Category Archives: Harlem

Community Board turns down 128 West 119th street windows proposal

At the Landmarks committee meeting of Community Board 10 last night, the Community Board turned down the owners of 128 West 119th street who were looking to gain support for installing flat windows on the 2nd floor of the townhouse in the Mount Morris Historic district. At the meeting, the architect for the new owners cited cost as one of the obstacles to installation of the curved windows. The new owners received a bid that would add an additional $30,000 to the cost of the renovation just for the 3 windows. The Community Board and the Block association recommended that they request additional bids to install curved windows in the 2nd floor window. The 20 foot wide house was purchased one year ago for $2,795,000 according to public records. According to the architect, there are 12 townhouses on the block with a similar curved facade, and 9 of them have flat windows and 3 have curved ones.

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

401 West 147th street being cleaned up

401 West 147th street, a 16′ wide townhouse that has been abandoned for the last several years, in the Historic district of Sugar Hill, is being cleaned up. A crew of 2-3 people were in the house yesterday loading up a full dumpster’s worth of materials.  No permits are filed to give an indication of what work will be done. But at least, this may be the beginning of the end of this being an eyesore of one of Manhattan’s most beautiful blocks.

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

 

Thinking of selling your Manhattan brownstone without a certificate of occupancy?

If you are thinking of selling your Manhattan townhouse one of the first things you should verify is your certificate of occupancy. A certificate of occupancy tells a prospective buyer what the legal use is. The challenge is that the certificate of occupancy rules came about in 1938 and many homes were built before that. As a result, you may have a building without a certificate of occupancy. Department of Buildings site  Go to the DOB site and enter the address of the property then click on certificate of occupancy link. Many properties will not have a certificate of occupancy on file. In some cases the CofO may contradict the actual use. Consult with your lawyer and architect and your real estate broker to see what would be required to modify the CofO and if it can be sold without bringing the C of O inline with the actual use.

If there isn’t a CofO on file then it may get even more complicated. Consult with your attorney/architect to see what the DOB records indicate. Sometimes, it can be confusing due to different NYC agencies classifying your Harlem townhouse as different usages. Recently, I met a homeowner who said his building was “registered” as a 4 family with the City. Upon initial research he was being taxed as a 4 family by the NYC Department of Finance but his CofO says 3 family home. If your CofO says 3 family, you have a 3 family.

As always, this blog is intended for informational purposes and not as a substitute for legal advice so please consult your attorney. Your real estate broker can normally recommend an attorney for you who specializes in real estate and hopefully can shed some light on any CofO issues that you might have. Additionally, an experienced, Manhattan townhouse broker can advise you  on what is customary as far as paper work and what would cost you money in terms of marketability.

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

 

 

How is VR affecting the real estate industry?

Virtual reality and augmented reality are very slowly starting to enter the real estate brokerage business. In some new developments you can take a VR tour when a building is in the pre-construction phase. More often than not, a model apartment is created so that the buyer can see, and feel the touches of a new luxury apartment in Manhattan. Real estate brokerages and agents tend to be slow adopters of new technology however and as a result, very few listings even ones in the luxury and super luxury market have a VR tour which does not require technology like a viewer. You can tour the property just like you use google maps navigating through in the way that you would like. Very few listings even have a video tour. I would estimate 5-10% of all listings. Take a look at an example below of a VR tour and a video tour. One photographer said he felt that VR was a fad. I am not sure I agree as I think it is a tool that allows property to be truly showcased 24/7 and the buyer can zoom in on the details that they want to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Snowstorm blankets New York City

I think it finally stopped snowing now. Central Park was turned into a winter wonderland and many people stayed at home. I had a chance to take the train to Harlem and it was nearly empty.

 

What to do now to prepare for a sale in a year of your Harlem SRO

Please note that the below is not legal advice or meant to substitute for it. Always consult with your attorney when dealing with matters of eviction, rent stabilization etc…

If you have some time before you are going to sell your Harlem SRO, there are several things that you can do to better position your property in the market to get the most money and with the least stress later. Here is my checklist.

1-Apply for a certificate of no harassment  (CNH)
2-Relocate or encourage the tenants to relocate especially tenants that are not paying.
3-Overall maintain a great relationship with the tenants
4- Make sure all services like heat and hot water are always provided and repairs are done swiftly
5- Minimize DOB,HPD violations

1-The CNH process takes anywhere from 5-7 months so in order to not delay your closing later, apply for it in advance. For more on why it’s important read this previous post.

2- Since the next owner will likely want to alter the building to a 1-2 family, their plans will be delayed by tenants that still remain. As a result, the majority of buyers except the most savy will steer clear of occupied SROs. Tread lightly here because you can not do anything that would be considered harassment. If a tenant is not paying, you need to get an attorney and do an eviction asap. I have seen many cases where the tenants who do not pay rent are the ones who want the most money to be bought out of their apartments. So if a tenant is not paying, stay on top of it. Other tenants may leave on their own or be bought out. Just be careful if word spreads to other tenants that are buying tenants out, prices tend to ramp up. Also consult with an attorney as an SRO probably will fall under rent stabilization laws so tenants are entitled to renewal leases and the rents should be registered with DHCR.

3&4- Keep in mind that in order to obtain a CNH, HPD will ask the tenants both past and present within a 3 year look back for evidence of harassment. So while landlord-tenant relationships can get strained at times, always maintain a good relationship with your tenants. Also, move quickly to perform any repairs and you must maintain all basic services like heat, hot water and electricity within the building. Failing to provide basic services is a red flag of harassment.

5- Make sure to register your building and address any violations that you have on the building. It is easier to address issues little by little then let violations accumulate along with fines and penalties.

In most cases when I am called in to list and sell a Harlem SRO, there are many things we can address and a few that we should. However, if you have some lead time, things can get done in advance and we can get you the most money with the least amount of stress as a result of a little proper planning.

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

 

 

313 West 138th street 8 unit in contract

313 West 138th street, one block west of Strivers’ Row in Central Harlem,  has gone to contract. The property which has 5 studios and 3-1 bedroom apartments was asking $1.8 million. After a flurry of activity, it has gone to contract for more than the asking price.

 

313 W 138th street listing details

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.

 

Harlem Taco & Bowl to open on west 123 street

Harlem Taco & Bowl Company will open a store at 2288 Frederick douglass boulevard at the corner of West 123rd street. According to a worker at the store, they will open either at the end of this month or next month.

 

 

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.