Halstead Property

Welcome to the official Halstead Tumblr Blog, where our local agents are your local experts. Halstead Property is the largest privately owned real estate firm in the New York Metropolitan Area and we strive to innovate and modernize your real estate experience. Through this blog, we aim to act as your neighborhood and real estate ambassador. We have daily contributors whose primary goal is to investigate and produce daily commentary and rich content that will give you a taste of the areas we service and you live in. If you have any feedback we invite you to contact us at social@halstead.com.

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Tennis Anyone?

Your Guide to the Best Free (Or Low Cost) Outdoor Tennis Courts in New York

By Duncan Ashley Lonsdale, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - West Side Office

Today’s beginning of the US Open may signal the end of the “Grand Slam” season for professional tennis, but there are still a few more good months weather-wise for the rest of us to pick up a racquet on the many free (or close to free) outdoor courts in Manhattan and elsewhere in the city.

Brian Watkins Tennis Center

East River Park at Houston St. under the Williamsburg Bridge (walk east over FDR Drive)

# of Courts/surface: 12 Hard Courts

Contact: (212) 529-7185

Comments: Free with a permit from Paragon Sports (867 Broadway between 17th and 18th Sts; 800-961-3030, paragonsports.com Applications can also be found at nycgovparks.org; a seasonal permit is $100; a day pass $7. Tranquil setting adjacent to the East River.

Central Park Tennis Center

93rd St. near West Drive

# of Courts/surface: 4 (Hard) & 26 (Fast Dry)

Contact: 212-316-0800 centralparktenniscenter.com

Hours:Daily 6:30am–8pm; free with permit. Reservations suggested. Permits available at nycgovparks.org season permit (good through late November) $200; single-play permit $15.

Comments: Because these are the most well known and offer the most amenities (bathrooms, lockers, showers, a snack bar, and pro shop), they are also the most difficult to secure at peak times. Lessons Offered.

Fort Washington Park

Located by the Hudson River at 170th St.

# of Courts/surface: 10 Hard Courts

Contact: (212) 304-2322

Comments: These courts may be Manhattan’s best-kept secret until they aren’t. They are relatively difficult to access, even for those who live in the neighborhood. Perhaps the most efficient way to access these courts is along the west side path – by bike (about 20-25 minutes each way from the upper west side). It’s a beautiful setting under the GWB and near the beloved Little Red Lighthouse.

Frederick Johnson Playground

Located at 151st St., east of Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.

# of Courts/surface: 4 Hard Courts & 4 Rubberized Courts

Contact: (212) 234-9609

Hours:7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and until 8:30 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Comments: Affectionately known as “The Jungle” where Althea Gibson trained in her youth. Players must have either a permit or a single-play pass. “Easier to get court time here than many of the other outdoor courts in the city.” Lessons Offered.

Inwood Hill Park

Located at 207th St. and Seaman Ave.

# of Courts/surface: 9 Hard Courts

Contact: (212) 304-2381

Riverside Park

Riverside Drive and W. 96th St. (West of the highway and adjacent to the river)

# of Courts/surface: 10 Clay Courts

Contact: (212) 978-0277 rcta.info

Hours:Daily 7am–8pm April to November. Free with permit.

Comments: Very popular! Be prepared to wait (as long as 2 hours on weekends), but beautiful setting along the river. Avoid the lines by playing on weekday afternoons. Lessons Offered.

Sportime

Located at Randall’s Island Park 

# of Courts/surface:: 20 Hard (Indoor) Courts

Contact: (212) 427-6150 www.sportimeny.com/Tennis

Comments: 5 indoor hard courts, 5 indoor/outdoor hard courts, and 10 indoor/outdoor clay courts. 10 of the 20 courts are available to permit holders during the outdoor permit season (May through the day before Columbus Day). Adult and junior instructional, competitive, and recreational tennis programs offered.

Washington Market Park

Greenwich St (between Chambers and Duane Sts)

# of Courts/surface: 1 Hard Court

Contact: chamberstreettennis.com

Hours:Daily 7am–midnight; free with permit.

Comments: Regulars typically arrive around 6:30am to get a good spot. Getting a spot is dicey since there is only one court. This single lighted court is open year-round.

Hudson River Park

Located at the river, between Canal and West Houston Street

# of Courts/surface: 3 Hard Courts

Contact: (212) 627-2020, hudsonriverpark.org

Hours:6 a.m. to midnight

Comments: Free! No permit required.1 hour limit if others are waiting. Beautifully situated along the Hudson and lights for evening play.

119th St. Tennis Association

Location is mid-promenade level of Riverside Park (above the path that runs by the river).

# of Courts/surface: 10 Hard Courts

Contact: www.119ta.net

Hours:8:00 a.m. until sundown

Comments: Annual membership dues: $40 per year. NYC Parks and Recreation Tennis Permits are required from Saturday, April 5 through Sunday, November 23, 2014. See the NYC Parks and Recreation website for further information and to renew online. Permits are sold at the Arsenal at 61st Street and 5th Avenue: Adults $200, Seniors $20, Juniors $10; Single Play passes $15 per person.

William H. Seward Park

Located at Essex and Hester Sts. in the lower east side.

# of Courts/surface: 3 hard courts

Comments: Not much information about these courts on the internet. Perhaps a well-kept secret?

Octagon Park Tennis Courts

Located on Roosevelt Island. Located at north end of Main Street, Roosevelt Island.

# of Courts/surface: 6 Plexicushion courts

Contact: (212) 832-4563, rioc.com.

Hours:6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Comments: Prime-time hours are 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. There are usually plenty of open courts on weekend afternoons. The rubberized surface plays fast, but the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is studying how to slow things down. The middle courts offer the best lighting at night. Bring water, as there’s no water fountain. A Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation permit is needed to get onto the courts.

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For additional tennis information in all five boroughs, visit the NYC Gov Parks Website.

To find a home with the fits all your niched demands and needs, contact Duncan today via email or his website.

BARAK’S THOUGHTS ON A PICTURE’S WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS 

In the 7th installment of regular Halstead Blog series from Halstead Property’s Barak Dunayer, we bring you Webisode 7 “Pricing to Win –A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words” 

When selling your home the best strategy is to think like a buyer, Barak says. Practice by taking photos of a room followed by pointing out distractions and devising a list of needed changes. Share the photos with others (especially your broker) because they may spot distractions that you did not catch at first glance. If changes are too complicated, then your broker can access Halstead’s Virtual Staging marketing tool, in which the marketing team digitally remodels or furnishes a space. 

“We transform properties for our clients both physically and virtually every single day. Because our years of experience taught us that getting the highest price begins with great presentation.”

Click here to watch the most recent Webisode 6 – “It’s Not Personal, It’s Business” and for the entire collection of videos from Barak’s Thoughts series, click here.

Share your thoughts and connect with Barak on Twitter or over email, and visit his agent website to learn more and for all of your real estate needs.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this video series are those of Barak Dunayer and do not reflect the official opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

THIS SUMMER MAY BE ENDING, BUT FiDi IS SIZZLING!

By: Jenet Levy, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, SoHo Office. 

As a native New Yorker, I have seen many neighborhoods change, develop and transform in all sorts of ways over the years. I have to say, though, that the metamorphosis of the Financial District over the last 10 years has truly been formidable. 

After 9/11, the government was afraid New York City would become a ghost-town, particularly the area immediately surrounding the World Trade Center. They gave incentives to builders to produce residential developments. There was considerable inventory of obsolete office buildings in the Financial District. Builders took advantage of these tax abatements and renovated many of these structures, creating condos.  The new developments have modern, elegant finishes and are replete with a variety of upscale amenities. Many of these buildings opened in 2006 and 2007 and were well-received. The sponsors often sold most of the units pre-construction and before the buildings were finished. With each new wave of apartments released, the prices would escalate.

Then, in September of 2008, Lehman Brothers crashed and this progress came to a screeching halt. The buildings that sold well stayed afloat.  Some that were “late to the party” turned rental.  Prices plunged.  There was a standstill for some time, and then the uptrend returned. As our residential real estate market picked up, the Financial District saw the completion of the new World Trade Center and the notable Gehry building on Spruce Street, which became the tallest residential tower in NYC. A much-anticipate and well-rated school opened.  New parks were added. The new Fulton Center subway hub linking 11 subway lines in one location, and hosting retail, is being referred to as “a Downtown Grand Central” and is scheduled to open soon. More new condo, rental and hotel developments are breaking ground and starting construction. FiDi has truly become a destination of choice as a place to work, live, play, eat and shop. 

“Shop?” you say? 

Oh, yes – the retail renaissance will be discussed in my next post, so please come back and keep following my posts about FiDi’s finest!

Connect with me over email and visit my agent website to learn more, and for all of your New York City real estate needs. 

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Jenet Levy and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

TEN HIDDEN SECRETS OF THE WEST VILLAGE

with Brian Lewis, Licensed Associate R.E. Broker in our Westside Office 

My first place in Manhattan was on a sofa in someone’s apartment on Bank Street in the West Village. It was 1991, and I was on a straight-out-of-college budget. Eventually, I found a roommate and moved into an apartment on Horatio Street where my initial portion of rent was only $500 a month! The Horatio Street apartment was a true gem. It overlooked the High Line (where I would often hang out), which at the time was full of weeds prior to its current incarnation as a beautiful park. My last apartment in the West Village was on Charlton Street off of 6th Avenue. In 1998 I moved to the Upper West Side for more space, and have stayed ever since. However, my heart and soul remains in the West Village. Over the years I have done a lot of business in my old stomping ground, and I like to think that I sell with a little more love when my exclusives are located there. Here are my top 10 best kept secrets of the West Village:

1. The gardens at The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields (487 Hudson St.) are my own secret getaway in the West Village. In fact, whenever I’m there I feel as though I’m back home in the South specifically in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The verdant, public gardens are home to a rare array of berries and American flora. Stop by the South Lawn in April to see the cherry trees in-bloom, or wander the pathways through lawns and gardens year-round.

2. Inside The Center (short for The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center at 208 West 13th St.) is the fascinating Keith Haring Bathroom—a former men’s restroom whose walls are filled with a mural of black and white graffiti by the late artist. Haring completed “Once Upon a Time” in 1989 as part of an on-site art program.The mural was restored in 2012, and today the space is used as a conference room.

3. Hands down the best bar in the neighborhood is at an Italian restaurant called I Sodi(105 Christopher St.). As someone who judges a good Manhattan by the cherry, I Sodi’s Rye Manhattan is ridiculous. Aside from their cocktails, the restaurant makes an excellent cacio e pepe (cheese and black pepper) pasta dish.

4. Speaking of pasta, you’ll find classic dishes like spaghetti pomodoro and rigatoni Bolognese at an unlikely spot: a coffeehouse. Café Minerva (302 West 4th St.) has the vibe of an old-school luncheonette with its welcoming countertop service and bistro tables. Swing by in the morning for an espresso, or zone-in with your laptop and stay for lunch, dinner and a glass of wine.

5. HB Studio at 120 Bank St. is near and dear to my heart. I trained at the acting studio in my 20’s by the invitation of the late and great, Uta Hagen. For information on workshops and performances, go to HB Studio’s website.

6. I love the quirky barbed wire collection at West Village stalwart, Cowgirl(519 Hudson St.) The kitschy, Wild West restaurant was inspired by the Cowgirl Hall of Fame Museum in Hereford, Texas.

7.  The neighborhood has strong ties to the American Revolution and the early days of the Federal government. The Charlton-King-Vandam Historic Districtwas once the location of Richmond Hill—a colonial estate that George Washington used as his headquarters and later became the Vice President’s official home. The historic district boasts structures in the Federal, Queen Anne and Greek Revival styles within a four-block radius.

8. Whenever I’m at the White Horse Tavern (567 Hudson St.) I like to raise a pint to my fellow Welshman, Dylan Thomas, who was a regular (his portrait is also on display here). The famous tavern was a usual haunt for writers and sailors.

9. McNulty’s Tea & Coffee Co.at 109 Christopher St. has been brewing blends since 1895. They often sell a coffee blend called the William & Mary, which contrary to my initial thought it was named after two people who worked there, not my alma mater. Don’t expect to leave with a piping hot cup of joe—McNaulty’s only sells bags of tea leaves and coffee beans.

10. Abingdon Square Parkat West 12th and Hudson Streets is reminiscent of the tiny, tranquil parks in Paris that I would frequent when I lived in there as an exchange student. 

To connect with Brian, visit his website or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of  Brian Lewis and do not reflect the official opinions or endorsements from Halstead Property, LLC.

Stress Free Moving Tips For The New Yorker

By: Ross EllisLicensed Real Estate Salesperson, East Side office. 

According to the U. S. Census Bureau, out of a population of 282,556,000 people, 40,093,000 moved. That’s an overall percentage of 14.19 percent annually.

Congratulations, you’ve finally closed on your new home! You’re excited but now it’s time to call the movers, pack and get rid of clutter that you won’t need in your new home.

With everyone so busy these days, moving can be an organizational challenge.

Moving is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do, with most feeling the stress build from the moment the decision is made. It’s a daunting task with a myriad of to-dos. There are so many pieces to the moving puzzle and you need to make sure you don’t leave any part of that puzzle out.

Whether you’re one person or an entire family, consider what will help you make your move in and out — the most comfortable and hassle-free experience.

Professional Organizer Donna David recommends:

  • Start the moving prep 8-12 weeks prior to moving
  • Do your homework on finding a reputable mover- ask for recommendations etc. Hire your mover weeks in advance….really good ones, especially in peak seasons are booked months in advance. Get an on-site estimate.
  •  Decide who will be doing the packing.
  • Make piles for Selling, Donating, giveaway to family and friends or tossing if damaged.
  • Make a To Do List of all the tasks that need to be performed before move day. Examples include: contacting utility companies, government offices, subscriptions, school; post office for mail forwarding; credit card companies etc.
  • Do keep an itemized list of contents per box. Number each box and designate the room where contents will be going on side of box- easily seen for the movers to unload and appropriately place. Label boxes too- fragile etc.
  • Have a last out, first in box- the box you want off the truck first. Clothing, towels, toiletries, coffee maker etc.
  • Hand carry jewelry, important documents and medications
  • If the thought of moving is just overwhelming or you don’t have the time, hire a Professional Organizer. From inception to completion, they will make your move a pleasurable experience.
  • Your real estate agent or broker can likely recommend someone they work with. 

As a real estate agent, I depend on Donna David & Co for my clients moves. Donna and her company have moved many of my clients and I am delighted for the thanks I receive for the recommendation because everything went perfectly.

Once you’re settled in – enjoy your new home!

For a no-charge consultation feel free to contact Ross Ellis over email and feel free to follow her on Twitter at @NY_RealEstate 

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Ross Ellis and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

QUOTE OF THE DAY - BAN LEOW TO THE NEW YORK POST 

August 5, 2014

Our very own Ban Leow of our Bedford Stuyvesant Office was interviewed by the New York Post last week on the recent surge in bidding wars and home prices in Bed-Stuy—a Brooklyn neighborhood populated with stunning limestone and brownstone homes. Ban also spoke about how brokers are introducing a new wave of buyers from Manhattan, New Jersey and Connecticut who can afford the historic townhomes in the once crime-ridden neighborhood. Two of his clients can attest to this growing trend: a former Vogue editor and restaurateur sold their Park Avenue penthouse and moved into a $1.8M townhome in Bed-Stuy, according to Leow. Our Quote of the Day perfectly captures Ban’s interview on Bed-Stuy’s real estate upswing. 

Read the full article here.

Connect with Ban over email and click here to view his current listings in Bed-Stuy and other sought-after Brooklyn neighborhoods. 

EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: MODERN IN MIDHAMPTON

In the quaint Hamptons Village of Quogue is this five bedroom post modern home with beautifully landscaped grounds that feature an outdoor playground of epic proportions from the expansive deck, to an inground heated pool, hot tub, and outdoor shower. As you enter the spacious foyer you are greeted by a large great room with an impressive 18 ft. tall ceiling, fireplace and dining area adorned with glass sliders that leads onto a stunning deck as you perch over the backyard oasis pictured above.

This wonderful deck is also directly accessible through sliding doors in the first floor master bedroom complete with a fireplace and en-suite bath, while the home’s four additional bedrooms are located throughout both the first and second floors.

Click here to learn more about this fine Hamptons property.

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Sample all of our Real Estate Eye Candy Powered by Pinterest here.

Don’t miss our Snapshot of the Day for more stunning imagery, find us on Instagram @Halstead or visit our online gallery here

BARAK’S THOUGHTS ON IT’S NOT PERSONAL, IT’S BUSINESS

In the 6th installment of regular Halstead Blog series from Halstead Property’s Barak Dunayer, we bring you Webisode 6 “Pricing to Win – It’s Not Personal, It’s Business”

Barak discusses the importance of improving your home’s curb appeal as a means to attract potential buyers. No need to undergo a renovation, says Barak, but freshening up your space or rearranging furniture could make a dramatic difference. He insists that this is not a criticism of your taste and lifestyle.

“But, from years of experience and hundreds of homes sold, I’ve learned that in order to get the biggest bang for your buck it’s better to transform it from being your home to looking like the most marketable property.”

Click here to watch the most recent Webisode 5 – “Selling is a Process, Not an Event” and for the entire collection of videos from Barak’s Thoughts series, click here.

Share your thoughts and connect with Barak on Twitter or over email, and visit his agent website to learn more and for all of your real estate needs 

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this video series are those of Barak Dunayer and do not reflect the official opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

YOUR PROPERTV TOUR OF HARLEM 

Let Halstead Property’s Executive Directors of Sales Sandy Wilson along with Gus Perry guide you through the historic and cultural highlights of the Harlem section of Manhattan, a place seemingly fit for Mr. Rogers as Sandy professes it is “one of the only few neighborhoods in the city where people will graciously wish you a good morning, and a great day!” First we stop by Sylvan Terrace — a small street that is part of the Morris Jumel historic area and is currently featured in HBO’s hit series Boardwalk Empire.  Gus points out that it’s hard not to look up and notice the expansive wide open blue skies that can be seen from any vantage point in Harlem thanks to the areas unique architectural makeup of brownstone buildings that typically range no more than 4-5 stories high, versus the towering hi-rise structures that dot the skyline in Midtown Manhattan. Some impressive Pre-War structures in the area include The Grinnell and Graham Court with its notable arched Venetian entryway.  Aside from stunning architecture, the neighborhood has the most parks in Manhattan and boasts foodie-approved restaurants that represent a myriad of cultures, as evident in the annual Summer Sizzles Sidewalk Café Crawl along Lenox Avenue.

We hope you enjoyed the tour and invite you to visit our website to connect with Halstead Property’s Harlem Neighborhood Expert agents to learn more about this amazing section of New York City.

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Follow Halstead Property on Foursquare to learn more about the best events in Harlem, and for hundreds of other neighborhood tips. 

YOUR EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: PENTHOUSE PERFECTION 

Experience luxury loft-living in Tribeca. Step inside this expansive living-dining space, which boasts oak floors and ample sunlight from an entire wall of windows. Have your pick from two seating areas. Lounge in front of the TV on the leather sectional or curl up with a book on the white loveseat. Aside from an impressive living-dining space, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse comes with a private rooftop garden complete with lounge chairs and outdoor sofas. To access the rooftop, climb a winding staircase in the art gallery-inspired entryway. Both bedrooms prove to be stylish sanctuaries—one with tree branches as accent pieces and the other with two-toned striped walls. Better yet, the loft is situated in a building with a 24-hour doorman on sought-after North Moore Street.

Click here to see more of this prime Tribeca penthouse. 

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Sample all of our Real Estate Eye Candy Powered by Pinterest here.

Don’t miss our Snapshot of the Day for more stunning imagery, find us on Instagram @Halstead or visit our online gallery here

BARAK’S THOUGHTS ON SELLING IS A PROCESS, NOT AN EVENT 

In the 5th installment of regular Halstead Blog series from Halstead Property’s Barak Dunayer, we bring you Webisode 5 “Pricing to Win – Selling is a Process, Not an Event”

Barak addresses what to do when there is “no movement” on a property after weeks of being on the market. He recommends that the seller maintains communication with his or her broker about inquiries, open house traffic, new listings and feedback from buyers.

“If your property’s well marketed, well presented and there’s still no movement—it’s usually the price. So, do not be afraid to make adjustments if necessary.”

Click here to watch the most recent Webisode 4 – “How to Use Comps to Your Advantage” and for the entire collection of videos from Barak’s Thoughts series, click here.

Share your thoughts and connect with Barak on Twitter or over email, and visit his agent website to learn more and for all of your real estate needs. 

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this video series are those of Barak Dunayer and do not reflect the official opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

YOUR PROPERTV TOUR OF WASHINGTON HEIGHTS 

You’re invited on a Halstead ProperTV video tour of the Washington Heights section of Upper Manhattan with Halstead Property’s Executive Director of Sales Gus Perry who reveals everything you need to know about a neighborhood where the best kept secret is “first and foremost, the people.” Washington Heights is known and loved for its strong sense of community supported by a growing number of mom and pop shops and beautiful natural landmarks including Fort Tryon Park and New York City’s only real forest in Inwood Hill Park. The neighborhood plays host to a thriving community of diverse artists as part of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and a visit to the area wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the exquisite beauty at The Cloisters Museum and gardens, a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. 

Visit our website to connect with Halstead Property’s Washington Heights Neighborhood Expert agents to learn more about this amazing section of New York City. 

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Follow Halstead Property on Foursquare to learn more about the best events in Washington Heights and Upper Manhattan, and for hundreds of other neighborhood tips. 

YOUR EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: FORT GREENE DREAM KITCHEN 

This stylish, gourmet kitchen is the perfect entertaining space for every season. Step out onto the deck for summertime barbeques, and in colder months huddle around the bistro table in front of the original fireplace with mugs of hot cocoa. This eat-in kitchen is located on the parlor floor of a mint 19th century brownstone in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Features include a Fisher & Paykel five burner range and double-door fridge, Bosch dishwasher and quartz countertops. The exposed brick wall complements the ornate fireplace and rustic décor such as the mounted deer head and café-inspired seating. Distressed wood floors continue into the living-dining area, which features another statement fireplace and original moldings. Upstairs you’ll find a massive master suite complete with a dressing room, sitting room, two fireplaces and a retro-inspired bathroom. The top floor provides enough space for the little ones with two bedrooms, full bathroom and a den/playroom. This property allows for a unique opportunity to rent out the one-bedroom garden-level unit. Charming, ultra livable and located on a tree-lined street—your historic brownstone and Fort Greene await your arrival.

Click here to see more of this gorgeous residence in one of Brooklyn’s most desirable neighborhoods.

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Sample all of our Real Estate Eye Candy Powered by Pinterest here.

Don’t miss our Snapshot of the Day for more stunning imagery, find us on Instagram @Halstead or visit our online gallery here

What You Should Know About Homeowners Insurance in New York City

By: David Wagenheim, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, East Side Office

I recently received a question about homeowners insurance that I thought I should share. The question was:

“Are homeowners insurance requirements different between co-ops and condos, and is there a basic guideline for co-op insurance (like, make sure you cover everything from the walls in) or does it differ from co-op to co-op?”

In my knowledge of homeowners insurance I responded that the two most basic things people worry about when wanting to insure their home (whether it’s a co-op or condo) are

a) their contents

b) liability coverage

Contents insurance would cover the replacement of your things inside your apartment (ie. furniture, clothing, etc.) should something happen to damage them, such as a fire, or a pipe burst. Liability insurance would cover you if, heaven forbid, someone hurts themselves inside your home, and they decide to sue you.

I also know that here in New York City, what is expected of you can vary from building to building, so it is important to check with your building to find out what sort of policy they have. I recently worked on a deal where I represented the owner of a condo looking to rent out her apartment. The building required that the incoming tenant not only have liability insurance, but that the policy should cover up to a $1 million dollars. That was unusually high, but that was their requirement.

The question got me thinking however, so I decided to call an insurance broker. After our conversation, it became clear that there are other things to consider when purchasing homeowners insurance for an apartment.

He spoke about ‘interior build out’, which as I understood it, would cover you beyond your contents insurance. For instance, if a pipe bursts, or there is a fire inside your apartment, your contents insurance would cover your belongings. But what about any damage to the interior of the apartment, like the flooring, or walls, etc.? It’s quite possible that the building insurance policy may only cover up to a certain amount.

He also spoke about ‘loss assessment coverage’. This protects the unit owner in the event the association must assess all unit owners for an uncovered cost as a result of a covered claim. For instance, a person is seriously injured in a common area and the judgement awarded is higher than the insurance amount in the master building insurance policy. Or, perhaps damage in a common area was higher than the amount covered by the building’s policy.

There are two things that became clear to me after our conversation, first, you need to know what sort of insurance policy coverage your particular building has (you should be able to obtain this information from the managing agent for the building), and second, you need to speak with a knowledgeable insurance broker to go over how you can best protect yourself and your home because as you can see it can be quite complicated.

Connect with me over email and visit my agent website to learn more about this topic, and for all of your real estate needs.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of David Wagenheim and do not reflect the official opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.  David is a Real Estate Professional stating his opinion and is not licensed to sell insurance products.

The Ins and Outs of An Estate Sale

Part II: Closing On Time

By Rory S. Clark, Esq, Associate Real Estate Broker, Village Office and Mary S. Croly, Esq., McLaughlin & Stern, LLP 

Part I of this series of articles was entitled “Issues Impacting Who Has the Authority to Legally Sell Property,” which reviewed the primary basics of knowing who has the authority to sell property in an estate sale.

This second article will continue the sales process once the estate has determined who has the authority to sell the property and a real estate broker has been hired to market the property by summarizing the documents that are required to transfer title of a cooperative unit from an estate to a Purchaser and the timing requirements involved to manage the sale.
You’ve been looking for that perfect apartment for almost 6 months. The lack of inventory and unexpected low interest rates continue to create large demand from buyers like you and few properties to bid on. You’ve lost a bidding war in the past, despite waiving the mortgage contingency in order to compete with stronger cash offers.

You’re buyer’s agent calls you to tell you the good news. “YOU WON THE BIDDING WAR! The Sellers want you to close as soon as possible, so plan accordingly.”

You immediately get your ducks in order, give your landlord notice that you’re breaking your lease early and get ready to move. Fast forward five weeks and following your Board interview you’ve been told you’re approved! Get ready for closing… or maybe not. You find out you’re purchasing from an estate and the estate failed to obtain certain additional documents required which could take another four to six weeks.

Unfortunately, there’s a new tenant moving into your rental in two weeks, leaving you in a housing crisis.

Your buyer’s agent and real estate attorney failed to ask that critical question – “Is this an Page 2 of 5 estate sale, and if so, has the estate obtained the necessary documents to close?”

While buyers are often aware that an estate sale can involve apartments in poor condition that may require extensive renovations after closing, buyers and real estate agents representing the buyers must be aware of the timing issues that may impact the closing date.

The buyer’s agent should always confirm whether the estate has obtained Letters Testamentary and whether Federal and New
York State releases of liens have been obtained or at least whether this process has been initiated.

Both items may collectively take a minimum of 4-6 weeks to obtain, which should be known and accounted for upfront so the buyer can plan their move-out from their current residence accordingly.

The first step in the closing process is for the Sellers’s attorney to obtain and review the original stock certificate and proprietary lease. This quick review will tell the Seller’s attorney the record owner of the coop and confirm whether the estate is the correct legal Seller. If the record owner is the decedent, the Seller’s attorney (who may not necessarily be the estate attorney), must obtain and produce certain documents to the Purchaser and Managing Agent at the closing.

The executor or administrator of the estate will be required to sign all transfer documents. A power of attorney cannot be used by the executor or administrator to delegate his or her duty to an agent. These documents may include the following:

Original Stock Certificate
Original Proprietary Lease
Original death certificate
Copy of Will
Copy of Codicil, if any
Original letters testamentary
Original letters of administration
Affidavit of Debts & Domicile
Federal Releases of Lien
NYS Release of Lien
Closing Letter

The Seller’s real estate attorney must obtain from the Seller’s estate attorney the court Page 3 of 5 appointment, called Letters Testamentary (where there is a Will), or Letters of Administration (where there is no Will). Without the letters of appointment, the executor or administrator cannot represent the estate on the sale of the cooperative unit.

Although letters of appointment are valid for six months, most Managing Agents require that letters of appointment be dated
within 60 days of the date of closing. The Management Agent will require the Seller’s attorney to obtain and produce at the closing Federal and New York State releases of liens.

The Federal Release of Lien is obtained by filing a Form 4422 with the IRS entitled Application for Certification Discharging Property Subject to Estate Tax Lien. In addition, a copy of the signed contract of sale is generally required to be included with this application. Obtaining a Federal release of lien gets a bit tricky because the IRS will not issue a Federal release of lien if the estate is not required to file a Federal Estate Tax Return because the estate’s gross estate is less than the federal exemption amount (currently $5,340,000 for 2014) required to file it.

However, if the estate is not required to file a Federal Estate Tax Return, then the IRS will issue a letter which provides confirmation that no Federal release of lien will be issued because the estate is under the federal exemption amount and not required to file a Federal Estate Tax Return. It may take up to four weeks to obtain either IRS document.

Unlike the Federal release of lien, the New York State release of lien is easier to obtain. It is not contingent on whether a New York State estate tax return is required to be filed ($2,062,500 for deaths between April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015). The Seller’s attorney obtains a New York State release of lien by filing a Form ET-30, entitled Application for Release of Estate Tax Lien, and ET-117, entitled Release of Lien of Estate Tax, with the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance along with a letter of appointment and copy of the death certificate. It may take up to six weeks to obtain a NYS release of lien.
Lastly, the Managing Agent and Purchaser’s attorney will require (1) an Affidavit of Debts and Domicile, (2) original death certificate, and (3) certified copy of the Will and codicils, if any. The executor or administrator of the estate will be required to sign the Affidavit of Debts and Domicile representing certain facts relating to the decedent’s domicile, debts and status of the payment of the Federal and New York State estate taxes, if any.

As a general rule, the Seller’s attorney should begin the process of obtaining all of the required documents in advance of the projected closing date to ensure a timely scheduled closing. On the sell-side, the Estate attorney, Seller’s attorney and listing agent should all be working collaboratively to ensure timelines are met and the same is accurately relayed to the buyer’s agent and the buyer.

A diligent buyer’s attorney and buyer’s agent is aware of these items and manages the closing date and seamless move for their client by planning ahead and knowing the right questions to ask.

Excerpts from this Real Estate Weekly Article

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Rory Clark and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.

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