The Real.Est List
- 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.
- by A. Ready | 11/04/10 - 3:00 PM
If you are looking for a doorman building in Midtown West and are happy to trade free music in your atrium for lower rent, maybe today's no-fee apartment pick is for you. The Nicole, located at 400 West 55th Street at 9th Avenue and built in 2004, is an amenities-rich building with a gym, lounge, garden, as well as breakfast served daily. This two-bedroom, two bath with walk-in closet is available for $4,200 a month, and the landlord is offering one month free rent and will pay your broker's fee. As the median rent for similarly-sized units in the neighborhood is $5,200, this seems like a good deal to us.
- The kitchen you hate may not be a kitchen
Real estate broker-blogger Malcolm Carter takes a look at the kitchen-related regulations of New York City's Administrative Code. Apparently, many Big Apple apartments do not have kitchens, only kitchenettes. How can you determine whether your food preparation space can be called a kitchen? It must contain at least 80 square feet, and "the total window area must be a least one-tenth of the floor area, and all required windows must be at least 12 square feet." Kitchenettes, unlike kitchens, are allowed to be windowless as long as mechanical ventilation is provided. Does your apartment sport a lowly kitchenette? You're in good company. This 1,285 square foot apartment at the Sherry Netherland, located at 781 Fifth Avenue and currently listed for sale at $3,975,000, has a 10'3" by 4'7" kitchenette. (Malcolm Carter)
- by A. Ready | 11/04/10 - 8:50 AMWhere you choose to live arguably reveals something about your personality: Remaining in a rent-stabilized apartment in StuyTown long after you can afford to buy might indicate that you appreciate a good bargain (or are just cheap). Exchanging the charm and prestige of a pre-war building for a post-war white brick stalag could mean that you're just not that concerned with appearances. And requiring not only a super and a doorman but porters and a concierge might be seen as markers of an overblown sense of entitlement.Now, it appears that what you do inside your apartment--specifically, which television shows you watch--are also personality indicators. Read on for what The Office et al say about you...
- Um, how much is that in studios?
Crain's New York is reporting that the Saudi royal family has rented seven apartments at the Waldorf-Astoria, for the princely sum of $210,000 a month on a six-month lease--an all-time rental record, according to brokers. The apartments, located on floors 37-41, are intended to accommodate 29 family members. So what's $210,000 a month in denominations real estate commoners can understand? We ran the numbers: At today's median rents in Midtown East, that works out to about 100 studios, 74 one-bedrooms, or 42 two-bedrooms. (Crain's NY)
- by Theresa Braine | 11/04/10 - 6:34 AM
I decided to get rid of quasi-exterminator TC when he said he was going to bomb the apartment to get rid of every critter in it—lots of creatures, from carpet beetles to the occasional roach, come to light once you’re searching—and then focus on the leftover bed bugs, if any. By then I had started reading Bedbugger.com and other reputable websites and getting an idea of what I was up against. And saw that my instincts were correct: Pretty much every single thing this guy had done was wrong.
- Are YOU my landlord?
Move over Pictionary. The Village Voice has just unleashed a new "game" called "Who's My Landlord?." Rule Numero Zero? "Your building sucks" because otherwise "you really wouldn't care who you wrote your monthly check to." But it's not so simple to determine who your landlord is. Slums have a surprising tendency to change hands, city records can be woefully incomplete, and some buildings don't even show up in the deed recording system because the building is in foreclosure (in which case you will need to turn to New York Supreme Court to find out the identify of the person engaging in domestic terrorism against you and your building). The game may not be simple to win, but at least this sets forth how to play. (Village Voice)
- by Jamie Lauren Sutton | 11/03/10 - 12:48 PM
Dear Ms. Demeanor,
I am on the board of a great building, but I believe it could be better. The problem is that the old-timers on the board don't even know what an iPod is let alone understand why we, the younger board members, want iPod docking stations in the new roof deck we want to build--or why we want a roof deck at all. Many of the newer buildings around us are offering amazing public spaces and we have to do what we can to keep up. We have researched some new deck systems that are both affordable and very attractive. What is the best way to shake things up without breaking any hips, if you get my meaning...
Signed, New Wave vs. Old School
- Ventless dryers not so bad after all
Even if you are fortunate enough to live in a building that permits washer-dryers in apartments, there’s a better-than-even chance you will not be allowed to vent the dryer to the outdoors. But how well does a ventless dryer work? Over on StreetEasy, the ventless dryer crowd says not bad at all provided you don’t overstuff the machine, keep the lint filter very clean and the door to your laundry area propped open while the machine is on. Preferred brands? Miele, Bosch, and Asko. (StreetEasy.com)