Weekly Roundup: New development sales, eccentric buyers, agents’ frothy remarks, free mortgage tutorial, economics of price changes

With inventory tight and prices climbing, sales of new condos plunge

Yet developers, marketers designing ever more spectacular penthouses, townhouses in buildings old and new

Recent law change could make maintenance-free apartments less rare

Buyers do the darndest things

New Yorker magazine lets you click on subway stops to gauge wealth

Beachfront homeowners in Southampton building ramparts against storms

No, says New York magazine, it’s not a bubble again

Disgraced athlete latches onto quarter-acre Texas compound in gated community after dumping old Austin home

Artist makes mark in SoHo with purchase of Continue reading


Not all terms for home inspections are the same

Although home inspections are less common in New York City than elsewhere, they are essential in certain cases.

Sparing the expense of several hundred dollars, a buyer is particularly unwise to be pound foolish in the purchase of new apartment or single-family house, whether old or new.  Inspections are especially useful for with respect to apartments in small buildings, on top floors and on ground floors.

(The BrickUnderground Web site recently provided a helpful home inspection checklist.)

An important question facing prospective purchasers is how to achieve the inspection with maximum protection and minimum chance to have sellers reject their offers.

Because the time between making an offer and signing a binding contract easily can last one or two weeks here in New York, one approach Continue reading

Co-ops in small buildings may face stormy seas

(Flickr photo by Steve Babb)

There are many advantages to buying a co-op in a small building, among them:

  • Being well acquainted with your neighbors;
  • Generally low maintenance fees;
  • Scale that is desirable to many of its residents;
  • Numerous opportunities to participate meaningfully as a volunteer in a diminutive community;
  • Application procedures that may be less onerous than in larger buildings.

However, some buyers see the disadvantageous side of the coin: Continue reading

Broker’s unsolicited offer can cost sellers money

Accepting an unsolicited offer can lead to regrets. (Flickr photo by Muhammad Taslim Rasin)

Some brokers faced with tight inventory have been reaching out to owners of properties that are not listed for sale in an effort to meet their buyers’ needs.

I admire their enterprise, but consider the implications for a seller who decides to entertain an unsolicited purchase offer.

First, they have to conclude whether they need professional assistance to evaluate the offer and the buyer.  If they depend on the buyer’s representative, however, they have to confront the issue of divided loyalty in likely a dual agency arrangement.

Should such sellers decide to Continue reading

Out and About: Some units try much too hard

Total square footage is one thing; livable square footage is quite another.    Total square footage is one thing; livable square footage is quite another.

Total square footage is one thing; livable square footage, quite another.

The co-op in questions boasts two staircases, one sleeping loft and a kitchen that calls to mind “demure.”

Rock-climbing, spelunking experience useful here.

Rock-climbing, spelunking experience useful here.

Between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues in the mid 80s, the supposedly 650-sf apartment occupies the former parlor and the ground floor beneath it in a 1915 townhouse with no amenities except a laundry room (which undoubtedly is close at hand.)

The striking characteristic of the place is how little its agreeable style manages to mask how cramped it is.

One fancifully winding staircase intrudes into the living room and makes for a scary climb to a loft that has a ceiling merely four feet high. Having both mountaineering and spelunking experience seems indicated.

A more traditional  Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Inventory effects, moving actors, price gain questions, dubious lenders, N.J. condos, renovation tips, divergent forecasts

Despite short supply, citywide sales rise in 2012

Median Manhattan rent reaches $3,195 as sales inventory dwindles

23 new developments hitting market this spring

Closet space can account for substantial price differences

Lottery opened for affordable rentals in new luxe UWS building near Fairway

Auction scheduled for lakefront home in Copake

As supply becomes scarce, price growth is modest in Queens

Actor’s strategy for exiting Manhattan is move to Brooklyn

Greenwich Village home of classical music icon on market for $2.8 million

Here comes the profit for Continue reading

Reflections on three weeks of travel in Cambodia

A major artery in the capital city of Phnom Penh (click to enlarge photos)

Among the numerous images that I have retained from my recent travels in Cambodia are two indelible ones.

Those impressions involve a family in the seacoast city of Sihanoukville on the one hand and, on the other, works of tourist art in sprawling markets as well as in hotel rooms and lobbies.

In a country of grinding poverty, there is no avoiding beggars, child laborers, individuals asleep where they work or on the street, shop after shop that literally is a hole in the wall, and one-room hovels that many must call home.

Thanks to Nicholas Kristof’s superior work aimed at ameliorating and his writing on humanity’s deprivations around the world, child labor, sex-trafficking and child abuse cannot be far from one’s thoughts.

What remains engraved in my mind is Continue reading