Published on December 17, 2019

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Photography by Sara Tramp; Design by Jess Bunge for Emily Henderson

New Yorkers are notoriously picky, especially when it comes to finding a home (and the best slice of pizza). Enter: McKenzie Ryan, who was named a millennial power broker by Forbes. The native New Yorker found owners for a West Village townhouse that sat empty for 36 months and an apartment that had been on the market for more than a decade. (She sold the latter in less than 100 days.) 

To her, real estate isn’t simply crunching price-per-square-foot numbers, it’s about the features that make it a good investment. But it takes knowing what to look for (and keeping in mind what future buyers will want down the line):

A Finished Product

In today’s fast-paced world, Ryan notes that many buyers forgo rolling up their sleeves to tackle a big renovation in favor of a turnkey product. People tend to gravitate toward fully remodeled apartments when they have a lot of options to choose from in a similar price range, which is often the case in a city with such a large volume of listings like New York City.

Open-Concept Kitchens

“Space is the most limited commodity in New York,” says Ryan. “Buyers prefer open kitchens, because they bring in more light and tend to make the home feel more spacious.” Two additional ways to make a small space seem larger than it is: blond wood and white walls—which is why Ryan believes buyers subconsciously like those details best.  

Natural Light

Speaking of sunlight: “Given that Manhattan is built on a grid, the likelihood that there is a building across from your home is very high,” explains Ryan. “This makes high-floor apartments and southern or western exposure extremely valuable.” 

Inexpensive Maintenance Fees

Think of it as more money in your pocket at the end of the year. Especially if you’re on a budget. “I would recommend picking a building without a doorman and excessive amenities,” she says. 

Low-Tech Setups

Beware of overly tech-wired homes. “The technology changes so fast, making those systems dated and archaic in a short amount of time,” explains Ryan. What you’ll save on smart home gadgets you can put toward adding a little character—herringbone floors and arched windows are both on Ryan’s wish list.

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