Category Archives: Real estate

What you should know before buying a new development condo in Manhattan

by  Brian Silvestry

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has a buying guide for purchasers of NYC co-ops and condos. Highlights include:

1- The offering plan and why you should read the entirety

2- New construction and what guarantees are mandated by law

3- Recourse in case the actual apartment is different or if there are issues on your final walkthrough

4- What to do on your final walkthrough

Click the link below the read the AG’s guide to buying a NYC co-op or condo and good luck.


I do not recommend to walk into the sales office of new development in Manhattan without an experienced buyer broker. Sales have slowed for new development and make sure you choose a buyer broker is proactive in being able to negotiate on your behalf as well as to give advice as to other buildings that will be going up nearby that may affect views and quality of life. It’s not always a given that there will be no negotiation on price/terms considering current market conditions in Manhattan especially in a buyer’s market.

How to sell your Manhattan apartment guide

by  Brian Silvestry

What must a seller do to sell their apartment right now and for the most money? Follow through on these 5 musts and you will be well on your way to a successful sale.

1-Price right from the beginning. If you are going to sell your Manhattan apartment now, you need to look at the latest sales and with an unbiased eye come up with the right price and perhaps be a little aggressive. When you move past the initial marketing period it becomes harder to sell an apartment and listings can go stall. In order to price right from the beginning, look at the similar apartments preferably in your building and adjust the values. Typically appraisers will adjust 1% per floor. So if you own 10F and 15F was sold then it was worth at least 5% move. Appraisers will also adjust for view sometimes 5-10% of value. Apartments that are renovated versus not renovated often carry a premium of cost of renovations plus cost of the inconvenience. So, a buyer might need an additional 100k to renovate an apartment but what about the time and hassle? That factors in as well. So consult with your broker to arrive at a market price.

2- Consider staging or at least organizing. Apartments that are staged sell for more and quicker than vacant apartments. Two years ago I sold a loft that was basically a large one room (1000sqft-93m2)studio.  By staging it, we were able to define for the buyers where the living room, bedroom, and dining rooms should be. To stage an apartment of around 1100 sqft, will typically cost around $10k but worth every penny. There are less expensive alternatives around as well which range from virtual staging to systems that cost in between. If you can not stage then at least remove the excess clutter, put away the dirty dishes, and family photos. You really want a buyer to be able to visualize themselves in your home. If they can not do that, they will not buy.

3- Make sure to have professional photos and a video done of the space. Your broker will handle this but only a small percentage will do a professional video that can be shared on social media and used as a tool to qualify buyers. If there is a professional video available, a buyer can see it before the showing/open house. Take a look at the below video example.

4- Choose your broker carefully. Some simple questions that you can ask to distinguish one broker from another:
a-  How long have you been in real estate in Manhattan?
b-  What is your marketing plan for my property?
c-   Who will handle the showings? Yourself personally or someone on your team?
d- Will you follow up with the attorneys, bank and help to coordinate closing?
e- Have you sold other properties like mine?
f- Do you live in this neighborhood?
g- How many listings do you have right now? This is a key question because if the agent has too many then you are just going to be one of many of their clients.

5- Once you have selected your broker, and chose an appropriate price, you will want to make showings as easy as possible. By giving your broker a key and allowing showings even on short notice, you can make your property one of the favorite listings for buyer brokers to show because they know that they can get in easily. You never know who will be the buyer. It only takes one.

Uses these basic steps to position your Manhattan co-op, condo or townhouse appropriately in the market and you will maximize your chances of selling. Good luck!

Clock is ticking for Extell’s sales at Central Park Tower

by  Brian Silvestry

Extell developement, the developer behind the One57 condo on Billionaire’s Row in Manhattan was able to secure financing to go ahead with their newest development on West 57th street. The building is a projected $4 billion sellout. With the market for super luxury slowing in the last couple years, one of the terms of the lenders is to have $500 million in sales by 2020. Central Park Tower will have 179 units and 20 of those units will be asking $60mm or more. The price per square foot will be just north of $7k psf.

The building will have a Nordstrom’s at it’s base and will rise 1550 feet.

Full Story

Which two nabes show most rental appreciation?

by  Brian Silvestry

Currently, the rental market in most of Manhattan is declining in terms of price and a record number of apartments are being rented with concessions either of free rent or other incentives. However, two neighborhoods in Manhattan saw increases in rent year over year. One was the Financial District and the other was Yorkville, the northern edge of Manhattan’s upper east side adjacent to East Harlem.

See report here from Curbed NY

Manhattan residential market data analyzed

by  Brian Silvestry

Industry pros weigh in on several market segments and take a look ahead to 2018 in the latest edition of the Cooperator. As previous reported here, the luxury market is in a buyer’s market and less expensive properties are still holding with similar price per square foot year over year.

This is confirmed by more personal experience where some sellers can be reluctant to adjust to a changing market and instead insist on their price which holds firm the price per square foot.

Multi-family market ready to benefit from Tax Reform

by  Brian Silvestry

One segment of the market that may benefit from the Tax Reform may be multi-family. According to Real estate weekly, some people may decide to rent instead of buying and rents may rise as a result. Also, foreign investors may move into more multi-family properties due to the decrease of the Corporate tax rate to 21%.

Rents have been declining for the last 2 years in the Manhattan market but if more people who can buy decide not to buy this can affect the rental market.

Also, if interest rates rise, this may be a secondary consequence of the new tax law, and they may affect the starter apartment market in Manhattan and increase the amount of renters.

What impact will the tax reform have on Manhattan apartment sales?

by  Brian Silvestry

The Manhattan real estate market saw a slower than usual 4th quarter as per many reports ahead of the tax reform. I had one listing where a buyer made an offer only to withdraw that offer for fear of what the final tax reform might be. Her particular fear was that the mortgage interest deduction(MID) was going to be eliminated. The MID was amended to $750,000 which means the interest on a loan of up to $750k can be deducted. The primary residence $500,000 exemption and 1031 exchange remained in effect. However, with a lid of $10,000 on the SALT (state and local taxes) which include real estate taxes this may effect the market but not in the way that Moody’s predicts which was a 10% decrease in values.

Buyers at the low end of the Manhattan real estate market(up to $3mm) will not see any tax reform related decreases due to low inventory.  Also with interest rates rising and the MID capped at $750k you might see less buyers upgrading and/or moving to the suburbs (at least the ones with $20k-$30k in taxes). Less sellers can also help to keep the inventory low.

At the high end($6mm+) the market was already in a buyer’s market for some time, so luxury Manhattan real estate will continue along the same trend with longer days on the market and more price reductions.  I showed a penthouse not that long ago for just under $13mm which originally was asking $30mm. At the high end, buyers will continue to buy but they will have more options. The tax reform will not really affect the buyer of luxury Manhattan real estate.

In the middle($3-6mm)  is where it can get interesting. This buyer is buying a larger apartment in Manhattan instead of renting or instead of buying in the suburbs. Now with those apartments having annual taxes from $15k to $60k on average, maybe this buyer decides to continue renting due to the MID cap and more so to the $10k SALT cap. Or perhaps they decide to purchase in a tax abated building or move to a suburb where the taxes are not so high….This market could see some decreases and longer days on the market just like the upper echelons on the market.

Tax abated buildings or buildings with low annual taxes may see a surge in interest. More on that in another post…

Real estate representation simplified

So you walk into an open house and there is a broker at the open house, who does he represent? What should you tell him or not tell him? You meet an agent who you emailed through streeteasy about a loft in Soho, who does she represent? In whose interests is she working? An email through yields a flurry of calls from agents wanting to “work for you”, are they really working in your best interests?

A real estate transaction is complex and can be made even more challenging by ambiguous representation. Legally, the agent has to disclose to you in writing who they are representing be it for a purchase, or a rental.

NYS agency disclosure form with explanation

For Manhattan real estate, typically, the agent represents the buyer, seller or both. Huh? How can an Manhattan real estate broker represent both the buyer and seller? Well, they can not give undivided loyalty to either but they can practice what is called dual agency.

The broker can represent the buyer in which case she negotiates on the behalf of the buyer, trying to convince the other side as to why the terms of the buyer are appropriate and should be accepted. Represent yourself as a buyer? Usually, this is a mistake because the agent at the open house likely is representing the seller and will negotiate the terms most favorable to the seller.

In the case of the agent at the open house, most likely they are representing the seller and will secure the best terms for the seller. For example, if you tell the seller’s agent that you will offer a price but are prepared to go higher, by law, the broker must tell the seller that. So be careful what you say to a seller’s agent. It is the same if you tell the seller’s agent that you need to move in a one month because of a job transfer, they will tell the seller that information and that may weaken your ability to negotiate a better sale price.

In all cases, the real estate broker that represents you will among many other things owe you confidentiality. So anything that you disclose can be kept to himself unless you instruct him otherwise.

So next time you meet an agent for the first time, see if they disclose to you who they represent and if they do not, ask them. It is the law.

400 Central Park west 1 bedroom apartment for sale

Apartment 7K has entered the market and features just over 900 sqft with a 18 foot south facing terrace. Kitchen and bathroom were updated and crown moldings were installed. The South facing apartment receives tons of light and can be purchased by an investor or end user. It is currently rented out for $3400 per month.

Listing info and more photos