Sting rents a upper floor apartment in West Chelsea luxury building

The late Dame Zaha Hadid designed 520 West 28th street, is now home to Sting and his wife Trudy Styler. The Related building features a 75 foot sky-lit pool, spa, 24 hour juice bar and robotic parking. The West Chelsea building has 30 units and it appears that it is nearly sold out. Closings began mid 2017 with 6 apartments showing available on streeteasy from just over $5 million to $16 million. Two apartments are for rent- one for $15,750 and one for $26,000.

 

This swimming pool in 520 West 28th street where Sting and Trudy Styler have just rented an apartment.

NBC coverage

Listings in 520 W 28th street

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 does a rent stabilized tenant affect a Manhattan townhouse’s value?

In an ideal setting,  a Manhattan townhouse will be delivered vacant and sold to a buyer who can convert it to a single family mansion, condos or a rental building. However, when a Manhattan building is conveyed with a rent stabilized tenant or a few rent stabilized tenants, then the buyer pool will narrow but it still has tremendous value. The factors that impact the value will be size of the apartment, likelihood of accepting a buyout, and what percentage of square footage, the RS tenants occupy within the building. The calculation of value is going to be based on the net operating income.(NOI). The NOI and cap rate will dictate the value, but the upside which the buyer/investor will evaluate will have to do the likelihood that the tenant might be bought out now or in the near future, the age of the tenant, and how likely they might have immediate family who will succeed them within the apartment.

For example, on a recent tour of Upper west side townhouses with an investor we looked a one building that was asking $5.4 million with 6 units 2 of which were rent stabilized. Within the same neighborhood, a 7 unit building was asking nearly $1 million more with all free market tenants. Both were both offered at an approximate 3% cap rate.

Now what happens when the majority or all of the building is occupied by rent stabilized tenants and the cap rate is extremely low or the income is not even covering the expenses, now you will see an even more narrow pool of buyers whose expectations for a discount go up as the rents paid by the tenants goes down as does the likelihood of a buyout. In this situation, a more thorough analysis based on current market conditions will need to be done by a Manhattan real estate broker experienced in the transfer of townhouses and multifamily properties.

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.

 

 

Recent closed Upper West side townhouse sales

15-17 West 94th street– Two interconnected townhouses on a Park block which offering a mixture of free market and rent stabilized tenants were sold for a total of $9.6 million. The buildings were 18′ wide each and about 70 feet deep. This properties will be ideal for a conversion to condos or maybe a large mansion. The purchaser was Dikran Properties LLC. The sale closed 1/30/18.

42 West 94th street- Also located in the Upper west side/Central Park west historic district, this legal 8 unit townhouse had a mixture of free market and rent stabilized tenants. The 17 by 52 built townhouse sold for $4.35 million and closed 1/17/18. The purchaser was listed as 42 West 94th, Inc.

Both of these properties appeared to have changed hands in off market transactions though they were previously listed by real estate brokers.

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.

Should NYC landlords be fined for leaving their stores empty?

Amid a 27% vacancy rate on Amsterdam avenue on Manhattan’s Upper west side and a 20% vacancy rate in Soho, Mayor Bill DeBlasio is considering a vacancy tax or fine for Manhattan landlords that leave their stores vacant. The idea is in the planning stages without a concrete plan as to how it would work. Retail has been struggling due to the brick and mortar sales declining as internet sales have risen in the last several years.

NYP coverage

What amenities generate the most buyer interest in Manhattan?

There are a variety of different amenities that you will see in Manhattan new developments ranging from movie theaters, and golf simulators to swimming pools, catering kitchens and shared outdoor spaces and even an occasional tennis court.

This swimming pool is a new construction condo in West Chelsea

According to Jonathan Miller or Miller Samuel Inc. there is a perception that more is better. From my experience, buyers look for what makes sense for their lifestyle. In a larger projects, you have more room for amenities. For example in Waterline Square on the West side of Manhattan, you have a shared amenity space called the Waterline club which includes a soccer pitch and a tennis court among the many amenities.

This is the gym in the Zaha Hadid West Chelsea new development

Within an apartment or townhouse, you look at the condition of the apartment including the finishes in the kitchens and bathrooms but also the details.

A renovated bathroom in a Harlem brownstone including a claw-foot bath
Having space to entertain is crucial for the most discerning buyer and having that space be usable.

What amenities do you think are most important to have in a building and within the individual apartment or townhouse?

Mansion Global coverage

Is a renovation necessary to sell your Manhattan property?

Many times, prospective sellers ask if a full or partial renovation will help them to sell their Manhattan apartment? It really depends on several factors.

1-What is the competition like at your price point,neighborhood and building?

2-What is the age of your kitchen, bathrooms and flooring.

3-How long will the renovation take?

4- How much will the reno cost?

5- What is your current market value completely as is?

Let’s look at each one by one.

Competition- If there are several properties for sale that are similar to yours and many of them are renovated, you might have no choice but to do some work in your Manhattan pad before selling. However, if there is a shortage as can be the case for 2 bedroom/2 baths under $2 million for example,  the prospective buyer probably will be willing to do the work themselves.

Age of kitchens and bathrooms. If it’s been 30 or more years since the last renovation, you probably will benefit by doing the renovation. If it’s only been about 10 years then the answer is not as clear. Talk to your real estate broker to get an idea of how the apartment will be perceived by a prospective buyer given the age of the renovations.

Length of time for renovation to be completed-If it’s going to be a one year process due to building approval and contractor availability, it might be wise to forego it or scale it down a bit so that it can be completed in less time. Also, timing is an issue here. If the renovation completion date puts you right in the middle of the December holiday season, it might not be the best time to start marketing.

Cost of renovation- If you decide to complete a 6 figure renovation, it might or might not lead to a dollar for dollar return. It most cases it does not. For example if you have a studio apartment of 600 square feet with a value of around $800,000, a renovation of the kitchen, bathroom and flooring of around $50,000 may return dollar for dollar and also lead to a quicker sale. However, a $100,000 reno on the same apartment probably will lead to a quicker sale but not return dollar for dollar.

Sell as is? When you sell as is, you do not complete any renovation and just sell what you have. What you see is what you get and in some cases this might even be the best strategy depending on the above factors and your personal situation. Consult with your real estate broker.  Normally, they can recommend a good contractor to do work if that is needed as well as advise you as to what will yield a return and what will not.

If you examine your current market value as is, then you can see if it makes sense to do a renovation, knowing the cost and time involved. For example if the current market value is $2,500,000 and you want to do a $500,000 renovation that will lead to a $3 million sale, it obviously does not make sense. But also consider the time of the year now, market conditions and the time of the year when the renovation has been completed. The purpose of any renovation, large or small prior to selling your Manhattan property is to widen the buyer pool, and make it easier to sell and this has to lead to at least a dollar for dollar return, otherwise save your money and sell as is.

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.

 

Is Spring time the best time to sell Manhattan residential property?

Many times, I am asked this very question by potential sellers and the answer is it depends. Right now we are heading into the spring and a shifting market.

In the beginning of the year, sales usually start to slowly build momentum as we climb out of the winter/holiday doldrums. We are seeing that right now as activity has picked up but with the threat of rising rates, who knows?

In the Spring, more sellers tend to enter the market also due to their desire to move during the summer when children are off from school. More competition is not necessarily good for sellers. I usually like to start working on a listing right before the Spring rather than wait. My advice is to look at your needs as a seller, current market activity and not position your listing to be forgotten because there is a major holiday in one week. I would like to also add that assessing the competing properties for yours will help too. For example, a few years ago, there was a glut of 2bd/2ba apartments in 400 Central Park west. This rarely ever happens. As a result, buyers had more choices. My recommendation was that if the seller could wait 1 month or so, some of these other properties might be in contract and as a result we would have less competition.

Two years ago, I sat down with another seller and there was only 1 similar property in the market in Park West Village on Manhattan’s Upper west side. I advised them to go for it. They did and as a result, we got a very high price due to the lack of competition.

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.

 

 

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