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top manhattan real estate brokers

IS IT THE LAW OR YOUR MORAL COMPASS?

IS IT THE LAW OR YOUR MORAL COMPASS?

Is it legal for an attorney to send out multiple contracts on the same property simultaneously? The answer is yes. Is it ethical? The answer depends on whether there’s full disclosure. In the same vein, is it lawful and ethical for an agent to represent more than one buyer in negotiations on the same property? Both queries are thorny and merit serious consideration.

RENOVATING A NYC CO-OP AGAIN!

RENOVATING A NYC CO-OP AGAIN!

I’m at the midpoint of my current co-op renovation, a total gut of a two bedroom apartment, and this is my 6th undertaking to date, not including my Westchester home which was a builder’s spec house that I finished. I’ve renovated the one bedroom units for my two children, altered our first family postwar on East 79th Street, then our seven room prewar on Central Park West, and 5 years ago I gutted a one bedroom pied a terre. Renovating a Manhattan co-op presents unique challenges and requires careful planning.

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT IN 2015

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT IN 2015

This new year will feel a little like Yogi Berra’s “déjà vu all over again.” Real estate headlines for 2015 will echo many of last year’s dominant themes with a few twists.

HOW TO COMPETE WITH CASH BUYERS

HOW TO COMPETE WITH CASH BUYERS

It has become increasingly more challenging for buyers who require financing to compete with cash purchasers. Given the chronic market conditions of tight inventory and high demand, buyers continue to outnumber sellers, and multiple bidding has become the norm. For every five bidders, as many as three can be all cash. Clearly the cash purchaser has obvious advantages over the buyer who needs financing to close a transaction; however, there are definite tactics to consider when competing with all cash rivals. 

ANTICIPATING AN ACTIVE Q4 2013

ANTICIPATING AN ACTIVE Q4 2013

September 9, 2013. The fundamentals of Manhattan’s residential marketplace that have characterized most of 2013 are expected to continue into the fourth quarter with some notable variations. Demand will remain strong; inventory will improve somewhat; prices will hold steady; interest rates are trending higher however.

BULLISH ON MANHATTAN

BULLISH ON MANHATTAN

There’s a palpable boom at the top of the new development market as a growing supply of high end products sizzles with through-the-roof pricing.   At the same time, price conscious home buyers are choosing from a shrinking inventory of resale properties.  Both phenomena are reasons for optimism. 

MEASURE FOR MEASURE?

MEASURE FOR MEASURE?

Square footage is a critical consideration in determining and comparing property values. Yet there are no uniform standards for measuring space in New York’s residential housing stock of co-ops, condo’s and townhouses.

NEW YORK'S ENDURING MAGNETISM

NEW YORK'S ENDURING MAGNETISM

I’ve taken to begin these columns with a dateline because the global economic picture is unclear and can change on a dime.  There’s no magic bullet or one government tool that will repair our struggling world economy.  Are we headed for another recession as some economists forecast?  Pimco’s Mohamed El-Erian sees a financial crisis looming again as European sovereign debt spreads well beyond Greece and observes that all intervention despite being “massive” has not been enough to function as a “circuit breaker” to contain the quandary. 

WELCOMING CONFIDENCE AGAIN

WELCOMING CONFIDENCE AGAIN

This spring, as the real estate market rebooted, there were signs of recovery and stability everywhere in Manhattan.  A little over three and a half years after the worst financial tailspin in recent memory, activity and sales were robust again. As buyers and sellers grew more in sync, the spread between asking and closing prices narrowed, and the numbers of signed contracts and closings increased.  Confidence was up in Manhattan during the second quarter of 2011. 

A NATION OF GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK

A NATION OF GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK

“We are a nation of Google and Facebook.”  That particular phrase from the President’s State of the Union Address resonates strongly with real estate professionals.  There’s a great deal of pressure in our business of late to keep up with fast changing technology and with online social networking trends.

HALEVAI, A SUBSTANTIAL RECOVERY

HALEVAI, A SUBSTANTIAL RECOVERY

On December 24th as 2010 was drawing to a close, a front page New York Times headline reported “Experts Citing Rising Hopes for Economy.”  Heralding a “new optimism” and quoting forecasters and policy makers who were revising earlier predictions, the Times journalist declared that our recovery “will gain substantial momentum in 2011.”

 

The key word above is “substantial” and to that we add the Yiddish word “halevai.”  Pronounced phonetically in three syllables, sometimes dropping the initial “H,” ha-le-vai is a wonderfully expressive sentiment.  From the Hebrew meaning “would that,” it has come to mean “it should only be so.” 

THE YEAR OF THE BUYER

THE YEAR OF THE BUYER

We're poised in these last months of 2010 to finish the year with an improved 4th quarter.  After a tumultuous 2009, our market rose slightly and hesitantly as 2010 began, picking up unexpected steam steadily through April, May and June, but then slowing and falling flat through much of the summer.  Following on the heels of Labor Day, market activity resumed, and the mood is upbeat again.  As of this writing on a crisp October 3rd morning, the possibilities loom that the spring momentum can be repeated in the next eight weeks before Thanksgiving. 

STRONG BUT SIDEWAYS THIS 4TH QUARTER

STRONG BUT SIDEWAYS THIS 4TH QUARTER

We're poised in these last months of 2010 to finish the year with an improved 4th quarter.  After a tumultuous 2009, our market rose slightly and hesitantly as 2010 began, picking up unexpected steam steadily through April, May and June, but then slowing and falling flat through much of the summer.  Following on the heels of Labor Day, market activity resumed, and the mood is upbeat again.  As of this writing on a crisp October 3rd morning, the possibilities loom that the spring momentum can be repeated in the next eight weeks before Thanksgiving. 

LESSONS LEARNED DURING RESIDENTIAL RENOVATIONS

LESSONS LEARNED DURING RESIDENTIAL RENOVATIONS

Renovating an apartment in Manhattan presents a set of unique challenges.  I’ve written on the subject before, and with the perspective of my recent 6th renovation behind me, I offer some advice to the uninitiated.  

First Do Your Homework 

Talk to as many people as you can who have been through the process.  Get recommendations, ask questions and take notes.  Interview your primary professionals carefully, visit their past projects, and check references.  When evaluating bids, take into account reputation and experience as much as you consider price.  Determine whether projects were finished on schedule.  When checking references, ask how each trade handled problems that surfaced during and especially after the job.  The lowest bidder may not be the wisest choice.

ETERNAL HOPE THIS SPRING

ETERNAL HOPE THIS SPRING

I’ve taken liberties with a line from Alexander Pope’s philosophical poem “The Essay on Man” for my title.  This spring, we’ve witnessed a new bounce in our residential marketplace along with a renewed buzz, increased activity and stabilizing prices.  As of this writing, roughly 18 month’s after banking institutions failed on Wall Street, Manhattan real estate is recovering.  An improved momentum is expected to be sustained this quarter resulting in strong April to May stats for contracts signed. 

CONSIDERING GROUND LEASE CO-OPS

CONSIDERING GROUND LEASE CO-OPS

Recently I was hired by the executors of an estate to sell an apartment in a ground lease building on the Upper East Side.  We’ve cleaned and staged the property, but as of this writing, we’ve chosen to wait before putting the unit on the market because there is too much uncertainty surrounding the renewal of the lease which expires June 30, 2010.  I’ve been in this business since 1980, have sold in several landlease buildings in the past, but I’ve never heard of an instance where the co-op board and landlord waited until the 11th hour before coming to terms on a leasehold extension.  

VALUE PLUS

VALUE PLUS

In today’s Internet Age, real estate buyers and sellers need only to turn on their computers to surf the proliferating public websites for immediate access to all kinds of information.  With the click of a mouse, they can check out available inventory, view floor plans and photos, gain data about recorded sale prices and even join discussion boards and blogs.  When the Internet provides such easy access to information, why hire a broker?  And how does one choose from among the growing number of real estate professionals?  What makes a good broker? 

STABILITY BECKONS IN 2010

STABILITY BECKONS IN 2010

Last February, our market was reeling from the aftershocks caused by a stunning chain of events that began with the collapse of Bear Stearns and bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. The subsequent downturn in Manhattan's residential market was sudden and precipitous.  Sales activity nearly halted and then grew tentative as buyers waited for successive shoes to drop.  Whatever limited transactions occurred came with steep discounts averaging 25-30 percent off the highs.  Fast forward more than a year, and there are real signs that our marketplace is on the comeback.

4TH QUARTER TEMPERED OPTIMISM

4TH QUARTER TEMPERED OPTIMISM

It’s tough to be writing on a hazy, hot and humid day in the last week in August for an October publication date.  By Fall, an unusually damp summer will have morphed into cooler, drier crisp autumnal air.  If we’re lucky, we’ll experience an Indian summer, and soggy greens will explode into vibrant foliage of reds and oranges.  Though I’m not in the business of forecasting weather or market trends, I do declare I’m optimistic about residential real estate for the last quarter of 2009.  But I also have some worries.

CONFESSION OF A FACEBOOK NEWBIE

CONFESSION OF A FACEBOOK NEWBIE

I’ve been a skeptic, and I’ve had my reservations, as I rationalized:  Who has the time to learn about social networking and how to use it?  Besides, my private life is—well, private.  Being discreet is a requisite of my business, and I likened social websites to reality TV, arguing neither was my cup of tea.  Though not a full convert yet, I’ve made an extra special effort to begin.  Hardly a passing fad, social networking is spreading to include users on both sides of 50.  As baby boomers join their children in ever-growing interactive online communities, the way people work and play together is being transformed.  As the various social websites proliferate—each with its own distinct personality—marketing on these sites is evolving, underscoring an increasing interconnectivity between social and business worlds.  What’s a broker to do?