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It Takes Know-How to Win a Bidding War

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It Takes Know-How to Win a Bidding War

It Takes Know-How to Win a Bidding War

NEW YORK — The 2012 Olympics are in full swing in London and the frenzied pitch of the New York City market brings to mind its competitive spirit (not including badminton).

Buyers are feeling a sense of urgency as multiple bids and bidding wars are becoming increasingly common. Inventory is dwindling as the number of reported transactions soar.

Although mortgage rates remain at historic lows, home prices are beginning to rise.

In a heated market such as we currently find ourselves in, the slightest error can mean the difference between gold and going home. Using an experienced sales agent is more important than ever, and having all your paperwork in order may help catapult you to the top of the buyer’s line when putting in an offer.

There is no instant replay, do-over, or second chances when it comes to negotiating for that perfect home. Be smart and make sure you have the best representation there is.

A true Olympian never stops training for the gold and seasoned real estate professionals never stop perfecting their negotiating skills. The link below will give you a list of negotiating errors that buyers and their inexperienced brokers make.

Don’t let this happen to you.

When you are ready to buy or sell a property in the New York area, reach out to me and we can win gold together.

BrickUnderground: Top negotiating mistakes of buyers, and their brokers


Brooklyn Brownstones Drawing More Buyers

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Park Slope Brownstones (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

Park Slope Brownstones (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

NEW YORK — Along with the overall return of the real estate market throughout the New York metropolitan area, brownstones in Brooklyn have had a particularly strong recovery as buyers put an ever-increasing premium on square footage.

“It is amazing,” says one real estate broker quoted in the New York Times story, titled “Brooklyn’s Gold Rush.”

“It is a level of activity I have not seen since 2006-2007,” she adds. “There are so many people looking for brownstone buildings, and there is just no supply.”

Many brownstones are being purchased to be used as single-family residences, as well as multi-family homes, which have been on the rise in recent months.

The top Brooklyn neighborhoods, according to the article, were:

  • Boerum Hill, with a median price of $1.7 million, up 60 percent from last year.
  • Park Slope, with a median price at $1.45 million, almost 20 percent higher.
  • Red Hook, with a median price of $825,000, up 73 percent, although only a few properties were for sale.

As always, if you’re looking to buy, sell or rent a home in New York, especially in ManhattanBrooklyn or Queens, please let me know.

A Beautiful Brooklyn Mansion Gets On Facebook

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A Beautiful Brooklyn Mansion Gets On Facebook - Photo by Bruno J. Navarro

A Beautiful Brooklyn Mansion Gets On Facebook   (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

It just became a little easier to find your way to one of the most exquisite brownstones in Brooklyn.

The impeccably renovated Clinton Hill mansion at 280 Washington Avenue, whose bedrooms were recently added to AirBnB, is now on Facebook.

Ever since owners of the 1887 brownstone Jessica and Doug Warren opened up their breathtaking home to travelers, I have been excited to help get the word out.

“I love the idea of meeting people from around the world and having the opportunity to show them Brooklyn,” Jessica told me in September. “As you know, I love Brooklyn. When you think about how much press Brooklyn gets worldwide and how many visitors we get, there really are few hotel options.  I was in Bangkok and found, in my room, a big glossy Australian magazine that had a four- or five-page article about Brooklyn restaurants! People are coming from far and wide.”

On the home’s new Facebook page, that love of Brooklyn is evident.

I am happy to see that the Warrens, who have been magnificent hosts at various parties over the past several months and a lovely intimate dinner, are having a great experience in sharing their stunning home with visitors.

As far as I know, Jessica’s bathtub, shown below, is still off-limits.


A Bathtub to Behold - Photo by Bruno J. Navarro

A Bathtub to Behold  (Photo by Bruno J. Navarro)

Which Would You Buy: Apple Stock or a Home?

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Buying a Home Vs. Apple Stock - Photo by Bruno J. Navarro

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,”, 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.

A Brooklyn Room of One’s Own

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Clinton Hill brownstone

NYC Apartment Agent: Care to stay in a historic Clinton Hill brownstone?

If you happened to catch a glimpse of Jessica and Doug Warren’s breathtaking historic brownstone mansion on this year’s Clinton Hill House Tour and imagined what it would like to live there, here’s your chance.

Well, sort of.

This week, Jessica mentioned to me that she was opening up rooms via Airbnb in the couple’s spectacular home. (Read more about the amazing transformation of a once-neglected brownstone.) Two rooms and a suite are available at various price points.

We have always hoped to fill our house with travelers, people in need of a place, artists, etc.,” Jessica told me a couple of days ago. “Many of our friends have listed their places on such sites and have had very good experiences.

“I love the idea of meeting people from around the world and having the opportunity to show them Brooklyn. As you know, I love Brooklyn. When you think about how much press Brooklyn gets worldwide and how many visitors we get, there really are few hotel options.  I was in Bangkok and found, in my room, a big glossy Australian magazine that had a four- or five-page article about Brooklyn restaurants! People are coming from far and wide.

“I think that the opening of houses is very much in keeping with the DIY spirit of the borough and in keeping with the Brooklyn vibe. I think it’s perfect, actually.”

So do I.

The house’s description is as follows:

Built in 1887, this magnificent landmarked 10,000 square foot historic brownstone is one of Brooklyn’s architectural gems. It is located in Clinton Hill; one of the borough’s most culturally and architecturally interesting neighborhoods and home to noted writers, artists and musicians. The house has been meticulously restored and decorated with a collection of beautiful vintage modern furnishings and museum-quality art. Centrally located with access to mass transit, it’s just minutes from Manhattan. You will also find, within walking distance, wonderful ‘Brooklyn food movement’ restaurants, The Green Market, The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene Park, The Pratt Sculpture Garden and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).

Two rooms are available:

THE ERHART — This room, located on the fourth floor, has a lovely view of Clinton Hill, Fort Greene and The Williamsburg Bank Building. True to the spirit of Brooklyn, it is decorated with a muted palette and an eclectic mix of vintage furnishings to create a tranquil atmosphere. It has a private vestibule, cedar closet space, luxury bedding, a marble bathroom and an i-pod dock. A connecting room is available to create a suite. Queen, sleeps 2.

THE SWOON — This hip wonderland of a room, located on the third floor, is painted a deep peacock blue. It has a distinctive collected feel; decorated with antiques, flea market finds and mid-century modern pieces. It has large windows, a fireplace, a walk-in closet, luxury bedding, an i-pod dock, an artistic vintage-inspired bathroom with a clawfoot tub and an original pedestal sink. King, sleeps 2.

The suite is described thus:

THE BIGGIE — The Erhart is combined with a spacious mahogany paneled room to create this 1,200 square foot suite that spans the entire fourth floor. This additional room is stylishly decorated with pedigreed vintage furnishings; two merlot mohair velvet Tobia Scarpa sofas, a Karl Springer coffee table and 60’s Venini chandeliers. It has a fireplace, a mini-refrigerator, luxury bedding, a large flat screen television, a dvd player, and an iPod dock. Suite, sleeps 4-5.

Although I don’t have any Clinton Hill reservations in the works, I do have a dinner invitation next week, and I am psyched!

For pricing information, please visit Airbnb: Historic Brownstone Mansion in Brooklyn.

A Clinton Hill Evening to Remember

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A Clinton Hill Evening to Remember

A Clinton Hill Evening to Remember: The party was confined to the first floor, nowhere near Jessica's Bathtub

Jessica and Doug Warren’s lovely generosity was on full display last Friday, as they hosted a reception at their magnificent brownstone on Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill.

The occasion was the Greene Hill Food Co-op‘s installation of street artist JR’s work, part “Inside Out: A Global Art Project.”

Winner of the 2011 TED Prize, the anonymous photographer was profiled in a New York Times article titled “Award to Artist Who Gives Slums a Human Face,” which also includes an excellent slideshow.

Among the guests were several volunteers who had helped hang the show earlier in the day, a winemaker from Palmer Vineyards, a Bravo food and wine expert and various other great down-to-Earth folks.

The best part, of course, was simply being invited.

A casual vibe, a variety of comfort food, plentiful drinks — amid an interior that does not stop inspiring — contributed to a fantastic evening.

Dancing in the living room marked the latter part of the night when Doug made choice selections from his vintage record collection, which included classic tracks from David Bowie, Rolling Stones, et cetera, along with “White Lines (Don’t Do It),” the seminal dance track from the early 1980s.

I have never heard vinyl sound so good.

Although I have written previously about the first time I set foot in the 12,000-square-foot mansion and some of the renovation’s back story I stumbled across one afternoon, actually visiting the beautiful home was a completely different experience — and one I won’t soon forget.

For more about the home and its renovations, check out JP Warren Interiors on FacebookNeuhaus Design Architecture and photographs of this project and others.

A Clinton Hill Evening to Remember: The Parlor

A Clinton Hill Evening to Remember: The Parlor, as seen during the Clinton Hill Open House Tour

An Amazing Transformation in Brooklyn

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An Amazing Brooklyn Brownstone

An Amazing Brooklyn Brownstone

A single photograph on one of thousands of blog posts I read on a daily basis jumped out at me today: A magnificent 1887 brownstone mansion that was part of last month’s Clinton Hill House Tour.

At the blog, Desire to Inspire, Jessica Warren of JP Warren Interiors shares some of the back story about the house and many excellent photos, including one of her must-see-to-believe bathtub room. Here she lists some of what was done in the 12,000-square-foot structure:

There are all new bathrooms, a new kitchen, a restored copper skylight, new mechanicals . . . In terms of new construction, we built a copper-roofed room to replace an unattractive records room that had been built in 1925 on the foundation of the demolished conservatory for the Brooklyn Public Library offices. We followed the lines of the conservatory, using the existing curved base and the original plans that we found at the DOB.  Two of the parlor parquet floors were damaged beyond repair and have been replaced. The heavily patterned parquet of the front parlor was discovered under carpet and linoleum tile and has been restored. A new curved iron stair has been added under the skylight to replace a narrow servant’s stair to the basement.

The before-and-after images are especially compelling. I sure hope this amazing house is on the tour again next year.

(You can now also follow JP Warren Interiors on Facebook, and, of course, me.)

UPDATE: The project was carried out by Neuhaus Design Architecture, P.C. In case you are interested, you can see more pictures of this project and others on

Written by Bruno

2011.06.04 at 17:57

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