The High Road: Brokers should blame themselves

When brokers act like the two I recently encountered and no one complains, we who sell real estate should expect our collective reputation to persist at a low level.

So do I occasionally write about certain unnamed brokers under the “High Road” heading (as well other questionable behavior).

Blogging about the incidents always has been enough at least to stem my anger and mitigate my contempt of bad brokers, even though I undoubtedly delude myself into thinking that my writing could lead to improvement.

Consequently, I don’t report bad behavior to the ethics committee of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) , the Department of State (which regulates licensees) or executives of the firms that supervise sales personnel.  As I draft this post, however, I have yet to make a decision whether writing about a recent situation is sufficient.

It begins with an e-mail from my client, Continue reading

Low monthly fees nice but perhaps warning sign

moneyMonthly condo fees and co-op maintenance are important criteria when judging the value of a potential new home.

Everyone wants them to be low enough to conform to their budget.  However, the pitfall can be when they are too low.

Those monthly charges to shareholders and owners are what keep a building running right.

Depending on the building, they cover such costs as Continue reading

Out and About: Some things can’t be fixed

View from my client's living room.

View of train tracks from living room that my client hoped to occupy.

Buyers in love with an apartment may shrink from making an offer anyway.

It is not anything inside their prospective home that turns them off.  It is the outside that becomes a deal-breaker.

There always are buyers who can get over blocked exposures into gloomy courtyards, though fewer who can stomach a messy courtyard seen from the living room of a ground floor apartment.  I’m not talking about those issues. Continue reading

Bankruptcy auction set for a brownstone in limbo

14 Queens co-ops, houses also go on the block in March

Saga of bankrupt brownstone on the Upper West Side is coming to an end.

The bankruptcy saga of the Upper West Side brownstone, right, finally seems to be coming to an end.

The 11-unit townhouse at 313 W. 77th St. went on the market in September of 2011 at an asking price of $3.995 million.  It has languished since then.

Still, the 5,898-sf brownstone between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive is bound to fetch more than that at a bankruptcy auction.

Bankruptcy trustee Albert Togut of the Togut, Segal & Segal law firm previously entered into a contract to sell the building for $3.75 million with a tenant who has agreed to move out if an offer of at least $4.5 million is made to purchase the place vacant.

Consequently, any successful bidder below $4.5 million would have a doozy of a time Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Basement apartments, seller’s market, plunging foreclosures, son of Lincoln’s house, trophy baths, Goldman Sach’s optimism

Manhattan luxury market unseasonably busy

Naturally occurring retirement communities populate Upper West Side

Condominium board gets TRO against Houston couple to prevent short-term stays

San Remo apartment offered for $29,750 in monthly rent went for $900 a month in 1940

Would changing rules for illegal basement apartments boost supply of affordable rentals? asks the Real Deal and Crain’s

Longtime home of Gershwin family goes on the market

Volume of property taxes kept increasing every year from 2005 to 2012

Residents of abutting buildings at war with developer of planned Fifth Avenue

Neighborhood group faults mayor’s plan for affordable housing

Fiercely competitive land prices forcing developers to build high-end condos

Sex symbol who has money troubles lists Malibu home for $7.75 million

6,800-sf TriBeCa penthouse wins undisputed approval of Brooklyn Nets star

New Jersey home was born to sell

Hip-hop star and reality spouse flip-flop Bel Air house handsomely

January numbers show 9.1 year-over-year sales growth, steady price gains so it’s a seller’s market

Supply of resale housing Continue reading

$15 million lawsuit against the Dakota lives on

Dakota

Part 2 of 2

The co-operative building is legend.

Former home of John Lennon, Lauren Bacall and Leonard Bernstein, location of Rosemary’s Baby, the hulking Dakota on a corner of Central Park West at 72nd St. continues under the cloud of a $15 million lawsuit lodged by an African-American resident who served two terms as president of the board.

Alphonse Fletcher Jr., who moved into the building in 1992 claims racial discrimination in the board’s rejection of his application to purchase an adjoining apartment.  His complaint adds that he wasn’t alone, naming Continue reading

Fair Housing Act can trip up unwary co-op boards

Part 1 of 2

Grossman, 210 E. 36th St., and Thandrayen. (Source: The Real Deal)

It is up to the courts to decide whether a prospective buyer’s claim of discrimination is valid in a $1 million lawsuit.

But the case brought by an African whose application to a seven-member co-op board was rejected highlights the treacherous terrain of anti-discrimination laws.

According to the Real Deal last week, Goldwyn Thandrayen, a native of Mauritius, contended in a complaint amended two weeks ago that the board of 210 E. 36th St. in the Murray Hill neighborhood discriminated against him on the basis of national origin. Continue reading