Who wouldn't want to buy an apartment in the Ansonia?
It’s common wisdom that New York City real estate is a solid investment, which explains why so many foreign investors are buying in. But you don’t have to be a Russian oligarch to take a bite out of the Big Apple. There are plenty of opportunities for domestic buyers to snag an apartment and rent it out.
Q. I live in a co-op with an old, dark kitchen, and I'd like to install lights under the cabinets to make it brighter. What exactly does this job entail? Can I do it myself or will I have to hire someone?
If you're even a little bit handy, this is the perfect DIY job, especially if you're keen to take on your first home project. (You can, of course, hire a handyman, which would probably cost about $200 for two hours of work; it may make sense to go that route if you're already redoing your kitchen cabinets and can lump this in with an existing job.)
We've all wondered about the people who lived in our apartments before us—how much did they pay in rent? what did the place look like then? did anything sinister happen?—and the older the building, the more mysterious its history. If Brian Hartig's work with the Brownstone Detectives is any indication, the truth is even stranger than you'd think.
The service—which offers to dig up the back story of your Brooklyn brownstone, and ultimately, put together the findings into a House History Book for the coffee table—launched in spring of 2013, in part the result of Hartig's research into his own home in Bed-Stuy. "When the house was being renovated, every night I went through and sifted through the rubble, looked under the floorboards, everywhere," Hartig tells BrickUnderground. "I was trying to find as much stuff as I could to tell me about the people who had lived there before."
Things could get dark in my sun-starved one-bedroom piso interior in Madrid, a type of apartment with windows facing a roofless, enclosed tile patio. My girlfriend and I were teachers in the Spanish city when she got news that a visa to teach her native French would bring her to work in Manhattan for the next year.
Moving to New York for the first time, I knew we could count on seeing more of the sun than we did in my 375 square feet in the shade, but there were a number of great things about my living situation that I had come to take for granted after two years in the Iberian capital.
Thanks to tenant-friendly housing laws and what is perhaps the more easy going and liberal culture of Spain, Madrid is something of a renter's paradise, where landlords can be counted on for regular and responsible maintenance and much more. That's a world apart from NYC, where daily calls to landlords to fix the toilet seem like mandatory conditions of the rental contract. New York City's building owners could learn a lot from their matches across the ocean. Here are a few examples.
It seems like a surprising decision, but then, the couple wasn't exactly squatting: Frieda and Howard Dropkin had "only" paid $90,000 of $103,000 worth of maintenance payments since 2012, as the New York Law Journal first reported, and were also behind on electric bills they were required by their proprietary lease to pay.
Whether you're scratching your head over renovation issues, wondering what you can get for your budget, grappling with what the law says, or seeking solutions on any part of the buying, selling, renting or renovating process, drop us a line and we'll try to get you real answers from real experts. You can also send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.
No one wants to live in the middle of a dusty, noisy construction zone, but then, no one who's shelling out for a renovation is dying to drop extra cash relocating while the work gets done, either. Another dilemma to add to the mix? While staying home for a reno gives you a chance to keep an eye on your contractor, some construction experts say the work will go much faster (and save you money) if crews aren't trying to tip toe around a family that's still in residence.
Three bedrooms (perfect for a growing family with grandparents who can’t stay away)? Check. Two full baths (so the adults don’t have to share with the kids)? Check. Great closet space (to hide the high chairs and Exersaucers now and the sports equipment and afterschool-activity paraphernalia later)? Check. A washer/dryer (perhaps the most coveted amenity for a family)? Check and check.
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