image of motivated seller apartment buildings in new york

Multiple price drops are one way to spot a motivated seller in NYC.

As we’ve mentioned, there are many reasons a property owner in New York City may decide to sell their apartment. What we haven’t considered are the factors that identify a highly motivated seller. When working with your broker, looking for these signs could help you spot a potentially great deal. Let’s identify some of the key indicators that an owner is eager to sell.

Multiple Recent Price Drops

Has the property received numerous recent price drops? That means the owner has tested prices at which they were not able to find a buyer. That’s not to say that their initial price wasn’t justified; it just means that the hoped-for buyer never showed up. The owner in this position has two choices: hold tight and keep the price steady, or drop it. Now, if after one price drop they still don’t get potential buyers through the door, their broker may advise them to let it fall until they start getting offers. Either way you slice it, when you see multiple price drops, it means an owner is eager to part ways with their property. It’s important to recognize, however, that just because a seller is motivated doesn’t mean they’ll accept or even acknowledge unrealistic low-ball offers.

Frequent Open Houses

When you see a property that has open houses scheduled multiple times a week for for multiple weeks in a row, it could mean several things. For one, it could be a new development with a sales office that wants to signal that buyers and brokers are free to show up. A new development sales office will have multiple apartment availabilities, so this is an efficient way to get potential buyers coming in.

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When you see multiple open houses for an individual apartment — such as Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday open houses all in the same week — it may be an indication of a very motivated seller. They need to make a deal happen, and the broker is willing to do what it takes to get an interested buyer through the door. Again, this could also be an indication of a dedicated marketing effort by the listing broker. However, it’s uncommon to see many preemptive open houses if there is strong buyer interest.

Concessions on Offer

Are sellers offering to pay the first year’s taxes or common charges? That’s a clear indicator of high motivation. Offering concessions to would-be buyers is a way to entice them to act, as it helps reduce monthly carrying costs. Given the fact that these fees can be a huge component of an owner’s monthly burden, concessions are very attractive to buyers.

Listing Disappears Only to Reappear Shortly

When a listing goes off the market and then returns a few months later, whether with a new broker or same broker, you’d better believe the owner wants to make a deal happen. Maybe the timing was off the first time around, or the owner wanted to try listing with someone else. Either way, the fact that the listing has come back on the market shows that the owner is motivated to sell.


Just because a seller is motivated to sell doesn’t mean they’ll accept any offer. They’re still looking for the right offer, and they may have all the time in the world to wait for it. That’s not in your control. What is in your control is the ability to present and articulate a strong offer. Work with your broker to discuss your offering strategy when pursuing a property where the owner is especially motivated.

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