Real Estate Trends

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Solar Flair

By Enjolie Esteve

As fuel prices continue to climb, consumers—including real estate developers and building administrators—are looking for alternative ways to power their buildings while saving money. Solar power is one possible option for such consumers, but issues of practicality and expense have made it a stretch when it comes to workable energy alternatives. Read More

Lights Out!

By Greg Olear

There’s a reason that film directors, when making movies, first call for LIGHTS before CAMERA and ACTION. Lighting sets the tone for the entire picture. Soft lighting makes a pretty face even prettier (or a not-so pretty one, not half-bad). Saturation produces a dream-like effect. And well-placed shadows, of course, bring out the horror in horror films. Read More

A Social Networking Space

By Elizabeth Lent

In a vertical city like New York, the roof deck can signify quite literally the pinnacle of fine living. In the summer, there is nothing else quite like a nighttime gathering at the top of a building with the stars above, the bright lights of the city all around and, if we’re lucky, a breeze off the river at our backs. Read More

Superstorm Sandy

By Christy Smith-Sloman

At the tail end of October 2012, the nation and the world watched as the innocuously-named Superstorm Sandy made landfall across New York City. Lashing rain, hurricane-force winds, massive flooding, fire and power outages wreaked havoc on communities from the east end of Long Island to the Far Rockaways to Tribeca to Breezy Point, Queens. Parts of Staten Island were destroyed and lives lost, many in the neighborhood of South Beach in Staten Island, and thousands of residents in Lower Manhattan were plunged into darkness when an electrical transformer exploded on the East River, cutting power to a third of the island. Read More

The Return of the Open House

By Keith Loria

There are lots of ways for homebuyers to find properties for sale, but regardless of whether one finds their prospective dream house online, sees a “For Sale” sign in a building, or gets a hot tip word-of-mouth, at some point buyer and property need to meet in person, as it were. That could be why open houses have long been a staple of the sales process in New York City co-ops and condos. Read More

Getting a Little Tipsy

By Hannah Fons

Whether you live in a suburb or in the heart of New York City, life is expensive. Sometimes it can feel as though everybody from the barista at your favorite coffee shop to the kid who sacks your groceries is trying to nickel-and-dime you half to death. Tip jars are everywhere, sometimes decorated with winsome appeals for change, and sometimes just sitting there expectantly, waiting for you to pony up. Read More

Trouble Boiling Over?

By Jonathan Barnes

Modern cities are amazing creations, pulsing with life 24 hours a day, and built to cater to every need of residents. Take away just one of any city dweller’s basic necessities like plumbing, electricity or heating and air conditioning, though, and the big city quickly becomes a nearly unlivable concrete jungle. Read More

Not the Norm

By Raanan Geberer

Time was, a nice spacious condo unit with a good location, a decent view and several basic amenities like a laundry room, a doorman and a gym or pool were what New York City buyers wanted when they went home-shopping. However, as more buildings were constructed or renovated, and as competition became more intense for existing units, management began to offer more and more elaborate amenities as incentives for new buyers. At the same time, some people began buying condo units as an investment and/or a second home. For these people, amenities can be as important as the building’s location. Read More

Condo This!

By Lisa Iannucci

When most people think of a buying and owning a co-op or condo apartment, they're picturing a unit in a mid- or high-rise building, or possibly a townhome in a suburban development. While that's certainly the most typical format for apartment ownership, it's hardly the only one. As the economy has shifted and globalization has enabled more and more people to communicate and work from nearly anywhere in the world, new models of ownership have emerged and evolved that just a decade or so ago would have been impossible—or at least very impractical. Read More

It's Too Darn Hot!

By Greg Olear

A glance at a chart of average temperatures in New York City during the summer months (not withstanding the recent heat wave we’ve had) reveals typically it gets into the 80s during the daytime in July and August, and cools off at night. This belies the reality—that this “average” is compiled by periods of gorgeous summer days, as well as those stretches of heat and humidity that rival the Brazilian rain forest for sheer physical discomfort. This is because New York is in the path of air streams from the Gulf of Mexico, which bring not only humidity but also the summer storms, some of which might be big enough to cause major damage. Read More

Home is Where the Heart is

By Christy Smith-Sloman

 While some affianced New York City couples insist on holding their weddings in  churches, synagogues or the Central Park boathouse, others opt to keep the  nuptials much closer to home—in some cases right down the hall, in the courtyard, common room, or on the roof  deck of their co-op or condo building. Read More

Electric Revolution On the Horizon?

By Ann Connery Frantz

 Whether condo associations will buy into the so-called “electric highway” has become the perennial $64,000 question. Read More

Butt Out?

By Marie N. Auger

 In the ongoing effort to limit the non-smoking public's exposure to secondhand  cigarette smoke, municipal governments across the country are coming up with  increasingly strict bans on smoking in public places—even on public streets and in parks in some communities. Perhaps not  surprisingly, more and more condominium associations are following suit. Read More

Changing Times

By W.B. King

 Bob Dylan famously sang, “The times, they are a-changin’,” and they sure have with Pew Research finding that for the next 17 years, 10,000  Baby Boomers will turn 65 every day. This staggering statistic, which includes  the 71-year-old iconic troubadour, spells good news for retirement communities.  However, this same demographic, the Woodstock generation, is redefining  retirement while adjusting to a new social order. Read More

A Look Back to the Future

By J.M. Wilson

 Thirty years ago, Cats won the Tony Award for best musical, setting it off to  secure its place as the second longest running Broadway musical in history. New  York City streets were filled with women in torn sweatshirts and leg warmers  inspired by everyone’s favorite steel-welding, break dancing ballerina portrayed by Jennifer Beals in  Flashdance. Read More

How to Get In

By Maggie Puniewska

 Purchasing a co-op in New York City can be a real odyssey. Even with thousands  of options on the market, securing a place that fits your lifestyle and budget  can leave you with only a handful of viable choices. Factor in each building’s financial requirements and you may be down to just two or three co-ops that  you qualify for. And then there’s the interview with the board, a nerve-wracking process even for the most well  qualified applicant. But even after the stress and paperwork, many applicants  don't make it past the finish line. For a successful admission process for both  boards and applicants, there are several legal and practical matters that both  parties should keep in mind. Read More

Invasive Species

By Thomas Lisi

 New York City is not generally known for its biodiversity. Surprising pockets of  nature like the Jamaica Wildlife Refuge give a glimpse of the incredible  ecology that once existed in the area, but the development of a massive  metropolitan area of 30 million people has take its toll on Mother Nature. Read More

FHA/HUD Requirements Update

By Keith Loria

 The words “housing crisis” still have the power to send shivers down the spines of homeowners who are  still feeling the effects of the collapse of the market in 2008. That collapse  was itself triggered for the most part by the writing of “bad” mortgages to homeowners who couldn’t afford to pay. While homeowners in New York City escaped much better than most  of the rest of the country, the long-term repercussions can still be felt here,  especially among condo and co-op owners. Read More

Benchmarking and Energy Audits

By Debra A. Estock

 Little by little, the world seems to be getting greener, and the Bloomberg  administration has made greening the city one of its priorities in helping to  reduce New York City’s carbon footprint. As part of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, all of the city’s private buildings—including most co-ops and condos—of over 50,000 square feet are required to obtain benchmarking and energy audits  by a certain deadline. Read More

The Life of Super Luxury

By Keith Loria

 Despite what people mutter about real estate being in a down cycle in other  parts of the region, in New York City, people are spending tens of millions on  jaw-dropping properties throughout the city, with record-breaking sales being  logged in 2012 and even more likely in 2013 as the economy continues to  recover. Read More

2013 Market Review and Forecast

By Raanan Geberer

 According to many observers, the worst of the recession is over. We’re now several years out from the collapses and near-collapses of Lehman  Brothers, Washington Mutual, Countrywide, Bear Stearns, AIG and other big-name  financial firms. Read More

Green by Committee

By Greg Olear

 Green truly is the new black in New York City. As more and more co-ops, condos  and HOAs look to save money as expenses rise, more and more boards,  shareholders and unit owners are exploring ways to incorporate “greening” into their building community. Read More

Exterior Elements

By Lisa Iannucci

 When you think landscaping, you probably don’t think of a swanky New York co-op or condo building. After all, landscaping in  the usual sense is typically reserved for suburban homes where there is rolling  turf, strategically placed trees, sprawling flower beds and maybe even a gazebo  or fountain. There's no doubt that greenery and other design elements add to a  home’s curb appeal—and in a slowly-improving economy, curb appeal increases value and attracts  buyers. Read More

Good Day, Ma'am

By W.B. King

 While a building’s facade might draw the eye initially, it’s usually the first employee a visitor encounters that forms a lasting  impression. And for many condominiums in New York City, the resident doorman  holds this coveted, all-important role. Good impressions are important—but what makes a good doorman or doorwoman? Read More

May I Help You

By Liz Lent

 For most of us, there simply are not enough hours in the day to do everything  that needs to be done. We rush to pick the kids up from school, make it to that  impromptu work meeting that just got called, or even find the time to grab some  take out dinner before we climb into bed and do it all again the next day. Read More

Getting to Know You

By Lisa Iannucci

 Valerie Smaldone lives in a lovely, well-kept, prewar building in the Midtown  East area, known as the Beekman area. Her building was built in the late 1920's  and, among other amenities, has an extraordinary rooftop garden where she  occasionally meets and socializes with her neighbors. “There are a couple of socials on the roof per year,” says Smaldone, a radio and voice-over personality. “Residents are asked to bring wine or beverages, as well as some food to  contribute to the affair.” Read More

What the Future Holds

By Raanan Geberer

 The worst of the recession—big-time failures of investment banks and mortgage companies, huge banks in  trouble, companies laying people off in the thousands—may be over. There are some signs of hope, and residential buildings that were  long stalled are now getting off the ground. In most parts of the city,  foreclosures are down. And loans seem to be more available. Read More

The Water Way

By Jonathan Barnes

 As we city dwellers go about our busy lives, we often forget about the plain  facts of life here on this spinning globe: gravity creates an unceasing tension  in the materials we assemble into buildings and other structures. Whether or  not we are paying attention, all of matter is reacting to gravity’s pull, and those forces can result in small tears or holes in facades, roofs  and other parts of a building—a fact that’s never too far from Wayne Bellet’s mind. Read More

New Life for Unused Rooms

By David Garry

 Media room, game room, common room, party room—regardless of what you call them, the purpose of these shared spaces in co-ops  and condos is to give residents a place to gather; to hold an in-house meeting,  throw a graduation party or screen a movie, just to name a few possibilities.   Read More

The Wheels of the Bikes Go Round-and-Round

By J.M. Wilson

 With the price of gasoline rising, daily traffic snarls, a desire to live a  healthier life and the responsibility to lessen the effect of one's carbon  footprint, there are many reasons to own a bike. Buying the bike is just the  beginning. Bicycles today are not cheap—some can cost more than the price of a used car, which brings to mind the  security of our valuable two-wheelers. In a residential development other  issues arise such as the wear-and-tear on the building. Even if a small  percentage of residents in a complex have a bicycle...those bikes comings and  goings will bear there mark on the floors, the interior of the elevators and  the hallway walls. Read More

The Exchange

By Greg Olear

 Anyone who lives in a city that is a popular tourist destination has likely  played host to a procession of family, friends, friends-of-family, and other  assorted houseguests over the years. It's something of a running joke in places  like New York City, where even a tiny, bare-bones hotel room is likely to cost  more than $200 per night. Read More

Mortgage Refinancing

By Steven Cutler

 With interest rates at historic lows, never rising too far above 4% these days,  boards are looking at refinancing their co-op's underlying mortgage to build up  their reserves as a viable alternative to raising maintenance fees or levying  assessments on shareholders. Read More

Amazing Amenities

By Jonathan Barnes

 New York City is known for having some of the very best urban opportunities in  the world—among the best colleges and schools, museums and libraries, as well as some of  the finest parks, the most interesting architecture, the most intriguing mix of  diverse people, and among the very best collection of historic sites in the  nation. Read More

The Debate Rages On

By W.B. King

 Concern over health, the environment, and an evolving legal landscape has  prompted a number of condo and co-op boards in communities across New York City’s five boroughs to ban cigarette smoking not only in common outdoor areas but in  individual units. This restriction has ignited a heated debate over  health/nuisance vs. individual rights, and both sides can be vehement in  advocating for their position. Read More

Parking Practices

By Jonathan Barnes

 In a city as crowded and fast-paced as New York, parking is a big deal—it’s hard to find it when you need it, and when you do find it, it’s usually very expensive. Since parking spaces in the city are such a hot  commodity, it’s not surprising that many co-op and condo buildings operate their own parking  facilities, both as an amenity for residents and as a source of revenue. And  which of these benefits the building’s residents most value—the money earned from the facility or their own convenience—could be the deciding factor in how their board of directors decides to manage  the garage. Read More

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