Out and About: Windows best for jumping out

View, what view?

View, what view?

Short is the distance between a high window in a prison cell and rooms with windows jammed into a corner.

Although the exemplar in the above photo, taken in a co-op between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues in the low 90s, shows that light enters the living room, the windows add nothing else.  In fact, they throw off the room’s balance.

Without going up to the windows themselves,  such a configuration require a resident to hike over to them just to know the weather.  They probably are better for jumping out than looking through.

Yet the apartment, Continue reading

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

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: It’s hard to fill in the blanks

Views through floor-to-ceiling windows are winning, but a vacant apartment like this one near Lincoln Center can have a chilling effect on buyers.

Views through floor-to-ceiling windows are winning, but even well staged vacant apartments like this one can have a chilling effect on buyers.

There’s always something a little mournful about unoccupied apartments, except those in new developments.

Empty but, occasionally, with sparse staging, they seem to me to cry out for attention.  They remind me of cats and dogs in cages eager for the release that comes with adoption.

“Take me, I’m yours,” both the creatures and the condos or co-ops plead.

Their challenge — the apartments, not the dogs or cats — is that Continue reading

Out and About: ‘Affordable’ co-op needs fix-up

Kitchen of 775-sf apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Some Manhattan apartments in popular neighborhoods actually are affordable for buyers whose incomes put them in the middle class.

However, many of those units have less realized than actually fulfilled potential such as one in the low 90s close to Central Park.

The co-op is in one of the formerly city-owned buildings transferred to a Housing Development Fund Corp. and thus is known as an HDFC apartment.

HDFC apartments come with income restrictions, but they are reasonably liberal.  The latest median income standards Continue reading

Out and About: Against the odds, different owners approve purchase of 3 adjoining units

In a building that I have often visited, this listing is not one that I happened to see.

But it caught my interest when a friend who lives in the somewhat dowdy Upper West Side building on Riverside Drive in the very low 90s expressed wonder at the asking price close to $9 million.

Although large apartments are much in demand, it is a lot of money, especially in light of the more than $1 million in renovations that likely must be undertaken to combine and, where necessary, upgrade the three co-ops (floorplan above) on the market as a single penthouse.

According to my friend, the couple in one of the units Continue reading

Out and About: Seller lives in Fantasyland.

Lincoln Center (Flickr photo by Stewart Morris)

He closed on the place only last May, when it was listed for $2.15 million.

There was a bidding war for the two-bedroom, two-terrace, two-bath penthouse in a Central Park block of the mid 60s, an area that is part of Lincoln Square.

Because of the so-called “war,” the current owner — who appears to be an advertising agency executive — paid $2.5 million for the co-op, which costs him $3,269 in maintenance a month.

But for undisclosed reasons relating to the seller’s inability to continue living in New York, according to the listing broker, the apartment went on the market again in early December with an asking price that boggles the mind. Continue reading