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: The allure of Hamilton Heights

View of a Hamilton Heights from top floor of nicely renovated townhouse offered for $2.695 million.

View of a Hamilton Heights from top floor of a nicely renovated 4,400-sf townhouse that is offered for $2.695 million.

For buyers accustomed to neighborhoods farther south, Hamilton Heights may represent challenges with respect to convenience, amenities and street life.

Yet on a recent tour of an even dozen open houses, I was struck anew with how vibrant the area is and how great is the value of properties in contrast to more popular parts of Manhattan.

As the New York Times has noted, the massive Columbia University development now rising to the south suggests that Hamilton Heights is on the verge of a boomlet:

. . . Hamilton Heights, largely unknown to those who have never cracked the 100s on the No. 1 train, is preparing for an influx of teachers, students and support workers. It is also anticipating the higher real estate prices that usually come with proximity to an Ivy League institution.

The Heights Continue reading

Out and About: Desperate measures warranted?

Truncated living room in an Upper West Side studio apartment.

Truncated living room in an Upper West Side studio apartment.

Given the cost of residential real estate in Manhattan, nothing could be more understandable than buyers’ willingness to match the imperfect co-op or condo that they decide to purchase with the amount of money they can afford.

Consequently, many folks in search of a new home readily accept the necessity of turning a two-bedroom apartment into a three-bedroom unit, an alcove studio into a one-bedroom home.

But they invariably pay a price both in aesthetics and, paradoxically, flexibility.  Gone the dining area, the well-placed window in the living room, the airy ambiance.

So it is with Continue reading

Out and About: What is the color of money?

View through kitchen into living room.

View through kitchen into living room of Upper West Side condo.

Conventional wisdom has it that vivid colors can be an overwhelming obstacle to the sale of a residential property that is on the market.

Mostly the notion seems to hold true.  It is difficult, the argument goes, for prospective buyers to imagine themselves in a home that speaks too loudly of its sellers.

In fact, I recall one client of mine who rejected a house in suburban Washington, D.C. — solely, she said — because she hated the wall covering in the living room.  That sort of reaction happens more often than you might imagine.

But the well renovated apartment pictured here may defy the advice to tone down an apartment’s personality as expressed by bright colors.

Although I cannot imagine myself living with the palette chosen by the condo’s residents, I did find the place to be Continue reading

Out and About: Divinity is in the Details

Next Out and About April 8

Front door of apartment on Riverside Drive.

Front door of apartment on Riverside Drive.

Sometimes, it is not the layout, spaciousness or fine finishes that sell an apartment, not the overall characteristics.  Instead, it can be details that capture a prospective buyer’s imagination.

Such might be the case of a three-bedroom, two-bath condo on Riverside Drive in the low 90s.

The 2,600-sf corner unit has superlative views of the Hudson River through oversize windows from most rooms, including the improbably large kitchen, an exceptional amount of floor-to-ceiling mahogany woodwork and numerous other original features.

What first got me was Continue reading

Out and About: There’s a patch of blue (& white)

patch of blue

When it comes to obstructed exposures, it takes all kinds.

There are those where all you can see out the windows is forbidding blank brick walls mere feet away, often in courtyards.

Other more distant exposures may tower so high that the only way to glimpse the sky is to stick your head out the window.

Others may consist of buildings some distance away, perhaps half a block, where it is impossible to see anything worth seeing — not a skyline, not a river, nothing of interest and nothing particularly offensive.

Then there are those exposures like the one in the photo that are partly blocked by buildings across the way, letting in a modicum of light but permitting nothing like a view.  What they offer is a patch of blue.

The apartment from which I took this photo is 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