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NYT Press: Battery Park City: A Resort-Like Community Built on Landfill

Battery Park City: A Resort-Like Community Built on Landfill

The cost of living may be slightly higher in this landfill neighborhood than elsewhere in Manhattan, but many residents say the benefits outweigh the costs.

By Aileen Jacobson     Aug. 15, 2018


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Once a landfill and a set of dilapidated piers, Battery Park City has grown during its 50-year history into a vibrant community that one resident recently likened to a resort or a cruise ship, and others to a bucolic suburb.

“It seems like everyone knows everybody,” said Glenn Plaskin, a journalist and author in his 60s who moved into Gateway Plaza, the neighborhood’s first residential complex, 33 years ago. He was looking for an apartment with light, a water view and low rent, he said, when a real estate agent suggested “this place way downtown, where nobody wants to live.”

His first thought when he arrived was, “Where am I?” he said. “It seemed like the middle of nowhere. Being here was like living on a houseboat.”

The area had few amenities or inhabitants at the time, but that has changed dramatically in the years since, in spite of the devastation caused by the attack on the nearby World Trade Center in 2001. These days, the neighborhood is bursting with stores, restaurants, parks and activities,” Mr. Plaskin said. “It’s just booming.”

The resort and cruise-ship analogies are more apt now: “This neighborhood has become affluent,” he said. “There are only pockets of affordability,” including apartments like his, which is rent-stabilized.

“I always say it’s a little bit like cheating to say we live in Manhattan,” said Martha Gallo, who arrived 35 years ago, after her father noticed the waterside community from his hotel window. “It’s more like a suburb. The parks are kept in glorious condition, and it’s well maintained. The streets are clean and there is no graffiti.”

Ms. Gallo, 61, an executive vice president at AIG insurance company and a board member of the Battery Park City Authority, which manages the community, married Chuck Kerner, an investment banker, six years after moving to the area. For $650,000, they bought a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom duplex penthouse with a terrace and a fireplace, where they raised two daughters, now 20 and 15. When the children were younger, she said, they belonged to a local sailing club, participated in an annual catch-and-release family fishing day and other free events in the parks, and often visited a duck pond and a park filled with whimsical sculptures by Tom Otterness.

Joanne Hughes, 48, and her husband, Paul Hughes, 50, who works in investment trust at a real estate company, moved to the neighborhood in 2005 because they thought it would be “a good place to raise a family,” she said. They now have two teenage sons and a 5-year-old daughter.

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They rented for the first year “to get the feel of the neighborhood,” Ms. Hughes said. “We loved it. Everybody was very friendly.” So they bought a two-bedroom apartment, and when that home started to feel “too tight,” they found a larger place in the neighborhood: a three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit on the 35th floor of a building with views of the Statue of Liberty, for which they paid $3 million.

“The public schools are excellent, and the air is fresh,” said Ms. Hughes, whose sons play soccer in neighborhood fields and walk to the local movie theater. The family eats at restaurants in the sprawling Brookfield Place (formerly known as the World Financial Center) or order pizza from a cafe in their building.

“We have people from all over the world living here,” she said. “The only thing we’re missing is a beach. If we had a beach, I’d never leave.”

What You’ll Find

Battery Park City’s eastern boundary is West Street, and the rest of the neighborhood, from Chambers Street to the Battery, is bounded by the Hudson River. An esplanade wraps around most of the waterfront.

The original plan was to create a 92-acre landfill — mostly with fill excavated during the construction of the World Trade Center — in an area that had been fringed by dilapidated piers, and build a mix of commercial, retail and residential buildings nestled among parks, which now cover 36 acres. In 1968, the Battery Park City Authority was created by the New York State Legislature to manage the area’s development, and by 1980, the first residences were under construction. In 2008, the City of New York leased Pier A and Pier A Plaza, on the southern end, to the Authority, so they are now part of Battery Park City, too. Today there are 30 residential buildings, and no new construction is planned.

“The neighborhood has been developed, and now we have a responsibility to maintain it,” said B.J. Jones, the authority’s president and chief executive. Some of that, he said, involves preventive work on the sea wall and underwater piles that hold the area in place. The authority also has its own security force and a conservancy branch that keeps the area clean.

Free activities — of which there are about 1,000 each year — are expanding, too, Mr. Jones said: “We are investing in diverse programming to make the community welcoming to everyone.”

A major transformation occurred in 2015, when the World Financial Center, a hub for financial services firms, became Brookfield Place, with a greater variety of businesses in its five office towers, and a retail area — a suburban-style mall — comprising 40 high-end stores and six restaurants, including Le District, a French food hall and market. The complex faces the North Cove Yacht Harbor, a particularly lively spot.

What You’ll Pay

Andrew Klima of COMPASS

Monthly costs may be slightly higher than in other areas of the city because of the fees the authority charges, “but a lot of people feel that is a cost they are willing to pay for what they get: the beautiful neighborhood,” said Andrew Klima, a Compass agent. The average sale price of a one-bedrooms in 2013 was $665,475, he said. In 2017 it was $814,278, and this year, through July, it was $865,170.

Several buildings that started as rentals have been converted to condominiums in recent years, said Jessica Weitzman, a Corcoran agent who lives in a condo built in 2006. The Solaire, completed in 2003, is scheduled to convert to condos next year.

On Aug. 9, there were 120 apartments listed for sale on StreetEasy, ranging from $550,000 for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo on South End Avenue to $10.995 million for a four-bedroom, five-bathroom penthouse on West Street. Of 129 rentals, the cheapest was $2,900 for a studio on South End Avenue and the priciest, $35,000, was for the four-bedroom West Street penthouse that was also for sale.

The Vibe

Although the area attracts tourists, many residents find it a quiet retreat. “It’s off the grid a bit,” said Dan Cahill, 37, an asset manager who moved into the neighborhood in 2012 with his wife, Alexandra Cahill, 34, a teacher.

He was attracted by the open spaces where he could run or bicycle, he said, and later discovered, after having children, that “the area is also extremely kid-friendly.” Restaurants are welcoming, he said, often supplying crayons, and activities abound.

Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, at the northern end of the neighborhood, is a gathering spot for parents with strollers. Teardrop Park has a water play area and a long slide that ends in a sand pit. Another playground has a house where children may borrow games and toys. Stuyvesant High School, at the northern end, allows residents to pay discounted fees to use its pool, gym and other areas during nonschool hours. (Residents get no advantage, however, in qualifying for the specialized public school.)

Cultural spots include the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, on the southern end, in Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park, and the Skyscraper Museum across the street. The Irish Hunger Memorial commemorates the 19th-centruy potato famine with stones from each of Ireland’s 32 counties. Poets House, home to a national archive of 70,000 volumes of poetry, sponsors readings and other programs.

“There’s a waiting list” for plots at the community garden at Albany and West Streets, said Anthony Notaro, who described working on his small plot, for which he pays $20 a year, as one of his favorite activities. Mr. Notaro, 57, who works for a software firm from his apartment, which he bought in 1996, is chairman of Community Board 1, covering the area south of Canal Street.

Karlene Weise, president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association, participates in musical events, she said, but sometimes after she returns from her job as a document specialist at J.P. Morgan, she prefers to sit on the esplanade: “I just look at the water and the Statue of Liberty, and after a few minutes, I’m better.”

The Schools

M276, Battery Park City School, in the southern part of the neighborhood, has 802 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. According to the 2016-2017 School Quality Snapshot, 75 percent met state standards in English, compared to 41 percent citywide; 72 percent met state math standards, compared to 38 percent citywide.

At P.S. 89, Liberty School, there are 420 students enrolled in prekindergarten through fifth grade; last year, 79 percent met state standards in English, versus 40 percent citywide, and 85 percent met state math standards, versus 42 percent citywide.

The school shares a building with I.S. 289, Hudson River Middle School, which has 279 students in sixth through eighth grades. It is a screened school, accepting students based on a variety of academic criteria, and only residents of District 2, of which Battery Park City is a part, can apply. On state tests last year, 69 percent met standards in English, compared to 41 percent citywide, and 65 percent met state standards in math, compared to 33 percent citywide.

The Commute

Among the trains that make stops a few blocks east of West Street are the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, C, E, J, R and Z trains. The M9, M20 and M22 buses and a free shuttle bus operated by the Downtown Alliance also make stops in the neighborhood. A new pedestrian underpass starts in the Winter Garden Atrium at Brookfield Place and leads to the Oculus, the mall and transportation hub, designed by Santiago Calatrava, where most of these lines, and the PATH system, converge.

The History

After Sept. 11, 2001, when much of the area was damaged and many people were evacuated, about half the residents left for good. Since then, the community has rebounded and grown to about 16,000 residents, 2,000 more than was predicted a decade ago.

Hello Westchester!

Breaking News:

Our growth continues! We are thrilled to share the news that Compass Westchester is official!
Today, we are making another big step in building Compass. We have signed an agreement to acquire Platinum Drive Realty, a leading boutique brokerage in the market! With the addition of Platinum Drive, Compass Westchester can grow to 100 Agents and five offices strong, and become a top five brokerage in Scarsdale, Larchmont, and Chappaqua.
Platinum Drive shares Compass’ desire to grow beyond what most believe is possible. The company was founded in 2006 and was named one of the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in America in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. WELCOME TO COMPASS

Thrilling News This Morning!

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Compass just announced a $450M fundraise from the SoftBank Vision Fund, known for making bold investments in the technology companies transforming our world. With this investment, we will continue to reshape the real estate industry, elevate the client experience, and live out our mission – to help everyone find their place in the world.

Below is the first wave of press coverage on the SoftBank Vision Fund investment in Compass. 

TechCrunch | Compass gets $450M from SoftBank; real estate portal now valued at $2.2B

Fast Company | SoftBank’s $450 million investment puts Compass on the global map

Business Insider | A NYC startup that wants to make finding a home easier just raised $450 million at a $2.2 billion valuation

CNBC | Softbank invests $450 million in real estate tech company Compass


 Founder and executive chairman Ori AllonCompass, COO Maelle Gavet, and CEO Robert Reffkin.

Founder and executive chairman Ori AllonCompass, COO Maelle Gavet, and CEO Robert Reffkin.

  • Real estate startup Compass has raised $450 million from SoftBank at a $2.2 billion valuation.

  • The money will be used to expand where Compass operates.


Compass, the New York-based startup with the goal of disrupting the real-estate market, has raised $450 million at a $2.2 billion valuation.

The new money, which comes from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank's $100 billion tech fund, will be used to bring the Compass platform to more cities than the 11 areas where it now operates.

“With the support of the SoftBank Vision Fund, we will be able to move quickly to execute our ‘Compass Everywhere’ vision, partnering with top agents and their clients in every major U.S. city," Compass founder Ori Allon said in a statement shared with Business Insider. "Just last week, we launched in Chicago with the number one agent team in the State of Illinois, and we are continuing to gain momentum with top agents everywhere.”

Compass has now raised $775 million to date. And with a more than $2 billion valuation, SoftBank's investment propels the five-year-old company into the upper ranks of New York's most valuable tech startups.

While it employs traditional brokers, the main selling points of Compass are the leveraging of data to improve the efficiency of the real estate business along with a sleek mobile app for buyers and renters.

“Real estate is a huge asset class, but the sector has been relatively untouched by technology and remains inefficient and fragmented,” SoftBank's Justin Wilson said in a statement. “Compass is building a differentiated, end-to-end tech platform that aggregates across diverse data streams to support agents and homebuyers through the entire process, well beyond the initial home search. With disruptive technology and unique data advantages, Compass is well-positioned for future growth in a sector that represents trillions in transaction volume.”

NBC Open House: The Hunt - Harlem Living

Check out our beautiful exclusive being featured on NBC Open House: The Hunt showcasing the sales search of fellow COMPASS agent John McGuinness.

About The Episode:

Scott and Jillian are both already home owners but are looking to buy their first home as a couple. They know they want more space and they want to live in Harlem. But they also have a healthy difference on what kind of place they want. Let's see if broker John McGuinness can find a place in Harlem that’s just right. (Published Saturday, Nov 18, 2017)

Compass Now Worth $1.8 Billion

Compass is now worth $1.8 billion after its latest cash infusion: a $100 million Series E that will go toward a massive geographic expansion.

Investors in the round included Fidelity Investments, IVP and Wellington Management, which led Compass’ Series D round. The round brings Compass’ total funding to $325 million.

Compass said the latest round will be used to build new technology — namely, a customer relationship management (CRM) platform — and it will allow the brokerage to expand to 10 new cities within two years. “We’re just getting started,” Compass’ executive chairman Ori Allon said in a statement to The Real Deal. “The real vision is for Compass to be everywhere.”

Following the successful public offering for Redfin — another venture-backed tech brokerage now worth $2.05 billion — sources said Compass’ latest round is a sign that it, too, is gunning for a public offering.

“With all that capital raised, all signs are pointing to that direction,” said Ashkan Zandieh, founder of property data startup Falkon and research company RE:Tech.

Until then, Compass is stepping up plans to capture more market share.

The firm, which launched in New York in 2013, has 2,000 agents nationwide, and doubled its headcount over the past year. Compass, which says it’s profitable in several markets, had gross revenue of $180 million in 2016 and the company said it’s on track to hit $350 million in 2017 revenue. Its agents are projected to close 16,000 transactions valued at more than $14 billion.

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Last month, CEO Robert Reffkin said Compass plans to launch in 10 new domestic markets by 2020 — part of an effort to capture 20 percent of the market share in 20 major U.S. cities by that time. The “2020 by 2020” plan, shared at a companywide meeting in New York on Oct. 24, will see new outposts in Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Chicago. In addition, Compass said in 2018 it plans to build a new CRM platform, and would launch a targeted digital marketing tool as well as real estate signage that would be fueled by solar power. In June, Reffkin told TRD the firm would have an international presence within 18 months.

Still, Compass’ valuation continues to vex rival real estate firms, who say it’s not a realistic value for a brokerage company.

“The question of whether we are a tech company or a brokerage company is a false dichotomy,” said CFO Rob Lehman. “Every company that’s going to succeed in industries in the future is going to have to be a hybrid.” He said Compass has a “ton of runway” on the pure technology side. At the same time, he added, “We always think we’ll have a deep human component. To that end, we are both a tech company and a brokerage and we let the market ascribe the value.”

Though Compass has been noncommittal about its exit strategy, industry players said the firm’s prospects got a boost from Redfin’s public offering. The Seattle-based brokerage — which also raised venture capital by positioning itself as a tech company — saw shares soar 45 percent on its first day of trading giving it a market cap of $2.05 billion. Its market cap is now $1.86 billion based on a share price of $22.36.

“Redfin’s strong performance in the public market has been a real boon to any residential prop tech company that’s looking to raise money,” said Zach Aarons, co-founder of MetaProp, a real estate tech investor and accelerator.

So far this year, investors seem to be bullish on the space. They pumped nearly $6 billion into real estate tech during the first three quarters of 2017, compared to $3.2 billion during the same time in 2016, according RE:Tech data. NYC-based firms raised close to $900 million during that time, up from $300 million last year.

A few weeks after Redfin’s IPO, San Francisco-based Homelight, which uses data to connect buyers with agents, raised $40 million in a Series B led by Menlo Ventures. And in September, U.K.-based Purplebricks — another investor-backed, low-fee brokerage — launched a U.S. operation after raising $60 million from investors. The five-year-old company reported $62.6 million in 2017 revenue. Just last month, Oakland, Calif.-based Roofstock, a platform for buying and selling rental properties, raised a $35 million Series C round.

But Zandieh said while deal size and volume are up, investors are sticking to later-stage financings. “At this stage, they’re doubling down on their current investments.” He said Compass has the benefit of having some “pretty big names already behind them.” Though it has been strategic about its growth into new regions, “you need capital and you need people to build up those markets.”

5 Surprisingly Spacious Manhattan Two-Bedrooms For Under $750K

5 surprisingly spacious Manhattan two-bedrooms for under $750K

The two-bedroom apartments offer space at a relatively low price

BY AMEENA WALKER  JUL 7, 2017, 1:15PM EDT

Welcome to a semi-regular feature, Price Points, in which we pick a relatively low asking price and a type of apartment, then scour StreetEasy to find the best available options around the city. Today's task: Manhattan two-bedrooms asking under $750,000.


↑ If you’re willing to take the trek up to Washington Heights, this 987-square-foot condo delivers bang for your buck. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home, asking $750,000, features massive windows, dark hardwood floors, a sleek windowed kitchen, and a balcony that overlooks Highbridge Park. [Floorplan]


↑ On the Upper West Side, a 700-square-foot co-op is going for $745,000. The listing description touts this as an “affordable starter” home with 10-foot ceilings, oak floors, a small but modern kitchen, and a washer/dryer. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit is also less than a block away from Riverside Park. [Floorplan]


↑ For $735,000, there’s this prewar co-op in Morningside Heights with lovely period details. Exposed brick walls, high ceilings, a stylish kitchen, and plenty of windows are among its details. We’ll admit that the second bedroom is small but it could make a good kid’s room or home office. [Floorplan]


↑ A colorful two-bedroom condo located on Harlem’s Striver’s Row is asking an even $600,000. The 760-square-foot apartment comes with large windows, hardwood floors, a sizable kitchen, and the option to install your own washer/dryer machine.


↑ Finally, in Yorkville, a simple and spacious co-op wants $695,000. The living room boasts lovely arched entryways and decently-sized rooms; the kitchen, while small, is clean and efficient. [Floorplan]


STREETEASY: 5-Most Popular Open Houses in NYC

On the hunt to buy in NYC? Take a look at the five most popular open houses on StreetEasy this week. If you’re short on time this weekend, we highly recommend visiting these five places, but if you’ve got more time be sure check out StreetEasy for more open houses in NYC this weekend.


160 9th Avenue, #4R

SPACE: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
PRICE: $550,000
NEIGHBORHOOD: Chelsea
HIGHLIGHTS: The average median asking price for a one-bedroom in Chelsea is nearly $1.2M, so this place is a steal (in relative terms!) On top of good value, the apartment also features exposed brick, a decorative fireplace and a bedroom that can fit a queen-sized bed.

 

100 West 57th Street, #4A

SPACE: Studio
PRICE: $365,000
NEIGHBORHOOD: Midtown
HIGHLIGHTS: It might be studio, but the building amenities will have you living large with a doorman, concierge, valet, private garden and laundry in building.

 

301 East 63rd Street, #16F

SPACE: 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
PRICE: $525,000
NEIGHBORHOOD: Lenox Hill
HIGHLIGHTS: A Manhattan two-bedroom for under $600K! Need we say more? If you’re not sold on the price alone, the apartment offers some solid perks including a recent renovated kitchen with stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors. The building also features a roof deck and laundry room.

 

169 West 73rd Street, #9

SPACE: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
PRICE: $599,000
NEIGHBORHOOD: Upper West Side
HIGHLIGHTS: This triplex features high ceilings and large windows, as well as your own private patio. The median asking price for a one-bedroom in the neighborhood is $825,000. So boom! You’re getting a deal.

 

354 West 12th Street, #5CD

SPACE: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
PRICE: $895,000
NEIGHBORHOOD: West Village
HIGHLIGHTS: In a neighborhood where the median asking price for a one-bedroom is $1.1M, this apartment translates to a “good deal”. Situated on the top floor of a 19th Century townhouse, this co-op was originally two studios and was later converted into a one-bedroom. The newly renovated unit now includes two decorative fireplaces, custom built-ins and a shared garden.

Curbed NY Press: 160 9th Avenue, Unit 4R

A no-frills Chelsea walk-up a block from the High Line seeks $550K

The one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit measures 550 square feet

BY TANAY WARERKAR  JUN 27, 2017


Welcome back to The Six-Digit Club, in which we take a look at a newish-to-market listing priced under $1 million, because nice things sometimes come in small packages. Send nominations to the tipline.

If you can get past the fact that this is a fourth-floor walk-up in a five-story building, the 550 square foot one-bedroom seems like a pretty good deal considering the price, and the fact that it’s just a block away from the High Line.

Located within the Chelsea Historic District, the co-op is part of an eight-unit building built in 1860. The apartment has still managed to hold on to some historic flourishes including the exposed brick and the decorative fireplace.

The apartment also gets a good amount of light courtesy of the two windows in the living room, and one in the bedroom. As per the brokerbabble, the bedroom can accommodate a queen size bed. Where the co-op does lack however (aside from the walk-up aspect) is the shortage of closet space—there are just two tiny closets in the entire apartment.

As for the building, it’s pet friendly, has washers and dryers, and has low maintenance charges.

 

The Hoffman Team is #8 in Manhattan!

 Full Artical Here

Full Artical Here

It’s been about a decade since The Real Deal began ranking Manhattan’s top residential agents. But this year, the ranking looks a little different.

That’s because rather than evaluating agents based on the dollar volume of their listings, this year our beefed-up research team created a methodology to evaluate brokers based on what they actually sold. And in a market where inventory is up and buyers are swimming in choices, particularly on the high end, closing deals is no small feat.

While TRD’s methodology has changed, one key thing that hasn’t is that the brokers who worked on new development projects trounced their resale counterparts. But to get a clear sense of which agents dominated in both areas, we compiled two separate rankings. The undertaking was not easy. We sifted through thousands of condo, co-op and townhouse listings and cross-referenced them with sales that hit public records last year.

The final rankings — which include only sell-side transactions — are based on deals that closed between January 1 and December 31, 2016, and that the agent had as a listing. Oh, and agents had to have at least $50 million in deal volume to make the cut.

CONDO PICK OF THE WEEK | A perch over South Harlem...


A Perch Over South Harlem, Complete With A Wraparound Terrace & Your Own Parking Space

This four-bedroom, 2.5-bath duplex condo is already sizeable, and feels extra spacious thanks to its 1,200-square foot wraparound terrace and large windows, which make the most of the unit's high floor position. Perched over South Harlem, the apartment is in an amenity-packed building right beside Marcus Garvey Park, is close to the 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, trains, and comes with a deeded parking spot. It's listed for $3.2 million by Compass, and saw a price drop of $295,000 just last week, so there may be some room to negotiate. 

Upon entering the lower level, you'll find a sun-drenched living room, adjacent to the wraparound balcony. A spiral staircase separates it from the dining area, roomy enough for small dinner gatherings and made striking by a copper lighting fixture overhead. As can be expected with high-end, newish developments, the open kitchen is equipped with high-end appliances, including a 50-bottle wine fridge. 

Upstairs, the master bedroom is in a private corner of the apartment, and includes three large closets and an en suite bath, but a second bedroom across the hall hits the vistas jackpot, its corner position allowing for expansive views. This shares a bath with a third bedroom; a fourth is downstairs, but is quite narrow and necessitates a Murphy bed, so this may be better off as a guest room.  

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The terrace is a clear standout, with ample room for entertaining this summer; the building itself has a live-in super and offers a gym, pool, and bike room, in addition to that parking space. Plus, there's a tax abatement in place that brings down the monthly charges. 

3 Things to Know About Selling a House on Your Own

3 Things to Know About Selling a House on Your Own

Do-it-yourself sellers hope to save commission fees but will have to work at it.

By Jeff Brown | Contributor Feb. 27, 2017, at 10:39 a.m.

The internet is full of sites that help homeowners sell property on their own, promising thousands in savings by avoiding commissions, but the National Association of Realtors says commission savings on a for-sale-by-owner transaction, or FSBO, are more than offset by lower sales prices.

The truth lies somewhere in between, according to most objective analysts. So for most sellers, deciding whether to go FSBO is a tough call.

Ali Wenzke, a Chicago writer with a blog called the Art of Happy Moving, says do-it-yourself transactions have worked well for her.

"My husband and I have sold two houses FSBO and purchased one home without an agent," she says. "Be objective. Work hard. Be flexible to do showings at any time."

"Anyone can do it and the average home is shown five times or less," says Sissy Lappin, co-founder of the FSBO website ListingDoor.com. "The notion that no buyers or sellers can understand or manage what happens in a transaction is simply absurd."

One thing is sure: the average seller's experience does not necessarily apply in any specific case. What matters is whether you can succeed with a FSBO, regardless of whether your neighbor has.

Adjust your expectations. Experts do agree that FSBO novices should be realistic. Even if you get top dollar and avoid the agent's commission, the process can be a time-consuming headache. And even if you don't have an agent of your own, you may have little choice but to pay one representing the buyer, cutting the savings in half.

"While listing on your own seems easy, you are in fact replacing a job which you usually employ a broker to do full time," says New York-based real estate agent Dylan Hoffman, who is not a fan of FSBOs. "You will need to organize showings, tours, previews and open houses. Plus all the back-end work, like maintaining photos and descriptions on websites, checking for a clear title, etc. An owner would also take on the role of marketing, both digital and print."

The internet has made the process much easier, with many sites now offering listings, advice and services like printing signs. For a fee, usually several hundred dollars, some services will get your home on the multiple listing service used by real estate agents and buyers, though Lappin says it's good enough to list on a site like Zillow.com, which is free. The goal is to save the agent's commission, typically about 6 percent of the sales price, or $18,000 for a $300,000 home.

"FSBO has grown up and sellers don't have to settle for a red-and-white generic yard sign," Lappin says.

She says the seller of a $400,000 home with $60,000 in equity would spend 40 percent of that equity if they paid a real estate agent 6 percent commission, or $24,000.

What kind of homes sell without an agent? The National Association of Realtors says about 10 percent of home sales are conducted without an agent, though some critics say the figure is higher. The association says the average FSBO sells for 13 percent less than the average agent-assisted sale. Again, critics like Lappin disagree, with many noting the association's studies do not look at comparable homes and lump in mobile homes and other inexpensive properties, as well as intra-family deals that tend to have low sales prices. Association figures do show that FSBO is less common with high-priced homes.

FSBO advocates generally agree that doing it yourself is more difficult for the seller, and can take longer. Though you might catch a buyer's eye right off the bat, the FSBO approach is relatively passive, as you won't have an agent steering buyers your way. Obviously, the seller must be available to show the house, and that can require weekdays, not just Sunday afternoons.

"It takes a lot of people skills to sell your own home," says law professor David Reiss, director of The Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at New York's Brooklyn Law School. "Can you engage with potential buyers even as they are criticizing your house and the choices you made about it? Can you distinguish serious buyers from window shoppers? Can you negotiate without giving away the farm or playing too hard to get?"

Anti-discrimination laws limit what you can tell buyers about issues like the ethnicity of neighbors, or even the number of school-aged kids or seniors on the block. And you have to be willing to show to all comers.

Going it alone also means you won't have an agent's advice setting the home up to it up to look its best, though you could hire a professional stager.

Pricing a home can be difficult. While online services like Zillow and Realtor.com show asking prices and recent sales prices in the neighborhood, your home might need an adjustment up or down for the age of the roof or presence of a pool. So it may pay to hire an appraiser for several hundred dollars.

Generally, the title company handles the nuts and bolts of the closing, like paying off property taxes and title insurance, though many experts say the FSBO seller should have a lawyer.

"I think by doing FSBO you are going to increase your days on the market unless you are incredibly well priced – most likely under market," says Kevin Lawton, an agent with Coldwell Banker's Schiavone & Associates in Bordentown, New Jersey. "The reason for this is that unless you work really hard to market the property the exposure will not be so great. On top of not having as much exposure, you run the risk of agents not showing FSBOs to their buyers as options. "

The FSBO seller can get agents on board by offering a buyer's agent commission of 2.5 to 3 percent.

Experts also say DIY sellers should require prospective buyers to show they have been preapproved for a mortgage large enough to buy the home.

Haggling over terms can be draining. The two parties must agree on a closing date, a penalty if the buyer pulls out and contingencies such as what happens if the buyer's appraisal comes in too low or the buyer doesn't get a mortgage.

Full Article HERE

187-Year-Old West Village Carriage House Receives $4M Price Chop

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A few months back, it was agreed that despite its magnificent charm, the 19th-century carriage house at 29 Downing Street would need a good price-chopper before a buyer would snatch it up. The owners must have come to this same realization—the home is now asking $8.995 million—a $4.005 million price cut from its most recent ask of $13 million.

Back in June 2014, the 3,480-square-foot home, built in 1829 on land once owned by Aaron Burr, was listed for $12 million. No one bit at that price so the sellers, artist John Bennett and photographer Karen Lee Grant, re-listed the following year for $13 million (yes, we scratched our heads at that too). But it looks like reality has set in, and with that came the new lowered price.

Hopefully the charming home, which has been featured in photo shoots for magazines and fashion brands alike, will have better luck finding a new owner on this go-round. (Or maybe the Hamilton craze will make people more interested? It's big enough to get mentioned in the brokerbabble, anyway.)

Read It Here

187-year-old West Village Townhouse Sold

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The 29 Downing Street carriage house, a three-story home built in 1829, was sold for $6.8 million, according to property records.

The home has some historical significance. It sits on land once owned by Aaron Burr, according to a previous report from Curbed. Burr, aside from being the third vice president of the United States, is also known for being the man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

The property was sold at a steep discount. It was first listed for a price of $12 million in 2014. After about a year with no buyers, it inexplicably went back on the market for a higher price of $13 million.

The property was originally built as a two-story house. The additional floor was added in 1870. The buyer was 29 Downing LLC. The previous owners, artist John Bennett and photographer Karen Lee Grant, lived in the property and used it as a gallery. The couple bought the 3.480 s/f home in 1977.

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Fit to Print: An Industrial Chic Aesthetic in the West Village


Fit to Print: An Industrial Chic Aesthetic in the West Village

The duplex at 421 Hudson Street also features a personal catwalk

By Morgan Halberg • 10/27/16 9:55am

“It’s very grandiose, very different, and not cookie cutter at all,” COMPASS broker Dylan Hoffman declared, entering a seventh-floor unit at 421 Hudson Street.

Indeed, the 2,000-square-foot layout of the duplex is the result of a two-unit combination, and it stays true to the industrial theme of the Printing House—that is, with an abundance of gray slate, stainless steel and frosted glass doors. 

A metal staircase just off the entry staircase leads directly up to the guest bedroom, which has a full, private en-suite bath with a distressed wood vanity, slate floors and bathtub, as well as a wall of closets.

“The entire apartment is unique—this kind of avant-garde, industrial-slash-modern kind of feel to it,” Hoffman said, leading us into the living room of his $4.25 million listing, where double-height ceilings reach 15 feet and west-facing windows provide river views.

Venetian plaster and stucco walls complement the distressed white oak floors, which have “been run through a mill to create this grade,” Hoffman informed us. “It feels like it’s exfoliating!”

In contrast to popular open layouts, the stainless-steel-outfitted kitchen is closed off from the living area. An additional den is open to the living room, though it “could definitely be dedicated to a sitting room or another guest bedroom,” Hoffman opined, noting the full third bathroom for the area, as well as a powder room off the entryway.

The master suite is accessed by another staircase and is complete with a four-fixture bath. “This is my favorite part,” Hoffman said excitedly, opening the door to the walk-in closet and revealing a “catwalk” over to the rows of custom shelves. Given the sidewalk grate-like nature of the catwalk, Hoffman said that heels are perhaps best kept toward the front.

“It might not be for everyone,” Hoffman admitted, descending the stairs and admiring the modern silver light fixture hanging from the ceiling, “but we’ve had every walk of life come through here, and they’ve all appreciated the property for what it is—the work, art and love put into it.”

Inside Look: 4 apartments for Manhattan bachelors

 

It may be hard to be a single woman in NYC, but for single dudes who enjoy the bachelor lifestyle, the city can be their perfect playground.

A 2015 New York Post article states that there are 38 percent more young female college grads than male. A 2014 Brick Underground article puts the citywide male-to-female breakdown as 53 percent female and 47 percent male.

Even with a good supply of dates, a New York City bachelor needs the perfect pad to call home (and to take his dates home to). Here are four that work for the single lifestyle.


This one-bedroom, one-bathroom Soho penthouse features large windows to let in the light and terrace off the dining room. The kitchen features stainless steel, colored lacquer, cerused oak, granite, porcelain tile, and the living spaces are polished concrete with a subtle matte finish. Additional features features include a Sonos music system with five speaker zones, and plenty of storage.


419 W. 55th St.
$1,995,000

This condo-op has a modern industrial style with 14-foot, poured concrete ceilings, oversized windows and skyline views. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom, plus home office is located in a building that was converted from a warehouse and features a virtual doorman and package room.


123 Washington St.
$3,100,000

Located in the Financial District’s W New York Downtown Residences & hotels, this penthouse has views of the Hudson and Statue of Liberty. The apartment may only have one bedroom and one bathroom in 708 square feet, but has 15-foot high ceilings. The floors are ebonized maple hardwood, and the kitchen features Italian lacquer cabinetry with Corian countertops and a glass backsplash. The bathrooms have stainless steel towel warmers and Toto toilets.


421 Hudson Street
$4,100,000

Described as an “industrial chic loft,” this West Village duplex has two bedrooms and three-and-a-half-bedrooms. The home features wall-to-wall windows with views of the Hudson, and a professional chef's kitchen lined in stainless steel. Bedrooms are located on the upper level and accessed by individual steel staircases, with the master suite featuring a large walk-in closet with floor-to-ceiling storage. The duplex is located in a full-service condominium with a doorman and concierge services, landscaped private mews, and access to an on site Equinox health club.

A Blessed Pair: Two Manhattan Townhomes Owned by Nuns Sell for $18.8 Million

Built in 1850, the houses were later combined to create a mega-mansion

BY GINA FARIDNIYA

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON AUGUST 18, 2016 MANSION GLOBAL|

 The Greek Revival-style townhomes, located at 236 and 238 East 15th St. in Gramercy, were acquired by the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the early 1940s. -COMPASS

The Greek Revival-style townhomes, located at 236 and 238 East 15th St. in Gramercy, were acquired by the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the early 1940s. -COMPASS

Two Manhattan townhomes occupied by nuns sold for $18.8 million in a deal that closed Wednesday, Mansion Global has learned.

The Greek Revival-style townhomes, located at 236 and 238 East 15th St. in Gramercy, were built in 1850. The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary acquired the property in the early 1940s, according to listing agent Lisa Kobiolke of Compass.

The townhomes were later combined to create one 52-foot-wide mansion with 18,720 square feet of living space. There are a total of 20 bedrooms and 20 bathrooms. The property includes a garden.

By the 1960s, the sisterhood’s ranks had dwindled, and it began renting rooms to young women and other congregations, as reported by the New York Times. By June, only one sister lived there, and so the order put the property up for sale. It listed at $19.75 million about two months ago.

The buyer intends to live in one of the townhomes with her family and transform the other into student housing to generate income, according to Ms. Kobiolke.

The homes were originally occupied by Lewis L. Squires, a local ship chandler, and Mahlon Day, a printer and seller of children’s books, before they were acquired by the sisterhood.

Some of the proceeds of the sale will pay for the sisters’ relocation to the Bronx, while the remainder will be donated to missions around the world, according to Ms. Kobiolke.

Write to Gina Faridniya at gina.faridniya@dowjones.com

 

Cute Midtown East Co-op With an Enormous Atrium Wants $999,000

This one-bedroom apartment in the Beekman Hill House co-op would be fairly mundane if not for one glorious feature: it has a wraparound terrace that surrounds three sides of the apartment, along with a 32-foot glass-enclosed atrium. For someone who loves outdoor space, it could be the perfect pad.

The apartment is otherwise pretty standard, with one nice-sized bedroom, a renovated kitchen, and a sunken living room. There are lots of nice touches, though, including the French doors that open from the bedroom onto the atrium, and the abundance of closet space. The building itself is also located on East 51st Street, which ends in a nifty little cul-de-sac that offers the illusion of privacy. One drawback: the high maintenance of $1,828 per month, which is on top of that $999,000 asking price.

Dylan Hoffman - #1 Broker in New York City By Transactions | Wall Street Journal & Real Trends 2016

Congratulations! Today Dylan Hoffman was named the #1 broker in New York City, based on transaction volume.

This past month Dylan has been awarded numerous top rankings both in the City and nationwide.  

  • #1 Broker in New York City By Transactions

  • #4 Broker in New York State By Transactions

  • #26 Broker in New York Sate By Transaction Volume Amount 

  • #82 out of 2,500,000+ Brokers in the US By Transactions

  • #101 out of 2,500,000+ Brokers in the US By Transaction Volume Amount