Out and About: Is the price on target?

The four-bedroom, three-bath co-op on Central Park West in the low 90s first went on the market in February.  The price then was $1.595 million.

In May, the owner cut the price to $1.495 million.  And in June, down it went another $100,000, to $1.395 million with monthly maintenance of $3,848.  (Yeah, I know, you could do the math yourself.)

The attractively renovated corner apartment then took a temporary break for the summer, returning last month.  The price was unchanged.  Good decision? Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Inventory shrinks, rates steady, renters outspend owners, landlords thrilled

Upper West Side zip code is second only to Las Vegas in federal tax liens–again

Scientifically suspect survey by biased group finds 74 percent of brokers expecting Q4 to be better than Q3

Schools snap up at land at a heady pace

Luxury rental building at Broadway and 77th Street to contain 181 units

Construction industry loses jobs in September as the real estate sector gains

You can make an appraiser’s life–and yours–easier by preparing for inspection

Auction set for condo in which Credit Suisse broker endured house arrest overlooking Madison Square Park

Did you miss purchasing one of the 10 Manhattan’s properties with lowest price per square foot?

Pricier Hamptons homes enjoy rebound in sales, in part thanks to foreign buyers

Biggest income inequality occurs in Morningside Heights-Hamilton Heights, lowest is in Bellerose-Rosedale in Queens

Scant respite seen for renters in latest report

Purchasing a new condo can have its drawbacks

It took a while, but Continue reading

The High Road: Me and my shadow are plenty

And THIS is my frisbee. (Flickr photo by Grozz)

You find them everywhere, salespersons in boutique clothing stores, in auto showrooms and, of course, in properties looking for buyers.

When it comes to real estate, they may represent either buyer or seller.  But the biggest offenders are those on the listing side.

They trail you like dogs hungry for the treats in your hand, eager to point out everything about the apartment or townhouse that’s good and hopeful to distract you from any defects.

“This,” they might say triumphantly, “is Continue reading

Co-op boards screw sellers, selves over price

(Flickr photo by striatic)

It is not a new phenomenon, but Jhonna Robledo of New York magazine has uncovered some troubling information about co-op boards.

The boards seem — there is no way of knowing for sure — to be turning down buyers at a growing rate if they think an apartment’s price is too low.  Says Robledo Continue reading

Unaware buyers, sellers face closing costs shock

Closing costs can really add up.  Their total can prove to be an unwelcome surprise at the closing table or only days before settlement.

In New York, the extra costs of buying a condo, as opposed to co-op, are substantial.  That’s because a co-op is only the purchase of shares of stock in an apartment building, while condo buyers purchase actual real estate and receive a deed.

Condo purchasers must fork over Continue reading

Out and About: Why walk, when she should run?

Early happy Halloween! (Flickr photo by minipixel)

At her open house, the listing  broker was gnashing her teeth.  (Thus the photo at right.)  Nobody but me had come to look at the three-bedroom apartment.

Previous open houses were hardly better.

Yet the place had charm. In the low 100s between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, the homey three-bedroom, two-bath unit in a 1910 doorman building has a mix of pluses and minuses.

The rooms are small, one of the two updated baths combines shower and toilet (don’t ask), the kitchen is large and expensively finished, there is a washer/dryer and the woodwork is original, albeit painted to its detriment.

“Elegant and rambling, this apartment will not last long,” goes the broker’s babble in the listing.  Right.

In fact, Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: City’s sales sag, U.S. resales up

It’s oh so hard to snag a reasonably priced rental

Pending sales, inventory sag over last three months

Owners subletting illegally may want to note shoes of prospective tenant

Lawsuits mount against accused rabbi

If you’re searching for a bargain, look no more

When negotiating with a developer, be smart about asking for concessions

Now tenants can rent off floorplans in unfinished buildings

If you’re bedbugged, check a 11 ways to judge an exterminator

Obsessive Dorothy Parker enthusiast fights to save her childhood home from demolition

Interactive database lets renters and buyers track nearly all privately held subsidized housing

Developers do their thing on a stretch of Fifth Avenue dubbed ‘Upper Carnegie Hill’

His matches are long past, but Continue reading

The High Road: Brokers may take too much credit

(Flickr photo by Tumbleweed)

When an apartment sells for more than similar units — in the neighborhood or, especially, in the same building — the listing broker takes and gets a huge amount of credit for that achievement.

But how much of the number is attributable to the broker’s skill?

The fact is Continue reading

The High Road: Say ‘hello’ to the seller from hell

(Flickr photo by Komodoro)

While most sellers can be delightful clients, it is not unheard of for some of them to be cantankerous, querulous or downright nasty.

A broker friend recently told me about a seller of hers who beats them all.

After she managed to get an unthinkably high price, between $1 million and $2 million, for the couple’s Manhattan co-op, they contracted to close in July.  The buyers wanted to settle the transaction in time for their two kids to adjust for school in the fall and so sold their own place in relation to the closing.

It is not irrelevant that “Manny” told my friend “Lily” not to deal with his wife, who happens to be the sole owner of the apartment, not even to call her.  Yet it was the wife with whom Lily had a warm relationship.  Imagine that circumstance.

A paragon of arrogance, Manny asked Lily Continue reading

It would be so nice to meetcha

A fortrress mentality is hardly helpful. (Flickr photo by Ava Babili)

Unlike other jurisdictions, rare is the occasion in New York City when a buyer’s representative presents an offer in person to the seller.


When I asked other brokers whether they were aware of such a practice here, their eyebrows shot up and their contorted mouths betrayed their distaste for the notion. All right, I’m being sort of hyperbolic, but in-person offers almost never occur.

One possible reason is that brokers possess Continue reading