The Real.Est List
- How to find a Brooklyn rental: One man's odyssey
His advice-packed account of his recent Brooklyn apartment search includes a footnoted shout-out to some folks from the NY Times and Newsweek, so it might be that we should know who Benjamin Jackson is. We don't, but it's clear that the man has some excellent guerrilla-style lessons to share about how to find a NYC rental, including these bits of craft and cunning:
- Look during the first week or two of the month. Most places rent on the 1st, and 30 days’ notice is standard, so that time is when most people start listing and looking for tenants.
- A well-timed sublet can be a back door into a great place. People often sublet to finish out their lease, and when it’s up you’ll have the first crack at renewing. The current tenants may also be more flexible on price unless their apartment is really, really nice due to pressure to close the deal. More>>
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 2/01/11 - 11:27 AM
In a recent chat with some executives from Westchester brokerage behemoth Houlihan Lawrence, BrickUnderground steered the conversation toward the sort of anthropological trivia we love to collect. Specifically, we asked how buyers from NYC behave differently than their already suburbanized counterparts.
For one thing, we learned, future suburbanites are unusually focused on square footage—a semi-recent phenomenon that has apparently required some adjusting on the part of brokers used to extolling swimming pools, double-height atriums and new boilers over price per square foot.
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 2/01/11 - 10:11 AM
Q. I moved into a market-rate apartment more than 2 years ago. When I saw the apartment, the windows worked fine. By spring, three of them had broken and they won't stay open. We've asked the super to fix them repeatedly but to no avail.
Is this the kind of thing we can demand be fixed? If they continue to put it off, can we fix it ourselves and withhold rent? If they don't get fixed, can the management company withhold our security deposit over it?
A. According real estate lawyer Cory Weiss, you are entitled under the Warranty of Habitability (which requires that your apartment be livable) to have your windows fixed.
"Request the repair in writing," Weiss advises. "If it's ignored, get a repair estimate and send it to the landlord."
- by Jill Urban | 2/01/11 - 7:58 AM
Before I moved into my first rental apartment, my dear Jewish mother gave me this advice: “Whatever you do sweetie… make sure to shtup the super. This way he’ll take care of you!”
WHAT?? I knew very little Yiddish, but in my world, shtup meant to have sex; and I couldn’t believe my mother was suggesting I hustle myself to get good service in a New York City apartment building. I mean, I know we New Yorkers will go to great lengths to be taken care of, but this was a bit extreme.
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 1/31/11 - 1:52 PM
As the Village Voice and CurbedNY reported, a team of consumer-minded Internet "hacks" has launched "Who is my landlord?," a site designed to let tenants easily identify their landlord (not as easy it sounds, especially when dealing with a slumlord) and look up Department of Buildings violations all in one spot. (Tip: You have to click on the tiny blue Department of Buildings link under the violations tally to see the nature of the violations.)
So far, the site-in-progress has indexed 798 buildings. It's a great idea, and we look forward to seeing it grow. To make it even more useful, we hope they'll also start pulling violation and complaint information from the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) database. That's where complaints about heat, hot water and bed bugs reside, whereas the Department of Buildings violations tend to be more structurally-related.
- What to do about that rat in your toilet
Rats in the commode are not an urban myth; nor, apparently, are they limited to basement apartments. Gothamist.com reports on a 3rd floor toilet rat incident in Prospect Heights (the rat made it from bathroom to living room, then vanished). The post offers up some handy advice for anyone dealing with a similar plumbing invasion Rule #1: Should you find a rat in your toilet, the first thing you should do is flush it back down."It happens all the time," an exterminator tells Gothamist. "They call me, I go in, and just flush the toilet. 100 bucks!!" More>>
- by A. Ready | 1/31/11 - 10:46 AM
The new 298-unit building located at 1510 Lexington Avenue (at 97th Street) is part of the three-building complex known as Carnegie Hill Place. What sets it apart from its peers, however, is the fact that it is green. The building is currently awaiting LEED silver certification, and smoking is forbidden in the building, including in the individual apartments.
This building also appears to have gone the extra mile in terms of amenities. In addition to a 24-hour attended lobby with concierge, there's a children's playroom, rooftop club, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, a coffee bar, package room for perishable deliveries, extensive garden and fitness facilities, and attended garage with valet parking. The interiors have condo-level finishes, and every apartment has a Bosch washer/dryer.
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 1/31/11 - 6:10 AM
When the three biggest real estate brokerages in New York City decline to weigh in on a New York Times story about sales commissions, it’s time to tune in.
According to the story, which ran on the cover of the Times’ real estate section this weekend, the traditional 6 percent commission on NYC apartment sales is flu-ish, if not quite dead as a doornail. The national average is apparently 5.36 percent, says a real estate research firm quoted in the article, and New York City is no different.
The big firms--Prudential Douglas Elliman, Corcoran, and Halstead--didn't comment, at least not on the record. But alternative brokerages like Charles Rutenberg Realty, RealDirect and The Burkhardt Group were only too happy to share their thoughts, along with the details of their low commission structures.
- by Roger Clark as told to Kelly Kreth | 1/31/11 - 6:09 AM
NY1 reporter Roger Clark and fiancée Jenny Gill embark on an apartment search in hopes of finding a bigger place—two bedrooms—for under $2,500 on the Upper East Side, preferably in Yorkville. Three weeks, a 20% budget increase, and a lot of dishwashers later, they find their dream apartment.
- How to break a lease -- the video version
For those of you who missed BrickUnderground's NYC-style guide to breaking a lease, we direct you to today's NY1 real estate report with Jill Urban, featuring BrickUnderground's very own founder Teri Rogers and real estate lawyer Steven Wagner. Major takeaways: No matter what your lease says, you have the right to find a qualified tenant to replace you. And if your landlord isn't playing nice, you might consider switching to Plan B: Making yourself so annoying the landlord will be glad to see you go.
- by Amy as told to Kelly Kreth | 1/28/11 - 2:15 PM
When I first moved into my one bedroom, one bathroom pre-war co-op apartment in Midtown West, I loved the apartment—especially the fact that it was a real penthouse. And even with $150k in renovations, I felt the $460K price was a bargain for a unit with a 1,000 square foot terrace. I also liked how private it was. The apartment can only be accessed by a separate staircase leading up one flight from the elevator and there are no neighbors on either side or on top--only below. It is my own private Idaho!
The thing I disliked most when I first bought it was that it was so ugly--the apartment had a pink carpet--and was bordering on uninhabitable. It had an old bathroom and kitchen that needed to be redone as well as an air conditioner stuck in the frame of a door leading to my terrace.
- by A. Ready | 1/28/11 - 11:01 AM
As we noted earlier this week, landlord TF Cornerstone is offering one month free rent for new leases in its building The Fairfax, located at 201 East 69th. We took a look on TF Cornerstone's website to see if they are offering concessions at their other buildings. 2 Gold is offering one month free rent. Four units are available, ranging from a studio listed at $2,118 to a two-bedroom, two bath for $4,897. There are six availabilities at 45 Wall Street, also offering one month free rent, with prices starting at $2,608 for a one bedroom up to $4,892 for a 1,347 square foot loft with two bathrooms. Both buildings are full service, and have the requisite gym and outdoor spaces. 45 Wall, a conversion, has unusual layouts.
- Sins of the parents: Apartment shame
We have satirized this phenomenon before, but it's no laughing matter to one UrbanBabyite suffering from an apartment complex because her 800-square-foot two-bedroom pales next to the more expansive abodes of her son's classmates. She has lost the desire to host play-dates in the cramped quarters. Justified or not? Most commenters feel the size of the apartment should not matter, and mom needs to get over it so that she does not transfer her insecurity to her child. More>>
- by Lorna Leibowitz | 1/28/11 - 7:56 AM
Six years ago, I had a listing on Central Park South that was a beautiful park view apartment. There was just one little problem: The pigeons nesting on the balustrades outside the living room window. I could not sell that place because nobody could see past the pigeon poop.
Eventually, with the help of the super and some artfully laid sticky bird gel (pigeons apparently don't like it when their feet get sticky), we persuaded the pigeons to move on. As soon as they relocated, the apartment sold (well).
Over the years I have come to call the shortcomings of my new listings the “pigeon in the apartment". Here are some of the other “pigeons” I have dealt with over the past two decades.
- by Veronica X. | 1/27/11 - 3:33 PM
You know it, your contractor knows it, the co-op board knows it: You bought a wreck. Now you want to make it beautiful AND code-compliant before the faulty wiring blows the whole building sky-high. Not so fast! People with all kinds of time on their hands have your plans (and life) by the faucets.
- "Are you planning to purchase hallway space?" Translation: "Throw a little money in the reserve fund and then we'll talk."
- "We must be mindful of energy efficiency." Translation: "If we can't have central air, you can't have central air."
- "We are very concerned about the noise." Translation: "Sound-proofing, sound-schmoofing... Your kids are loud and rude in the elevator, God knows what they're like the rest of time! We certainly don't want to."