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The week in luxury: A map of NYC’s priciest apartment sales

The Real DealJune 26, 2017

An interactive look at where the biggest deals were struck, plus total overall sales and average prices for the week.

Each week, The Real Deal and CityRealty look back at Manhattan’s priciest apartment sales.

Buying A Home Sight Unseen Is Easier Than Ever—and More Common

The Wall Street JournalJune 23, 2017

The first time Angelo Smyrnios pulled up in front of a Mediterranean-style home with a red-tiled roof and palm trees in Lighthouse Point, Fla., he got out of the car and said, “OK, let’s go see the $1.65 million house I just bought sight unseen.”

 

It takes a confident buyer—and a trusted real-estate agent—to purchase property without a first-hand visit. Would-be buyers can always peruse listing photos and videos online, and Google Earth offers views of the neighborhood. But to avert some of the surprises of a long-distance listing, agents are increasingly walking clients through properties via FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp, or even making custom videos. Real-estate brokerages and a crop of new technology companies are creating three-dimensional photographic and video tours, which can be viewed in virtual reality.

 

Mr. Smyrnios and his wife, Lisette, began searching for a home in Lighthouse Point at the beginning of the year, after deciding to relocate from Littleton, Colo., to be closer to Ms. Smyrnios’ mother. They visited the area three times, viewing property with their agents, Lisa and John Wilson of Douglas Elliman Boca Raton. In April, the Smyrnioses were busy packing up their home—and Ms. Smyrnios was about to leave for a business trip—when Ms. Wilson called to tell them about a house she thought was ideal for them.

 

The Wilsons gave the couple a 45-minute tour of the property using Apple’s video-calling service FaceTime. They held up an iPhone and narrated as the Smyrnioses directed them to parts of the house they wanted to examine further. Ms. Wilson also rode on the back of a motorbike, with Mr. Wilson driving, and FaceTimed the neighborhood for Ms. Smyrnios. The Smyrnioses researched crime statistics and other quality-of-life issues on Areavibes.com. Ms. Smyrnios’s mother also came to look at the house—a visit the couple also observed via FaceTime—and gave her thumbs-up.

 

When they first arrived, “I liked it even more in person,” said Ms. Smyrnios, a 49-year old executive for a consulting firm.

 

Last summer, Laurie McNally signed a contract to buy a weekend house close to the beach in East Hampton, N.Y., paying $870,000. Not only had Ms. McNally not seen the house, but when her real-estate agents, Chris Chapin and Raymond Lord of Douglas Elliman, called to tell her about it, she was at a mind-and-body health retreat in San Diego and lacked access to a computer. Phone use was limited to a few hours each night.

 

“They sent a couple of pictures and a description,” which she looked at on her cellphone, said Ms. McNally, a finance executive who lives in Ardmore, Pa. Advised she needed to move quickly, “I went on trust,” Ms. McNally said.

 

She put down a 10% deposit, customary in New York state real-estate transactions when she signed the contract. Had she decided she didn’t like the property upon seeing it, “she could not have backed out without losing her deposit,” said Mr. Lord.

 

“Sight unseen” offers on family homes are on the rise, according to Redfin, a national real-estate brokerage. In a survey of 1,334 recent home buyers in 11 major metropolitan markets, 33% said they had made an offer on at least one house “sight unseen.” In previous surveys, Redfin found that about 20% of buyers said they had bid on houses they had never seen.

 

Agents say blind bids are more common in hot markets where homes sell quickly, as well as in places that are popular with overseas buyers.

 

Sotheby’s International Realty adopted 3-D photography in September, and now about 10% of its listings include 3-D photo tours. About 5% of the company’s 880 offices world-wide currently have virtual-reality viewing areas, where clients can view 3-D property pictures on a screen or while wearing VR headsets. In five years, the company should have such viewing areas in every office, said John Passerini, global vice president of interactive marketing for Sotheby’s .

 

VirtualAPT, a Brooklyn-based technology company that launched last year, invented a robot that films virtual tours in 3-D. The robot records a real-estate agent guiding a tour of a property, as though showing it to a live person, and produces a video within 15 minutes, said chief executive Bryan Colin.

 

Both Mr. Passerini and Mr. Colin said the goal of such tours is to facilitate sales of real estate to people who cannot travel to see properties and to minimize time spent on a search.

 

Today, 3-D tours are more commonly seen on high-end listings that have larger marketing budgets; Mr. Colin’s tours cost $1 per square foot, so a 3,000-square-foot home would cost the real-estate agent $3,000. Although viewing 3-D tours while wearing a virtual reality headset best imitates the live experience, consumers resist putting on VR headsets, even when they are provided free, real-estate executives say. Any extra technical steps are turnoffs to consumers. VirtualAPT tours require just clicking on a link, because Mr. Colin said wealthy real-estate buyers dislike downloading apps.

 

While Matthew Knouff was vacationing in Italy, his real-estate agent called to tell him about an apartment in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood that met all his criteria: It was a one-bedroom with a view, in a building with a pool and a screening room. While soaking in a pool on the Amalfi Coast, Mr. Knouff, a 37-year-old data-privacy consultant, toured the property on FaceTime with his agent, Dex Lipovic of CORE.

 

Upon hanging up, Mr. Lipovic shot video with his iPhone and a DJI Osmo attachment, a video stabilizer that keeps the phone steady for a better-quality video. Mr. Knouff went into contract for $1.125 million without ever having visited the apartment.

 

Last year, while Mr. Knouff was in London for work, Mr. Lipovic provided a FaceTime tour of a house in Bronxville, a community just north of Manhattan. Mr. Knouff bought the property for $1.175 million and is currently renovating it as he decides whether to move in or resell.

 

Mr. Knouff thinks there’s a benefit to remaining a step removed, explaining that on a brief visit to a property, a bad mood, an anomalous smell or noise or some other unimportant detail could make him dismiss a property with potential. “My bias could impact me in a negative way,” said Mr. Knouff. Sight unseen “for me is the easiest way to purchase,” he said.

Veronica Mainetti on VOC’s, Climate Change, and Exchanging Vows In The Trees

Stone Fox BrideJune 23, 2017

Who: Mama, Entrepreneur, Environmentalist

 

Why She’s Foxy: She’s President of Sorgente Group of America, a photography aficionado and 5th generation Italian entrepreneur who believes that sustainable methods of building development is a crucial step toward saving the planet.  

 

 On Her History: “I was born and raised in Rome. When I was growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She ended up becoming my heroine and my model in life. She was actually the one that encouraged my photography. The first picture I ever took was from a box we restored together. I still have it. Immortalizing a moment was very cool. Photography was always sort of a hobby. I actually studied interior design and came to New York to get a Masters in architectural design. That was around the time our investors wanted to learn more about the New York City real estate world, so I never finished. There’s this vortex that hides within the city that has this intoxicating energy.”

 

On Sustainable Development: “This is the time to start marching on streets for things like climate change awareness. It’s happening much faster than people think.  What’s scary is that scientists don’t even have the means to monitor the phenomenons that are happening on a daily basis. Seventy percent of carbon emission in the city comes from buildings, so sustainable development is truly key. Choosing local materials is best. It is the Italian way.” 

 

On Climate Change + VOC: “I have epilepsy. So I cannot be around anything that is chemical. My seizures are effectory seizures. If I was to clean a table with Windex I could eventually have a seizure. They’re mainly morphic seizures which means that when I’m about to fall asleep I get them. So I’ve always been sensitive to this. My goal in development is to achieve a VOC free environment. VOC means Volatile Organic Compound. It’s very hard to achieve because you can have VOC on lockers, behind walls or underneath pavement or wooden floors. They’re everywhere. So it was a really big challenge. It is insane that sometimes in January the weather is seventy degrees, yet people on the street are happy. But I am freaked out. Climate change is happening much faster than people think.”

 

On Marriage + Motherhood: “My wife and I met through a mutual friend. We were married six months after in Oahu. It was just us and a minister, and a lot of trees as witnesses. In nature. That’s really how we wanted it. Motherhood was a hormonal thing for me. I just needed to have a kid. It took my wife a little bit longer, but as soon the first time she heard the heartbeat she just melted. She’s really such an incredible mother. It amazes me everyday. I get goosebumps. I’m still trying to find the balance between work and family.”

 

Fave Love Movie: “‘In The Mood For Love’, by far. The music is daunting. The actress, Maggie Cheung is just so elegant.”

 

Fave Love Song: “'Avrai' by Claudio Baglioni.”

 

Fantasy Wedding: “Is it crazy to say Jane Goodall’s wedding in Africa?”

 

Buying A Home Sight Unseen Is Easier Than Ever—and More Common

The Wall Street JournalJune 22, 2017

The first time Angelo Smyrnios pulled up in front of a Mediterranean-style home with a red-tiled roof and palm trees in Lighthouse Point, Fla., he got out of the car and said, “OK, let’s go see the $1.65 million house I just bought sight unseen.”

 

It takes a confident buyer—and a trusted real-estate agent—to purchase property without a first-hand visit. Would-be buyers can always peruse listing photos and videos online, and Google Earth offers views of the neighborhood. But to avert some of the surprises of a long-distance listing, agents are increasingly walking clients through properties via FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp, or even making custom videos. Real-estate brokerages and a crop of new technology companies are creating three-dimensional photographic and video tours, which can be viewed in virtual reality.

 

Mr. Smyrnios and his wife, Lisette, began searching for a home in Lighthouse Point at the beginning of the year, after deciding to relocate from Littleton, Colo., to be closer to Ms. Smyrnios’ mother. They visited the area three times, viewing property with their agents, Lisa and John Wilson of Douglas Elliman Boca Raton. In April, the Smyrnioses were busy packing up their home—and Ms. Smyrnios was about to leave for a business trip—when Ms. Wilson called to tell them about a house she thought was ideal for them.

 

The Wilsons gave the couple a 45-minute tour of the property using Apple’s video-calling service FaceTime. They held up an iPhone and narrated as the Smyrnioses directed them to parts of the house they wanted to examine further. Ms. Wilson also rode on the back of a motorbike, with Mr. Wilson driving, and FaceTimed the neighborhood for Ms. Smyrnios. The Smyrnioses researched crime statistics and other quality-of-life issues on Areavibes.com. Ms. Smyrnios’s mother also came to look at the house—a visit the couple also observed via FaceTime—and gave her thumbs-up.

 

When they first arrived, “I liked it even more in person,” said Ms. Smyrnios, a 49-year old executive for a consulting firm.

 

Last summer, Laurie McNally signed a contract to buy a weekend house close to the beach in East Hampton, N.Y., paying $870,000. Not only had Ms. McNally not seen the house, but when her real-estate agents, Chris Chapin and Raymond Lord of Douglas Elliman, called to tell her about it, she was at a mind-and-body health retreat in San Diego and lacked access to a computer. Phone use was limited to a few hours each night.

 

“They sent a couple of pictures and a description,” which she looked at on her cellphone, said Ms. McNally, a finance executive who lives in Ardmore, Pa. Advised she needed to move quickly, “I went on trust,” Ms. McNally said.

 

She put down a 10% deposit, customary in New York state real-estate transactions when she signed the contract. Had she decided she didn’t like the property upon seeing it, “she could not have backed out without losing her deposit,” said Mr. Lord.

 

“Sight unseen” offers on family homes are on the rise, according to Redfin, a national real-estate brokerage. In a survey of 1,334 recent home buyers in 11 major metropolitan markets, 33% said they had made an offer on at least one house “sight unseen.” In previous surveys, Redfin found that about 20% of buyers said they had bid on houses they had never seen.

 

Agents say blind bids are more common in hot markets where homes sell quickly, as well as in places that are popular with overseas buyers.

 

Sotheby’s International Realty adopted 3-D photography in September, and now about 10% of its listings include 3-D photo tours. About 5% of the company’s 880 offices world-wide currently have virtual-reality viewing areas, where clients can view 3-D property pictures on a screen or while wearing VR headsets. In five years, the company should have such viewing areas in every office, said John Passerini, global vice president of interactive marketing for Sotheby’s .

 

VirtualAPT, a Brooklyn-based technology company that launched last year, invented a robot that films virtual tours in 3-D. The robot records a real-estate agent guiding a tour of a property, as though showing it to a live person, and produces a video within 15 minutes, said chief executive Bryan Colin.

 

Both Mr. Passerini and Mr. Colin said the goal of such tours is to facilitate sales of real estate to people who cannot travel to see properties and to minimize time spent on a search.

 

Today, 3-D tours are more commonly seen on high-end listings that have larger marketing budgets; Mr. Colin’s tours cost $1 per square foot, so a 3,000-square-foot home would cost the real-estate agent $3,000. Although viewing 3-D tours while wearing a virtual reality headset best imitates the live experience, consumers resist putting on VR headsets, even when they are provided free, real-estate executives say. Any extra technical steps are turnoffs to consumers. VirtualAPT tours require just clicking on a link, because Mr. Colin said wealthy real-estate buyers dislike downloading apps.

 

While Matthew Knouff was vacationing in Italy, his real-estate agent called to tell him about an apartment in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood that met all his criteria: It was a one-bedroom with a view, in a building with a pool and a screening room. While soaking in a pool on the Amalfi Coast, Mr. Knouff, a 37-year-old data-privacy consultant, toured the property on FaceTime with his agent, Dex Lipovic of CORE.

 

Upon hanging up, Mr. Lipovic shot video with his iPhone and a DJI Osmo attachment, a video stabilizer that keeps the phone steady for a better-quality video. Mr. Knouff went into contract for $1.125 million without ever having visited the apartment.

 

Last year, while Mr. Knouff was in London for work, Mr. Lipovic provided a FaceTime tour of a house in Bronxville, a community just north of Manhattan. Mr. Knouff bought the property for $1.175 million and is currently renovating it as he decides whether to move in or resell.

 

Mr. Knouff thinks there’s a benefit to remaining a step removed, explaining that on a brief visit to a property, a bad mood, an anomalous smell or noise or some other unimportant detail could make him dismiss a property with potential. “My bias could impact me in a negative way,” said Mr. Knouff. Sight unseen “for me is the easiest way to purchase,” he said.

 

An Old Convent Turned Luxury Home

NBC New YorkJune 18, 2017

We're on historic Prince Street in Nolita to view a home with ties to old New York. Built in the 1820s, the structure was originally the school and convent of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral. It has now been beautifully reimagined as a luxurious townhouse filled with every conceivable amenity.

 

Click here to view the full segment: An Old Convent Turned Luxury Home

 

Elegant Upper East Side co-op in a prewar building wants $645K

CurbedJune 16, 2017

Located on the seventh floor of a nine-story prewar building at the intersection of East 73rd Street and Lexington Avenue is this charming one-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op that’s asking $645,000.

 

The apartment opens up into a tiny foyer that overlooks the kitchen. The latter comes fitted with stone countertops and backsplash, stainless steel appliances, tons of cabinets, a four-burner gas stove, and perhaps most importantly, a dishwasher.

 

The co-op’s living/dining area (currently devoid of a dining table), is just beyond the kitchen, and has the apartment’s most charming feature: the built-in shelves on either sides of the decorative fireplace.

 

The bedroom is pretty spacious considering the size of the rest of the apartment and can fit a king-sized bed, according to the brokerbabble. The apartment’s only bathroom is tiny, and located next to the bathroom, but at least it comes with a window.

 

Overall this apartment features nine-foot-tall ceilings, crown molding, and is part of an elevator building that comes with washers and dryers in the basement.

6 questions to ask before you sublet your NYC rental

Brick UndergroundJune 15, 2017

Even if you're not going the legally-dicey Airbnb route, once summer rolls around, a lot of New Yorkers' thoughts turn to getting out of the city—which in many cases, means finding a subletter for their apartment. But whether you're simply looking to fill your apartment for the season or want to find someone to take over for the remainder of your lease, to stay in good stead with your landlord and make sure you're legally covered, you'll want to do some due diligence before ushering a virtual stranger in your apartment.

 

(And of course, in this case we're referring to legal, long-term sublets of 30 days or more, as rentals of any period shorter than that are illegal in NYC.)

 

Below, seven questions to research before you attempt to play landlord your New York City rental:

 

Do I have permission to sublet?

Believe it or not, if you're in a standard market-rate rental building with more than four units and the apartment is still your primary residence, you're legally entitled to sublet your apartment for up to two years, even if there's a provision in your lease stating otherwise. "In a market rate apartment, you are allowed to sublet regardless of what a lease, rider, or specific landlord or building may tell you," says Halstead's Senad Ahmetovic. "As long as you ask permission, and the subtenant you're presenting is qualified, has a job and appropriate income, and is otherwise considered a suitable tenant." (In a rent-controlled apartment, however, sublets are a no-go, and while you can potentially usblet a rent-stabilized unit, there are restrictions on the process—more details here.)

 

Indeed, the Metropolitan Council on Housing has a full guide to your right to sublet, the proper protocol for seeking a landlord's permission, and what constitutes reasonable grounds for your landlord to reject a potential subletter. (Valid reasons include failure to follow proper procedures on your end, or a proposed subletter with insufficient income, a history of eviction, or poor credit.)

 

It's a good idea to check in with your management first about any particular procedures—and whether or not they charge a fee for subletting—says CORE agent Steve Snider. From there, once you have a proposed subletter lined up, you must submit a formal request to sublet (the Met Council has a full guide) with information including the reason for the sublease, the proposed term of the lease, and the consent of any co-tenant or guarantor in the apartment.

 

Will the landlord raise the price?

While it's illegal to sublet your apartment for more than your rent—in other words, to turn a profit on your sublet—it's possible that your landlord may take the sublet as an opportunity to raise the rent. They may also want to insist on a subletter signing a new one-year lease—rather than a shorter lease for the remainder of your current agreement—an important detail you'll want to know before you go out in search of a tenant.

 

"You don't know until you ask the management company," says Snider. "Either they'll let someone take over for the remaining months of your lease, or they'll make them sign a new one year lease." This is particularly likely if you've been in your apartment for several years and have a rent that's well below market rate.

 

"My experience is that if the tenant sublets for five months, the landlord will probably keep the rent the same, but for a new one year lease, many times, they'll increase the rent," says Snider. So you don't end up blindsiding a prospective tenant with a much-higher-than-expected monthly rent, go to your landlord and find this out ahead of time.

 

Should I offer the apartment furnished, or unfurnished?

The answer to this question will depend in part on personal preference (and whether you're willing to take on the hassle and expense of moving your furniture), as well as the length of your potential sublet. "If the term of the sublet is three months, then having it furnished will help," says Snider. Or sometimes, he says, if the person is subletting because they're moving out before their lease is up and need someone to cover the rest of the time, "they might offer to rent it furnished, and negotiate with the subletter, who may say, 'I don't want the bed but I'll take the rest.'" In other words, if you're flexible about your furnishings, they can become part of the bargaining process, which can be an extra ace in your back pocket in an increasingly competitive rental market.

If you do sublet furnished, says Ahmetovic, you could feasibly be entitled to charge around 10 percent more than you would otherwise, but again, this is something to run by your landlord before confirming.

 

What should the written agreement look like?

As with all things involving real estate and large chunks of cash, whatever arrangement you decide upon, you'll want it carefully outlined in writing. "[There needs to be] a separate sublease agreement, which all parties sign, and that specifies the duration of the sublet, the terms of the deal, and other details such as whether it will be provided furnished," says Ahmetovic.

Luckily, you don't have to go this alone. There are plenty of samples online—a free option is available for download here—and it's possible your landlord already has access to a document that will work perfectly well. "The Real Estate Board of New York has a sublease agreement that we generally use, or use that as the outline and then add on specific clauses as needed," says Ahmetovic. Unfortunately, these forms are only available to REBNY members, so you'll need to go through your landlord (or if applicable, the broker you're using to find a tenant) to gain access. Either way, be sure to get a formal agreement down on paper and signed by yourself, the landlord, and your subletter.

 

Do I need to change my insurance? And does my subletter have coverage of their own?

Subletting your rental does, indeed, affect your insurance situation, and in order to be covered, you'll most likely need to shell out some extra cash. You'll also want to make sure that your subtenant is covered by their own renter's insurance policy, says Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage (a Brick sponsor).

 

As for your coverage, most standard policies will be voided if you sublet your apartment, but you can pay to add "landlord" liability coverage, which can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 annually, says Schneider, depending on whether the apartment is still your primary residence. Expensive, yes, but not as expensive as on-site damage or injury would be if you don't have solid insurance coverage in place.

 

Do I have any accounts I should cancel before moving out?

One last thing to keep in mind before you sign over your apartment: Until you fully transfer the lease (and related accounts) over to someone else, you'll still be responsible for utilities, including electric, gas, and cable. This is an important heads up in terms of tracking your bills, yes, but also, an important thing to keep an eye on if you're worried a subletter might run up your bills.

 

"I had clients who went on a nine-month trip and sublet their apartment, and over the course of that time, their subletters ordered all kinds of movies and shows on-demand, to the tune of a couple hundred dollars a month," says Snider. All of which was being charged to his clients' credit card, which was still connected to the account.

While you likely can't stop someone from running up high electric bills with their air conditioning, you could potentially write a clause into your lease adding a surcharge for out-of-the-ordinary electric bills.

 

And as far as extra such as cable, says Snider, "It's like what you do with kids—you can call the cable company and tell them ahead of time not to approve any new orders for upgrades or on demand services." Additionally, he says, if you have a smart TV that's connected to accounts such as Netflix, Hulu, or more notably, Amazon Prime, it's a good idea to log out or disconnect before handing over the keys—and the remote.

 

Condo Pick of the Week: A Tribeca loft with sweeping views from every room

Brick UndergroundJune 15, 2017

This four-bedroom, 3.5-bath apartment spans over 3,000 feet in Tribeca's Sky Lofts, a property that has previously attracted attention from the likes of Carmelo Anthony for its elegant condos. Converted from a prewar industrial building, today the units here feature high ceilings, large windows, and expansive views of downtown. This one is no exception, and is also tricked out with high-end fixtures and finishes; it's listed by CORE for $9.695 million. 

 

A foyer opens onto the living space, which has enough square footage to throw some impressive parties, as well as 11-foot ceilings and massive casement windows bringing in lots of light. There's ample room for a separate, sunny dining area, and the open kitchen includes a breakfast bar, six-burner range, tasteful white tile backsplash, and separate pantry for extra storage. 

 

The master bedroom's corner position guarantees that it will be bright, and there are electronic shades you can lower when you want to sleep in. You'll also find a walk-in closet, and a roomy, pristine-looking en suite bath with double sinks, a walk-in shower, and separate tub. 

 

There are two more bedrooms adjacent to the master, each with their own closets and en suite baths. A fourth bedroom, off the living room, is currently configured as a study, with access to a half-bath off the kitchen.

 

There's also a washer and dryer in the apartment, and the building offers full-time doorman service and access to a shared roof deck. Plus, the location means you're mere blocks away from pretty much every subway line you could need.

Kelsey Grammer sold his condo at Jean Nouvel's West Chelsea building

CurbedJune 09, 2017

Frasier has left the building—well, almost. The erstwhile Frasier Crane, Kelsey Grammer, found a buyer for his condo 100 Eleventh Avenue, the Jean Nouvel-designed glass tower on Manhattan’s west side. According to the Wall Street Journal, the apartment entered contract at $8.95 million—a drop from the original $9.75 million asking price—but is expected to close for “just below $8 million,” according to Grammer’s broker, Emily Beare.

  

Grammer snagged the condo for $6.4 million in 2010 after a stint in a rental at Robert A.M. Stern’s 15 Central Park West. Though Nouvel’s building has been plagued with problems since its 2009 debut—allegations of shoddy construction and wind problems; bickering between developer and architect—Grammer seemed happy enough, keeping his four-bedroom apartment for six years until listing it last July. (His reason? His growing family needed more space.)

 

Whoever the buyer is, they’ll get plenty of perks (assuming they don’t mind the building’s, uh, issues): It comes with “nearly 100 feet of Hudson River frontage,” for one thing, along with a gas-burning fireplace, a (let’s be real, kind of oddly shaped) master bedroom with walk-in closet and en-suite bathroom, and more.

 

There’s also a huge chef’s kitchen, presumably equipped with all the appliances one would need to make tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

 

After a Price Cut, Kelsey Grammer Sells His New York Condominium

ForbesJune 09, 2017

Actor Kelsey Grammer has agreed to sell his Manhattan condo. The apartment, in the Chelsea district, was listed at $8.95 million. A sales price could not be determined but Grammer lowered the price from $9.75 million just two months ago.

 

The three bedroom home sits inside a tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Jean Nouvel, according to listing agents Emily Beare and Daniel Amell of CORE. The home measures about 3,076-square-foot with views of the Hudson River and New York skyline, the listings says.

 

Grammer, 51, is best known for his two-decade-long portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on the NBC sitcoms Cheers and Frasier. He has won five Primetime Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and one Tony Award. He also worked as a television producer, director, writer, and as a voice actor on The Simpsons as Sideshow Bob where he received his fifth Primetime Emmy.

Kelsey Grammer In Contract to Sell New York Condo

The Wall Street JournalJune 09, 2017

Actor Kelsey Grammer is under contract to sell his condo In New York’s Chelsea neighborhood almost a year after it went on the market for $9.75 million.

 

The 3,076-square-foot, three bedroom apartment, located near the top of a 23-story glass tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Jean Nouvel, had been reduced to $8.95 million in March and will close for “just below $8 million,” said listing agent Emily Beare with CORE. She shared the listing with Daniel Amell at the same brokerage.

 

Kelsey Grammer’s Chelsea condo in contract for nearly $8M

6SQFTJune 09, 2017

Nearly a year after first hitting the market for $9.75 million, Kelsey Grammer’s condo at Jean Nouvel‘s glassy 100 Eleventh Avenue in west Chelsea has gone into contract, reports the Wall Street Journal. But despite the fact that that the listing showcased his piano from the set of “Frasier” and the impressive 100 feet of massive windows providing Hudson River and skyline views, the selling price came in at just under $8 million (the price was reduced to $8.95 million in March).

 

The three-bedroom residence has 11-foot ceilings, terrazzo floors, motorized shades, and a Crestron home automation system. The living room is ready for entertaining with a wet bar/wine fridge, mini fridge, and sink surrounded by Caesarstone quartz counters.

 

The dining room has a gas-burning fireplace and cozy seating area; for more eat-in space, the kitchen comes with a five-seat island.

  

The three bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms.

 

Building amenities include 24/7 concierge services, a garden, screening room, 70-foot indoor/outdoor lap pool, sauna and steam rooms, and a fitness center.

 

As 6sqft previously explained, Grammer bought the condo for $6.4 million in 2010, moving from fellow starchitect Robert A.M. Stern’s 15 Central Park West while in the middle of a very public divorce from third wife Camille. He allegedly tried to keep the purchasing secret since he was buying it for himself and then-mistress Kayte Walsh. The couple eventually wed, had three children, and decided to sell the apartment because they’ve “outgrown it.” The listing agents told the Journal that the buyers are ” local family who viewed the property early on, a total of seven times.”

 

Kelsey Grammer finally in contract to sell Chelsea apartment

LLNYCJune 09, 2017

Actor Kelsey Grammer — best known for playing the lovable curmudgeon Frasier Crane — has just offloaded his condominium at 100 Eleventh Avenue for a tad under $8 million, the Wall Street Journal reports. His father’s ugly chair is not included in the sale.

 

Grammer listed the apartment almost a year ago with Emily Beare and Daniel Amell of Core for $9.75 million, and the price dropped until its last asking price of $8.95 million. According to reps for Grammer, he decided to sell the unit because he “had outgrown it.”

 

Pritzker Prize-winner Jean Nouvel designed the building at 100 Eleventh Avenue, which offers a 70-foot indoor/outdoor lap pool, a fitness center, garden and sauna and steam rooms. Grammer’s 3,076-square-foot unit has three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, 11-foot ceilings, a Crestron home automation system and — best of all — unbelievable views of the Hudson River. Grammer paid $6.4 million for the unit in 2010 under the LLC Hudson Nh.

Actor Kelsey Grammer In Contract to Sell New York Condo

The Wall Street JournalJune 08, 2017

Actor Kelsey Grammer is under contract to sell his condo In New York’s Chelsea neighborhood almost a year after it went on the market for $9.75 million.

 

The 3,076-square-foot, three bedroom apartment, located near the top of a 23-story glass tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Jean Nouvel, had been reduced to $8.95 million in March and will close for “just below $8 million,” said listing agent Emily Beare with CORE. She shared the listing with Daniel Amell at the same brokerage.

 

 “It takes forever and ever to get a deal done” in this price range, Ms. Beare said. When the listing first came on there were fewer options, but many pricey new units have cropped up since, she said, softening the market.

 

Mr. Grammer bought the unit for $6.4 million in 2010 through a limited-liability company, records show. His publicist, Stan Rosenfield, confirmed that Mr. Grammer owned the apartment, and was selling because his family “had outgrown it.” Mr. Grammer, 62, has seven children; he is best known for his roles on the television shows “Cheers” and “Frasier,” and will star in the Amazon series “The Last Tycoon.”

 

The apartment will sell unfurnished, but was shown with the owner’s personal belongings. Curious buyers might have connected the dots, Ms. Beare said—Mr. Grammer’s piano, from the set of the sitcom “Frasier,” was prominently displayed. Etched inside are autographs from all the cast members, she said.

 

That didn’t influence the buyers’ decision, said agent Leslie Lalehzar with Sotheby’s International Realty, who said her clients were more interested in the views. The apartment has about 100 linear feet of glass overlooking the Hudson River and the city skyline. There is a combined living, dining and kitchen area and 3½ bathrooms.

 

The agents would not identify the buyers. Ms. Lalehzar said they are a local family who viewed the property early on, a total of seven times.

 

Actor Kelsey Grammer In Contract to Sell New York Condo

Mansion GlobalJune 08, 2017

Actor Kelsey Grammer is under contract to sell his condo In New York’s Chelsea neighborhood almost a year after it went on the market for $9.75 million.

 

The 3,076-square-foot, three bedroom apartment, located near the top of a 23-story glass tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Jean Nouvel, had been reduced to $8.95 million in March and will close for “just below $8 million,” said listing agent Emily Beare with CORE. She shared the listing with Daniel Amell at the same brokerage.

 

“It takes forever and ever to get a deal done” in this price range, Ms. Beare said. When the listing first came on there were fewer options, but many pricey new units have cropped up since, she said, softening the market.

 

Mr. Grammer bought the unit for $6.4 million in 2010 through a limited-liability company, records show. His publicist, Stan Rosenfield, confirmed that Mr. Grammer owned the apartment, and was selling because his family “had outgrown it.” Mr. Grammer, 62, has seven children; he is best known for his roles on the television shows “Cheers” and “Frasier,” and will star in the Amazon series “The Last Tycoon.

 

The apartment will sell unfurnished, but was shown with the owner’s personal belongings. Curious buyers might have connected the dots, Ms. Beare said—Mr. Grammer’s piano, from the set of the sitcom “Frasier,” was prominently displayed. Etched inside are autographs from all the cast members, she said.

 

That didn’t influence the buyers’ decision, said agent Leslie Lalehzar with Sotheby’s International Realty, who said her clients were more interested in the views. The apartment has about 100 linear feet of glass overlooking the Hudson River and the city skyline. There is a combined living, dining and kitchen area and 3½ bathrooms.

 

The agents would not identify the buyers. Ms. Lalehzar said they are a local family who viewed the property early on, a total of seven times.

 

A Blueprint for Seduction

DuJour MagazineJune 08, 2017

42 CROSBY STREET

 

Annabelle Selldorf’s residential project made headlines for its million-dollar parking spots, which allow drivers to roll right up to an elevator that transports the car to the garage. The architect celebrates quintessential SoHo style with open-space units—only three of which are still on the market—starting at $8.4 million.

Doron talks to The Real Deal

The Real DealJune 06, 2017

For the cover story of our June issue, The Real Deal published its annual top residential agent ranking, though it looked a little different this year. That’s because rather than ordering agents based on the dollar volume of their listings, TRD’s research team created a brand new methodology to evaluate brokers based on what they actually sold.

 

How do our top-ranked agents feel about agent rankings? And do they ever get apartment envy over their own listings? To get to know the city’s top brokers a little better, TRD brought them into our studio for a pow-wow on what makes them tick.

 

Click here to read the full article: A conversation with the agents on The Real Deal's new ranking

Seven apartments with the most over-the-top outdoor spaces in the US

AOL FinanceJune 06, 2017

The last thing you probably want to do in the summer — no matter just how hot and humid it may be — is sit inside.

 

But when you're living in an urban setting or a big city, finding adequate space to enjoy the outdoors in privacy can prove to be rather difficult.

 

It's no surprise that potential homeowners looking to buy in the summer months prioritize adequate outdoor space — and for some willing to shell out the big bucks, the outdoor spaces can be even more extravagant and breathtaking than the indoor space itself.

 

Click here to read the full article: 7 over-the-top private outdoor spaces

 

From the unassuming streets of SoHo in Manhattan to beachside dreamscapes in Miami, these apartments are serving serious views and room for play that might just make you never want to go back inside — until the snow comes, that is!

 

So whether you're dreaming of all-day barbecues, nighttime cocktail parties or just good old fashioned sunbathing, there's no denying that you a private outdoor oasis is the one luxury that might just be worth splurging for.

Boutique Condos Rise at Site of Former Polish Bakery Overlooking McCarren Park

BrownstonerJune 06, 2017

The site of a former Polish bakery at 585 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint has given way to construction on a mixed-use condo development designed by two noteworthy architects, and significant progress has been made on the building’s two six-story towers.

 

The building has topped out at its full height of six stories, and windows are going in on both ends. Balconies are taking shape on the rear portion, while the facade of the part facing Manhattan Avenue is shrouded in scaffolding.

 

The building, when complete, will consist of 14 condo units across the two towers. The design is modern and angular, with a strict black-and-white color scheme. Bold strokes of black outline the windows and the balconies; massing and surface patterns vary subtly across the two ends of the building.

 

The two towers are connected by an underground parking garage and, at ground level, by a landscaped courtyard. The units will be two- and three-bedrooms. With an average of 1,793 square feet per unit, according to DOB permits, they are likely to be large and luxurious.

 

There will be four floor throughs and a top-story duplex in the west tower; the other tower will have two apartments per floor as well as a top-floor floor-through, the Schedule A shows.

 

There will also be 11 subterranean parking spaces, 22 bike storage spots, a rec room, 14 storage units, one cabana unit, and a roof terrace. Additionally, there will be retail space for one store.

 

The development sits on one lot at 585 Manhattan Avenue that goes all the way through the block to Lorimer Street. The Lorimer Street side of building overlooks McCarren Park.

 

The new two-tower development uses the address 868 Lorimer Street. Next door at 848 Lorimer Street is an unrelated development under construction.

 

In early 2015, the longtime owners of the property, the Swidzinski family, sold it for $4.7 million, as we reported at the time.

 

The buyer was listed as 868 Lorimer Project LLC. The property was previously home to the New Warsaw Bakery Company.

 

New building applications show Chatham Development Company as the developer on the project. The architect of record is Stephen B. Jacobs Group. Chatham Development Company has a number of developments on Long Island, and Stephen B. Jacobs Group is behind a few Brooklyn projects, including Williamsburg’s The Edge, one of the first and most recognizable skyscrapers to appear on the Williamsburg waterfront after the 2005 rezoning.

 

Interiors will be designed by Ole Sondresen, a Brooklyn-based architect whose projects have included the redevelopment of the nearby Pencil Factory for Kickstarter, Williamsburg’s Bird boutique, and several houses and popular restaurants in Ditmas Park.

 

The building’s construction is a sign of a changing Greenpoint. The neighborhood, long a Polish enclave, has seen significant development in recent years following a 2005 waterfront rezoning.

 

A number of mainstays like the bakery have closed or been demolished for new developments. The surrounding blocks are busy with construction.

 

Most new construction in Brooklyn is rentals, but this building appears be one of several small condo buildings with better-than-average design rising in Greenpoint. On the waterfront at 160, 170 and 174 West Street, for example, are two condo complexes of 14 and 15 units, including one designed by Studio C with three-bedroom floor-throughs, Curbed recently noted.

 

Also rising on the waterfront is the sprawling Greenpoint Landing. It will bring 10 large buildings, some of them condos, and thousands of new residents to the area.

15 Renwick, ODA's Residential Enclave in NYC

designboomJune 04, 2017

In a landscape of residential towers being built up in New York, ’15 Renwick’ is a single-block residential enclave by ODA aiming to offer a more bespoke approach in its design in contrast to the hyper-engineered ‘crystal tower’.

 

Located in the quiet corner between Spring and Canal Street, 15 Renwick offers customized details and ample outdoor space creating a suburban sanctuary away from the surrounding bustle. Inside, ODA‘s furnishings are a nod to James Renwick himself—the English-American scientist and engineer for whom Renwick Street was named—interior common spaces channel the warmth and intimacy of an early British social club. Rich wood panels (mimicking the building’s exterior fins), lush leather appointments, and marble details invoke a classic and timeless aesthetic.

 

On the exterior, the façade features a grid of deep, charcoal-hued aluminum fins produce shadow lines to shield units from street view, amplifying privacy. details including wood-grained window inserts—for depth of color—and a series of ground-floor copper panels instill a character of private suburban home than any typical urban condominium. The architects reinterpreted the standard dormer rule which governs the amount of square footage that can encroach into a building’s setback line. In turn, the buildings upper massing was redistributed to form large geometric pockets for private terraces. The use of glass windows and doors to demarcate terracing creates seamless indoor-outdoor areas for sun exposure and relaxation.

 

The interior is rooted in ideals of the past—a fitting tribute to one of Manhattan's last quiet corners.

When Mom Picks Out Your Apartment for You

The New York TimesJune 02, 2017

Shopping for an apartment can be a real drag. Who really wants to slog through endless open houses, face off in bidding wars or contend with a co-op board? Wouldn’t it be easier if someone else could do it for you, like, say, your mother?

 

A parent who is footing some — or all — of the bill might worry that an inexperienced millennial will make an unwise investment without a guiding hand. In a tight housing market, decisions need to be made fast and co-op board applications can be complicated. Who better to streamline the process than Mom and Dad, who have been down this road before?

 

Many parenting experts and psychologists recoil at the idea of parents usurping this rite of passage in the name of expediency. But parents and their real estate brokers insist that many young people today don’t have the time or experience to single-handedly find and purchase an apartment in such a high-stakes real estate market. They appreciate all the help they can get.

 

“Parents are very involved in their children’s lives,” said Adie Kriegstein, a saleswoman for CORE real estate with clients who have hunted and haggled on behalf of their offspring. “So of course they think they know what the child needs.”

 

Sherry and Joseph Karas, who divide their time between a one-bedroom apartment in Gramercy and a home in Bernardsville, N.J., picked out and paid for apartments for their daughter and son, both of whom had been paying high rent for small spaces in Manhattan. In 2014, the couple selected a studio in Gramercy for their daughter, who was then 25.

 

Two years later, when their son was 26, they found him an alcove studio in Greenwich Village. In both cases, Ms. Karas did most of the apartment hunting, scouring listings, visiting properties and sending photos of the apartments to her children.

 

“It’s almost like I tell them, ‘I know what I’m doing, get out of my way,’” said Ms. Karas, 62, an interior designer. (Mr. Karas, 61, is a financial adviser.)

 

On two occasions, Mr. and Ms. Karas made offers on apartments that their daughter never saw, even though she lived and worked in New York City. They lost both those apartments in bidding wars. The studio they ultimately bought needed work, but it was in an elevator building, a feature the Karases wanted. “To this day, she won’t say it’s the most fabulous place she’s ever had,” Ms. Karas said of her daughter, who works in sales.

 

When the Karases bought their son’s apartment, Ms. Kriegstein represented them and had very little interaction with their son. Mostly, he existed on email threads. “We’d put together a list, and his only response would be ‘I kind of like these,’” Ms. Kriegstein said. Ms. Karas would visit the apartments and then report back to her son, who works in sales and travels during the week.


“The whole process of buying an apartment in New York City, it’s overwhelming for them,” Ms. Karas said.

 

After learning that their mother had spoken with a reporter, both children declined to be interviewed, requesting that their names be withheld because of agreements with their employers.

 

You have to wonder, is all this parental help actually helpful? The process of buying a first home is not all bad. Ducking out of work to see a listing is inconvenient, but also a bit of an adventure. Maybe you make a rookie mistake — the apartment is too dark or too expensive. But next time around, you know better. When you delegate a life experience to someone else, “you’re less happy, you’re less grown up, and you’ve acquired no skills for the next purchase,” said Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of “How to Raise an Adult.”

 

Ms. Lythcott-Haims argues that an unpleasant experience like flying into town for a weekend to see a dozen apartments or arguing with your landlord about the rent “is not just part of life, it’s what makes a life.”

 

Moving is messy, but years later you remember the night you used a frying pan as a plate because everything else was in boxes after your second move in two months. You also remember the knot you got in your stomach when you finally made an offer on an apartment, and stayed up all night agonizing over the decision.

 

“To leapfrog over the entry-level experiences of life deprives you of something,” said Laurence Steinberg, a psychology professor at Temple University and the author of “Age of Opportunity: Lessons From the New Science of Adolescence.”

 

Dr. Steinberg suspects that parents step in and take charge because of a natural, albeit misguided, urge to protect their children from suffering. “We don’t want our children to experience pain,” he said. But the pain of buying an apartment is hardly unbearable “and maybe there’s something to learn from it.’”

 

Parents have a long history of hovering, and not necessarily to the detriment of their children. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s overbearing mother, Sara, bought and built a townhouse for her son and his young wife, Eleanor, with another one for herself right next door. President Roosevelt turned out pretty well anyway.

 

Very wealthy people often dispatch personal assistants to handle chores like looking for an apartment. Perhaps this is an extension of that — Mom doubles as a concierge, and one with a wealth of knowledge.

 

A parent who is a more experienced shopper “can see the big picture,” said Marsi Gardiner, a saleswoman for Brown Harris Stevens who has worked with many families that shop this way. “Their experience is added value.”

 

Consider Rose Franco, 53, a saleswoman for Town Residential. Her son, J. J. Franco, 25, spends half the year on the road playing minor league baseball for the Chicago White Sox. Last fall and winter, when Mr. Franco was home during the off-season, the two of them looked for a one-bedroom to buy but did not find one.

 

Mr. Franco is now in North Carolina, but that has not stopped the hunt. Ms. Franco says she will make an offer if the perfect apartment comes along while he is away, since such apartments sell fast. Utter the phrase “helicopter parent” and Ms. Franco balks. “I like my children to make their own decisions,” she said. “In this specific case, I’m more hands on because it’s partly my investment, too, and he trusts my judgment.”

 

But when does the help end? Several brokers said that some parents handle apartment renovations, too. Ms. Karas, for example, updated her daughter’s kitchen and added a bedroom wall to her son’s apartment. “Neither child could handle that,” she said. As an interior designer, she had longstanding relationships with contractors and understood how to get permits and approval from a co-op board.

 

Renovating a co-op “is a huge deal,” she said. “I wouldn’t wish it on my children to go through that process. I wouldn’t expect it of them.”

Manhattan’s chief closers

The Real DealJune 01, 2017

It’s been about a decade since The Real Deal began ranking Manhattan’s top residential agents. But this year, the ranking looks a little different.

 

That’s because rather than evaluating agents based on the dollar volume of their listings, this year our beefed-up research team created a methodology to evaluate brokers based on what they actually sold. And in a market where inventory is up and buyers are swimming in choices, particularly on the high end, closing deals is no small feat.

 

While TRD’s methodology has changed, one key thing that hasn’t is that the brokers who worked on new development projects trounced their resale counterparts. But to get a clear sense of which agents dominated in both areas, we compiled two separate rankings. The undertaking was not easy. We sifted through thousands of condo, co-op and townhouse listings and cross-referenced them with sales that hit public records last year.

 

The final rankings — which include only sell-side transactions — are based on deals that closed between January 1 and December 31, 2016, and that the agent had as a listing. Oh, and agents had to have at least $50 million in deal volume to make the cut.

 

As a group, the top 20 agents, regardless of which list they landed on, closed $6.5 billion worth of sell-side deals in 2016. The vast majority of that — a massive $5.6 billion — came from new development sales, according to TRD’s analysis. That was more than six times the $858.7 million worth of resale listings that closed during the same time.

 

Interestingly, brokers are juggling an even higher dollar volume of listings, highlighting how hard it is to close sales in this market (see related story on page 64).

 

Douglas Elliman’s Raphael De Niro closed more than any other broker in 2016. His team — which came in at No. 15 on last year’s “listing” ranking — closed a mammoth $721.4 million in deals overall, including $665.5 million in new development units at buildings like 100 Barclay, 150 Charles and 135 West 52nd.

 

He was followed by Elliman’s Holly Parker (whose team closed $586.5 million in both new development and resale deals); Elliman’s Frederick Eklund- and John Gomes-led team (with $499.2 million); Stribling & Associates’ Alexa Lambert (who closed $460.5 million); Compass’ Leonard Steinberg (with $403.7 million); and Elliman’s Sabrina Saltiel and Lauren Muss (with $390.5 million and $381.7 million, respectively).

 

While all of those agents were carried by their new development business, many of their deals went into contract two or three years ago, before the market began softening. Given the uncertainty today surrounding new developments — which skew toward the shaky luxury market — a number of top agents have since made further efforts to diversify into resales. For example, Saltiel, one of the agents selling Harry Macklowe’s ultraluxe 432 Park Avenue, racked up $266.4 million in new development sales. But she also closed $124.1 million in sell-side resales.

 

“With new development, you can work on something for three or four years and get paid two years later. You’ve got to balance it out,” said Compass’ Steinberg.

 

“I’ve never looked at real estate as a month-by-month or year-by-year thing,” he added. “Those with patience are rewarded handsomely.”

 

An opaque market

 

There’s no denying the sex appeal of the new condos that hit the market this real estate cycle. They have, after all, spawned a coterie of starchitects, celebrity brokers and record-breaking prices.


And agents in the new development space saw their closed deals soar in 2016.

 

Those closings impacted Manhattan sales prices last year, pushing the median price for new condos to $2.96 million, up 44 percent from the prior year, according to real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel. That was even as the median price for resales dropped 6.3 percent to $900,000.


But even De Niro, who leads a team of eight, noted that many of his new development closings stemmed from deals struck in 2014 and 2015 — a delay he said can create a false depiction of the market.

 

“The market can be opaque in some ways. The deals are not recognized until they close,” said the agent, who has a Rolodex of celebrity clients. “It can be difficult for buyers and sellers to get their arms around what’s happening in real time.”

 

De Niro, who shuns the limelight (and rarely mentions his famous dad, though they’re partners in the Greenwich Hotel), said buyers and sellers were in a “stalemate” last year as they adjusted to a more sober, steady market. “Things are looking much better than they were this time a year ago,” he said.

 

On the whole, the new development ranking skewed heavily toward Elliman, where resale agents often team up to sell new development projects.

 

Elliman’s Parker came in at No. 2 with $507.3 million in new development closings. The bulk of her deals came from 10 Madison Square West, the former International Toy Center that Witkoff Group converted into a 16-story luxury condo.

 

She was followed by Stribling’s Lambert, who racked up $440.5 million in new development sales, including deals at the Naftali Group’s 210 West 77th Street, a 25-unit condo designed by Thomas Juul-Hansen.

 

But the next string of agents — Eklund and Gomes, Janice Chang, Muss, Madeline Hult Elghanayan and Darren Sukenik — all came from Elliman.
Sukenik and Elghanayan both saw their deal volume aided by closings at 150 Charles and 10 Madison Square West, while the Eklund-Gomes duo — who in 2015 nabbed the top spot in TRD’s listings-based ranking — reaped the rewards of deals at buildings including 11 North Moore, 215 Sullivan and 5 Beekman.

 

It should be noted, however, that while Elliman had a strong showing in the ranking, the Corcoran Group has a very different business model, funneling nearly all of its new development projects to its sister firm Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. (Corcoran Sunshine is dominant in that space, but it was not included in the ranking once again this year because it focuses exclusively on new development. Still, that firm’s on-site agents inked $5.6 billion in contracts in 2015, the latest year for which sales figures were available.)

 

But Sukenik said Elliman’s strategy of assigning agents to new development buildings has paid off.


“It’s not like they put people’s names in a hat and keep their fingers crossed. There’s a methodology,” he said. “They put brokers who are neighborhood specialists on those particular products, so they’re not just selling the building, but they truly understand the product, the buyer and how to sell it.”

 

Regardless, many top brokers said new development is seeing a price correction.


Elliman’s Muss said while many developers are willing to work with buyers on price, they often need to get their investors and partners on the same page.

 

“I try to convince sellers that sometimes you need to hear what the market is telling you, and if no one is calling or coming, it is due to price,” she said.

 

Fellow Elliman broker Richard Steinberg, who’s on the 432 Park team, said at TRD’s annual Showcase & Forum last month that “anyone that tells you they’re not making concessions, I think, is not being fully transparent.”

 

He said while 432 is not “giving away units,” the marketing team there is negotiating on deals.


Meanwhile, CORE’s Doron Zwickel — who closed $193.1 million in new development listings — said the bulk of his deals were at moderately priced buildings such as the Flynn at 155 West 18th Street and 15 Renwick, which stalled during the financial crisis but launched sales (with a new developer) in 2014. Zwickel said both projects did well with “conservative” prices, around $2,100 per square foot and $2,250 to $2,300 per square foot, respectively.

 

Parker said in today’s market, listings need to be perfect — or to undercut the market. “Buyers want to be blown away,” she said. “It either has to be beautiful — like, ‘You had me at hello’ — or it needs to be an incredible opportunity in price, and a lot of times it needs to be both.”

 

Who rules in resale?

 

On the resale side, Sotheby’s International Realty’s Serena Boardman — a perennial top agent in TRD’s past rankings — showed that she doesn’t only list major properties, she also closes them.


Boardman, who is famously press-shy and declined to comment, led the resale pack with $205.3 million in sell-side deals. She has a stronghold in the well-heeled world of exclusive, Uptown co-ops; one of Boardman’s top deals last year was a prewar, five-bedroom spread at 101 Central Park West, which traded for $35.3 million.

 

She was followed by Nest Seekers International’s Ryan Serhant. Despite his well-publicized foray into new development, $180.6 million of his $258 million total closed listings came from resales. That included a $15.9 million unit at 1185 Park Avenue, a 1920s co-op with a grand courtyard and six lobbies.

 

The reality TV star — who is on “Million Dollar Listing New York” and recently landed a solo show on Bravo called “Employee of the Month” — and his massive team of nearly 60 people closed 128 of his listings in 2016. He said he’s recently made a push into brokering deals at lower price points, where the market is moving faster, and he’s expanded in Brooklyn. “My goal is to do deals wherever people are transacting. That’s where I want to be,” he said.

 

Coming in at No. 3 in the resale ranking was Brown Harris Stevens’ Lisa Lippman with $160.3 million in closed sell-side deals, including a co-op at the famed San Remo on the Upper West Side owned by Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon that sold for $21.5 million.

 

She was followed by BHS’ John Burger, another regular top agent, and Elliman’s Eklund and Gomes.


While commissions on the resale side are more financially favorable to agents (see below), the volume of resale deals paled in comparison to sold new development listings. “People want new. They want amenities that are over the top. That’s the way of the world,” said Corcoran’s Robby Browne.

 

Browne nonetheless ranked No. 14 on the resale list with $68.9 million in closings, including a three-bedroom condo at 25 Central Park West that he sold for $9.4 million — but only after cutting the price from $10.85 million.

 

Brokers said properties priced at $10 million and up — and certainly anything above $20 million — faced serious pushback from buyers in 2016. “On the very high end, it’s not a buy that you have to have, it’s a buy that you want to have,” said Sotheby’s Mara Flash Blum, who took the No. 20 spot in the resale ranking.

 

That lack of confidence at the high end shook the rest of the market.

 

But, Blum said, after the market adjusted to Donald Trump’s election, both luxury and lower-priced properties began trading again.

 

“When the high end starts to move, the buyers in the lower end see it moving, and it gives them the confidence level to buy,” she said.

 

Corcoran’s Deanna Kory — who saw $89 million of her $115 million in total closings come from resales — said she, too, saw the market pick up in late 2016 as Wall Street stabilized after the election. “Whenever you’re in an election year, people are in a tentative, wait-and-see situation. Last year was pretty much that way,” she said.

 

Residential agents — as they often do — stressed that realistic pricing is key to transacting in this market. And sellers, it seems, are getting realistic.

 

Sotheby’s Nikki Field, whose team was No. 12 on the resale list with $71.7 million in deals, said local buyers are poised to call the shots going forward.

 

“They’re finally off the sidelines,” she said. “They see real value and price adjustments.”

 

Commission inequality

 

While the stakes may be high for selling new condos — with billions of dollars on the line for top New York developers and hundreds of units to unload — it’s a volume game. That’s because new development agents generally earn a fraction of the commissions that resale agents get.

 

On resale deals, brokers typically earn a standard 6 percent, which is evenly split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents. For new development sales, however, the buyer’s broker typically gets 3 percent, while the on-site team walks away with 1.5 percent to 2 percent. But those commissions need to be divvied up among a lot of players: The on-site team usually includes a sales director, along with several agents and assistants. “If you’re on-site and you get a piece of everything, you’re working for less than 1 percent,” said one top agent.

 

Complicating matters is that some agents work on large teams — where all deals fall under their banner — while others go it alone. For example, Elliman’s Muss works with just one associate, while Serhant has one of the largest teams in the industry and as a result has more overhead. (Elliman caps teams at 10 brokers.)

 

A back-of-the-napkin estimate by TRD of commissions earned in 2016 by resale and new development brokers reflects the earnings gap.

 

Assuming standard commissions on all deals —meaning no commission discounts or increases were agreed to — new development agents likely took home $110 million for closing $5.5 billion in sales. By comparison, resale agents likely pocketed $25.7 million for a far lower $858.7 million worth of closed deals in 2016.

 

On a per-agent basis, it’s a “minuscule amount,” said Sotheby’s Field. For that reason, she added, “Strong agents want to be out reselling, because the income is 10 times larger.”


Top agents said that to be successful in new development requires selling a significant amount of product. Stribling’s Sean Murphy Turner said new developments are a heavy lift that requires many sets of hands.

 

Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman made that same point last month. “New development: It’s not so easy,” she told a packed house at TRD’s forum. “What do you think, that you just show up and they give you a big check?”

Manhattan’s top listing agents

The Real DealJune 01, 2017

New York’s top residential agents have catapulted their careers in recent years by jockeying for hot new-development assignments and winning big listings. But over the past 12 months, even the city’s most elite brokers have settled into a new reality — one in which it can be a professional liability to take on an overpriced listing.

 

This month, in addition to ranking agents by the dollar amount of the deals they closed, The Real Deal also crunched the numbers on their total dollar volume of listings.

 

What we found was that as a group, the top 20 agents were marketing a total of $6.7 billion worth of properties as of April 30, the one-day snapshot when we culled listings from On-Line Residential. That’s essentially flat compared with the $6.6 billion worth of properties marketed by the top 20 agents last year.

 

This year’s listings were evenly split between new development properties ($3.4 billion) and resales ($3.3 billion), despite the fact that developers have loaded thousands of new units onto the market during this most recent condo boom. That suggests the rapid pace of development, resulting in a glut of high-end product, may be settling into a less frenetic pace.

 

To find out which agents were dominating in both the new development and resale spaces, we created two rankings — one looking at each sector, just as we did for closed sales.

 

In the new development world, agents say there’s increased pressure to drop listing prices as buyers — who now have a buffet of choices — push back.

 

“A few months [into 2016], it was pretty much obvious to most buyers that things were changing, and that zapped the urgency out of things,” said Douglas Elliman’s Raphael De Niro, who had $382.8 million in total listings. (De Niro clocked in at No. 10 in TRD’s ranking of agents with the highest dollar volume of new development listings, but he took the No. 1 spot in the same category for closed deals, making him the rare broker who closed more in 2016 than he had listed in late April).

 

Some brokers TRD spoke to insisted that they will not take on overpriced listings.

 

Brown Harris Stevens’ Lisa Lippman said brokers need to work harder and smarter to get deals done in a market where buyers and sellers don’t agree.

 

“When people are suspect about the market, they’re going to be less trusting on the deals that are being made,” she said. “There’s no room for error.”

 

Who’s listing most?

 

Agents selling new development projects ruled in this year’s ranking, and 432 Park headlined the show.


Elliman’s Shari Scharfer Rollins, Sabrina Saltiel, Richard Steinberg and J. Roger Erickson — the on-site sales team for Macklowe Properties and CIM Group at the trophy tower — took the top four spots on the new development ranking, according to TRD’s analysis. The foursome shares many of their listings. And 20 percent of the units at the tower are still unsold, including a 95th-floor penthouse asking $82 million.

 

In addition to 432 Park, Steinberg is marketing the 39-unit Chamberlain at 269 West 87th Street and has $102.7 million worth of resale listings, including a $25 million loft at a historic East Village building dubbed Beethoven Hall that was used as a set for Jackie Gleason’s “The Honeymooners” and Robert De Niro’s “Raging Bull.”

 

Elliman’s Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes clocked in at No. 5 on the new development list with $277.6 million in listings at buildings like Fortis Property Group’s 1 Seaport, a 98-unit tower at 161 Maiden Lane in the Financial District.

 

They were followed by Compass President Leonard Steinberg with $253 million in new-development listings — a chunk of them at Ben Shaoul’s 196 Orchard on the Lower East Side and the Foster + Partners-designed 100 East 53rd Street. Elliman’s Lauren Muss came in at No. 7 with $222.2 million in listings at properties including Ian Schrager’s 160 Leroy — which has a penthouse asking $48.5 million.

 

On the resale side, familiar faces filled the top of the ranking.

 

Leading the way was Serena Boardman of Sotheby’s International Realty with $495.3 million in listings, including a third-floor co-op at 4 East 66th Street asking $65 million. Boardman — who also took the top spot in TRD’s ranking of closed resales — has the co-exclusive for a duplex at 795 Fifth, asking $70 million, that’s been on the market since June 2015. Brown Harris Stevens’ Paula Del Nunzio and John Burger rounded out the top three for resale listings with $336.9 million and $332.4 million worth of properties, respectively.

 

Del Nunzio had nine townhouse listings priced above $14 million.

 

Burger, meanwhile, is marketing a massive co-op at 834 Fifth that belonged to the late “King of Wall Street,” John Gutfreund, a former CEO of Salomon Brothers. The 20-room apartment hit the market last April asking $120 million before the price was cut to $96 million.

 

Taking the No. 4 and 5 spots were Nest Seekers International’s Ryan Serhant — a co-star of “Million Dollar Listing New York” — and the Corcoran Group’s Carrie Chiang and Janet Wang. Serhant’s 60-person team had a massive 125 listings, including 60 resales, 43 of which were surprisingly priced below $6 million.

 

Elliman’s Darren Sukenik, who had $165.6 million in new development listings, said that while every listing is a big get, landing one often helps win others. “That person can be your brand ambassador and send you three or four more deals,” he said. “It can go in 100 different directions.”

 

Bridging the buyer-seller gap

 

Taken together, TRD’s two rankings show that some agents have a lopsided book of business — with far more in listings than actual sales.

 

That was even true for the agents closing more deals than many of their peers.

 

Elliman’s Steinberg, for example, had $479.4 million worth of total listings as of April 30 while he closed roughly $150 million in sales, according to TRD’s analysis.

 

And Boardman, who sold $205.3 million, had more than double that in listings.

 

Compass’ Steinberg — who had $452.7 million in total listings compared to $403.7 million in total sales — said the “time span between people looking and committing has stretched dramatically.”

 

“The consumer is very educated,” he said. “Their wish list is extreme.”

 

Several agents — including Elliman’s Erickson, BHS’s Del Nunzio and independent agent Dolly Lenz — collected enough listings to make the top 20 in this ranking even though they didn’t make the cutoff for TRD’s sold rankings.

 

Del Nunzio pointed out that buyers have more control over whether transactions are getting done than they’ve had in the past.

 

“The arbiter of value is the buyer,” said the BHS broker, who listed 50 East 69th Street in September, asking $72 million. “The market will determine its value, and we’ll see how that goes.”

 

Del Nunzio did not respond to a request for comment about her closed sales, while Lenz, who’s disputed TRD’s methodology in the past, declined to comment.

 

Others noted that agents are closing far more than what appears in TRD’s ranking because they are also handling buy-side deals.

 

Adam Modlin — who runs an eponymous firm — claimed that 2016 was the best year of his career thanks to an increase in working with buyers.

 

He said on the high end, sellers (and agents) need to be patient.

 

“You could easily experience being on the market in excess of a year to find just the right match,” he said.

 

He knows from experience. In April, he closed the $45 million sale of Demi Moore’s penthouse at the San Remo on the Upper West Side. The listing took two years — and a price chop from $75 million — to sell. (It was not included in his tally because it went into contract before April 30).

 

Even at lower price points, price-sensitive buyers aren’t rushing to make final decisions.

 

CORE’s Emily Beare — who did not make TRD’s listings ranking but did land a spot on the closed resale chart — described a full-floor unit at 100 11th Avenue, designed by Jean Nouvel, that hit the market last summer asking $9.8 million. “We were completely in line with the comps in the building, but it took much longer to sell. Usually it doesn’t take over six months,” she said.

 

After $800,000 was shaved off the price, the unit went into contract in late April. Beare said anything below $5 million that’s priced appropriately will sell for close to — or over — the asking price.

 

“People have been talking about the correction for a year, but there’s still something in the air,” she said.

 

When the price is right

 

While pricing is key to any deal, agents said there’s little room for error today.

 

“Finance guys don’t want to feel like they’re buying at the top. The days of pricing 19 months ahead of yourself are over,” said one agent.

 

Rather than looking at comparable closed sales to price units, agents are looking at properties that recently went into contract to get fresher comps.

 

“[Sellers] are less confident that our market is going to continue to climb as it has, and they’re taking their time,” said Cathy Taub of Sotheby’s International Realty, who had nearly $100 million in total listings.

 

Corcoran’s Deborah Grubman — whose team had $240.4 million in listings — said the challenge is convincing sellers to price right.

 

“Just like you think your children are the best, the brightest and the most intelligent, everyone feels the same way about their apartment,” said Grubman. “There’s an emotional connection with residential real estate. When you’re emotional, it’s hard to do accurate pricing.”

 

Sotheby’s Nikki Field — whose team had $249.5 million in total listings — said buyers have the upper hand right now. “The data has told everyone there’s been a market correction, and it’s an opportunity for buyers. If you can prove it’s a value purchase, you have a deal.”

Five homes with outdoor kitchens

Brick UndergroundMay 26, 2017

There’s nothing like a barbecue to kick-start the summer season. Here, in celebration of Memorial Day weekend, we bring you five homes with really excellent kitchen/grilling/cocktail-making facilities. Move into one of these spaces and get cooking!

 

Off the upper-floor living/dining room of this three-bedroom duplex penthouse condo at 60 White Street in Tribeca (yours for $9.275 million) lies this south-facing terrace with a bluestone counter bar and refrigerator, not to mention two outdoor showers in which to cool off after an evening spent sipping and supping.

How mentors can make or break a real estate career

The Real DealMay 23, 2017

In fall 2014, Jordan Caruso and four other aspiring brokers joined Douglas Elliman’s new agent training program at the West 17th Street office. Two-and-a-half years later, Caruso said he and just one other agent remain in the business. “It was like someone put me in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with a paddle and no map and said, ‘Get to New York,’” he said of his first few months on the job. “My growth was slow, and a lot of times I’d sit there and be like, ‘What’s next?’”

 

But 18 months after starting, Caruso joined Vickey Barron’s team, and things began to change. There were the obvious benefits of working with others and tapping an established client base. But the real difference was Barron’s willingness to break down deals, explain the nuances of client relationships and negotiations, and also offer career counsel. She took a mentoring role, Caruso said, that helped him get an early footing that was out of reach for many his peers.

 

New York City’s residential real estate industry is often characterized as ruthless, replete with sharks who’ll do anything to come out on top in a deal. But industry players told The Real Deal that, increasingly, agents are willing to spend time mentoring and supporting their peers — in order to foster a collaborative environment in an aggressive, inherently competitive field.

 

“Agents are really hungry for a helping hand,” said Barron, who believes increased transparency, and the fact the industry is becoming more professional, means brokers are now more likely to help each other out. “It’s a tough business and if you approach it the opposite way, it not only gives the industry a bad name — getting up every day is going to be a little more difficult.”

 

Insiders pointed to formal mentoring programs at brokerages, industry associations and continuing education programs as ways to seek out support. Others said the best type of mentoring is informal, and comes from developing close relationships with peers. But there was also consensus that in an industry like real estate, spending time mentoring and supporting others would not be universally embraced. “[Some people think] ‘weIl, if I make you great, today you are my apprentice. But tomorrow — you’re my competition,” said Elizabeth Kee, who mentors members of her team at CORE. “If you do a good job mentoring somebody, then they are going to take everything good out of you … and try to make it a little bit better.”

 

Still, many brokers said, mentoring is a way to “pay it forward,” and even those with several decades in the business clearly remember people who showed them guidance or support. The industry is not actually as merciless as people believe, some brokers claimed, and the “trust no one” mentality is fast receding. Others said because inexperienced agents without guidance can cause major problems — namely by overpricing apartments and undercutting commissions — guiding them is worthwhile for everyone.

 

Most experienced brokers said the early days in residential real estate are grueling, and often those who get licensed are woefully underprepared. “A lot of people think, ‘I can just get into the business and two minutes later be selling,’” said Tony Sargent, also of CORE, who took eight months to actually close a deal when he first started as a broker in 1999. “We look at all the TV shows … where you walk into Balthazar, you talk to the owner for four minutes, you come up with a deal, you’re paid $300,000 and everything is great.”

 

Sargent mentored two agents on his team last year, and said most of his energy was spent motivating them, helping them recover from the crushing feeling when deals go south or sellers go cold. “You wake up every single day with no salary, and you have to be willing to deal with that,” he said.

 

Even those who had lengthy careers before entering real estate said the mentoring they received was invaluable. “I learnt the right way to do business in a very unprofessional environment,” said Brown Harris Stevens’ Bess Freedman, a former attorney who still consults her mentor and colleague Hall Wilkie. “It’s so competitive and you see agents treating each other very poorly,” she said, adding that successful mentoring programs can improve industry standards overall. “You see how much better it is when you are honest, you can communicate and you have good relationships. … It opens doors for everyone,” she said.

 

Some said mentors are mostly needed when brokers are a few years into their career, and are trying to step up into doing bigger and more frequent deals.

 

“There are people who make $35,000 in a year,” said Elliman’s Barron, who also teaches classes at the Real Estate Board of New York. “They show up every day and they go in. They need a mentor or they need to get out of the business.”

 

Others said having formal structures in place to support mid-career agents continues to be a major challenge for brokerages. “What a lot of firms struggle with is how to take a new agent and help them grow,” said Zach Ehrlich, CEO of Mdrn. It’s down to the broker to seek out a team, according to Ehrlich, but many team leaders are cautious. “Often the team leaders will train them for a year or two, the agent will absorb all that knowledge and then leave, sometimes to compete against them. … There isn’t an example of a large firm that’s been able to make sure that everyone gets the same experience.”

 

The level of formal mentoring varies from firm to firm. At Douglas Elliman, for example, new agents start with a six-week training intensive that includes some mentoring and coaching. The Corcoran Group matches brand new agents with no contacts with senior agents to act as a “sounding board.” The brokerage’s formal mentoring program is reserved for people who already have listings, and has junior and senior agents working together on between three and five deals. At Citi Habitats, there’s no set mentoring program, only training. And while Stribling & Associates is considering rolling out a program, it’s still in the “exploratory” phase.

 

At Brown Harris Stevens, the mentoring program is only open to new agents who are coming into real estate from previous careers, and places baby brokers with experienced agents for a period of six months. They work on all deals, but only financially benefit from the ones they’ve brought to the table. The mentor, in return, gets access to untapped pool of clients, extra help and potentially a strong relationship with the junior broker for the future. “A senior broker won’t take on a mentor unless they think they can bring contacts,” said Hall Willkie. “Some people would never want to do it, they’re not interested in teaching somebody the business … [but] there’s nothing more satisfying than bringing someone along.”

 

Tim Schneider of BHS first started working with Brian Manning as an apprentice, before the relationship developed into a formal partnership. “You could jump into the business and start grinding away, start trying to make a name for yourself. But you’d be off on your own a lot,” said Schneider, who added that he had to prove himself before Manning would bring him on as a full-fledged team member.

 

But not everyone is so lucky. “Certain friends of mine, they went to different firms, and they say ‘all this agent wants from me is to do showings – and they don’t even teach me how the deal works,’” said Andrea Wells, who is mentored by Elizabeth Kee and works on Kee’s team at CORE, receiving 1 percent profit on all deals, like the rest of the team, even if she’s not directly involved.

 

Many agents are promised mentoring and handholding by some firms, according to Wells, only to be used as a glorified assistant, stuck doing open houses on Sundays and never able to learn or advance. Wells considers herself fortunate to be working with Kee, because she knows “sometimes certain agents keep knowledge close to their chest, [thinking] why create another them.” That was the case for Francesco Pignataro, who worked for Douglas Elliman for several months in 2015. Pignataro said that while the company training was helpful, he received little support when he went on to join a team. “They didn’t guide me at all,” he said. “They were just telling me to make cold calls…. basically I worked for free for eight months.”

 

Rick Lechtman, a Marcus & Millichap broker and a New York University Schack Institute alumnus who has mentored NYU and Tulane Business School graduates through industry associations, said mentoring is a way to expand a “sphere of influence.” Regardless of whether you are a “broker, an owner, a developer, a finance person — it’s a big world and you need others,” he said. According Lechtman, the “senior statesmen” of the commercial world give their time mentoring and coaching younger players, not just for altruistic reasons, but because its helps them stay relevant. “Talent sees others who have talent, and they kind of let them rise,” he said, referring specifically to examples like SL Green Realty’s Stephen Green handing the reins to Marc Holliday and Related Companies’ Stephen Ross selecting Jeff Blau to succeed him as CEO in 2012.“People aren’t killing everybody every day, trying to take them down. People are generally trying to help them move up because it helps everybody.”

 

The business is about the successful management of relationships, experienced brokers agreed. And while there are still many in the industry who try hold their cards close to their chest, hoard information and refuse to help others — most realize there’s no reason to cut others down. “If we move people from a fear-based mentality, looking over your shoulder, how does that not benefit all of us?” said CORE’s Sargent. “Because in the end, if you’re smart and you know what you’re doing, there’s enough business to go around.”

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