Friday, October 4, 2013

More and more New York Condo Boards are emulating Coop Boards

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is Lease-to-Own a Good Way to Buy a House?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Lease-to-own is something you do with furniture, not a house, right? Not necessarily. Although most people who buy houses do it the old-fashioned way, with a down payment and a mortgage, lease-to-own deals are also common in residential real estate.
Leasing to own attracts buyers who can handle a monthly payment but lack a down payment. It can also be good for people with bad or no credit, as well as people who want to give a particular house, school system and neighborhood a test drive without committing to a big down payment and 30-year mortgage. And if you believe local home values are headed up, it can be a low-risk way to lock in a price now before it gets more expensive.
Lease-to-own, also known as a lease option, requires thinking outside the box. But it can make homeownership a reality today for people who might otherwise be paying rent for years. If the owner is willing, renters may even be able to lease-to-own the place they're staying in now, as well as any other rental. "Every for-rent sign you see potentially can be a lease option situation," says Eric Lloyd, a real estate coach with Salt Lake City-based Professional Education Institute.

Read the full story here:

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Get a Better Deal on a Moving Truck with a Simple Trick

Go online and search for price estimates for a moving truck with any of the major companies and you're likely going to get wildly different quotes from each company. In fact, half the time, the quote won't even be close to their advertised price. It turns out renting a moving truck isn't as simple as it sounds. To get the best deal you have to work for it a bit.
You've probably seen the ads for cheap moving truck rentals before: "Moves from $19.95!" or "Reserve for just $20!" Inevitably, when you call to actually make that reservation, it turns out the cost is often twice that much, maybe more. When you start looking for a more extended trip, like cross-country, the price differences get even larger.
I ran into this problem myself when I was pricing out moving trucks for a cross country move. U-haul quoted me at $1,400. Penske was about $900, and Budget was considerably cheaper at $600. The price difference was large enough that I decided to figure out why. So, I called U-haul with my Budget quote in hand, and asked for a deal. The U-Haul representative couldn't do it, and it turns out, it was mostly because the dates I'd picked were popular days. The U-Haul representative helpfully explained that it was all about supply, and the dates I'd requested were high traffic weekends. MarketWatch confirms this pricing model:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

NYC Median Rents for July

Mapping New York City Neighborhoods' Median Rents for July

New York City can never have too many charts and maps illustrating median rents in different neighborhoods. The folks at listings website Zumper have followed up on their May pricing map with two for July, shown above, illustrating median rents for one- and two-bedrooms in Manhattan, a few neighborhoods of Brooklyn, and Astoria. Once again, Tribeca retained its "most expensive" crown with a median price of $4,200/month for a 1BR and $7,695/month for a 2BR.

The next most expensive neighborhoods were—completely non-shockingly—Soho, with a median rent of $3,550/month for 1BRs, and Greenwich Village, at $3,500/month. The best deals were to be found on the East Side, with the Lower East Side median-ing $2,395/month and the Upper East Side $2,495/month.


Friday, August 2, 2013

2013 Q2 Manhattan Market Report


Good Morning!

The 2013 Q2 (April through June) Manhattan real estate market reports are out and one thing is clear: the market is strong. According to, 4,185 purchase contracts were signed in the 2nd quarter, up 22 percent from one year ago. That’s the highest volume since began tracking this data in 2007.

That’s not the only sign of a robust market. The New York Times reports that in Q2, properties were on the market for 103 days, on average, a decrease of about 18 percent from one year ago. Additionally, sellers are getting about 98 percent of the listing price.

Despite historically low levels of inventory, sales are robust. Bloomberg, for example, reports inventory declines of nearly one-third, some of the lowest levels in over a decade.

The low inventory levels are being driven partly by the fact that some owners continue to wait to list their properties until their equity has climbed back up. In addition, there’s been a lack of new construction since the 2008 credit crisis. The new development that is in the pipeline is weighted heavily to luxury properties. Industry observers expect, therefore, that mid-market buyers will continue to face a tight market for some time.

While buyer demand and limited inventory makes for a “seller’s market,” the reports show that prices aren’t soaring. Instead Crain’s New York Business reports that prices are up 13.6 percent for condos, year over year, but the median price for co-ops is flat.

While interest from international, all-cash buyers has driven some price increases in condos, overall, tight credit and rising mortgage rates are keeping a check on rising prices. In addition, the Manhattan market has a lot of savvy buyers who resist over-buying.

In these market circumstances, sellers who price appropriately can reasonably expect to sell in a timely way and at a very acceptable price. It’s best for sellers to be aware, however, that buyers are still cautious and credit can be an issue. Accurate pricing continues to remain key.

I’d be happy to discuss these reports and Manhattan’s real estate picture in greater detail per your specific needs. Feel free to email me to set up an appointment. You can reach me at I would also welcome the opportunity to discuss your real estate needs and plans.

I look forward to hearing from you.










Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You've made it to the finish line aka the Closing Table - here's what to expect

Getting Started

The Clincher, Also Known as Closing

For first-time buyers, closing on a home purchase can be like finishing a long and grueling race. There’s the thrill of achievement mixed with relief that it’s over and, often, the weak limbs that can come with handing over a shockingly large check.

Most closings take place 60 to 90 days after the contract is signed, although New York City brokers say 90 days is more the norm. The closings themselves tend to wrap up within two to three hours. They involve plenty of paperwork and a lot of signatures, a roomful of lawyers (at least in New York) and many checks changing hands. But there are fewer financial surprises now that lenders must give borrowers an estimate of their closing costs within three business days after receiving a loan application.

Read the full story here:


Friday, June 28, 2013

City's Landmark Buildings Can Have Unique Limits - Know what to consider before investing

For those looking to live inside a symbol of the city's past, real estate experts recommend prospective buyers do their research before signing on the dotted line. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

Read the full story and watch the video here:

City's Landmark Buildings Can Have Unique Limits


Friday, May 31, 2013

Now that you've landed your new apt - it's time to unpack. Tips on how to make it stress free

Moving In NYC: How to Unpack Once You’ve Reached Your New Home

May 28, 2013 at 5:37 pmReal Estate Tips and Trends
DSC_3897By Laurel Byrne, City Move
Moving in NYC is super stressful. But with a bit of organization and foresight, you can make your move to your new apartment more manageable. Read this article for a guide on how to strategically and efficiently unpack your furniture and belongs once you’ve moved into your new apartment or home.
You may think that unpacking the contents of your entire home or apartment after a move would be difficult, but you can make it easy by sticking to a plan. The order in which you unpack your belongings will be based on what items you will need immediately versus those which you can wait until using. If you have an inventory list handy, you may want to reference this as you unpack to make sure that you are not missing anything. When you packed up your belongings at your old home or apartment, you should have made one box, or several boxes, of essentials that you kept using right up until your move; these items include things like a toothbrush and toothpaste, medicine, a hairbrush, toilet paper, several daytime outfits and nighttime sleepwear, shoes, some dishes and silverware, and some essential cooking utensils. Hopefully you labeled your essentials boxes—these are the boxes that you want to unpack first.

Read the full story here:


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

23 New Developments Hitting the Market This Spring - click for he map


23 New Developments Hitting the Market This Spring Tuesday, April 9, 2013, by Sara Polsky

The real estate market tends to heat up come spring right along with the weather. For anyone out hunting for a condo or rental, there are a few new development offerings to choose from. We've compiled a map of projects that are set to hit the market this spring, plus a few that appeared on market in the first quarter. Know of one we've missed? Please share in the comments or with the tipline, and we'll add it to the map. Happy hunting to all. UPDATE: We've added a few more developments to the map, but let us know if there are others we're still missing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fewer sellers fuel low inventory in NY real estate market

Shortage of 'Unaffordable Housing' in NYC

Real Estate News | New York Report

Shortage of 'Unaffordable Housing' in NYC

By Bahar Tavakolian | April 8, 2013 10:57 AM ET

Market reports released last week for the first quarter of 2013 in New York were nothing short of impressive. There is record low inventory and high demand. There are buyers out there looking for that perfect New York home and fewer sellers. This has held true for all market segments, from the trophy properties to the more modest ones.

Not long ago I could not have imagined that it would be a challenge to find qualified buyers their New York dream pad. But in these past couple of months, it certainly has been. We have what my esteemed colleague Kirk Henckels calls "a shortage of unaffordable housing."

Once again we have a resurgence of competitive bidding for intelligently-priced quality properties, as buyers who qualify for a home mortgage want to take advantage of the record-low interest rates. Inventory is down 16.9 percent from a year ago and quality homes are selling rapidly and for compelling prices.
Read the full story here: 
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tips and Tricks for finding a home for you and your dog in NYC

What Pet Owners Must Do to Get New York Apartments

Emily Louise Andrews for The New York Times
Gerald Allarde of East 30th Street takes in the view while Leo gives the camera an I-deserve-a-biscuit look. The dog, an American Staffordshire terrier, made the Allarde family’s apartment hunt a headache.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Latest Sign of Gentrification: Biggie's Old Apartment Is for Sale for $750,000

POSTED BY  ON TUE, APR 2, 2013 AT 1:46 PM

  • c/o
The 3-bedroom apartment where a young Christopher Wallace, later known as Notorious B.I.G. (obviously), lived is now for sale for $750,000. That's a lot of money! Or is it? I don't know. I have maybe officially lost all perception of what "a lot of money" is when it comes to Brooklyn real estate. However, I used to live on that block, wayyyy back in 2001, which was still a completely different era than when Biggie lived there because it was already being called Clinton Hill back, but still, that seems like an awful lot of money.
Biggie, of course, never would have said he came from Clinton Hill. He would have said he came from Bed-Stuy. Obviously. And he also probably wouldn' t have recognized his old apartment, because it went through extensive renovations a few years ago which attempted to "preserv[e the] traditional styling while answering the needs of modern usage." And probably the fact that the real estate listing places special prominence on the presence of "a place to store bikes" in the building, wouldn't have mattered all that much to Biggie. I guess I'm assuming here, but he never seemed like much of a cyclist. And, I mean, who can even guess what he would have thought of the proliferation of bike lanes in his old hood. Sadly, we'll never know. Well, I guess that there are other things about his absence that are a lot sadder than that, but still.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ever wonder how the monthly charges are determined on condos and co-ops?

How Monthly Fees Are Calculated in Co-ops and Condos

Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a home or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to Today's topic: monthly fees!
an_introduction_to_new_yorks_short_term_rental_laws.jpegToday's Curbed U lesson is short and sweet. Those pesky monthly fees that you're always having to pay. How are they calculated? This is how:
Condos: Common charges in a condo are calculated by taking each unit owner's percentage of common interests and multiplying it by the total operating costs of the building. Percentage of common interests is figured based mostly on the total amount of space that an apartment occupies, but also on other factors, such as its location within the building. A penthouse, therefore, would generally have higher common charges per square foot than a second-floor pad. The total operating costs of the building include things like heat, hot water, electricity in common areas such hallways and the lobby, building staff, and amenities such as pools, gyms, concierge, etc. Subtracted from that total is any income received by the building from things like laundry rooms.

Read Full Story Here:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Why the Upper West Side may be your best investment

Study Finds Upper West Side Is A Magnet For Real Estate Investors

More than any other neighborhood in Manhattan, the Upper West Side is attracting real estate investors at a breakneck pace, according to a new report by Eastern Consolidated. NY1's Real Estate reporter Jill Urban filed the following report.
There is little question that investors regard New York City as a safe place to put their money, but a new report by Barbara Byrne Denham, the chief economist of Eastern Consolidated, finds that one neighborhood in particular — the Upper West Side — is proving to be an investor magnet.
Read the full story here:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Trend? More siblings becoming roommates.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times
Suzanne Dengel, at left, and her twin, Colleen, have been close since their days of dressing identically. Now they share a studio in the financial district. “It felt like a natural progression to get an apartment together,” Suzanne Dengel says.

From the time they were middle-school students in Manhattan, Arielle Patrick and her brother, Andrew, had an agreement: come college graduation, if they weren’t married they would share a “bachelor/bachelorette pad” in the city. They were serious enough about the matter to put the pact in writing on a piece of loose-leaf paper and, with great earnestness, to sign their names at the bottom.

So it was that in September 2012, a dozen years later, the Patricks signed their names at the bottom of a lease for a fourth-floor walk-up in Midtown East.
Read full story here:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tenant to Landlord: Let's Make a Deal!

Ben Erickson's prepared to make a rental deal few homeowners could refuse...

Four years ago, Bed-Stuy resident and professional furniture designer and builder Ben Erickson struck a deal with his current landlord:
Erickson would renovate and restore the landlord’s double-wide brownstone mansion, located at 247 Hancock Street, in exchange for a reduced fixed rent on a 5-year lease.
So in essence, Erickson invested approximately $60,000 upfront and then divided that cost over the 60 months of his lease. At the time, the market value of the apartment was $2250 per month. So the negotiating parties subtracted the $1000-per-month investment, making his rent $1250/mo.
It was a win-win situation: Erickson put his passion for building to work in the 2,000 sq.-ft of space where he lived, while the landlord received rental income and at the same time a high-end restoration.
The original gutting and construction of the mansion on Hancock took about four months. And then Erickson completed the design and rebuild over the next 2-3 years, sourcing almost every fixture, including tiles and appliances from architectural salvage warehouses.
“I like to live in the space and have it tell me what it needs while also maintaining its original architectural integrity,” said the 34-year-old West Jersey native.
“I moved to Bed-Stuy ten years ago because I fell in love with the homes and the architecture here, and so I would never bastardize any of these gorgeous classic buildings.”
Also, he gave his current landlord's home the works, adding two new luxury bathrooms, a rustic chef’s kitchen with walnut slab countertops and a stone floor, plus almost 2,000 sq. feet of restoration and design on every square inch.
But as much as he loves building, his work is not just for kicks and far more than a hobby. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts (he’s originally a sculptor and photographer), Erickson opened a custom furniture design studio at 222 Clifton Place in Bed-Stuy.
He specializes in one-of-a-kind, modern custom furniture, primarily for NYC architects, interior designers and private clients, many of whom are A-List celebrities, art collectors and philanthropists.
The woodshop is a collaborative space where 6-7of Erickson’s friends – also builders who own their businesses – can share space and the overhead costs of all the big machinery. But he promotes all of his work and design aesthetic on his website and blog.
And now, the search is on again!
“My current lease is going to be up in about a year and I’m starting to put out my feelers for another interesting living situation,” said Erickson.
“The dream situation would be to find a gorgeous raw loft space. All I need is height and light. I'd love a big fixer-upper in rough shape that I can build out and design to the teeth. I would renovate it amazingly enough to hopefully get it photographed and published.”
And how does his current landlord feel about the deal she made with Erickson?
“Are you kidding? She loves it!” said Erickson. “I pimped that place out. I’m actually heartbroken to have to leave, because I poured my heart and soul into it.
“But… I’ll just have to do it again!”
To contact Ben Erickson, you can email him at

Link and More pictures:


Monday, February 4, 2013

Things to consider before becoming "neighbors" with your landlord

Landlord and Tenant: Natural Enemies?

Damon Winter/The New York Times
Dorothy Lashley, left, is landlady to Barbara Morris in Harlem. The women often share stories and dinner.

A young woman spent the night with Rob Curtin at his apartment in Astoria, Queens, some while back, and a good time was had by all.       

Mr. Curtin’s landlady, who lived in the ground-floor unit of the two-family house, made no secret of her disapproval.

“She said: ‘You shouldn’t be partying with girls this late. Girls like that are no good,’ ” recalled Mr. Curtin, 33, who works in television production. “She was very interested in my love life.”
The landlady’s assessments of those friends, while not necessarily or consistently off the mark, were disconcerting, said Mr. Curtin, who had previously — and happily — lived in a landlord-occupied building. There, the owners had given him espresso, not advice.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Will these Tiny Apts that Bloomberg is proposing take off?

New York City Extols Virtues of Tiny Apartments

PHOTO: Tiny model apartment

Friday, January 25, 2013

Brooklyn 2013 Real Estate Predictions

Three Brooklyn neighborhoods poised to be the city's hottest real estate spots in 2013


New York City home values are forecasted to barely budget in the coming year, but parts of Brooklyn are ready to take off, according to a new report.

New York City home values may be ho-hum in the year ahead, but parts of Brooklyn appear poised to blaze, a report released on Tuesday showed.
Some of the city's hottest properties of 2013 will be in Brooklyn's Prospect Lefferts Gardens, where the median home value is set to surge 8% to about $901,000, according to real estate data company Zillow.
Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill, where home values are expected to rise about 7% by December, will round out the top three biggest gainers, according to Zillow's forecasts.

Rarely Available Designer Loft Space in Brooklyn

Monday, January 14, 2013

What you need to know about the appraisal process since “there is no category for superexcellent,”

Understanding the Home Appraisal Process

BEFORE anyone can buy a house with a loan from a bank or refinance a mortgage, the lender needs an objective assessment of the property’s value — after all, the home is the bank’s collateral for the loan. Assessing the value is the job of the appraiser.
Illustration by Phil Marden for The New York Times
Appraising a home, particularly in New York City, is not simple. Similar apartments just a few blocks from one another can have very different values. The floor that a home is on, the kind of view or light it gets — each factor contributes to its value. The best appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods they work in.
Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, says that with a co-op, he begins by examining the building’s financials: if there is likely to be an increase in maintenance or a special assessment, it might lower the appraisal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Upper West Side Inventory in High Demand

UWS has just five months of active listings

January 07, 2013 12:00PM

Adrienne Albert and an Upper West Side block
The absorption rate on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is a whopping 33.4 percent, meaning that the supply of listings could run dry in just five months. That neighborhood has the highest absorption rate of the five neighborhoods — the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, Midtown West, Midtown East and Downtown — tracked in a new Marketing Directors report.
On the Upper West Side, there are some 329 current, active listings. The Downtown market has the next highest absorption rate, 27.1 percent, with 606 available units of housing. There is enough supply in that neighborhood to last some six months. Downtown was followed by the Upper East Side, which has a 24.6 percent absorption rate, 404 active listings and seven months of inventory.
The absorption rate was lower in Midtown East and Midtown West, coming at 19 percent and 19.8 percent respectively.
The report details Manhattan inventory below 110th Street.
“Demand will definitely outpace supply, and this will have a real impact on how developers approach the market — from site acquisition all the way through to pricing and sales,” said Adrienne Albert, founder and CEO of the Marketing Directors, in a release that accompanied the report. —Zachary Kussin

Monday, January 7, 2013

What $4,400/Month Can Rent You Around New York City

Friday, January 4, 2013, by Jeremiah Budin

Welcome back to Curbed Comparisons, a column that explores what one can rent for a set dollar amount in various New York City neighborhoods. Is one man's studio another man's townhouse? Let's find out! Today's price: $4,400/month.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New York City Rental Market outlook - 2013

The Rental Tide Subsides

  • Apartment rents in New York City have been rising rapidly for several years, but signs are now emerging that the market has hit a speed bump and is finally shifting to a slower gear.
    Manhattan rents have been dropping, with the average price $3,368 in November, $76 less than in October and the third consecutive month prices have declined, according to Citi Habitats.
    While some of this may be seasonal — the rental market tends to soften during the winter — the pace of rental growth year over year has also slowed. According to, median rents are 1.5 percent higher than one year ago, a marked drop from the 10 percent increase that rents posted two years ago and the 15 percent of three years ago. Inventory is also up, with 13,618 Manhattan apartments for rent in November, a 21 percent increase over November 2011, Streeteasy found.

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