Category Archives: Real estate

Thinking of buying your first Manhattan apartment?

Very often, I am asked by first time buyers what are the guidelines that banks use to determine how the bank determines how much they will lend. In generally, let’s take a look at a scenario where you are interested in buying a Manhattan condo for $1,000,000.

$1,000,000 purchase price
$200,000 down payment
$40,000 closing costs
?                   post closing reserves

In this scenario you need about $250,000 liquid plus post closing reserves which depend on the bank but let’s say 6 months of payments which can be in a 401k or non-liquid account.

In this case, your monthly mortgage is about $4,000 based on a 4.5 interest rate on a 30 year mortgage, add in about $1400 for common charges and taxes and you end up at $5,400. In order for the bank to make a loan you would need to have at least 2.5 to 3 times that in monthly income assuming little or no debt and very good credit. So you would need a minimum of $13,500 in monthly income or $162k annual. In many neighborhoods this will buy you a  1bedroom condo or even a  2 bedroom north of 110th street.

If you purchase a co-op, the co-op will require a minimum of 20% and in some cases more plus they will require 2 years of monthly payments in reserves so the cash outlay will be higher. So you may need close to $400k in assets to make the purchase. However, you will have a much larger choice of apartments with a co-op in this price range- 102 listings with at least 1 bedroom on the Upper west side under $1 million on the listing site streeteasy compared with 17 condos under $1 million. Co-ops are less expensive than condos but have more restrictions and higher monthly charges. More on that another time.

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.

When should you adjust the price of your Manhattan property?

So you list your Manhattan property and are imagining bidding wars and cash offers. What happens if you do not receive offers or have a dearth of showings? At what point do you adjust your price and how much do you adjust? Normally, within the first month you like to see showings and perhaps an offer, this is the best time to capture someone off the initial marketing/interest. If however, you have very few showings, an adjustment might be needed. But how much?

Often times, I will see price adjustments of $20,000 on a $3 million property or $100k on and $8 million property. These types of adjustments will not move the needle at all. Generally speaking analyze the data of showings of your property with your real estate broker and compare it with traffic of recently sold and comparable listings that are for sale and you can see how far off you are on your pricing. If you are getting showings but no offers what that means is the market is willing to come see your property but not offer on it. In this case 7-8% might be enough. However a total lack of showings and a declining market are a bad combination. If that is the case an adjustment of 10% or more depending on what the competing properties are offering. Communication is very important here with your real estate broker. I use a project management site to communicate directly with my clients so that if they want to know about showings and feedback from buyers in real time they can receive these updates directly in their email box or on their phones. You need to get that feedback to understand what the buyer market mindset is.

Recently, on a Battery Park City listing that I had,  we had to reduce it twice from $1.5 million to $1.35 to eventually $1.2 million. That was due to an extreme case where the common charges and taxes were unusually high.  In this case, two very strong negatives were dragging the price down but thankful the seller adjusted and was able to get a buyer before the market headed down even more which it did especially in that neighborhood.

So as far as price adjustments, be aggressive with them especially if after the first month you are getting zero or a very low amount of showings. Be less aggressive when you are getting showings but no offers. And adjust your expectations when the market is heading down and there is more inventory coming to market to compete with your property.

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.

Solar Power now available for apartments

According to an article this week in the New York Times, now even apartment dwellers can elect to use solar power. No need to install solar panels on the roof of your Manhattan building. You can purchase your power from another location and potentially reduce your energy costs. The claim is between 10-15% and also it’s great for the environment and the grid.

Full coverage

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.

200 west 54 street 9C rented

At the Adlon prewar co-op in Midtown, a 1 bedroom was rented. The apartment features a windowed kitchen, plenty of closets, and nice size bedroom. The apartment featured an ornate living room ceiling and high ceilings among the prewar features. The asking rent was $2,750 and no landlord concessions were given. The apartment rented within 1 week of being in the market.

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.

Park West Village Market report Year to date

Park West Village is a 4 unit condo complex on Central Park West on Manhattan’s Upper west side. 372,382,392 and 400 CPW are all 19 story buildings with approximately 414 +/- units and share similar amenities and low monthly charges.

Total sales 372 382 392 400
21 6 4 5 6

Sales by apartment size

1bd w terrace 11
2bd 4
big studio 2
small studio 3
1bd no terrace 1
Active 372 382 392 400
3 3 5 6

Active by apartment size

Small studio 9
Big Studio 3
1bd w terr 3
2bd 2

There have been 3 small studios(approximately 545 sqft) sold in 6 months and there are 9 in the market. That translates to an inventory of 18 months which is why the prices have been dropping on that apartment size.

With only 2-2 bedrooms available for sale in all 4 buildings that size of apartment is in demand along with the 1 bedroom with terrace which only have 3.

The least expensive sale this year was apartment 5L in 400 CPW which sold for only $740,000 and the most expensive was a combination which sold for $5,445,000.

400 Central park west currently has 2 studios asking $710k and $738k which might end up selling for low $700’s or high $600’s.

 

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.

Ariana Grande and fiance Pete Davidson purchase luxury apartment in West Chelsea

Ariana Grande and her fiance SNL’s Pete Davidson have purchased in the Zaha Hadid building in West Chelsea. The building is full of amenities including a private Imax Theater and skylit pool. There are 39 units in the building with 5 showing as active on listings site Streeteasy. Prices range from just over $5mm to over $13 mm for the available units.

This swimming pool in 520 West 28th street where Sting and Trudy Styler might run into their new neighbors Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson.
This is the gym in the Zaha Hadid West Chelsea new development

Full coverage

Sting rented an apartment in the same building

2 South end avenue apt 9B sold

A 3 bedroom/2 bath Battery Park City apartment in the full service Cove Club building, has now sold. The apartment featured beautiful park and harbor views, concrete floors, a large eat in kitchen, museum finishes and was wired for sound. The monthly common charges were $6250.

The apartment was purchased cash.

Previous coverage

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.

Can video tours help sell your Manhattan property?

We are starting to see VR tools move into the real estate industry beginning with new developments and then filtering their way down the pipeline to your average listing. It’s interesting with all of the technology that we have at our fingertips that the average listing does not even have a video tour and the majority of the rental listing photos are taken with an smartphone. This delay in embracing new technology by the majority of the Manhattan real estate brokers is nothing new.

With international buyers searching Manhattan properties from all over the world and in many different time zones, having a video tour or 3D tour that can be navigated by the buyer (similar to Google maps) is an ideal 24 hour sales tool. Having only professional quality photos plus a 2D floor plan is akin to putting an ad in NYT and holding open houses. It might have been the tools that worked 15 years ago but times have changed.

Take a look at the video tour that was done for 189 Edgecombe avenue, a Harlem townhouse that is in contract. Video tours are an ideal way for buyers to get to know a property before they see it in person as well.

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.

City sets up commission to propose real estate tax reform

Sometimes, clients ask me why the taxes on one townhouse are much higher than others or vice versa. The City tax system is a very difficult one to understand and few do. The City has appointed Vicki Been and Marc Shaw to co-chair this new commission. 10 public hearings will be held to solicit input from the public.

Commercial Observer coverage

 

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.

New developments selling well in the right neighborhoods and for the right price

With approximately 6,000 units of new development in the market throughout NYC, there is an obvious glut. But some developments like 250 W 81st street are raising prices. In the Robert A.M. Stern designed building, the largest units were the first to sell and the buyers are coming from the local market with zero foreign buyers. In addition, the location on Manhattan’s upper west side, has a scarcity of new development.

Most developers believe that within 2-3 years, most of the existing inventory will be gone so now is a good time for them to begin the process knowing full well the market may swing in the favor by the time they are ready to start selling.

Commercial Observer coverage