More on “Home Energy”

30 April, 2010 posted by: Kirk Rundhaug

Continuing a theme from my previous appearance on Selling New York, in the April 22nd episode I had a chance to focus on identifying and addressing the inherent “energy” of the apartment that I was tasked to sell. An apartment, house or any kind of home acquires its energy not only from its own history, but from the histories—the experiences, goals, aspirations, obstacles and anxieties—of the people who live in it,  as well as of their guests, their neighbors and, dare I say, their brokers. I was educated in the existence and power of this type of energy by my friend and colleague Reginald Arthur, who for years has studied the energies of individuals, their homes and their environments. Almost as soon as I took over the listing of an apartment at 50 Gramercy Park North, I brought Reggie in to help promote the residence’s positive energies. Similar to the penthouse (at 350 West 23rd Street) featured in my previous episode, the one at 50 Gramercy is a relatively new construction and its current occupants have lived there for less than three years. Reggie and I have come to understand that new developments often attract and absorb negative forces that accompany the building process: the stresses of financing, the convulsions of construction, the uncertainties of the marketplace in which the apartments are sold. Furthermore, the 50 Gramercy project incorporates an old New York hotel that has hosted many unusual guests over the years, each of whom contributes his or her own energy to the bones of the building. All of these factors, if sufficiently negative, can create a pall that, on a certain level, deters buyers. Reggie identified this immediately and took measures to reverse its effects. He tries to help homes release negative energies from dark periods in their histories by assisting their owners and brokers in doing the same. In other words, if the people who live and pass through an apartment are able to expel their negative energies, so too will those energies be expelled from the apartment itself, resulting in a space that is brighter and more attractive to prospective buyers. Whether or not they believe in the veracity of Reggie’s methods, my sellers (and I) are always filled with confidence by his presence and charisma. And, after all, isn’t confidence  just another form of positive energy?


Staging for “Home Energy”

05 April, 2010 posted by: Kirk Rundhaug

One of the challenges of showing an unfurnished unit in a new construction is that prospective buyers have a hard time visualizing what the apartment might look like when they are living in it. It has never been occupied and therefore doesn’t have the character or energy of a space that has been called “home,” so buyers are skeptical. As the date approached for the filming of Penthouse A at 350 West 23rd Street for HGTV’s new series “Selling New York,” I faced this exact challenge—and, after conferring with CORE’s CEO, Shaun Osher, I decided that the best way to handle it was to stage the apartment. Staging is a delicate task: If done in a careless way, the design can look contrived and can misrepresent the space. Not only must the furnishings chosen for staging fit the space in terms of size; they must also complement the angles, materials and textures of the apartment as well as draw in the natural landscape beyond the unit’s windows and terraces. The latter point is especially important in a space such as Penthouse A, with its broad floor-to-ceiling windows, expansive terraces and park views. I chose my pieces the way buyers choose their furniture and artwork when preparing to settle in to a home for many years or generations. I followed an aesthetic that reflected the unique vibe of Chelsea—modern and sophisticated yet warm and approachable. I owe a great debt to Laurie Messman and her team at Ligne Roset, who provided pieces that perfectly captured the look and feel I was going for. One of Laurie’s brilliant ideas was to borrow artwork and music memorabilia from the Sony Archives. The fact that she was able to secure historic platinum records, limited-edition photographs of famous musicians and entertainers such as Jimi Hendrix and Ertha Kitt, and classic guitars was an enormous feat. I recall thinking that the buyer I was searching for “could hang his own guitar in its place,” and while the buyer from the episode did not have a guitar herself, I imagined that perhaps one day her son would hang his there. In upcoming episodes of “Selling New York” I deal with other aspects of this “home energy,” of which staging is just one part. Tune in and enjoy!


Calling All Bruce Waynes!

26 March, 2010 posted by: Maggie Kent

One of my favorite moments in my experience with the 132-138 Mulberry listing was when the seller showed me his Batman costume, holding it up and saying, “Maggie, look!” as he conveniently pulled it from a cabinet in his ultra-mod open living room. Very handy, I thought, and how apropos, given that ever since I first laid eyes on the loft featured in my premiere episode of “Selling New York,” on HGTV, it reminded me of a modern-day Bruce Wayne lair, otherwise known as the Bat Cave. You know, the one from the 1960s TV show-a hidden, private, mysterious work space where technology rules and Gotham need not fear. The only thing missing from this mini-mansion is Robin and a devoted butler.

132-138 Mulberry is for a very specific buyer. “But what space isn’t?” you ask? Well, although this loft is hugely versatile, with plenty of space that can be reconfigured in numerous ways, it may hold particular appeal to the Bruce Waynes of the world. I think it’s the high-tech finishes, the keyed elevator, the security system and the elegant mid-century furnishings that help qualify it as a superhero home. But don’t let the cave-like description fool you; it actually has more than a dozen steel-frame double-pane gas-insulated tilt-and-turn casement windows that allow for plenty of natural light. It’s all in the episode, of course, including that whopping price drop! For more details, just click on the listing on my CORE agent page.

I’m looking forward to upcoming episodes in which a few of my other listings are featured. I happen to have a condo combination unit available now in Union Square, if you’re looking for something a little different than a lair-this one is penthouse-style, with a private rooftop outdoor space, just in case there are any Clark Kents out there looking for a landing pad.


Woody Heller – A Broker’s Insight

21 January, 2010 posted by: Shaun Osher

With this ongoing series of interviews, I endeavor to expand our collective insight into the people, events, and trends that have a positive effect on the real estate industry. My guests are visionaries who are integral in shaping the way we live in the world today. I sincerely hope you enjoy learning from them as much as I have.

Woody Heller is a broker’s broker. He is one of the most successful and well respected commercial brokers in the industry. He is executive managing director and group head of the capital transactions group at Studley. I had the pleasure of speaking with him about the challenges in the market,  where we might be headed, and his insight as a broker.


Q: Who Should We Listen To?

02 October, 2009 posted by: Shaun Osher


It’s that time again. All the responsible communicators of our industry analyze the “quarterly reports”, and educate the consumer about where things are……supposedly. The problem is that none of them reflect the same parameters of information.

CORE is the first company that started a Realtime Report that reflects CONTRACT SIGNED data, and not CLOSED SALES data. Simply, this means we reflect data from a specific time in the market when deals are being consummated, not data from a broad time period from months (or years) ago on negotiated deals that happen to close in the same period. This is why we see a lot of data that trails the market by as much as a year or more, and remains inconsistent to what brokers, buyers, and sellers are experiencing in Real Time!

Here’s this past Quarter’s Realtime Report.


I’m Calling the Bottom

03 September, 2009 posted by: Shaun Osher

The bottom is staring you in the face

The bottom is staring you in the face

Hindsight is not always 20/20………. and it’s amazing how quickly things turn. For better or worse.

It has been 2 years since the sub prime mortgage industry credit crunch rippled through the globe.

It has been 18 months since the collapse of Bear Stearns.

It has been a year since the fall of Lehman Brothers.

The Manhattan residential market has lost almost 50% value in some sectors since its peak in 2007. A drop that came quicker and more dramatically than ever before. Yes, even more than Black Monday 1987.

Crains’ Amanda Fung covered a story yesterday about the recent activity over the summer. My opinion is that the value of the market has levelled off, and once banks start lending again (hopefully soon), the velocity of deals will pick up. 

Next year this time, there will be a number of people who will be saying “I could have…………. I would have……….I should have!”


The Creative Process Continues…

17 July, 2009 posted by: Shaun Osher

…… spite of a falling market. I contend that some of the most creative thinkers and innovators have come to the surface with their best work in times that seem dire. Some of history’s greatest works come at times that seem the most depressed. Art and commerce act independantly.

Axis Mundi has designed an alternative to Jean Nouvel design for the Hines site on 53rd Street next to MOMA. While it has received some unfounded criticism for trying to replace an already well conceived design , I applaud this work. This type of creative process is what pushes the boundaries of the ordinary and evokes ideas that will ultimately advance our status quo.

John Beckmann sent me this email today, and has graciously allowed me to post it here below. Read the rest of this entry »

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