Out and About: Some tradeoffs hard to take

Lovely apartment. . .

Lovely apartment. . .

An unfortunte epidemic seems to have befallen an unusual proportion of new listings.

Of course, it has been just the luck of the draw on my routine tours of 10-15 open houses on most Sundays.  I keep stumbling upon (into?) homes with painful exposures onto rooftops cluttered with mechanicals.

Among the compromises some buyers are willing to make are unsightly exposures in return for otherwise desirable apartments.  But the tradeoff for space, condition, style or other features is one that never will disappear.

Sellers who bought for unrealistically high prices yesterday will today regret how little their homes can be expected to bring from buyers still in search of a bargain.

For buyers, their dreams of a bargain can be realized if they are willing to live with sore sights for their eyes.

It would be helpful if there were a rule of thumb for the harm that such poor exposures inflict upon the seller and, in contrast, benefit the buyer.  Alas, there is none.  But the amount is not be insignificant.

. . . hideous exposure.

. . . hideous exposure.

One such apartment is in the high 70s between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway.  It is an 800-sf unit in a 1925 building that permits pets on a case-by-case basis, has a part-time doorman and provides as its sole amenities a bike room, laundry room, playroom and private storage.

By having its dining alcove turned into what is labeled as an office and is used as a child’s bedroom that is 7′ x 7.5′, the south-facing co-op has maximum flexibility.

The 99-sf kitchen is a pleasing square shape with a window over the sink.  There are black marble countertops, stainless-steel appliances of medium quality and black color.  The bath has been improved, floors are okay and the master bedroom is spacious with exposures only onto brick walls at one end of the room.  That is all the living room faces as well.  Closet space is about average.

With maintenance per month of $1,995 and those hideous views, the apartment should not sell at its original asking price of $775,000 or its reduced price of $725,000, explaining why it was taken off the market last week.

  • A lovingly renovated three-bedroom, two-bath condop in the low 90s between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.  With dining room, terrific open kitchen that has Carrara marble countertops, high-end everything and center-island; new flooring; washer/dryer;  generous closet space; and skim-coated walls.  In a pet-friendly 1924 doorman building that permits pieds-à-terre, the apartment is fairly priced at $2.595 million with maintenance per month of $3,238 Thus did it go under contract in just two weeks.
  • Overlooking subway tracks on Broadway in Morningside Heights, a sadly overstuffed 650-sf co-op with very low monthly maintenance of $458.  The one-bedroom apartment has added closet space that cuts into spaces that already are too small.  There is a narrow galley kitchen that was decently updated to include, among other things, granite countertops.  The asking price of $349,000 in a 1920 low-rise with few amenities is on target.
  • A two-bedroom co-op perfect for the buyer willing to traverse more than 40 feet of hallway to reach the single bath adjoining the entrance.  The virtue of the unit, on a Riverside Park block in the high 90s, is its large living/dining room facing north over a side street.  Open to the public space is a kitchen that is 16.5 feet wide, has a broad center island and suffers needlessly dark wooden cabinetry and black granite countertops.  At $949,000 (after a $50,000 cut) with monthly maintenance of $1,775, this 1,150-sf unit with washer/dryer and decorative fireplace in a 1901 building that has only a virtual doorman is no steal.
  • In Lincoln Square, a one-bedroom condo being falsely marketed as a two-bedroom apartment, apparently because the dining area could become a bedroom.  With good views of the Hudson River over Fordham from that dining area, the master bedroom and the kitchen, the unit has a washer/driver and a handsome bath and a half — one with a whirlpool and stall shower and the other having the washer/dryer where a shower would be.  The galley kitchen is okay, a bit wider than the average with blond wood, a big Sub-Zero refrigerator, otherwise mid-range appliances and granite.  Just a few feet below the living room windows alas, views of a rooftop and mechanical devices assault the eye.  How this place in a luxurious full-service 1990 high-rise can be listed at $1.65 million with common charges of $1,157 and taxes of $619 a month is beyond comprehension.  Yet this place went to contract a few weeks ago.

Tomorrow: One more time

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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

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