Landlord’s guide: How to manage tenants

If you own a couple of Manhattan apartments, or an SRO or multi-family , no doubt dealing with tenants can be a challenge for even the most experienced Manhattan property  owner. Here is a checklist of common sense but often overlooked things to keep in mind when renting and dealing with tenants.

1- Rent at below market or close to market rent. This will allow your apartment to rent quickly and you will have more interested potential tenants. Many times, I sit down with Manhattan property owners who want to ask for a rent that will likely lead to an apartment sitting on the market. On a $3000 lease, f you ask, $200-$300 more but lose 3 months rent, that means you lose $9,000 that you will never recoup.

2- Raise or lower rents as appropriate to keep tenants but maintain profit. Years ago, I owned an apartment on Manhattan’s upper west side on Central Park west that I rented out to a tenant. She always paid on time and never bothered me at all. She informed that she was considering to move at the end of the lease because she could save money by moving further uptown. I asked her how much she would save and she said about $200 or so. Instead of suffering a vacancy I reduced her rent by about $150 and she stayed. She stayed with me in total 7 years from the first time I rented it up until I sold the apartment. On vacancy, I would lose at least one month rent if not more, and also have to paint and fix the apartment. The cost would have been more to have the vacancy.

3- Raise the rent as appropriate. I met many landlords who are reasonable and firm and others who are too nice and feel guilty about raising the rent. When the lease is about to come up, consult with your Manhattan real estate broker to see what you can get on the open market. If the rents have gone up or are in a continued up cycle, then you should raise the rent to keep pace. Many long time owners are 10-20% below the market in the rents that they charge. There is nothing wrong with keeping pace with the market. You can still charge an excellent tenant a discounted rent but if you raise their rent and they are still 10% below market, they are not going to move.

4- Be firm and make sure that you always get your rent on time. Lease riders can have late charges for rent submitted late. Also, do not be too lax about evicting a tenant who is not paying. If they do not pay, then you need to get an attorney and move to eviction. Problems do not go away by ignoring them and this one will get worse.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every Manhattan market from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.


Tall and Skinny (skyscrapers) in fashion in Manhattan real estate

With the cost of land increasing and assembling of multiple parcels of land more and more difficult, Manhattan skyscrapers on Billionaire’s Row and throughout have continued to go up but are now getting skinnier. Typically, developers will buy a site but then also buy the air rights from neighboring buildings which allows them as of right to go into the stratosphere. Success of buildings like One57 which is home to most expensive sale for a residential apartment at just over $100mm are buoying this trend.

111 west 57th street is one of the newest entrants to this field with a width to height ratio of 1:24 according to engineers for the project. Developers get more more money for helicopter views so this trend figures to continue.

Full story here

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every Manhattan market from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Why so many empty Manhattan stores?

Daily Mail takes a look at some of the reasons that storefronts remain empty and more and more are joining them. Part of what made Manhattan neighborhoods what they are is mom and pop. Most mom and pop are being forced out due to high rents but even recently, Petco closed a store on Manhattan’s upper west side with the reason being given that the rent was too high. This store was only open less than 2 years.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every Manhattan market from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Thinking of selling your Harlem SRO townhouse?

SROs or single room occupancies have a wide range of value in Harlem.  SROs are typically set up as rooming houses where there might be several rooms per floor with a common bathroom or kitchen. The most valuable SRO will have a certificate of no harassment and be delivered vacant. The least valuable will have non-paying tenants and be delivered without the CONH. What is a CONH and why would having it add at least $100k to the value of your SRO?

A CONH is granted after an investigation or look back by NYC’s Housing Preservation and Development of approximately 3 years. They are looking at your history of tenants to see if any tenants were forced out or harassed. Some of the questions on the application ask if you have had a discontinuation of service like heat, hot water or electricity, a potential sign that the tenants might have left due to poor living conditions. It takes approximately 7 months according to reps at HPD to get a CONH assuming the application is in order. You can have an experienced lawyer do this for you and they will charge $3k-$5k depending on how complicated the case is. So if you have some advance notice you might want to apply for this prior to putting your house on the market. If you are a DIY’er then you can fill in the application yourself and can visit the HPD during the week between 9-11am with your walk in questions. Make sure your property is registered with HPD. The CONH is valuable because the purchaser of your property will not be granted building permits to alter the SRO without a CONH. Also, while it may be difficult for you to come up with the names of all the tenants who lived in the property, it is impossible for the buyer so in some cases they may even just decide to sit on the house for 3 years before applying for the CONH. For that, they will expect a severe discount.

Certificate of no harassment application

As you are arranging your future plans to sell, you will want to maintain an excellent relationship with your tenants so they vouch for you if contacted by the City. Also, if they are not a rent stabilized tenant then you might not want to renew their lease which will give you the option to ask them to vacate with a 30 day notice. If you can get by without the income, vacating the house just prior to listing will make it easier to show and sell, but certainly ethically empty out the house prior to closing. If the tenants are rent stabilized then you may need to offer them a buyout or leave that up to the next purchaser. If you must deliver the house occupied make sure that your tenants are current. A building full of non-paying tenants will be only taken on by investors if the price is very low.

As this sale is a complicated one, you will need a team to insure the most lucrative sale including an experienced and knowledgeable real estate broker, a real estate attorney plus perhaps even an architect or expediter. Even though it may seems like a burdensome effort, it will be worth it in the end especially if you know that you have lead time. If you have even only a few months before you will sell, it makes a lot of sense to plan ahead and get a CONH and get the house vacant for closing.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling SROs and Harlem townhouses for more than 12 years and has helped owners to apply and obtain the certificate of no harassment.

How to negotiate the best price on Manhattan property

When trying to negotiate the best price for a Manhattan property, there are some items that you can control/interpret yourself and some that you will need an experienced broker to assist you.

For starters, you want to have the below info

1- days on market
2- previous offers
3- current market conditions
4- owner’s motivation
5- nearby construction that will affect light and views

Armed with this information, you at least have a starting point but you will need your broker to interpret the following:

1- recent sales and how they compare with the Manhattan property you are considering
2- adjustments for view, light, condition,
3- how the market conditions affect this particular unit

With your basic information plus your broker’s input, you can make your offer. To negotiate the best possible take the below approach.

1- Start with a reasonable offer. If you start too low, likely the seller will not counter. In some cases, when the DOM is high like 300 days or more, you may be able to make an offer than is lower.
2- Have your broker explain to the other side how you calculated the offer price that you gave.
3- Be willing to either walk away or wait if the counter offer is not to your liking. If you wait long enough a price reduction 1-2 months later may be even lower than the counter offer that you received.

Usually, when a listing is fresh, the seller is less likely to discount the price but as time goes on and reality sets in, they may be more willing to negotiate.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every Manhattan market from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.



Manhattan luxury rents increasing

The Manhattan rental market is now becoming the dichotomy that the sales market has been for the last few years. The luxury rental market is surging in value due to more buyers turning into renters. While the luxury sales market has been in a buyer’s market for the last 3 years,some buyers have paused and decided to rent instead. Also, as a result of the uncertainty of the recent federal tax reform, anecdotal evidence suggests that the Manhattan luxury sales market didn’t do well in November,December as the Manhattan luxury rental market surged in January.

On the other hand, the median Manhattan rental, of $3275 is dipping in price. New inventory and the market cycle has led to nearly 50% of the apartments being rented with a concession like the owner paying the real estate broker or a free month’s rent.

Manhattan luxury rental market report

General rental market conditions

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been representing clients  in sales and purchases of residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every Manhattan neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.


Waterline Square 20% sold

by  Brian Silvestry

The final phase of the Riverside South project that started in 1974 is due to complete construction in late 2019. The 3 buildings will be a mix of rentals and condos with an amenity space that includes a tennis court, and a swimming pool. The developers have a food hall by the Cipriani Group that will take up a portion of the retail and a park in between the starchitect designed buildings known as 1,2 and 3 Waterline Square. Prices start at $1.83 million.

Bloomberg Coverage

First time buyer in Manhattan?

Here are some basic steps in purchasing a Manhattan apartment for the first time.

1- Decide on a Manhattan neighborhood

2- Get a pre approval

3- Co-op or condo?

3- Find a buyer broker

Also I would add to choose your real estate attorney well. Usually your buyer broker can help you with that. A real estate attorney usually chages around $2500 or so but some that do excellent work can be found for as little as $1700 depending on the price range of the property.

Additionally, beyond getting the pre approval make sure that the bank will finance in the building that you choose. Some buildings have sponsors that still own more than 10% of the shares(co-ops) or the apartments(condos) or a higher than usual percentage of tenants. This can complicate financing and is an area very often overlooked by many real estate brokers. This as a buyer can cost you time and money and add stress. So vet the building with your lender to avoid all of that! What are your tips for a first time buyer?

1 Seaport looking for inventory financing

by  Brian Silvestry

1 Seaport developer, Fortis Group is looking to finance $270 million for the 1 Seaport condo project and also the first phase of their redevelopment of the LICH site in Brooklyn.

The 1 Seaport condo is the Financial District is 76% sold and closings were to begin in June but construction was delayed several months due to a construction worker’s death at the building in 2017.

Full coverage from The Real Deal

News about the NYC real estate residential and commercial markets provided and interpreted by an industry veteran licensed since 1999. Brian Silvestry of BSRG Inc. Licensed real estate broker