the broker babble wants you to know that loft #A608 is a “brand new, gut renovated Loft that has yet to be lived in” and that “[n]o detail has been overlooked in this custom gut renovation”. Got it? Gut renovated. And never lived in, which is a shame considering how nice it looks.

The sellers bought the loft in 2000 (for $1,005,000, per our data-base) so it is likely that they lived in it for quite a while before embarking on the gut renovation. Also likely, they did not plan to sell before the renovation (who does that??). Something changed.

Just as something changed in my blogging plans. I drafted most of this … er … rant to be posted yesterday, but I just spent too much time on the subway, to-ing and fro-ing from between appointments and office and home to get it done. Then today I looked at how long my rant went on, without even talking about the loft. There’s much to say (beyond rant-worthy listing data crap), but let me let this one hit the ether before I get too distracted (what, me worry?) about the renovation, the comps and the outdoor space.

To the ether!

© Sandy Mattingly 2012


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