Heading home warms my heart and lifts my spirits

Whittier, Alaska, which is dominated by a building in which almost everyone lives.

Whittier, Alaska, which is dominated by the Begich Building. (Photo by Jessica Spengler on Flickr)

When I moved from Manhattan to Phnom Penh toward the end of last year, most of my friends and family made clear their impression that I was heading to the least desirable outpost of the civilized world.

They were clearly wrong.

During my travels over the last month, I discovered Whittier, Alaska, which must rank on any list as one of mankind’s least hospitable municipalities.

The driver of the bus that dropped Lin and me at Anchorage Airport after a 90-minute drive from Whittier through a one-lane tunnel noted that the city began its life as Continue reading

I’ve taken Manhattan, but I’m leaving it behind

Skyline

New York City has captivated me since I first moved here in 1970.

Like everyone who appreciates the city, I have celebrated its universally acknowledged virtues — the myriad restaurants, the energy, all types of diversity, the stimulation that almost every block offers, the glorious parks, the vast range and high quality of cultural offerings, the climate of creativity along with residents whose intellect can be challenging, whose openness is endearing and whose directness can be refreshing.

I left Manhattan once, in 1995, to undertake a new and rewarding project in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. government.  I expected to be away for just a year, but that year stretched into 11 years, the last four of which unexpectedly involved a detour from communications, public education and journalism into what became a thriving real estate business.

But I missed the Big Apple, so I gave up that business to start a new one as a real estate broker in Manhattan.  Although returning in 2006 filled me with delight and impressed me with new discoveries, my business never reached the heights that I had achieved in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.  Moreover, the practice of real estate here left me yearning for the level of involvement that it requires in the Washington area, where agents and brokers complete contracts themselves, without a lawyer’s participation.

I have felt — and I am sure I will be accused of hyperbole — that all we do in New York is open and close doors.  True, we counsel, we negotiate (to a limited extent), we analyze the market and we peddle properties.  Yet I have found the demands of the work to be wanting, especially in comparison with D.C.  That’s me.

Despite my lackluster income from real estate in New York, I have somehow managed to acquire substantial assets.  However, I have in recent years become concerned about the chance that I might outlive them.  Continue reading

Should merely curious buyers seek appointments?

Flickr photo by Michael Simmons

When buyers call brokers to say they are thinking about a home purchase, those brokers respond almost literally like Pavlov’s celebrated dogs.  They may even actually drool.

I don’t plead guilty to drooling, at least not in such instances, but I admit to having made appointments for buyers who are unfamiliar with the housing market to see various properties.

Is such a practice fair to the sellers, who may spend a couple of hours stashing toys and scrubbing tubs, or to their brokers, for whom time is supposed to equal money? Continue reading

Next Queens auction to be held September 10

This Forest Hills semi-attached residence, which is subject to tenancy, has a minimum bid of $488,000 in the public administrator’s upcoming estate auction.

Queens Public Administrator Lois M. Rosenblatt will auction off four co-ops along with 14 single-family houses and other properties on Sept. 10 at 11 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica.

Properties range in price from $19,500 for 1.2 acres of vacant land in Greene County to $1.688 million for a one-story, 4,960-sf commercial warehouse in Long Island City.

You can find all the details here.

To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you have the option here to search all available properties privately.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com

Weekly Roundup: Broker titles, celebs on the move, growing supply, reverse mortgages, the American Dream, boarding houses, and more

Next week’s Weekly Roundup will be the last until Sept. 6

Offering plans afford glimpse into pluses, minuses of lavish lifestyle in luxe buildings

Buyers snapping up Manhattan apartments 38 percent faster than last year, with UWS tightest market

Brokers still wrestling with new state rules on titles

Prices of Williamsburg condos plummeted in spring

First-half volume of investment properties leaps 41.3 percent over same time last year

One Picasso forsaking his walls

Lord of the Rings actor drops $1.075 million for gingerbread Victorian in Texas

Former NBA player lists California home for $2.795 million

Onetime TV detective, also actor who originated role of Continue reading

Disclosure forms not always needed for buyers

disclosureIt has taken a while, but most listing brokers now have agency disclosure forms available for homebuyers at open houses.

The forms spell out who is representing whom — namely that the listing broker has only the seller’s best interests in mind.  However, rare is the listing broker who complies with a statutory requirement to explain the form in more than a few words before buyers sign the thing.

What some brokers working for sellers apparently don’t understand is Continue reading

Liking paperwork, you’ll love co-op renovations

(Flickr photo by luxomedia)

Anyone planning to undertake major renovations in a co-op apartment faces a forbidding task.  Without the building’s prior written consent to undergo structural alterations of an apartment, count on trouble ahead.

If you are a brave soul with plans to expand the kitchen you soon will acquire, add a bathroom or take down a wall, there is no guarantee that the co-operative will approve the alteration request.

Many boards won’t even consider Continue reading