8 hurdles agents should prepare for when selling a penthouse

8 challenges agents should be ready for when selling a luxury penthouse

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Luxurious penthouses that climb excessive into the sky can command a hefty value.

Contemplate one instance: The penthouse at Central Park Tower — at the moment the tallest residence on this planet — hit the marketplace for $250 million final month.

The staggering heights, the breathtaking views, the detailed design — it may all be fairly glamorous.

However for the brokers concerned within the transaction, penthouse properties additionally include their very own distinctive set of challenges. And with these eight- and nine-figure value tags on the road, it helps to know what sort of obstacles may come up within the course of.

These are among the greatest challenges that may come up when transacting a penthouse unit, luxurious brokers instructed Inman.

Working with massive groups

Patricia Vance | Douglas Elliman

At penthouse costs, it’s commonplace for a purchaser to be armed with extra assist workers than the everyday transaction. That staff may embody a purchaser agent, architect, designer, lawyer and doubtlessly a property supervisor, relying on the customer.

“Everybody has their function and you’re employed collectively as a staff, which typically comes with challenges,” Patricia Vance of Douglas Elliman instructed Inman.

Even simply logistically talking, it may be difficult coordinating so many individuals directly. But additionally managing personalities and completely different preferences, put merely, requires a variety of teamwork.


Even with newly constructed penthouses which can be seemingly flawless, it’s typical for a luxurious purchaser to come back in and wish to make their very own mark on the property with some form of addition or alteration. Working with a developer who’s already designed an area with a selected concept in thoughts after which making an attempt to adapt it to a purchaser’s want record isn’t any easy activity. It requires persistence and good negotiating expertise on the a part of an agent to ensure every social gathering is glad.

“These typically turn into a problem with redesigning one thing that’s already good,” Vance mentioned.

If a purchaser desires so as to add a pool to a rooftop, for example, it additionally turns into an engineering query of whether or not or not the request is bodily manageable.

Coping with co-op boards

If a penthouse is a part of a co-op, this provides one other layer of complexity to the transaction. For example, most penthouses which can be in prewar buildings in Manhattan are additionally a part of a co-op, which signifies that consumers excited by these properties want to organize for a barely extra sophisticated course of.

For one factor, the co-op board needs to approve any potential buyer and usually any modifications that the customer wish to make to the unit they’re shopping for. In some instances, there may additionally be restrictions on how they will buy a property inside a co-op, Steven James of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices identified to Inman.

Certainly one of James’ brokers was as soon as working with a well-known New York actress and songstress who needed to buy one penthouse condominium inside a co-op that had initially been a bigger penthouse unit and was subsequently divided into two. Each items had been on the market, however she simply needed the one.

Steven James | Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Sadly, the co-op board would solely promote them collectively as one transaction with the stipulation that the customer restore them to 1 unit. James’ dealer couldn’t bear to interrupt the information to the celebrity, so James needed to do it himself. She gave him a name and he gave it to her straight.

“And there was this lengthy, monumental pause, and all I may consider are all of the songs that she sung over time which have meant one thing to me,” James mentioned, as he waited with bated breath for her response. “And he or she mentioned, ‘Mr. James, thanks for lastly telling me what’s happening.’ And I mentioned, ‘You’re most welcome,’ and he or she hung up. She purchased each flats and was authorised, and within the final couple of years, she bought the finished unit after residing there for quite a few years — and he or she made 4 instances what she paid.”

Figuring out worth

Some penthouse items could also be so one-of-a-kind it may be difficult to know easy methods to value them.

Loy Carlos of SERHANT. — who’s at the moment representing the best residence on this planet, the 1,416-foot-high penthouse at Central Park Tower which is priced at $250 million — mentioned it may be difficult to give you a price that each purchaser and vendor can agree upon when obtainable comps won’t fairly match up with the property. Then, it’s about discovering a contented compromise between each events.

“There’s all the time a premium, and the query is, how a lot premium to placed on a penthouse relying on the view,” he mentioned as one instance of perceived worth. “However some challenges are on sq. footage, particularly sq. footage of outside house — there’s no actual measure on easy methods to do it. So there’s an aspirational side of it … These are issues that, aren’t challenges per se, it’s only a matter of how can we worth this, or that every one events agree that the worth is smart.”

Assembly homeseller expectations on a resale

A number of stylish new rental towers have risen in cities like Manhattan lately, and the one-of-a-kind penthouses in these buildings have typically commanded staggering costs.

However when these penthouse house owners are prepared to maneuver on to the following funding by promoting it off, the reminiscence of the excessive value they paid when the unit was model new can typically inflate their concepts of how a lot it ought to promote for as a resale — particularly if the house owners have made their very own enhancements and their egos become involved.

As a result of these new penthouse items are priced so excessive to start with, they don’t essentially recognize as shortly as a vendor may hope.

“I believe when the developer places up these condos and the penthouse condominium is there and nobody else has discovered it, I believe the value is way extra achievable than if anyone purchased it and was principally reselling it,” James mentioned. “As a result of then the value actually goes up even additional, and that hole between what it’s actually value and what they’re asking, it’s very sophisticated. I believe there are few buildings that get that form of return.”

Obstruction of views

Since many of the newer rental buildings are manufactured from extra clear supplies meant to facilitate extra expansive views, view obstruction doesn’t usually come up as a difficulty in these properties, James identified to Inman.

Equally, when a penthouse purchaser purchases their unit with an agent’s assist, they will study any zoning restrictions that may both defend or hinder their views sooner or later, holding them knowledgeable about their future views.

Nonetheless, with prewar properties, a penthouse view doesn’t essentially imply sweeping metropolis views. A prewar property’s parapet may truly prohibit views fairly considerably. That may be a severe con for some consumers, however others may favor it if it provides them a stronger feeling of privateness, or within the occasion that they’re afraid of heights and need the glory they imagine comes with proudly owning a penthouse with out truly feeling they’re on the top of a penthouse.

Figuring out the kind of purchaser

Loy Carlos | SERHANT.

Figuring out the kind of purchaser who will probably be interested in your property is useful in any transaction however maybe extra so when coping with a penthouse. These distinctive properties usually entice an elite class of consumers and every taste of penthouse will enchantment to somebody completely different.

Carlos mentioned it’s essential to create a novel story for every penthouse an agent is representing that reveals off the unit’s individuality and can name out to particular consumers.

“They’re usually distinctive properties that basically require inventive pondering,” Carlos mentioned. “They’re alternatives to actually flex your inventive muscular tissues and your capacity to achieve the fitting individuals, to brand them accurately, to inform the fitting narrative … So regardless that proper now I’ve 4 [penthouse listings], all of them have completely different logos, all of them have completely different fonts and colour and texture and all of it has to do with determining what the narrative is and easy methods to get the fitting viewers for it as a result of it’s a very distinctive product.”

He added that for many penthouse consumers, the penthouse will probably be a trophy property so it’s vital to emphasise what units it other than another penthouse.

Stan Ponte of Sotheby’s Worldwide Realty mentioned it’s vital to keep in mind that individuals who buy penthouses are usually additionally townhouse consumers as a result of each lessons of consumers recognize distinct areas.

“They’re consumers who’re targeted on a variety of separation of house, usually residing on a couple of stage with a extremely good differentiation of kids’s areas and entertaining areas,” Ponte mentioned. “So it’s actually about using the house.”

Finishing due diligence

Notably with penthouse resales, it’s vital that the customer and their agent do their due diligence on the property since so many instances earlier house owners might have made upgrades — and typically with out regard for a constructing’s code or different laws.

Stan Ponte | Sotheby’s Worldwide Realty

Penthouses might have been divided or mixed over time or prolonged additional out onto a terrace so as to add to the indoor house’s sq. footage, for situations, and consumers shouldn’t assume that such intensive modifications had been all the time made as much as code.

“If these areas weren’t mixed accurately in some unspecified time in the future in historical past, it’s whenever you strive to enter contract when the attorneys discover that possibly every thing wasn’t totally buttoned up and completed, or signed off on by the town,” Ponte mentioned. “One other factor to concentrate on is many penthouse house owners over time will add issues like a glass solarium or perhaps a fuel line with an outside grill, and even automated irrigation that will or might not have been authorised by the constructing house owners — they simply took it upon themselves to offer themselves a terrace of their goals.”

Ponte recalled one vendor he represented who had expanded a room adjoining to the penthouse’s terrace by shifting the room’s wall out onto the terrace by about two toes. When the property was below contract and being inspected by the customer, the adjustment, which was not consistent with the constructing’s laws, was caught by the customer’s staff and Ponte’s consumer needed to undergo the difficulty of shifting the wall again to its authentic place.

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