Weekly Roundup: Upcoming auction, Hamptons rentals, U.S. prices, trending rates, much more

Queens public administrator schedules auction of three co-ops, 12 houses from $64,000 to $1.054 million

Co-op boards have broad latitude in making, amending, rescinding house rules, however wiggy

Suburbs, particularly in Connecticut and New Jersey, see rising prices

And in the Hamptons, number of $1 million rentals — for the summer alone — approaches record

Homeowners hurt by Sandy to receive property tax reductions totaling $90 million

Uh, those folks using balconies for storage or dead house plants can opt for highest, best use

When it comes to living here, actor Richard Kind knows what he loves

Again to be newly wed, actress turned fashion mogul lists Beverly Hills estate for $8 million

Discount taken in purchase of singer’s Central Park West apartment hardly immaterial

Rap mogul Continue reading

Out and About: How does your garden grow?

One of the houses with virtues that Barbara Corcoran extolled recently on the Today Show.

The one-bedroom, two-bath duplex I was checking out during a Sunday open house recently has two assets and many liabilities.

On the minus side are its entry almost directly into the small kitchen (in which an ancient dishwasher caught my eye), cramped living room, a spiral staircase so narrow that I had to hunch my shoulders, its bedroom (albeit one that fits the legal definition) in the basement and baths that I’d classify as ordinary.

On the plus side is its location in a Central Park block of the high 60s, a stone’s throw from Lincoln Center.  (To digress, when you see “steps from” in a listing, consider the Fair Housing Act, which bars discrimination against persons with disabilities.)

Also on the plus side — and the only conceivable explanation for the co-op’s inflated asking price of Continue reading

The High Road: When outside, where are you?

You want a balcony? Take your pick.

It’s not a big deal, but have you noticed how many brokers use interchangeably the terms “balcony,” “terrace” and “patio?”

And knowing the differences ain’t that hard.  But precision in the world of real estate brokerage is everything.

In a superficial search, I didn’t find definitions of the terms in the Administrative Code of New York City, where they would be found if mentioned beyond any construction requirements.

I’ll bet you know the definitions (derived from close variations online) even if so many brokers seem to ignore them for one innocent or nefarious reason or another: Continue reading

Out and About: Get outta there!

School at Fox Creek, Tall grass Prairie National Preserve

THAT'S what counts as outdoor space. (Flickr photo by Kansas Explorer 3128)

Who doesn’t yearn for a home with outdoor space?


Here in a Manhattan of cement sidewalks and limestone canyons, it is those folks who fit into one or more of the following categories:

1.  Pragmatists, who know they’ll be spending most of their time at home indoors and want the biggest bang for their purchase dollars;

2.  Floraphobics, who detest gardening;

3.  Realists, who abhor street noise, nosy neighbors and immoderate heat, cold, rain or wind;

4.  Anal retentives, who deplore the use of a balcony as a “bonus” storage room.

I’m sure you can think of other types as well, but the fact is that even they may tend to salivate at the possibilities offered by outdoor space, which I believe is excessively sought and insufficiently used.

Notwithstanding, appraisal executive Jonathan Miller has told me that the correct valuation of outdoor space ranges between one-third and one-half the price attributed to a property’s interior on a per-square-foot basis.  Most sellers and their listing brokers tend to price an apartment accordingly, but others think of such places as heaven on earth.

Consider two duplexes separated by six blocks just west of Columbus Avenue in the 70s. Continue reading