Out and About: Walls always speak volumes

Portion of a wall that needs help

Clean windows, polished floors, organized closets and sleek kitchen all communicate positive aspects of any home being considered by buyers.

One characteristic that is not usually noticed at once also can have a decided impact on first impressions and subsequent appreciation of properties on the market.

That is the walls, especially in pre-war apartments and townhouses. The shape they are in speaks volumes.  They thereby affect prices in ways that can elevate or depress the selling price.

Consider the photo above. Perhaps you can Continue reading

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Weekly Roundup: Hot sales, rising prices and rents, upward trending rates, online reno tools, conflicting recovery predictions and much more

Sales hot, hot, hot in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, where Williamsburg prices soar 23.6 percent in year

Even with continued inventory shortage, Q2 sales leap up

Average rent in city (excluding Staten Island) breaks $3,000 for first time

And median rent in Manhattan hits $3,195 in June, with Brooklyn’s jumping 13.5 percent since 2012

Many uptown adherents now embracing downtown neighborhoods they once considered unthinkable

Landlords, boards of co-ops and condos tailoring latest amenities to Continue reading

Liking paperwork, you’ll love co-op renovations

(Flickr photo by luxomedia)

Anyone planning to undertake major renovations in a co-op apartment faces a forbidding task.  Without the building’s prior written consent to undergo structural alterations of an apartment, count on trouble ahead.

If you are a brave soul with plans to expand the kitchen you soon will acquire, add a bathroom or take down a wall, there is no guarantee that the co-operative will approve the alteration request.

Many boards won’t even consider Continue reading

‘This family takes some very strange vacations.’

(Flickr photo by exfordy)

To the extent that questions burn in the business real estate, one centers on family photos: Should they be hidden until the home finds a buyer?

“Honey, do you think that’s a beach in Vietnam?” a prospective purchaser might ask her partner at an open house.

“Hey, look at how many kids they have!”

“It seems like they had one of those weddings.”

“Eeeww, they’re really into religion, aren’t they?”

Some say photos should be banished to a box in the closet.  Others say they make no difference.

I come down somewhere in the middle.  Continue reading

So you want to be a landlord. Think twice.

I take no responsibility for my tenant's interior design choices.

I take no responsibility for my tenant’s interior design choices.

When I lived in Washington, D.C., I was fortunate to have owned a townhouse for a virtual song.  The apartment downstairs basically covered my mortgage and other costs.

The one-bedroom unit with access to a patio that my tenants shared with me rented quickly during my ten years of ownership.

Each of my tenants but one was great, not making too many demands, too much noise or really any problems at all.  It was the last one that, had I the choice, I probably would have Continue reading

Out and About: Why I write what I write

(Flickr photo by MN Photos)

I frequently am asked why I publish this weekly feature.  Well, not frequently.  Actually, not at all.

But I thought you might permit me to indulge myself with an explanation.

It happens that I (among others) believe it is essential for real estate agents to get to know their market intimately.  That means not merely reading listings online but kicking the tires, as it were.

Not to toot my own horn too loudly, let me express my sense that only a minority of us go to the trouble of checking out listings personally just because they exist.  In other words, we don’t look at properties that might interest only a particular buyer but properties that may fit the needs of the next buyer as well.

The process of thereby learning the market takes a fair amount of time and uses up an unholy amount of shoe leather.  One week, I counted Continue reading