225 West 83rd Street – The Bromley

January 4th, 2013

I believe that I live one of the nicest buildings on the Upper West Side – if you want to combine convenience, amenities and lovely views. The Bromley, at 225 West 83rd Street, is one of those postwar buildings that were built to be solid (I cannot hear my neighbors at all) and attractive. The lobby and entrance have a very pleasant art deco feel to them. There is a dry cleaner/valet service on the ground floor. The staff is attentive, friendly and helpful. Repairs are made immediately by an excellent professional maintenance staff. There is a garage and a roof deck.

But the most wonderful thing about the Bromley is The Second Floor:
• fully equipped health club with pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, yoga studio and basketball half court
• huge and very well equipped children’s play room with kitchen
• large clean and well maintained laundry with lots of machines
• event space that can be rented at very reasonable rates

So if you want to be my neighbor – right now there are 3 units for sale in my building.
2 bedroom 2 bath high floor Apt.15M
Panoramic southern views, lots of closet space, including a walk-in,washer/dryer in the unit. $1,750,000

• 1 bedroom1 bath
Open city west and south views. GORGEOUS SUNSETS! 727 sq ft. Fantastic storage space. New plank wood floors granite counters and kitchen floor and glass cabinets. Will be freshly painted and ready to move-in. $859.000
1 bedroom 1 bath Apt. 8A
Open city view. This is the largest line of the one bedrooms in the building at about 900 sq ft. $950,000

All Manhattan, Except the Financial District

December 6th, 2012

As a real estate agent, I often hear from my buyers that they are interested in all Manhattan neighborhoods EXCEPT the Financial District. Why exclude it I ask? Their reply is the usual… “Well…there’s no night life…there’s no shopping….too many suits… it’s not trendy…there aren’t any good places to eat…too many young kids…. too many old kids. It’s…well… just too boring! Get the picture?”

Listen to me buyers: within the next five years, we will witness a drastic change in the Financial District (in a good way) and it’s surrounding areas. Mark my words and let me explain why.
Read the rest of this entry »

Is December a Good Time for Real Estate?

November 29th, 2012

This is the beginning of the holiday month and real estate will be a little slower in December. However, contrary to conventional wisdom, in my experience, December is a great time to be in the real estate market.  I find that listings that are active at this time, especially those that are running open houses, tend to be from more motivated sellers. Additionally, buyers who are actively looking in December are more serious. As a result, over the years I have seen the best deals happen for clients during the month of December.

So…for those of you who will be in town I would urge you to stay active throughout this month – you may be glad that you did. Read the rest of this entry »

The East Village – A Love Story

November 12th, 2012

My first New York City apartment was on 2nd avenue and 9th street before all the luxury apartments went up. I lived there because it was cheap Manhattan. It was described as a two bedroom but the second bedroom, my bedroom, was a closet with a closet.
The floors sloped severely towards the bathroom and when Starbucks moved out of the downstairs commercial space, we acquired a resident mouse.

My rental was dark and small but it didn’t matter because once I left my prewar, 450 square foot, two bedroom apartment, I was in walking distance to the hats, gloves and wigs on St. Marks, cheap food, a jazz trio at Louis, a Nirvana cover band at Sidewalk. My apartment was for sleeping. My neighborhood was for living.

Since then, I’ve lived in New Jersey, other parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn but always found my way back to the East Village.

When it came time to buy, I did my due diligence and looked everywhere I found palatable within my budget. But I knew where I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to own a part of east downtown and now, I do.

Three Helpful Tips For a Stress-Free NYC Apartment Closing

October 11th, 2012

Relax and enjoy a stress-free nyc real estate closingIf you are unfamiliar with the New York City housing market, closing on an apartment can be an intimidating process. However, a little bit of preparation can go a long way toward making your purchase as simple as possible. Buying real estate need not be a daunting task if you follow these three helpful tips for a stress-free NYC apartment closing.

1. Hire a good attorney.

To make negotiating a contract on an apartment easy in New York, you need a real estate attorney that can take the time to explain to you what is in the contract and how it affects you.  This is a legal and binding document so you need to be sure you understand what you’re agreeing to. Try to find an attorney who understands your preferences and communication style, as he will be your primary point of contact during the negotiation process. Read the rest of this entry »

Location, Location, Location

October 8th, 2012

Location, location, location.

Why bother living downtown? As my first Real Estate broker assured me, if you really like a neighborhood that you don’t live in, you can always take a $10 cab ride and you’ll be there in five minutes. Right?

Wrong.

The truth is that if you live in the Upper East Side, you live on the Upper East Side. After a long day at work, you’re not going to hop into a cab, navigate traffic, and go to the local bistro at the corner of Thompson and Grand. Shopping, dining, and bar hopping will, more often than not, happen within ten blocks of where you live. To think otherwise is naïve. And for a lot of folks, that’s just great. But there’s a reason why people pay big premiums to live downtown.

Case in point: I live in the northwestern SoHo. It isn’t cheap, but it’s s-o-o-o-o-o-o worth it. Steps away from Raoul’s,  Mercer Kitchen, Blue Ribbon, Lure Fish Bar, and Aqua Grill. Bars? How about Pravda, Merc Bar, Café Noir, Macao and 60 Thom, to name just a few. Shopping? Like Fifth Avenue, but cooler.

And what about the living space? No cookie cutter floor plans here. No way. You get genuine authentic cast iron buildings pre-dating 1900: Open floor space, high ceilings, and rarely more than six stories. I live in a loft built in 1850. It has 20-foot ceilings, a 14-foot window, and walls so thick that I never hear my neighbors. Try finding that uptown.

My advice? Pay the premium and be a downtowner. It’s worth it.

image courtesy adamina

Notes and Tips

August 28th, 2012

We spend a lot of time at RealDirect trying to improve the buying and selling process. For the past few weeks we have been focusing on 2 items we will use to accomplish this. It’s the note and the tip.

We believe that notes and tips will be two of the most important ways people will work with us to buy and sell real estate, and we are in the process of integrating them into every listing, building and neighborhood.

A “note” is a private message our clients and agents can leave to each other. They cannot be seen by anyone outside that specific client relationship, and they are a way to document what the client likes or dislikes about a specific property. It is attached to the listing so there is context to every place you have ever considered, and it allows for an easy “refresh” when you have seen a lot of places and then come back to a property you have seen earlier in your search.

A “tip” is a comment or information that our team of agents believe is useful to our buyer community. They include things like amenities that are not commonly discussed, idiosyncrasies of a particular building – like the restricted hours available for showings or an address that doesn’t have an entrance on that street – or something the agent witnessed when touring the building or apartment.

And because a picture is worth a thousand words, both “tips” and “notes” support photos as well.

Take a look and let us know what you think!

From Russia With Love

July 20th, 2012

I’m a proud American and I’ve been living in New York for almost 10 years. I love this city and it’s people. One benefit of New York is the fantastic restaurants where the staff speaks Russian, my native tongue. But it’s not just the purveyors of fine caviar that speak the language of Czars; heck no—not by a long shot. There’s my watch repairman, my dog-sitter, and my favorite real estate attorney. I can even go to hockey games at Madison Square Garden, curse loudly in Russian, and half of the New York Rangers will get offended. I don’t actually do this, mind you, but my point is that there are Russians everywhere. Most of them will tell you that communism sucks. But wait, does it?

Let’s take a communist organization like RealDirect, for example. Of the 5%-6% commission typically charged to a property seller, we take up to 1% and redistribute it to the people. That’s right: from the pockets of your real estate broker to the pockets of the needy—that’s you, apartment hunters. Because Carl Marx knows you’re going to need that 1% to help you cover your closing costs, mark my words.

The communist revolution is back, but this time it’s different. Is the message getting out to my fellow comrades? I hope that one day we’ll have a button on the top right hand corner of this website that says “Russian”, so we could share the benefits of the City’s most innovative Real Estate agency in Cyrillic. In the meantime, comrades, give me a call.

Image via Forbes

Don’t Know Lenox Hill From Lenox China?

July 18th, 2012

Robert Lenox was an immigrant Scottish merchant, (1759-1839) who owned a large farm on the Upper East Side. When he bequeathed it to his son, James Lenox, his son divided the land into lots and sold them during the 1860s and ’70s. One of the lots on Fifth Avenue was allotted for the The Lenox Library, now known as the Frick Museum, which houses some of the world’s finest art works on the Upper East Side on 70th Street and 5th Avenue, while another lot was donated for the Union Theological Seminary.
Lenox Hill is the area that now ranges from East 72nd Street to East 59th Street. The neighborhood assumed the name after the German Hospital was renamed Lenox Hill Hospital as a way to acknowledge the legacy of the Lenox family and distinguish the area from Murray Hill.

Walter Scott Lenox, on the other hand, was from Trenton, New Jersey. In 1889 he founded Lenox China, a company that would come to elevate ceramic art and porcelain in the U. S. Thanks to Walter, porcelain tableware came to adorn state functions hosted by presidents and diplomats. By 1897, examples of Lenox’s work were included in the Smithsonian Institution and by the early 1900’s, Lenox china became the first American china to be commissioned by President Wilson and the First Lady. Lenox china still exudes quiet elegance and like Lenox Hill, a Zen timelessness that can be appreciated by the trendy and the traditional types that now reside at Lenox Hill.

Image via Edgar Zuniga Jr.

The First 24: What Happens Once Your Real Estate Listing Is Published?

July 17th, 2012

RealDirect's marketing outreach includes direct mail which is created and ordered within 24 hours of listing publication.

One of the cornerstone beliefs at RealDirect is creating efficiency in the real estate process through the smart use of technology. That’s why we’ve built a listing management dashboard that allows users to edit and update their listings, view stats, offer available showing appointments, set open houses and get helpful suggestions at any time. It’s also how we manage to accomplish an incredible amount of marketing outreach for each of our real estate listings within the first 24 hours of publication. Read the rest of this entry »