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 reinvent the 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 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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BARAK’S THOUGHTS ON SEASONALITY IN REAL ESTATE 

We’re back with another installment of our regular Halstead Blog series from Halstead Property’s Barak Dunayer. We bring you Webisode 4, Season 2 “Seasonality in Real Estate.” 

According to Barak, many agents recommend taking unsold listings off the market in the summer and relisting after Labor Day. Unsold listings also tend to come off the market before Thanksgiving and relist after New Year’s Day. Barak says that he has never followed this trend, and instead finds advantages in listing properties during the “so-called slower times”:

 

“Sellers can be assured that the buyers making appointments during these times are serious about making a deal and not just window shopping. Buyers can also enjoy the lesser competition for quality inventory and take a bit more time for making a decision.”

Click here to watch the most recent Webisode “Picking Your Broker” 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 for all 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.

BRIAN LEWIS PREMIERE FRIDAY 

Presenting a video tour of 7 East 35th Street PH16F

One of Wall Street Journal’s Top Brokers in the US Brian Lewis is at it again with another stellar exclusive and video tour. Brian welcomes you to the Townhouse in the Sky”—a 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom multi-level penthouse in Murray Hill. Pop a bag of popcorn, kick back and click play as we introduce our latest Brain Lewis Premiere Friday. 

The video starts out with Brian playing pool in the home’s stylish bonus room followed by a presentation of the double-height living room with its impressive skylights. The private rooftop terrace is an obvious showstopper with skyline and Empire State Building views. Back inside, Brian introduces the eat-in kitchen and formal dining room, which also features a skylight perfect for dinners under the stars. In the en-suite master bathroom, Brian points out spa-like features such as sleek, marble countertops and a steam shower complete with a backlit wall. As if there weren’t enough double-height ceilings and skylights, you’ll find these two features yet again in a second bedroom. There is also another master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and fireplace (that makes three). Finally, Brian takes us back to the bonus room where he hops on a ladder that moves along the wall of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Penthouse living never looked better.

WATCH FULL VIDEO HERE

We invite you to watch all of Brian’s 300+ videos by clicking here.

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

Central Park By The Numbers

By Madeleine Dale, Licensed Assoc. R.E. Broker in our West Side Office

For 161 years Central Park has offered New Yorkers a taste of fall foliage in the heart of Manhattan. The island’s largest green space spans 59th Street to 110th Street from Fifth Avenue to Central Park West.  Many visitors to Central Park are surprised to learn that it is in fact a man-made park. Landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park in 1858 after a law was passed on July 21, 1853 by the New York State Legislature allowing the construction of a large public park in Manhattan. The 843-acre treasure is home to a staggering number of plant and animal species, fields and park-goers of course. Check out the numbers  below:

·         21,500 trees

·         5 turtle species

·         65 statues

·         9,000 benches

·         21 playgrounds

·         26 ball fields

·         58 miles of trails

·         230 species of birds

·         40 million human visitors each year

Central Park’s numbers at a glance are provided by the Central Park Conservancy. Click here to learn more about the history of Central Park.

To connect with Madeleine visit her agent website.

YOUR EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: CENTRAL PARK WEST

Sweeping open views for miles over Central Park can be seen from every single room of this condominium home complete with towering 10’ high ceilings and an arsenal of oversized windows.  The iconic New York City skyline and glowing city lights reveal themselves even brighter from both vantage points of the spacious living room that opens directly to a massive private terrace. When you can peel your eyes away from such iconic views, you’ll be equally as impressed with sophisticated design found throughout  from warm honey oak wood floors to an inviting spa-like oasis ambiance in the Master Suite. Additionally, the 6 bedroom residence brags one of the most coveted addresses on the Upper West Side with renowned 5-star service and unbeatable amenities.

Discover more details on this Upper West Side residence here.

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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.

CHRISTOPHER KROMER TO BRICKUNDERGROUND

Halstead Property’s Christopher Kromer was recently interviewed by BrickUnderground on the importance of open houses for buyers, especially those looking at co-ops in NYC. For the buyer, it’s key to make a good first impression to the seller’s broker, says BrickUnderground. Christopher backs up this sentiment:

 How someone conducts themselves in an open house is generally a good indication of how they’d act in a board interview, and how likely they are to be approved

BrickUnderground rounded up tips to “aceing” open houses for buyers from real estate experts. Their suggestions include:

  • Avoid overdressing
  • Always “play it cool”
  • Don’t be too critical of the property and its décor
  • Don’t make a big deal out of taking off your shoes (in fact, this is quite common in luxury listings)
  • Arrive on time
  • Make sure your children behave appropriately
  • Practice proper etiquette with the free snacks and alcohol

Click here for the full article.

To connect with Christopher Kromer visit his agent website and follow him on Twitter.

BARAK’S THOUGHTS ON PICKING YOUR BROKER

We’re back with another installment of our regular Halstead Blog series from Halstead Property’s Barak Dunayer. We bring you Webisode 3, Season 2 “Picking Your Broker.”

Barak starts off with the biggest question of all when buying or selling: how do you choose the right broker? Here are his tips: 1) look at the broker’s track record and expertise 2) find out the broker’s “plan of action” 3) is he/she likeable?

 “Buying and selling real estate can involve big emotional and financial decisions. So, make sure you’ve got the right person to do the job”

Click here to watch the most recent Webisode “How to Interpret the Market Reports” 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 for all 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 EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: TOWNHOUSE IN THE SKY

If you’ve ever dreamed of occupying a designer multi-level home with its own yard, four bedrooms, three baths, three wood-burning fireplaces, and a gorgeous elliptical stairway – all in New York City, this Midtown Manhattan home was made for you. The proverbial “deluxe apartment in the sky” becomes reality as you can see the clouds float above you through atrium windows that crown the signature cathedral ceilings found in almost every room, including the bedrooms, and al fresco entertaining from dining under the stars to a sun-splashed lunch is made possible by your own private terrace. To say the gorgeous green space with its own custom lighting and watering systems, and iconic views of the New York City Skyline is an urban oasis would be an understatement. Inside brags more style than the runways during fashion week with an understated yet dramatic loft-sized living room with a stone fireplace and a dining room built for twelve with magical views of the sky from  glorious glass-topped cathedral ceiling. Tranquility abounds in a master suite complete with a wood-burning fireplace and a custom en suite, marble master bath, and in an equally as serene guest suite with another wood burning fireplace and floor to ceiling windows. As if we weren’t already weak in the knees, the crown jewel of this residence shows itself as a massive super-suite with soaring ceilings and floor-to-ceiling custom bookshelves that is currently configured as a multi-use media/game room and library.

Click here to learn more about this Townhouse in the Sky.

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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.

YOUR EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: INDUSTRIAL CHIC

French industrial chic meets downtown cool in this meticulously renovated two bedroom Prewar cooperative located in a full-service doorman building on a prime tree-lined block in Greenwich Village. A wide entrance gallery beckons your stellar art collection as it opens to reveal a perfectly proportioned living and dining area decorated with high beamed ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace, brilliant southern light from a wall of classic casement windows and custom details such as re repurposed wood bookshelves, hand-crafted steel cabinetry, and organic rough-hewn window sills adding texture and warmth to an already timeless design scheme. Such razor sharp commitment to design and sophistication is no more evident than in both the gorgeous state-of-the-art windowed chef’s kitchen with polished concrete floors, endless custom steel and screened glass cabinetry, a zinc eat-in bar, abundant European-style under the counter storage and in the dramatic 8-foot steel screened glass door that opens to a striking windowed powder room. Every inch of this exquisite home has been carefully considered and curated with luxury and comfort in mind, from the pale grey-blue oak flooring, to the soothing milk-painted walls, to the original stripped wood doors with their antique crystal knobs, each material catches your eye and visually stimulates the senses and invites you to relax and forget the stresses of the world outside.

Discover more about this exquisite residence here.

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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.

TIME IS MONEY

By: Kleopatra Phili, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Halstead Property Westside Office. 

It happens all the time in the big city – at first sight you fall in love, you ignore your instinct and hesitate to make your move …  tic-toc tic-toc,  and then out of nowhere, someone swoops in and steals the object of your affection. 

And what’s worse than losing the apartment to another buyer is, when you look at the next batch of releases, in the same pre-construction building, you’d have to pay more to get an identical apartment!  Like $100,000 more, or $700,000 more.  It all depends on how much time you waited, and who was your agent.  

What I learned more than 20 years ago from a teacher still holds true today:  TIME IS MONEY!  She’d shout it out, with the words emanating from the back of her throat, just like Shakira sings, and she’d narrow her brows, because she meant it and she wanted you to believe the veracity of her mantra.  I believe it, I live it.

Here’s one concrete example at the newly-constructed 160 E. 22nd St., Gramercy Park, with a timeline:

March 15, 2012 (my daughter’s birthday), I photographed the empty lot and posted preliminary info on my blog site 

March 6, 2013 - By the time sales launched last spring, I had already secured an appointment at the developer’s sales gallery on behalf of my customer.

October 26, 2014 - the closing took place on Apt. 4B.

Now let’s look at the numbers, as verifiable on Streeteasy:

Apt. 3B sold for $1,482,990

Apt. 4B sold for $1,055,990

Identical floor plan, identical square footage, in the same building, so why did the buyers of Apt. 4B get in for $427,000 less than the apartment below?  Because they understood that TIME IS MONEY, and I was very pleased to represent them as their agent.

I monitor upcoming new developments at the earliest stages of construction, and before pre-construction sales begin.  Through my hard work, I’ve already paved the way to get you in early, and save you time and money.  I can help you get what you want for less, in a New York minute (but oh the reconnaissance I do in advance, like a real estate detective). 

To learn more about and for answers to all of your real estate needs, you can connect with me over email or visit my agent website

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Kleo’s and do not reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC. 

YOUR EYE CANDY OF THE DAY: SECRET OASIS

At the crossroads of Prospect Heights and Clinton Hill stands a truly majestic building.  Once a seminary, this gothic-style structure has been reborn as a coveted and land-marked full-service Cathedral Condominium Building with a private, serene courtyard that was formerly included on the Brooklyn Garden Tour.  Enter the private front yard to discover breathtaking marble arches and soaring ceilings that welcome you into this very special home with 14-foot ceilings and sun-drenched rooms that include an open kitchen, living and dining room that makes for easy living and entertaining. A hand-crafted staircase leads up to a loft area that currently hosts  a beautiful master bedroom complete with an almost endless amount of closet space, while dramatic Gothic-arched windows adorn main floor bedroom; And, if you require even more space, continue on down the spiral staircase to discover an area ready to be transformed into a home office and den.  

To learn more about this secret Brooklyn oasis, click here

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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 HOW TO INTERPRET THE MARKET REPORTS

We’re back with another installment of our regular Halstead Blog series from Halstead Property’s Barak Dunayer. We bring you Webisode 2, Season 2 “How to Interpret the Market Reports” 

Most major real estate brokerage firms publish quarterly market reports that reflect data such as average and median prices of homes, says Barak. You can find our latest third quarter market report for 2014 here, as prepared by Halstead Property’s Chief Economist Greg Heym. As a buyer or seller, if you’re looking for the current status of the housing market you may run into an “information delay” of 6 months (because these reports only reflect “closed sales”). Barak offers a solution for finding out a property’s worth right now:

“Best is to look at current deals that are going into contract today. These are not public information. But, a professional, well-connected broker can get you closer to this information and advise you better on how the market’s doing today”

Click here to watch the most recent Webisode “Sellers: Should You Take the First Offer You Get?” 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 for all 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.

AT THE DESK OF: JIM GRICAR 

Halstead Property’s President Shares His Office Space with The Real Deal 

Flip to page 30 of the October issue of The Real Deal and you’ll find Halstead Property’s President, Jim Gricar, sitting at his desk at 499 Park Avenue. In this special feature, Jim shares his most treasured possessions in his office and also delves into his history in New York real estate. You’ll find a snapshot of Jim during his run in Broadway’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” – pre-real estate days, of course. From Mid-Century Modern furnishings (including a reproduction of a 1959 Eames Executive Chair) to a jar of Skittles and even a Hot Wheels car, explore Jim’s office in this fun feature story

Cleveland native Jim Gricar, president of Halstead Property, moved to New York as an actor in 1989. He appeared on Broadway, including in “Sweeney Todd” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” But he eventually tired of the nonstop work and wanted to “feel tangible success.” He became a broker with the Corcoran Group in 1998. His network of friends didn’t do much to jumpstart his new career. “My friends were all actors who couldn’t afford cabs, let alone apartments,” he said. A few years later, founder Barbara Corcoran asked Gricar to try management. At first he resisted. “Barbara said, ‘You’re a very good sales agent, but you’ll never be at the utter top of the pile … [but] you would be an exceptional sales manager.’” In 2000, he became associate managing director in the firm’s Madison Avenue headquarters. In six months, he was running their Downtown operations. In 2004, he jumped to Brown Harris Stevens, where he opened operations focusing on the burgeoning West Side condo market, and saw the firm jump to 80 agents from 40. His West Side experience gave him a jump on the expanding condominium market there, and his team handled a number of deals at the Zeckendorfs’ 15 Central Park West, including the penthouse sale to former Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill. In 2011, Gricar became president at Halstead, and since then, the number of brokers there rose to 1,200 from 900. Last month, Gricar showed The Real Deal around his Midtown office.

“Jesus Christ Superstar”

Before making the leap to real estate, Gricar spent a year on the road with a national Broadway tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He played a number of different roles in the production, including Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas and “the third apostle from the left.” For the duration of the show, he was held to a no-haircut clause, which by the end of the run left him with a shoulder blade-length mane. 

Eiffel Tower

Gricar added a model Eiffel Tower to his office coffee table after his first trip to Paris in 2004. “After the whole ‘freedom fries’ thing, when everyone was mad at the French, I had the exact opposite reaction and became a Francophile,” he said.

1960s lamp

The lamp on Gricar’s desk is a reproduction of a lamp from the 1960s that his father, who was president of sales for a heating and cooling company, had in his office. “I used to love to go to my dad’s office when I was a kid,” Gricar said. “He was kind of a hipster — he had modern furniture and a Flokati rug. I just thought it was magical.” Gricar never uses overhead lighting, which he considers “severe.”

U.S. Constitution

Gricar is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and often hands out small booklet copies of the U.S. Constitution. He views the document as a guide to fairness and fair play, he said. “I just like what it says.”

Skittles jar

Gricar’s office is never without a tall jar of Skittles. “I’m addicted,” he said.

Hot Wheels car

Gricar loved Hot Wheels cars as a kid. The 1967 Dodge Challenger was a favorite. When the car was reissued in 2008 in the original orange color, he bought the real thing, too.

1959 executive chair

The chair behind Gricar’s desk is a reproduction of the 1959 Eames Executive Chair, which was designed specifically for the Time Life building in New York. He also has an original Florence Knoll sofa, which he admits is “a little lumpy, but you know, it’s 50 years old.”

Chinese fu dog

Gricar picked up this porcelain Chinese fu dog figurine and leather gorilla at a flea market. The gorilla on his coffee table is actually meant to be used as a doorstop, but one of his three dogs — an Australian cattle dog — kept picking it up and carrying it around. 

Thai Buddha

Gricar purchased this Buddha sculpture at a tag sale in Connecticut. The figurine, he said, exhibits the peace and calm he strives to project in his 499 Park Avenue office. It also connects to yoga, which he began five years ago, after “30 years of going to the gym and hating every minute of it.”

Story by: Julie Strickland

Photo Credit: Tobias Truvillion

Click here for a digital version of this story.

To connect with Jim Gricar visit his website

RENTING VS. BUYING IN NYC 

Pros & Cons Broken Down by Senad Ahmetovic, Licensed Assoc. R.E. Broker in our Eastside Office

Renting in the city provides flexibility and requires  less financial commitment. Many renters in NYC opt-out from a purchase either because they do not have the funds required for down payment,  can not qualify for a mortgage due to less than perfect credit  or do not want to go through a strict co-op board approval process. Some prefer the freedom of no long term commitment due to changing careers or job uncertainty.

Homeownership is not for everyone. Although it provides stability, pride of ownership and financial benefits in the long term, owning a home is a big responsibility. It requires investing a large portion of your savings and stable or growing income. Those who do make the step towards ownership generally have long term goals and are counting on equity and personal wealth build-up, while enjoying greater freedom in the use of the home. Here is a quick list of pros and cons of renting vs. buying in NYC:

Pros of renting:

  • No large down payment required (generally 10-20% of the purchase price)
  • No mortgage and monthly maintenance payments
  • No closing costs or Real Estate Tax payments
  • Flexibility: no long term commitment especially with income and job uncertainty
  • No responsibility for repairs and maintenance
  • Small upfront investment: generally 1st month’s rent and 1-2 months security deposit
  • More cash on hand each month as typically rents are lower than mortgage payments
  • Utilities may be included in the monthly rent (generally water, sometimes gas and electric) 

Cons of renting:

  • Upfront brokerage fee (if you end up using one)
  • Annual rent increases
  • No equity build-up or tax benefits
  • Monthly rent payments that “go to waste”
  • Restrictions on changes and upgrades in the unit to your liking 

Pros of buying:

  • Building equity:  if you plan to own it for 5 to 7 years, as a general rule
  • Pride of ownership and freedom to decorate and renovate to your taste
  • Tax benefits, mortgage interest and property tax deductions
  • For first-time buyers, tax deductions on many expenses and improvements can be subsidized
  • Monthly costs are more predictable, as mortgage payments are generally based on a fixed rate
  • You can refinance: borrow against equity in your home to pay for major purchases or  renovation
  • You can rent out your home and generate income if you decide to move but not sell right away

Cons of buying:

  • Large initial cost: down payment and closing costs
  • Recurring maintenance and homeowner’s insurance
  • Long-term financial commitment  to offset initial costs and build equity
  • For some buying could mean streching to one’s financial limits, affecting other savings goals
  • As an owner you are responsible for most maintenance and repairs inside your home
  • Less flexibility to “just pack up and go” as selling is a longer process
  • Even though mortgage payments are generally fixed and predictable, they are higher than rent payments
  • If you fall into financial hardship, bank can foreclose on your home if you don’t pay your mortgage payments on time
  • In hard economic times, value of a home can fall below the value of your mortgage, what’s known as “being under water“

To connect with Senad visit his agent website.

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Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Senad Ahmetovic and do not reflect the official opinions of Halstead Property, LLC. 

WHAT EVERY EXPAT SHOULD KNOW ABOUT RENTING IN NYC 

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

Every year countless numbers of executives from all over the world are transferred to New York City. The prospect of living in this great and famous city is always filled with excitement. New York has always been seen as a welcoming city full of possibilities. Although New York City is a wonderful and welcoming place to all, there are certain guidelines that you should be aware of if you want to rent here.

The two most basic requirements by a landlord are:

1.  You must demonstrate that you earn 40 to 50 times the rent in gross income. For instance, if the rent on an apartment is $5K per month, you need to show that you earn a minimum of $200K–$250K annually.

2.  You must demonstrate that you have a good credit history in the U.S.

Generally, it is the second requirement where most expats are at a loss if they have not lived here before. Not having U.S. credit can bring challenges. First, it may limit your options in housing in that some landlords will be averse to taking a chance on someone whose credit history they cannot verify. Another challenge can be monetary. Those landlords that are willing to overlook the lack of credit history will most certainly ask for either, additional rent up front, or extra security deposit. It can be as high as a whole year of rent upfront to as low as three months of security deposit.

Make sure when making an appointment to see a property that you let the listing broker know  beforehand what your situation is so that you can either avoid seeing a property where the landlord may not consider you an applicant, or, so that you can determine beforehand what may be expected of you should the landlord consider you.

Connect with David Wagenheim over email and visit his 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. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY - DIANE M. RAMIREZ TO CRAIN’S NEW YORK BUSINESS 

October 1, 2014

Halstead Property’s CEO Diane M. Ramirez was recently interviewed by Crain’s New York Business about the current state of Manhattan’s real estate market. Data from the third quarter shows that inventory increased 25%; however sales volume for co-ops and condos decreased by 15%, Crain’s reports.  Experts weighed in on this data, and have deducted that “aggressive pricing” at the city’s top properties has influenced many sellers to overprice their homes. Of course this trend has cautioned buyers, as Diane points out in our Quote of the Day.  

Read the full article here.

Connect with Diane on Twitter or visit her website

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