The Real.Est List
- Hell's Bitchenby Kelly Kreth | 3/28/13 - 10:28 AM
When we last left off, I had just had my apartment treated for the first time for bed bugs. Two weeks later my PCO returned to once again apply a fairly environmentally-friendly spray to kill the unwanted intruders.
In the meantime, like a total mental patient, I’d been scanning the room several times a day looking for something. Since the first and only sighting of the bug on my bed, thankfully while I was not in it, I had not seen a trace of them and neither did my PCO.
On his third visit he scanned everywhere and told me the coast was clear but to let the (pesticide) dust settle for a few weeks and he’d bring his dog, Bruno, back to ascertain the situation.
Again, I went over every corner of the room, particularly the only small area the dog ever noted bugs. Still saw no dead ones or any skin casings.
- StreetNoiseby Lucy Cohen Blatter | 3/28/13 - 8:55 AM
- Better practice that open house poker face; agents can tell right away when you're bluffing (NY Times)
- NYC apartment bargain hunting just got easier thanks to a new online tool (Inman News)
- ...and a new rental app claims to be the ultimate bait-and-switch buster (movement-app.com)
- Think buying in a luxury building assures you a high-end retail tenant? Think again (DNA Info)
- Why you're going to pay a lot more to live in Northern Williamsburg than Southern Williamsburg (NY Observer)
- Time to redecorate/furnish your new place? These are the city's best furniture spots (Racked)
- Why the Upper West Side is a better bet for investors than trendier downtown locales (NY1)
- ... and in other neighborhood news, apparently Murray Hill is not just for ex-frat boys after all (amNewYork)
- Considering installing electric key-fob access to your building? Here's what to expect (Habitat Mag)
- You know why your sky-high rent/maintenance are worth it? New York is the best city in the world (Time Out New York)
- A guide to the best sleeper sofas for New Yorkers short on space (New York Times)
- What abatement changes mean for co-op and condo owners (and their wallets) (New York Times)
- by Sharon Krum | 3/27/13 - 2:43 PM
WHO: Cyndi Lauper might have sung “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” 30 years ago, but she still looks like she would be a blast to hang out with.
WHERE: Lauper, who is the composer and lyricist of the new Broadway musical “Kinky Boots," lives on the Upper West Side, where the median sales price is $1.035m, and the median rental price is $3,200, according to StreetEasy.
Your Celebrity Neighbor is a weekly heads-up on the A-listers who call your neighborhood home and (in theory) shop the same Duane Reade as you.
Room for Improvement: Dreaming of radiant floor heat and a window with an actual view of the outsideby Mayra David | 3/27/13 - 12:28 PM
Photo Credit / Alkiol
Radiant heat, dull details, and some serious space makeovers. Six New Yorkers have a smorgasbord of home improvements wants and needs.
- Warmer floors: I’ve always wanted radiant floor heating. I have been dreaming of having this incredibly amazing, toe-warming feature, ever since I stayed at a friend’s home who had heated floors -Brad, Brooklyn Heights
- Moldings without layers of paint: I wish my apartment didn't have layers and layers of paint caked onto the molding which really shows and takes away any detail -- I can paint over the walls but the moulding (and light switches! and electrical outlets!) is hard to fix and looks amateur. -Brian, Murray Hill
- An unbricked window: I would change the bathrooms…the former owner bricked in bathroom windows that looked into an unattractive courtyard, at the same time causing the apartment to lose light. -Patricia, Upper East Side
- Real.Est. List Spotlightby Leah Hochbaum Rosner | 3/27/13 - 10:43 AM
Taxis honk their horns at all hours of the night. Sirens blare from near and far. And semi-drunk folks congregate outside the next-door bar for a quick smoke. Will you ever get any sleep?
You will if Altair Energy Services—the focus of this week’s Real. Est. List Spotlight Series—has any say in the matter. The Lew Beach, New York-based company, an authorized Indow Windows dealer, installs energy-saving storm window inserts that block out cold air and—most relevant to sleepy city-dwellers—reduce noise by up to 75 percent, says Altair president Jonathan Hunt.
“There’s a huge demand for sound reduction in the city,” says Hunt. “They’ll also help you stay warmer in winter, cooler in summer and save money on heating and cooling costs.”
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.