So you want to be a landlord. Think twice.

I take no responsibility for my tenant's interior design choices.

I take no responsibility for my tenant’s interior design choices.

When I lived in Washington, D.C., I was fortunate to have owned a townhouse for a virtual song.  The apartment downstairs basically covered my mortgage and other costs.

The one-bedroom unit with access to a patio that my tenants shared with me rented quickly during my ten years of ownership.

Each of my tenants but one was great, not making too many demands, too much noise or really any problems at all.  It was the last one that, had I the choice, I probably would have Continue reading

There is more than one way to win ‘bidding war’

Escalators here would serve an important purpose. (Flickr photo by zoetnet)

There is more than one way to win what homebuyers insist on calling a bidding war.  (I call it “competition.”)  But at least two of them are shunned here in New York.

Of course, conventional tactics include raising the price and stripping the contract of any contingencies such as financing and home inspection or otherwise improving terms such as settlement date.

One of the out-of-the-box idea that no one here endorses, however, demonstrates a buyer’s high motivation to close the transaction.  The concept is to offer Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Hamptons, celebs, new-home sales, lower interest rates, auction spat, Baby Boomers, marble stains, housing’s headwinds

Court approves of class action lawsuits by tenants claiming rent overcharges when apartments illegally deregulated

Study: Living in New York actually relative bargain for the wealthy

Hudson Yards finally on track

Regret may define things you might do within your four walls

For politicians, finding a rental apartment differs from searches the mere mortals endure

Sandy deals lingering blow to Hamptons residential prices

Upper East Side developers scramble to convert projects as luxury market rebounds

Details of navigating schools choice provided by BrickUnderground

Council hearing on Fair Cooperative Procedure Law is set for April 30

Outdoor space on ground floor is expensive, but higher up more so for good reasons

Relationships sour between landlords and tenants of Dumbo lofts in converted factories

Q1 sales in the Hamptons 29.4 percent lower than same time last year

It’s time for spring house, garden tours

Interior designer with TV show finally Continue reading

Perfect pitch may hit the wrong chord of law

(Source: the U.S. National Archives)

The headline went like this:

“Can I Buy Your House, Pretty Please?”

In the Wall Street Journal, the article by Joann S. Lublin noted that the housing market has changed in some areas.  As the subheading observed:

With inventory tight and prices rising, buyers in competitive markets like Silicon Valley and Seattle are returning to a boom-era tactic: writing heartfelt letters to sellers explaining why they should win the house. Signing with a paw print.

The piece is accurate in pointing out that an emotionally charged letter from a buyer can sway a seller who is considering more than one offer.

Referring to the missives as “pitch letters” or “love letters,” Lublin correctly reported that Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Q4 sales tumble in the Big Apple, U.S. sales slide, rates match record low

Sales down in Q4, prices about even

Can any other condo top this?

Board turndowns become all the rage

Yes! You can suffocate the bug(gers), but at a cost

The Financial District is up and Murray Hill is down

Inflexible dog policy can bite co-ops back

While NYC residential lending is loosening in some corners, the industry is moving slowly in its recovery

Four renovation surprises that can cost a bundle

Region’s foreclosure rates leap in October

Taxes on property sales dropped to $982 million in 2010 from $3.3 billion in 2007

The Times answers questions about co-op sponsors, smoking and the sale of common areas

Weight-loss guru trims price of southern California home for kin

Bunny is hopping off her private Cape Cod island

Former NFL chief Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Our cost of living 124% higher than average, buyers tending to wait and see

Co-op revokes woman’s purchase for $33,000 of $400,000 apartment, so she sues

Rental market avoids usual autumnal slump

Free map site is cool way to locate all retail businesses

Preferences for apartment size haven’t changed much over three years

Most expensive rental hits market at $165,000. . . a month

Cost of living in Manhattan 124% higher than national average

But our neighborhoods lag others because wealthiest residents pick its pockets

He gets rid of that old condo for an even $5 million

The former Adam Spiegel Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Signed contracts slip, rates too

Decrease in signed contracts bodes poor fourth quarter and next year’s first quarter

August condo market was setback for that market in Manhattan

Curbed plumbs the mind of a landlord

Sellers who spend wisely on improvements can reap big dividends

Apartments that are furnished enjoy growing demand

Metro region posts one-year 2.2% rise in prices of single-family homes

The Russians are spending! The Russians are spending!

Co-ops need to adjust to same-sex marriages

Architects dish up pie in the sky for affordable housing

With deep pockets, you can rent where the likes of Continue reading