The Real EstalkerJune 13, 2013
SELLER: David Sanborn
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: (approx.) 5,500 square feet*, 4-5 bedrooms, 3 full and 2 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama first saw the listing on the internet but the lightening fast property gossips at the Daily News were the first to chat up the New York City townhouse owned by five-time Grammy-winning alto saxophonist David Sanborn and (re-)listed this week with a $12,000,000 asking price.
This is not the first time Mister Sanborn and his missus, Sofia, have been to the real estate rodeo with their fully updated and upgraded turn of the 20th century townhouse located mid-block on a lovely, tree-canopied street just off busy-busy Broadway on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The legendary single reed woodwind blower and his educator wife listed the townhouse on the open market in September 2010 with a nine million dollar price tag. Several months later the price dropped to $8.45 million and in August 2011, for reasons Your Mama ain't privy, the well-maintained urban mini-manse was taken off the market.
We aren't exactly sure why the Sanborns and their team of moving and shaking real estate agents think the townhouse can now be sold for more than $3.5 million more than the reduced price it failed to sell for two years ago. Then again, children, business is quite brisk in the upper tiers of the property market in Manhattan and there is—some of y'all have surely heard it before—a certain school of converse real estate logic that suggests that if a high end house fails to sell at a certain price it sometimes and strangely becomes more desirable to deep pocketed buyers if the asking price is substantially increased. Don't scoff and pout and stomp your indignant feet, kittens. Believe it or not, this trick o' the trade isn't always effective but it works far more often than you might imagine or real estate agents would stop doing it. Anyhoo...
The 19-foot wide red brick and brownstone townhouse was originally built in (or around) 1900, according to current marketing materials, and was custom converted from a five unit multi-unit building to a single family residence by Mister and Missus Sanborn who bought it, according to the Daily News, more than 25 years for an unrevealed sum from an unidentified opera singer.
Current listing information shows the (unfortunately elevator-free) five-plus floor brownstone-type townhouse has a total of 13 rooms that include 4-5 bedrooms, depending on use, plus three full and two half bathrooms. Floor plans show half a dozen fireplaces (kitchen, parlor, living room, one guest bedroom, the master bedroom, and the music studio) although the listing description isn't specific about which of the four of them work.
A classic stoop that makes Your Mama ache at our very core with Big Apple nostalgia climbs to the parlor floor where the rehabbed interiors retain many original architectural details and features. There are intricate inlaid parquet floors, almost grand 11-foot-8-inch ceilings, meticulous mill work, and crown moldings. A narrow sitting room off the foyer overlooks the street while a larger living room at the rear of the residence benefits from a more serene garden view and an exquisite all-oak coffered ceiling that's original to the house. Mister Sanborn reportedly used the wee library beyond the living room as a meditation lounge.
The garden level kitchen has both wide-plank wood and stone tile flooring plus custom-crafted Shaker-style cabinets, some sort of stone or solid surface counter tops, a large center island with vegetable sink and snack counter, and high-quality commercial-style appliances. An adjoining breakfast room connects through to a 35-foot deep walled garden with foliage-ringed brick dining terrace. Also on the garden level are second, under the stoop entrance, a guest or staff bedroom that does not have a private bathroom and instead makes use of a nearby three-quarter hall bathroom off the laundry room. There's a full basement, which is fantastic for storage, but the floor plan shows it has but a 6'4" high ceiling height so it's not exactly the best spot for the next wildly wealthy owners to add a media room or fitness studio.
Two equally sized guest/family bedrooms on the third floor share a Jack 'n' Jill style bathroom. One of the bedrooms—listing photographs indicate Mister Sanborn uses it as a den—has a pocket door that slides open to reveal a cozy office/study. Both of the bedrooms have a shockingly stingy amount of closet space that would be barely adequate for weekend guests—never make 'em too comfortable, right?—but an out and out toy and clothing storage nightmare for a resident child or teenager. Think, puppies, about how many pairs of shoes and designer sunglasses a 16 year old New Yorker with wickedly rich parents is likely to have.
The master suite, a proper retreat that encompasses the entire fourth floor, has a comfortably-sized bedroom with a fireplace and direct access to a small, private terrace that peers through the trees over the the surrounding buildings' storage unit-sized backyards. A well-equipped (and windowless) galley-style bathroom connects the bedroom to an enviably spacious dressing room lined with built-in wardrobes.
Mister Sanborn old the peeps at the Daily News he'd recorded half a dozen albums in the 52-foot long, open-plan penthouse level recording studio that's painstakingly soundproofed so as not to disturb the neighbors. He said, in fact, that fire crackers we're set off in the space to test the heavy duty soundproofing. One end of the loft-like space has a fireplace and lounge area while the other has a jumbled plethora of musical instruments beneath a massive sky light. A half bathroom is convenient if not exactly as private as Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter might prefer.
Mister and Missus Sanborn plan to maintain a (smaller) residence in Manhattan but, according to the Daily News are also shopping for a house in the country.
*Listing information from 2010-11 show the townhouse has about 6,800 square feet, the Tax Man's records put it at 5,529 square feet and Your Mama calculates it comes in at around 4,700 square feet, give or take a couple hundred square feet.
Listing photos and floor plan: CORE
Zillow BlogJune 13, 2013
Out of the shadows he emerges, sax in hand, dark sunglasses shading his face. Not loud or intrusive, David Sanborn’s cool demeanor sets the tone for the smooth notes he’s about to play.
The six-time Grammy winner seems at home on a dimly lit stage, or in his 20th-century brownstone in Lincoln Square. Much like the music flowing from his saxophone, Sanborn’s home speaks for itself: modern yet classic, grand yet unassuming.
Located at 135 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023 on one of the Upper West Side’s handsomest row of townhouses, the place is now on the market for a cool $12 million. Measuring 19 feet wide, it looks modest from the street, but with 13 rooms, it’s anything but small.
The townhouse has been renovated with a well-appointed chef’s kitchen and spa-like baths. Its early 1900s character also remains with original millwork, coffered ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces and period-centric chandeliers in nearly every room.
But perhaps the most fitting room for the musician, who earned a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental Performance with his single “All I Need Is You,” is the top-floor music studio. “We went to great lengths to build the soundproof studio,” Sandborn said in a NY Daily News report. “We blew off firecrackers to test it. No one heard a thing.”
According to reports, Sanborn has lived in the area since he moved to New York City in the early ’70s. In that time, he has played jazz shows at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Time Warner Center and been seen shopping and eating at local establishments.
Sanborn recently released a new album, “Quartette Humaine,” which he recorded with pianist Bob James. The listing is held by Tom Postilio, Mickey Conlon and Shaun Osher of CORE.
New York Daily NewsJune 12, 2013
Saxophonist David Sanborn’s living room in his upper West Side brownstone has original coffered ceilings made of 100-year old oak. The house is on the market for $12 million.
Saxophonist David Sanborn’s home is as smooth as his jazz. The six-time Grammy winner put his upper West Side townhouse on the market for a cool $12 million.
With two outdoor spaces, original wood paneling, stained glass, coffered ceilings and leather and wood furniture, the $12 million house is understated and comfortable.
Sanborn, 67, uses the library as a meditation room. He recorded six albums in the 20-by-55-foot top-floor music studio with leaded soundproof sheetrock and oversized skylights. He and his wife, Sofia, a teacher, have lived in the house off Columbus Ave. and West 69th Street for almost 25 years.
“I’m in the hub of New York City near Lincoln Center, Central Park, and all these subways, but when I’m in the house it’s like a quiet refuge,” said Sanborn, who is on a world tour for his new album, Quartette Humaine, with pianist Bob James. “We went to great lengths to build the soundproof studio. We blew off firecrackers to test it. No one heard a thing.”
Sanborn digs the area. It’s the first place he moved when he arrived in New York City in the early 1970s. He hits jazz shows at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Time Warner Center, shops at Trader Joe’s on 72nd St., and dines time-to-time at Ocean Grill. By Sanborn’s count, he’s friends with 30 of his neighbors.
The musician converted the home across the tree-lined street from The Day School from a five-unit building owned by an opera singer to a single-family home. The coffered ceiling in the living room is original to the 1890s classic brownstone.
“When we stripped it down we found this 100 year-old golden oak that felt like butter,” said the Missouri-raised musician who has played with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, neighbor Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder. “With all the light the house gets, the ceiling glows.”
A loyal friend, Sanborn gave the listing to Shaun Osher, the founder of CORE and a fellow alto saxophonist. Osher met Sanborn in a sax repair shop on 48th Street 20 years ago when he arrived in New York, penniless, from South Africa.
“He was my idol,” said Osher. “We talked, played a little, and went over his house. He’s the real deal. A truly good soul.”
The house, according to real estate executive, has a similar energy.
“It’s got this great comfortable vibe but at the same time some of the greatest musicians of all time climbed the stairs to that loft music studio,” said Osher. “You feel that when you’re there.”
Sanborn and his wife, who have Chihuahuas named Miles (after Davis) and Lucy, are looking for a house in the country.
“I’ll always keep a place in the city,” said Sanborn. “We don’t need this much house anymore.”
CORE super broker team of Tom Postilio and Mickey Conlon share the listing. Stars of HGTV’s Selling New York, the two feel the magic in the house.
“It all begins and ends with the fact that David Sanborn is a jazz man,” said Postilio, an acclaimed cabaret singer. “That’s about as real as you can get.”
New York PostJune 12, 2013
Ellen Burstyn is 80, but that hasn’t stopped her from scoping out real estate.
The Oscar/Tony-winning actress, who’s been in everything from “The Exorcist” to Broadway’s “Same Time, Next Year,” recently visited a two-bedroom, two-bathroom rental apartment at 515 W. 23rd St. that’s listed for $12,000 a month. The fourth-floor West Chelsea loft is 1,870 square feet and features a library/media area and a chef’s kitchen with a wine refrigerator. There’s also a “wet room” featuring a Boffi Swim bathtub and floor-to-ceiling glass with operable windows and shades for privacy.
Core listing brokers Susan Rubell and Reba Miller declined to comment.
Ottawa CitizenJune 12, 2013
Why, it’s saxophonist David Sanborn, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday in this lavishly illustrated story.
The paper’s Jason Sheftell reports that Sanborn and his wife have lived at the townhouse off Columbus Avenue and West 69th Street for 25 years. Sanborn has achieved some fine work-life balancing there, having recorded six albums in his townhouse’s top-floor music studio.
My favourite line in the story: “Sanborn and his wife, who have Chihuahuas named Miles (after Davis) and Lucy, are looking for a house in the country.”
Sanborn plays in Confederation Park with a quartet that he co-leads with pianist Bob James on June 24 at 8:30 p.m.
Domaine HomeJune 10, 2013
Bungalux founder Alex Brunkhorst shares her house-buying tips, and shows us what a million dollars will buy you in the nation’s style capitals.
When it comes to real estate, our go-to guru is LA-based agent and founder of our favorite vicarious house-hunting site Bungalux, Alex Brunkhorst. We asked Brunkhorst to share some of her wisdom, and use her keen eye to canvas the country for real estate gems that come in at under a million—which, yes, we know, is still a serious chunk of change. She delivered. Read on for her valuable tips, and her expert read on some seriously tempting listings. (We’re packing our bags for Savannah.)
Alex’s Dos and Don’ts of House Hunting
1. Real estate’s like dating: You have to know where you’re willing to compromise, and where you’re not. I ask my clients to write a list of their three-to-four “must-have” criteria (bedroom count, location) and allow the rest to be fair game for compromise.
2. Don’t buy the nicest house on the block. As far as advice goes, this is an oldie but goodie.
3. Do think resale value. If you have to sell your house relatively quickly in the future—because there’s a baby on the way, or a job transfer to Ohio in the works—the things you overlooked may be the things that others don’t. Some incurable defects that may affect resale: A busy location, split bedrooms, a poor school system, lack of a yard, and rundown houses next-door.
4. Try to bring your harshest critic to see the house before you purchase. That friend of yours who tells you that jeggings aren’t for you is also the one who will point out that your daughter could really use a bedroom. Real estate can be emotional, so it’s good to bring some objectivity into the mix.
5. Enjoy the process. Someday you’ll miss hanging out on Zillow and Trulia for days on end. Promise.
ARCHITECTURAL IN ECHO PARK
1874 MORTON AVENUE
Location: Echo Park, Los Angeles, California
Listing type: Single family
Year built: 1905
Bragging rights: Cool location close to Dodger Stadium.
Amazing amenity: Great outdoor entertaining area.
Professional opinion: Silver Lake and Echo Park have been much-buzzed-about for some time, but this neighborhood is only getting hotter.
SUNNY TRADITIONAL NEW JERSEY TUDOR
151 HIGHLAND AVENUE
Location: Montclair, New Jersey
Listing type: Single family
Year built: 1927
Bragging rights: Radiant heat in a marble bath is today’s ultimate luxury.
Amazing amenity: City views without city prices.
Professional opinion: The ‘burbs get a bad rap, but I like this one because there’s something very Revolutionary Road about it—in a not-depressing way, of course.
LOFT LIVING IN TRIBECA
93 WORTH STREET
Location: Tribeca, New York City, New York
Listing type: Condo
Bragging rights: Tribeca, Tribeca, Tribeca. Enough said.
Amazing amenity: The location.
Professional opinion: Okay, so maybe it’s a little small. Though with Downtown at your doorstep, who wants to be indoors anyways?
BROWNSTONE ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE
204 WEST 78TH STREET, 3A
Location: Upper West Side, New York City, New York
Listing type: Co-op
Year built: 1910
Bragging rights: Close to Central Park.
Amazing amenity: The exposed brick walls.
Professional opinion: Manhattan brownstone prices are stratospheric, but this listing allows you to own part of a brownstone without the $10 million price tag.
TONY AND TRADITIONAL IN DALLAS
4402 RAWLINS STREET
Location: Dallas, Texas
Listing type: Single family
Year built: 1927
Bragging rights: Modern living that doesn’t compromise the historic feel.
Amazing amenity: Gorgeous flooring throughout.
Professional opinion: I know I’m supposed to love over-the-top in Dallas, but I still like things understated and this one reads very east coast to me.
TUDOR REVIVAL BRICK MANSE IN SAVANNAH
2909 ABERCORN STREET
Location: Savannah, Georgia
Listing type: Single family
Year built: 1937
Bragging rights: Prominent location in Ardsley Park/Chatham Crescent Historic District.
Amazing amenity: Clubroom with rooftop garden.
Professional opinion: Savannah is one of my favorite spots for house voyeurism. The real estate there is to-die-for, and this one’s no exception.
TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY PASADENA CRAFTSMAN BUNGALOW
810 NORTH MICHIGAN AVENUE
Location: Pasadena, California
Listing type: Single family
Year built: 1907
Bragging rights: Vintage classic with a basement—a rarity.
Amazing amenity: Updated bath with freestanding tub.
Professional opinion: Pasadena is a bastion for exceptional homes, from Craftsman bungalows to Spanish mansions, it has some of the best examples of architecture around.
ITALIANATE VICTORIAN IN SAN FRANCISCO
1235 GUERRERO STREET
Location: Noe Valley, San Francisco, California
Listing type: Condo
Year built: 1900
Bragging rights: Walking distance to atmospheric restaurants including Foreign Cinema, a must for visitors to SF.
Amazing amenity: Exquisite woodwork throughout.
Professional opinion: So very San Francisco: it reminds me of a dollhouse. And while Noe Valley sometimes gets overlooked in favor of Pacific Heights and other SF ‘hoods, it’s an awesome area.
STATE-OF-THE-ART BOSTONIAN BROWNSTONE
19 ALBEMARLE STREET #1
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Listing type: Duplex
Year built: 1891
Bragging rights: Tree-lined street on the border of the Back Bay and the South End.
Amazing amenity: Poggenpohl cabinets.
Professional opinion: I adore this. If it were in Los Angeles or San Francisco I’d scoop it up. So much charm.
WATER’S-EDGE HIGH-RISE IN SEATTLE
2000 1ST AVENUE #1204
Location: Seattle, Washington
Listing type: Condo
Year built: 1994
Bragging rights: Views of the mountains and Puget Sound and walking distance to Pike Market Place.
Amazing amenity: 24-hour concierge.
Professional opinion: Calling all bachelors with taste: we’ve found your love nest.
BrownstonerJune 07, 2013
161 State Street
Sunday, 12: 00 – 1:00
Sold in January for $2,600,000
CurbedJune 07, 2013
HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Kleier Residential, Warburg, and Halstead Property, as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 6/7/2013.
Weee'reee baaack! It seems like only four months ago we were saying our goodbyes and tearfully giving out Cackling Kleier ratings, as Season 6 of Selling New York came to a close. Actually, it was four months ago. Thankfully, the cold winter has passed and we're back and better than ever. Another round of everybody's favorite real estate show is here for the summer. This season HGTV has switched up the formatting by airing the episodes as part of daytime SNY marathons, so we'll be switching up our formatting, too, and sharing our minute-by-minute reactions. So grab your bowl of almonds, or kale chips, or whatever Paleo snack of your choosing, and enjoy.
1:00:The episode begins with everybody's favorite Warbug ball and chain, Deborah Lupard. She's heading out to the country as usual, to visit her never-ending supply of "friends," aka clients. I'm assuming that because the SNY camera crew is at the trio's lunch, that Deborah will indeed assist them in selling their gorgeous house in New Paltz. While she may not have the expertise (or desire) to sell the entire thing, she agrees to at least help them get it market ready. As Leslie and Woody say, "the sooner the better."
2:42: CORE's dream team is back! Tom Postillio, looking sharp as ever, but we still haven't gotten a good close up of Mickey Conlon's tie. Wait for it…
3:47: Boom! Red and white stripes? Fourth of July is still another month away, guy. This sharp-dressed duo are heading to Joan Collins' apartment in Midtown East to size it up and get it ready for listing. As Tom says, "the stakes are incredibly high" because they're the fourth brokerage firm to have the listing in just the past year. Talk about pressure from a picky client! The $2.35MM apartment is amazing, and was designed by Ms. Collins herself. Uh oh, do I smell a staging conflict in the near future?
4:52: It appears that Deborah is a woman of her word. She's clearly taken aback by Leslie and Woody's beautiful space – "I just want to live here and stay here...no, seriously guys, I can't stand the hustle and bustle of the city anymore. How much to take this off your hands?" – and who wouldn't be? The 3BR, 3BA is warm, inviting and humongous. Not to mention that backyard is killer.
6:00: As anybody who has ever watched SNY knows, the best way to generate foot traffic for a listing is to throw an awesome bash in an awesomely decorated apartment. While nobody knows how to party quite like Mama Kleier, Tom and Mickey are determined to take a crack at it. Mickey heads to the LIC (whatup Silvercup Studios?!) to get help from his interior designer friend, John Lyle. Hopefully Lyle can make an already dazzled property even more dazzling. By the way, isn't the expression "smash" success, not "smashing" success?
7:30: After "researching" aka she Googled it, Leslie discovers New Paltz real estate wiz Harris Safier. The power trio – Leslie, Woody and Lupard – head to Safier's digs to get a feel for his brokerage style. It seems he's the man for the job! Deborah is so clearly trying to pawn off these clients onto Harris. Just give the woman her referral money and get her out of New Paltz.
9:04: Mickey Conlin's life motto: Another day, another tie. Another coordinated jacket. I have to say, I respect a man who is unafraid to wear white pants.
10:44: THAT RUG MICKEY IS LOOKING AT COSTS MORE THAN MY COLLEGE TUITION. Like, a lot more. Are we still in a recession? I hear there's a great Kmart down in Astor Place with some cheap throws.
13:40: Mickey and Tom take Joan on a tour of her redesigned digs. Don't you think she kind of looks like a Madame Tosseau wax version of herself?
Wax figure or not, Joan seems to be loving the new furniture and photographs in the apartment. Save for the hand-beaded African chairs. Who's hand-beading those things, anyway? Hmm?
14:45:Deborah takes her NYC agents on a field trip to the New Paltz house—a house which they've priced at $1.1MM. In what will be our first celebrity doppelganger of the season: don't you think Harris looks just like Ed Begley, Jr.?
16:21: It's showtime! Mickey and Tom put the finishing touches on their Joan Collins-inspired party, and now it's time to work that room.
16:56: YESSSS, MAGGIE KENT! Woo woo woo! *Arsenio Hall fist pump*
18:45: How convenient! Woody and Leslie are in NYC for the day, and Deborah wants to show them an apartment similarly-priced to their home. Similarly priced, but about 1/4th of the size.
20:03: Deborah says that she just wants Leslie and Woody to be happy so they can move on to the next phase in their life, and that selling their home is "an inTEGral part of moving onto the next step. And I can honestly say I have never heard anybody pronounce the word "integral" that way. Unfortunately in real estate, integrity doesn't mean much, and three months later their New Paltz home is still on the market.
21:00: Mickey says the party was a "tremendous" success, and they even made the front page of the Daily News real estate section! (Looking a little shiny, Mickey.) He goes to meet Tom and they toast to a job well done. Four months after said toast, and a minor price drop, and Ms. Collins' apartment was sold.
Wow! Episode one down the hatch, and so is this entire green smoothie I had to drink for breakfast, which left me completely unsatiated. It's like, where's the food? Nevermind—no time for that now—episode two is about to start! How can you top a season premiere featuring Joan Collins? I guess we're about to find out.
Modern New YorkJune 07, 2013
Now available for the first time is a one-of-a kind, loft unit with 100 feet on Madison Avenue and 63 feet on East 63rd. One block from Central Park, this 3-bedroom loft residence is unparalleled in the marketplace. The 1901 Beaux Arts condominium is one block from Central Park and in the center of the most exclusive shopping and dining New York City has to offer. This grand loft-style home is in triple mint condition. Accommodating a 47-foot living/dining room area, the home is perfect for entertaining or hosting one’s collection of art. With oversized windows that capture views of Central Park from every room, additional features include 11-foot ceilings, rich wood paneling throughout, central air conditioning and a top-of-the-line, windowed chef’s kitchen. A master suite with den and luxurious en suite marble bath completes the home. This full-service building, with approximately 60 residence, is perfect as a pied a terre or full-time residence. Two floorplans are available for viewing, with the second offering a proposed 3-bathroom configuration.
The Orzora Group NYCJune 07, 2013
One Museum Mile began developing in 2007 before the market tanked and the condo building hit the market in June 2010. It was designed by Robert M. Stern. This architect is the only architect in NYC history to have completed two buildings on Central Park.
His masterpiece is a 114 unit condominium building built upon the African Art Museum. The other residential building he is known for is a 35 story limestone building on 15 Central Park West. The developer for One Museum mile is Brickman who also developed 68-74 East End located in the Upper East Side.
Originally the condominium was branded as 1280 Fifth Avenue, but the name changed to One Museum Mile in April 2012 after the condos were taken off the market. The name highlights the condo building being at the top of the hill, the end of the line for the famous east side tract of museum's on 5th avenue.
The tract of museums starts at Goethe House German Cultural Center at 82nd street and ends at Robert M. Sterns masterpiece of One Museum Mile on top of African Museum of Art.
The museum was brought to NYC in 1984 and located temporarily in Long Island City and was closed for new development for 7 years. Financing for the museums development was stopped several times in the course of three years.
After the rebranding of the condo to One Museum Mile the building was close to 50% sold out in February 2013 reported by Curbed, and set the record for the highest sold unit in the area of Upper Carnegie Hill or what some deem as East Harlem (Spanish Harlem). Unit 11 B was recorded sold on this past March for 3.6 million setting the new record for neighborhood at $2,030 per square foot. Below is 11B Floor Layout as provided by Curbed.
New York PostJune 06, 2013
Upper East Side $2.3 million
Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 3
Square feet: 1,528
Common charges: $1,810
Located on a “high floor” above East 60th Street near First Avenue, this “nicely appointed” condo can offer “lovely western views” of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, as well as Central Park. There is “excellent” closet space, too. Agents: Emily Beare and Christian Rogers, Core, 212-726-0786 and 917-270-4119.
New York PostJune 06, 2013
Upper East Side $7.5 million
So this “grand” and “one-of-a-kind” condo loft – What? You’ve heard of this before? – on East 63rd Street is “available for the first time” and you really can make it your own. The 2,500-square-foot space is currently configured as a three-bedroom spread with a 47-foot-long living/dining/entertaining area, but where those walls go is up to you. Just make sure to account for the “oversized” windows that currently offer “views of Central Park from every room,” even the “top-of-the-line” chef’s kitchen. And the full-service Beaux-Arts building’s location – one block from the park with 100 feet facing Madison Avenue – might not be the only one of its kind, but it’s rare enough to take note. Agent: Reba Miller, Core, 212-726-0913.
CurbedJune 06, 2013
Event: Official 241 Fifth launch party
In the House: The development team from Victor Homes, lead project designer Eran Chen of ODA Architecture, and the CORE sales team, including project director Doron Zwickel. Plus hundreds lots of other brokers.
Dress code: Blazers for the men, summery dresses for the ladies.
Menu: Light and little. Think tiny carrots and cucumber slices on single-serving spoons. Plus, lobster salad on a fresh tortilla chip, which was delicious.
Overheard: "This place is nice, but I need to eat dinner."
The neighborhood north of Madison Square Park is booming with new developments, but most are condo conversions. 241 Fifth, on the other hand, is a brand new ground-up construction, and last night, the building hosted its official launch party with a penthouse preview. The packed party was hosted in the 15th floor penthouse, which is designated as such because the unit is one of two that has its own floor and private elevator entry. Sales launched in April, and already 28 of the 46 units are in contract.
Currently, the 241 Fifth website shows 11 units as available, but Zwickel mentioned that a few of these have contracts out, so they may be spoken for soon. Homes range from a $1.2 million 1BR/1BA to the 3BR 20th floor penthouse, which is asking $7.95 million. The building was designed by ODA Architecture, with firm partner Eran Chen leading this project. They have large windows, stained white oak floors, and kitchens outfitted with Miele appliances, Basaltina stone slab countertops, porcelain tile backsplash, and "reserve painted glass cabinetry." The bathrooms have deep soaking tubs, glass showers, teak wood details, and fixtures from the Zucchetti-Kos Faraway collection.
The 2,706 square-foot, 3BR/3BA 15th floor penthouse has a 49-foot-long terrace with an outdoor fireplace. The 20th floor penthouse has a rooftop deck, and two other units, both on the third floor, also have private outdoor space. Building amenities located on the second floor include a lounge, fitness center, a yoga room with a green wall, and a "treatment room" that residents can use for massage or beauty treatments.
Zwickel said that the building will be complete sometime this summer, and move-ins will starts shortly thereafter.
Manhattan’s Top Listing Agents
The Real DealJune 06, 2013
With more eight- and even nine-figure listings hitting the market, Manhattan’s top brokers aren’t feeling the inventory squeeze as much as their colleagues in other segments of the residential industry. While nearly all of Manhattan’s top 10 brokers have fewer properties on the market than last year, most have a higher dollar value of listings, according to The Real Deal’s annual ranking of Manhattan’s top 75 listing agents.
That includes Sotheby’s International Realty brokers Serena Boardman, Elizabeth Sample and Brenda Powers, who are co-listing what is currently the most expensive apartment in Manhattan: the late investor Martin Zweig’s triplex at the Pierre Hotel at 795 Fifth Avenue for $125 million. Boardman, ranked at No. 2 on TRD’s list, had 17 listings worth $304.49 million as of May 1, up dramatically from her $198.9 million total last year. Sample and Powers, who work as a team, came in at No. 5 with listings worth $215.3 million, a jump from $162.9 million in 2012.
For Deborah Grubman of the Corcoran Group, getting the exclusive on Stephen Cohen’s $115 million duplex at One Beacon Court helped propel her to No. 3, from No. 11 last year. This year, she had 12 listings worth $258.82 million, far more than her $125.47 million last year.
“The numbers are bigger now than they’ve ever been,” Grubman said.
Using data collected from the listings portal On-Line Residential, TRD ranked the top 75 agents based on dollar value of Manhattan listings on the market or in contract as of May 1.
The city’s top real estate brokers have vastly different approaches when it comes to marketing properties. Some hire large teams of agents to assist them, while others work primarily alone, joining with other agents only for occasional one-off deals.
One lone wolf is John Burger of Brown Harris Stevens, who for the second consecutive year earned the No. 1 spot on TRD’s ranking, with 25 listings worth nearly $411 million.
Besides his assistant of 10 years, Burger works alone — something he believes his clients value.
“The backbone of [my] business is personal service,” said Burger, who has been in real estate for nearly three decades. “I believe that my clients want me. And I try to be as available as possible. I answer my own telephone, and I answer my own emails.”
Because of his approach, Burger said he “easily” turns away two to three clients a month, referring them to other Brown Harris Stevens agents. That means he gets to pick and choose his listings, which currently include a duplex penthouse at 55 Central Park West on the market for $35 million, and a 16-room penthouse at 52 East 72nd Street for $21.95 million. Burger also recently put a penthouse at 10 Gracie Square on the market for $23 million, though the property wasn’t included in TRD’s ranking because it was listed after May 1.
When Burger ascended to the top of TRD’s rankings last year, he displaced another longtime top Brown Harris Stevens broker, townhouse specialist Paula Del Nunzio, who was ranked No. 1 in 2011 but slipped to No. 3 in 2012.
This year, Del Nunzio came in at No. 6, with 12 properties worth $195.77 million. Among her current listings: a $43 million townhouse at 21 Beekman Place with views of the East River.
Like Burger, Del Nunzio said she works alone except for a “superb” assistant. She does occasionally partner with other agents, “depending on the nature of the property.” For example, she and Burger are currently working together to market a nine-room penthouse at the prewar co-op 1088 Park Avenue.
Del Nunzio said no matter what the market conditions, she relies on the same strategy.
“I am always trying to customize a marketing plan and presentation of a property, so the buyers will know precisely what the property is and they’ll come in droves,” she said. “The money stays the same — the pockets change.”
The notoriously press-shy Boardman, who declined to comment for this story, often works with fellow Sotheby’s broker Meredyth Smith. The two sold a penthouse at 730 Park Avenue in Decemberto hedge funder Daniel Benton for $39 million, and recently represented Boardman’s brother-in-law, RFR Realty President Aby Rosen, in the $47 million sale of a townhouse at 22 East 71st Street to Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani.
On her own, Boardman is the listing agent for a $14 million unit at 19 East 72nd Street.
Sample and Powers, by contrast, have worked together on every listing for the past 20 years, ever since Powers left the hotel business to join Sample at Corcoran. In early May they had only five listings on the market and one in contract, down from 10 at this time last year, but one of them is the $125 million Pierre penthouse. Sample and Powers sold the apartment to the Zweigs in 1999 for $21.5 million.
The Zweigs are “friends of ours and long-, long-time clients,” Sample told TRD. “We have a history with them.”
Still, “every firm in town” pitched the family for an opportunity to list the iconic prewar penthouse, which occupies the top three floors of the Pierre, Sample said. Some firms, she said, even suggested listing it for as much as $200 million.
“It’s very difficult to price apartments,” Sample said. She said the high price of the Zweig triplex, however, is justified by the fact that the apartment is “irreplaceable.” Although she declined to specify the co-op’s exact square footage, she said the price per square foot is “well below $10,000,” which makes the price “very compelling” compared to other apartments on the market now asking $15,000.
Sample and Powers are also listing a $50 million penthouse at the Mandarin Oriental at 80 Columbus Circle.
Other top brokers choose to work in teams, hiring other agents to show their listings, schedule appointments and help bring in new business.
Grubman, for example, leads Corcoran’s Deborah Grubman Team, which is made up of three agents — senior vice president David Dubin, senior associate Paul Albano and salesperson Marianna Klaiman — and a full-time driver.
The team set-up represents a change for Grubman, who for years worked as a partner with broker Carol Cohen, who left Corcoran in 2010 in the midst of a lawsuit involving Cohen’s rent-stabilized apartment at 737 Park Avenue.
For Grubman, having a team has “made my life much easier in many ways, because just the scheduling of appointments has become a full-time job,” she said. “I’m sort of the face of the team and that’s very nice, but the back office is just as important, because if they don’t do their job right, it’s not an efficient team.”
Grubman declined to comment on the One Beacon Court listing, saying that her clients appreciate her discretion. She is also listing several other pricey apartments across the city, including a five-bedroom duplex at 158 Mercer Street for $42 million.
Raphael De Niro of Douglas Elliman, who with 22 listings worth $189.89 million moved to No. 7 from No. 20 last year, also heads a team. De Niro joined Elliman in 2004, and said he has been building up his team ever since. It’s now grown to seven other agents, including his wife, Claudine.
“I’ve been selective with who I bring on to the team,” De Niro said. “There hasn’t been a lot of turnover, and I haven’t added additional people in a while.”
The team nearly doubled the value of its listings in the past year, which De Niro attributes to its focus on exclusives.
“I’ve put an emphasis for myself and my team to become listing agents, and focus on winning every pitch,” De Niro said. “We take those really seriously, and pull out all the stops.”
De Niro made headlines last July when he and fellow Elliman broker Victoria Logvinsky listed developer Steven Klar’s penthouse at CitySpire for $100 million, a record-high asking price for Manhattan at the time. The unit was taken off the market in January, and has since resurfaced. It is now listed with Klar’s Long Island brokerage, Klar Realty.
“Douglas Elliman, they definitely did promote it well,” Klar told The Real Deal last month. But after the exclusive expired, he decided that he would let Klar Realty “take a shot at it.”
De Niro said the highly publicized listing, which was widely criticized as being grossly overpriced, was something of a mixed blessing.
“My name went around the world in the course of weeks, and I don’t know if that would have happened any other way,” De Niro said. “Some might say it hurt my reputation in certain ways. Others say, ‘no press is bad press.’ The jury is still out.”
Another top team is Corcoran’s Carrie Chiang Group. The team, which includes Janet Wang, Richard Phan and Julian Berkeley, had 52 listings worth $258.18 million — putting Chiang in the No. 4 spot, down from No. 2 last year.
Chiang rarely speaks to the press and declined to be interviewed for this story. But her team is listing NFL president David Seldin’s townhouse at 131 East 64th Street for $19.9 million, a townhouse at 120 East 71st Street for $16.9 million and two penthouses at the Cassa Hotel and Residences at 70 West 45th Street for $20.3 million and $16 million, respectively.
For years, Chiang battled Elliman’s Dolly Lenz for the No. 1 spot on TRD’s top agents list. This year, Lenz fell from No. 4 to No. 8 in the rankings, with 11 listings worth $175.88 million.
Lenz, who did not respond to requests for comment, is co-listing a full-floor unit at the Sherry Netherland with Brown Harris Stevens’ Kathy Sloane for $95 million, and a penthouse at 1 East 62nd Street for $29.5 million.
New to the top 10 this year is Dan Neiditch, president of the boutique firm River 2 River Realty. Neiditch moved to No. 9 with $168.3 million in listings, up from No. 23 last year.
Neiditch said he started his firm about 10 years ago as a branch of his family’s real estate firm, which manages and owns buildings. The seven-agent brokerage handles rentals and sales at the Atelier at 635 West 42nd Street, where its headquarters are located and where Neiditch has been president of the building’s condo board for the past seven years.
Neiditch is currently listing a block of nine apartments at the building with an asking price of $85 million. If combined as advertised, the units would become a 10,000-square-foot apartment spanning the entire 45th floor of the Atelier.
While most of his listings are at the Atelier, Neiditch does have listings in other buildings. In November, for example, Neiditch sold beer heiress Daphne Guinness’s apartment at the former Stanhope hotel at 995 Fifth Avenue for $11.3 million.
Rounding out the top 10 is Elliman’s Leonard Steinberg, with $139.93 million in listings. Steinberg started the LuxuryLoft team 11 years ago, with fellow agent Hervé Senequier and an assistant. Now, the team has 10 members.
“As much as there was something wonderful about being on my own, there’s something to be said about having a team to support you, and to work together to make things better,” said Steinberg, whose team also ranked No. 10 last year. “I think it’s been very successful.”
Steinberg is currently listing a mansion at 144 Duane Street in Tribeca for $49.5 million, and an apartment at 40 Bond Street for $26 million. And along with De Niro, Steinberg and his team are handling sales at the new condo development 150 Charles Street. (However, due to the lack of public listings at the building, none of the units were counted in TRD’s rankings.) Steinberg said he’s been working on marketing 150 Charles Street for five years.
“I really dedicated myself to 150 Charles Street,” Steinberg said. “While everyone says we’ve been this overnight success … there were five years of meetings and product planning and tweaking the product again and again. It was pretty intense.”
Buzz Buzz NewsJune 06, 2013
The force of fabulosity is strong at NoMad’s 241 Fifth Avenue, which held its official launch event yesterday.
The 46-unit, 20-story building designed by ODA Architecture hit 20 percent sold a week after its April sales kickoff. Available residences at the Victor Homes project range from a 511-square-foot studio asking $950,000 to a 3,080-square-foot, three-bedroom penthouse asking $7.95 million.
The interiors are heavily influenced by sharp and airy Danish Modern design; the apartments have white oak flooring, oversized windows, open-flow living rooms and kitchens with stone slab countertops and Miele appliances. The bathrooms are fitted with deep soaking tubs, glass-enclosed showers with solid teak details and fixtures from the Zucchetti-Kos Faraway collection.
Real Estate Heavyweights Turn Out For CORE Fête
The Real DealJune 06, 2013
Real estate players from Andrew Heiberger of Town Residential to Ryan Serhant of Nest Seekers International came to celebrate CORE’s official launch of its new development at 241 Fifth Avenue last night.
Over an array of summery hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and Champagne, real estate execs and brokers scoped out one of the penthouses at the 46-unit new development in NoMad between East 27th and East 28th streets. CORE CEO Shaun Osher was spotted mingling with Heiberger, while folks from developer Victor Homes and ODA Architecture also made an appearance.
The penthouse hit the market yesterday for $7.95 million, along with another penthouse asking $6.95 million. The rest of the available units in the building range from $1.2 million for a one-bedroom and $3.1 million for a three-bedroom, according to StreetEasy. According to a CORE spokesperson, the building is already over 70 percent in signed and pending contracts.
As previously reported, Victor Homes raised prices in the building by 20 percent.
Brokers WeeklyJune 05, 2013
Keren Ringler has joined the ranks of CORE after a career in the field of medical science. Ringler spent 13 years at Sloan Kettering in Manhattan, where her research was clinically applied in the development of new therapeutic drugs. She holds a graduate degree in Chemistry, a Masters in Medical Science and she has finished three years of her PhD in Medical Science, specializing in Molecular Genetics. Originally from South Africa, Ringler’s background and experience enable her to interact with people of diverse cultures and effectively service domestic and international clientele.
SCENE MagazineJune 05, 2013
SCENE hosted a luncheon at One Museum Mile to honor Joanne L. Stone, MD and Keith A. Eddleman, MD from the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science of Mount Sinai Hospital. Friends, family and colleagues gathered to recognize the two doctors and their many accomplishments and contributions to the medical field.
Brokers WeeklyJune 05, 2013
456 W 19th St, 6B/7B
Duplex one-bedroom loft that’s part of a limited collection of 22 duplex homes in full-service building designed and developed by Cary Tamarkin. 20 ft. ceilings, casement windows and open northern views. 1,129 s/f loft has open kitchen and built-in pantry, two full baths, 10-inch white oak flooring, washer/dryer, UV blocking glass and a water-filtration system. Storage unit included. Asking price: $1,975,000. CC: $1,240. On the Market: 2 weeks. Brokers: Jarrod Randolph, CORE; Joseph Gomez, TOWN.
Brokers WeeklyJune 05, 2013
Reba Miller at CORE has just listed Upper East Side loft for $7.5 million. The three bedroom, 2-bath loft at 26 East 63rd Street “is unparalleled in the marketplace,” said Miller. The 1901 Beaux arts condo is one block from Central Park. The “triple mint condition” home has a 47 ft. living room/dining room area and is “perfect for entertaining or hosting one’s collection of art.” Oversized windows capture views of Central Park from every room. The ceilings are 11 ft. and there is wood paneling throughout, central air conditioning and a master suite with den and en suite marble bath. The full service, 60-unit building has a doorman and elevator.
Real Trends / The Wall Street JournalJune 01, 2013
For 2012, The Walker Team ranked 27 of out 1,000 in teams by volume in the tri-state area and ranked 146 out of 10,000+ in teams by volume nationwide.
The Wall Street JournalMay 31, 2013
To help sell homes faster, some brokers turn to an illusion: origami-style, pop-up furniture.
Home-stager Douglas Pinter, foreground, of informed Space, and his associate, Michael Smith, put together origami-like furniture to stage an apartment for show in New York.
Mr. Pinter’s entire line of furniture is an illusion. All of his contemporary pieces are made of polypropylene, a lightweight material similar to what’s used to make milk cartons. Here, Mr. Smith puts together some of the faux furniture.
“I can bring a two-bedroom apartment up in four nylon bags,” said Mr. Pinter. The polypropylene furniture can be folded flat and then installed in a matter of hours. He recently staged this three-bedroom apartment on the north end of Central Park in New York.
The apartment is expected to come on the market for about $2 million, said Mark Reznik of A&I Broadway Realty. “But we expect bids to come in much higher,” he said.
Another apartment staged by informed Space is shown.
Of about seven listings that informed Space has staged so far, a $925,000 unit is in contract, and another sold for almost $1.3 million. Shown her is a staged bedroom designed by the company.
“I see this as a phenomenon of a market that’s waking up,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants. Mr. Miller said these kinds of novel approaches to real-estate marketing pop up at the beginning of every new development boom cycle, as in the early 2000s. An informed Space chair is shown.
This New York apartment staged by informed Space recently sold for just under $1.3 million. The listing agent, Tom Postilio of CORE, said this unit was in contract just a day after the staging. “We really felt it helped,” Mr. Postilio said.
NextStage Furniture, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., created collapsible cardboard furniture with slipcovers for homes mostly in the $300,000 range. A photo of some of the cardboard pieces without fabric slip covers is shown.
The same cardboard furniture, here with fabric slipcovers, is shown. Kevin Nielsen, a co-owner of NextStage Furniture, said sales are picking up and Web traffic to his site is rising. A ‘starter kit,’ including a sofa, dining table and queen-size bed, costs about $600 before shipping.
The faux electronics business also is enjoying a boost from the housing market’s gains. A fake-flat screen TV built by Taiwan-based Real Electronic Propers is shown in a staged living room. A room staged by Kelly Young Design Associates based in Plantation, Fla., is shown. The prop television is shown at center.
In a Seller’s Market, Every Minute Counts
The New York TimesMay 31, 2013
If there was any doubt that New York City real estate has become a seller’s market, consider the following: open houses are packed to capacity, bidding wars and all-cash offers have almost become the norm, and some listing prices actually rise, not drop, after a home is listed.
“It’s the kind of insanity you live for in this business,” said Mickey Conlon, a broker with CORE, recalling a two-bedroom two-bath condominium at 49 East 21st Street in the Flatiron neighborhood that he listed with his business partner, Tom Postilio, for $1.89 million in early January.
“At the moment, that was considered aggressive pricing,” Mr. Conlon said. Yet within 24 hours, the brokers had received a flurry of requests to see the place, which prompted them to be bold. The next day they raised the price by $100,000, to $1.99 million. Though some potential buyers grumbled about the change, about 100 people came to the first open house. Soon, there were multiple offers above the asking price. By the end of January, there was a signed contract for $2.16 million — all cash. The sale closed in April.
The rules of engagement for buying an apartment in the city have changed. Negotiation, brokers say, is no longer part of the equation. Forget about taking time to mull over your decision. Serious buyers need to be prepared to pounce. And while lots of cash has always helped, it’s now more important than ever, as sellers select the best offers with the least amount of hassle involved.
Not that sellers can name just any price. Brokers caution that even in this market of extremely tight inventory, listings priced too high tend to linger, and low prices intended to bring the biggest crowds through the door could result in lowball offers. There is an art to choosing the right price.
While housing prices across the country recently posted their biggest gains in seven years, New York City’s market has been experiencing a slow and steady recovery ever since the market hit bottom in 2009.
More recently, scarce apartment listings and low mortgage rates have stoked competition among buyers and driven up prices. The number of Manhattan apartments for sale dropped 27.6 percent last month, to 5,077, versus 7,011 for the same period a year ago, according to the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. At the same time, prices have inched up. The median sale price rose 12 percent to $930,000, from $829,000 a year ago, according to the most recent available data for the second quarter, which began on April 1. That follows a 5.9 percent year-over-year increase in the median sale price, to $820,555, in the first three months of the year.
Apartments are going into contract at a faster pace, with listings lasting 105 days on the market, down from 156 a year ago, according to Miller Samuel. In popular neighborhoods like the West Village, it’s not uncommon for sought-after properties to go into contract well above the asking price in the head-spinning span of 10 days or less. Brokers are fueling the frenzy, turning open houses into pressure cookers, with tactics like one-day-only showings and short deadlines set for best and final offers.
Yet for the tenacious buyer, it is still possible to land an apartment without offering a pound of flesh.
After losing one place in a bidding war and another because he waited a week to make up his mind, Shamoun Afram, a program manager at an investment bank in Manhattan, kicked his search for a one-bedroom condo into high gear and homed in on the Orion, a modern high-rise condominium in Midtown. In January he toured about 10 units there with the help of his real estate agent, Patrick Mills of CORE, and he was about to sign a contract on an apartment slightly above his $1 million sweet spot when he noticed a new listing on Streeteasy.com late on a Tuesday.
The next morning he was on the phone with his broker to see if he could get in to see the apartment that day, but it wasn’t being shown until Thursday. “I knew I had to make a decision fast,” Mr. Afram said. He put in an offer that day, sight unseen, at the full asking price of $999,000. “We decided, let’s just be cavalier about it,” Mr. Mills added. The offer was accepted on Wednesday; on Thursday they toured the apartment; and on Friday they signed the contract.
But that didn’t stem a wave of interest in the apartment. “After we had the contract out, people started to call,” said Sarah Son, a broker at Keller Williams Realty who represented the seller. “Even after we told them we had a signed contract,” she said, “they kept trying to make us an offer. It was really crazy.”
In a highly competitive market, where cash is king, here is what you need to do to buy an apartment in the city.
REFRESH, REFRESH, REFRESH. With prime listings being snapped up, the faster you get to an apartment the better. Web sites including nytimes.com/realestate, Streeteasy.com and Zillow.com eliminate some of the work by automating your search. Apartment hunters can save search criteria, and the sites will e-mail new listings that meet their requirements.
DON’T WAIT FOR THE OPEN HOUSE. “If you can’t see an apartment the first week it is on the market,” said Doug Perlson, the chief executive of the online brokerage RealDirect, “there is a good chance you will not even get a chance to make an offer. Schedule a showing during the week before the first open house and use the open house for your second visit. Then you should be ready to make your offer.”
FORGET ABOUT GETTING A DEAL. The conventional wisdom over the last few years has been to come in at 5 percent below the asking price when making an initial offer. That won’t fly for attractive listings that are particularly scarce, especially if they are priced fairly. “Give the full price with no contingencies and leave that offer on the table for 24 hours,” said Shaun Osher, the chief executive of CORE. “You want to let the seller know that you’re really serious, that you really want the property, but you’re not going to let them use you as bait to get a higher offer.”
DON’T DELAY. Being the first to make a solid offer can give you an edge. When a one-bedroom two-bath unit at the Memphis Downtown Condominium in the West Village drew more than 100 people to its first open house, Adolfo Brenes and Lena Datwani of Bellmarc Realty knew they had to act quickly on behalf of the buyer they were representing. They submitted an all-cash offer at the full asking price of $1.65 million. The next day they received a call from the seller’s broker informing them that two other full-price all-cash offers had been made. “Because we were first,” Mr. Brenes said, “the seller was giving us the chance to come up to $1.8 million to take it off the market.” Having been outbid for other West Village apartments at the full asking price, the buyer decided to meet the seller’s increased price. They closed the deal in April. A few weeks later, a similar apartment four floors above was listed at $2.1 million.
BE THOROUGH. A well-prepared offering package can be a leg up for buyers. When submitting an offer on behalf of her clients for a two-bedroom in Carnegie Hill recently, Lisa Larson, a Warburg Realty associate broker, “prepared the buyers’ financial statement, as well as a short bio, as this was a co-op and we also needed to show that they would pass the board’s approval process. We also presented the offer as all-cash and agreed to sign the contract in five days.” Her clients, she said, were recently approved by the board.
RAISE YOUR DOWN PAYMENT. Thirty or 35 percent down is the new 20 percent, brokers say. In a rising market, appraisals tend to lag behind asking prices because they are based on past sales of comparable apartments. Banks will not lend more than the appraised amount, so buyers need to come up with more cash to make up the difference. “The stronger offers are the ones putting down more money,” said Josh Scheier, a public defender with the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn who was recently in the enviable position of choosing among 30 offers for the two-bedroom two-bath co-op in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, that he and his wife, Anat Soudry, listed in April for $699,000. After winnowing the possibilities down to two of the highest offers — both of which were more than 20 percent above the asking price — Mr. Scheier said the decision came down to who was “less of a risk” if the apartment were to appraise for less. The winner offered to put 50 percent down and had more money left over after the purchase.
BEWARE MORTGAGE CONTINGENCIES. With demand high, fewer sellers are willing to accept contingencies, and desperate buyers may feel pressed to waive the mortgage contingency and risk losing the typical 10 percent deposit, in order to have a shot at an apartment. But unless you have the cash to cover your losses, it’s not a good idea. Without a contingency, you will lose your deposit if the appraisal comes in low and you are unable to make up the difference, or if the bank finds something wrong with the building and will not lend the money.
NEGOTIATE THE CONTINGENCY. Christopher Kromer of Halstead Property and his business partner, Nora Ariffin, recently found something of a middle ground. The buyer they represented wasn’t comfortable making his offer of $1.7 million for a two-bedroom in TriBeCa without a mortgage contingency, and the seller was concerned that a low appraisal could ruin the deal. “What I suggested is that we present our offer with a 70 percent contingency, while reserving the right to finance 80 percent,” Mr. Kromer said. “This is essentially telling the seller that the buyer will put down 30 percent if the bank requires it, but he is also reserving the right to put down 20 percent if allowed.” This addressed the seller’s concerns while creating a 10 percent cushion for the buyer.
SET YOUR ULTIMATE PRICE. If a bidding war ensues, buyers will need to have a “walkaway number,” Mr. Kromer said. Mr. Conlon of CORE put it this way: “Think of it like anything else you are going to buy or like something on eBay. What is the number you are willing to go up to and be able to sleep at night?”
SIGN YOUR CONTRACT QUICKLY. A year ago, buyers could take as much as two to three weeks for due diligence and negotiation before signing a contract. “Today’s sellers are less patient and may pull a deal from a buyer that is taking too long,” said Mr. Perlson of RealDirect. “Also, since there is nothing binding until a contract is signed, we have seen very aggressive buyers try to steal a deal by offering an amount significantly above ask to try to get the seller to switch buyers.” Ethical brokers, he added, will not abandon an accepted offer, but if it takes too long, they will go to their backup faster than in the past.
New York PostMay 30, 2013
Chelsea $1.575 million
Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 2
Square feet: 1,600
Though set “in the heart” of the neighborhood, on West 23rd Street, this duplex loft co-op is quite “serene,” with high ceilings, hardwood floors and a balcony on each level. There’s a “beautiful” chef’s kitchen, and the second-level master suite features a wall of built-ins. Agent: Maggie Kent, CORE, 646-342-0698
Real Estate WeeklyMay 29, 2013
Veteran broker Steve Snider recently joined the ranks for CORE. Snider has practiced real estate in several states across the country, including Florida, Minnesota and New York, as well as across the globe in Mozambique, where he used real estate as a way to create local jobs and encourage sustainable change. He also has extensive background in working with investment properties and as a contractor in Minnesota, where he rehabbed more than 50 homes. Raised in the Midwest, Snider attended Miami University, where he studied Political Science. He also attended Christian Cincinnati University, where he earned a major in Theology and Biblical Studies. He speaks Portuguese and English.