Debra Hoffman from Town Residential: Prices Are Starting to Level Off in the Sales Market

We’re happy to start off 2017 with a new interview in our series! This time, Debra Hoffman from Town Residential shares with us both her assessment of the year that has just ended and her predictions for 2017. Debra believes there’s a lack of inventory in the $1M to $3M sales market, and if priced correctly, homes in this price range will sell fast. She also says a market correction was inevitable and it’s now time for sellers and buyers to get real when it comes to pricing and expectations. As a specialist in co-op board interviews, Debra offers advice to potential buyers getting ready for this step. Check out more in this interview.

Debra C Hoffman
Debra Hoffman, Town Residential

Q: Why did you choose a career in real estate?

A: I always liked real estate. After all, what is more important than someone’s home? My mother used to go to open houses on weekends just to wander through the new homes on the market and she would take me with her. In reality, I was a real estate and trusts & estates paralegal for a number of years and we worked with a lot of sales agents. I was shocked by the dismissive attitude many of them had for their buyers and sellers and how unknowledgeable many of them were. I was misled by an agent on my last co-op purchase and was so upset I didn’t know what correct questions to ask. Of course this was before the internet and I thought to myself, “I could do a better job of this.” Well, I made the move to sales almost 20 years ago and never looked back.

Q: What do you love most about your job? Can you maybe briefly describe a typical day at work for you?

A: The look on a client’s face when they find the right home. This coupled with a seller’s excitement when we got a better price for their home than they were expecting. It is the positivity that surrounds each transaction. Don’t get me wrong. Not every transaction is easy. There are a lot of problems most of the time. When there is a lot of positivity, you can overlook the speed bumps in the road of the deal. I believe when you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.

Q: How would you assess the Manhattan real estate market in 2016? Were there any particular trends that you noticed?

A: I think 2016 was a wake up call for many people. Manhattan real estate moves in 8-10 year cycles. We were finishing up an 8-9 year “up” cycle in 2016. Bidding wars were only going on in the below $5,000,000 market and there was a lot of excess inventory in the ultra-luxury market. I have said for the last 2 years, “there are only so many oligarchs in the world and not a lot of people who live locally are buying the $30,000,000 plus trophy apartments.” With so much inventory I knew a correction would come, but a lot depended on international finance and what was going on in other countries where the citizens were buying in New York City. Florida started attracting a lot of attention internationally as the home prices are lower and people were buying a few investment properties instead of one large one in Manhattan.

Q:  What advice would you offer to buyers facing a co-op board interview?

A: Ah, this is my expertise. I advise people to be themselves and not to try to sell themselves like they would at a job interview. Let the board members speak and ask their questions. Be pleasant but don’t keep a nervous smile plastered on your face. If it is a couple being interviewed, they should also decide ahead of time who will answer the financial questions and who will answer the social questions. I always try to find out ahead of time what each board is like. Some want you to rave about the architecture of the lobby and others want to question each detail of your board package. Many times it is a casual interview, but interviewees should remember, these are not your friends…yet. Some boards will just talk to you about practicalities and house rules. This is usually a hint that they have already accepted you and meeting you was just to make sure you are not crazy people in person.

Q: Can you share with us some of your predictions for 2017’s real estate market?

A: I believe we are ending the current “up” market. Prices are starting to level off in the sales market. There is still a lack of inventory in the below $1,000,000 – $3,000,000 range so if priced correctly and not overpriced or “trying the market”, apartments will sell quickly in this price point. If more inventory comes on the market then prices will stay high but there will be no over bidding. Homeowners are starting to realize that if they want to sell in the next 2-4 years now is the time to get the highest dollar amount for their homes.

Q: What plans do you have for 2017?

A: I’m very excited about 2017. When a sale market is correcting, sellers and buyers get real. They know they have to set a realistic price in order to buy or sell their home. It is much more gratifying for me to work with people who are serious about their homes then just playing games with pricing. In addition, I’m going to focus more on my luxury rental business in 2017. There are thousands of new rental units coming on the market. The rental market already started to slow in the summer of 2016 and with all of the new inventory landlords want to keep their homes rented. 2017 will be a great year to do deals in the rental market.

About Debra C Hoffman

Known for her loyalty and the honest, ethical approach she brings to every client interaction, Debra is noted among colleagues and clients alike for offering people-centric service that puts individuals and their families first. Debra is a widely respected veteran of the industry with close to 20 years of experience. For more info, check Debra Hoffman’s page at Town Residential.

Andra Rus

Andra Rus

With 10+ years of experience at PropertyShark, Andra covers the latest product updates and market reports for our blog. Her work has been featured in The Real Deal, Curbed, TimeOut, The Daily Mail, Business Insider, Crain’s New York.

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