Out and About: Rolling conversions never smooth

Lots of terrace, tiny kitchen in West End Avenue condo.

Lots of terrace, tiny kitchen in 829-sf West End Avenue condo.

The temptation always is great to get in, as it were, on the ground floor.

That possibility occurs when a building’s owner decides to convert from rentals to condos with only a fraction of the tenants gone.

To my mind, the situation creates the worst of several worlds — the continuing presence of resentful renters, infrastructure yet to be completely (sometimes even mostly) updated, endless buyer traffic and the mess and interference of contractors in the building for months and months as they work on one apartment after another.

It is not immaterial that buildings with majority sponsor ownership cannot qualify for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae.

In the mid 90s Continue reading

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Caution, ain’t nothin’ like a sponsor apartment

See you in the New Year. . . Happy holidays!

One of my favorite posts.

When co-op buyers see the words “sponsor apartment” in a converted building, their eyes invariably light up with anticipation. In fact, some buyers will specify that they want both to live in a co-op and to buy only a sponsor apartment.

For readers who are not in the know, the reason is that sponsor apartments will allow buyers to avoid having to undergo the tedious, time-consuming task of assembling inches thick of a board package, the rigors of a board interview and all the attendant anxiety.

Virtually all that sponsor wants to know is that you have the cash for a deposit and the means, including certainty of lender approval, of having the funds to close.

In other words, purchasing a sponsor apartment is a lot like buying a condo – smooth sailing. (Buyers of both condos and co-ops would be well advised to get into the weeds by reading the advice that lawyer Ron Gitter provides.)

But . . . (There’s always a “but,” isn’t there?) Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Sales and prices rise in Manhattan, surfeit of celebs on the move, U.S. stats up and down, yet another historic low rate

Manhattan sales jump 9.3 percent over year earlier in third quarter, median prices climb 2.7 percent

Residents praise lifestyle of small spaces, and developers show big interest in them

Much desired sponsor apartments in co-ops bear scrutiny

11 groups lodge lawsuit seeking to block NYU expansion

Prices of single-family homes in broad region off 2.6 percent from prior year, bucking national trend

10th annual Open House New York weekend to celebrate city’s architecture, design

Land-use committee approves massive Lower East Side development

To developer’s dismay, those billionaires strive to leave individualistic impressions on One57 tower

Oscar winner sells Upper West Side penthouse for more than $1.7 million

Actress’ puts Ojai retreat legally on the market for $10 million

Nick and Meagan seek Continue reading

Out and About: Rare is sponsor who doesn’t stint

Kitchen of apartment in the low 80s that is sensitive to the co-op’s past.

Sponsor apartment in established buildings generally consist of less than meets the eye.

I have in the past written that the quality of finishes and upgrades tends to make such apartments not such great deals.  Their big advantage is the absence of a co-op board to demand a grueling application process, though the burden in condos is considerably smaller.

But a pair of one-bedroom sponsor units in a full-service high-rise in a Central Park block of the low 70s proves to be the exception.  Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: SO much local and U.S. news

Prices up, sales volume almost flat measured against 2002

Condo prices edge up during last year as sales and inventory slip

And sales and supply Continue reading

Out and About: $1 million here, $1 million there

Riverside Park on a balmy winter’s day

Two co-ops about a block apart on Riverside Drive have some commonalities.

Each has direct river views of the Hudson along the Upper West Side and each needs pretty extensive renovations.

The classic five-room unit is a few floors below the midpoint of its building and has two and a half baths, while the other one is four floors higher and contains three baths.

Although the larger apartment covers 3,000 square feet, the smaller one seems to have only 1,800, based on others in the same line.

Having full-time doormen and welcoming pets, their buildings were constructed in 1920s.

All things otherwise being equal — and certainly they are not — Continue reading

Out and About: Ignore that old thing?

Living room of apartment on the market in the low 70s for 42 weeks.

Consider a one-bedroom apartment that lingered on the market for 42 weeks after it was first listed for $575,000 last September.

The 725-sf co-op in the low 70s on a corner of West End Avenue has suffered the indignity of no fewer than four price reductions, to $550,000 in October, $529,000 in January, $499,000 in February and, finally, $489,000 in June before it slunk from the market two weeks ago.  (Monthly maintenance for the unit is $1,290.)

If ever a listing could be viewed as stale, this was it.

Any of us can imagine what deficits a stale unit might endure.  Where to begin? Continue reading