The Lower East Side: Real Estate.

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As a Lower East Side Resident, and real estate broker, I have observed the shift in the architectural landscape. What once used to be the Matzo Factory, is now a new condominium development. Adorning the corners of  the high foot traffic Clinton Street – an array of new boutique shops selling art, good food, and love in a cup of gourmet hot chocolate.  It makes sense that developers hedged on the steady growth of the LES. A romantic landscape , with vibrant flavor and history, where a developer could build and make a profit, while not surpassing the average 2k a foot psqf,  in surrounding neighborhoods.  As a resident, and broker, I do feel that it is positive that our community continues to dynamically move forward, while still keeping aspects of the history that has made the LES what it is. Among the fancy  new boutique shops, one can still find the little mom and pop spaces, art, music, galleries, Orchard Street. The architectural design does not take away from the skyline; featuring small walk-ups, and charming buildings. From a buyer’s standpoint, this would be the place to invest at the moment, while prices are relatively low, and the product new, in a wonderful location.  GO LES!!!!

Data sharing IS shrinking.

I love New York City, because it is a dramatic space with fluid and dynamic energy and an artistic underlying climate.  Being a real estate broker, is challenging, but it is also exciting. Throughout the years, open source players and creative programmers have tried to find a way to democratize data in the real estate landscape. After acknowledging that New York City’s real estate data has mostly operated in closed, non cybernetic systems prior to listing aggregators – they realized that  it would behoove them, to mostly create tools that brokers can use to facilitate a transaction, or create spaces where brokers and prospective buyers and leasees could try to find real time data to negotiate a transaction based on a macro, contextually relevant comparisons.  With aggregators, they welcomed the real estate industry’s willingness to share data and create an overall market place for all.  Thus, consumers became locally familiar with the marketplaces, and brokers were able to find  direct customers/clients. That is, until every new aggregator, or provider of real estate data, decides, that they are more interested in the classical brokerage model  for controlling data and turning profit. Thus, democratizing of information is great, but then, they want to be compensated for the service that they provide, and what better way than to use the content already provided by the real estate players who kept the information in closed systems and by default control the market. A conflict of interest is born, and regardless of how many new tools are used to democratize this particular data, the content providers will  pull back because it affects their profits. Data sharing is shrinking because of the push and pull that technocratization of this particular type of information purports, and the landscape is not ready to lose power or control of extremely valuable data with fancy profits.  New York City’s real estate landscape is interesting because it contains different types of properties, and for each, a unique process. Furthermore, there  are laws dictating how each property can operate within the macro landscape. Brokers are needed; technology is useful – what will the future bring for this complex landscape? will owners accept that an agent would not want to list their property in a given space, because this will mean having to share the commission? Will that owner receive the highest bid? will that owner still be paying the same commission amount if the buyer comes directly to the listing agent vs having to co broke it with a buyer’s agent representing a customer? Do buyers even care who represents them, and rather go directly to the seller’s agent because this will guarantee them getting the property that they want?  If a buyer’s agent doesn’t know a property, his/her job is to conduct due diligence, and by default the understanding is that the professional has experience and knowledge in reference to the process, pricing and market movement. Will  owners even care or understand how this paradigm shift  impacts the bottom line? will the brokerage system change? Only time will tell.

Dear Owners: Have you asked your management company recently how they are curtailing illegal sublets in YOUR building?

This is the time of the year when people travel, and like the summer, there is a lot of activity in short-term sublets. While there are laws in place to try to curtail short term illegal sublets – it is still happening, particularly in small rental buildings, where the super is not present, and management companies are not familiar with the foot traffic in and out of the buildings that they manage. Having a video camera that does not work and no one reviews is pointless.

While the “rent stabilized” properties continue to diminish in our pool of housing, there are still however a few small-walk up buildings that are rent stabilized. In such properties, the “owner” can only increase the rent within the city guidelines. http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resources/faq/rentstab.html

Due to operating costs, and the restriction(s) on how much an owner can increase the rents on lease renewals in these types of properties, there is a lack of additional revenue for building improvements. Technically, the available apartments should be given to persons who qualify for them financially. The prospective tenants, are applying because cannot afford a more expensive apartments!

There are cases when people who have substantial wealth are able to obtain leases in their names in such apartments, often because they have invested their liquid assets in foreign investments, including but not limited to income producing properties, or investments in which their actual financials can’t be traced. No taxes, no records.
Is this fair? The unfairness comes when these individuals start to lease out short-term the very small rent stabilized apartments that are meant for people who can’t afford more, low income to some degree – yet these individuals with higher means – are doubling rents and pocketing every penny. More money for those who already have money off the backs of the ones who do not.
Instead of the rightful owner. So, next time you think about subletting your apartment illegally short-term, think about the ramifications that it has on your neighbors, and in our community, as well as the city itself. It is not cool. It lacks ethics.

Anything priced well and in a coveted location will sell fast in Manhattan

A few years ago listings sold, sure, but there was room for negotiation, and pricing somewhat at a pace reflecting the mood of the economy. This year, if an apartment looks priced under market value, be aware, as this can be basically is a tool to create a bidding war. Cash is king in accepted offers. Should that be fair? As a buyers agent, no, that does not seem fair. I always advise my clients/customers to be aware of the rates psf in the given location, this way they refrain from using emotional logic and overpay. If another prospective purchaser wants to do that – then let them pay, you move on to a fair deal. There is no such thing as a “deal” really – particularly in coveted locations and prestigious buildings. What there is, however, is a “fair deal.” It is important to buy an apartment that has future resale value. Don’t take for granted things like view, light, floor level, how big the bedroom is. Just a thought.
Manhattan is expensive; be prepared to spend. Just don’t empty out your accounts – unless your accounts are bottomless and you really just don’t care.

The Lower East Side Area and New Development Bid

The Lower East Side continues to move forward in development. Within the next ten years, the area adjacent to the Williamsburg Bride – South, North and East will continue at a similar pace as the land lease on the West 30s of the Hudson. While new apartment buildings will be a mixture of affordable and market rate residencies, the air-rights of existing older walk-ups will be bought and built. One example is the corner retail space of Delancey and Clinton in the Lower East Side. Similarly so, the Seward Park area, will see an influx of new retailers, with concessions to match the residential additions.
Here is the link to the open bid to work on this amazing trajectory …

http://www.nycedc.com/project/seward-park-mixed-use-development-project”>here is the link to the bid

Brokerage Menu – Choices for Sellers and Renters in Manhattan

I realize that the real estate landscape will continue to change, because of tech innovation, communication, mediums, and choices that people currently have. Most buyers and renters, start their process, with an online-search, and there are a variety of sources, that allows him or her to search for their apartment of their dreams. Part of our philosophy, includes being able to be open to new ways to service our prospective consumers. Manhattan Life Real Estate, is able to provide that prospective renter, seller, or buyer, choices. If you are a seller, and want to just utilize part of our services, that we, as licensed real estate brokers, can provide, then, he or she can pay a monthly fee, a consultation fee, or a percentage of a broker’s fee at closing, that will be contextually relevant to that deal. We do not believe in “general” rules, as they apply, we believe in being able to respond to the budgets, and needs of each person in a real estate transaction. We are looking forward to being part of an innovative solution to the high brokerage prices, being able to respond to the change in the landscape. Feel free to inquire about our real estate menu.