When an apartment shows beautifully, it always is a pleasure for me to look around. The Upper West Side co-op shown here was no exception.
But I don’t see how it can find a buyer quickly, even with a price cut last month by $225,000, to $2.75 million, after just three weeks on the market; monthly maintenance is $3,432.
First, the pluses:
- The 1930 pet-friendly building (without a doorman) is distinguished, ideally situated and much desired;
- The apartment was renovated just two years ago, and no expense seemingly was spared, whether for the top-end kitchen or the extravagant Venetian-plastered walls in the public rooms;
- Although the places rambles a bit, the advantage is a children’s wing well removed from the main part of the unit, which combines three apartments;
- There are three bedrooms and three baths;
- Exposures from the living and dining rooms are to the sunny south through stylishly old-fashioned windows;
- A separate room is dedicated to a laundry, and there is a separate interior area used as office that could double as a bedroom;
- Even the original door frames have been refinished to reveal their former silvery luster;
- Great location near Central Park;
- Private storage lockers are available in the basement.
The price aside, only one attribute can be counted on to deter prospective buyers: Vivid color in the living and dining rooms.
I recently wrote about “the vision thing” in terms of the difficulty most buyers have imagining how a property could look were they to substitute their taste for the sellers’.
That’s not really the problem with this co-op and others like it. One issue for me is what a shame it would be to ruin the Venetian plaster, which is as smooth as a pane of glass and as variably colored as a black-and-blue bruise.
My greater concern is the built-in cabinets that line a dining room wall. Of impeccable quality, the cabinets appear to have lacquer finishes that defy change. They are unquestionably lovely and expensive, and it would be a crime to alter or junk them.
The apartment has so much personality that only a tiny segment of the market will find it compatible with its taste, and so much of the place is, or should be, immutable that only a few buyers — especially at the asking price — will give it serious consideration. The recent price cut underscores the force of its personality, I think.
This co-op’s challenge is not unlike that of a suburban house with a swimming pool: Some will see the pool as an asset, but most buyers will view it as a potential money and death trap that turns them off.
When it comes to selling real estate, too much customization truly is a bad thing.
Below are some of the properties listed by various brokers that I recently visited:
- On West End Avenue in the high 90s, a two-bedroom, one-bath corner co-op on a top floor with generally open views from a high floor. This agreeable apartment features an eat-in kitchen that has laminate countertops and cabinets, a large foyer that could be used as an office, through-wall air conditioners, skim-coated walls, superlative bath, excellent closet space and lovely herringbone floors. In a 1926 pet-friendly doorman building, the asking price of $998,000 with monthly maintenance plus electricity totaling $1,737 is right.,explaining why it went under contract in six weeks.
- A 1,300-sf apartment in a pet-friendly, full-service 1903 building lacking amenities on a corner of Broadway in the high 60s. This three-bedroom, two-bath corner unit has an odd flow that has the open kitchen, albeit an attractive one, plunked in the middle of the co-op. There are southern exposures, plenty of closets, 10.5-foot ceilings, blocked views from the master bedroom, original wainscoting and hardwood floors that demand attention. At its oft-reduced price of $1.598 million (in dribs and drabs) with sky-high maintenance of $2,914 a month, this place remains seriously overpriced after half a year on the market.
- Renovated in questionable taste in the mid 80s in a Riverside Park block, a sponsor studio in a 1947 low-rise building with a part-time doorman, a garden, private storage and welcoming pet policy. The gut-renovated co-op itself has an attractive open kitchen with breakfast island, bath with poorly installed glass tiles that should have gone into that storage area, recessed lighting, new hardwood floors and a column that someone mistakenly thought should show itself off with garish red glass tiles. Price: $330,000, which is too much to pay even after a $15,000 cut last month, with monthly maintenance of $628.
- In the mid 70s on a Central Park block, a renovated one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath condo. With nearly 12-foot ceilings, washer/dryer and an open kitchen that has butcher-block countertops, a breakfast bar and requisite stainless-steel appliances, this lofty apartment features seven oversize windows that unfortunately face the rear and the walls of other buildings. In a 1902 building close to Columbus Avenue in which financing is difficult to obtain, this place went on the market for $929,00 in September. After two small reductions, it has been listed for $875,000 since November with taxes, common charges and an assessment totaling $1,959 monthly through December. The market speaks volumes: Too much!
- A 900-sf two-bedroom, one-bath corner co-op in a 1917 doorman building that has a planted roof deck in the low 100s near West End Avenue. With dated pass-through kitchen that has been renovated by the sponsor, newly refinished floors, good northern light, more or less open exposures, through-wall air conditioners and a washer/dryer, the unit is offered after a mere $15,000 price cut at $780,000 with maintenance of $1,160 a month. The condition of the apartment and the ambiance of the pet-friendly building notwithstanding, that’s a tad too high.
- In the low 90s on a corner of Amsterdam Avenue, an approximately 1,600-sf co-op in a 1928 Rosario Candela building. The corner apartment on a high floor has two bedrooms, two baths, formal dining room, big top-end center-island kitchen, excellent flow, views of the Hudson River, plenty of closet space, recessed lighting, new oak floors and owners of exceptional taste. It is listed for $2 million with monthly maintenance of $2,026, far more than the amount any other unit in the full-service building has sought. (You know what that means, right?)
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022