Out and About: 2-bedroom units are all the rage

This is the final Out and About for the summer, but please do check in for occasional posts on other topics meantime.

Second bedroom of my apartment, which is on the market at this writing.

Second bedroom of my apartment, now on the market.

Two-bedroom apartments may well meet the needs of the biggest segment of buyers.

For one or two residents, they represent the flexibility of having an office, guest room or baby’s room for a family planning to grow.

For a couple already with offspring, two-bedroom units make it possible to accommodate easily (in New York City terms) two quite young children of even the opposite sex, two of the same sex into their teens and even three kids should it be possible to divide a large bedroom if, as often is the case, a true third bedroom is too much of a financial stretch for the buyers.

It is no surprise, then, that two-bedroom co-ops and condos accounted for approximately a third of the market share in Manhattan during the first quarter of the year.  And they sell quickly when priced correctly.

Two-bedroom units that are listed under the market have been going fast, while those that seem to be exactly on the market take just a bit longer.  That’s true of at least three pre-war apartments that I happened to see on the Upper West Side within the last couple of months.  Consider these: Continue reading

Out and About: Windows best for jumping out

View, what view?

View, what view?

Short is the distance between a high window in a prison cell and rooms with windows jammed into a corner.

Although the exemplar in the above photo, taken in a co-op between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues in the low 90s, shows that light enters the living room, the windows add nothing else.  In fact, they throw off the room’s balance.

Without going up to the windows themselves,  such a configuration require a resident to hike over to them just to know the weather.  They probably are better for jumping out than looking through.

Yet the apartment, Continue reading

Out and About: Walls always speak volumes

Portion of a wall that needs help

Clean windows, polished floors, organized closets and sleek kitchen all communicate positive aspects of any home being considered by buyers.

One characteristic that is not usually noticed at once also can have a decided impact on first impressions and subsequent appreciation of properties on the market.

That is the walls, especially in pre-war apartments and townhouses. The shape they are in speaks volumes.  They thereby affect prices in ways that can elevate or depress the selling price.

Consider the photo above. Perhaps you can Continue reading

Out and About: Beyond sow’s ear, a silk purse

Silk purse, a co-op near Central Park.

Silk purse, a co-operative apartment near Central Park.

Indiana Jones comes to mind.  Imagine the challenging and unsavory conditions he had weather on the way to the treasure he was hunting.

So it would be for buyers in search of a new home as they approach the building where an 800-sf apartment awaits them in the very low 100s of a Central Park West block.

When they spot the building, a pet-friendly 1900 low-rise with no elevators and no amenities beyond private storage, they undoubtedly will note Continue reading

Out and About: Battery Park City has many fans

Looking north from foot of Battery Park City's South End Avenue on a Sunday.

Looking north from Battery Park City’s South End Avenue on a Sunday.

There is nothing quite like Battery Park City, that enclave built on landfill at the southwest tip of Manhattan.

Among its characteristics is a large concentration of playgrounds, parks and promenades,\; astounding views of the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty and New Jersey (for what that last perspective is worth); proximity to the Financial District; and its remove from the overwhelming bustle and hustle found elsewhere in New York City.

Like Roosevelt Island and some other areas on the fringes of Manhattan’s centers of energy and commerce, Battery Park City (which, of course, is practically on Wall Street, is not for everyone.  To me, Battery Park City feels remote.  To other folks, the pace could not be more agreeable.

Compared with other areas of the city, Continue reading

Out and About: Victims of their own excess

Squash anyone?  Kitchen of brownstone listed for $10 million.

Squash anyone? Kitchen of brownstone listed for $10 million.

They closed on the brownstone on Aug. 20, 2008 for $7.85 million.

It happens that Lehman brothers collapsed less than a month later, causing our housing markets to swoon.

While the markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn in particular have made great progress since then, we still have a way to go before reaching the peaks of days gone by.

Unfortunately, the sellers — I’m sure, a very nice family — have overestimated the demand for properties that can accommodate a big family easily. Continue reading

Out and About: No mystery in many properties

closet-1

It is always abundantly, sometimes pungently, clear who lives in some properties that are on the market.

Is it the owner or a tenant?  You can tell all too easily.

When I opened the closet door of the Upper West Side apartment in the photo above not long ago, for example, I literally gasped.  Like me, you won’t have to tax your brain to know that Continue reading