Out and About: Before buying, fall in love with the nabe

 

A Central Park block in the mid 90s.

An extraordinarily wise and experienced real estate professional–okay, Paul Purcell is a founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty, with which I’m affiliated–once said this to a seller whose apartment we were pricing:

You’ve got to like the apartment, but you’ve got to love the neighborhood.

Honestly, I’d never considered that criterion with quite so much emphasis.  When I think of it, however, the notion of which part of the city appeals to a buyer naturally has to come first.  (With me, it was one factor on which I have been willing to compromise, having lived in neighborhoods as diverse as Washington Heights and Gramercy Park, among several others.)

But I get it.

We all know that there are Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Too much inventory persists

Here’s your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out another of today’s three posts.

PRESS MAGNATE’S EX FINALLY GETS TO SIGN ON THE BOTTOM LINE

IRISHMAN, TRAVELER, KNIGHT RIDER, HE IS READY TO TAKE A BEATING ON HIS RANCH

AFTER MUCH SEARCHING, HE DOESN’T NIX A $37,500 A MONTH RENTAL

MRS. G GOES TO WASHINGTON, CUTTING PRICE OF HER FAMILY HOME

RETIRED ATHLETE STRIKES OUT ON HIS FIRST ATTEMPT TO UNLOAD HOME



SALES RISE OF PREVIOUSLY OWNED HOMES, BUT Continue reading

The Big Apple: Sales spiked last spring, then sagged


LANDLORD SUES BROKER, ALLEGING THAT HIS FIRM DIDN’T LOOK OUT FOR HIS BEST INTERESTS

William Cornwell, a retired advertising art director, hired a brokerage firm to a rent out a studio in his West Village townhouse. Then a broker at the firm made him a proposition he found he couldn’t refuse: Why not rent it to me instead?

The result was that Cornwell, 74, signed two handwritten leases on two studios in his Greek revival townhouse, with the agent and the agent’s father, for below market rate and for terms of up to 20 years.

Now Cornwell is in court battling the broker and his firm, charging the leases violated the obligation under state law that a broker represent a client’s interests honestly, fairly and in good faith.  In addition, the state is now investigating the transactions.

IF YOU USE A COMMON CLOTHES DRYER AND ARE PARANOID ABOUT BEDBUGS, Continue reading

Columnist Liz Weston dishes out prosaic advice

Liz Weston (Photo by Art Streiber in AARP magazine)

Reluctant as I am to admit that I have a free subscription to the AARP magazine, I have to confess my wonder at the contents of the most recent advice column by Liz Weston.

Since I believe that you get what you pay for in almost any arena, it occurred to me that the name under which she brands her column–“My Two Cents”–couldn’t be more appropriate. Continue reading

Prices are up and down here, depending on ‘here’

Metropolitan Area NSA SA NSA SA
Atlanta -0.8% -0.7% -0.3% 0.1%
Boston -0.3% -0.1% -0.6% 0.0%
Charlotte -0.4% -0.4% -0.2% -0.5%
Chicago -0.4% 0.4% -0.4% 1.0%
Cleveland -0.3% -1.1% -0.0% 0.6%
Dallas -1.1% -1.1% -1.1% -0.7%
Denver -0.1% -0.1% -1.4% -0.9%
Detroit -0.5% 0.5% -1.6% 0.1%
Las Vegas -0.1% -0.5% -0.8% -1.5%
Los Angeles -0.4% -0.9% -0.3% -0.4%
Miami -0.3% -0.3% -0.7% 0.2%
Minneapolis -0.3% -0.7% 10.7% -1.8%
New York -0.2% 0.0% 1.2% 0.9%
Phoenix -1.3% -2.2% -0.6% -1.5%
Portland -0.9% -0.8% -0.3% -0.9%
San Diego -0.6% -0.6% 0.7% -0.2%
San Francisco -0.3% -0.8% 0.5% -0.7%
Seattle -0.8% -1.0% -0.1% 0.2%
Tampa -0.5% -0.4% -0.2% -1.4%
Washington 0.3% 0.0% 1.0% 0.5%
Composite 10 -0.1% -0.2% 0.8% 0.0%
Composite 20 -0.2% -0.3% 0.6% -0.2%

Source: Standard & Poor’s and Fiserv
Data through August 2010

If you’re wondering about about Manhattan prices, pay absolutely no attention to the Case-Shiller indices.  The erroneously defined “city” statistics are shown above.

As I never tire of repeating, the numbers do not reflect what really is happening in cities (though the trends are of some interest).

Not only does Case-Shiller ignore sales of co-ops and condos, Continue reading

Sellers, just how selfish is your broker?

Brokers have a statutory requirement to serve the best interests of their clients, whether buyers or sellers.  That it is unethical to operate otherwise is another consideration.

Yet there are brokers out there who seem more concerned about their own welfare than that of their clients.  Those are the brokers who shrink from sharing commissions.  They shun co-brokering, splitting the commission with the broker who could produce a ready, willing and able buyer, as a recent post in TheApplePeeled.com reminds its readers.

 

They obviously have a secret, but it doesn't seem to concern real estate. (Flickr photo by Kira Westland)

The dollars can be considerable.  Continue reading

Seller financing: A marriage made in heaven or hell

Flickr photo by kevindooley

Flickr photo by darkpatator

In a tough mortgage environment, seller financing can be a boon both for sellers trying to dispose of a property and buyers unable to satisfy a conventional lender.

Among buyers who could run into problems obtaining a mortgage loan are those who recently changed jobs, are self-employed or have a demerit, justified or not, in their credit history. For them, seller financing can be the answer to purchasing a new home.

For sellers trying to add value to their asking price, ability and willingness to offer financing can make the difference between a sale that falls apart and one that succeeds.

But–of course, there always are ‘buts’–each side of such a transaction needs to proceed cautiously and must depend on the services of well qualified attorneys. Continue reading

Out and About: Combo apartments will speak to you

View from the best of three combined apartments.

Nine times out of 10 when I walk into an apartment that used to be smaller, the unit shouts “combo.”

There are almost always too much hallway, much of it wide and wasted, wood floors that change in height, finish or both, and awkward flow.  Often, you’ll find windowless “rooms” dubbed “media,” “office,” “bonus,”  “den” or “sleeping area.”

Three of the apartments that I recently visited on the Upper West Side were a cliché in contrasts. Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Best and worst cities are listed

Here’s your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out another of today’s three posts.

AN EMMY WINNER LISTS HER HOME IN SOUTHBURY, CONN.

BILLIONAIRE OWNER OF A WEEKLY PET-SUPPLIES COMPANIES SPENDS MORE THAN CHICKEN FEED FOR A SOHO PENTHOUSE

CONGRESSWOMAN’S HOUSE, TWICE IN DEFAULT, NOW IS LISTED AS A SHORT SALE

ACTRESS PICKS UP A PRETTY FINE PENTHOUSE

BROKER DISPELS RUMORS THAT BUYER OF TRUSTED MAN’S SUMMER HOME LOOKS LIKE LADY GAGA


FED OFFICIAL SAYS IMPEDIMENTS TO HOME SALES Continue reading

The Big Apple: Village townhouse is auctioned. More!

GREENWICH VILLAGE TOWNHOUSE IS SOLD IN MINUTES

It took only three minutes, from 6:19 p.m. to 6:21 p.m., for the successful bidder to spend $6.634 million at a court-ordered auction yesterday of a Greenwich Village townhouse that had been listed at $9.95 million not long ago.

“I’m very happy with the price I paid,” said the affable bidder, 51, Continue reading