The High Road: Arrogance and sloth don’t mix

This sloth has three toes; the broker whose listing I wanted to show has 10, presumably. (Photo via National Geographic)

My buyer wanted to see several apartments in a large complex on a Saturday.

The first listing broker I reached readily agreed to the 3:45 slot I requested. When I had to make a last-minute change late that Saturday morning, she didn’t hesitate to accommodate us.

That’s the way it is supposed to work when you are representing the best interests of your clients, the possibly desperate owner of a property on the market.

I also tried to show three other apartments, studios listed in the $400s in Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.  After I e-mailed the listing broker, he wrote back, misspelling my name: Continue reading

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Out and About: One from Column A, B and/or C

Unless the odor of cooking food happens to waft from a restaurant, I can’t say that I think of Chinese food very often when looking at apartments for sale.

But I thought of the choices that menus sometimes offer while visiting three apartments in the low 70s between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West.  I’m not sure which of the three I liked best, perhaps the one-bedroom unit separated from the two-bedroom co-op by a sad studio.

Buyers can choose any of the apartments alone, combine the studio and one-bedroom, combine the studio and two-bedroom or purchase all three.  They are lined up along a side of their 1925 building, which has a laundry room and concierge as its amenities. The current prices: Continue reading

Out and About: It’s wrong to gild a (faded) lily

This photo of a brownstone

Because we are moving into August, there will be just one more Out and About before Labor Day.  But you’ll find other posts, published somewhat less frequently than usual, until then.

Have a look at the photo at the left and consider how much you approve of painting over antique woodwork.

Having seen that wonderfully ornate woodwork, I suspect that someone has monkeyed with the photo. In person, I was turned off by many layers of paint that obscured the detail and failed to cover up numerous underlying flaws.  (Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t do the bannister injustice.)

It seems clear that the paint, as usually is the case, was a cost-saving shortcut that, to my mind, only amplified the defects in the woodwork. How lovely that ornamentation would have looked when repaired and polished. But how expensive the project would be.

Such corner cutting is typical of what I see in turn-of-the-century brownstones that have been divided into apartments, and I think Continue reading

Out and About: Estate sales merge death, taxes

Flickr photo by Petra Senders

When you see the words “estate sale” in a listing, you know you’re in for a property that’s going to need a ton of work.

And when that listing omits photos, you can be sure the place will be a wreck.

It’s one thing to imagine what you’ll find, quite another to see it in person

A co-op in the low 100s between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway makes the point emphatically.

Offered for $750,000 with monthly maintenance of $730, this two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath unit, plus maid’s room, on a lower floor of a dreary 1909 building with virtually no amenities has nothing going for it but potential.

Unfortunately, Continue reading

Out and About: There’s something about wavy

The bay in Provincetown near sunset.

Gazing at water, an ocean, a lake, a river has its manifold virtues.

Views of water may suggest variations of  tranquility, power, beauty, faith and myriad other shades of human emotion.  Even rain, whether an evening shower or a threatening thunderstorm, has the same potential as a trickling stream or a roaring ocean.

I get it: There is nothing like walking on a sandy beach, negotiating the banks of a canal or sitting comfortably in the arms of a chair or a loved one and contemplating the currents nearby.

Being enveloped by a watery vision is one thing.   Continue reading

The High Road: Broker says buyer must work with him

To put it as diplomatically as possible, the sumptuously decorated apartment that interested my client.

A buyer with whom I’ve been working for perhaps a year likes to search listings and attend open houses by himself. I’ll call him John.

That’s fine with me since I know John values my opinion, which he frequently solicits, and will want my help when he finds what he wants.

John called me a week and a half ago to say he was going to check on an alcove studio poles apart from a more expensive one-bedroom unit that appealed to him on the Upper West Side. Despite my admonitions, Continue reading

Out and About: A textbook case of overpricing?

Everything about this co-op is superlative. (Brown Harris Stevens photo via OLR)

When I walked into a studio apartment in the high 60s on Central Park West, the gut renovation bowled me over.

So did the price, $980,00 with monthly maintenance of $1,166.  That for a north-facing co-op of probably no more than 550 square feet on a high floor in a full-service post-war building.  From the balcony, and only the balcony unless you stand at the window, there are superb views of the park.

But $980,000, I wondered aloud? I told the listing broker that I couldn’t imagine anyone paying that much, but he told me that Continue reading