Add good looks to reasons for picking broker

If Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie change careers and walk into your home to pitch their skills at selling real estate, sign ‘em up immediately.

It turns out that looks matter.

Even after controlling for the quality of the house, research published in Applied Financial Economics finds that the personal characteristics of real estate agents affect house prices but don’t shorten the length of time a property is on the market. Continue reading

Out and About: Vintage spaces worth preserving

Kitchen of relatively recent vintage that needs not be preserved.

When I glance into some baths or kitchens that retain their original character and their nearly original condition, I confess turning a shade of green.

Not all buyers have the same reaction, however.

They see “old” when I see preserved.  They see potential to be realized when I see authenticity to be celebrated. Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Renters reject commissions, pending sales up over year, rates set record, list IDs ugliest mansions, recovery talk ignites debate

Although able to buy multimillion-dollar residences, some very rich folks choose to rent at sky-high prices instead

Fire Department takes dim view of dangling air conditioners and undertakes strong action

Landlord’s empire of apartment buildings collects thousands of code violations

City comptroller expects large residential properties to maintain value

40 percent of renters say they won’t pay broker’s fee purely on principle

Some Brooklyn renters moving back to Manhattan, where they find cheaper digs

With luxury home sales hitting record, surging Hamptons activity nearly matches 2007

City Council overwhelmingly approves NYU expansion plan

Sales, prices of new condos in Brooklyn boom in Q2 vs. prior year

Westchester communities experience parent drain after commencements

Broadway couple trades hit musical for the Hit Factory

She kisses good-bye to Tribeca condo at a small loss

Filmmaker decides it’s time to sell California estate at an asking price of $9.5 million

Index of contracts signed in June Continue reading

I love the place, now you make those repairs!

(Flickr photo by MadLabUK)

As the saying goes, no one is perfect.  Nor is any home, new or previously occupied.

There’s always something that needs to be fixed.  The question is who will make the repairs.

In negotiating the sale of a residential property, buyers often cite defects as a way to get the price reduced.

However, buyers can get into trouble Continue reading

Use care when relying on power of attorney

Power of. . . a different sort. (Flickr photo by damndirty)

It is not uncommon for one, or even both, of the parties to a real estate transaction to be absent at the closing.

In that event, providing someone with the power of attorney makes everything possible.  But there are important matters to consider when either buyer or seller goes that route.

First, Continue reading

Realtors’ group makes surprising admissions

Ron Phipps

Not everyone should own a home?

Lenders need to have strict standards?

House prices can go down as well as up?

These are not the usual positions of an organization that describes its “core mission” as Continue reading

Out and About: Sow’s ear into silky sale

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, that wants it down.

There probably isn’t a single apartment or townhouse without its drawbacks.

In the case of a beguiling co-op in the high 80s between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues, the biggest — and perhaps only — drawback is the walls just outside the kitchen’s and one of the bathroom’s windows.

The designer who has put the place on the market for $699,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,147 has lovingly stripped and burnished the woodwork, selected warm and complementary paint colors, and had new hardwood flooring installed.  To my mind, his taste is beyond reproach.

But I was Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Supply in U.S. and NYC dwindles, rates keep falling, Oprah takes bath, hell is hoarder at home, Shiller’s glass half empty

Obama slept here, and so can you for $2,400 a month

Median price of new condos up 15.4 percent from year ago, inventory down 19.1 percent

Q2 prices in Brooklyn, Queens edge up as inventory plunges

With prices falling in the Hamptons, sales pick up

Boards only set policies and six other surprises that rookie members may confront

New rental units in the city undergoing shrinkage

New handful of properties set to come on market at $90 million or more

Retired detective names safest, riskiest units in apartment building

Sales volume, property values remain well below peak levels, says NYU’s Furman Center

Number of residential building permits skyrockets, especially in Manhattan

Super rich Continue reading

Do apartment buildings abuse First Amendment?

Numerous condo and co-op buildings restrict the amount, place or even the contents of notices and other paper that residents want their neighbors to see.

The arguments in favor of the restriction range from preserving dignity and removing clutter to avoiding political disputes.

For years, community association leaders and lawyers were in agreement that since condos are not governments, the First Amendment did not protect condo owners from speaking freely, lawyer and columnist Benny Kass observes in the Washington Post.  But a recent court ruling suggests the possibility that courts in some states may rule on the side of building residents, rather than their boards.

He reports that an opinion handed down by Continue reading

Draft tax abatement bill reduces past decreases

Although legislation has been drafted to extended tax abatements for apartment owners, there are changes that residents may not have been expecting.

It has been widely reported that the legislature is expected to go into special session later this year to vote on the co-op/condo abatement, the J-51 program and a technical amendment for 421a tax benefits, which are aimed at encouraging new residential development in high-density districts in Midtown as well as in downtown Manhattan.

But only when I received an e-mail from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) did I notice details that affect many residents of the Big Apple.  Continue reading