The Real.Est List
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 11/11/10 - 6:03 AM
You set your wet rainboots out to dry in the common hallway shared by two apartments, 15 feet apart. The next thing you know the management company calls to tell you to move your footwear inside. Fair, or unbearably uptight? An UrbanBaby poster wants to know. Here's a sampling from the 111 comments so far:
- FAIR: First it's rainboots. Then it's a basket full of gloves and hats. Then it's an umbrella stand. And maybe a stroller. And so on. Before too long, it's a cluttered mess.
- FAIR: [responding to above] THANK YOU. One step down the slippery slope. Someone in my building got into the habit of leaving a stroller in the hallway. That lasted a week until I saw someone had tossed it into the garbage. They got a new stroller and kept it inside.
- UPTIGHT: I hate people like your neighbors. They really are not equipped for city living. They need to go rural.
- by Theresa Braine | 11/11/10 - 5:59 AM
Now that I had lined up an exterminator and the bites were less frequent (flawed as my original exterminator was, he had gotten rid of most of the bugs for the time being)--I had to go through every single one of my possessions, heat-treating or examining them, then bagging them in airtight plastic.
I hadn’t quite gotten it in the beginning.
“You’ll have to go through all this stuff,” the first guy had said vaguely, sweeping a hand toward the piles of boxes stacked around my living room that were a combination of belongings I’d shipped from my seven years in Mexico and stuff that had been in my parents’ basement while I was away. I was still unpacking.
- by David Katz, Architect | 11/11/10 - 5:57 AM
Anyone who has ever renovated a house or apartment has had to deal with change orders, those nagging adjustments to construction cost based on unanticipated conditions: The contractor had no idea he was going to find a pipe in the wall, now has to have a plumber come in and move it, and will therefore charge more for the additional work.
In theory, change orders may either increase or decrease the construction cost, but as any renovator will tell you, a credit from a contractor is about as rare as a rent reduction. Read on for some tips on avoiding change orders altogether.
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 11/10/10 - 4:05 PM
Over drinks last spring, an exec at one of the city's better-known real estate PR firms confessed that during the boom, she and her colleagues spent many hours brainstorming the amenities that would make the biggest media splash for a new development: Developers preferred that calculus to the potential effect on unit owners' common charges down the road. CurbedNY's "Amenity Deathmatch" poll, asking readers to vote on which condo--15 Broad (downtown) or TheAldyn (UWS) has the better bowling lane --reminded us of that conversation. In Curbed's "building vs. building showdown based solely on the things that drive up maintenance costs and never get used," The Aldyn has received 76% of the votes for best lane at last check.
- by A. Ready | 11/10/10 - 1:29 PM
Long-time observers of the real-estate market in prime Brooklyn neighborhoods are aware that sales prices have been quite resistant to downward pressure. There have been some recent indications that change is afoot, and a review of recorded sales in Brooklyn Heights shows some more cracks in the armor. The sales below, which all closed last week, tell a similar story of early signs of price movement:
- One Brooklyn Bridge Park has sold just 181 of its 449 units since the first sale closed in January of 2008. The median price per square foot of all sales is $737. Recently prices in the building have been losing traction. Consider the October sale of #612, an 1,100 square foot one-bedroom for $641,497. That's $583 per square foot and almost 26% less than the $865,000 asking price.
- by A. Ready | 11/10/10 - 12:50 PM
The floor plan of this two bedroom, 1.5 bath first-floor Murray Hill duplex will not appeal to all: The second bedroom on the main floor is tiny (three smallish pieces of furniture would be the limit) and the kitchen is somewhat awkwardly positioned in the entry hallway. However, the prewar apartment boasts a (washer-dryer equipped!!) bonus lower level of about 200-square-feet that would be ideal for sequestering a teenager (like vampires, they often shun light and company) or for a playroom or home office. There's also a small garden for your dog. The kitchen is renovated, complete with Sub-Zero, and the zoned elementary and middle schools (P.S. 116 and M.S. 104) are highly regarded. The duplex was originally listed in September of 2009 at $929,000 and its current asking price is $799,000, below the $830k it sold for in August 2005. For someone looking for flexible space and charm, sans doorman, this might work very well indeed.
- by Jamie Lauren Sutton | 11/10/10 - 10:20 AM
Dear Ms. Demeanor,
We are moving apartments soon - it is stressful but exciting. However, our nanny is not very excited and her bad attitude is rubbing off on the children. She keeps making comments about the new apartment (which she has not yet seen) and telling the kids how much she will miss our current apartment. I am not asking her to do any work related to the move but I think her attitude is both unprofessional and very unhelpful at a stressful time.
Signed, On The Move
- by A. Ready | 11/10/10 - 6:57 AM
Billions of dollars have been earmarked for dormitory construction in New York City over the next few years. According to The Real Deal, no fewer than 11 local universities have recently opened, are currently constructing and/or have active plans to build. So what does that mean for NYC dwellers who've already matriculated?
- Containment! With colleges and universities providing a place for their students to rest their heads, they won't have to proliferate as much to other neighborhoods. They'll be much easier to locate and avoid, if desired.
- Lower rents! Billions of dollars builds a LOT of housing. Less demand for off-campus housing--the low-to-moderately priced rentals typically favored by students--could in theory make those apartments more affordable to people already paying off their student loans.
- Neighborhood domination! New York University and Columbia will finally realize their dreams of total control of the Central Village and Upper Manhattan.
- Loud Fresh Direct trucks & a FiDi grocery war
What do you do when Fresh Direct impairs rather than improves your quality of life? Yesterday on CurbedNY, a downtown apartment dweller wonders how to get Fresh Direct to find another place to park its truck other than in the no-standing zone outside his window four times a day for up to an hour each time. The sound "is loud and literally vibrates our building," he says. Parking tickets have no effect as "essentially for the companies the tickets are a sunk cost in doing business." Curbed readers offer advice ranging from contacting the community board or a city council member, to stalking Fresh Direct's customer service center (cc to the CEO) by email every time the truck shows up, to tossing urine-filled water balloons out the window. From there, the conversation digresses into a heated, granular debate about grocery shopping options in the Financial District. More>>
- by Kelly Kreth | 11/10/10 - 5:42 AM
Manhattan-born and raised actor, author, filmmaker and former cab driver Eric Schaeffer has lived on the Upper West Side his entire life. He is the creator of seven feature films (he is currently filming his eighth in Paris) and four TV series, many of which are set in his beloved hometown. I Can’t Believe I’m Still Single--Schaeffer’s reality-based show chronicling his mishaps finding Ms. Right--kicked off its third season on Showtime last Thursday; he is also the author of a memoir of the same name.
We asked Schaeffer for his NYC apartment-dwelling backstory and were shocked—shocked—to find out that a guy who is nearly 50 and has made a career out of being single is, by Manhattan standards, an apartment monogamist. We also learn that chicks dig hammocks.
- Do 5-year-old boys belong in apartments?
A 5 year old boy, no rugs, and a downstairs neighbor with an allegedly noise-sensitive dog. Who has the moral authority--the neighbor or the family? On UrbanBaby, this fact pattern is under debate. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the venue, the majority of commenters agree that as long as the hours are reasonable (here, 5:30 pm- 7:30 pm and alternate weekends) and the activity reasonable (here, running to the bathroom, not jumping or playing ball), then the neighbor needs to understand that "a 5 year old kid lives like a 5 year old kid and makes an expected amount of movement and noise and either accept it, get a sound machine to block out the noise, or move. I hate people who move in and expect kids to be still. And tell her to get valium for her dog!!" But not everyone agrees: "I hate to say it, but I would not keep a 5 year old boy in an apartment...some kids really need to run and as much as I left kicking and screaming, the city is not the place for this." Thoughts? (UrbanBaby.com)
- Even God has bed bugs
A friend and bed bug survivor emails us this exchange with a coat check attendant at a crowded Manhattan restaurant last week: "I asked if they had any kind of bed bug protocol or at the very least could keep my coat at the far end of the closet beyond the bulk of them (of course, any bed bugs on the wall could have climbed aboard, but I figured if there were any there at all, the coats would be more likely to have them). The woman said, 'Oh honey, you are at risk for those things anytime you go anywhere, to a hotel, the movies, the office.... It's just a risk you take whenever you leave your house. I was in [name of well-known house of worship redacted] visiting all the saints, and I was kneeling and praying in front of one of them and looked down and saw a bedbug crawling near my foot.'" More>>
- Sponsored by Braverman & Associates11/09/10 - 12:31 PM
How do you know whether your leaky windows, Jacuzzi-sized “Olympic” swimming pool, and IKEA lobby furniture are worth suing your developer over? Bounce it off NYC co-op and condo attorney Robert Braverman of Braverman & Associates, who will address the sue-or-not-to-sue question this Sunday from 3 to 4:30 pm at the Annual Housing Conference sponsored by the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums.
We have seen Braverman speak, and BrickUnderground's own founder lives in a building on the receiving end of a mid-six-figure settlement won by the man: In short, the guy knows what he's talking about. Read on for his take on the right time to sue a sponsor over construction defects:
- by A. Ready | 11/09/10 - 12:30 PM
According to a new work/life balance study of 1,100 Brits, men are happiest "when they do more of the housework themselves, spend longer with their children and have working partners who are in the office just as long as they are," says a report in The Guardian. Eighty-two percent of full-time working men want more time with their families. What's preventing this scenario? Employers, who are ignoring the fact that family dynamics are changing. As Apartment Therapy notes, anecdotal evidence indicates the same is true in the United States. Read on to hear what the commenters had to say...
- One more mouth to tip this holiday?
There's the housekeeper, the doorman, the parking attendants, the nanny. And now, the New York Times reports, some families are adding an in-home study-hall monitor. With a job description that falls somewhere between a babysitter's and a tutor's, the primary duty of these household helpers is to help the students FOCUS, making sure the television is off and the books are open. "'If you can afford the luxury, it’s worth it," says one mother, who reported that her son’s grades and organizational skills improved--and that parent-child conflicts declined after she hired a homework-helper. (NY Times)