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

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Out and About: Beyond sow’s ear, a silk purse

Silk purse, a co-op near Central Park.

Silk purse, a co-operative apartment near Central Park.

Indiana Jones comes to mind.  Imagine the challenging and unsavory conditions he had weather on the way to the treasure he was hunting.

So it would be for buyers in search of a new home as they approach the building where an 800-sf apartment awaits them in the very low 100s of a Central Park West block.

When they spot the building, a pet-friendly 1900 low-rise with no elevators and no amenities beyond private storage, they undoubtedly will note Continue reading

Out and About: A sad tale of two kitchens

Brownstone kitchen

What is the antithesis of a “chef’s” kitchen?

One kitchen, in a townhouse floor-through in a Central Park block of the high 80s, fills a nook off a hallway.

The second kitchen fills, overwhelmingly, the living room of a three-bedroom duplex in Lincoln Square.

Both of them are stunning — in the first case because it is so inadequate and, in the second case, because it is so out of scale. Continue reading

Make noise, skip elevator in 2/2 UWS co-op

180 LRA handsome two-bedroom co-op on the Upper West Side provides expansive rooms, no adjacent neighbors and no need to wait for elevators on 93rd Street at Amsterdam Avenue.

Totally renewed with skim-coated walls, fresh paint throughout, brand-new lighting and numerous other improvements, the pristine pre-war apartment on a high first floor contains approximately 1,200 square feet, a modern kitchen with granite countertops and upscale appliances, two baths with stylish new updates that include Carrara marble, and exceptionally spacious closets.

Floorplan of 180 W. 93rd St., #1B

Floorplan of 180 W. 93rd St., #1B (Click to enlarge.)

About halfway between Central and Riverside parks and in the middle of a neghborhood with all kinds of grocery stores, retailers, schools, restaurants and other amenities, the pet-friendly boutique building provides a part-time doorman seven days a week, live-in supers, bike room, laundry room and private storage room (for which there is a waiting list).  Washer/dryers, sublets and pieds-a-terre are permitted.

The apartment is priced to sell, at $995,000 with monthly maintenance of $1,812.  There’s more information and you’ll find more photos here.

You may have guessed by now that I am listing the apartment for sale, and the first open house will be Sunday, June 2 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.  This co-op happens to have been a wonderful home for me over the last seven years.

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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

Out and About: No mystery in many properties

closet-1

It is always abundantly, sometimes pungently, clear who lives in some properties that are on the market.

Is it the owner or a tenant?  You can tell all too easily.

When I opened the closet door of the Upper West Side apartment in the photo above not long ago, for example, I literally gasped.  Like me, you won’t have to tax your brain to know that Continue reading

Out and About: Desperate measures warranted?

Truncated living room in an Upper West Side studio apartment.

Truncated living room in an Upper West Side studio apartment.

Given the cost of residential real estate in Manhattan, nothing could be more understandable than buyers’ willingness to match the imperfect co-op or condo that they decide to purchase with the amount of money they can afford.

Consequently, many folks in search of a new home readily accept the necessity of turning a two-bedroom apartment into a three-bedroom unit, an alcove studio into a one-bedroom home.

But they invariably pay a price both in aesthetics and, paradoxically, flexibility.  Gone the dining area, the well-placed window in the living room, the airy ambiance.

So it is with 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