The Real.Est List
- Are marble floors the answer to overheated apartments?
One NYC apartment dweller thinks so. Having just returned from Florida enamored of the feel of cool stone on bare feet to an apartment that hits 90 degrees all year long, the StreetEasy commenter believes a living area wholly floored in marble sounds attractive. Others are not so sure. For one thing, they're slippery and they need to be sealed every eight months or so. For another, it could be a killer when resale rolls around. More >>
- Where to sell that vintage autopsy table
An apartment dweller with a penchant for odd furniture is asking ApartmentTherapy readers for advice on where to unload a pre-mid-century autopsy table. "It is a beautiful showpiece, if you get over its original function," she assures. In addition to the obvious venues like eBay and craigslist, readers offer some more unusual possibilities... More >>
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 11/24/10 - 10:39 AM
When you're buying new construction, it pays to pay attention to the fine print in the offering plan. But sometimes you also need a translator.
We asked real estate lawyer and coopandcondo.com blogger Ron Gitter to elaborate on the Special Risks section of an offering plan, a topic he touches on in his Condo Buyer's Tool Kit. What sorts of things are listed as Special Risks--and what do they mean?
Being one of the two or three people actually working this morning in New York City, Gitter promptly emailed us some telling examples of the genre.
- by A. Ready | 11/24/10 - 8:19 AM
This two-bedroom, two-bathroom 15th-floor co-op at 70 East 96th Street between Madison and Park Avenues may have a slightly cramped 21' x 13' living room, but the kitchen has a dining area and--in a real bonus for a pre-war co-op--a washer/dryer.
Recently renovated with top-of-the-line appliances and bathroom fixtures, the apartment retains the charming pre-war details typical of buildings designed by legendary architect Rosario Candela (740 Park ring a bell?). The pet-friendly building has a doorman and live-in super, while the apartment itself has southern exposures, city views and high ceilings. Previously sold in May 2005 for $1.375 million, it was initially listed in May for $1.295 million, and was reduced about three weeks ago to $1.249 million, almost 10 percent below its 2005 sales price.
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 11/24/10 - 7:35 AM
My first place in New York was a shared shag-carpeted room in an SRO hotel, the top six floors of which NYU had taken over to house transfer students like me in "on-campus" housing 25 blocks from campus. During my 20s I continued to pay my apartment dues along with my student loans, graduating from shares paid for in cash to being an actual named tenant on a lease. Housing was always a struggle, though with one brief exception, things never got quite as bad as this guy, who sent the NYT City Room blog a picture of how he spent his first nine months in New York: Sleeping diagonally across the floor of someone else's closet.
- The poop on "diapers-only" machines for laundry rooms
Apparently, there are few things more laundry-offensive than washing your kid's dirty cloth diapers in the communal laundry room: "I am totally in favor of cloth diapers BUT I would seriously consider trying to get a person removed from the building or go to the co-op board and complain if a shareholder in our building regularly washed dirty cloth diapers in the public machines," says one apartment dweller on UrbanBaby, summing up the common viewpoint on a thread that posits an interesting compromise: Why not reserve one machine for diapers only? More >>
- Drunk, angry cooks vying for control of the stove
Over on the NYT CityRoom blog, readers are comparing notes on their worst Thanksgiving ever: Incipient bipolar disorder, abusive relatives, calls to the priesthood, dentures and (lots of) food poisoning figure into the 187 comments so far. Possibly because we're suckers for dysfunctional family comedy-dramas, we took a special liking to this comment: "A family made up of drunk, angry cooks vying for control of the stove creates the most fascinating Thanksgiving fights. But, for some reason, perhaps because we love each other, perhaps because we’re hungry, or perhaps because deep down we don’t really want to ruin the holiday, we have never harmed the food or let the fights escalate to the point where we forget to eat. More >>
- by Kelly Kreth | 11/23/10 - 9:55 AM
If you have money sloshing around in your Flexible Spending Account, you have just over one month to use it or lose it. What to do after double-booking your shrink, ordering contact lenses and prepaying the orthodontist? Look around your apartment for inspiration: With a doctor's note, you might be able to pay for everything from HEPA filters to mattresses to hot tubs in pretax dollars.
- by Kelly Kreth | 11/23/10 - 6:27 AM
New York City apartments tend to be small and poorly ventilated, which means strong odors can stick around for a long time...and we New Yorkers are particularly prone to smelling like last night’s latkes or the everyday olfactory signature of our own apartments.
Foodwise, some of worst offenders include sulfur-rich vegetables like garlic, onions, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus, as well as cooked fish. These aromas plus a host of others, from incense to plain old mustiness, can be held by fabric for a long time and are slowly released like a time-released capsule, causing you to smell like your apartment, explains Dr. Andrew Kielbania, chief scientist of chemical technology company BioNeutral Group in Newark. N.J.
- What's the worst thing about NYC apartments?
According to one disgruntled apartment dweller on UrbanBaby.com, the worst thing about certain NYC apartments is forced-air heating: "Forced heat is what drove us out of NYC. We had a newborn and he couldn't stand living in a 90 degree apartment. He cried for hours and hours. We couldn't find another apartment in our price range, so we moved." Pffff, says another. "Try bedbugs. It almost ruined my life and my marriage. Nothing worse than seeing bites on your kids. Give me forced air anytime." Just don't give me your cigarette smoke, says a vertical dweller who nominates "chain smoking neighbors that make everything stink and the old stand by card-carrying mensa nyc mice" as the biggest menaces. Curiously, the extortionate price of NYC real estate failed to make the list... (UrbanBaby.com)
- Co-op tries to take away little old lady's nice dog for no apparent reason
Over on Habitat Magazine's BoardTalk forum, a board member inadvertently confirms everyone's worst fears about co-op boards: "We sent a notice to cure to an elderly shareholder demanding she get rid of her small non-nuisance causing dog," the board member writes. "She had the dog for many years, everyone knows it, but we decided to try to get her to do it anyway. She also has letters from doctors stating dog is emotional support animal. We decided to drop the legal action but now she wants us to pay her legal bills. Do we have to do that?" More>>
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 11/22/10 - 6:08 AM
As we have noted previously, effectively staging your apartment for sale is philosophically akin to giving it a shot of Botox, involving as it does erasing your personality and personal effects to make way for a buyer's fantasy. Similar principles apply when you prepare your apartment for its photo shoot.
We checked in for advice from three photographers at Gotham Photo Company, which provides media and technology services to real estate agents. Read on for the scoop...
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 11/19/10 - 6:35 PM
The prediction in question came from entomology professor Dini Miller, the state of Virginia's urban pest management specialist, while sharing her outlook on the battle still to be fought.
"[I]nsecticide resistance and a lack of new active ingredients are two of the main challenges for bed bugs, and [Dr. Miller] did not mess around when it came to numbers, predicting that it could potentially require $200 million and 10 years of data gathering before new active ingredients could be submitted for approval and availability," reports Raben on her company's blog.
- Plotting your first Thanksgiving?
Having foregone the restaurant option, you are hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner and plotting out the details this weekend. ApartmentTherapy.com wants to take the stress out. Among the key takeaways: Plan decor and tabletop in advance, get up early, and have pre-meal munchies available to entertain the guests while you finish up. (Our tip: In the age of bed bugs, you may want to avoid having your guests deposit their coats on your bed, and get a temporary rack for the hallway instead.) What else do you need to know? Read on. >>
- by A. Ready | 11/19/10 - 3:30 PM
Contract signings have been particularly weak in Midtown East this fall, according to UrbanDigs.com. Our review of all closed sales for the past 30 days in the area (which stretches north from 23rd to 59th Street, and from Fifth Avenue to the FDR) shows significant downward pressure on pricing in the area too, with some apartments trading near or below 2004 market levels on contracts struck this summer or before.
Read on for a few examples of market movement in Midtown East.