What should foreign investors look for in a Manhattan apartment? Tip 3

Tip 3 in a word has to do with convenience.  Assuming that you live overseas, you probably do not want to have phone calls and emails asking you to deal with a leaky sink or a flood due to a tenant above you. You will need management or maybe not…If you purchase in a building with a concierge, live-in-super and handyman you can probably get away with not having to pay a separate fee for management. Let your tenant know if there is an issue, that they should go to the front desk and put in a work order and email you so that you are informed. That’s it. In some cases, if you bought the property through a broker, and the same broker rents it for you whenever it becomes vacant, they may manage it for you for little or no fee.  With direct deposit and your local broker dealing with vacancies, you can have a turnkey investment.


Thinking of buying? What do you need to start?

If you are thinking of buying a Manhattan property,  the most important items you need to have when starting out are a pre approval and a financial statement. You want to have a pre approval or even better a pre commitment in place so that if you make an offer you can show the seller that you already have financing in place. In addition, for your own knowledge, the loan officer or mortgage broker will give you an idea of what your monthly payments will be. In some cases, you may be able to afford more than you want to spend monthly. So this will help to define your price range.

You can get an industry standard blank financial statement from your real estate broker. Having that filled in with a pre approval will give the seller a good idea of your qualifications. Going through the under-writing process can yield a pre commitment which will be only subject to finding a property and a satisfactory appraisal. So if you are really serious ask your lender about that option as well.

Former Upper East side NYSC site remains dormant

It was about 1 year that NYSC closed their doors at East 86th street and Lexington avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East side. The site still remains quiet and unfortunately gives the northern side of the street a rundown quality to it. Will the developer push forward with condos in this ever changing market?

The former NYSC site still dormant is at the corner of East 86th street and Lexington avenue.


What does appraised value mean?

The other day,  I was speaking to a potential client and offered to evaluate the property and she said that she had it appraised already. I think some sellers do not understand the difference between appraised value and market value.

An appraisal is done by a licensed appraiser and they give you a value for your home based on what properties similar to it have sold. They usually look back about 6-12 months.

A market value can be given to you by a real estate agent/broker and is typically done when you are intending to sell your property or considering it. A real estate broker looks back at the same information that the appraiser did but also looks at the current listings and may even look forward as well using the direction of the current market.

The difference is that the appraised value is based on sales that took place 6-12 months so those properties might have been listed 12 to 18 month ago. The market 12 months ago most likely in Manhattan is not the same as the current market. So while an appraised value can help you for tax purposes or an estate, when selling you really want to be able to get the market value from a Manhattan real estate broker with experience in your area/building. This will enable you to most up to date information.

What does $4 million buy you on the Upper West side?

Let’s say you are ready to purchase an apartment on the Upper West side with at least 3 bedrooms. Inventory is still on the low side. After doing a few searches on listing site streeteasy.com I came up with the below numbers. All of the below numbers indicate at least 3 bedrooms except where noted and the price range selected was between $3 – $4.5 million.

19 condos in the Lincoln Square section of the Upper West side
11 more listings in the UWS

8 listings with at least 4 bedrooms on the UWS

15 co-ops in Lincoln Square
9 co-ops UWS
5 co-ops on the UWS of which have at least 4 bedrooms

The range of offerings was from the luxury buildings on Riverside boulevard in Lincoln Square with tons of amenities to the Lincoln Towers co-op complex where your dollar goes further.

Only about 25% of the apartments in either co-op or condo segment up to $4.5 million had at least 4 bedrooms. Most new construction or recent conversions starts a little bit above this range.

952 Columbus New Development construction update

952 Columbus avenue is already almost topped off. The 6 story building condo will have 15 units with a church on the ground floor. Listing site Streeteasy.com shows 11 units for sale and 9 in contract in less than 3  months. Affordable luxury sells and sells well. The units range in size from 1 to 3 bedrooms.

952 Columbus at the corner of West 107th street and Columbus avenue will have 15 condos with a ground floor church.

Thinking of joining your Manhattan co-op board? Read this first.

In the late 90’s there was a court case involving two lawyers who tried to sublet an apartment on the East side. When their application was rejected, they brought a lawsuit and eventually, individual board members were held liable. One was held liable for over $100k personally! That was an eye opener for co-op boards who previously thought they could not be held personally liable for rejecting a potential candidate. If you are thinking of running for your co-op board make sure that your building has D & O insurance  to cover you in case of a lawsuit.

Attorneys advise to also beware of what you ask in terms of questions. What might seem innocuous may in fact be discriminatory. So having counsel to review with you questions that are allowed on the Board interview is wise. In addition, make sure that if you reject a candidate it is backed up by facts like weak financials.

Note- This is not meant to be legal advice. Consult with counsel in advance. Read the Cooperator this month and there are several interesting articles on the Biondi case and also types of insurance to protect Board members.

Snowtorm blankets NYC with 9 inches in Central Park

Central Park saw 9 inches of snow today as schools were closed and many people smartly stayed home. According to the Mayor, everything should be back to normal by tomorrow.


Thinking of buying a Manhattan apartment? What does a buyer agent do for you?

Whether you are thinking of buying a Manhattan apartment for $300k or $100 million, a buyer’s agent is essential to your success. When you venture out to open houses, the agents that you meet are seller’s agents meaning that they negotiate for the seller and are responsible to be honest with you. The seller and his agent are looking for the highest possible price and anything that you say can tip them off to your urgency or desire to complete the purchase. A buyer’s agent among other things can advise you if and how much you can negotiate based on their market knowledge and recent sales. He or she can arrange an attorney for you and refer you a lender if needed.

A buyer’s agent is your advocate. He can look into neighboring developments to see if there are any plans for a future building that will wipe out your wonderful views. He can also advise you throughout the transactions when you have questions so that you have someone that you trust to decide if what you hearing from various sources is normal and fair.

A buyer agent can also preview properties like new developments for you and save you time to see if there are offerings that match your needs. You might not want or be able to make a visit to a new development sales office but your buyer agent can do it for you and send your photos and relay information.

There are many things that a buyer agent can do for you regardless of how much you want to spend on your Manhattan pad.  Best of all,  there is no additional cost to you as both the seller’s agent and your buyer agent are paid out of the proceeds of the sale.  In short, just like you have a lawyer to represent you, make sure you have a good agent that you can trust to protect your interests as well.