The Real.Est List
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 11/09/10 - 6:57 AM
Q. The super called me yesterday and told me that my bathroom needs to be renovated because it's leaking into the bathroom in the apt below mine and causing damage. It's true that my bathroom needs to be renovated. It's very old and has been regrouted and recaulked many times, but i need to rip out the tiles and install wonderboards behind them in order to stop the leaking. I plan to renovate my bathroom -- my question is about the damage in the bathroom in the apt below mine.
- by Teri Rogers and A. Ready | 11/09/10 - 6:40 AM
If you're on the prowl for a co-op board that embraces a dictionary versus despotic interpretation of the word "cooperative," you can find a multitude of clues from the listing itself and from the answers to a few strategic questions lobbed at the seller's broker.
Read on for the lowdown, and remember: The more you can check off, the better the chance you won't spend 14 years nursing the sting of a board turndown.
- Dining a la shoebox
Wondering how to shoehorn holiday revelers into your shoebox? Apartment Therapy & friends offer some ideas for svelte dining areas. Suggestions range from creating a multi-purpose space, such as having a table double for both office and dining, to the more novel idea of mounting your dining room table to the wall, to those "coffee tables with levers that transform into a comfortable dining table and the skinny console tables that extend to fit up to 10 guests." One commenter suggests offering finger foods instead of tying up limited space. More>>
- by A. Ready | 11/08/10 - 2:27 PM
This week's pick for no-fee building of the week is River East, a luxury high-rise building in Yorkville at 408 East 92nd Street (First Ave.). According to no-fee apartment search site UrbanEdgeNY, there are currently five apartments for rent (each with its own washer-dryer) in the building: A studio for $2,350, three one-bedrooms ranging from $2650 to $2,895, and a two-bedroom for $4,050. The two-bedroom compares quite favorably against the median price of $4,725. While the other apartments are higher than the medians for the neighborhood ($1,650 for studios and $2,103 for one-bedrooms), the smaller unit market overall tends to have much greater variability in terms of quality, and the River East apartments seem well-priced for a luxury full-service building.
- Mover's remorse
Do you regret moving to New York? On a WiredNY thread pondering that question, some hate the pedestrian traffic, the Europeans, the noise, the strollers, the people who pay more attention to their electronic gadgets than their surroundings, and the expense, but most have no regrets. Read on for some comments you can probably relate to... More >>
- Schools declared Ground Zero for bed bugs
This may help you feel less awkward about handing your kids' playdates giant Ziplocs for their backpacks and coats: "I'm calling for a full on war against bedbugs starting in the public school system," Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer tells the Daily News in a story noting that bed bug cases in NYC public schools have nearly tripled to 336 in the first two months of this year versus 135 this time last year. Stringer wants the city to hire a search-and-destroy army of inspectors and exterminators, and some schools are apparently already taking extreme measures like putting coats and bookbags into sealed containers to control the spread. For more info on keeping the school's bed bugs out of your home, check out our Back to School Advice for the Paranoid and Merely Cautious. (NY Daily News)
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 11/08/10 - 6:10 AM
At the New York Real Estate Expo on Friday, NY Magazine real estate columnist Jhoanna Robledo asked a panel of real estate types including StreetEasy.com research director Sofia Song, Upper West Side broker Klara Madlin (who flinched as she recalled trying to sell real estate in 1981 when interest rates were 20%), and yours truly whether it is really possible to time the market.
The general consensus: You only know you’ve hit the peak or the bottom when you can see it in your rear view mirror.
But if you can’t time the market, can you time the building? Read on for a few mostly counterintuitive ways we can think of to spot opportunity where other buyers see none--or nothing but trouble.
- by anonymous renter as told to Teri Rogers | 11/08/10 - 5:54 AM
I was the victim of a Craigslist sublet scam last week. I’m still in shock, because I consider myself very knowledgeable about New York real estate and the kinds of scams that can happen, but I was taken.
I saw the ad on Craigslist (pictured). It was for a $1,200 a month walk-up studio at 40 Horatio Street, #14, in the West Village. The ad had a cell phone number rather than an email address, so I texted and arranged with a woman who said her name was Delores Dunk to see the place on Sunday morning, Halloween.
- Name that building
Taking a cue from Madison Avenue and condo developers, some existing co-ops and condos formerly known as mere street addresses are in the market for upscale names like Hardenbrook House and The Sterling, according to the November issue of Habitat Magazine. Slightly less contentious than remodeling the lobby and cheaper than a roof deck, the right name may not only improve marketability, it can also “give even a tenement an individual personality and make its dwellers feel less like cogs in numbered boxes,” says the article (not yet online). More >>
- by A. Ready | 11/05/10 - 2:30 PM
The plight of a man laid off for having bed bugs has prompted Bedbugger.com to examine the question of whether you should let your co-workers know that you have bedbugs at home. If you're employed in an "at-will" state like New York, this is apparently perfectly legal. As far as we know, it's also okay for potential landlords to discriminate against bed bug survivors. But your doctor? A commenter on BedBugger tells what happened--twice--when doctors found out he had bed bugs.
- Concession Alert!
BrickUnderground has learned that 184 Kent--the new and nearly leased-up conversion of a former warehouse on the Williamsburg waterfront (sexy website here; listings here on Rose Associates' website)--is throwing in one month free and paying the broker's fee as well. The luxury building's amenities include a large gym, roof deck, bike storage, landscaped interior courtyard, common areas with wifi and valet parking. A quick search on StreetEasy reveals that Post Towers and 30 Lincoln Plaza are also giving rental incentives. More details here>>
- Secondhand smoke gag order
Secondhand smoke is harmful all right--to resale values. Which is why some UrbanBaby commenters advise a co-op owner to keep her clean-up campaign out of the minutes: “My best advice is keep it out of your board minutes because you don't want that on record if and when you try to sell.” Another agrees: “My neighbors' front door has been sealed with the acoustic stuff they use in concert halls and recording studios (it also blocks the odors) they have the smoke eaters (though I don't think they consistently use them). The walls that we share have had the base boards ripped out, all ‘cracks’ and space sealed and then boards reinstalled. It makes it slightly better but does not solve the problem. In our case we each own half the floor so we only have this one terrible neighbor. Keep it off the record because it will hurt you.” But if the smoke is that bad, wouldn't buyers find out through their noses anyhow? (UrbanBaby)
- by Veronica X. | 11/05/10 - 9:23 AM
Neighborly advice for the owners of the apartment that just won't sell.
- "Who is your agent? I know a great one if you are not happy with yours!" Translation: "I know your apartment is listed as FSBO - Don't you know that is the kiss of death in this town?"
- "We had our old place staged by guy named Gill and it totally went from 'drab to fab,' just like he said it would." Translation: "You really need to get an area rug to cover those stains on your carpet."
- "Do you need to store anything in our apartment during your open house?" Translation: "If you keep the double-wide stroller in the foyer and those two filthy highchairs in the kitchen, the twins will never have their own rooms."
- Which amenities really matter?
Is a gym/playroom/roofdeck/media room/pool really worth it? The commenters on StreetEasy offer up two philosophies for sorting the diamonds from the marketing fluff. "The useful amenities stand the test of time," says one. "I would be suspicious of a unique amenity offered by one or two buildings (dog spas, wine storage, spinning room)." Test #2? Whether you personally will use the amenities. "I have a pool, gym, back yard and kids rooms. as an active parent, I use and value them all," says one. Another offers: "A gym is something I would use, if it was in my building. The common roof terrace that I have (which is of a considerable size with great views) is something I mean to use, but probably only utilize properly 5 times a year. The other few times it's just to show friends that I have a roof terrace. The bike room on the other hand is invaluable." What do you use the most? (StreetEasy.com)
- by Debra as told to Kelly Kreth | 11/05/10 - 7:04 AM
The first time I tried to buy a co-op, I was turned down. It was back in 1993, when I was a single mother of a two-year old living on the Upper East Side. I was going through a divorce and had to move from my two-bedroom rental. I figured it was the perfect time to buy. Being a doctor with an office on Fifth Avenue, I knew I wanted to be close to work with a view of the park. After looking at about 35 apartments with my broker, I finally found the perfect one. It was a classic-six with two maid's rooms going for $1.2 million. My finances were in order and because my office was right next door, I knew many people on the board.
Most were my patients.