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

Listing agreements do allow for some negotiation

When Teri Karush Rogers of asked me to write a post about how to negotiate a listing agreement, I leaped at the invitation.

With cold fear.

My concern was how other brokers might react to my disclosure of our vulnerabilities — the best way for a seller to negotiate a lower commission than the one that the listing broker proposes.

Happily, if anyone objected to what I revealed, I haven’t heard of it.  Perhaps that’s because Continue reading

10 signs that an owner must be dying to sell

A friend of mine thinks I’m funny — not just in that way.

She is Teri Karush Rogers, the inspired editorial director and CEO of BrickUnderground.comHer site provides a wealth of information for apartment dwellers, and I read it every day.

A few weeks ago, she e-mailed me with the idea that I come up with ways that buyers can perceive that sellers are desperate to unload their homes.  Following is my list (published by Teri earlier this month) of 10 giveaways that owners are just dying to sell: Continue reading

Out and About: You gotta love the neighborhood

In early May, Riverside Park is this side of paradise.

A while back, I quoted Paul Purcell, who is a founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty, as mentioning what he termed an old saw:

You’ve got to like your home, but you’ve got to love your neighborhood.

Smart and obvious, though not to me until then.

The concept came back to me last month when watching a friend of mine, Teri Karush Rogers of, on WNBC-TV, where she was talking about mistakes that buyers make.  She confessed that she twice had made one such mistake, and you’ve guessed what it is: She loved two places to which she moved but hated the neighborhoods.

As for me, I’ve lived in seven different Manhattan neighborhoods.  In order, they have been Morningside Heights, Washington Heights (in a section that has taken on airs as “Hudson Heights”), close to the East Village (18th and First Avenue), central West Village, Gramercy/Flatiron and now the Upper West Side near the 96th Street express stop on Broadway.

I can’t say Continue reading

The Big Apple: Rent market hot, otherwise warm

Manhattan condo prices have yet to recover fully

From its peak in December 2008 to its trough in May 2009, the RPX Manhattan Condominium price declined 24 percent, according to Radar Logic.

Since then, it has regained only about half of the value it lost during the crash.

As of March 31, the RPX Manhattan condominium price was $1,017.10 per square foot, which is 16 percent above its cyclical trough of $923.24, but still 12 percent below its all-time peak of $1,212.83.

Sales activity also remains well below pre-crisis levels.  Activity during March 2011 was 18 percent lower than it was during March 2008, before the national housing crisis took hold of the Manhattan market.

Although the rate of sales increased robustly during 2009, its recovery has faltered since, with the transaction count declining 3 percent over the last year.  There has been a clear shift in the concentration of sales from smaller to larger units over the last year.

Buyers are still out there and having offers accepted

Buyers continue to step up and sign deals for Manhattan property at a very strong pace, according to a new post by Noah Rosenblatt of UrbanDigs.

Finding in his excellent data Continue reading

When you fall in love, don’t be dazzled by decor

Get to know a bit about your prospective neighbors before it's too late. (Photo by alistairas on Flickr.)

Seduced by sunlight, gripped by granite, deluded by décor?

It’s not enough to fall in love at first sight: Homebuyers need to date the co-op or condo of their dreams and dig deeper before they make one of the biggest purchases of their lives.

BrickUnderground’s Teri Karush Rogers asked me to suggest areas that buyers need to explore before they commit to a property that thrills them.  You may want to check out the entire list, so here, to whet your appetite, is just one of the questions that buyers need to ask themselves:

Q.  If the building is going condo, what is your impression of the renters who are staying on? Continue reading

Many buyers live in fantasyland

When asked me to come up with information that buyers shouldn’t tell their brokers, I didn’t have a hard time drafting a long list.

Site founder Teri Karush Rogers and I pared the list down to eight.  Of course, as a broker, I would much prefer to know what’s on my buyers’ minds.  That’s great from my point of view, maybe not so wonderful from theirs in that I may well choose not to to work with them to find a condo or co-op in Manhattan.

That said, here’s No. 7 on the list – along with what I would interpret from what is said: Continue reading