13 Cities to Watch in 2013

Mary Jander
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 14:00 EST

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9/26/2015 3:50:00 PM
User Rank Village Voice
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1. Do sweat the small (cheap) stuff, sellers
Little touches go a long way in the buyer's eye, starting logically with the entry. Trim bushes, wash walkways and change out trampled welcome mats. Inside, de-stink with candles and counter sprays, de-jam closets and de-clutter rooms, focusing keenly on kitchen counters. Hide scrub brushes and other fantasy-killing labor tools. Dust, wax, scrub toilets, wash windows, test and clean lights, put out fresh towels, winnow family mementos, harness or hide that avalanche of toys, remove prescription drugs from medicine cabinets and police the yard for "pet bombs." It's time well-spent.

2. Take note(s), buyers
In a whirlwind house-hunting tour of several properties, buyers benefit by keeping a pro-and-con checklist of each home they visit. Otherwise, the features of several homes tend to blend together in a tired brain by day's end. Creating a rating scale of 1 to 10 also helps, as does carrying a checklist of specific features that you seek in an ideal home.

3. Sell by season
Though spring is optimal, home selling is a year-round sport. Use seasonal accents to make buyers linger longer.

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5. 'Big data' is everywhere, so tap in
While local knowledge and old-school networking will always be valuable, the latest technology lets agents offer much more. Some agencies offer "livability" ratings by ranking and contrasting neighborhoods by air quality, traffic choke points and specific data on a home's energy efficiency. In 2013, the National Association of Realtors introduced its Predictive Analytics group. Banks already use "big data" to gauge the worth of foreclosures and short sales, and mobile apps now offer it for consumer and agent use. Ask agents if they offer this and other edgy technology such as high-definition aerial footage shot by drones. Should your grandiose home merit that, go big!

6. Transparency equals trust
Buyers will certainly enlist inspectors to twice-over your home, Mr. Seller. So instead of inviting disappointment, delay and distrust, go transparent with your own presale inspection. It's far better to know now about issues with the plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning), foundation, electrical systems and roof. Provide the buyer a copy of the inspection along with repair receipts, and explain if or how you've adjusted your price accordingly. Buyers appreciate candor.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/3/2013 10:33:13 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: New York and NYC
Agreed, PeterJ. The New York City v. upstate situation is longstanding and very clearly delineated. I'd venture that some other city/state dichotomies exist, though.

Washington, DC, and its surrounding area comes to mind.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
1/3/2013 10:31:04 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Titanic legacy?
If you dig deep enough, I am sure you can find a Titanic element in your city's past -- no matter where you live.

12/31/2012 7:55:26 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
New York and NYC
As a frequent visitor to upstate NY, I find it surprising how "foreign" the city is to other parts of the state. I'm sure this exists - or that there is a disconnect in other US states, but it does seem to be a profoubd one in NY State.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/30/2012 8:58:32 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Cities to watch
Great point, Peter_Newton, that considering cities apart from countries and regions makes sense. Frequently, cities are entirely distinct entities from the surrounding states or regions.

We see this situation in New York State, where New York City is as different as the moon from upstate New York.

Simon Hersom
Simon Hersom  
12/25/2012 3:53:55 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: I don't agree
My hypothesis is that rebuilding a city during a time of economic stress produces a poorer result than would be the case in better time.  Needs must, so the replacement of dangerous structures and the housing of people will be prioritised over thoughtful planning and good design.

i really hope I'm wrong.  Much of Europe has cities full of bad designs built badly during the 1940s and 50s.  Inevitably these take many decades to fix.

12/24/2012 11:38:04 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: I don't agree
Hi Simon, I enjoyed seeing Christchurch in 2003, and I was dismayed at the damage wrought in the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. It will be interesting to see how the city rebuilds and the community engagement seems to have been very extensive. If one thinks of Napier, on the north island of New Zealand, which was hit by a strong earthquake in 1931, and therefore has the highest concentration of Art Deco architecture probably outside of Miami, I wonder what the rebuilt Christchurch's architectural legacy will be like. Will it also be a snapshot of a moment in architectural history?

12/24/2012 11:27:41 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Cities to watch
Great to see cities from Africa and South America featuring on the list. There is such richness when thinking about cities rather then countries or regions which allow us to go beyond our national stereotypes. I haven't been to Abuja or Dar es Salaam, but I look forward to seeing how they do over the next couple of years!

Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
12/24/2012 8:55:16 AM
User Rank City Slicker
I have never visited Russian, but have been told they have the best Subways.  I am very interested in watching how they change the transport system for the better.  I anticipate great innovation.  I will seek news on what Moscow is doing to improve in 2013.

12/23/2012 3:10:12 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Another Contender?
Personally, I believe Burlington, Vermont deserves a spot on the list.  While some cities are only now coming up with plans for their future, these folks took the unusual step way back in 2000 of creating the Burlington Legacy Action Plan to ensure their city remains livable and sustainable.  For the most part they appear to remain committed to the plan, and the plan is succeeding.  Burlington looks like a great place to live!  Check out Burlington's site for the Legacy Project here.

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