They say brokers worry only about their wallets

I suppose we brokers have only ourselves to blame for the perception among the general public that we are out only for ourselves.

Yet I confess to feeling dismayed by what I read in a series of comments on the UrbanBaby Web site Consider a few of them, quoted verbatim: Continue reading

Out and About: $1 million here, $1 million there

Riverside Park on a balmy winter’s day

Two co-ops about a block apart on Riverside Drive have some commonalities.

Each has direct river views of the Hudson along the Upper West Side and each needs pretty extensive renovations.

The classic five-room unit is a few floors below the midpoint of its building and has two and a half baths, while the other one is four floors higher and contains three baths.

Although the larger apartment covers 3,000 square feet, the smaller one seems to have only 1,800, based on others in the same line.

Having full-time doormen and welcoming pets, their buildings were constructed in 1920s.

All things otherwise being equal — and certainly they are not — Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: New Yorkers see little change in 2012, a slugger scores, new-home sales slip

You may want to “like” Service You Can Trust on Facebook if you haven’t yet and find much information not in daily posts.

Bank moratorium leads to sharp drop in foreclosures citywide, swooning to lowest number in last seven years

Apartment values increase 3.6 percent in five boroughs, including rental buildings

Map shows younger singles looking for a mate or date where to live

With growing pessimism, surveyed New Yorkers expect real estate market to remain virtually unchanged over the year

Plethora of studios and one-bedrooms forces price cutting from Murray Hill to the Upper East Side

Report shows that things are not quite so sunny in paradise

Millionaire hoopster takes 58 percent loss on sale of North Bergen condo

Slugger scores with Rushmore flip

She seems drawn to sex Continue reading

Down-payment ‘insurance’ for housing market?

Prof. James A. Wilcox

Reading an op-ed piece by James A. Wilcox in the New York Times yesterday, I was struck by the novelty of his ideas for what amounts to government-backed insurance against a loss in home equity.

But the more I read the column by the respected economist, a business professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the more dubious I became. He writes:

Down-payment protection would provide a sensible and affordable way to restore confidence.

He contends that a large number — perhaps two million — of potential buyers who are renting or living with relatives hesitate to take the risk of making a purchase even if they have good jobs and credit histories.  Says he:

While near-record numbers of houses all over the country are empty, the sidelines are crowded with this huge ‘shadow demand.’

His solution for activating that demand, whatever its dimensions, would be Continue reading

Sellers may want to forget about offer amount

(Flickr photo by Welfli)

Okay, I wrote that headline to get your attention.

The amount of an offer obviously matters, but it’s not everything.  In a sense it is not the most important thing.

What should matter to sellers is the quality of the offer, and that depends on several factors. Continue reading

Buyer is found for bankrupt Harlem church

227 Lenox Avenue

That Harlem church in a brownstone building on Lenox Avenue has found a buyer prior to its scheduled auction.

Vice President Richard Maltz of the David R. Maltz & Co. auction firm told me in a telephone interview that a purchaser offered $1.166 million, including a 6 percent buyer’s premium, on Jan. 18, the first day that the property was available for inspection.  He declined to identify the buyer in what he described as company policy.  Continue reading

The High Road: ‘Renovated’ is like grade inflation

To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, that’s what I call a renovation. (Flickr photo by Zusjes Weblog)

In the incendiary days of our overheated market just four or five years ago, you couldn’t give away renovated properties.

Flush with Wall Street largesse, seemingly all buyers wanted to impose their own taste on any apartment or townhouse they considered.  So what if it took wads of cash, endless frustration and overwhelmingly large pools of patience?

Buyers wanted to do their own thing.

Those days are pretty much in past, and I imagine they’ll be back.  But the properties that sell quickest of late Continue reading