How to Decorate With Pantone’s Top Colors for Spring all Year Long

As temperatures begin to drop in NYC, most of us are thinking of pumpkin spice lattes, breathtaking colors in Central Park and well…more, pumpkin spice lattes.  But around this time of year, the color authority releases its warm-weather color picks for 2016.  You will “fall” for these vibrant and versatile hues as you kick start your autumn season.

So get your pumpkin spice latte and your snuggie handy, as we walk you through the top hues for 2016:

  1. Buttercup
    • This bold yellow instantly brightens up a room.  With a contrasting color, your guests will surely be inspired.
  2. Fiesta
    • Elle Décor suggests that this fiery red color is the perfect accent in a modern kitchen.  But we also think a neutral living room or office would benefit from small accents in this spicy shade.
  3. Green Flash
    • The Green Lantern has nothing on this hue.  This brilliant green can add a tremendous splash to an entryway or hallway.  Anyone daring enough to paint their bathroom in this striking color?
  4. Iced Coffee
    • This neutral yet soft brown may not seem earthshattering but the color provides a backdrop for a smooth transition season to season.
  5. Lilac Gray
    • This unassuming purple hue is a classic addition to any room and provides a bit of visual interest without an over-the-top statement.
  6. Limpet Shell
    • Sky blue is out and limpet shell is in!  The gentle shade warms up any room in the home and also provides a great neutral color for nursery rooms!
  7. Peach Echo
    • Are you loving the names of these hues – we surely do!  This corel-esque shade brings a sense of Caribbean warmth to your home which is perfect for our Hampton or Sag Harbor homeowners.  We think this accent color would be fabulous with classic white rooms.
  8. Rose Quartz
    • Pretty in pink is back in!  This petal pink goes beyond a little girl’s room and could grace the walls in a dining room, library or even a powder room off the main living room.
  9. Serenity
    • This shade of blue has a slight hint of purple and illuminates any room in the home.  Especially a dining area, powder room and or a playroom for the kids.
  10. Snorkel Blue
    • This deep and rich blue adds a lavish style to your home especially in a formal living room.

Pantone Colors for the blog

For more information on how you can use these pantone colors, click here.

Hello, from London!

We wanted to take a moment, to say hello from London!  Although we pride ourselves on sharing important information on the Manhattan real estate market on our blog, we also like to have some fun along the way.  We are currently in London doing a little bit of business with a some moments of play.  We couldn’t help but share these priceless photos with you all.  We hope that you follow our twitter page to see the various new developments in London’s real estate market, extraordinary monuments and of course laughable photos of the trip!

 London Trip Fun

Ask The Experts | What To Do With My Vacant Apartment?

Rent, sell or hold? What to do with your vacant apartment? 

“Dear Mr(s). Seller: we cordially invite you to celebrate today’s sellers’ market.” This may as well be written on the dozen+ postcards you’re likely getting from brokers old and new. You are officially in the enviable position of calling your shots (at least for the time being) so call them wisely. If you are the proud owner of a property you are not occupying, you have a fundamental choice to make: hold vacant, hold to rent, or sell. Let’s take a look at what supports each of these decisions, and how to make sure you make the right one!

  • Hold vacant:  May God continue to impart blessings upon you. Should you find yourself in the position to continue holding on to your property, in this market, not occupy it and not rent it, then you likely have a villa in St. Barth’s, a humble but respectable chateau in Bordeaux, and perhaps a modest condo in Tokyo. Your property is either a pit-stop for you along your journeys, or a place of solitary refuge as you pen the next chapter of your third novel. May we suggest fractional private jet ownership, if you don’t already have one?
  • Hold to rent:  This option suits very well those who are in it for the long term, those owners who don’t have the need or desire to sell in the coming year or two. If your time horizon is 7+ years, then renting in this market is a solid choice, benefiting from an ever-strengthening rental market driven by a growing urban population seeking to live and work in one of the most desirable cities in the world. Yes, there are transaction costs to renting and tenant turnover, along with maintenance upkeep, but the returns should still render the choice worthwhile if the rent that your apartment generates covers your carrying costs over time.
  • Sell:  Most seasoned investors will tell you that investment returns are incredibly sensitive to their timing. Generally speaking, peaks and busts, otherwise known as good times and bad times, tend to be shorter in nature than we might think. Therefore, returns that you might generate at any point in time could vary dramatically based on moving the time period up or back only a few years. Why do we take the time to share a 101 on investments? Because you don’t know what the market will be like in 1-2 years. The short term tends to be more volatile than the long term, as evidenced by the length of the most recent peaks and troughs of our very own NYC real estate market. Therefore, if you think you’re going to sell in the next 1-2 years, we argue that there’s no reason to wait any longer, and that you should sell now.

We believe that wisdom lies in tempering what is known today with what could be tomorrow. Investor wisdom lies in looking around you and asking “What’s everyone betting on right now? What’s everyone assuming? And what would a contrarian do?” Were this the case more often, fewer would suffer in any downturn and more would gain instead. And should this be the case for you now, give us a call and let’s partner in selling your property this year.

Ask The Experts | How to Compete with Sparkling New Rentals

How to compete with sparkling new rentals?

So you’re an investor (aka landlord) and you’ve been renting your apartment out for some time now. In the meantime, you’re seeing a plethora of new, sparkly and shiny rental apartments popping up all over the city. You may be wondering: how can you compete? Should you still be charging the same rent or more rent? What can you do to maintain your competitiveness?

Here’s a few things to keep in mind as you determine your strategy:

  • Location: are you in a prime location? Are you in the neighborhood for your target renter or are you off the beaten path? This is key to determining just how your property will be sized up by others.
  • Services: most new rental buildings have impressive amenities, but not all. If you happen to be in a building that has a doorman, offers a gym, and perhaps a kids’ play room, you should be able to hold your ground. Plenty of new offerings, especially in less prominent locations, have only virtual doormen or none at all, and may be lacking in other services. Should your building also be missing the bling, you may wish to price your apartment according to similarly endowed buildings to reduce vacancy time.
  • Size: this is a big factor. How large is your apartment relative to the number of bedrooms? If your apartment was built more than 10 years ago, chances are you’re sitting pretty. Why? Because of the last decade, developers have slowly but surely been shrinking the footprints of new apartments. This has been happening for two reasons: 1) because land values have risen so much that the only way for developers to make their desired profit is to build tighter apartments, and 2) because the amenities provided have gone through the roof, and are not cheap to offer and maintain. Therefore you can spread the cost across more units if they’re smaller.
  • Unique features: most new rental properties are rather cookie cutter and very efficient. In other words, they don’t have interesting nooks and crannies, charming windows, exposed brick walls or small gardens. Should your apartment boast any unique or unusual features, play them up. Many renters would rather forego sparkle for charm and character.
  • Quality: the quality and state of your apartment matters, from floors to appliances. If your kitchen is 15 years old but you’re expecting to charge similar rent to that apartment across the street with new Viking appliances, you may wish to either reconsider or upgrade your kitchen or bathroom.

So before you go to market again with the same pricing strategy from previous years, it may be worth going through the above factors to determine how you can best compete with all the sparkling new rentals hitting the market.

At The Core | The Best Pricing Strategy Right Now

If you’re regular readers of our newsletter, you know that we rarely toot our own horn. We pride ourselves in being objective, even keeled and, frankly, rather self-effacing in terms of our achievements.

Well, toot, toot, tooty toot! We’re taking just this one opportunity to toot our own horns. And no, what we’re doing isn’t rocket science but boy is it worth it when our work pays off for our clients. So we’d like to share from our successes the best pricing strategy we’ve found to be working right now.

We’ve had phenomenal results in the last couple of months, especially in the $2-$5 million price range by pricing just under the market. That’s right: you read correctly. By pricing just below the market value of the apartment, we’ve achieved greater results than by pricing at or above.   All of those properties whose sellers got on board went into contract over asking within one week, the most dramatic difference being a $1.9 million asking price and its $2.4 million contract signed price.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we believe there’s no way to underprice in an up market. You may be hearing different things from “building specialists” looking to woo prospective clients with high listing prices, but the proof is in the pudding as far as we’re concerned.

In fact, this strategy works very well in most price ranges. It works particularly well in a competitive market or large buildings with similar units. It’s when we get over the $10 million mark that this strategy starts breaking down. Why is this the case? Because other variables come into play such as having a great terrace facing Central Park or having an unusually large footprint. The higher the price point, the more potentially unique the features, the more customized the pricing strategy needs to be.

At The Core | Who is More Savvy – Buyers or Sellers?

It’s a provocative question, to be sure, particularly if you’re a seller. What do we mean by savvy, anyway? And why ask such a provocative question? There’s a method to our madness.  All things being equal, there is no difference between buyers and sellers. With the same information at their fingertips and with the same shared experience of this market, they are on the same page.

There’s only one problem with that: all things are not equal. They do not have the same information nor do they share the same experience of this market. How can this be?

Let’s break it down a bit, starting with buyers. Your average buyer nowadays is in the market for about a year before finding, “winning” and pulling the trigger on a property. On average, they will have seen 20-30 apartments a month (i.e. at least 100 apartments over the course of the year) … within a certain price range and certain distinct characteristics. (I.e. If a buyer is looking for a 2 bedroom between $1.8 and $2.3 million in a doorman building, they will be seeing 100 apartments meeting that criteria.) Chances are, over the course of that year, they will have regretfully waited too long to place offers on at least 5 apartments, encountered at least 10 bidding wars, actually lost at least 2 and perhaps even had a deal fail after signing the contract. That is a full and robust experience of the market by any standard. It is easy to see from thinking through their experience that buyers have a deep and rather efficient view of the current market, with so much data feeding into that view. After only a month of searching, buyers develop a keen sense of what’s overpriced or a good deal, because they’re actively seeing the comps. Moreover, they develop a keen understanding of how quickly good property moves, and therefore become skeptical of properties on the market for longer than the average.

Now let’s turn to sellers. Your average seller nowadays is in the market for two months. On average, they have seen one and only one apartment: their own. They have a natural attachment to it because it’s theirs and they believe it’s special. (All very normal psychological underpinnings, by the way.) Their experience of the market is remarkably myopic, by their very role as sellers, as compared to those of buyers and therefore have a far less developed understanding of the existing, on-the-ground market dynamics within which they’re competing. In almost every way (except for holding a product that others hopefully want to buy) they’re at a structural disadvantage.

And this is where the broker kicks in. The only way for sellers to effectively “compete” and make as informed a decision as buyers is to leverage their broker as much as possible. The broker has far more on-the-ground experience than even the buyers, both anecdotally and objectively. (S)he deals with 20-30 active buyers at any point in time and has a strong sense of what does and doesn’t work in this market … in real time. There is a level of trust that needs to exist and a willingness to learn that should be present in order to make the best decisions and optimize the sale. This holds true for decisions around marketing, staging, open house frequency and, most importantly, pricing.

Therefore, if you’re a seller, recognize you’re not on an even playing field on your own – but with a trusted broker partner, you’re well on your way to making the most of this market!