News

Open House

NBC4March 23, 2014
Sara Gore hosts this week’s segment of “Open House NYC” from this Chelsea duplex loft at 131 West 24th Street.

Social Media Spotlight: 7 Great Digital Marketing Tools for Real Estate

Leverage Global PartnersMarch 22, 2014
A social media presence is essential to today’s real estate business. Yes, face-to-face meetings and interpersonal interactions between agents and clients are vital, but social media can provide realtors and their companies with more business and networking opportunities than ever before.

Our Leverage partners are actively engaged in social media marketing. By utilizing the wide range of digital marketing tools available, our partners are able to showcase their personalities and reach an even wider range of potential clients.

Check out these 7 great digital marketing tools for real estate and explore how our Leverage Partners are using them:

Are Open Houses Obsolete?

AOL Real EstateMarch 21, 2014
Listing agents often argue that in our digital world, open houses are a waste of time. The majority of people who attend are nosy neighbors, 'looky-loos,' or other types of tire-kickers. Instead, their argument goes, serious buyers today don't want to wait for an open house. When someone likes a home's online photos, he or she will make an appointment to see the property during the week. So is it time to close the book on open houses? Not at all.

Home Sellers, Do You Place Your Trust in St. Joseph?

Realty Biz NewsMarch 19, 2014
Some home owners have long believed that a statue of St. Joseph buried in their yard can help bring about good luck with a quick sale. But a new study suggests that home owners tend to put that trust more in down markets than up markets.

With St. Joseph’s Day coming up on Wednesday, Spread Sheet asked Catholic Supply of St. Louis Inc., which sells real estate-related St. Joseph items, to analyze sales of St. Joseph products over the past five years. The data was then paired with the National Association of Realtors’ median sale price data for existing homes.

Sales of St. Joseph statues tend to rise when the market is down, Lara Traina, director of marketing and Web management at Catholic Supply, told The Wall Street Journal.

For example, from 2009 to 2010, home prices were stagnant and the number of sales of St. Joseph statues nearly more than doubled. However, when home-sale prices began to rise recently, St. Joseph statue sales started to fall.

Phil Cates, a mortgage banker and founder of online store StJosephStatue.com, says, “Our heyday of sales was in 2006, which happens to be near the top of the real-estate market.” Cates says sales have since dropped 50 percent since 2006, partially because of increased competition among other supply companies.

Elizabeth Kee, a real estate professional with CORE Group in New York City, told the Journal that she always carries half a dozen small St. Joseph medallions in her purse and places them everywhere in apartments she sells, from the potted plants to behind the radiators.

“Some sellers get weirded out, so sometimes I tell owners and sometimes I don’t,” Kee says. “If I have a feeling it won’t go over well, I’ll bury it in front of their building.”

Tough Market? Turn to a Higher Power

Realtor MagMarch 18, 2014
Some home owners have long believed that a statue of St. Joseph buried in their yard can help bring about good luck with a quick sale. But a new study suggests that home owners tend to put that trust more in down markets than up markets.

With St. Joseph’s Day coming up on Wednesday, Spread Sheet asked Catholic Supply of St. Louis Inc., which sells real estate-related St. Joseph items, to analyze sales of St. Joseph products over the past five years. The data was then paired with the National Association of REALTORS®' median sale price data for existing homes.

Sales of St. Joseph statues tend to rise when the market is down, Lara Traina, director of marketing and Web management at Catholic Supply, told The Wall Street Journal.

For example, from 2009 to 2010, home prices were stagnant and the number of sales of St. Joseph statues nearly more than doubled. However, when home-sale prices began to rise recently, St. Joseph statue sales started to fall.

Phil Cates, a mortgage banker and founder of online store StJosephStatue.com, says, “Our heyday of sales was in 2006, which happens to be near the top of the real-estate market.” Cates says sales have since dropped 50 percent since 2006, partially because of increased competition among other supply companies.

Elizabeth Kee, a real estate professional with CORE Group in New York City, told the Journal that she always carries half a dozen small St. Joseph medallions in her purse and places them everywhere in apartments she sells, from the potted plants to behind the radiators.

"Some sellers get weirded out, so sometimes I tell owners and sometimes I don't," Kee says. "If I have a feeling it won't go over well, I'll bury it in front of their building."

House of the Day: 252 Carlton Avenue

BrownstonerMarch 13, 2014
This estate sale at 252 Carlton Avenue in Fort Greene is an imposing Italianate with grand proportions and ornate ceilings. The rooms shown appear to be in nearly perfect condition but there are only three and no photos of kitchens or baths. The listing says the mechanicals have been upgraded but the house needs restoration. It is configured as a triplex over a garden rental. What do you think of it and the $2,595,000 ask?

Bless Our Happy Home Sale

The Wall Street JournalMarch 13, 2014
Traditionally, Joseph, the husband of Mary, is hailed as the patron saint of home and family. Some believe that burying a statue of St. Joseph in the yard helps sell a house.

In honor of St. Joseph's Day on March 19, Spread Sheet asked Catholic Supply of St. Louis Inc., a religious-goods store with three locations in St. Louis, to break down sales of St. Joseph products over the past five years. The data were paired with median sale prices for existing homes compiled by the National Association of Realtors.


In general, sales of St. Joseph statues tend to rise when the market sours, says Lara Traina, director of marketing and web management at Catholic Supply. From 2009 to 2010, when home prices were stagnant, the number of sales of St. Joseph statues slightly more than doubled. When home-sale prices began to creep back up, St. Joseph statue sales dropped.

Catholic Supply offers six real-estate-related St. Joseph items and dozens more statues. "It's probably our No. 1 item in our store," Ms. Traina says. The company says it serves parishes all over the U.S., as well as world-wide. At a high point in one recent year, Catholic Supply sold nearly 10,000 statues and kits in stores and online, she says.

The St. Joseph Home Selling Kit comes with a 3.5-inch plastic statue and laminated prayer card. It costs $6.95—less if bought in bulk. Ms. Traina adds that real-estate brokerages that purchase kits for their agents make up a large part of sales.

Phil Cates, a mortgage banker and founder of online store StJosephStatue.com in 1996, sees statue sales ebb and flow with the housing market. "Our heyday of sales was in 2006, which happens to be near the top of the real-estate market," says Mr. Cates, who stepped down as head of the company last year.
Sales dropped 50% since 2006, partly due to increased competition among supply companies, he adds.

Here is how it works: Bury a St. Joseph statue upside-down in your yard, facing toward the for-sale house. After the house sells, the seller is supposed to dig up the statue and place it in a spot of honor in their new home.

The details are debated. Some say the St. Joseph statue should be buried right-side up; others advise burying it by the for-sale sign for easy retrieval.

But Ms. Traina waves the details aside. "We really do emphasize that it's the belief in St. Joseph and your prayer that really matters," she says.

Even in stronger market cycles, some agents won't give up the faith.

Elizabeth Kee, an agent with Core in New York City, carries half a dozen thumb-size St. Joseph medallions in her purse at all times.

She places the medallions in nearly every apartment—in herb gardens and potted plants, on window sills and even behind radiators.

And for sellers who are on the fence, tough luck. "Some sellers get weirded out, so sometimes I tell owners and sometimes I don't," she says. "If I have a feeling it won't go over well, I'll bury it in front of their building."

House of the Day: 252 Carlton Avenue This

BrownstonerMarch 13, 2014

This estate sale at 252 Carlton Avenue in Fort Greene is an imposing Italianate with grand proportions and ornate ceilings. The rooms shown appear to be in nearly perfect condition but there are only three and no photos of kitchens or baths. The listing says the mechanicals have been upgraded but the house needs restoration. It is configured as a triplex over a garden rental. What do you think of it and the $2,595,000 ask?

10 Real Estate-Related Twitter Accounts to Follow

The Real DealMarch 12, 2014
If used correctly, Twitter can be an important way to share real estate news and trends while building one’s brand. Here are 10 accounts that get it.

Listing of the Day: 99-34 67th Road, #3B

Brownstoner QueensMarch 10, 2014
This one-bedroom condo is up for sale in Forest Hills, in the Wainwright building at 99-34 67th Road. It’s a prewar building, so there are some prewar features in the apartment, but it looks mostly modernized with built-in bookcases and recessed lighting. The best part about this pad is that it’s large for a one bedroom, coming in at 920 square feet. There’s a breakfast alcove off the kitchen as well as dedicated living and dining areas. So what’s the asking price? $419,000.

Brooklyn Townhouse Roundup: Greek Revival Townhouse in Brooklyn Heights Asks $7.3M

CurbedMarch 09, 2014
Up next is this huge, 4,100-square-foot townhouse in Fort Greene. The place was built in 1864, and while it definitely needs a lot of work, the historic details are pretty impressive. There are 13-foot ceilings, ornate plaster moldings and medallions, original woodwork and flooring, pocket doors, and mantels, plus what look like some very nice chandeliers. It's asking $2.595 million.

NYC's Premier Properties: 845 United Nations Plaza, 32A

Luxury Listings NYCMarch 01, 2014
845 United Nations Plaza, 32A in Turtle Bay
$25,000,000

Res Round-Up: Maggie Kent

Mann Report ResidentialMarch 01, 2014
Maggie Kent
CORE

How long have you been in the business?
I've been in the real estate business for 10 years.

What made you decide to get into real estate?
I grew up in the industry. When it came to New York City real estate, I discovered a true passion for the business and love being challenged by the dynamics of it.

@NYCRealEstate: Social Media Status Update

The Real DealMarch 01, 2014
In July, Halstead Property broker Jill Sloane wrote a post on the brokerage’s popular Tumblr page titled “10 things you didn’t know about the Ansonia.” Sloane compiled a list of historical tidbits about the Upper West Side condominium, including its status as the first air-conditioned hotel in the city and its cameo in Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning film, “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

A prospective buyer came across the post and reached out to Sloane. The two are now working together to find a unit, according to Matthew Leone, director of web marketing and social media at Halstead parent Terra Holdings.

“Real estate companies should be like politicians and act as ambassadors of the community,” Leone said, pointing to social media — a blanket term for online community-focused tools such as Facebook and Twitter — as a powerful tool to achieve this goal.

In the last three years, social media has gone from being a bit player in New York real estate to a central component of a firm’s marketing and branding strategy. Most of the city’s top residential brokerages have made big bets on social platforms, hiring dedicated teams to run social media operations, brainstorming ways to stand out with their content and training their brokers in the art of engagement. And the ones who haven’t are catching up fast.

Commercial firms have been slower to the draw, but they too are now racking up followers across many social platforms.

Warburg Realty president Frederick Peters, who pens a weekly blog about his views on real estate, said the posts are a strong driver of business for his agents. “It provides the firm with a particular kind of credibility,” he said, noting that the four-year-old blog gets about 1 million page views per year.

Individual brokers who build a social media brand can also reap rewards. Douglas Elliman broker and “Million Dollar Listing” star Fredrik Eklund, who has about 200,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter and photo-sharing app Instagram, estimates that social media is responsible for almost a quarter of his business.

“There are actual transactions coming through,” he said. “People will comment on a post [showcasing a listing] saying, ‘This is perfect for us!’ and then they tag their husband or wife.”

Real Estate's Rising Stars

The Real DealMarch 01, 2014
It takes time to earn your chops in New York real estate. The learning curve is steep, and the market demands both skills and connections. Most of the industry’s household names, on both the residential and commercial side — with the exception of real estate scions like Jared Kushner, Justin Elghanayan and a handful of others — are at least well into their 40s. But there are always ambitious young guns rising to the top of the industry.

This month, The Real Deal talked to dozens of sources to get a sense of who in the 35-and-under crowd is making waves in the industry. In 2011, we featured the young “Moguls in the Making,” such as Douglas Elliman’s Oren Alexander and Benchmark Real Estate Group’s Jordan Vogel and Aaron Feldman in a similar feature. But now there’s a new batch of players to choose from, so we once again sorted through the prospects and came up with a fresh crop of hotshots.

Read on to find out who they are, and what makes them stand out.

West Village People

SCENE MagazineMarch 01, 2014
Entry into the West Village is not just limited by its expensive real estate but also the diagonal and maze-like nature of the streets. The zigzags, loops and slanted avenues are enough to make your head spin, and even the most veteran New Yorkers find themselves relying on taxis to navigate the streets. But for those brave enough to venture through the labyrinth, a wonderful world awaits with some of the finest real estate in New York.

“The West Village is a very friendly place, like a sophisticated small town. People actually talk to each other in elevators, on the streets, in the cafés and restaurants,” says Debra Kameros, a licensed associate real estate broker at Douglas Elliman, about the culture and feel of the West Village. The beautiful, tree-lined blocks of historic townhouses and converted former warehouses and commercial buildings have all contributed to the “best possible combination of peaceful and serene surroundings,” she adds.

“People fall in love with its cozy streets and historic, low-rise buildings, and there are so many charming boutiques and restaurants,” says Ariel Cohen, the founder of the Ariel Cohen Team at Douglas Elliman. “In many ways, it resembles London’s Chelsea neighborhood.”

New Developments on the Market

The Corcoran Group is leading development on Village Green West at 245 West 14th Street, an area that blends the best elements of the Meatpacking District, Chelsea and the West Village.

“Most importantly, Village Green West is targeting LEED Gold certification, which ensures that residents will be living in a healthy environment,” says Michael Namer, the chief executive officer and founder of Alfa Development.

The 12-story building initially launched its sales at the start of the year, marketing its 27 residences between $1.3 million and $11 million. Each of the residences achieves an old New York aesthetic with industrial brick facades, iron detailing and black steel-paned windows. Completion and occupancy is slated to start at the turn of the new year.

“Because of the demand for purchasing and renting in the West Village, it is unlikely that we will see decreases in price throughout the neighborhood,” says Erin Stabb of Town. “The purchase of new condos continues to soar, especially toward the Hudson River.”
A few blocks away, the Printing House West Village at 421 Hudson Street has received substantial interest in its recent conversion. Nearly a century ago, the building was allocated to the printing industry and deeded by Queen Anne of England to Trinity Church, one of Manhattan’s largest landlords, to occupy the space. The building was then transformed into residential units in the late 1970s and then again in 1980, with 80 of the 184 units selling over the years.

Myles Horn of ABC Properties, Belvedere Capital Management and Angelo, Gordon & Co bought the remaining units and converted them to 64 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom homes. The asking rent for the uniquely designed spaces will range from $2.1 million to $6.5 million. The building lacks the common amenity of a gym, but the landlords inked a deal with Equinox to offer its state-of-the-art training facilities, rooftop pool and a sun deck.

“The Printing House just went through a major overhaul. Apartments have been turned into glamorous show-stopping homes,” said Jocelyn Turken of Warburg Realty. “It’s a building with a fun history and gorgeous apartments you can move into tomorrow.”

A short distance away, Greenwich Lane is reimagining living in the West Village with its five buildings and five townhouses centered around a 15,000 square foot private garden off 12th Street. Each of the buildings vary in size—one of which holds nine residences, another has 12, and one even has 58—but all have the same amenities that come with luxury residences.

“Our buyers are attracted to the Greenwich Lane because of this unique dichotomy: the ability to live in a boutique, West Village building but have the amenities of a much larger building,” says Justin D’Adamo, the managing director of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. “A resident can live in a building with only eight other neighbors but have the private amenities of a large fitness center, a 25-meter pool, steam and massage rooms, a golf simulator, a lounge, a dining room, a demonstration kitchen, a screening room and a children’s playroom.”

Pricing starts at a little more than $2 million for one-bedrooms and increases through five-bedrooms at $12.5 million. “The Greenwich Lane is at the eastern edge of the Greenwich Village Historic District looking over the low-rise, mostly protected buildings to the west,” D’Adamo adds. “This preservation of views is a significant draw to our buyers.”

Where do you go from the West Village?

It’s hard to find fault in such a desired neighborhood. Similar to the Greenwich Village, gentrification and revitalization has been long on its way with only a few plots of land that have not been developed. “There isn’t a lot of land to build new construction on, and anything that is built will be required to adhere to historic district rules, so the flavor of the area is unlikely to ever change,” explains Turken.

“I think you will see every garage, every run-down house, every empty lot turned into ultra luxury housing,” say Robin and Jeremy Stein of the Stein Team at Sotheby’s International Realty.

The pair further supported Turken’s statement, noting that as long as the landmarks stick to their guns, then the architecture will not change. Some even attribute the growing demand for the West Village to the surrounding areas.

“The growth of the Meatpacking District and the opening of the Whitney Museum and High Line all contribute to the trends we are seeing in this area. People are flocking to the area,” mentions Steve Snider of CORE. “The rental market also continues to be very strong with low inventory.”

“The reality for most is that once they are in the West Village and get settled, they do not feel the the need to move,” he continues. “Where do you go from the West Village?”

It Takes a Greenwich Village

SCENE MagazineMarch 01, 2014
It is hard to imagine that the Washington Square Arch, which draws its influence from the Arc de Triomphe in France and has become an iconic symbol for both Greenwich Village and New York University, was defaced with graffiti and vandalism 30 years ago. The sweeping changes that revitalized New York in the early 1990s cleaned off and polished its glistening Tuckahoe marble hue and transformed the neighborhood. The area around the monument and Washington Square Park is referred to as the Gold Coast for its Greek Revival townhouses, the decadent condominiums along Waverly Place and the last bit of Fifth Avenue that runs from Union Square to its end on the northern side of the park.

“The gentrification we live amongst was already in full swing by 2004,” remarks Robin Stein, working alongside Jeremy Stein on the Stein Team of Sotheby’s International Realty. “But over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a filling in of the gaps.”

“That stretch along Seventh Avenue, which was once a bit unappealing with ambulances idling, will soon be a very sought-after stretch,” continues Stein. “This sort of sums up a facet of change in the Village: an unsightly hospital, which served the entire neighborhood, along with many neighboring ones, is being replaced with high-end housing, marking a change for the better for anyone looking for a great apartment to buy.”

“Greenwich Village has always been known as the Mecca of the art scene, where many talented musicians, actors and writers began their careers. The population and neighborhood as a whole have experienced immense changes with the construction of many high-end condominiums, making it one of New York’s most expensive zip codes,” adds Emily Beare, a broker at Core. “However, the community still remains very strong in trying to preserve its identity of being a free-living and liberal area.”

With Great Art Comes Great Housing

Pricing is steep, with a simple two-bedroom along lower Fifth Avenue hovering in the $2.5 million range, Stein notes. “Housing in Greenwich Village is comprised mostly of townhouses and co-op buildings, and in recent years, more condominiums have been built or converted.”

“The trend for larger apartments has driven owners and developers to convert multifamily townhouses back to their original splendor as single family homes,” says Lyon Porter, a sales and leasing director at Town Greenwich Village and Town Soho. “The exciting part of this is that they improve on the original floor plans and add floor area ratio wherever possible, so you see town houses with pools in the basement, glass backs and amazing amenities that weren’t even imagined 100 years ago. These can sell for $30 million or rent for $125,000 a month right off Fifth Avenue in the Gold Coast.”

Between Fifth Avenue and University Place, 12 East 13th Street has started its marketing campaign. The building, which was originally built in 1930, had previously functioned as a 45,000-square-foot Hertz parking garage. A joint venture between DHA Capital and Continental Properties decided to convert the entire building to eight luxury homes.

“The building allowed the developers to enhance a beautiful and solid structure with modern and distinctive features,” says Dan Hollander, a managing principal at DHA Capital. “It originally had eight floors, and now it will have 12, after a beautiful four-story glass structure is added to the top of the building.”

The upper three floors of the glass structure will comprise the crowning triplex penthouse. Five of the eight residences, including the triplex, will hit the market this year. Sales are listed in the $7.5-million-to-$18.95-million range for former sets of apartments, with the penthouse hitting the market for $30.5 million. 12 East 13th Street will also house a parking floor, operated by Park Plus, which commands robots to retrieve their cars in 90 seconds.

NYU and the Neighborhood

Calling Greenwich Village home, New York University has had a strong presence in the area since its founding in 1831. The university is one of the city’s largest real estate landlords and owns many buildings in the area, including a freshman dormitory on Fifth Avenue and several row houses for faculty and offices on the Gold Coast.

The school has also initiated plans to revitalize some of its property under a massive expansion plan called NYU 2031. It is difficult to understand the current and full scope of the plan, as every detail of it has been protested by Greenwich Village residents, NYU professors, city council members and even notable celebrities. Opinions regarding its effect on real estate in the area are just as varied among industry professionals.

“New York University brings in over 50,000 students to the community and about 18,000 employees,” notes Beare regarding the university’s contribution in the area. “The community [also] has a strong voice, and I believe they will work with NYU to come up with a solution that will satisfy both parties.”
“The school plays a huge role in the community, and the expansion is going to add a lot of value to the Village South,” adds Porter. “As an alumnus, I believe that they are adding a lot of value in regards to jobs. Judging by aesthetics, the plans look to be the most forward-thinking in the history of NYU’s expansion.”

“NYU keeps the neighborhood honest and grounded, in my opinion,” says Stein. “The entire village would become housing for the wealthy.” A few at the Marketing Directors added to the sentiment, noting that parents have also bought condominiums in the area for their children to live and hold for investments.

Day in the Life of: Emily Beare

The Real DealMarch 01, 2014
The top-producing CORE broker talks about a new wave of South African investors, pre-dawn Central Park strolls and planning two weddings.

NYC's Premier Properties: 241 Fifth Avenue, 20PH

Luxury Listings NYCMarch 01, 2014
241 Fifth Avenue, 20PH in the Flatiron District
$9,750,000

NYC's Premier Properties: 131 West 24th Street, 5-6 in Chelsea

Luxury Listings NYCMarch 01, 2014
131 West 24th Street, 5-6 in Chelsea
$5,000,000

NYC's Premier Properties: 419 East 57th, PHAB

Luxury Listings NYCMarch 01, 2014
419 East 57th, PHAB in Sutton Place
$6,995,000

Private Home Tour to Celebrate The March of Dimes

Mann Report ResidentialMarch 01, 2014
CORE's Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon hosted a private cocktail event benefiting March of Dimes at the home of legendary Grammy award winner David Sanborn and his wife Sofia.

Which Chelsea Condo Would You Drop $1.85 Million On?

CurbedFebruary 27, 2014
Imagine you have around $1,850,000 to spend on a place and you've narrowed it down to two apartments in the same neighborhood. How do you make up your mind? The answer is simple: you shove them into a metaphorical cage and let them battle it out until one emerges victorious. It's time for Real Estate Deathmatch.
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