The Market

The high cost of white gloves

By A. Ready  | November 18, 2010 - 4:51PM

Whenever we run across an apartment with high monthly maintenance fees--like $3,898 per month for a 2 bed/2 bath Sutton Place co-op (whose design CurbedNY calls seriously weird)--words like "landlease," "crazy high underlying mortgage" and "run!" pop into our head. Not necessarily so, real-estate broker/writer Ali Rogers opines on StreetEasy.

"In the Sutton/Beekman area you have lots of little, boutique-sized buildings, so you have fewer owners available to support the expense of a full staff. If we say that a 120- or 150-unit building is an 'average' size, and that 35%-40% of the expenses of that kind of building are going to staff and associated costs, you can see what happens when that model goes to an 80-unit (or in the case of 444 East 52nd Street, 52-unit) building."  

So how do you know if that's the case just from looking at the listing? 

"Well," she explains, "the two big portions of a building's budget that are tax-deductible are interest on the underlying mortgage and property taxes, and the three big portions of a building's budget that are not tax-deductible are labor costs, utilities, and maintenance. So if a listing has a fairly low % T.D. (in the case of 444 East 52nd, 40%) we're going to make an educated guess that it's because of that white-glove service that Beekman/Sutton is so famous for." (StreetEasy, CurbedNY)

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.