The Real.Est List
- by A. Ready | 12/14/10 - 2:04 PM
Have you recently had cable installed in your apartment? Did Verizon or Time Warner Cable leave your walls looking like Frankenstein's forehead? A Brooklynite asks ApartmentTherapy.com readers what to do about the stitches running down the walls of his cable-ravaged studio. While a few commenters think the offending company (in this case Verizon) should return to redo the job, others offer some solutions ranging from removing the staples and using less offensive ones in less obvious locales, to "channelling" the walls and burying the cable, to hiding the cable under the baseboard. (ApartmentTherapy.com)
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 12/14/10 - 11:45 AM
Thanks to BrickUnderground's Bedbugged! columnist Theresa Braine for alerting us to this holiday-themed DIY bed bug killer. No, it's not a way to have a bit of fun with Homeland Security. It's a low-cost technique that its inventor claims will bake to death any bed bugs that may have crawled into your luggage (think seams and other crannies) in an infested hotel room. (Note: The traditional way to accomplish this is to throw your luggage in the dryer on high heat if possible, or bake it inside a Packtite.) For those of you tempted to try this at home, all the usual fire hazard rules apply. (instructables.com)
- by A. Ready | 12/14/10 - 10:13 AM
We've talked a lot about our one-click Holiday Tipping Survey this month (801 responses and counting), so following an appreciative tip-of-the-hat toward today's article about it in the NY Daily News, we thought we'd talk about someone else's survey for a change.
As we reported a couple of weeks back, The Apple, Peeled recently launched a poll designed to measure sentiment among NYC buyers and sellers. The results are in, and sellers seem quite a bit more sanguine than buyers.
- by Anonymous Manhattan Broker as told to Teri Rogers | 12/14/10 - 6:35 AM
The ABC’s of selling real estate go like this: Always Be Closing. Whether prices are up or down or sideways, as long as you’re always closing, you’ll do fine. The scary thing is when you haven’t had a fucking paycheck in 100 days.
It can happen even in a growth year. This year I’m doing $800,000-$900,000 gross commission, which nets $500,000 and after expenses, $300,000. It’s a great year. But there was a period this summer and the summer before where I didn’t get paid at all for 100 days.
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 12/14/10 - 6:27 AM
Whether or not you wind up going light on the tips this year, we predict that some of these rationalizations will cross your mind as the ATM counts out your hard-earned cash....
- "Nobody comes by my desk and hands me a tip at the end of the year."
- "We need it more than they do."
- "I'll tip more next year after I pay off the Platinum Amex."
- "I don't need a doorman."
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 12/13/10 - 4:35 PM
Over on StreetEasy.com, a renter is not too happy with the not-too-talented violinist next door who practices at all hours and has lately begun teaching violin to even less talented students in her apartment. The renter’s dilemma has drawn some interesting advice (detailed below, much of it in the walls-work-two-ways vein), and raised one unsettled question: Are tenants even allowed to teach music lessons in their apartments?
We checked in with some of our experts.
- The perfect stocking stuffer: An apartment
Sure, you could give your adult child a subscription to Netflix this year, or you could think a little bigger. Money Magazine reports that nationally, 36% of first-time buyers received help purchasing their home this year, primarily from parents, up from 28% the year before. It's not always a good idea though. The magazine suggests gifting your grown-up child the money if you want to shift assets out of your estate or if your child is just shy of saving enough for a downpayment. Do not loan your child the money unless you are prepared to potentially lose it; co-sign the mortgage only as a last resort; and no matter how you provide the assistance, do not think it means you co-own the home. One more consideration: If you're buying in NYC, you'll need to focus on condos, or find a co-op board with a liberal attitude toward parental help. (CNNMoney.com)
- by A. Ready | 12/13/10 - 11:07 AM
Giving up Manhattan for Riverdale involves some compromises: longer commutes, not-so-many restaurants, no Whole Foods (at least yet). But with the median rent for Manhattan one-bedroom apartments (excluding Upper Manhattan) being $2,900, the rent relief found in its northern neighbor may be alluring.
At The Century, located at 2600 Netherland Avenue at West 227th Street in Riverdale, the developer appears to have taken advantage of space to provide an impressive array of action-oriented amenities.
- Holiday decorations in the lobby without bloodshed
In case you missed the NY Times story this weekend about the divisiveness of holiday decorations in the lobby, we have prepared this handy digest of teachable moments:
- Silver and white Christmas decorations may provoke less controversy than red
- Do not ask for the entire building's input on which holidays to celebrate and how
- An inexpensive way to freshen up your building's holiday display is to have your super trade decorations with other buildings More>>
- by Openthedoor-man | 12/13/10 - 6:20 AM
Although you might think most doormen prefer the day shift over the night, it really depends on the guy. A family man might push hard for the day, to be home in time for supper. Meanwhile, not having anyone to go home to, a single doorman might not mind working the night.
In my time, I’ve had the opportunity to do both shifts, and there are perks that come along with them both.
- by Teri Karush Rogers | 12/13/10 - 6:11 AM
Sooner or later, most renters experience the need or desire to prematurely break up with an apartment.
Breaking your lease may be no problem if your employer is paying relo expenses that cover the balance of the rent due, or if you don’t mind forking over the balance yourself.
But if you hope to end your financial responsibilities when you turn in the keys, remember this: “Basically, your lease is a contract, and you have to start from the position that you’re obligated,” says Manhattan real estate attorney Steven Wagner of Porzio, Bromberg & Newman.. “You have to find some reason to have the landlord agree to let you out or find something the landlord has done to breach the agreement.”
- How much do you tip the doorman who hits on your wife?
Over on Brownstoner's forum, they're comparing notes on holiday tipping. One Brooklynite breaks things down thusly, starting with the dog walker and ending with the Lothario at the door: "I'm sure $50 is just fine. We've had several occasions where the dogwalker has come by on the weekends and on short notice. Our super is underpaid and overworked, and the nanny is worth the bonus. The doorman who hits on my wife gets nothing, so it evens out." (Brownstoner.com)
- About that $1,200/month parking space
BrickUnderground joined the communal gasp greeting CurbedNY's photo-blog about an Upper East Side garage that's raising its monthly parking fee to $1,013.73 plus 18.375% NYC parking tax--to a grand total of $1,200 a month. The post's title implies that the cost of parking is catching up to the price of renting an entire apartment, but minutes later we stumbled across this East 9th Street one-bedroom freshly listed on StreetEasy.com: At $1,150 a month, it's actually going for $50 LESS than a spot at the East 78th Street garage. Before snapping this one up, however, a skeleton-check may be in order: The ad says the rent is well below the legal rent-stabilized limit of just over $1,500. We doubt the market-rate rent has really fallen so far below rent-stablized rates...so what gives? (CurbedNY; StreetEasy)
- Concession alert!
New concessions being offered by landlords have been rather limited recently (perhaps landlords are holding out for a spring thaw), but we did find this intriguing deal today while poking around on StreetEasy.com. Rent this penthouse triplex at 37 West 54th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) by the end of the year and you'll get one free month. Although the triplex begins on the fourth floor of a walk-up building, it has four bedrooms, three baths, two terraces, and is newly renovated with a gourmet kitchen. The $5,495 effective rent is low for an apartment of that size in Midtown, and as shares are welcome, this could be an appealing choice to a group of physically fit roommates. More>>
- by A. Ready | 12/10/10 - 10:47 AM
Want to clean out your closets and help the environment at the same time? Try starting a textile recycling drive in your building. As BrickUnderground noted in June, Wearable Collections (a for-profit company) sends gently used items to countries in Central and South America to be sold by the pound, and recycles the materials from non-usable items into new textiles. Now Upper West Side Recycling has announced that it has teamed up with Wearable Collections and will even organize your building's textile drive.