Actor Kelsey Grammer To List Apartment for $9.75 Million

The Wall Street JournalJuly 26, 2016

Actor Kelsey Grammer will list his 3,076-square-foot condo in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood for $9.75 million.


Mr. Grammer purchased the property for $6.4 million in 2010 through a limited-liability company, according to public records. A representative for Mr. Grammer confirmed that the actor owns the apartment.


The three-bedroom, 3½-bath apartment is located on an upper floor of a glassy 23-story tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel. The unit has 11-foot ceilings and roughly 100 linear feet of glass walls overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan landmarks such as the Empire State Building.


The apartment has an open layout with a combined living, dining and kitchen area, with terrazzo flooring throughout. Completed in 2010, the building is known for its unusual glass facade with more than 1,600 differently shaped window panes.


Mr. Grammer’s publicist, Stan Rosenfield, said his client is selling the apartment because he feels that he and his family “have outgrown it.” Mr. Grammer has six children and is married to Kayte Grammer, a former flight attendant.


Mr. Grammer, 61, is best known for his roles on the sitcoms “Cheers” and “Frasier.” He now stars in the Amazon drama “The Last Tycoon,” based on the unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Emily Beare and Daniel Amell of CORE have the listing.

Kelsey Grammer Lists Chelsea Apartment For $10M

Luxury Listings NYCJuly 26, 2016

It’s hard to imagine that even the notorious fussbudget Frasier Crane could disapprove of Kelsey Grammer’s West Chelsea condo, which the actor has just listed for $9.75 million.


City records show that Grammer, who played the character Frasier Crane on “Cheers” and later “Frasier” from 1982-2004, purchased the apartment at 100 Eleventh Avenue in 2010 under an LLC for $6,400,000 (the Wall Street Journal confirmed that Grammer is indeed the owner). The 3,076-square-foot pad has 100 feet of spectacular views of the Hudson River, three bedrooms (all of which have river views), three and a half bathrooms, 11-foot ceilings and a Crestron home automation system. The building, which was designed by Pritzker-winning architect Jean Nouvel, has a 70-foot indoor-outdoor lap pool, a garden, fitness center and 24/7 concierge service.


Grammer is reportedly selling the apartment because he and his family “have outgrown it,” his publicist told the Journal. The actor has been married four times and has six children; he is currently married to Kayte Grammer, a former flight attendant.


Emily Beare and Daniel Amell of CORE have the listing.

Fantasy Rental: A Full-Floor SoHo Loft With Historic Details

Brick UndergroundJuly 26, 2016

This rental is out of reach for most of us, but it's fun to fantasize about living in a rambling, prewar SoHo loft whose historic grandeur is infused with New York City edge. The two-bedroom occupies the entire floor of a boutique building, and features exposed brick and a clawfoot tub, along with the modern conveniences of up-to-date appliances and central air. It's listed by CORE for a steep $14,500 per month, but note that the price has already come down a couple times from an initial $17,500—and perhaps will again, with a little negotiating.


A private keyed elevator leads you into a living room illuminated by a wall of windows; the space is made striking by exposed brick walls and iron columns. A separate dining area has a similarly industrial-meets-elegant feel, while the open kitchen is updated and contemporary, with gleaming cabinetry and new, high-end appliances.


The sprawling master bedroom delivers contrasting textures, with its exposed brick walls and smooth hardwood floors; it's lightened due to multiple exposures, and includes a walk-in closet. The second bedroom sits adjacent and while a bit narrower, also comes with ample closet space.


The apartment's interiors are visually stimulating, and the bathrooms are no exception: The first has a slightly noir-ish, Victorian vibe, plus a deep clawfoot tub; the second is considerably lighter and includes a lovely steam shower and tub, as well as a bidet.


The unit includes a small laundry room with washer and dryer; pets are permitted, and you can rent the space furnished or unfurnished.

Kelsey Grammer Lists $9.75M Pad In West Chelsea Condo

CurbedJuly 26, 2016

Kelsey Grammer, actor and star of TV sitcoms like ‘Frasier’ and ‘Cheers,’ is looking to part ways with his plush West Chelsea home, reports the Observer.


Grammer purchased the 3,076 square foot apartment within Jean Novel’s wind-troubled 100 Eleventh

Avenue tower back in 2010 amidst, let’s just say personal turmoil, that drove him from his 15 Central Park West home. He and new wife Kayte Walsh moved into the home shortly thereafter and seem to have stayed put since but now they claim to have "outgrown" the space and are seeking $9.75 million for the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom abode.


The semi-circular space is highlighted by its amazing 100 feet of Hudson River frontage and offers up 11 foot ceilings, en-suite baths, a living room wet bar, gas-burning fireplace, ample storage space, and its conveniently close proximity to the High Line.

Jude Law Sells Penthouse

ObserverJuly 22, 2016

It appears that in the end, Jude Law’s onetime presence doesn’t have quite the impact on real estate values as some had hoped.


The British actor rented out the penthouse at 135 West 4th Street back in 2009, while starring in a production of Hamlet on Broadway.


An entity known as FYNT Property LLC put the 3,500-square-foot abode on the market in September, listing the duplex for $12.5 million, having purchased the space for about half that ($6.3 million) in 2010.


And now, we can see that James Brophy doled out $10.75 million to take up residence in Law’s former abode—it’s no bargain, but still not quite the haul the sellers were hoping for.


The three-bedroom, 2.5-bath penthouse is located in the gorgeous Novare building, which was built in 1860 as a Methodist church before being converted to a condo in 2006—the duplex still retains heavenly aspects such as stained glass windows and beamed ceilings. Aside from being graced by Law’s presence, the unit also features Brazilian walnut floors, a floating chrome staircase, and 20-foot ceilings on the upper level, as well as white Venetian plaster walls and an open Boffi kitchen.


The apartment is “a perfect blend of drama, function and elegance,” declares the listing held by CORE broker Jim St. Andre. Perhaps Law felt a bit more an emphasis on the drama aspect of that while playing house in the condo—it is, after all, where the orange-throwing incident occurred.


If you’re unfamiliar with the legendary kerfuffle, the gist of it is that Law grew a bit irritated with the excited students, who would yell his name and try to take photos whenever Law stepped out onto the 500-square-foot terrace with his trainer. He responded by throwing oranges at the perpetrators, who hopefully didn’t have any acid-reflux issues. In defense of the students, seeing Law work out on his terrace does seem preferable to putting in the hours at the library. Maybe.


For the sake of collegians and citrus fruits, our fingers are crossed that Brophy won’t mind his new home’s proximity to dorms quite as much as Law did—or that the students have calmed down with their cell phone cameras.

3 Deals to See This Weekend

DNA InfoJuly 21, 2016

MANHATTAN — Summer is considered a slow time for the city's real estate market, which means it's a good time to get a deal. Those who list their homes this time of year tend to want to sell quickly, which is why they may offer what these three properties have: incentives, price cuts or prices that aren't outrageous to begin with.


11 E. 36th St., Apt. 606, Midtown East

1 bedroom/2 bath

Approximately 1,130 square feet


$1.395 million


Common charges: $1,257 a month

Taxes: $1,144 a month

Open House: Sunday, July 24, noon to 1 p.m.


Lowdown: After a recent deal on this pre-war loft fell through, it’s back on the market with an incentive for a speedy sale: The seller will pay a year of the common charges for an offer accepted by Aug. 31.


Though legally a one-bedroom, the office is currently set up as a second bedroom. It has no window, but it does have a closet.


“The fact you can get a two-bedroom Downtown for under $1.5 million, I think is such a deal,” said Alyssa Soto Brody, CORE.


Plus, she added, the space has no load-bearing walls so it's flexible.


“You can literally, if you wanted to, open up the entire apartment,” she said, “or if you wanted to create a dining room or third bedroom, you could do that. It allows you to grow into the unit.”


This sixth-floor apartment sits in the back of the 66-unit building and has no neighbors on either side, so it’s quiet, Brody said. Though it’s north-facing, the 6-foot-tall windows let in plenty of light.


When this office building went condo about a decade ago, renowned interior designer Andres Escobar overhauled the spaces, including the kitchens and baths, which still feel very modern. (Plus there’s central air conditioning and a vented washer-dryer.)


“His style is timeless,” said Brody noting that the open kitchen has high-end appliances and Calacatta marble countertops.


The doorman building has an “amazing” rooftop with a gym on it, Brody said.


Location: The Morgan Lofts, between Madison and Fifth avenues, are a block from the Morgan Library.  The building is an easy to walk to Bryant Park, Midtown and Murray Hill.


There are plenty of transit options in the area, like the 6 train at 33rd Street, the hub at Herald Square or Grand Central Terminal.


Why put it on your open house calendar? “You are really getting a two-bedroom, two-bath for such an amazing value,” Brody said.

Colorful Midtown Condo Embraces Modern Style

CurbedJuly 20, 2016

Within Midtown West’s luxury condo building, The Dillon, lies a stylishly-designed one-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom. The fashionable pad is part of an open floor plan and features an incredibly spacious living room, white oak floors, a sleek kitchen, and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for a burst of natural light to illuminate the home. Additionally, the home boasts central air conditioning, radiant heated bathroom floors, a dishwasher, and a washer/dryer unit.


Alas, with a great home comes a great price tag. The lux apartment is asking a hefty $1.695 million. It’s a hefty sum but it comes with perks that include building amenities like a fitness center, children’s playroom, 24-hour concierge, and a private dining room with a catering kitchen. That and the fact that you’ll be residing near Lincoln Center, the MoMA, Columbus Circle, and many more Manhattan hotspots makes it worth a thought.

LLNYC Celebrates Cover Star

The Real DealJuly 19, 2016

Martha Stewart, along with celebrity guests Terry Richardson, Barbara Corcoran, Parker Posey, Jack Ferver, Bjarke Ingels, Michael Shvo and Nicole Miller, came out last Thursday to mingle, eat and celebrate the new issue of Luxury Listings NYC. Chef Nury prepared a delectable eight-course meal (including gold-wrapped popcorn, caviar, rare wines provided by Zachys and lots of black truffles) and Bjarke Ingels later wowed the crowd by changing the colors on the Bank of America tower with his phone.

LLNYC Celebrates With Martha Stewart and Terry Richardson

Luxury Listings NYCJuly 18, 2016

“De-licious!” That was the verdict from the one and only Martha Stewart after tasting chef Yann Nury’s truffle-loaded take on a croque monsieur.


Stewart, along with celebrity guests Terry Richardson, Barbara Corcoran, Parker Posey, Jack Ferver, Bjarke Ingels, Michael Shvo and Nicole Miller, came out to mingle, eat and celebrate the new issue of Luxury Listings NYC.


The crowd gathered at the penthouse of 87 Leonard Street in Tribeca, which is currently on the market with CORE’s Emily Beare and Shaun Osher. Chef Nury prepared a decadent eight-course meal, including gold-wrapped popcorn, caviar, rare wines provided by Zachys and lots of black truffles.


Posey taped the 500th episode of the “Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon before coming to LLNYC‘s dinner — it aired that evening. Former LLNYC cover star Michael Strahan was also one of Fallon’s guests.


Stewart rushed from the Four Season restaurant’s closing party with longtime Martha Stewart Living senior vice president and executive editorial director, Kevin Sharkey, to the penthouse where she spent the evening catching up with her friends Terry Richardson and Alex Bolotow.


Meanwhile, Bjarke Ingels wowed the crowd by changing the colors on the Bank of America tower with his phone.

Can I Put My Place On The Market If It's A Total Dump?

Brick UndergroundJuly 18, 2016



I'm thinking of selling my apartment, but it's not in great condition. I've heard the standard for sales is that an apartment be "broom clean," with working appliances and livable, move-in-ready conditions. But is there anything wrong (or illegal) about selling a place that needs to be emptied, cleaned, sanitized, repaired, etc.?




While you certainly can put your apartment on the market in its current, run-down condition, say our experts, it's not the wisest approach to your sale. That is, unless your goal is to sell off your property in a hurry, with the understanding that you'll be selling it at a steep discount.


"There is nothing 'illegal' but a great deal wrong with selling a place that is cluttered, dirty, or in disrepair," says CORE NYC Director of Sales Doug Heddings. "If maximizing your return on your investment isn't important to you and you simply wish to 'unload' the property as quickly as possible, then selling at a deep discount to market value will likely help prospective buyers overcome the obstacle of uncleanliness, clutter, or need for repairs. Price overcomes all obstacles."


"As far as I know, no one is serving time for trying to sell an apartment 'as-is,' but a standard Contract of Sale does contain paragraphs requiring a property to be delivered vacant, broom clean, and with working appliances," concurs Sotheby's International Real Estate broker Gordon Roberts.


In theory, those contract requirements can be edited out if you can reel in a buyer who will agree to it. However, warns Roberts, "Good luck finding one. [And] If you do, it’ll most likely be someone offering less than the property is actually worth, on the basis that they’d be assuming additional expense (and risk) by taking ownership of the apartment just as you’ve left it."


While it's tough to estimate how much of a hit your price might take for selling in these kinds conditions, Roberts says, "it could have an impact of 20 to 30 percent off recent comparable sales if the apartment is nothing special. If it has some redeeming attribute, such as location, size, or views, the discount could be less."


You might also run the risk in this case of your broker losing interest in marketing the place, if response from buyers is weak, says Roberts.


None of which is to say you have to completely overhaul your apartment ahead of the sale, but a little effort in this department can go a long way. Heddings suggests you "declutter, clean, fix and even consider fresh paint and staging to help buyers envision themselves in their new home." And as we've written previously, it's not uncommon to bring in a professional organizer for this kind of task if you're not eager to take it on yourself, and Roberts notes that "a sympathetic broker could provide professional guidance on how to get the apartment market-ready at minimal cost."


"There are plenty of apartments on the market that need a total renovation, so you do not have to make your apartment 'move-in-ready' by any means," Roberts explains. "But put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer—what you describe is 100 percent negative; cluttered, poorly maintained, filthy, smelly, and in disrepair. Would you stick around unless it was priced way below market?"


Doing some cleaning and de-cluttering ahead of time will ultimately mean "more money in your pocket" when it comes time to sell, says Roberts, who adds, "It is, in my opinion, definitely worth the time and effort."

A Condo With A View

Brick UndergroundJuly 14, 2016

Just in time for the Ghostbusters reboot, a condo with views of the famous firehouse where the original ghost-busting crew had their offices has come on the market. This four-bedroom at 11 North Moore Street in TriBeCa overlooks Ladder Eight, whose exterior was featured prominently in the 1984 film. The loft apartment is interesting in its own right, with a layout designed by a prestigious architectural firm, featuring massive windows and luxe details. And the price shows it: The condo is listed for $9.5 million by CORE.


Light won't be a problem: The living area is illuminated via eight floor-to-ceiling windows facing south and west, offering views not only of the firehouse but also the Freedom Tower and the Hudson River; we bet the sunsets look fantastic from here. The open kitchen benefits from multiple exposures as well, and is equipped with upscale appliances, including what looks like a massive fridge and a large pantry.


Off the living room is a library that could double as a bedroom. On the other side of the apartment is the master suite, which includes a walk-in closet, a separate dressing room, and an impressive bathroom outfitted with marble tile, a walk-in shower, soaking tub, and double vanity. The remaining two bedrooms, across the hallway, each come with their own spacious closets and baths, and a fourth bathroom can be found in the living room.

Four Loft-Style Digs

MetroJuly 13, 2016

Loft-style living is nothing new in New York City, but what was once the mark of a poor artist has become a sign of a luxury life.


Despite recent interest in micro-apartments, in the last four or five years, buyers and renters have also shown an interest in more open layouts, according to Eric Benaim, CEO of real estate group Modern Spaces. And it’s a trend that he sees continuing in the local real estate market.


As a result, new residential construction is giving apartment seekers what they want with details such as open floor plans, casement windows, high ceilings, reclaimed looking floors, subway tile, and an overall “industrial style look,” Benaim said.


Long Island City is one area that has taken to this trend, including The Jackson, a new condominium that opened in April. The trend can also be seen in Brooklyn and other parts of Queens.


Queens Pointe is a 144-unit project located at 90-02 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, and the former site of St. John’s Hospital. The building consists of loft-style apartment with high ceilings and large windows.


Like lofts in SoHo and Tribeca, that were converted from actual industrial spaces, Modern Spaces is also transforming an old schoolhouse on the Lower East Side into loft-like apartments.


It’s not just the upper end of buyers who tend to be attracted these loft spaces, according to Benaim.


“You definitely get a premium because of the [higher ceilings],” he said.


But “the older generation don’t really get it,” when it comes to the style, he added.


135 West 70th St., 3BC


The Upper West Side is one of the last neighborhoods known for its loft living, but this pre-war apartment, listed for $4,250,000, incorporates that style with its architectural details. These features include 16-foot ceilings and a 600-square-foot great room, expansive windows, and textures and woods throughout the four-bedroom condo.


25 Murray St., 3B


Described as a “quintessential” Tribeca loft, this home 1-bedroom, 2-bathroom home features 10-foot ceilings, an expansive exposed brick wall and hardwood floors throughout. The 66-foot long living area of the loft “can have a myriad of layouts,” including another sleeping area. Unlike lofts in this neighborhood from decades ago, this one, listed for 2,249,000, comes with a 24-hour doorman, roof deck, bike room, gym, lounge and children's playroom.


182 Lafayette St., 5 


Along with Tribeca, Soho is known for its loft spaces. This rental has been renovated, but still includes its original iron columns. The full-floor loft features a 2,500-square-foot layout and keyed elevator entrance. Details include exposed brick, hardwood floors and an open chef's kitchen. This loft is offered furnished for four to 12 months (or longer) for $14,500/month, or unfurnished for $16,500/month.


Four Loft-Style Digs

MetroJuly 13, 2016

Loft-style living is nothing new in NYC, but what was once the mark of a poor artist has become a sign of a luxury life.


CORE's loft-style listings at 135 West 70th Street, 3BC; 25 Murray Street, 3B; and 182 Lafayette Street, 5, were highlighted for their expansive layouts, prime locations, and unique features.

A Prospective Home Buyer’s Need-to-Know Guide

BrownstonerJuly 11, 2016

Home hunters, especially in an old city, may occasionally encounter a tantalizing prospect that is, confusingly, actually a commercial property rather than residential one. Such a candidate could be a townhouse with more than four apartments, a home with a store on the ground floor, or even a standalone mansion housing a doctor’s office, to name just a few of the possibilities.


Homeowners, whether actual or hopeful, do not typically deal with commercial property, but it is important to know that different rules may apply — especially when it comes to taxes, rent regulation, borrowing money and down payment requirements.


A quick definition of commercial property


Generally, a commercial property is any non-residential building, although some define it more narrowly as for-profit property. There are many types. Commercial property can include anything from a small storefront building to an apartment building to a shopping mall. Even community buildings such as schools and churches count as commercial property, in the broad sense of the term.


Home hunters in New York City are most likely to encounter two types: Townhouses or small apartment buildings with more than four units, and small mixed-use buildings, which include both commercial and residential units.


Conversely, residential properties can be defined as “properties that have one to four units with no commercial space,” according to mortgage banker Sarah Edelman. “A mixed-use property would be considered commercial because it has residential and commercial usage.”


Examples of the sorts of buildings prospective buyers are likely to encounter in Brooklyn include 144 Franklin in Greenpoint and 1306 Albemarle Road in Prospect Park South, both pictured. The first was a commercial building originally: the Mechanics and Traders Bank of Brooklyn, built in 1895 in the Renaissance Revival style.


In the ’80s, it went co-op and was divided into four units, including three apartments and one commercial unit. So although the structure is small and contains apartments, it remains a commercial building.


The second, a sprawling standalone house with extravagant interior details such as an oval dining room with tapestry-covered walls, seems an unlikely candidate to be a commercial building. But in fact, it was one until quite recently: Medical offices were located in what had originally been the kitchen, in the rear of the parlor floor. (The current owner converted the whole building back into a single-family home in 2014.)


Things to know before buying a commercial or mixed-use property


“Mixed-use properties can be partially owner occupied…however, they require a minimum downpayment of 20 percent,” Edelman told Brownstoner, adding that “borrowers can put down as little as 3.5 percent on residential multi-families,” depending on the number of units. Edelman also noted that the rental income from a multi-family can offset the monthly mortgage payment.


It is also important to understand that a commercial certificate of occupancy, say in the case of a storefront, can’t be changed to residential without significant difficulty.


Commercial properties require a commercial loan, which have higher interest rates. Closing costs will also be higher for commercial property.


Even after purchase, different rules apply. Commercial property is taxed at a higher rate than residential property, and insurance rates will be higher.


Multi-family buildings with five or more apartments may fall under New York rent regulation laws (depending on a variety of factors). City requirements for health and safety — such as as sprinklers, fire escapes, and fireproofing — are more stringent for commercial property than for homes with only one to three units.


Understanding a property’s certificate of occupancy and the implications of a commercial tenant


According to Citi Habitats commercial property broker Chris Havens, the advantages of having a commercial tenant is that they are often on a five- or even 10-year lease and can be very stable — so long as they are not a restaurant, which can have an assortment of issues. “A store is not complaining about the heat overnight and it is easier to evict stores,” Havens told Brownstoner.


Havens also emphasized the importance of understanding a commercial property’s certificate of occupancy before purchasing it. “The main thing is you should look at what the certificate of occupancy — an arcane document comparable to a building’s birth certificate — says about the space, because it could be being used as a store illegally,” Havens said, adding that he’s seen cases where buyers failed to look at the certificate of occupancy and did not realize until after purchasing a building that it was commercial.

The Cosmo Girl’s Lair

The New York TimesJuly 10, 2016

Helen Gurley Brown’s turreted quadruplex atop the exclusive Beresford co-op at 211 Central Park West, where she lived for four decades until her death in 2012 and which was bedecked in midcentury glamour, has finally sold. At $19,380,000, it was the second most expensive transaction of the week, according to city records.


The priciest sale was farther down the scenic thoroughfare. A three-bedroom three-and-a-half-bath condominium at the limestone-clad 15 Central Park West, near 61st Street, closed at $28 million. The 2,846-square-foot apartment, No. 38A, with a 211-square-foot terrace overlooking Central Park, has monthly carrying costs of $9,063.


Henry Hershkowitz and Heather L. McDonough of Core brought the buyer of 15 Central Park West, whose identity was shielded by the limited liability company Morningside Heights CPW. John Burger and Lauren Bankart of Brown Harris Stevens represented the seller, BZG Industries (No. 5) Ltd. of the Cayman Islands.

Big Ticket: The Cosmo Girl’s Lair for $19.4 Million

The New York TimesJuly 08, 2016

Helen Gurley Brown’s turreted quadruplex atop the exclusive Beresford co-op at 211 Central Park West, where she lived for four decades until her death in 2012 and which was bedecked in midcentury glamour, has finally sold. At $19,380,000, it was the second most expensive transaction of the week, according to city records.


The priciest sale was farther down the scenic thoroughfare. A three-bedroom three-and-a-half-bath condominium at the limestone-clad 15 Central Park West, near 61st Street, closed at $28 million. The 2,846-square-foot apartment, No. 38A, with a 211-square-foot terrace overlooking Central Park, has monthly carrying costs of $9,063.


Henry Hershkowitz and Heather L. McDonough of Core brought the buyer of 15 Central Park West, whose identity was shielded by the limited liability company Morningside Heights CPW. John Burger and Lauren Bankart of Brown Harris Stevens represented the seller, BZG Industries (No. 5) Ltd. of the Cayman Islands.

Manhattan Listing Volume

The Real DealJuly 07, 2016

Jim St. Andre was ranked #32 on the Real Deal’s Agents by Manhattan Listing Volume.


The 30 Most Expensive New York City Homes For Sale

CurbedJuly 06, 2016

520 West 28th Street, PH


The penthouse of the first and last New York City residential building expressly designed by the late Zaha Hadid hit the market in May asking $50 million. The price tag is no surprise: Since sales first launched in the High Line-adjacent building back in October, it's been reported that the 7,000-square-foot penthouse would ask just that. The five-bedroom triplex will be connected by a sculptural staircase designed by Hadid and have direct elevator access as well as an elevator within the apartment.

The Week In Luxury: A Map of NYC’s Priciest Apartment Sales

The Real DealJuly 05, 2016

The McDonough Hershkowitz Team's closing at 15 Central Park West, 38A was ranked as the most expensive sale of the week. The deal was finalized at $28,000,000.

6 Ways To Beat An All-Cash Offer (Yes, It's Possible)

Brick UndergroundJuly 05, 2016

They say cash is king. So, in theory, anyone who's getting a mortgage to buy an apartment will be out of luck when facing the competition of an all-cash buyer. But in reality, that's just not true. “Non-contingent but seeking financing—that’s the queen,’” says real estate agent Charlie Homet of Halstead Property, alluding to the scenario where a buyer agrees to buy regardless of whether a mortgage can actually be secured.


In fact, says Leonard Steinberg, president of Compass, many wealthy clients who can pay all-cash go the mortgage route. "You'd be surprised to see the high-end apartments that are tied to mortgages in the city," he says.


Shaun Osher, founder of CORE, points out that "at the end of the day, the seller doesn't care where the money's coming from, they care that it'll be at the closing."


Still, there's no denying the allure of a cash offer. And even though the market might be cooling a bit (as recent reports show), most of that is at the super-luxe end of the market, and there are still plenty of all-cash buyers around. So what’s a prospective buyer not flush with cash to do? There are a number of strategies for the financing buyer who wants to be taken seriously as cold hard cash—from financing less, to spending more, to simply being easy to work with. Here are six strategies for competing:


1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage but do without a traditional mortgage contingency


Having a traditional mortgage contingency clause in the contract protects you from losing your down payment—typically around 20 percent—if you or the building aren’t approved by a bank. That's great for you, and not so great for the seller. Which is why the most effective, and perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking, way to compete against all-cash is to waive the mortgage contingency altogether.


Obviously, you'll need to feel comfortable about the possibility of losing your deposit if you don't get financing. To cut down that risk and increase the seller's confidence that you'll get financing rather than walk away from your deposit, get yourself and the building pre-approved. "You need to provide enough good, solid evidence to the sellers to make them feel secure," says Steinberg.


To even further mitigate concerns for the seller, a buyer's broker should "come in with proof that the building's been approved for a loan within the last six months," says Jennifer Roberts of Engel & Volkers.


Mortgage banker and broker Julie Teitel of Everbank notes that even with a pre-approval for financing and a pre-approval of the building, unforeseen circumstances—like the loss of your job or a drop in your credit score, or an issue with the building—could put financing in jeopardy.


“No matter what, there is a chance that you can lose your down payment,” she says. Consider the worst-case scenario: Will you be able to bail yourself out? Could you get a margin loan or a loan from a relative? Would you be okay with losing the down payment?


Still, she says it's rare that buyers lose their down payment, noting that she has can refer clients to about 30 different banks, and could likely find a backup. Rather, the question at that point is how long will the seller wait for you?


Another option is to offer an appraisal contingency, says Jeff Schleider, former founder of Miron Properties and VP of Business Development at CitiHabitats.


That means that if the apartment appraisal comes in too low for the amount of the loan—a real risk in a rising market and/or where apartments sell at over ask in a bidding war—you agree to make up the difference in cash and accept a lower loan amount from the lender. For instance, if you're looking to finance 80 percent of a property listed at $1 million, and the appraisal comes in at $900,000, the bank will only finance 80 percent of that amount ($720,000 versus the $800,000 you wanted), leaving you to come up with $80,000 to close the gap.


(Plan ahead tip: If you own other property, consider refinancing and pulling cash out to have it on hand to plug up any appraisal-induced shortfall, suggests Teitel.)


Structuring a deal where you’re pre-approved, the building is pre-approved and you’ve estimated the over/under on the appraisal and have cash to close without a contingency is  "a really good tool that needs to be used carefully,” Schleider said, noting that with the right support structure, “you can get some really amazing deals.”


2. Get less financing


A second way to compete against an all-cash offer is to put more down in cash right off the bat, and take less financing.


Andrew Luftig, a partner at Chaves & Perlowitz, a real estate law firm that specializes in transactional, commercial and residential lending practices, says he sees a lot of clients who want to finance 80 percent of a property’s value because rates are so low. But if they have more available cash to put up, he thinks that dropping the financing amount to around 50 percent or 60 percent and paying cash for the rest can make an offer more attractive. You may want 80 percent, he says, "… but you want the apartment more."


The approach is seconded by Alan Perlowitz, the founder and managing partner of Chaves & Perlowitz, a real estate law firm that specializes in transactional, commercial and residential lending. He recalls a buyer who successfully competed against an all-cash asking-price offer. The buyer offered above asking price with 50% financing. In this case, even if the appraisal came in low and they had to finance more than 50 percent, their financials showed that they would be approved.


“The number one reason people don’t get financing is that the appraisal comes in low,” Perlowitz says. If this happens, it’s only someone borrowing 75 percent or 80 percent who will have an issue. Anyone borrowing less should be fine.


3. Bid higher than the competition—or throw in an extra financial incentive


Offering more money than your competition is an obvious way to get a seller's attention, Homet says. Even if another party is offering all cash, a bigger purchase price can certainly make the deal more attractive. Adds Roberts: "Consider maybe paying $25,000 more, or offering to pay the sellers' closing costs."


4. Be flexible with timing


A simple yet potentially effective tactic—particularly if a seller hasn't found a place to live yet—is to close the deal at the sellers’ convenience. Homet says he’s seen this flexibility put the buyer on top in a bidding war.


Oftentimes, being willing to move slowly is a plus, because "if you have a seller who wants to move fast, you’re going to lose to an all-cash buyer," says Steinberg. Of course, you'll have to weigh the costs of holding off on the sale. Just because it benefits the seller doesn't necessarily mean it'll make financial sense for you, the buyer. If your lease is up or you're selling your apartment more quickly, temporary housing is an option, but it's often a pricey one.


A second way to play with the timing of the deal is to negotiate a shorter period of time to obtain a loan commitment, Luftig and Perlowitz say. If the norm today is 30 to 45 days, you might ask your lender to push to turn things around in 15 days, or to move even more quickly. Experts only recommend this tactic you already have a close relationship with the lender and can ask for this--and rely on it--before promising anything to the seller.


5. Allow the seller to keep a portion of the down payment if the financing falls through


If you need financing and insist on a mortgage contingency, you might ease the sellers’ financial concerns by promising that if you don’t get financing, the seller can keep a portion of your down payment, Luftig and Perlowitz says.


The amount is often an approximation of what the seller spent during the 30 days in which the property was held up waiting for the financing. It might include any rent and maintenance, attorney expenses and some overhead.  With this provision in place, the seller will worry less about losing money if they take the offer that isn’t all-cash.


 It is "something to have in one's arsenal," says Roberts. The money would come from an escrow deposit, she says, and "could work well when combined with a shortened time period to obtain a mortgage—say 15 days versus 30."


And it does happen, says Steinberg. "We recently had a deal where the buyer offered that if the financing did not come through. the seller could keep a $100,000 'fee/fine''.


6. Show off your winning personality


When the price and other aspects of a deal are similar, sometimes personalities can seal it in one direction or the other. And convincing the sellers that you really love their home can work, too. It's something you can do in a letter, or you can ask your broker to do for you when communicating with the seller's broker. "If you tell a compelling story, that can sometimes give you a competitive edge," says Osher. "When a person resonates with the seller, that gives him in a competitive edge."


"Be nice to the brokers," suggests Engel & Volkers' Roberts.


“It’s very much still a business of people,” Homet says, noting that personalities and emotions often come into play during real estate transactions. If he, as a sellers’ broker, has a confidence in the buyer’s broker and thinks that they’re professional and have a great attitude, he says he may push his client in that direction. The attitude of the buyer themselves is also important, too, he said, noting that on the buy side, “you can’t be overly aggressive.”


He looks for a team—both a buyer and buyers’ broker—who are even-keeled, he said, and wants to know that the deal will move forward in a smooth and efficient way.  (Which is why who you choose to represent you is so important). “If you get the confidence from them, and the attitude from them, that they’re going to be the easiest people to deal with, a lot of times that can make the deal happen," he says. 

The Top Agent Bunch

The Real DealJuly 01, 2016

Manhattan’s elite residential brokers aren’t just going after the most expensive listings to stay on top. They’re also recalibrating their business models to include a wider range of clients in a rapidly changing market.

"Old New York" Fantasies In Historic Gramercy Townhouse

Brick UndergroundJune 29, 2016

In the market for an opulent residence in one of the city's stateliest neighborhoods? Look no further than this 19th-century townhouse in Gramercy, which is on the market after being owned by the same family for 150 years. The asking price is $7.5 million—a comparatively sane number for a Manhattan townhouse, and less than many four-bedroom condos on the market downtown


The main level of the house, repped by CORE, features high ceilings, marble fireplaces, and the building's original arched entryways.


There's also a back garden featuring a "100-year-old Ailanthus tree," also accessible via a separate, direct entrance located on 19th street.


The top floor of the building is something of a designated "family floor," hosting three of the home's five bedrooms, as well as a private patio, and the library area.


While the house generally looks to be in good shape, it's possible you'll want to set aside some extra cash for renovations. None of the listing's three-and-a-half bathrooms are pictured here, so it's unclear what state they're in, and the write-up also mentions a "not-yet-developed roof," another place with the potential for some light home improvement or renovation work.

New York After Brexit

The Epoch TimesJune 29, 2016

After Brexit, London may no longer be a popular city for Chinese and Middle Eastern billionaires who seek to park their wealth in penthouses. Especially in the luxury residential race, New York can push ahead and top the charts in terms of real estate investment.


Brexit is not good news for real estate investors and developers in the U.K. Although nothing will change until 2018, the U.K. property market will suffer from prolonged uncertainty, according to industry experts.


“It is little early to see what the effects would be,” said Shaun Osher, founder and CEO of CORE, a real estate firm in New York. “But it may have a positive effect on New York City, which is considered the number one safe haven.”


According to Osher, New York is not a speculative market like some other major cities and it is one of the strongest global investments, which has historically outperformed most markets.


“New York real estate would definitely become a more attractive option for a lot of foreign buyers,” said Sofia Song, executive vice president of data & research at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “It is especially appealing to the buyers in countries whose currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar, like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.”


London has always been an alternative to New York but the introduction of a 3 percent stamp duty surcharge on second homes in the U.K. in April has already weighed down investor interest, according to Song. “And now Brexit has added an immeasurable level of uncertainty to the market,” she said.


Despite uncertainties, the falling pound will make the U.K. real estate market very attractive to overseas investors, who look for bargain hunting. Particularly London’s luxury property market would become a much more attractive investment, according to Song.


“With the U.S. interest rates remaining low, and economists predicting an impending recession in the U.K., the immediate impact could definitely be a much-heightened interest for the New York real estate,” said Aleksandra Scepanovic, founder and managing director of Ideal Properties. “However, if the pound continues to slide the New York properties could become less attractive due to their rising prices and the pound losing value against the dollar.”


Some experts fear a severe initial correction in the U.K. property market. That is why U.K. house builders and real estate firms deeply rooted in the English economy took a big hit with the Brexit vote.


The country’s four major housebuilders, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Barratt, and Berkeley, have lost as much as 30 percent of their value since the referendum on June 23. About 6.5 billion pounds ($8.7 billion) has been wiped off their market values.


London focused real estate agent Foxtons issued a profit warning on June 27. The company’s shares dropped 23 percent after it warned that its 2016 revenues and profits would be significantly lower than last year. The company expects a “significant uncertainty” in the London residential markets caused by the Brexit.


In May, Chancellor George Osborne warned that property values would be affected if Britain voted to leave the European Union. He projected the immediate economic shock would cause house prices to fall between 10 percent and 18 percent by 2018.


“Whenever there is an unforeseen or unexpected political or social change in any city, people become very cautious but I think in the long term London will remain a solid contender in the global economy,” Osher said.

Former Loft of Artist Bill Alpert Hits the Market for $3.1M

6sqftJune 28, 2016

Here’s a rare opportunity to own a Soho loft that was the longtime home of an artist–most of the artist apartments of the 60s and 70s have since changed hands. This apartment at 64 Grand Street belonged to Bill Alpert, who was known for his abstract paintings and lived here from 1967 until his death last year. It is very much a raw space, with the original hardwood floors, exposed ceiling pipes, a fire escape view and walls high enough to hang nothing but artwork. We can’t imagine the price for it back in 1968, but now it’s asking just a hair over $3 million. 


Any buyer will have an impressive 2,150 square feet to work with, not to mention three exposures and 10-foot ceilings. It’s a big enough room, the listing suggests, to be transformed into a two- or three-bedroom apartment. 


The open kitchen is no frills, and is definitely not the focus of any true artist apartment. Before Soho was re-zoned for residential use, in fact, artists could only set up hot plates in their illegal warehouse conversions. 


Despite this apartment being one long, narrow space, you’re getting great light from large windows at either end.


There’s an iconic NYC fire escape view from one end of the apartment. 64 Grand Street–located in the Cast Iron Historic District–is a seven-story brick building that was constructed in the early 20th century. It has since been converted to 17 co-ops, and we bet this is the last remaining “raw” artist loft of the bunch.

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