First-timers often focus fears on wrong questions

The only thing buyers need fear is fear itself. (Flickr photo by juanpg)

It is a fear that I have a felt myself: Buying real estate is scary.

However much anxiety that the process plagues first-timers, the fear seems to all but disappear with subsequent purchases.

Although it is incumbent on any buyer to assess the risk, it also is true that Continue reading

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Weekly Roundup: Basement apartments, seller’s market, plunging foreclosures, son of Lincoln’s house, trophy baths, Goldman Sach’s optimism

Manhattan luxury market unseasonably busy

Naturally occurring retirement communities populate Upper West Side

Condominium board gets TRO against Houston couple to prevent short-term stays

San Remo apartment offered for $29,750 in monthly rent went for $900 a month in 1940

Would changing rules for illegal basement apartments boost supply of affordable rentals? asks the Real Deal and Crain’s

Longtime home of Gershwin family goes on the market

Volume of property taxes kept increasing every year from 2005 to 2012

Residents of abutting buildings at war with developer of planned Fifth Avenue

Neighborhood group faults mayor’s plan for affordable housing

Fiercely competitive land prices forcing developers to build high-end condos

Sex symbol who has money troubles lists Malibu home for $7.75 million

6,800-sf TriBeCa penthouse wins undisputed approval of Brooklyn Nets star

New Jersey home was born to sell

Hip-hop star and reality spouse flip-flop Bel Air house handsomely

January numbers show 9.1 year-over-year sales growth, steady price gains so it’s a seller’s market

Supply of resale housing Continue reading

‘For all sad words of tongue or pen . . .’

” . . . The saddest are these: It might have been.”

The San Remo

So wrote the 19th Century poet John Greenleaf Whittier.

The building pictured above and the one below represent some of the most memorable moments in which my life as an apartment owner might have been quite different.

The time was probably 1974-75, when New York City was facing possible bankruptcy.

My then-wife and I had saved enough money for a modest down payment–laughable now for its small size–and had decided it was time to buy an apartment.

We looked and looked, even made a false start by making an offer on a place that, as I dimly recall, belonged to a New York Times writer (Clive Barnes?) on West End Avenue.  As the offers flew back and forth, we chickened out after a sleepless night.

Then we saw a beautifully maintained two-bedroom corner apartment in the San Remo Continue reading