Out and About: The curse of lot-line windows

With two more windows, this living room would be twice as light.

What the photo above graphically illustrates is what happens when the reality of lot-line windows comes home.

When the owners purchased their home, they doubtless assumed that nothing would block the windows at one end of the living room.  Those current sellers were wrong, all too clearly.

Either unaware of lot-line windows in the condo or blissfully unconcerned about them, the buyers must have congratulated themselves on the purchase of their light-filled new residence in a 1910 doorman building on a corner of Broadway.

Now, they must be regretting the day of their closing.

After they bought the place, Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Wall Street’s impact spreads, musicians move on, bottom glimpsed, prices weak, builders beat forecasts, lowballing fails

Manhattan agents confident about city, but Wall Street’s labor pains may hit suburbs harder

The Edge tops list of new developments with most condo sales in first quarter

New listings search site is nice to users

Refusing to hear case, Supreme Court ensures continuation of rent stabilization

The bind that renters endure is tie that’s tight or liberating

Bedbug complaints Continue reading

The High Road: The broker/board member

(Flickr photo by amrita b)

Many real estate brokers also become members of the boards of buildings in which they live.

One lofty reason is their commitment to making a contribution to their community.  Another is to protect their investment.

A baser desire is to raise their profile and, in so doing, snare business in the building.

But is it permissible for a building’s board member to represent a unit’s seller or buyer as agent?  Many brokers will tell you that the question is a thorny one. Continue reading

The High Road: Love letters skate on thin ice

(Flickr photo by Patrick Mayon)

A recent article in the New York Times went on about the virtues of sending a “love letter” to the owners of properties that sellers would like to purchase.

Such a letter would extol the apartment or house, describe how the prospective buyers are passionate to make it their home and otherwise provide information meant to personalize the potential transaction.

Back when I was selling real estate in Washington, D.C., when that market was white-hot, I’d advise buyers and even help them draft such letters in an effort to best the competition during frequent bidding wars.

That was a mistake then, and it is a mistake now.  Actually, it is more than a mistake: Continue reading

Where would all of us be without Whole Foods?

The Whole Foods in Columbus Square on the Upper West Side.

When I lived in Washington, D.C. for a while, a Whole Foods store opened a couple of blocks from my house.

I was so excited given — how to put this diplomatically? — the differences between food shopping in D.C. and New York City, I toured the store twice on its first day.

It turns out that I shouldn’t have been thrilled only about the produce, meat, fish and a variety of other items.  What mattered even more was the impact that Whole Foods had on property values in the surrounding area.

On P Street NW near Logan and Dupont circles, that Whole Foods Continue reading

Out and About: Units occupying a nouveau niche

The Aldyn, 60 Riverside Blvd.

New developments possess an undeniable allure.

Those condos — invariably condos — seduce us with their gleam, their gloss, their glamor.

You can count on the windows being huge and the views from higher floors being incomparable.  In the more expensive ones, the style will be high; the amenities, impressive and comprehensive; and the service, white-glove.

To some folks, the idea that no one has lived in the new home of their choice is an attraction that can’t be beat.  A friend once confessed that she’d never buy a “used” house.  “Why,” she asked rhetorically, “would I want want to live in someone else’s place?”

If that’s the case, that pretty well rules out hotel rooms when traveling, no?

Although new developments lack Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Inventory, trusts, mice, more

Despite upward trend citywide, REBNY says Q1 median prices fall behind one year earlier

But March prices in new developments are up as inventory slides

To rid your home of potentially harmful household products, head on Sunday to Union Square, other boroughs later

Residential rental buildings enjoy 34 percent increase in sales volume over a year ago

Location agents help identify homes that can smile for the camera

Combos are getting b-i-g-g-e-r in two ways

Popular new site helps Continue reading