The High Road: Today Show stoops to new low

Many years have passed since I started viewing the Today Show for a sample of the latest news.

Old habits, as they say, die hard, and I’m probably doomed to hang onto that one.  Enough of the pandering celebrity interviews, the glimpses into the on-camera personalities’ lives and Matt’s trips around the world.

I thought things were bad enough until Friday’s broadcast, which I had planned to ignore on this blog.  But two full days after watching a Barbara Corcoran segment, I cannot restrain myself from ranting about the shameless new low to which Today’s producers permitted themselves to stoop. Continue reading

Condos still unsold after Solaria auction debacle

It was on Nov.22, 2009 that the developer of Riverdale’s 20-story Solaria sought to unload 54 of the new development’s unsold apartments  at an auction that drew hundreds of hopefuls and plenty of press.

The results were not pretty, and Joseph Korff of ARC Development subsequently tried and tried to get rid of orphaned units that failed to find buyers.  I recently got to wondering whether he has succeeded after so much time.

The answer years later is, Continue reading

Advance approval for renovations eludes buyers

Let’s renovate!

“Ah,” the prospective buyer coos, “this co-op has great potential.”

Uh, potential?

“What do you have in mind?” I might respond.

“Well, I’d like to take out that wall between the living room and dining room.  And it would be great to turn that closet into a powder room.  And. . . “

I point out that residents need to present an alteration agreement to the building’s board for approval of such an enterprise.

“Do you think there’ll be any problem?” the buyer invariably asks.

It is a good question and not one with an easy answer, surely not one with an absolute answer.

First, it is good to know or find out Continue reading

Out and About: The way to a home’s heart

The argument can be made, and frequently is, that kitchens are what sell a residence.

Although I agree that the concept is fundamentally true, I also appreciate that any number of deficiencies can outweigh the appeal of the most glamorous kitchen.

Moreover, I think that a top-end kitchen — one with the inevitable Sub-Zero refrigerator and granite countertops — in an otherwise modest apartment or townhouse isn’t likely to carry the day.  Rather, prospective buyers may discount a kitchen’s worth if the rest of the dwelling doesn’t meet the same high standard.

I base my reasoning on the real estate principle of Continue reading

Brooklyn residents learn hard lesson about trust

Brooklyn House of Detention (via Gothamist)

Some brokers think they know it all.

Others may simply pretend out of ignorance, arrogance or avarice that they know what the future holds.

Some residents of Brooklyn learned that lesson the hard way, Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: SO much local and U.S. news

Prices up, sales volume almost flat measured against 2002

Condo prices edge up during last year as sales and inventory slip

And sales and supply Continue reading

Who died and left you. . . the buyer?

Flickr photo by Shaheer Shahid

When it comes to purchasing a property in which someone died, good luck easily finding out that was the case. One reason for secrecy: Such a property generally takes longer to sell.

It doesn’t matter whether there even is a suspicion that someone perished from natural causes, accidental ones, murder or suicide, but state law protects brokers, owners and mere occupants from having to disclose that information.

Nor must they disclose Continue reading

It is up to brokers to ground clients in reality

flickr photo by mademoiselle suzanne

The pleasure anyone takes in an experience — whether job hunting, waiting for a traffic light to change, gambling, watching a football game or undergoing surgery — varies according to what the individual believes will be the outcome.

A piece on expectations in the New York Times over the weekend is what reminded me of that verity.  Notes the author, Alina Tugend:

Knowing what to expect colors so much of our life’s experiences, often more so than the experience itself. If we expect to pay $21,000 for a car, $20,000 seems like a deal. If we expect to pay $19,000, it seems like highway robbery. Either way, the car is still $20,000.

To me, the article underscores Continue reading

Out and About: How does your garden grow?

One of the houses with virtues that Barbara Corcoran extolled recently on the Today Show.

The one-bedroom, two-bath duplex I was checking out during a Sunday open house recently has two assets and many liabilities.

On the minus side are its entry almost directly into the small kitchen (in which an ancient dishwasher caught my eye), cramped living room, a spiral staircase so narrow that I had to hunch my shoulders, its bedroom (albeit one that fits the legal definition) in the basement and baths that I’d classify as ordinary.

On the plus side is its location in a Central Park block of the high 60s, a stone’s throw from Lincoln Center.  (To digress, when you see “steps from” in a listing, consider the Fair Housing Act, which bars discrimination against persons with disabilities.)

Also on the plus side — and the only conceivable explanation for the co-op’s inflated asking price of Continue reading

Some brokers don’t like me raining on our parade

(Flickr photo by Mr. Jincks)

I get it, really I do.

Brokers receive enough bad press that the last thing we need is criticism from within.  So goes the conventional wisdom.

I respectfully disagree. Continue reading