So the years were 2004-5. We had just started our own real estate company and we were idealists. We had an opportunity to list a loft, which led to a lot of buyers and noticed one thing: Downtown listings weren't cared for.
In those days, there were very very few resale listings, but what we did see wasn't good. We'd see listings vacant, dirty, dark, lights burned out, no flyers, or flyers that were out of date. Sometimes the vacant loft would smell like sewer gas because no one came by to check on things and fill up the p-traps with water. As a new agent, I couldn't image not caring for listings better. For one reason or another, the job of making a listing desirable wasn't getting done.
Fast forward 16 years. Out with a buyer and looking at lofts and finding the same problem as 2005. One after another, lofts smelled like sewer gas, vacant, dirty and burned out bulbs. How can anyone expect a buyer to get excited about that?!?
Selling downtown has been a challenge, especially during the COVID era. If the product isn't saleable, it can't all be blamed on novel coronavirus.
Despite challenges to that downtown in the past few years, there's great stuff too. The main thing to remember is that the inside of the space is what's being sold, so it can't be left looking and smelling like garbage (or worse). Loft owners and their Realtors have to put their proverbial best foot forward.
A home buyer anywhere is trying to imagine their prospective life when visiting a home for sale. If a buyer can't see themselves living someplace, they won't buy.
As 2021 heads into the summer it's going to be exciting seeing downtown come back to life, and hopefully new leadership will reinvigorate local government and stimulate interest in urban living. Downtown loft owners and Realtors need to do their part too.