The High Road: Love letters skate on thin ice

(Flickr photo by Patrick Mayon)

A recent article in the New York Times went on about the virtues of sending a “love letter” to the owners of properties that sellers would like to purchase.

Such a letter would extol the apartment or house, describe how the prospective buyers are passionate to make it their home and otherwise provide information meant to personalize the potential transaction.

Back when I was selling real estate in Washington, D.C., when that market was white-hot, I’d advise buyers and even help them draft such letters in an effort to best the competition during frequent bidding wars.

That was a mistake then, and it is a mistake now.  Actually, it is more than a mistake: Continue reading

The Big Apple: Manhattan condo prices are stable

Finance chief masticates crow, agreeing to provide tax relief to co-ops

The city Finance commissioner bowed to heavy pressure from elected officials and agreed to limit property tax increases on co-op apartments.

Grilled by City Council members probing skyrocketing tax assessments for co-op owners, Commissioner David Frankel also vowed to do a better job of handing out assessments next year.

Manhattan condo prices in February haven’t changed in six months, sales off from a year earlier

The recovery in Manhattan condominium prices stalled for six months through the end of February, according to the Radar Logic data analysis firm.

Its RPX Manhattan condominium price was Continue reading

A buyer’s deposit can make or break an offer

Flickr photo by unjanedoan.

The convention in New York City and many other housing markets is for buyers to offer to put into escrow a 10 percent deposit when they go to contract to purchase a property.

That deposit, which is called a binder or earnest money in some areas, are funds that buyers put at risk. It is meant to ensure that the buyer ultimately conforms to the terms of the sale contract and then closes on the transaction. Continue reading

If you think the sky is falling here, think again

Storm clouds by Chad Johnson on Flickr.

Reading reports of new-home sales and what is oddly called existing-home sales, you might be forgiven for wondering whether Manhattan is headed for another crash.

If the national data are the source of your concerns, think again. Continue reading