If you're looking to get a mortgage, you've probably heard the term, "jumbo loan." While it may sound scary--as in, you'll be paying it off for a jumbo amount of time--in pricey real estate markets like New York City, even mortgages for average apartments fall under this banner. In fact, any loan here bigger than $625,500 qualifies, so if you're buying a $1 million apartment and putting down 20 percent, or $200,000, you'll be getting a jumbo loan.
Why are they different? Technically speaking, a jumbo loan is too big to qualify under guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-governmental entities that guarantee loans for banks. Fannie and Freddie will only back mortgages that are up to $625,500 in New York City (or up to $417,000 in most other parts of the country), so banks treat them differently than your run-of-the-mill loan.
For the average apartment buyer, they're a bit different too.
A gut reno is not for the faint of heart, so be prepared before you bid on a place in need of one.
When it comes to buying an apartment that needs work, there are plenty of upsides. The biggest, of course, is price, but there’s also that blissful sense of possibility. You’re buying a space that you can transform into an ultra-customized home.
But long before you break out the construction tarps and start hacking at the walls, there are a few things to watch out for. Here are four crucial steps to take before you put down a deposit on a fixer-upper.
It's going to get more expensive for rent-stabilized tenants to hold onto their apartments
Unless you've been living under a rock (or a pile of work, as the case may be), you've probably heard that, this week, the Rent Guidelines Board voted on rent increases for rent-stabilized units.
And perhaps unsurprisingly--since it tackles the contentious issue of affordable housing--the vote has created quite the stir.
Mayor Bill de Blasio had called for the RGB--a panel that's responsible for setting the rents on more than 1 million rent-stabilized apartments in the city--to implement a rent freeze for stabilized units. But on Monday night, the board voted to raise the rents, albeit by the smallest increment in the board's 45-year history.
WHO: Natasha Lyonne plays prisoner Nicky Nichols in the hit Netflix series "Orange is the New Black," set in an upstate prison. Whereas if the show were set in New York City, it would be called "Black is the New Black," and the inmate uniforms would be Donna Karan.
Swapt, a new rental search site, comes with Yelp-style building reviews
Due diligence—say, chatting up potential neighbors or assessing a neighborhood’s rat situation—is pretty much required for any self-respecting New Yorker searching for a rental. Now there's a new tool to add to the arsenal: an apartment search site called Swapt, which melds listings with Yelp-style building reviews and officially launched today.
"A major problem before you go into a lease is, you really can't identify whether this is going to be a good experience or a bad experience," says Eric Wolfe, a former real estate analyst at Citigroup, who founded Swapt in 2013 with Michael Downing, an exec at the headhunting firm Carrington Fox.
At $3,500, the price is right for this historic Washington Heights townhouse, but is its location at 160th and Riverside too far removed to be worth it?
A duplex in a townhouse--with a backyard!--for $3,500 a month is a steal by Manhattan standards, especially when you take into account the building's back story. Built in 1899, it was purportedly once owned by a mobster and featured in a Katharine Hepburn movie. Even so, West 160th Street can feel like Siberia to some, and the kitchen (along with some of the decor) is in sore need of an update.
Is it worth it for a grand old home to call your own? Our experts—including RentHackr founder Zeb Dropkin, freelance writer Julie Inzanti and BrickUnderground’s own senior contributing editor, Lucy Cohen Blatter—weigh in for this week’s Take It or Leave It.
In New York, organizing a bathroom is all about making the most of wall-space.
New York City bathrooms rarely have enough storage. You're lucky if you have a functioning medicine cabinet, much less space to store hair dryers, contact lens cleaners, shampoos and everything else that modern sprucing demands. These five items will help organize that messy lavatory into a methodical one—and on the cheap.
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