Weekly Roundup: Housing stats muddy waters

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.

Brooklyn Heights brownstone apartment that a late pugilist, mayoral candidate, author owned is on the market

Fashion designer with an elastic view of her Greenwich Village home stretches its boundaries

Co-op board twice rejects buyer hopeful of acquiring Astor apartment

Selling his duplex for 10 percent below ask suggests he may not be the greatest at everything

‘I wuz robbed,” TV detective might well cry

All-Star third basemen puts tricked-out loft on the market

Apartment at the Dakota caught author’s eye

Russian billionaire’s girlfriend learns that diamonds aren’t a girl’s only friend

Housing construction remains near historic lows, but Continue reading

The High Road: We make too damn much money

There, I said it: Broker compensation is indefensible.

An independent broker who is a friend of mine and I were having — how to put it? — a robust discussion that centered on commissions the other day (without violating anti-trust laws, heaven knows).

I ventured an opinion that I hold strongly and have put on the record previously, that percentage commissions make no sense to me.  So “Bill” asked me what was the origin of my “guilt,” adding that he had to support a family of six.  (Nor should the choices he has made bear on his occupation and income.)

My rejoinder was that guilt had nothing to do with my position.  Instead, said I, Continue reading

Buyers and sellers, don’t hold back information

Speak up, awreddy! (Flickr photo by gmcmullen)

Of course, folks have a desire to protect their privacy.  Even when visiting their physicians, some patients are foolishly leery of disclosing details that they view as embarrassing or otherwise just too personal.

It follows that many buyers and sellers also may be reluctant to reveal information about themselves, but it’s important to heed the line between what is essential for their brokers to know and Continue reading

The High Road: Who do you trust?

The listing broker denied my client the benefit of photos that I had hoped to take. This is from her Web listing.

Before the late Johnny Carson became the inimitable host of the Tonight Show, he was the inimitable quizzer on a network program called “Who Do You Trust?”

On the first installment, which I somehow caught, he joked about the grammar of the program’s name, which correctly would have been “Whom Do You Trust.”

I was reminded of his quips over the weekend, when, dressed in my usual scruffy Sunday clothes, I made my routine rounds of open houses on the Upper West Side.

One apartment I particularly wanted to see for a client I had in mind was a $3 million condo in the 80s on Central Park West.  Walking into the beautifully renovated apartment on a sunny day, I introduced myself as a broker with Charles Rutenberg Realty.

With reservations, I thought it was lovely as, at that price, it should be.  I wanted Continue reading

Out and About: Studios built not only for sleeping

Central Park Studios, at 15 W. 67th St., is one building of several originally designed for artists on that block.

Rare is the individual who can resist the ineffable charm, halo of history and peerless patina of apartments created as studios for visual artists and musicians.  They exist predominantly, though not exclusively, on the Upper West Side.

Buildings created with artists in mind often feature some combination of soaring ceilings, leaded-glass windows, British overtones, ornamental woodwork and, naturally, great northern light.

I can think of such buildings on Central Park South, above Carnegie Hall and in the Lincoln Square area.

There is almost nothing like them, and that undoubtedly explains the premiums they normally command. Continue reading

The Big Apple: Lawyers, leases, landlords, more

Do the West 70s really feel like Paris?

Mel Wymore, chairman of Community Board 7, which represents all the Upper West Side, tells the New York Times that, in addition to encompassing some of the costliest real estate in the city, the West 70s has gained buildings, among them condominium construction on Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

The growth has buttressed values, even in a down market, but Wymore says it also has brought challenges. Small businesses like dry cleaners and hardware stores have struggled amid chain stores and banks, he said, and schools are crowded.

Another local resident charmed by her surroundings added that on a recent visit to Paris, her mind had wandered home.

“I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this is tantamount to where I live,’ ” she said, incredibly.

State’s largest foreclosure law firm receives subpoenas related to allegedly shoddy practices

New York Atty. Gen. Eric T. Schneiderman has issued subpoenas Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Interest rates head up. 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.

He sees live condo buyer in short time

Singer learns he was out of sync with the market

Her house is no prize at $11.5 million, a fashion designer concedes (3rd item)

Renting has become fashionable,representing a sea-change, but Continue reading