image of perfect apartment at 850 Bradhurst in Harlem, New York

Well, some apartments are just kinda perfect, like this Harlem 2-bedroom.

Some property listings seem to linger on the market without ever getting into contract, and some go into contract within days of being listed. It’s a huge bummer to be in the market and see your dream pad disappear before you even had a chance to see it. Why do some apartments fly off the market so quickly? Let’s explore the reasons.

1. The Apartment Is Priced to Sell

When an apartment hits the market with a price below what similar apartments have been selling for, there is usually a stampede. This strategy is often used to get many people in the door and thus numerous competing offers. In some cases, a buyer may be familiar with the building and throw in an offer sight unseen. When an apartment is priced as undervalued, expect offers from multiple parties, leading to a quickly signed contract.

2. It’s a Desirable Floor Plan

Sometimes buyers will have their eyes on certain buildings. Maybe they missed out a previous time, or have seen other layouts that aren’t ideal. So they wait for months until one specific apartment line comes on the market and then make an offer that can’t be refused. Picture a building that has primarily 1- and 2-bedroom units and a few 3-bedrooms. Buyers might be waiting on the sidelines for a big one to come to market — and the moment they see it, they’ll strike.

3. Buyers Have Been Outbid Before

When buyers have been outbid numerous times, they may come out of the gate with a strong figure. Those determined not to go through the stressful process of a bidding war may initially offer so much that a buyer has no choice to accept it or risk getting less for the apartment.

4. It’s a New Development

A lot of the excitement in the New York City real estate market comes from the new condominiums launching across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. When offices open for pre-construction sales, there is a chance to be the first to buy into something that will hopefully increase in value as sales continue. Buyers may have the opportunity to buy into a new development at $2,000 per square foot, expecting that within two years, the developer will sell properties at $2,500 per square foot. This results in some quick contract signings at the start of sales.

5. The Apartment Is Perfect

Everyone has their own version of perfect, and certain apartments check all the boxes for certain buyers. When the stars align, a would-be buyer is going to do their best to snap up the property before someone else gets a chance.


Don’t get too discouraged if you see your dream apartment disappear into contract. What’s meant to be is meant to be. However, I would recommend working with a buyer’s broker to help you understand situations where you may want to act quickly, versus those where you can wait to see how things play out.

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