Soliciting Advice (Hunches, Whims) On Selling An 1830s Suburban Farm House

Conceding the fact the (regional and national) realty market is in the tank, and that this is one of the most inopportune times to market and sell a single-family dwelling, I figured it couldn’t hurt to solicit opinions from either those who’ve bought or sold an antique home - as well as anyone else who feel they can offer a unique perspective.

Background: A suburban NYC, 1830’s farm house which has been on the market for 7 months.

Sale Impediments:

  1. It’s not the location: It’s in the scenic Hudson Valley area - exactly 45 miles north of Midtown Manhattan.

  2. It’s probably not the price: Though listed in the high fives (down from the mid-sixes), there hasn’t been so much as a lowball offer to come in since early Summer. Were the house totally restored (it’s only about halfway there) it would be proced a lot closer to 7 figures.

  3. That leaves one other probable culprit: Poor marketing on behalf of the local listing agent. She’s been under contract for 7 months (6 months plus an ill-gotten 3 month extension). There’s a strong possibility she (and her office) are not the ideal realtors for this type of property. Based on “for sale” signs in the neighborhood, their specialty tends to be post-1960 suburban houses.

Ideal Prospective Customers: Lovers of old homes, renovators, successful artists or urbanites looking for a weekend getaway house.

Questions: (Conceding the fact current market conditions preclude quick sale)
a. Would you (as a seller) continue to list this home with a local realtor - or perhaps sign with a NYC-based agent who specializes in more unique houses?
b. Would you push for / urge listing the property in specialty publications, such as Antique Homes Magazine, The New York Times, et al.?
c. Though usually reserved for tweaking curb-appeal & interior decor, would you consider staging the home and installing a badly needed roof & new furnace?

Any other thoughts, hunches and asides ill likely be appreciated.

I have absolutely no inkling of your market, so I’ll stick to the universals - roofs and furnaces.
Buyers expect functioning copies of both. If either is inop, replace - esp. the roof - if it actually leaks, or if you can forsee it failing spectacularly in the first storm of the coming season - yes, replace or sell “as is” - a phrase which scares many folks. Concealing a leaking roof is one of those things which provide lawyers with income.
Unless the furnace is something hideously ugly or it fails to heat the place, the verbiage “new furnace” gets yawns, and “that’s nice”.

My thoughts on reading the ad:
That much space - must be a bitch to heat
That much space and only 3/2?
How hot does it get with no a/c?

Do potential buyers all know where it is - are there access issues? Who pays for snow removal on the road out front?

Unless such houses are everyday things in town, yes, expand range of ads.

Do NYC’ers commonly buy such homes? If not, the cost for NYC exposure might be prohibitive.

If marketing to artists, suggest spaces for studio? How’s the light wherever you think the artist would work/ponder/contemplate?

If the space could EASILY be sub-divided, maybe it could be a B&B? Just thinking out loud…

Just an unqualified observation - the photos aren’t very flattering. I can tell that the house is lovely, but many people have poor imaginations for this sort of thing. The exterior photos really suffer from harsh lighting, and not everything inside looks “neat.” I’d give the house a thorough amateur interior staging before investing in the more expensive repairs (roof, furnace) and re-take the photos. Make it look (for the photos) exactly like an interior from “Country Living.”

I think that you should indeed look into further advertising in magazines, etc.

But hey, what do I know? I bought my 1929 monstrosity from a friend. I knew for 5 years before that I wanted the house, it was an emotional thing.

John, I’d agree that while it no doubt IS a beautiful home, the photos provided probably come nowhere near doing it justice. Many of the exterior shots give the impression of dead vegetation, what with only branches and no leaves or color, yet they were probably taken when, in the winter? Updated shots that provide evidence of how lush and attractive the grounds are would likely go a way to sustain and encourage interest. Agreed with above comments too that things don’t look as “neat” as one would expect in the inside too. Appropriate staging and reshoot inside and out could do wonders.

For whatever it’s worth though, in the absence of a critical eye you really do have a lovely home.

Oh, I edited out a comment that I wanted to add - ohmigod, those floors are beautiful! Someone will want the house just because of the floors : )

Old photog here.
At least for exterior shots. the first hour after sundown (the one with the nice warm glow) is know in photog circles as “the magic hour” - a 3-day dead cow in a field in August will look wonderful!
Additionally. any room that can exploit the phenomenoun, should.