The Real.Est List
NYC Renovation Questions: Countertop problems in my kitchen -- should I fix, replace or request a discount?by Tracy Kaler | 3/27/13 - 8:50 AM
Q. My kitchen renovation is done. One of the problems is a less-than-perfect granite countertop, which in essence runs through the whole kitchen and pantry areas -- 35 linear feet of granite, and then some.
Some of the seams are rough to the touch, with obvious fillings that are not well disguised. On another counter, there is a 1/4-inch gap between the wall and the counter. The contractor keeps bringing the fabricator to correct these problems, but I think the fabricator did a very shoddy job.
What can I expect the contractor to correct? Should I insist on replacement, or a discount?
A. Without seeing your kitchen, it’s tough to determine where the blame lies. It’s possible your countertop template (the exact measurements and a pattern made after your cabinets were installed and before your tops were fabricated) wasn’t done correctly, or it’s possible the stone wasn’t cut to the template’s specification.
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 3/26/13 - 3:13 PM
Photo Credit / Lynne Schreur
Q. The apartment building next door is demanding access to my terrace so they can repair their facade. They say I have to let them and that I will not be able to use my terrace while they are doing the work.
Do I really have to? If so, is there any limit to how long they can have access? Am I entitled to compensation? Who pays if they damage my terrace or plantings?
A. Your predicament is not unusual, according to our experts, and there is a good chance that you do, indeed, need to allow the repair work to be done from your terrace.
"Provided that the adjacent building owner can demonstrate that the only way that it can effectuate the repairs is by entering onto your terrace, Section 881 of the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law requires that such access be provided," explains real estate attorney Tracy Peterson of Braverman Greenspun in Manhattan.
- by Joe Lazauskas | 3/26/13 - 11:27 AM
This week's Hot Dozen--the 12 rental apartments Streeteasy.com visitors clicked on most often over the past seven days--features several no-fee apartments.
Let's start with a three-bedroom no-fee apartment (pictured) at 30 Carmine Street and Bleecker Street, newly renovated and listed at $4950/month. The well-located West Village apartment sports stainless steel appliances, two bathrooms, and the always enviable washer and dryer.
Further east, a two-bedroom apartment at 622 East 11th Street and Avenue B is listed at $2,375/month and is no fee. The walk-up apartment is more of a trek than a short walk to public transportation (except for the First Avenue L station), but it's relatively affordably priced for the hip neighborhoods of Alphabet City and the East Village.
Landlord wants to buy you out? How to name your price--plus real-life examples from $15k to $1 millionby Teri Karush Rogers | 3/26/13 - 9:02 AM
Photo Credit / Iian Browne
Ever dream of being bought out of your crummy, or not so crummy, rent-stabilized apartment?
You are not alone.
Although buyouts are not as common as they were in the 1980s, back when every other rental building was going co-op--or in the pre-Lehman 2000s, when developers were assembling residential properties to demolish so that they could build new condos--we still hear from renters asking for advice on negotiating a financially advantageous exit with a landlord eager to claim the unit for another, more profitable use.
It all boils down to one question: How much is worth to the landlord to get you out?
For the inside scoop, we turned to Manhattan real estate attorney Steven Wagner, who has negotiated hundreds of buyouts over the past three decades.
- by Jim Dailakis as told to Kelly Kreth | 3/25/13 - 2:50 PM
Photo Credit / alamodestuff
When I first came to New York 2009, I rented a studio apartment in Auberndale, Queens, that I found on Craigslist for $750 per month. Well, actually it was the basement of a house belonging to this older couple from the old country and by old country I mean Greece.
They thought it was just ever-so-sweet that a Greek Australian comedian was going to be their tenant. It wasn't.
Being a landlord myself (I own an apartment in Perth, Australia), I would say that I'm a landlord's dream. I'm extremely clean, efficient and respectful of where I'm living. I don't smoke, drink or have really crazy loud parties.
On my second night, the cheap, wood paneled walls began to snap, crackle and pop whenever the boiler would kick in. When I notified my landlords about it, they told me that it was nothing to worry about, it's just the boiler and the steam and that eventually, I'll get so used to it, it'll put me to sleep. Really?
- by Sara Alessi | 3/25/13 - 12:28 PM
This week’s Open House Scorecard -- the 10 open houses saved on StreetEasy more often than any others this weekend -- illustrates that (surprise!) buyers are drawn to Park Slope, and President Street in particular. Hey, if you can’t be President, you can at least live on President Street, right?
Between Sixth and Seventh Avenues at 790 President Street is a $675k two-bedroom plus den, one-bathroom co-op (pictured). It's one flight of stairs up and features the original moldings, French doors, and stained glass windows. The windowed kitchen is new and has stainless steel appliances. A W/D is located off the kitchen, and Prospect Park is nearby. Monthlies are relatively low with maintenance at $590.
- Diary of a First-Time Buyer (cont'd)by Elle Bee | 3/25/13 - 10:42 AM
Within a couple of months after the Brooklyn apartment fiasco, I decided to stop pouting and start looking for a new place.
In truth, it wasn’t so much an act of revitalization as desperation: I wanted to get the deal done before I had to file income taxes. As a freelancer, my lender required I show maximize income, which meant minimizing my deductions—a business decision that in 2011 cost me an extra $12,000, and nearly sent my teeth-gritting accountant to the dentist.
Online, I checked out a two-bedroom HDFC (income-restricted) co-op in Washington Heights. At $250,000 and with a maintenance of $508, it seemed too good to be true.
The broker arranged an appointment the next week. He was upfront: The building would have to be approved by a lender and I would have to go through additional rigorous financial reviews to ensure I did not exceed the income cap for HDFC.
Buying in NYC is cheaper than renting, where not to park your assets if you want to buy a co-op, and moreby Sara Alessi | 3/25/13 - 8:55 AM
- All-cash offers may be king, but not if the rest of your dough is parked in a tiny African island nation (The Real Deal)
- Buying in NYC is 26% cheaper than renting -- for now (Zillow via The Real Deal)
- Less-than-ideal co-op buyers get lucky with sponsor units (NY1; previously)
- Prewar co-op versus modern condo? Some say it comes down to ceiling height (UrbanBaby)
- ...and if you have your eye on a new condo in the West Village -- better move quickly (The Real Deal)
- Here's how to turn your street into a "slow zone" (West Side Rag)
- Brooklyn growth overtakes Manhattan: Prices are up too, with Bushwick rents climbing the fastest (Real Estate Weekly)
- Attention co-op/condo board members: here’s how to enforce the apartment insurance requirement (Habitat Magazine)
- If you have Sandy damage, keep an eye on the city's plan to allocate relief funds, which will include $720 million for housing (Crain's)
- by Lucy Cohen Blatter | 3/22/13 - 1:55 PM
This $4,100 two-bedroom apartment at 1501 Lexington Avenue, at 97th Street, is available May 1.
Pros: The apartment is in a full-service building (gym, roofdeck, doorman) and on the same block as the 6 train. The kitchen and bathrooms have recently been renovated. The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom.
Cons: The apartment seems to be on the smaller side (particularly the second bedroom).
No-Fee Rental of the Week showcases an apartment that’s currently on the market and is being offered with no broker fee (otherwise known as the holy grail of New York City rentals). For tips on how to find more no-fee apartments, check out the The 8 best websites for finding a no-fee apartment in NYC and our Guerrilla Guide series.
- Transitionsby Peter Macari as told to Mayra David | 3/22/13 - 10:57 AM
When I first moved to the city I was living in a very trendy (i.e. expensive) neighborhood known as the Lower East Side, in a small (i.e. miniscule) room in a crappy apartment with four other people (i.e. 3 too many). By the time our lease was up, I was dying for more space.
I moved into a room in an apartment in Bushwick along with a few friends. I had more space, for sure. And paying just $700 in rent for more space was a bonus (I was paying $950 for my half of the rent on the Lower East Side).
Though we were not what I’d call really close friends, my roommates were ok. Just okay. I probably felt the same middling level of comfort with Bushwick: It wasn’t bad. It was just okay.
- by Sara Alessi | 3/22/13 - 9:16 AM
Let’s face it -- when you’re investing in a new home, you’d like it to be, well, exactly the way you want it, so some flexibility in the layout or having a say in the renovation could be an attractive option. This Friday's edition of StreetEasy’s Most Wanted -- the 10 apartments StreetEasy users saved more often than any others this week -- highlights a group of apartments that’ll let you use your imagination.
You’ll have some flexibility with a $1.625m three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath townhouse on 11th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues in Park Slope. The rear bedroom on the top floor can be converted into two rooms, and the built-in couch on the parlor level can be used as a day bed should you require the space. You can taste some fresh air in the back garden, which also has a stone terrace and gas barbecue.
- by Mike Akerly | 3/21/13 - 2:47 PM
Q. I live in a rental apartment in Manhattan and have recently had some issues in my bathroom that have resulted in a water leak in the apartment below mine. I am worried because the workers that my management company has sent to do the repairs seem less than professional.
Does my management company need to hire a licensed contractor for the work?
A. Many types of construction work in NYC are required to be performed by workers with some form of license. For example, for most work done in certain types of residential properties, a Home Improvement Contractor’s (HIC) license is required, issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).
- by Julie Inzanti | 3/21/13 - 12:15 PM
We know an over-1,400-square-foot one-bedroom in New York sounds like a fantasy...but it can be your reality, at least for a little while.This $4,500 one-bedroom in Prospect Heights is available for May through the end of August.We're loving the fact that it's the polar opposite of all the cookie cutter one-bedrooms we usually see, set in a renovated firehouse, former home of Engine Company 219 built in 1880. It's also on beautiful tree-lined Dean Street.The triplex has amazing natural light and tons of storage (although, this is a great opportunity to practice living with less because how much can you possibly move in during a three-month stay?). We're totally sold rented.Real Estate Want is a weekly column featuring New York City apartment details we're coveting right now.
- by Marjorie Cohen | 3/21/13 - 10:22 AM
Photo Credit / Interior Marketing Group
You’re ready to put your apartment on the market. Now take a long, hard look. Is it ready to meet the public? Does it even know what to say to the public?
Ideally, according to stager Cheryl Eisen of Interior Marketing Group, your apartment should say “a stylish person with impeccable taste lives here." Unfortunately, observes Eisen, "most homes I see that are not professionally staged look like Pottery Barn meets grandma’s hand-me-downs."
Note that staging is not the same thing as interior design, says Susan Goldstein, design director of Studio D.
“Interior design is geared to the homeowners taste and personal desire," says Goldstein, while "staging is about putting enough furniture in a space so that buyers can envision themselves living in the home and how their own furniture will fit in."
- StreetNoiseby Lucy Cohen Blatter | 3/21/13 - 9:01 AM
- Go west (of the BQE) young buyer--for a less crowded, less expensive treat (New York Times)
- Looking for a parking garage that’s swanky enough for your lifestyle? Try the LES (CurbedNY)
- Before you move to Park Slope, find out if your block’s alternate side parking personality is “chill” or “alpha” (F**ked in Park Slope)
- Good news for the 1 percent -- if you're looking to sell (Wall Street Journal)
- ...and for the rest of you, here's how to find a good landlord-tenant lawyer (CurbedNY)
- Here's your chance to lord it over a NYC icon (NY Observer)
- There's a big difference between "online" and "on line": A new service expedites the process of filing plans for a DOB permit (NY1)