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In this market, that "starting from" price may actually be what you pay—and for a beautifully finished apartment. Concessions are also offered on the hidden costs never factored into the list price, such as the footing transfer tax, which is usually a little less than 2 percent of the purchase price, and sometimes closing costs. For obvious reasons developers can't reduce prices for the condos they're marketing as exclusive but New York magazine reports that back-office discounts are offered at Downtown by Starck, Bryant Park Tower, 99 Gold and Schaefer Landing.
4. It's a frustrating time to speculate.
Gone for now is the era of the spec flip that saw both investors and amateurs buying shabby homes to fix up and re-sell, spurred on by reality shows such as Flip This House. Today, that exercise is one of frustration, says Foreman. "Listings are taking longer to sell. At the top of the market you could sell your home in 30 days. We're looking at 90 to 120 days, but only for listings that are correctly priced." The same advice goes for speculative land grabs: unless you plan to hold onto the lot or acreage for five years or longer you probably won't see a satisfying return on your investment.
5. For sellers, now is also a good time to spruce up your for-sale homes.
You can't control the Fed's next move on interest rates, the Nor'Easters that will keep buyers away in droves or the balmy January thaw that may draw them to your doorstep. But you can control what prospective buyers see when they pull up to your curb. And while that burned-out porch light, moldy splotch on the roof and flapping shutter may not have deterred shoppers when inventory was low, buyers are pickier these days.