• A home-inspection checklist for New Yorkers (yep, we need them too sometimes)

    Photo Credit / everyplace

    Think home inspections are purely for the suburbs? Think again.

    “A few years ago it was rare for me to be asked to do a condo or co-op inspection, but in the last five years the number of requests have quadrupled,” says Kenneth Lee, owner of Brooklyn-based Green Apple Home Inspection.  

    If you're buying a NYC apartment, there are basically three types of situations that warrant a professional home inspection, says closing attorney Adam Stone of Regosin, Edwards, Stone and Feder.

    The first is if your prospective apartment is in a small building.

    “These buildings don’t usually have much cash available to fund a major repair. And they usually have low maintenance fees and assess separately for a repair. If it’s a five-unit building and the roof needs $100,000 of repairs, you know where the building is going to come to look for $20,000 of it,” says Stone.

    Second, if there’s a particular condition that could potentially cause hard-to-detect problems--such as an apartment on the top floor that is therefore more prone to leaks--you'll want to get the place inspected.

  • No-Fee Apartment of the Week

    No-Fee Apartment of the Week: $2,545 one-bedroom in Long Island City

    This $2,545 Long Island City one-bedroom is in a building with all the amenities. But be sure to read the fine print on the listing (and BYO dog).

    This $2,545 Long Island City one-bedroom is geared toward apartment hunters who like to plan ahead: It's not available until April 1 and can be rented for 3 months or one year at a slightly higher price.

    Pros: The apartment is bright, with great views of the 59th Street Bridge and Manhattan. The apartment and the building are new and the building has a roof deck, gym, concierge and more.

    Cons: It looks small. Also, the rent on the listing isn't exactly accurate. The $2,545 rent will apply from April through June (as it seems this is a case of a broken lease). Anyone interested in a one-year lease starting in April will have to pay $2,625 per month.  Additionally, we presume, the little dog in the photo does not transfer with the apartment, so you'll have get your own.

    No-Fee Rental of the Week showcases an apartment that’s currently on the market and is being offered with no broker fee (otherwise known as the holy grail of New York City rentals). For tips on how to find more no-fee apartments, check out the The 8 best websites for finding a no-fee apartment in NYC and our Guerrilla Guide series.

  • In honor of the Oscars, some timeless flicks that capture the NYC real estate experience...starting with Rosemary's Baby

    Photo via Blushots

    Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction.

    The Academy Awards will take place this coming Sunday, and in honor of Hollywood's biggest night, we thought we'd give some recognition to eight movies that capture the New York City real estate experience....

    Rosemary's Baby

    Most people would sell their soul to live in the Dakota. Watch what happens when someone actually does.

    When Harry Met Sally 

    Sally: "At least I got the apartment."

    Harry:  "What's so hard about finding the apartment? You read the obituaries, go the building, and you tip the doorman..."

    Single White Female

    Think you have the worst roommate ever? Think again. If you are merely annoyed with your roommate as opposed to terrified, The Odd Couple might be a better choice for a night-in.

  • Transitions

    South Slope to TriBeCa: Fresher air and a grudging affinity for Whole Foods

    Transitions columns often chronicle New Yorkers' migration from Manhattan to the (somewhat) more affordable and family friendly outerboroughs, but this week's subjects --Rebecca and Frederick -- have done the reverse-move.

    In December we moved from South Park Slope/Greenwood Heights, where we shared a $2,400 per month 2-bedroom with one other couple, to Fred’s childhood apartment on Greenwich Street in TriBeCa.

    We were able to mostly take over the spacious 3-bedroom, rent-stabilized apartment (mum's the word on the rent--we don't want any backlash...) but with this great deal come some occasional space-sharing issues with his middle-aged parents. (They mostly reside in their second home in the Long Island suburbs but come in to the city for meetings or visits.)

    Back in Brooklyn, we both LOVED Prospect Park. The park itself is an extraordinarily special place, and ended up being the setting for so many great memories. No longer being a walk away from Prospect Park definitely feels like the end of an era. So far, the Hudson River doesn’t compare.

  • StreetEasy's Most Wanted

    StreetEasy’s Most Wanted: Grab your toothbrush (and your family) -- move-in ready prewars on the UWS

    The price is right on this renovated & ready for the whole family $875k two-bedroom, two-bathroom prewar condo on the UWS.  It's a walk-up though, so prepare for stairs.

    An Upper West Side apartment is a hot commodity for many New Yorkers with families. But a fully renovated one? Now, that's just crazy. This week, StreetEasy’s Most Wanted -- the 10 sales listings folks surfing StreetEasy saved more often than any other -- is all about family-sized prewar renovated abodes in the West 70s, 80s and 90s.

    In a turn-of-the-century brownstone on 83rd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, you’ll find a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo on the market for $875k (pictured). Carrying costs are fairly reasonable at $456 for common charges and $715 for monthly taxes. The galley kitchen has been renovated with vintage green hard surface counters, frosted glass cabinet doors and stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher. The south-facing apartment gets natural light and offers radiator heating, as well as three new through-wall a/c units.  The catch: It's a walk-up (several floors up, judging by the rooftop views) and laundry is two more flights up.

  • Real Estate Want

    Real Estate Want: It is spring all year long with this living green wall

    Why wait until spring to see some green? 

    Wouldn’t it be nice to take a stroll in the park right now, roll around in the grass, reach out and touch the beautiful foliage?

    Oh, right, everything is frozen...except this two-story living green wall inside a $25K per month 4-bed, 4-bath Cobble Hill townhouse. Cash in your 401k, crank up the heat, dig out your flip-flops and summer all year long in this 5,200-square-foot former commercial space, where floor-to-ceiling windows, a huge skylight and a one-car garage complete your seasonal cocoon.

    Real Estate Want is a weekly column featuring New York City apartment details we're coveting right now.

  • Only in New York

    Only in New York: Living above a drug-addled squatter with my imaginary husband

    Photo Credit / Mr. T in DC

    No New York City dinner party would be complete without tales of real estate/city living horror stories. Our new column, Only in New York, recounts these only-in-New-York experiences.

    I was living in a fourth-floor walkup on York Avenue for about four years when one post-mani-pedicure wintry day, I entered the building wearing flip flops and gingerly holding my keys for fear my freshly done nails would smudge.  

    I came upon what looked to be like a drug addict--he was disheveled, dirty and slumped over--sitting on the floor in front of the mailboxes.

    He couldn’t get into the building because the main door was locked. He said he was staying on the third floor but forgot his keys, which I knew couldn’t be true because the third floor apartment had been empty for a week; the elderly woman who had lived there for 40 years just moved to Florida.

    What to do?

  • New from The Real.Est List

    Looking for a mortgage or refi? Or want to upgrade the place you already have? We've got you covered

    Remember the last time you thumbed through the Yellow Pages to find contact information for a service you need right this minute? Neither do we.

    These days, we have The Real.Est. List, BrickUnderground’s exhaustive resource directory, featuring hundreds of businesses ready and willing to cater to your every whim. This week, The List welcomes two new Featured Members:

    Bryan Siegel, Citibank Real Estate Lending (212-559-4454, http://www.tipsforhomes.com/bsiegel) Whether you’re buying a new home or looking to refinance your existing one, Bryan Siegel of Citibank Real Estate Lending can help you lock in the lowest rates available and render the nowadays stressful mortgage process as painless as possible.

    Siegel, a seasoned mortgage banker who has been featured on HGTV’s Selling New York, specializes in high net worth real estate deals and the jumbo loans needed to finance high-end properties. His clientele—comprised of many Wall Street and hedge fund professionals—often have more complex financial records, including tax returns, which can complicate the process.

    Decorative David (646-756-4368, www.decorativedavid.com) Need to update your outdated kitchen? Eager to replace the glitzy gold-plated fixtures in the guest bathroom? Want a simple paint job to spruce the place up? Self-proclaimed “design psychologist” David Mayer, a.k.a. Decorative David, works with budgets of any size to build functional living spaces that reflect clients’ personal needs.

    That includes stretching small spaces with creative storage ideas, built-ins and properly scaled furniture; installing lighting that highlights prized artworks or new window treatments to block out damaging light; or coming up with a new decorative scheme for your entire apartment.  No job is too big or too small.

  • Rent Coach

    Rent Coach: I need to break my lease. What should I do?

    Rent Coach Mike Akerly

    Q. Due to some personal circumstances in my life, I need to move out of my apartment six months before the end of my lease. My apartment is market rate, and I assume that finding someone to sublet the apartment from me is probably my only recourse.  I also know that my landlord has no obligation to help me with this. 

    What would you recommend that I do in general, what things should I avoid, and how can I best advertise the apartment?

    A. Once you determine that you would like to break your lease, the first thing you should do is contact your landlord or management company. Some have procedures in place to assist you with the process such as by allowing you to pay an early termination fee in exchange for releasing you from the contract and assisting with the process of re-renting the apartment. In the event that you’re are offered this option, you would not need to find a replacement tenant, but you will be paying for the privilege.

    Some early termination policies may allow you to stop paying rent immediately for a higher fee (as much as three month’s rent) while others may require a smaller fee (perhaps as low as $1,000) but only release you when a new tenant has begun paying the rent.