Housing Crisis Over?


This may be a telling article about what the future holds for the rest of the country. Here in NYC, specifically Manhattan, things have already been brewing for some time now.

http://www.dsnews.com/articles/housing-crisis-to-end-in-2012-as-banks-loosen-credit-standards-2012-01-24?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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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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$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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NYC Real Estate Glossary


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Alcove studio (JR 1)
A studio apartment with a separate alcove that can be used as a sleeping area. Many people put up a screen or other partition to give themselves more privacy. Just a bit larger than a box or rectangle shaped studio, but not quite a real one bedroom.

Balcony
An outdoor space that protrudes from a building. Most balconies are private but some are shared between neighbors.

Building Amenities
Extra features and services offered by a building. Amenities could be a gym, concierge services, high-speed internet access, a business center, etc.

Classic 6, 7 or 8
The term ‘classic’ followed by a number (usually starting at six) refers to the number of rooms in an apartment. It is most often used with pre-war apartments. For example, a ‘classic 6’ would be a two bedroom with a living room, dining room, kitchen and maid’s room.

Co-broke
When brokers are working on a ‘co-broke’ basis, they are sharing exclusive listings with each other. In a co-broke transaction, one broker will represent the buyer or renter, while the other will represent the owner of the property. The commission is usually split 50/50.

Convertible/Flex One, Two, Three or Four bedroom
An apartment that is convertible or flexible in terms of the number of bedrooms. For example, a convertible two bedroom is a one bedroom apartment with enough space (usually in the living room) to wall off an area for the second bedroom. A convertible three bedroom is a two bed apartment where a third bedroom is carved out of the living space, and so on and so forth. The terms ‘convertible’ and ‘flex’ can be used interchangeably.

Duplex
An apartment with two levels.

EIK
Stands for Eat In Kitchen, a popular apartment feature.

Exclusive listing
When a broker has an ‘exclusive’ listing, the owner of that property has hired them on an exclusive basis to either rent or sell their apartment. The broker will try to rent or sell the property through the brokerage community or through their own marketing efforts.

Façade
The front of a building. A façade can be made out of a number of materials, such as granite, glass, marble, limestone, etc.

Floor-thru
An apartment that runs from the front of a building to the rear wall, occupying an entire floor. Usually found in brownstone and townhouses.

Guarantor (or co-signor)
A guarantor is a person who assumes financial responsibility of a lease for a tenant or tenants who otherwise would not meet the landlords financial qualifications. For example, someone attending law school who might not have an income would use a guarantor, often a family member, to satisfy the landlord that rent payment will not be a problem. The guarantor is a ‘backstop’ for the tenants in the event of non-payment. Guarantors generally need to make 80 times the month’s rent in annual income to qualify.

Half-Bath
A bathroom with no shower or bath.

Junior four
A one bedroom apartment with a separate alcove area. The “junior” refers to the fact that the alcove qualifies as a junior fourth room. (The other three rooms are the bedroom, the kitchen and the living room) This separate alcove can be used as a dining area, or, if the building allows, as a walled off sleeping area.

Keyed elevator
Refers to an apartment that has an elevator that opens directly into it. One must use a key to operate the elevator. This feature is found mostly in lofts and penthouses.

Loft areas
Apartments with high ceilings will sometimes have a ‘loft area’ built into them. A loft is a platform constructed over the living space for the purpose of extra storage, a sleeping area, a home office, etc. Generally you can access the area with a staircase or ladder. Loft areas are very useful because they make use of otherwise wasted vertical space.

Managing Agent
A third party-organization that manages most co-op and condominium buildings. Most co-op and condo buildings will hire a managing agent to maintain the building, collect rent or monthly maintenance fees, manage the building staff, etc.

Market rate (or ‘non-stabilized’) buildings
With a market rate apartment, a landlord, at his own discretion, determines how much monthly rent he will charge on any given apartment. Renewals are not guaranteed unless stated in the lease. Introduced in 1993, “luxury destabilization” is the newest form of a Non-Stabilized Lease. It provides for lease-end destabilization of apartments which rent for over $2,000.00 per month.

Murphy bed
A bed that is built into the wall or attached to the wall and pulled down when needed. A popular piece in studios, Murphy beds are a great space saver and come in a variety of styles and price ranges.

Open Kitchen
A kitchen that is not separated from the living space of an apartment. Open kitchens are a common feature of loft apartments.

Original Detail
Refers to the details originally carved and built into pre-war apartments. Apartments from this era typically had very ornate patterns, moldings and decorations around doorways, fireplaces, etc. Sometimes during renovations these details can be lost.

Pass-through kitchen
A kitchen with an opening to the living or dining space of the apartment.

Pied á terre
A French expression; translated literally it means “foot on the earth”. It refers to an apartment that someone uses as a second home, usually because their business requires to them to spend several days or weeks in New York every month, with their primary residence being too far away for a daily commute. Pied á Terres are also kept by those who simply enjoy having a place to stay of their own when they visit New York for shopping and social activities.

Quadraplex
An apartment with four levels.

Rent Stabilization
Established in New York City in the late 1960’s, its mandate was to set limits on the monthly rental increases building owners could charge for vacant apartments and renewal leases. It also set guidelines of performance for both landlord and tenant. In stabilized buildings, rent increases typically range from 3%-5%. Tenants are guaranteed the automatic right to renew their leases provided they have fulfilled the terms and conditions of the lease.

Room Count
The number of ‘rooms’ in an apartment. A living area, a bedroom, and a walled kitchen count as ‘rooms’. Therefore, a one bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen has three rooms. A studio with a separate kitchen has two rooms. A studio with a Pullman kitchen has one room.

Security Deposit
A deposit, usually one month’s rent, that a rental tenant will give to the landlord at lease signing as security against damage to the apartment during the course of their tenancy. At the end of the lease term, the landlord will take the cost of any damages caused by the tenant out of the security deposit before returning it. Most of the time the deposit will be held in an interest bearing escrow account.

Studio
A one or two room apartment with a combined living and sleeping area. The kitchen is either a separate room or set in a wall off the living area. This type of kitchen is usually referred to as a “Pullman” kitchen, after the Pullman railroad cars.

Terrace
A roof or part of a roof or a building, used as outdoor space for an apartment. Often confused with a balcony, the terms are used interchangeably.

Triple-Mint
Refers to the condition of the apartment. An apartment is ‘Triple-Mint’ if the apartment, kitchen and bathrooms are all in mint condition.

Triplex
An apartment with three levels.

Walk-through Kitchen
A kitchen with two means of entrance. You can actually ‘walk through’ the kitchen from one room to another.

WEIK
Stands for Windowed Eat-In-Kitchen, a very popular feature.

 
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Harlem World


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New York City is a tight real estate market. Finding the right place will run you $700,000 to even look at larger studios downtown in a newer full service building. In the interest of getting more apartment for the dollar and staying on the island of Manhattan, many go north to Harlem rather than over to Long Island City or Brooklyn.

With that in mind, I have selected the best buys in Harlem BELOW $700,000. This is a sample of the best in terms of space, quality, location and price. There are many people who can run you all over the city in search of deals. We here know the deals and will take you straight to them.

$399K 1BR Condo 700sf in FT DM building Enjoy a great change of pace in this luxurious 1 bedroom located in STRIVERS GARDENS the Full-service Luxury Condominium building also referred to as Harlem’s Crown Jewel. The apartment features a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, breakfast bar, stone tile flooring and stainless steel appliances including microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal luxurious bathroom suite. Each unit is equipped with individually controlled air/heat and interactive video conference security system to announce guest. Located half a block from the newly renovated St. Nicholas Park and the 135th St. subway station. Full-service building with a 24-hour concierge/doorman, attended underground parking, State of the art Fitness Center, laundry facilities and resident lounge. Pictures and floor plans are right here!

$499K 1BR Condo 679sf in FTDM building with amenities. Welcome Harlem! Just steps from 125th Street, FDB has raised the standard for quality of construction, materials, appliances and finishes to a new, higher level, not only in Harlem, but for any of the new buildings in its category. The kitchens include Aster Cucine custom cabinetry, seamless CesarStone countertops, framed glass upper cabinets, Blanco sinks and Dornbracht fixtures, Miele dishwashers, Sub Zero refrigerator-freezer and Wolf range, or the Electrolux Icon Series. The baths incorporate such stand out features as Grigio Luna stone tile imported from Italy paired with a glass mosaic accent tile. Custom wood vanities from Lacava and generous tubs and showers. From the 12th floor communal roof terrace with an outdoor fireplace and an additional terrace garden off the main floor, to its on-site parking, FDB has the amenities that matter. Low asking price, even lower monthly of $442 Common Charge and $6 RE Tax! Pictures and floor plan are right here!

$599K 1BR Condo 993sf in FT DM building This is a unique opportunity to live in a penthouse duplex that was once a school! The apartment has tons of space and natural light. The best part is the private terrace overlooking the Manhattan skyline. An amazing value in a unique property that is ANYTHING but cookie cutter! Pictures and floor plan are right here if you click this!

$695K 3BR Condo 1425sf in FT DM building This is a MASSIVE amount of space for your dollar. YOUR ROOFTOP AWAITS!!This spectacular top floor unit comes with very high ceilings throughout, a private roof top terrace that enters directly into the apartment, a gorgeous white marble kitchen and under cabinet lighting. The kitchen contains all GE Profile Appliances. Mahogany Stained Oak Floors, crown mouldings, and floor to ceiling Ivory D’Oriente Tiled Bathrooms with Kohler deep soaking tubs. Other features include, great closet space, large living room, with 3 baths. FHA Approved for up to 96.5% financing for Qualified Buyers! This building offers wonderful amenities including; 24 hour attended lobby, rooftop terrace, a resident media room, an equipped fitness center, private storage unit for each apartment, bicycle room, and a J-51 tax abatement and exemption. For pictures and a floor plan simply click on this link!

As you can see, the best values in Manhattan are in Harlem right now. The area has changed DRASTICALLY from the horror stories of old. The amount of new construction due to Tax abatements makes for a whole new market within this market. Feel free to write or call me with any questions on the area as I am here to guide you home!

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$1M NYC Tour Pt.1-For savvy investors, now is the time!


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The Manhattan market is saturated with the mundane. There’s a surplus of average inventory on the sales and rental end these days. Quality is at a premium and as such, so is the price.

With the start of the peak rental season upon us, a virtual feeding frenzy is beginning in the real estate market here. Rental vacancy rates below 1% always equate to an uber-competitive rental market. At the mid to higher end price points for rent here (4000+/mth), the question of making a purchase comes to mind for many families sure to be here for 5 years.

After all, with rates being so low and the out of pocket so high to rent here, doesn’t making that much cash translate to equity make sense? Many times I have seen a client remark, “With all the recession talk, THIS is all I can get for 1M these days?”. This is because entry level for studios in most luxury new development downtown is $650,000. It makes one wonder “what does $1M get you in NYC these days?”

So since New York City is really five boroughs, I have picked out the five best values within the budget, in residential homes, co-op/condo apts, retail and/or mixed use properties. This is aimed to educate you on the different levels of investing here. Today’s entry is for what I like to call Manhattan proper. While Curtis Mayfield made a great song called “Across 110th Street”, the areas that are always in demand and considered solid are below 96th street. I will follow up with Brooklyn, then Queens, the Bronx then lastly Staten Island.

Manhattan: This is a unique market and as such, it is very complex. See my post on Co-ops vs Condos for greater details on the particulars and differences.

Co-Op 950sf JR4 $649,000 Two blocks away from Central Park, this spacious 950+ square foot one bedroom is easily convertible to a fabulous Junior 4. Just put up a wall in the large windowed dining alcove and you’ve created a two bedroom home. The apartment offers a gracious layout including a large entry foyer, huge living room, versatile dining alcove and a tremendous bedroom. This sunlit home has been completely renovated featuring newly installed 5” wide oak plank floors, dental and new baseboard mouldings, gorgeous kitchen with ceramic tiled counters, backsplash and floors. The stunning bathroom has been re-done with floor to ceiling Carrera marble, double clear glass shower doors and a new vanity. Four huge closets including a walk-in, lovely custom drapes. Southern exposure… Additional amenities in this pet friendly luxury building include a concierge, 24 hour doorman and garage.

Click For Photos Click For Floor Plan

Condo 850 sf 1BR $849,000 This is a large one bedroom, in a PRIME Central Village location. There are low monthly costs here even though it is not a new development so this is a true find. The location here at the prestigious Randall House is central to everything the Village has to offer near Union Square, Whole Foods and cinemas, just steps to the N, R And 6 trains. Special features include a windowed renovated kitchen, a large living area, ample closets,  southern exposure for natural light and city-proof windows. This is in a Full-service, 24 Hour Doorman building with garage on premises and laundry in the building. Pet friendly as well!

Click For Photos Click For Floor Plan

These are just two examples of what your dollar gets you in NYC “Manhattan proper” right now. I made sure to give you the absolute best options for investment purposes factoring in lowest possible monthly cost, renovation conditions and most importantly, location. This affects value for both rental and resale.

Stay tuned for more updates on the $1M NYC tour!

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Rookie or Veteran?


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You are here looking for a home. You call or email about a specific place that’s the DREAM home on the perfect tree-lined street, only to not get an address, hear that it’s rented or if you are lucky, get taken to a box facing a brick wall.

This is the most in demand market to find a home and the busiest time of year for rentals is approaching fast. The vacancy rate is under 1% again. To put that it in perspective, for every one building with 100 apartments in it, you MAY be able to sublet a room from someone within.

To move is an important decision. Likely one of the more important ones you are likely to make in the next three to four years. To do this and not choose wisely the target of attack is like throwing dice against a wall. Is that really how to choose a home?

There are over 27,000 licensed real estate salesperson in this city. Each year there are about 10,000 transactions. The amount of new agents that actually last in this business is less than 10%. This brings to mind an interesting question.

Would you buy a car from a pizza-maker? Get a haircut from your bank teller?

That’s the likely result when you put your trust in an inexperienced agent. He/She will likely be in another industry when you are looking to purchase in two or three years IF that agent can even find you and secure the right place.

If that’s what you want to spend your time doing, then you can do that without a broker and save the fee if you are able to find a place. This is not the time of year to risk losing the perfect place because someone wants to show you what they want you to see and not take you to what you are telling them you want.

A broker earns the fee for much more than just how many places they show you. A good broker earns the fee for showing you fewer places that are ALL viable options based off of your needs. There is no way that a rookie can do this without the proper inventory knowledge. There are many managements, co-op/condo owners and developers to choose from. Too many apartments to list that turn over before they can even be listed during this time of year.

The essential functions when using a broker for a rental are to save you time in the initial search, securing the apartment by having the necessary documentation, saving money over the course of the initial year or two by finding that gem that is NOT available to the public and PERHAPS a below market rent. This is among the many other hats (pun not intended if you know me) we wear. (Board package and interview preparation, relationships with owners/landlords/supers/porters, knowledge of areas for those relocating and other networking possibilities).

Take time to really think about your search for a home and remain open-minded about the possibilities. This city is a cornucopia of experiences for you to delve into. Make sure that you are not being led by someone with no sense of the realities in this marketplace.

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