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 zestfully engaging, if overpriced.

One of the bedrooms.

One of the bedrooms, with part of a bunk bed visible upper right corner.

It is all a matter of taste, of course, and the place immediately struck me as having been decorated by a women, specifically one far younger than me.  Sure enough, the listing broker confirmed that the occupants were just finishing college, their parents having purchased the two-bedroom, two-bath unit for them.

Stripped of the furniture, decorations and accoutrements, the apartment undoubtedly would prove to be more accessible to a wider segment of the market than now.  With walls painted white, it would be even more so.

But then, where would be the fun of this condo?

Aside from the condo’s color scheme, the chief concern most buyers will have as its location four flights of stairs from the street.

In the low 80s between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues, the apartment is in a pet-friendly 1910 townhouse with a single amenity, a basement laundry room that would obviate the need to work out otherwise when those jeans needed to be washed.

There are many pluses, however, including bright southern light into the bedroom shown above, as well as the living room; through-wall air conditioning; excellent condition; exposed brick walls; wood-burning fireplace; and recessed lighting.

The pass-through galley kitchen is small, with an undersize dishwasher and refrigerator, yet its cabinetry is quite nice.

Listed at $875,000 with monthly common charges of $456 and real estate taxes of $715, the unit went under contract last month.

Below are some other units that are listed by various brokers and that I have visited:

  • In the low 100s between Broadway and Riverside Drive, a co-op that is dishonestly (and illegally) marketed as a two-bedroom apartment.  Up nearly three flights from the street in a dog-averse 1895 townhouse that offers not one amenity, this unit has had a windowless room carved out of the unacceptably small living room, wood-burning fireplace, shabby kitchen with sagging countertop functioning as a pass-through, painted exposed brick walls, interior bath that has seen better days and, yes, a balcony.  Price: $595,000 with monthly maintenance of $621.  Sold this month.  Somehow.
  • A grossly overpriced one-bedroom condo in the very low 70s just west of Columbus Avenue.  However well situated in a 1902 building without doorman, the apartment gives lie to the broker’s claim of “excellent” condition.  The floors are scuffed, northern exposures are open, ceilings are nine feet high, doors are bifold or hollow-core, and the bath and pass-through galley kitchen of the 776-sf unit have been somewhat upgraded, but inexpensively.  It is listed at $999,000 with common charges of $837 and real estate taxes of $829 per month.  Proving how little inventory is available, the apartment found a buyer in a mere three weeks.
  • On Central Park West in the mid 90s, a rambling combined co-op with three bedrooms, two baths, a winning open kitchen and a home office cleverly carved out of the living/dining room.  Facing walls through virtually all the windows on a very low floor, the co-op has a washer/dryer, two walls of built-in closets and bedrooms of small size.  Offered originally for $1.4 million with very low monthly maintenance of $769, this dark apartment in a 1920 doorman building that abhors dogs was reduced early this month to $1.299 million, where it may well sell quickly. 
  • An awkward combination of three apartments in a fancy Lincoln Square high-rise that has a swimming pool but no garage.  With three bedrooms, two and a half baths and disproportionately small but sleek pass-through kitchen, this rambling corner condo of only 1,588 square feet boasts central air conditioning, 10-foot ceilings, oversize windows, washer/dryer, skyline views from a moderately high floor and a separate storage unit.   It is listed aggressively at $3.65 million with common charges of $1,800 and real estate taxes of $1,424 per month.  Although that’s some $3,000 per square foot, the unit went to contract last month. 

Tomorrow: DIY

To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you have the option here to search all available properties privately.

Subscribe by Email


Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Web site

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s