Monday, October 20, 2008

Glossary of Real Estate Terms

Alcove studio
A studio apartment with a separate alcove that can be used as a sleeping area. Many people put up a screen or other partition to give themselves more privacy.

Balcony
An outdoor space that protrudes from a building. Most balconies are private but some are shared between neighbors.

Building Amenities
Extra features and services offered by a building. Amenities could be a gym, concierge services, high speed internet access, a business center, etc.

Classic 6, 7 or 8
The term 'classic' followed by a number (usually starting at six) refers to the number of rooms in an apartment. It is most often used with pre-war apartments. For example, a 'classic 6' would be a two bedroom with a living room, dining room, kitchen and maid's room.

Co-broke
When brokers are working on a 'co-broke' basis, they are sharing exclusive listings with each other. In a co-broke transaction, one broker will represent the buyer or renter, while the other will represent the owner of the property. The commission is usually split 50/50.

Convertible/Flex One, Two, Three or Four bedroom
An apartment that is convertible or flexible in terms of the number of bedrooms. For example, a convertible two bedroom is a one bedroom apartment with enough space (usually in the living room) to wall off an area for the second bedroom. A convertible three bedroom is a two bed apartment where a third bedroom is carved out of the living space, and so on and so forth. The terms 'convertible' and 'flex' can be used interchangeably.

Duplex
An apartment with two levels.

EIK
Stands for Eat In Kitchen, a popular apartment feature.

Exclusive listing
When a broker has an 'exclusive' listing, the owner of that property has hired them on an exclusive basis to either rent or sell their apartment. The broker will try to rent or sell the property through the brokerage community or through their own marketing efforts.

Façade
The front of a building. A façade can be made out of a number of materials, such as granite, glass, marble, limestone, etc.

Floor-thru
An apartment that runs from the front of a building to the rear wall, occupying an entire floor. Usually found in brownstones and townhouses.

Guarantor (or co-signor)
A guarantor is a person who assumes financial responsibility of a lease for a tenant or tenants who otherwise would not meet the landlords financial qualifications. For example, someone attending law school who might not have an income would use a guarantor, often a family member, to satisfy the landlord that rent payment will not be a problem. The guarantor is a 'backstop' for the tenants in the event of non-payment. Guarantors generally need to make 80 times the months rent in annual income to qualify.

Half-Bath
A bathroom with no shower or bath.

Junior four
A one bedroom apartment with a separate alcove area. The "junior" refers to the fact that the alcove qualifies as a junior fourth room. (The other three rooms are the bedroom, the kitchen and the living room) This separate alcove can be used as a dining area, or, if the building allows, as a walled off sleeping area.

Keyed elevator
Refers to an apartment that has an elevator that opens directly into it. One must use a key to operate the elevator. This feature is found mostly in lofts and penthouses.

Loft areas
Apartments with high ceilings will sometimes have a 'loft area' built into them. A loft is a platform constructed over the living space for the purpose of extra storage, a sleeping area, a home office, etc. Generally you can access the area with a staircase or ladder. Loft areas are very useful because they make use of otherwise wasted vertical space.

Managing Agent
A third party-organization that manages most co-op and condominium buildings. Most co-op and condo buildings will hire a managing agent to maintain the building, collect rent or monthly maintenance fees, manage the building staff, etc.

Market rate (or 'non-stabilized') buildings
With a market rate apartment, a landlord, at his own discretion, determines how much monthly rent he will charge on any given apartment. Renewals are not guaranteed unless stated in the lease. Introduced in 1993, "luxury destabilization" is the newest form of a Non-Stabilized Lease. It provides for lease-end destabilization of apartments which rent for over $2,000.00 per month.

Murphy bed
A bed that is built into the wall or attached to the wall and pulled down when needed. A popular piece in studios, Murphy beds are a great space saver and come in a variety of styles and price ranges.

Open Kitchen
A kitchen that that is not separated from the living space of an apartment. Open kitchens are a common feature of loft apartments.

Original Detail
Refers to the details originally carved and built into pre-war apartments. Apartments from this era typically had very ornate patterns, moldings and decorations around doorways, fireplaces, etc. Sometimes during renovations these details can be lost.

Pass-through kitchen
A kitchen with an opening to the living or dining space of the apartment.

Pied á terre
A French expression; translated literally it means "foot on the earth". It refers to an apartment that someone uses as a second home, usually because their business requires to them to spend several days or weeks in New York every month, with their primary residence being too far away for a daily commute. Pied á Terres are also kept by those who simply enjoy having a place to stay of their own when they visit New York for shopping and social activities.

Quadraplex
An apartment with four levels.

Rent Stabilization
Established in New York City in the late 1960's, its mandate was to set limits on the monthly rental increases building owners could charge for vacant apartments and renewal leases. It also set guidelines of performance for both landlord and tenant. In stabilized buildings, rent increases typically range from 3%-5%. Tenants are guaranteed the automatic right to renew their leases provided they have fulfilled the terms and conditions of the lease.

Room Count
The number of 'rooms' in an apartment. A living area, a bedroom, and a walled kitchen count as 'rooms'. Therefore, a one bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen has three rooms. A studio with a separate kitchen has two rooms. A studio with a Pullman kitchen has one room.

Security Deposit
A deposit, usually one month's rent, that a rental tenant will give to the landlord at lease signing as security against damage to the apartment during the course of their tenancy. At the end of the lease term, the landlord will take the cost of any damages caused by the tenant out of the security deposit before returning it. Most of the time the deposit will be held in an interest bearing escrow account.

Studio
A one or two room apartment with a combined living and sleeping area. The kitchen is either a separate room or set in a wall off the living area. This type of kitchen is usually referred to as a “Pullman” kitchen, after the Pullman railroad cars.

Terrace
A roof or part of a roof or a building, used as outdoor space for an apartment. Often confused with a balcony, the terms are used interchangeably.

Triple-Mint
Refers to the condition of the apartment. An apartment is 'Triple-Mint' if the apartment, kitchen and bathrooms are all in mint condition.

Triplex
An apartment with three levels.

Walk-through Kitchen
A kitchen with two means of entrance. You can actually 'walk through' the kitchen from one room to another.

WEIK
Stands for Windowed Eat-In-Kitchen, a very popular feature.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The NYC Real Estate Market's Financial 101

Wow! Contrary to media reports, I have been busy as usual this year. My lack of posts each month is testament to that. We all have seen what has happened in the financial sector this year. While nationwide it may seem bleak, allow me to give you some insight into what it means here in NYC.

New York is primarily a city of renters. There are many people who own and sublease the unit for various reasons. The vacancy rate for rentals is above 1% for the first time in years. I expect this to plummet below 1% again with the changes in the financial sector. While this is still the best place to invest in over a 5 year period, the outlook by many is that there is only so much that the market can bear and that prices will plummet soon. I have lived here for over thirty years. I have witnessed firsthand the Bronx burning in the 70's, fire in the sky with towers falling at the start of this century and I can testify that is not going to happen. Sure, there will be more room to negotiate a price on a property that is a resale or in an older building. Places that are priced too high to begin with will sit on the market longer.

The last major change in our country was 9/11. Even after those attacks, the market here rebounded to levels never before reached. In studying the history of real estate in this city over the past 100 years, I have noticed that there is always a slight dip
for one or two out of every twenty years. After that, things continue to rise steady. Look at the link for sales figures of the last quarter sales2quarter2008.pdf . Now compare that with figures from the rental market 8-2008-mra.pdf and lastly, look at the market reports for 2002, just after 2001 may2002-oct2002.pdf also for 2006 bw2006.pdf . What you will notice is that there is one constant, rents continue to rise.

With more people than ever before assuming that the market will crash, do you really think rents will drop if the vacancy rate drops again due to more people renewing leases and renting as opposed to buying? For the first time since 2001, I noticed several landlords of high end rental buildings offering concessions to offset the cost of a broker's fee. They are looking to keep the building full. This is in order to keep the buildings at the lowest possible vacancy rate so that they can charge the highest possible market rent!

While not an option for everyone, if you have between a 10-40% down payment saved up, this is the perfect time to buy as many owners are fearing a drop in the market and thus a bit more negotiable than ever. Also, mortgage rates are at an all time low. This city is fast paced and not for the weak of heart. If you are even thinking about what to do in terms of renting or buying, call or write me for expert advice!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Don't believe the hype!

There is a little known saying inside media circles. "If it doesn't bleed, it doesn't read!" This is more true than most of us realize. As humans, we often have a fascination with the morbid. Why do you think that most of what's in the papers and on the news is dark and depressing? We all hate hearing awful things, but it gives us conversation material around the water coolers at work. "Wasn't that awful what happened on the news last night?" or "Did you hear about Brittney/Pam and Tommy/Paris/INSERT ANY CELEBRITY NAME HERE?"

In the interest of bringing you fact, not fiction, this year's market report is now out and viewable simply by clicking on the title of this post. It gives you hard facts about the state of the market in this city right now amidst all of the "bubble" speculation and with other housing markets in the country suffering.

I figured after a month off from writing, I'd give you a double whammy of data today. I hope that you all enjoy these posts today as they are extremely resourceful.

Want to live in Manhattan and get a doorman? Find a roomate!

Hey all,

I had to take a month off from writing during my birthday month. It's still quite busy although not the usual frenetic pace the summer yields. Here is a post that is quite relevant for the time and market we are currently in.

This is the time of year where people can usually get the best deals. If they are new to the city and feel the need for a doorman building, the landlords are offering more concessions this year than I have seen over the last four years. If you click on the title of this post, you will see the most recent market report for this year on the average rental rate.

The rents are not dropping as much as people think. The only size apartment that has dropped across the board is a one bedroom. This makes for an interesting situation. While many landlords are no longer allowing temporary walls to convert the apartments into a two bedroom, the ones that still are will yield some great options.

No matter how you slice it, the average person needs to spend between $1800-$3000 to live in the city these days. Occasionally, there are some options to be had for less if you sacrifice a little living space in the apartment or location of the building.
I am finding some convertible apartments in doorman buildings from $2500-$2850. However, there are only 7 in the entire city right now. Generally, to do this you will find more results in the $2800-$3800 range.

It's always best to have one roommate rather than two. Think of the old saying, "too many cooks in the kitchen". It can delay the process and cause you to lose that perfect place if all parties are not on the same page with needs, viewing times and paperwork. The link will show you what the averages are, but with a crafty veteran like me on your side, we may be able to negotiate a better deal if your timing is right!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Really now, what exactly is a "No Fee" Rental?

This is the hot topic in town these days. Everyone wants to get a great apartment in a hip area and avoid paying a fee. Trust me when I tell you, the old adage is true. In this city, you really do get what you pay for.

Allow me to explain, on a $3000 per month 1 BR apartment, the standard %15 of the first year's rent broker's fee equals $5400. Your total out of pocket at lease signing, provided the landlord only wants one month rent and one month of security, works out to $11,400. That's a lot of coin for most people. Let's examine this further.

The broker's fee is a lump sum, one time payment. Most people for whatever reason, look at this like it's added to the monthly rent. So let's divide the $5400 by twelve if you are doing a one year lease (most do this even when it's a two year lease). That means that $450 is added to the monthly rent in the typical renter's mind.

Let's look deeper still. The number of places out there where you can find a decent $3000 1BR in a hip area on your own, are few and far between. I'm not just saying this because I'm a broker, look at the facts. Related Rentals is a large management company with buildings in the best locations around the city. All buildings are first class with every amenity down to a doggie spa at one new building. The Alcove Studios at 1 Union Square South are STARTING at $3995 with 1BR's starting at $6095!

Comparable condominium buildings in the same exact area of Union Square right across the street, that you can only get through a broker, are offering rentals from $2800 for a straight studio, $3400 for an alcove studio and from $3700-$4500 for a true one bedroom.

Do the math, if you pay a higher monthly rent and rent from the building without a broker, are you really saving any money? If you pay a broker fee and can find the same apartment for roughly half of the monthly price aren't you really saving then?

Buildings that you can rent on your own, have to pay the on site leasing staff, pay their advertising budgets for New York Times, web sites and craigslist and pay the management staff as well. They are not going to pay that themselves, thus higher monthly rents are passed onto you, the tenants. This has caused them to suffer a bit right now. How many people can afford a $4000 alcove studio?

I have noticed that these buidlings, which NEVER offered one month of rent towards the broker's fee, are doing it all across the board right now to increase the volume of rentals. Normally during this time of year, the apartments rent in a day on their own. Now the buildings are offering this incintive to get as many people in thier showing the units. The more that see, the more likely they will rent in less time.

At the end of the day, if you can afford a $7000 one bedroom, you probably have all day to window shop and explore the city and deal with the hassle of it all so you don't need a broker. If you are not in that first category, then you probably will try at it on your own and there is a 75% chance that you will still wind up using a broker because you still have to work. The only true no fee rental is from an owner or landlord directly, and even then, they usuall still charge higher monthly rents.

There is a reason that we are here even with all of the changes in the market place. A good broker will save you time and money over the long run. That's why we make the big bucks. In this city, time IS money!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Increased Activity

This is the peak rental season. Once Memorial day came and went, I noticed a lot of out of people who came into town to vacation, were multi tasking and getting the good apartments. This happens every year and it leaves the native New Yorkers scrambling to find suitable housing. You'll notice the number of posts I can enter here has dropped off monthly as well. Quite simply, if I am out showing apartments, it makes it tought to sit at the desk and write!

I have noticed that there is a shorter timeframe of apartments sitting vacant that are well priced and in good locations. This is normal for this time of year as well. The only size of apartment that has dropped at all in the past year is the one bedroom. All other sizes have increased this year.

There are a lot more "OP" concessions being offered at this time of year than normal. This indicates that the landlords are looking to fill the units as fast as possible. These units are usually a little higher priced, due to superior location, level of amenities and quality. In the end, the old addage is true, you really do get what you pay for. Even if you don't pay our fee directly, you will have a higher monthly rent that you pay the landlord.
Feel free to write with your thoughts and feedback.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The best deals are the ones with no pics!

For those that don't know, the season has shifted. We are now in the peak rental season. There are few if any concessions being offered, there is less turnaround time for apartments to hit the market and get rented. There are way more people looking than there are places to rent.

Often in this time of year, the best apartments are rented before they are even put into the listing databases. While having a digital representation of the apartments can help when you are sitting at home on your duff drinking a duff, it can be very misleading. Ever hear of photoshop?

The bottom line is that there is no substitute to going out and viewing the actual properties. A good agent will know which ones to show you based on the inital qualification phone call and also your input and feeedback throughout. I can print out ten sheets of listings to show someone and wind up improvising and not showing any of those due to my inventory knowledge. If someone is not interested in seeing something, why waste either of our time by trying to show it?

There is only one way to do things in life. THE RIGHT WAY! By going out to see the properties, you meet the owner's, supers, brokers and get to find out the real inside scoop on any new listings coming up in a building. I have gone to show someone a studio in a building and wound up renting them a unit not even listed. The listing broker showing us the unit got a call on another one right above us, as we were on the way there to meet him. This unit was the same price, but renovated and brighter!

There are less places than there are people looking. Statistics show that 94% of renters, wind up renting something for 20% more than the average price that they had in mind. This is after loosing a place or two and spending more time. Me sitting in an office watching a listings database or you sitting at home looking for pictures on the internet may seem productive, but it is only half effective. I know this from four years of experience. The four bedrooms that I rented for $4850 are now $5200. There is one thing that stays constant in Manhattan. The rents rise and the places still fly off of the market in less than a week during this time of year.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

First Quarter Snapshot

Wow! We are only three months into 2008 and there's plenty to write about. For a quick overview of the changes in the rental market this year, click here NYC Rentals 1st Quarter2008


Political scandal has resulted in a change in government. There was a major change in the financial sector from the "flea market" sale of Bear Stearns. These two things bear directly on my field and have resulted in a major change in the real estate sector.


There are four types of consumers in any sales transaction, particularly a real estate transaction.



The buyer-These are people who are financial able to commit, due to a change in living situation, they have some sense of urgency to commit and thus are extremely motivated to commit.

The window shopper-These are people who lack one or more of the above qualities. Understandably, they as a direct result, have "commitment issues".

The investor-These are people who have two of the above qualities, as they usually have no urgency due to their living situation being stable. They purchase for the purpose of building a portfolio of assets and equity in those assets. These people are always buying, as it's more of a personality trait. Think back to the people you knew who were always good at Monopoly as a kid.

The seller-These people are in the driver's seat. While they may or may not have a deadline or any urgency, they have the supply in a city where this is scarce. Even with all of the new development, if that is all market value, a seller with an older condominium, has a slight advantage in pricing for those buyers who can't afford new development.


Across the board, these changes in our city and state have affected all three in various degrees. There has been steady if not increased turnout at open houses so far this year. This happens every year when the weather changes to spring. While those who are strong buyers have still been putting in offers, some buyers and even a few budding investors are turning into window shoppers. Unless you have a deadline, many are taking the "let's watch from the sideline" approach. We all know that to win the game, you have to be in the game.


The Federal Reserve has lowered mortgage rates to all time lows, but with the US economy where it is right now, people are more concerned with asking prices. What they fail to realize is that even if asking prices were to drop, if mortgage rates rise from 5.75% to 9% or even back into double digits, you are still at the same place over thirty years. In my experience, I have found that sellers are more likely to negotiate a bit now on asking price as a result of this uncertainty. They would rather take a sure offer within 10% of asking now rather than wait and perhaps settle for less. Many buyers are missing out on good deals and even some things above their budget by taking the "benchwarmer" approach. I refer to this as the “Chicken Little” syndrome. The sky will never fall in the NYC real estate market.


Dips in pricing of 5-10% every two out of twenty years are common. Dips of 4-5% in mortgages over the last twelve months are not. Right now, we are just entering that two year period. What will the mortgage rates do over the next 18 months is the real question?


Monday, March 31, 2008

MARCH MADNESS!!! Spring has sprung!

Crunch time has come. The students are coming, the savvy couples are taking days off of work and going out to view during the day. People are starting to contact me for properties to move in July. My sales open house was the busiest one was in the last month. The hot topic was the Bear Stearns fallout, but one offer has come in already in less than 24 hours.

If this is not the busy season, then I don't know what is. What is important to you this year? A good rate for a rental? You missed the boat there as the landlords will start raising the rents in April. A space that is adequate for the next two years while you figure out if you are going to purchase or not? That makes sense, but the longer you wait, the pricier things get in this city.

The effect of Bear Stearns will only be felt by the new employees who now may loose their jobs or not have as much bonus if they are around still by Christmas. The college gradutates who thought that they had a new job this summer will feel it as well. There are more people than there are apartments to rent each year around this time. I'd advise you to make a choice now rather than later as it will cost you more.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bear Stearns Fallout

The most talked about topic in this city these days is Real Estate. Come to think of it, that is always a hot topic in this city. There has been much talk in the past two weeks about the effects that this fire sale in particular could have on the NYC real estate market.

First off, we must understand one major dynamic. The job of the press is to sell papers. There is an industry saying in the press, "If it bleeds, it reads!" This is something that we readers, may never notice until reading things with that thought in mind. Ninety percent of what we read in the news has a negative spin on it.

Secondly, I'll point out the obvious point. I am a licensed real estate professional. Of course, if the press is pointing out the negative aspects of the NYC sales market, I will point out the positives. In all honesty, I tend to look for positives in everything, but especially my business.

So in the interest of being a reporter, I will attempt to strike the middle ground between the two with this post. As when I am working with a client, I will simply make a list of the pros and cons of each side of the discussion. This way, we can all draw our own conclusions based upon our unique situations. To quote my godfather, "There's only one way to do things, the right way!"

The Bear Stearns situation has put everyone on red alert in the country. Stateside, gas prices have risen, we are five years into a war, this is an election year, then there was the Spitzer scandal here in NYC this month and as a result a major change in Government, so there is reason for conern for those with a cynical outlook. The Euro is still strong and so there are no worries there as Europeans make up roughly 30% of the market here. Historically, NYC runs insulated from the rest of the country in terms of it's real estate market. The numbers show that even when the rest of the country is suffering, the market here steadily rises over ten to twenty year perids. For every 5% dip in pricing over two to three years, there will be a rise of 5-15% directly behind that. This all begs the question, what makes the market in this city crash or rise?

To answer the question from above, the real estate market in this city does not crash. It may experience periodic corrections over a ten or twenty year period, but it just does not bottom out. Allow me to explain why this is the case. New York City is actually five boroughs, but most people think only of Manhattan when thinking of "the city". With this important fact in mind, realize that Manhattan is the smallest amount of acreage to develop out of all of the five boroughs, the most in demand and where most of the good paying jobs are. This makes it a cheetah in a land of camels. There is no doubt that there will always be an endless amount of interest, as Manhattan has that "wow" factor that no other area has. For decades, people have been drawn in by the skyline, the relative ease of getting around to all you can wish for, the endless supply of things to do, the simple ability to say "I live in the city!" There is only one city that comes to mind when this is said, so there is a certain aura that it has that can not be matched. This causes the market here to rise while the rest of the country will falter. There is always more demand than available supply. There is truth in the fact that with all of the new condominium development and the US economy in a recession (yes, a broker just said the dreaded "r" word!), the sales market may soften a bit due to a larger amount of inventory, but that will only make the rental market tighter and sellers smart enough to price somewhat lower than market in order to draw more interest the winners.

To present the flip side, 30,000 people are going to loose thier jobs in a job market which fuels the real estate market how can it not crash? This is simple. There will always be people with money, be it old or new, looking for a place in the city with the most to do. If we do get to a point where asking prices are 10% below the prior year's, which still has not happened even with all of the "when will the bubble burst?" talk, that would be offset in the following two to three years when enough people have snatched up the available inventory, so that there is a renewal of the lack of supply to offset the major demand model. This city has and always will be about that in every facet imaginable. Why do you think we spend $1000 more per month more to rent in Manhattan versus an outter borough and as a result, spend $1.00 minimum per item more on groceries or even just a cup of coffee. It's the mindset of "I want all of it now, even if I don't need it, just knowing that it's there and readily accessible, that makes me feel better!" that a lot of Americans have.

Our country is a consumer based economy and so people have an inherent nature to over spend. We are only now, with the Bear Stearns fallout, beginning to see the repurcussions of this after over eighty years of spending in America since the Great Depression. The federal government has been taking steps to stimulate the economy, though they are a bit too late to offset the Bear Stearns type situation. The bottom line is that this city has always been and will always be a sound investment for real estate for those looking for a gain over a five to ten year period. The days of the 15% increase in value over one year, are definitely behind us for a while. If you are a person who will make this city your home for that period of time, make sure that your current living situation is stable enough so that you can take your time with making a purchase. If you are a person looking for an investment with a fast turnaround, that requires more homework and also a keen eye for the most important factor in real estate in NYC. Location, location, location!

At the end of the day, this situation overall is not good for the real estate market here, no matter what any one says. It has caused a negative perception in the consumer's mind coupled with all of the spin the media puts on the housing market here. There will inevitably be more squeezing of the Charmin, or kicking of the tires so to speak. More people will take the rent and wait approach, which will cause a tighter vacancy rate than the historically low rates we have seen in the last three years. The only winners in that situation are the landlords who will be able to command higher rents as a direct result. People who take that approach are likely to hold out and miss the small window of opportunity that will come this year before the economy rebounds in 2009. They are the proverbial, "If it came that down that much, let's wait and see how much more it'll come down!" thinkers who don't know when it's time to crap or get off of the pot. This city is not going to bottom out, so any drops in pricing are likely to be minimal and short lived because of the unique nature of the market here.

Feel free to ad on with your thoughts.

Friday, February 15, 2008

IT'S TIME TO MAKE A PURCHASE!!!

The Economic Stimulus Bill has just passed. The big winners in this rescue plan are Americans who can now purchase new homes at lower rates.

This is the opportune time to purchase NYC real estate! Favorable rates are now available on mortgages up to $729,500; up from $417,000. Let me give you two examples where the economic stimulus package really makes a difference. Look at Clarett's condominium project, Forté, in Brooklyn. Apartment 16D- Purchase price of $896,000. 20% down. Interest only mortgage of 5.5%. Including maintenance and taxes, monthly cost of $4225 pre tax. Effective after tax monthly cost is $2550. Apartment 8D- Purchase price of $650,000. 20% down. Fully amortizing 30 year mortgage at 6%. Including maintenance and taxes, monthly pre tax cost is $3975. Effective after tax monthly cost is $2734.

This is a true two bedroom apartment, in a full service luxury building with DRAMATIC views of the city for a monthly cost of renting a studio or small 1BR in the city! The prices for these two bedrooms is comparable to a small one bedroom condo in Manhattan. If you are even considering making a purchase within the next few months, I think we should speak soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

THE END OF THE NO FEE SEASON IS RIGHT UPON US!!!

Greetings all. I will cover this once for all of those not in the know. There is only one true "No Fee" rental in this city. That is when you rent from an owner directly. While it can still be done, it's like finding a needle in a haystack. That is why a knowledgable, professional broker will never be obsolete. We save you time, which saves you money. While it may cost you more money up front at lease signing, in the long run, we save you the time and aggravation of looking for three months and putting in dozens of applications until you get a place to call home. As they say, you can't put a price tag on happiness!

When using a broker, a "No Fee" apartment usually refers to us receiving one month of rent towards the broker's fee directly from the owner or management company. If you do the math, you will see that this is a huge discount in itself from the standard 15% of one year's rent charged in Manhattan as the fee. You are basically getting us to give up half of our commission, take a payment from the building or owner directly within 2-8 weeks from move in, making you a happier customer overall. I have actually waited four to six months in some cases for payment, but if it makes my clients happier, I have lived off of ramen noodles and tuna before and can do it again in the lean times ;-)

The first slideshow to the top left, is a Murray Hill, PET-FRIENDLY, Doorman building offered as "No Fee" for IMMEDIATE move in! The OP wil be gone after this coming week! Studios here are currently ranging from $2050-$2350. That is the only size apartment left in the entire building.

I STRONGLY urge you to call me or email me RIGHT NOW if you are looking to move before May. The time is almost here when the concessions will dissappear from the market until October. May through October is the peak rental season in this city. Landlords will not have enough property for the rush of new hires, interns and new students we recieve each year. Even the areas not normally focused on tend to stop giving away these concessions in the busier time of the year. The "fee" is still coming out of your pocket with these rentals, just in a different way. Often, a "no fee" client is just limiting the amount of options available, as the lower monthly rents are often the full fee listings. The "no fee" listings often charge a slightly (5-10%) higher monthly rent than a comparable apartment which is not offering any concessions.

Here's a link to the comprehensive vacancy and rental rates over the last five years as testament to my industry knowledge-->Rentals2002_2006.pdf

For those who still don't believe the HARD DATA FACTS, I have seen this trend happen for three years first hand now. People just DON'T move as much in the winter months, as they are too busy being depressed by the cold, rain and snow or just travelling to visit family and friends to AVOID the weather here. They then ASSUME that it will be easier in the summer, unbeknownst to them it is like a feeding frenzy come that time of year!

I have a host of great LUXURY buildings and also some traditional rentals offering this concession for the next four weeks or so. I can not mention that in the ads on our company website, but I can tell you all about them here.

I can not urge you enough to consider the options.


1: Wait another month or two and get caught in the mad spring/summer rush and have VERY little to choose from.

2: Wait another month or two and have options, but pay a full 15% of one year's rent

3: Move earlier and SAVE big time by taking advantage of a slightly slower (if there is such a thing in NYC) rental market right NOW!

The choice is yours. You need to make the call!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Unique Loft Tour Thursday 2/7/08

I am pleased to announce a great opportunity this week. There will be a loft tour TOMORROW from Noon-2PM in the Gramercy and Flatiron area. Come by and view some great loft properties for live/work.


GRAMERCY/FLATIRON DISTRICT LOFT TOUR
Thursday, February 7th Noon-2PM

303 Park Avenue South #318 $14,000/mth
· Colossal loft spaces for LIVE/WORK.
· Loft Approx. 2500 sq ft.
· Freight Elevator plus Private Elevator for Residence.
· 14'Ceil's with Track Lighting and Oversized Windows Facing South.
· Spacious Living & Work Area with Beautiful Hard Wood Floors. Landlord is Open to Options.
· This is prime location in the Heart of Gramercy and Flatiron Area.
For MORE Pictures, Floor Plan and Virtual Tour click here à318

MIA DELLANNIE
Senior Associate
346 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
Mobile: 917-806-3062
Fax: 917-262-7131
mdellannie@citi-habitats.com

All of the brokers and their properties in this tour, are listed below…

· 14 E 17th Street 8th Floor $10,000/mth
· Sotheby's International Realty - John Tennore Mobile -917 496-3621
· 4 W 22nd Street 8th Floor $8,250/mth
· Benjamin James - Yael Gluska Mobile: 917-406-1092
· 303 Park Avenue South #312 $7,000/mth and Unit #318 $14000/mth
· Citi-Habitats Inc. – Mia Dellannie- Mobile: 917-806-3062
· 260 Fifth Ave Apt 2N $9,000/mth
· Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, LLC - Mary A. Vetri –Mobile - 917.969.0048
· Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, LLC - Jennifer M. Russell – Mobile - 917.324.4822
· 15 E 30 Apt 300 $5700/mth
· Citi-Habitats Inc. – Mia Dellannie - Mobile: 917-806-3062
· 655 Sixth Ave Apt 5H $12,500/mth
· Citi-Habitats Inc. - JENNY WEST-D'ALBA - C: 917-991-6063

Thursday, January 24, 2008

NYC HOUSING MARKET REALITY CHECK

We all know that the Euro is crushing the dollar tight now. Yesterday, the Feds gave us a belated MLK Jr day present, by dropping interest rates 3/8ths of a percent on 30 yr fixed mortgages up to $417K!

This is hilarious to me when I woke up today and heard all morning on the news and in papers about how people are worried about the economy and the housing market crashing here.


To illustrate how ABSURD this talk is, I have quoted one of my mentors comments below which REALLY makes you realize that now is the time! Get in while the getting is good!!!

I got my real estate license on 2/1 in 1982 when I was a 21 year old senior at Cornell.

The first house I sold the buyers got a mortgage at 16.5% 30 year fixed.

I came to Manhattan in the fall of 1984….the first apartment I sold had a mortgage at 13.5%

I bought a home in Rockland County in 1987 and was very happy to get a mortgage at 11% fixed.

For a large part of my career I never dreamed that we would be able to work in an environment with interest rates below 10%.

With current interest rates at around 6% or lower for 30 year mortgages can anyone really say the sales market is tough??? Hello?

I worked through and survived the real estate depression of the early 90’s…..it was TOUGH! This market is NOTHING like the market boom of the 80’s that resulted in the stock crash of 1987. Manhattan is extremely popular now. Look at the articles saying that the suburbs are losing people to the CITY! Young families want to stay in the city more and more these days. Crime is way down from the past. NY is the financial capital of the world….arguably the closest thing this earth has to a world capital.

NY has the lowest rate of home ownership of any city in the country. More people rent here than anywhere else. We have a Manhattan rental vacancy rate of about 1%??????? There is no over supply of housing….not even close….nor could it happen anytime soon. The dollar is low, making Manhattan very attractive to foreign money and other countries have made it easier for people to get their money out. We have advantages that no place else in the country have!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The island is not getting any bigger…..Manhattan can not sprawl out like other cities…only up! Manhattan is a tiny little island full of the wealthy and they move all the time! Aren’t you glad you are here……..no other area of the country has not suffered…..we are in a unique situation!!! There is no better place to be in real estate! People get frustrated with me because I don’t worry about our market…..I’M SORRY!!!!

They told me to worry after 9/11. They told me to worry in early 2003. They told me to worry in January of 2005. They told me real estate was going down for sure in 2007. What happened….Manhattan real estate has been going up since 1993 despite what they all said. Citi agents sold $1 Billion worth of real estate in 2007! I don’t know what is going to happen…..I predict stable prices this year but it really doesn’t matter to me. We will still make a living. What we do is very honorable….we help people find a good place to live!!! No matter what people always need a place to live!! What would happen if prices went down 10% this year? Well, the reality is that there probably would be MORE transactions and more listings. Do you have to change your business plan? Not if you have been listening. We teach you to focus on buyers who: Have the money and you know how much. Have a valid reason and time pressure to buy. Are loyal to you and you have a good vibe from them. In a declining market the advice is the same!

With Sellers do the same things….focus on people that need/have to sell…..it’s simple. Pay more attention to price reductions as opposed to new listings but the principles are the same in any market. A market correction would not be a bad thing!!! Stronger agents will prosper and the incompetent would leave the industry.

What if the ice on Greenland melts and the Atlantic Ocean rises 50 feet? My advice would be to move to higher ground! I’m sorry but I’m not worried…..we’re all going to do just fine in 2008 whatever the market does! This is a real snapshot of over 18 years of experience in the NYC real estate market. It gives you a great view on how silly the talk of a "CRASH" in the housing market here is. If interest rates have fallen over 10% in 18 years, I think it is safe to say that we are in a GREAT buyers market and ironically, it is also a STRONG market for owners and investors looking to unload if they are savvy!

The construction sites you see going up all over are 95% Condominiums. This makes the people selling older units have to really rethink their asking prices or risk having a property sit on the market for so long, it gets what I like to call the "bruised apple" syndrome. NOBODY will touch it because it has sat on the market for so long, it's bruised! This will force owners looking to resell to do one of two things if they are smart, price accordingly or price a bit lower to create interest. This is a unique time in our lives and I can not stress the importance of being in touch with someone who is sociable, in the know, forward thinking and yet conscious of the current times.

That's where I come into your lives. You know who I am and how to reach me!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Wake up Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore!!!"

Greetings all, I trust that your New Year is off to a great start.
My apologies for not posting as much this month, it has been very busy indeed in the New York Real Estate Market. This post will give you an idea.

Which brings me to this point of this post. So there is all of this talk this week about the current state of the economy. I like to call it the Holy "Market" Trinity. The job market, stock market and the housing market . Personally, because I live in NYC, we are somewhat insulated from the rest of the country from these issues and so the only thing I can see in all of this talk, is a lot of fear. It has never been an emotion that I encourage, but it is a very basic and common human emotion to fear something which is unknown.

First things first, the job market. I have had more "jobs" by my thirtieth birthday, than most people might have in a lifetime. From experience, I can say that the job market is usually volatile when a Republican is in office. I am not endorsing any particular party by saying this. I am merely pointing out the facts, as history will show. When I look back over the thirty plus years of my life and the subsequent Presidents in power, there is a direct correlation between a "good" economy and a "lean" economy. The overall cost of living and the rate of income are so askew, it is somewhat pathetic and appaling. I recall reading a study stating that the average American has a MINIMUM of $15,000 of debt. This is clear when you realize that the AVERAGE American is also making around $37,500 per year with living expenses in most places averaging above $25,000 per year, what can most people live off of or expect to save?
The bottom line in this respect, we must all educate ourselves consistently in order to go out and do something useful and self sustaining or at the very least, always in demand. The more you know, the more you grow and thus the more you can expect to make some more dough! If you sew good seeds, then you will reap good fruits! If you are content with just getting by, then this all is not a concern to you, as you will just get another "job" when you are laid off from a company downsizing. We all make our lives and nothing happens to us by "chance".

Secondly, the stock market. Now this is not my area of expertise, but I did work for The Street.com and another Financial Consulting firm, so I have some knowledge of this field as well. I have always viewed the stock market in a similar vein to Poker. Now some people will say this is very true, as both involve a certain amount of luck. I have never really believed much in luck in the common sense. I feel that we all make or create our percieved luck by being prepared. When you are better prepared, you stand a better chance of being successful.
While certain things are always out of our control, being prepared is the one thing that IS in our control and can help us minimize the "helpless" feeling we sometime call being "unlucky". While no person can predict flawlessly what stock will rise and fall daily or dramaticaly each quarter, by being abreast of current events, the world climate or even more simply, changes in economy, politics, spending trends and the like, we can have a better idea of what stocks will peak and fall with a greater idea.

Lastly, the Real Estate Market. Now, look at the exact title of my current area of expertise. There is something very true and powerful about the verbatim of the term. Owning a home or apartment is owning a REAL ESTATE. It is not an intellectual property, like a song, story, movie or book. It is not an asset, like a stock investment, savings bond, CD or other financial investment. It is something REAL and tangible. It can be appraised and valued, usually with an increase over time (especially in NYC).

That brings me to this in closing, the changes we see happening in our city, state, country and the world, are constant. The one thing that is certain is that people will always need housing. here in NYC, that is an extreme understatement. People are lining up for housing here!

You know who I am and what I do, so take the first step and get in touch!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

What Slump?

Happy New Year to all! It has been a busy year already and there is no shortage of people looking to move, or developers and owners looking to sell. If you don't believe my expert industry insight, then listen to the media.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/01032008/news/regionalnews/manhattan_defies_lump_743415.htm

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