Out and About: Before buying, fall in love with the nabe


A Central Park block in the mid 90s.

An extraordinarily wise and experienced real estate professional–okay, Paul Purcell is a founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty, with which I’m affiliated–once said this to a seller whose apartment we were pricing:

You’ve got to like the apartment, but you’ve got to love the neighborhood.

Honestly, I’d never considered that criterion with quite so much emphasis.  When I think of it, however, the notion of which part of the city appeals to a buyer naturally has to come first.  (With me, it was one factor on which I have been willing to compromise, having lived in neighborhoods as diverse as Washington Heights and Gramercy Park, among several others.)

But I get it.

We all know that there are Continue reading

Out and About: Rooms without any views

View from the living room of an otherwise appealing apartment.

As everyone knows, apartments with some combination of open views, sunny exposures and skyline vistas can command premium prices.

But many buyers who begin their search demanding lots of light–as most buyers will maintain–don’t often appreciate how much less they can spend for a place that has minimal light and bleak or offputting exposures. Light and soothing aesthetics  are the inevitable trade-off for value, though a grim exterior can be a heavy price to pay.

A great example of this phenomenon is the possibly 650-700-sf co-op with the view from the living room shown above.

The unit in a 1951 building with garage on Riverside Drive in the low 100s has been beautifully renovated–new pass-through kitchen, lovely hardwood flooring, good closet space and higher-than-average ceilings. But don’t even think Continue reading

Out and About: Estate sales challenge listing brokers

Even spiffed up, this estate listing reveals a long past.

When it comes to selling a tired old estate, don’t envy the listing broker, even for a property that will garner a healthy commission.

Estate sales are tough, not only because the properties tend to be in miserable condition, but also because the beneficiary or beneficiaries can cause complications.

One issue can be unfamiliarity with the property so that it’s often hard to know what is behind a wall, what changes were made and what the condition is of a variety of elements. Continue reading

Is it time to call the housing market’s bottom?

Based strictly on the seriously skewed evidence of what I have been seeing at open houses over the last few weeks on the Upper West Side, Upper East Side and downtown, I’m going to go out on a limb farther down in this post.

Should this photo have more than one bottom?

Open houses have been busy, and some of the properties already have offers on them, sometimes more than one.

At the same time, asking prices are no longer going down.  In fact, many are going up, often on properties listed long ago.  My impression is that the prices of larger apartments are climbing faster than others, though most seem to be leaving room for negotiation.

For example, Continue reading