The High Road: Yes, it’s okay to talk about commissions

 

The Times loves to skewer sacred cows (get it?), and regular readers know that I have a healthy appetite for doing so as well. (Flickr photo by turbotoddi)

The New York Times has forced my hand.  The newspaper’s lead story in Sunday’s Real Estate section–which quotes Charles Rutenberg co-founder Kathy Braddock, among others–maintains that sellers can negotiate broker commissions successfully.

Ironically, I had been musing about commissions since a lively discussion that several members of the REwrite group of real estate bloggers enjoyed at a meet-up that I organized last Thursday night.  More about that in a bit.

As the Times noted, Continue reading

The Big Apple: Will there really be a condo shortage?

IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT IN YOUR APARTMENT, YOU CAN DO MORE THAN WHINE ABOUT IT

Even when you turn off your radiators, your apartment is a miserable sweatbox.

Meantime, some of your neighbors are complaining that they’re not getting enough heat, so cranking down the basement boiler fueling your inferno isn’t the answer. But BrickUnderground.com helpfully supplies answers to the seasonal curse of overheated co-ops and condos.

HUGE DEVELOPMENT ON COLUMBUS AVENUE ENJOYS RESOUNDING SUCCESS

Columbus Square boasts 500,000 square feet of retail space, including a Whole Foods, Modell’s and a TJ Maxx, 710 rental apartments with elevated landscaped gardens, two private schools and a $650 million price tag.

That’s a lot of units to fill at premium prices, but demand has been strong so far. The first two buildings, where one-bedrooms start Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Luxury homes sell on 2 coasts. More!

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 the other of today’s posts and look for Out and About early next week.

HIS HOPES ARE NOW IN A MUCH LOWER RANGE

AT ITS ASKING PRICE, CO-OP WILL NEED TO BE AS POPULAR AS LATE WOMAN’S RESTAURANT

WIDOW OF LATE MEDIA BILLIONAIRE FACES FORECLOSURE OF 23,500-SF MANSION

CHOREOGRAPHER STEPS UP TO 1,826-SF DUPLEX

SERIAL KILLER’S LONG ISLAND HOME MAY SOON BE SOLD

CASE-SHILLER’S LATEST NUMBERS SUGGEST THAT THE GLASS IS HALF FULL–OR NOT

BIG SPENDERS OPEN WALLETS IN Continue reading

The High Road: Broker allegedly breaches clients’ trust

Real estate brokers have a statutory obligation to keep client information confidential.  Failing to do so is a violation of New York Property Law and can lead to license forfeiture.

A broker with the commercial brokerage Grubb & Ellis was accused in a complaint to the state Division of Licensing Services this month with having acted “in an untrustworthy and incompetent manner by reason of his unauthorized disclosure of client information.”

After wrestling with myself, I have decided to withhold his name (though it is a matter of public record), so let’s call him Mason Leicester.

The 45-page complaint alleges that Leicester Continue reading

When seeking a doorman building, look for a condo

He may be a budding doorman, but he's out of uniform. (Flickr photo by Photo-Fenix)

It’s just about the next best thing in Manhattan to having a chauffeured limousine always at your disposal.  That would be living in a doorman building.

Door personnel and concierges obviously do like to get paid for their work, and that means you’ll fork over plenty in common charges or maintenance fees to live in a doorman building.  In fact, the cost of all labor normally is the biggest budgetary item in such a building.

But the conveniences are manifold; I’m sure that I don’t have to enumerate them for you.

I got to wondering what percentage of buildings Continue reading

Out and About: Our usual spring thaw is running late

(Flickr photo by wvholst)

As wintry as it is, this is the time of year when we expect the housing market to begin to warm up. When it comes to real estate, the spring thaw starts early, especially after the Super Bowl.

According to the superb data provided on my friend Noah Rosenblatt’s Web site, UrbanDigs.com, inventory in Manhattan is up from a year ago.  But sales are lower–and trending lower at this moment.

The number of actively listed apartments fell to 6,427 on Jan. 22, 2010 as opposed to 7,211 on the same date this year.  As for the volume of sales at some stage prior to closing, there were 2,056 on Jan. 22, 2010 versus 1,881 this year.

The decline in sales activity largely seems to explain Continue reading

Can you imagine a 2-BR Brooklyn co-op for $19,000?

The city has just announced the lottery to be placed on waiting lists for one-and two-bedroom Mitchell-Lama co-ops in the FortGreene/Clinton Hill part of Brooklyn.

One-bedroom units run $13,599-$16,757 and two-bedroom apartments, $18,985.  Monthly carrying charges are no more than $620 for the small units and $722 for the bigger ones.

As is the practice of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, however, there is no clue either in the ad or on the department’s Web site just which buildings will be available.  And unfortunately, I do not know the neighborhood well enough to guess.

If you qualify for Mitchell-Lama income limits and Continue reading