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

First-timers often focus fears on wrong questions

The only thing buyers need fear is fear itself. (Flickr photo by juanpg)

It is a fear that I have a felt myself: Buying real estate is scary.

However much anxiety that the process plagues first-timers, the fear seems to all but disappear with subsequent purchases.

Although it is incumbent on any buyer to assess the risk, it also is true that Continue reading

Money-laundering scandal puts condo on block

A property ensnared in an international money-laundering scandal to which a former president of Taiwan has pleaded guilty is to be auctioned this month by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Chelsea’s Onyx

The auction of the 1,1,78-sf luxury condo in Chelsea’s Onyx, at 261 W. 28th St., is scheduled for April 23.

According to the World Bank, which cites a U.S. Justice Department press release, the sale stems from a conviction by former Taiwan President Chen Shui-Ben and his wife for bribery, embezzlement and money laundering.

Alleging that the apartment Continue reading

Out and About: Round really rocks on market

Round room-2

This 400-sf room commands the center of $5.45 million condo on the Upper West Side.

It is fair to say that buyers entering a round room unfailingly fall in love with the place.

Rooms evocative of Repunzel in her tower possess far more allure than, say, Sub-Zero refrigerators, palatial master bedroom suites, wood-burning fireplaces and views to die for.

Forget about cookie cuttters when the very novelty of a round room can excite envy, generate conversation and embrace all who enter there.  They seem to define difference that only excessive amounts of money can buy.

Conversely, rooms with sharply angled corners may look interesting only on paper.

The round room in this building on Central Park West covers 1,100 square, and its diameter extends 37 feet.

The round room in this 2BR condo on Central Park West covers 1,100 square, and its diameter extends 37 feet.  Most recent asking price: $2.995 million.

That’s because odd-shaped rooms that aren’t round tend to call attention to defective layouts.  They seem squeezed into a residence, sometimes suggesting charm while raising questions simultaneously, often subconsciously, about compromises that an architect had to make.

What I’ve noticed about round rooms is that they rarely are found in new buildings; they tend to be features of very old buildings encrusted with carved ornamentation.

A round room that I saw in an intriguing apartment in the low 70s off Broadway got me going on the subject.  That it had a bath of singular angularity was a bonus, but I couldn’t photograph it well enough to demonstrate the odd shape.

In any case, the 2,800-sf condo is the combination of three units, and the layout evokes that past.  Designed around a light well, the apartment has one long hall. off of which are a half bath and laundry; a fourth bedroom accessed via a room used as a library; a semicircular bath off that bedroom; a top-end open kitchen that also is semicircular (hemispherical?); a large dining area opposite the kitchen; and an unforgettable “great room” that is 20 feet in diameter.

There are three soundless windows overlooking Broadway in the low 70s from about halfway up the distinguished 1904 building, central air conditioning and a sprawling master bedroom suite with a big dressing area lined with clothes leading to a triangular walk-in closet.

It is a memorable apartment.  So, too, is the price: $5.45 million with common charges of $3,530 and real estate taxes of $1,639 a month.  And that proved to be no deterrence to one buyer; the place already is under contract.

Below are some of the other properties that other brokers have listed and that I visited prior to my travels overseas:

  • On West End Avenue in the mid 90s, a one-bedroom co-op with only courtyard views from the living room.  However, the bedroom of this 600-sf apartment has largely open exposures west.  Closet space is minimal, the condition is good, and the galley kitchen is tiny and dated, containing appliances that are approximately half-size.  In a pet-friendly 1935 low-rise with few amenities, the unit is offered at an appropriately reduced $379,000 with monthly maintenance of $916.
  • An expansive one-bedroom apartment on a Central Park block in the mid 60s.  With a balcony (unfortunately) accessed through the bedroom, this apartment in a full-service 1969 high-rise with numerous amenities has a modest interior kitchen, decent bath, generous closet space and ceilings of standard height.  Its asking price of $930,000 with maintenance per month of $1,080 is within range of comparable sales in the building, so it found a buyer in three weeks.
  • In the high 80s just east of Amsterdam Avenue, a well-priced three-bedroom co-op with perfectly acceptable maid’s room.  There are three baths that pleasantly combine old and new features, modern galley kitchen with GE Profile appliances and merely decent cabinets, mostly open exposures west from three rooms, a good-size dining area between the foyer and everything else, fresh paint, nicely refinished floors and welcoming entry.  In a pet-friendly 1983 doorman building, this corner apartment should sell not far below its asking price of $1.75 million with monthly maintenance of $2,995.  In this sellers’ market, thus unit, too, was gone within three weeks.
  • A beautifully renovated two-bedroom apartment flooded with sun from the south on a lower floor of in Morningside Heights east of Broadway.  With modern, albeit narrow, galley kitchen, gleamingly refinished floors and rooms of pre-war proportions, this co-op in a permissive 1909 building that has a doorman, roof deck and gym is well priced at $799,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,288.  And yes, it went to contract in a mere month.

Tomorrow: Luxury condo at auction

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

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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

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

Weekly Roundup: Buyer woes, singer’s many purchases, U.S. price gains, mortgage brokers’ profits, soulful kitchens, millennials’ optimism

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Noted artist lists for $3.13 million Fort Greene townhouse purchased for nearly $2 million less in 2007 and renovated

Network TV anchor Continue reading

Buyers need to get truly organized as they search

Your own spreadsheet doesn’t have to be as complex as this one. (flickr photo by Ivan Walsh)

The search for a new home can be fun. But it also can be frustrating, exhausting and confusing.

To emphasize fun, the wise course is to get as organized as possible. That is the case even if you are the sort of person who values spontaneity, impulsiveness and instinctive decision-making above all.

One useful approach is to assemble a loose-leaf notebook or its electronic equivalent.

Begin by Continue reading

Sellers always have the last word on offers

Submission of a back-up offer is where the rubber meets the road. (Flickr photo by theilr)

Back-up offers exist in the gray area of real estate transactions.

Nobody likes them more than listing brokers and their clients. Continue reading