No place like home — sometimes unfortunately

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Example of an air conditioning unit that would be installed on a rooftop.

The following headline in the New York Post caught my eye:

Manhattan couple says hulking Duane Reade air conditioner blows away their view

According to the newspaper, they own a $3 million duplex on East 86th Street next to Duane Reade.  Lo and behold, the store is planning to construct a huge eight-foot-high air conditioning unit on its roof.

Uh oh, there goes any view (from the second and third floors) and down goes the Upper East Side co-op’s value.

So 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

The High Road: Unfunny comedy of errors

We arrive at the Upper East Side building around 3:30 p.m., 10 or 15 minutes early for our showing appointment, and the concierge calls up to the agent.

He descends soon thereafter, and the first words out of his mouth are that we were expected 15 minutes earlier.  The buyers I am representing and I introduce ourselves. The broker — call him “Sam” — does not.

I note that we changed the appointment from 3:15 to 3:45 in a series of e-mails trying to fix a mutually convenient time and apologize for any misunderstanding.

“Violet never told me,” he replies.

“Violet?” I wonder, Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Renters, new market stats, dropping loan rates, foreclosure purchase risks, credit misconceptions, kitchen trends, and more

Renters don’t stay put for long in the financial district

New York magazine explores world of platonic urban cohabitation i.e. roommates

Housing signals mixed in metro region

Four things to bear in mind when buying an apartment for your kids

19 percent more building permits issued in 2012 than in prior year

Committee ranks Upper East Side tops for kids, Bay Ridge beats all other Brooklyn neighborhoods

Request for proposals to redevelop Lower East Side sites signals end of bitter renewal squabbling

Foreclosures in region higher in December than a year earlier

Estate in the Hollywood Hills finds friendly buyer but at greatly reduced price

Legendary rocker Continue reading

Out and About: Homes for buyers on tight budget

Apartment building

Built in 1910, this low-rise has 20 apartments on five floors — and no elevator — but represents value for a hardy soul.

They exist, those apartments for buyers on a tight budget.

It will not surprise them that low prices inevitably mean compromise, usually serious tradeoffs for homeownership in Manhattan.

Among the issues they can more or less count on are lack of light, excess of stairs, cramped quarters, dismal condition, inconvenient location, noisy streets or neighbors, grim public spaces, minimal amenities such as doorman or live-in super, or persistent visits by creatures parading on more than two legs. Continue reading

Out and About: Tip top an East Side condo is not

The little garden is lovely, the apartment at the top of fire escape not so.

Getting to the one-bedroom co-op on the Upper East Side means negotiating a passageway in an early 20th century building facing the street and entering a sweet little garden.  At the far side stands a three-story white clapboard house dating to the mid-19th Century.

There the charm ends.

The apartment is a one-bedroom unit up two flights of stairs with ceilings so low that I had to fight the urge to hunch over — and no one would mistake me for tall.

To many consumers, ceiling height is everything.  Many prospective buyers won’t even look at apartments that don’t exceed the legal minimum.  To quote the New York City Administrative Code, Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Slower pace of rent increases, rise of mortgage rates, Gen Y’s influence on house design, tech myths, market predictions

Rents rise at diminishing rate

UWS has highest absorption rate in Manhattan

Glassy condo buildings unwelcome among old money residents of UES

Free shuttle bus can be a deal maker

Those pesky brokers will write anything to set listings apart

Westchester markets enjoys strong finish

Knowing building’s rules one of seven tips for novices renting out apartments

First-time foreclosures drop to seven-year low in the city

Philanthropist’s 26-acre estate on Cape Cod private island sells for $19.5 million

Actor hunting for house Continue reading