Posts Tagged ‘apartments’
NEW YORK — In the eternal quest to find the best apartment deal in New York, some would-be renters are falling for brazen scams.
Never mind the unscrupulous licensed types who might attempt bait-and-switch tactics to make a quick buck. One increasingly common flim-flam involves con artists posting Craigslist ads for vacant apartments they neither own, nor have the authority to rent.
Real estate professionals “across the region say they’re seeing more people fall for it, partly because the scammers are no longer just luring victims from afar; they’re now setting up appointments with unsuspecting renters and showing them the homes before disappearing with their money,” according to a LoHud.com story.
In a New York Daily News article, one criminal in Queens swindled “a dozen would-be renters by placing a phony ad on Craigslist for an apartment in Sunnyside that didn’t belong to him.”
While I’ve previously shared a few tips on how to spot and avoid apartment scams, which are worth a look, here are a couple more that helpful readers have passed along:
- Ask for a business card. Any reputable real estate agent will have a real business card. If you have time, check out the website and see if the agent is listed on it, or call the main number. Of course, sometimes it’s possible that we’re out of cards. If that’s the case, you can ask for the next item.
- Ask to see the agent’s pocket card. By law, every agent in New York is supposed to carry a state-issued ID card while working. It looks much like a driver’s license, and it lists the agent’s name and company. Many doorman buildings require both a business card and a pocket card before an agent is allowed to show an apartment. Not having a card could be a tip-off that something is askew.
- Meet the agent at his or her office. At least the first time, it might be a good idea to see where an agent works. This works not only to avoid rip-off artists but also to get a sense of the company’s professionalism (and whether you can file a formal complaint if something does go terribly awry).
- Don’t deal in cash. Without a record of payment or a way to track your hard-earned money once it leaves your hands, it might be difficult to track down a swindler after the fact. Insist on using a credit card or cashier’s check for the deposit and application fee. If the person trying to rent you an apartment balks, take a walk.
- Use common sense. If an apartment sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Truth is, there are very few four-bedroom apartments under $400 or even 90-square-foot studios for $700 around.
If you have any questions about whether something seems fishy, please ask me or someone knowledgeable. I’m always happy to help. And if you have any suggestions of your own or experiences to share, please feel free to share in the comments below.
All signs are pointing to a fairly healthy spring season for the sales of new condominium apartments in the city, according to a new report released Thursday that tracks the new development market. — “February condo sales fuel optimism for spring,” Crain’s New York Business, March 15, 2012.
What this means for buyers and sellers is likely that more people will be looking for apartments, which will be more plentiful, and that sales listings are going to move more quickly into contract.
With mortgage rates near all-time lows, it’s a great time to buy. The increased activity also bodes well for sellers.
As always, if you or someone you know is thinking about buying, selling or renting property in New York, please let me know.
NEW YORK — Mirroring the trend of rising rents in Manhattan, Brooklyn apartments have also been getting more expensive.
There are two areas in which rents have actually declined, on average: Studio apartments and flats in Cobble Hill.
The Real Deal writes: “The average rent for a Brooklyn studio was $1,686 last month, one-bedrooms’ monthly cost averaged $2,294 and two-bedroom prices settled at $2,950, according to the report. Dumbo remained the priciest neighborhood for all unit sizes, charging price premiums of nearly $1,000 for studios and more than $2,000 above the borough’s average for two-bedrooms. The least expensive neighborhood was Bay Ridge.”
During the flush times of the mid-2000s, new condo buyers sought out brand-name, high-end appliances, along with jaw-dropping amenities and niche details. Now, they are much more intent on making sure fixtures actually work the way they’re supposed to. And because today’s buyers are more educated than ever, they can easily spot the difference between flash and substance. — “Pickier purchasers: Today’s condo amenities are less sexy, more functional,” The Real Deal, March 1, 2012.
NEW YORK — You have often heard me speak about how the real estate market, like so many other financial markets, is cyclical. Recently we have learned that the amenities apartment buyers look for while searching for a new home are also cyclical.
It wasn’t so long ago that buyers had an all-that-glitters-is-gold mentality. Brand-name appliances, everything automated and computerized, and no matter what your friends bought, you needed to have better. Wall Street was booming and it seemed as though new millionaires were being created daily.
Well, things change.
Life is cyclical, and today’s buyers are looking for more functionality and less fanciness, more simplicity and less glitz. As a result, developers have taken on a different mindset: New is good, but make it simple, functional and durable.
The article below goes into more depth about buyers’ changing desires of buyers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And, as always, if you or someone you know is thinking about buying, selling or renting property in New York, please let me know.
NEW YORK — A unique trend is emerging in housing prices and rentals, according to a report from Zillow that has not yet been released.
“While it seems that rents are rising at the expense of home values, the opposite is true. A thriving rental market will stimulate home sales, as investors snap up low-priced inventory to convert to rentals. That, in turn, will lower the number of homes on the market, which will eventually help put a floor under the value of all homes,” says Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries.
With 11-foot ceilings, exposed brick walls, piles of hardcover books and views of chimneys and water towers, Arnold Warwick’s apartment is a 1,200-square-foot monument to the Greenwich Village of our fantasies. — “A Piece of the Manhattan Dream, Only $331.76 a Month,” The New York Times, January 23, 2012.
NEW YORK — Like finding a needle in a haystack, a cheap apartment in Manhattan is a rarity most people marvel over the way they would a winning lottery jackpot. But there are a few of ways to find one.
If you’re willing to live in a 90-square-foot apartment, New York living can be yours relatively on the cheap. It comes with some trade-offs, though, like not having a kitchen and sleeping in a lofted bed.
The other way is to have lucked into a rent-controlled apartment, as did the subject of a New York Times article.
A confluence of factors, not the least of which were a charitable landlord and good timing, means that at least one apartment in a hot neighborhood cost its tenant just $331.76 per month for a 4-bedroom apartment.
The bright side? It would be more expensive to live in Hong Kong, Tokyo or Moscow.
- The New York Times: “A Piece of the Manhattan Dream, Only $331.76 a Month“
- NYC Apartment Agent: Life In a 90-Square-Foot Apartment
- The Economist: “Expatriate Rents“
In 2002, if you had purchased Apple stock instead of putting the same amount of money into a house, you’d have almost $10 million right now. — “Why Apple Stock Is Better Investment Than a House,” CNBC.com, March 6, 2012.
NEW YORK — Time travel has always fascinated me, so I appreciated an article looking at the historic performance of Apple stock versus buying a home.
An excerpt from the article uses the average cost of a house from a decade ago.
For example, the typical American home cost $228,000 in 2002, according to U.S. census data. With that money, you could have bought 18,704 shares of Apple at their price a decade ago of $12.19 a share.
Today, that home is worth $280,000 and that Apple holding is worth $9,969,232.
Clearly, buying shares of Apple would’ve been a phenomenal bet.
Of course, today a single share of Apple would cost more than $500.
Were it possible to turn back time, I’d create a to-do list that would include investing in the little computer company that could. But then again, so would buying one of the magnificent Brooklyn brownstone mansions in Park Slope or Greenpoint — or perhaps my favorite Clinton Hill mansion.
I’m no stock market whiz, but I do know there is no such thing as a sure thing. (If you know of one, please let me know!) So, absent a time machine I would still opt what Warren Buffett would do and bet on housing.
NEW YORK — Recently, I had the good fortune to answer the question: What is the best New York City neighborhood to live in?
Off the top of my head, I wrote the following response (and I’ve linked several of my own photos from around the city):
Going by only your user name, I would say you’d probably enjoy some of the craziest areas in the city. Depending on how you define the term, those neighborhoods best suited to you might be in Chelsea, the Upper East Side, SoHo or the East Village, all of which offer a variety of nightlife options, trendy restaurants and lively bars, as well as a vibrant feel. Williamsburg is another possibility, if you’re willing to go a stop or two into Brooklyn.
For as many neighborhoods as you have in New York (comprising the five boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island), you will probably find just as many people who say THEIR neighborhood is the best one in which to live.
Your best bet would be to read up on and visit every neighborhood, ask your friends/relatives/coworkers and/or find an experienced real estate agent who is also a born-and-bred New Yorker who loves many of the neighborhoods mentioned (as well as others) for very different reasons.
Congratulations, because you’ve just found the latter. Feel free to give me a call, text me or shoot me e-mail and I’d be more than happy to help you figure out exactly what the best NYC neighborhood might be for your needs.
What do you think is the best neighborhood in New York City? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
As families abandon the suburbs in favor of city living and larger apartments over single-family homes, Long Island City has benefitted from its proximity to Midtown via the Queensborough Bridge, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the E, F, M and 7 subway lines.
Another reason to look on the other side of the East River is more bang for your buck. Two- and three-bedroom apartments, as I’ve noted before, are increasingly in demand, and the area has a growing supply. (An open house I attended recently boasted stunning views of the city skyline from one of the new condo towers.)
The New York Times writes: “Among the new buildings, the 122-unit L Haus, at 11-02 49th Avenue, offers three-bedroom condos as big as 1,800 square feet, along with a 10,000-square-foot yard; it is over 60 percent sold. A 157-unit rental complex at 17-19 27th Street, scheduled to open later this year, will have a playroom.”
Long Island City today is a far cry from the neighborhood that received its first residential condo tower in 1997 with the completion of the Citylights building.
If you know someone thinking about buying, selling or renting property anywhere in New York, please let me know.
- New York Times: Families Stake a Claim to Long Island City
“If I had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand single-family homes and had a way of managing — the management is really the problem because they’re one by one, they’re not like apartment houses — I would load up on them, and I would take out mortgages out at very, very low rates.
“If anybody is thinking of buying buying homes, five years ago they couldn’t buy them fast enough because they thought they were going to go up. But now they don’t buy them because they’re going to go down, and interest rates are far lower. It’s a way, in effect, to short the dollar because you can take a 30-year mortgage. If it turns out your interest rate’s too high, next week you refinance lower, and if it turns out it’s too low, the other guy’s is stuck with it for 30 years.
“It’s a very attractive asset class now,” he said.
Asked what he would advise a young investor trying to choose between buying stocks or purchasing a home, Buffett didn’t miss a beat.
“If I knew where I was going to want to live the next five to 10 years, I would buy a home and I’d finance it with a 30-year mortgage,” he said. “It’s a terrific deal.”
It seems like plenty of folks with a down payment have picked up on what a historic opportunity now exists with 30-year mortgages near all-time lows.
“Economists polled by Reuters had expected signed contracts, which lead existing home sales by a month or two, to rebound 1.0 percent after a previously reported 3.5 percent fall. Contracts signed were up 8.0 percent in the 12 months to January,” a Reuters story said.
While I don’t compare myself to Buffett, for the past several months I have been telling anyone who will listen that it was a great time to buy.
As always, if you are thinking about buying, selling or renting property anywhere in New York, or know someone who is, please let me know.