Best Starter Apartments Vol. 1


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This is balling

There are many places one can call home here in NYC. The first choice for most is Manhattan. The balance of safety, having the entire city as your backyard and location make this the end all be all. Do realize, that most condominiums are hovering just north or south of $1000/sf . The flexibility with condo ownership makes it more appealing for those who don’t have the strong financials. When you are looking for a 500sf studio, you are talking $500,000 minimum for older condominiums. New construction in prime areas with amenities can easily start around $700,000.

Since many are not aware of these market realities and who doesn’t like a good deal, I have taken my $1M tour and downsized it to a basic starter apartment range of budgets. If you are looking for a bargain price, have strong financials then look at co-ops. In the interest of helping those who are unsure of which category they fall into, I will provide you with an option for each.

These are hands down, the lowest priced, sound values for purchase in the entire city right now. I have lived in more areas than there are subway stops. If I say the entire city, I mean it. There is always a lower priced deal for more space out there, but would you really live somewhere based off of the price tag? You know the old adage, you get what you pay for.

$155,000 Co-op on 63rd Street Upper East Side

This is a remarkable value as it is hands down, the most square footage, in a full time doorman building, south of 96th street right now. The co-op just purchased the land and the monthly maintenance is 71% Tax deductible. The total net after tax cost is only $1685 per month with a cash purchase! This is an exceptional co-op in that there is unlimited renting allowed after two years of ownership! Huge 575sf Alcove Studio custom designed and impeccably renovated. Discounted over 60% to offset the high monthly maintenance. The comparable apartments in the neighborhood cost over $425,000. You can buy this apartment for a 60% discount! There is a flexible board, great location the apartment is east facing. This is recently renovated and designed with high end finishes to utilize every last inch featuring Subzero and GE stainless steel appliances, cherry wood cabinets and granite countertop. The kitchen is not only top-of-the line, it is sized to entertain. The bathroom features modern Grohe fixtures and designer tile. This home has an open plan feel, so you might feel as though you were in a loft, but with all the conveniences of the Upper East Side. This is a Full-service co-op that features a planted roof deck (designed by the architect who landscaped the Central Park Zoo), a new high styled classic contemporary air-conditioned lobby and elevators designed by Ephelind Coblin Architects, a newly designed facade and entrance. There is a garage for $350/mo, a common storage, bike room and laundry room. The pet policy is dogs must be 20 inches or less in height and weigh 40lbs or less.

$335,000 Condo in Battery Park City

Beautiful one bedroom, one bath apartment in a 24 hour full service doorman condo building located in the heart of Battery Park City, minutes from Wall St., next to the Hudson River Esplanade. This 537sf apartment has north facing oversized windows, is bright and quiet. The apartment features new hardwood floors and an open kitchen, marble bathroom. The building has newly renovated lobby, free exercise room, bike room, laundry on every floor. And on-site parking. Do not miss this opportunity.

Or for more square footage, quality and a better location…

$691,000 Condo in Gramercy 

Incredible Value! Now priced at $1000 a square foot with combined taxes and common charges under $850. Loft-like one bedroom with high ceilings boasting nearly 700 sf of interior space on the 2nd floor of an intimate walk-up condo building. This home features a large living/dining room combination that is ample and airy creating the perfect setting for entertaining; open kitchen with an island and stainless steel appliances which include a dishwasher; and a marble bathroom. Washer dryer on every floor and only 2 apartments per floor. East exposure facing the rear of the building allows for a pure quiet escape… Located on Third Avenue just South of 23rd street in one of the most convenient and sought after neighborhoods.

These are the three lowest priced options for ownership in Manhattan downtown. There is nothing lower. The co-op is a remarkable value if you can make an all cash purchase as the monthly will be lower than most condo options. The condo in BPC is decent if you are looking in that area, but the one in Gramercy is really the perfect blend of quality, location and space overall. You lose the amenities but get a much nicer home overall.

If you or anyone you know is thinking of making a purchase, do feel free to contact me for advice, assistance or even objective feedback.

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$1M NYC Tour Part 4- “Da Bronx Bombers”


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Now if you are thinking outside of the box, then you are thinking of the Bronx. There is nothing as non-diluted, un-filtered and authentically New York as the only portion of the city that is actually on the continental United States. This is the home of the greatest professional sports team in the history of sports, the New York Yankees. If you have a need a reverse commute into Connecticut or work somewhere in Westchester County or upstate NY and still want to be close enough to Manhattan to feel like you are not out in the sticks, this is where it’s at. Plus getting to the games is a simple task. The front-runner Yankee fan commutes an average of 45 minutes from New Jersey, even longer if coming from Long Island or wherever they flock from. A true fan living in the Bronx commutes 15-20 minutes maximum.

As for the purchase options in the Boogie Down, there are plenty of low prices. As with anywhere else in NYC, location is everything. To simplify the process, I have focused on the absolute best amount of square footage in a nicer area for both the co-op condominium options.

$525,000 1750 sf Co-op in Riverdale

Just 12 minutes to the Upper West Side, this spacious, sun-filled, high-floor 3 bedroom, 3 bath residence is located in Manor Towers, the most desirable luxury building in Central Riverdale. With a gracious layout, the spacious entry foyer opens to an ample and sunny L-shaped living room, with expansive views that stretch all the way to the Long Island Sound. The Master Bedroom Suite offers numerous closets–including a large walk-in, a sitting or office area and lovely over-sized en suite bath. There are two additional bedrooms, one with en-suite bath. Third full hall bath and closets galore complete this capacious residence. Pet friendly, full service building near parks, schools, transportation and houses of worship. With 24 hour doorman, wonderful building staff, swimming pool, tennis courts and parking, this special building offers a wonderful lifestyle in the heart of wonderful Riverdale.

$975,000 2275sf PH Condo in Riverdale

This is the epitome of affordable luxury! Instead of spending $3M to even sniff something similar in Manhattan, this sun-splashed four bedroom duplex penthouse comes with top of the line touches. Starting with floor to ceiling windows in the double height living room, to the six burner Viking range and gorgeous granite counters in the Chef’s Kitchen. The master bedroom suite offers an abundance of closet space and a stone master bath with double sinks and a glass door double shower as well as a large balcony. There is a hand hewn walnut staircase leads up to den/office, three generous bedrooms, and two more bathrooms. This is a new Condominium in the heart of Riverdale that offers a fitness center, children’s play space and a river view roof deck as well as indoor deeded parking and washer/dryer in each apartment. There is easy access to PS 24, The Public Library, Seton Park, houses of worship, transportation and shopping. This is all just 12 minutes to the Upper West Side. Low common charges of $856/month and 421a abated taxes of just $25/month makes this a value and a true winner. This spectacular home was featured in the New York Times.

If you missed any of the $1Million Dollar tour of NYC links are right here.

Pt 1

Pt 2

Pt 3

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So what does it REALLY cost to live in Manhattan?


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It really works too!

This is a post that will create a ton of discussion. There are many areas to live, but the ideal areas for most are anything below midtown. A great deal of people will also look along Central Park on either the Upper West or East side.

No matter the area, after many years and seeing thousands of apartments, there is a magic number that must be considered the starting point for anyone looking to avoid crossing 110th Street.

While the last two years have happened and prices did correct themselves a bit, there is no way to keep prices down for a rare commodity for too long. You can argue all you want about what you may read in the papers pertaining to NYC real estate, but the fact is, more people move here each year. New hires, graduates, summer interns, vacationers and people downsizing or upgrading due to divorce and expecting children. The cycle never ceases, if anything it only increases.

Pay close attention, wait for it, here it comes…The one common thing that I have noticed since 2005, for a wide offering of what is out on the market, $1700 per person is the benchmark. You may find some things on the market for less. 95% of what is out there is sub-par and will waste your time.

I have found some rare gems on the market for less. There is this one number that really sticks no matter who or where you look. If you are looking for a simple studio in a great area, this is the starting point. If you are looking for a share in a doorman building, this is the point of entry. You can always try to find a needle in a haystack, or you can come prepared with realistic expectations of how much hay you are looking through. FYI-The fireplace is in a true one bedroom on Irving Place for $4100.

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$1M NYC Tour Part 3- “Live Like a King in Queens”


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In the city in 15mins via LIRR

The tour continues, if you missed it try here and here for the first two installments.

Now if you needed to catch up to speed on what this tour is all about, let’s keep it moving. This is something to think about if you like parks. Queens has more total acreage of park space than any part of the region. If you are looking for space, there is nothing in the city that can compare to what I found in Forest Hills for under a million dollars. This is a super safe and beautiful area with old world charm in Forest Hills Gardens where there are tons of Tudor style homes.

For those that don’t know, this is the most scenic and serviceable area in Queens as you have multiple transportation options such as E/F/G/R trains, the Long Island Railroad, taxi services and bus routes a plenty. The trip into Manhattan is easier than some parts of Washington Heights and the area is much nicer overall.  I actually will start a mini tour based off of this area as I found perhaps some of the lowest priced starter apartments in this area of the city that totally trump ANYTHING in North Manhattan.

Co-op

$599,000 1573sf  4BR/3Bath There is actually a place that just hit the market that is going for $849K and sounds like comparable square footage, but why break the bank!With no floor plan or pictures to examine, it may as well be a pipe dream.  Seeing is believing! This extremely rare, four bedroom, three bathroom Forest Hills residence thrills from the floor to the ceiling with its country home feel, windowed dining room alcove, spacious living room, hardwood floors and lots of closet space. The kitchen has granite countertops, brand new stainless steel appliances, designer cabinetry and ceramic tile. The master bedroom features an ensuite windowed bathroom, alcove sitting area and a large walk-in closet with a California closet system. The second bedroom easily transitions into a library or office. One of the three bathrooms includes a bathtub and separate shower stall. The six-story, post-war co-op building has an elevator, laundry room, parking garage and intercom system. Pets are welcome board approval. For the pictures (proof) slide over here.

Condo

$875,000 1788sf Penthouse Designed by famed designer Andres Escobar, this penthouse offers contemporary living in a luxurious environment. The spacious lay out is complemented by floor to ceiling windows, top of the line fixtures and appliances. Take a look at the floor plan and observe the TWO large private terraces! There is healthy mix of local retail along Austin Street to keep you busy and the property footprint is equidistant between both airports for the constant traveler. Enjoy unprecedented amenities including Shuttle transportation, fitness center, cinema, children’s play room, owners lounge, and 24 Hr Doorman to name a few.  Slide right in here!
The World is Yours

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Your Key to the City Awaits on Block Beautiful!


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Wow!

Gramercy Park

 

This weekend I noticed how many great spaces are available in the Gramercy Park part of town. I have a friend who celebrated his birthday. See that red building on the right? WINNING!

That made me think about how blessed people are who live here and have the coveted key to the only private park in the middle of the city, as the other is in Queens. While that apartment is a massive classic six, I started to think about this on a smaller scale than the multi-million dollar spaces we all dream of. What about the space that the couple just starting a family would want?

The lowest priced property that actually had a key to this private park is $480K. It is a 500sf JR1 currently configured as an open studio. I love this area of town as it is scenic, picturesque, there great options in terms of transportation and you have some of the best restaurants in the city all within walking distance.

There are currently 13 places currently for sale under $1M keys to the park. All are at least JR1 or true one bedroom layouts. The top option is an 875sf one bedroom that can convert to a two bedroom going for $769K shown here.

 

Perfect for a nursery

Great location

 

 

The space is sufficient for a couple that may have a surprise on the way and are thinking long term. Superb schools, a private park in a historic part of town and superb restaurants and culture options for two or three generations to enjoy!

This is a rarity in that the properties here under $1M rarely go on sale as the location is so in demand. There are four places on prestigious Irving Place as well from $529K topping out at $869K. This area is rich in history and there is a plethora of fresh and healthy food options to shop for when cooking. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods are the large chains in the area, there is also a farmer’s market in Union Square.

This is a great time to make a move here. If you realize that with this amount of inventory, there may be wiggle room with prices in an area where there is usually none at all due to the demand. Most of the apartments have not been on the market for more than 6 weeks, so this is the time to get creative and make offers. Owners tend to think that a sale can happen within the first month, so they get a bit antsy if there has not been any serious offers.

I am famous for finding superb locations and would love to work some magic for you 😉

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The Feeding Frenzy Begins


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Rental season here in NYC is a crazy time of year. There are always more people than there are apartments to rent. People come here during this time, expecting some super deal that rarely exists during the slow seasons. There is a virtual turning back the clock to that move Gangs of New York. The entire island of Manhattan becomes the five points and it’s survival of the fittest. Those who are prepared, both in having REALISTIC expectations and also in having all documentation readily available, have the “luck”. Those who are ill prepared, are unlucky.

We have found that the people who stretch a bit beyond their means and get help from elsewhere, are the ones who come here, secure a place in the target area, do the job assignment and then move on. They have clear cut goals and will make whatever adjustments as needed to achieve them. There are few if any “deals” in the solid areas like Gramercy and the West Village. These areas are the most in demand and as a result, they are some of the higher rents in the city. Should you find one below market rate place, making a swift decision is crucial. There is always great competition for them.

This is a yearly trend even in the past two “down” years. The rental market in Manhattan is an aberration to the housing market nationwide. Even four years ago, we were encountering the same issues we have here now. This is a city with a ton of disposable income. People come here to live more, which in turn makes them spend more, but the whole point is that by living here, you MAKE more. As a direct result, this year there are higher end luxury offerings. Contact us for a viewing as the higher the rent, the more likely the landlord will pay us directly for you!

If you factor in the average rental of $2,000 and the qualification of 40-50 times the monthly in annual income, we are talking about a city where the average person has to earn $80,000-$100,000 per year just to sign a lease without a guarantor. For places under $2000 below midtown, there will often be multiple brokers with clients racing to see the same place. Then the race for paperwork begins. If you see a crowd at an apartment it is likely a good deal and people are already conferring about what decision to make.

The time of year is a mad dash for suitable housing. Actually, it’s a all out war with collateral damage in the form of sacrificing in the size of space, quality or location, if not the budget. The market will make that decision for you and we will never push you in that direction. We will take time to educate you on the market realities in the swiftest time period possible due to advanced product knowledge.

Come prepared and be ready to make a gut decision. If you can SEE yourself living there, you should go for it before the person who saw it an hour before you does. When it’s meant to be it just feels right!

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$1M NYC Tour Part 2- “No Sleep til Brooklyn”


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I believe the most fitting way to sum this up is “if you don’t know, now you know!” This is by far a better value than Manhattan. There are almost too many places to choose from. It actually warrants a separate set of posts for a Brooklyn tour. Trying to narrow the best options down was a lot tougher here even when focusing on the “prime” areas as opposed to Manhattan. Whereas rentals are comparably priced in those areas these days, the sales market is still a much better bargain.

In the end, I will present one co-op vs one condo in this post, but out of a possible 186 options, I still was left with 5 co-ops and 13 condominiums which far surpassed anything else on the entire Brooklyn Market. As with Manhattan, I focused on location, space, quality and the monthly cost when making my selections.

Co-Op

$925,000 1500sf Park Slope This is a sprawling 1,500 SF Pre-War co-op in one of the most desirable locations in all of Brooklyn… Literally steps to the 2,3,Q,B trains as well as Prospect Park. This beautiful apartment boasts a wonderfully renovated app. 300 SF chefs kitchen with vented Viking stove, marble & granite counter tops/island, breakfast bar, banquette, recessed lighting and loads of high end cabinetry. Currently configured as a 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment, there is an additional room with French doors that can be used as a 3rd bedroom, formal dining room, media room or large office. Enter into the huge gallery/foyer to find 9.5 foot beamed ceilings, recessed lighting throughout, 12 windows, lustrous mahogany stained herringbone floors, built-ins, crown molding and original subway tiled bathrooms. Apartment also comes with private basement storage and though there is a modern laundry room in the building, the co-op also permits a W/D unit inside the apartment. This is a handsome, well maintained pre-war co-op, pet friendly with a live in super and P/T doorman. Apart from Prospect Park and express trains, location is also a few minutes walk to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Botanic Gardens, Mount Prospect, Brooklyn Library, the Farmers Market and plenty of hip shops and restaurants in both Prospect Heights and Park Slope. FIRST SHOWINGS at the open house scheduled for Sunday April 3rd. For Pictures and floor plan via slide show click me!

Condo

$895,000 1425sf DUPLEX Seller pays transfer taxes! 1 Bedroom + Home Office + Mezzanine Space and style converge with stunning results in a spacious 1425-square foot loft duplex located in the heart of Williamsburg. Currently used as a two bedroom, the loft’s open plan makes it easily convertible and completely flexible.Breathtaking is the only word to describe stepping into this home with soaring 15′ ceilings and gigantic arched windows. Gorgeous hardwood flooring runs throughout the home and is complemented by the exposed beams in the ceiling. The open-plan kitchen is designed for easy cooking and entertaining with a translucent and white central island for prepping and casual dining. Miele stainless steel appliances and custom cabinetry complete the tasteful look. The main bathroom is a modern sanctuary that provides the perfect spot for unwinding with its cool tile surfaces and over-sized soaking tub. Five closets in the bedrooms and halls offer endless storage options.Out the windows and from the building’s roof deck, you’ll see this is the location to be in Williamsburg. Nestled between two of its trend-setting avenues and yet just removed enough to enjoy a quiet setting, you’re never more than steps from fine dining and boutique shopping and you’re just one stop from Manhattan on the L train at Bedford Avenue. For slideshow with pictures and the floor plan just click me

These are just the two places which I have selected based purely off of being in solid locations for either sublease and/or resale potential investment situations. There is a wealth of great value in Brooklyn right now and much can be had for less. I wanted to give you a good example of what the same amount gets you in each borough. Do feel free to contact us if you have any questions, thoughts or feedback.

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