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You Need a Good Real Estate Attorney - Here's 8 Things to Consider

real estate law

In a competitive or not, there are so many factors that could contribute to a real estate deal falling through. Be proactive and have all your ducks in a row so you vastly decrease the odds of a deal falling through. 

One crucial component of the real estate transaction is the attorney. An excellent real estate attorney can make the deal process that much easier and enjoyable while a bad attorney can be a complete deal killer. Thus, you need a a good real estate attorney. We've outlined 8 things to keep top of mind when it comes to attorneys and real estate transactions. Remember, if you do not have a preferred attorney, your real estate agent will be able to refer you to some of the best with which they work often. Get quotes from 3 or 4 to make your ultimate decision. 

 

1. Find an attorney that deals exclusively with the NYC market

Because the NYC market is so unique compared to other markets, it is important to select an attorney that deals exclusively with the market to ensure he or she understands all the nuances. This excludes attorneys who do most of their work in Long Island, NJ, etc.

2. Find an attorney that deals exclusively with real estate

This excludes personal injury attorneys, patent attorneys, etc. Furthermore, if you're buying a co-op, try to find one that specializes in co-ops as they are a property unique to New York City. Likewise, for condo purchases look for attorneys that have an accomplished track record with condo purchases. Some attorneys can easily facilitate both. 

3. Find an attorney that is comfortable operating in a modern environment

Business moves at a rapid pace thanks to technology. Your clients will expect the same. Snail mail, hand deliveries, etc are not effective anymore and will hold up an entire deal.

4. Find an attorney that has time to work on your transaction

One who does the work part time, or is perpetually on vacation, etc, can kill deals, and it is not in your best interest to hire them. 

5. Do not be cheap with the attorney

You will get what you pay for. The negotiation of the contract and the filing of paperwork with the government is the most important part of legitimate and full ownership of real estate. 

6. Unless the attorney meets the above criteria, do not give your transactions to family members or friends

7. Timely Execution

A good seller's attorney should draft a standard contract within one to two business days.  The buyer's attorney should be able to complete the due diligence and add any comments within another three to four business days. Ideally, this full negotiation should not take longer than a week.

8. A good attorney maintains focus of all parties

A good attorney should be able to keep the client calm and focused on completing the transaction. They should be able to use judgment on what is, and is not, significant if a problem arises with the unit/walkthrough/etc - i.e. not closing because of a leaky faucet, etc. 

 

StreetEasy - How Easy is it to find your Apartment Rental?

Streeteasy charging brokers rental listing fee

In the current state, many would argue that finding an apartment for rent on the popular New York site, StreetEasy, may not actually be so easy after all. If you have ever searched for an apartment in New York, moved to New York, helped a friend find an apartment in New York, etc. , then you most likely came across StreetEasy to browse listings on the NYC market. 

The site, an affiliate of Zillow, recently announced that they will charge brokers a $3 a day fee for an rental listing to appear on the site. This announcement comes shortly after the site implemented their "Premier Agent" offering, essentially allowing brokers to pay for potential leads, and become a point of contact on a listing that is not theirs.

Why is this announcement worth paying attention to? Below are 5 things you need to know about the recent changes to StreetEasy:

1. This impacts the NYC Rental Network

The NYC Rental Network is largely composed of StreetEasy Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads because NYC does not have an MLS like every other real estate market in the country...if you are searching for a rental in NYC it will impact you!

2. The Change

StreetEasy will charge agents $3 a day to have rental listings appear on their site. If agents do not opt in, it will not appear on the site, and thus will not appear when you go to search here for your apartment. Many of the large brokerages in the city are not reimbursing agents for this additional cost if they opt to participate.

3. Initial Reaction has Been Large

The brokerage community silently spoke up through their lack of participation in the program. In fact, The Real Deal reported that rental listing inventory plummeted 50% in 24 hours! The comes on the heels of a boycott to their Premier Agent program as well.

4. Will this impact you? 

If you are conducting a search for an apartment rental in NYC, the odds are more likely than not that this will impact your search. Because StreetEasy and the affiliates have aggregated large amounts of data (listings), they have become the go to site for for many in the search. If agents do not participation, the listings will not show on searches on this site so you could miss out on properties that perfectly fit your needs. 

Through the lack of participation, and thus data, the website loses a sense of transparency. It once was the go-to for all listings in the NYC market, but that will no longer be the case as it will be a website with data that is simply paid for.

5. The Value of Human Interaction Increases

Brokers have become more important to your search than you previously thought. In an industry where technology certainly enhances and improves the transaction experience, the human element is still very valuable. By working with a broker, you will get access to their search and expertise. They have access to search propriety listings systems and tap into the broker community at large.

6 Rooftop Bars to Visit this Summer

NYC Rooftop Bars

Outdoor space is highly coveted in the city, especially during the warmer weather months when long days lead to beautiful sunsets over the skyline. We look for outdoor space in apartments, and we also desire it when deciding where to go for a cocktail.

Below is a list of 6 of the best rooftops to hangout in New York City and enjoy a cocktail (or 2) and skyline views from different vantage points. Perched in the sky, you might even catch a breeze to cool you down. Don’t take our word for it, and check out these place:

The Roof

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Situated atop the Viceroy Hotel, The Roof offers a sophisticated space to escape Midtown to enjoy a cocktail and view. The space faces North, offering views of the classic Central Park South skyline as well as the park itself. The interior of the lounge is reminiscent of an old luxury airliner with a menu offering up craft beers, global wines, and classic and modern cocktails that rotate to utilize the freshest ingredients.

The Viceroy Hotel 124 W 57th Street

The Roof at Park South

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Take in views of the Chrysler and Empire State buildings while sipping on quality cocktails at the roof of the Park South Hotel. The space not only offers good views and good drinks, but also good DJs. The menu breaks down cocktails into categories such as “Effervescent and Easy Drinking” and “Fancy”. The space is outfitted with copper siding, orange canopies, and a fireplace.

The Park South Hotel 125 E 27th Street

1 Hotel DUMBO

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Looking for views of the skyline from a different perspective? DUMBO offers the perfect vantage point and the chic 1 Hotel offers the perfect spot from which to gaze. Grab a cocktail or glass of wine and take in sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline from the rooftop.

60 Furman Street

Salon De Ning

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Head to the Peninsula Hotel on 5th Avenue and make your way to the roof for a sophisticated setting to enjoy a drink while looking over the iconic stores of 5th Avenue. Salon De Ning was recently renovated in 2016 and features Hampton-esque aesthetics. The two outdoor spaces are complimented by an interior bar. The space operates on a first come first served basis.

700 5th Avenue

The Press Lounge

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Tucked away in Hell Kitchen on Manhattan’s West Side is the Kimpton Ink 48 Hotel which is home to The Press Lounge. The Press Lounge is a fan favorite for rooftop bars in the city, offering up a swanky space and panoramic views of both the Manhattan skyline and Hudson River.

653 11th Avenue

PHD Terrace Midtown

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Check out the newly expanded terrace of the Midtown outpost of PHD, the popular rooftop of the Dream Downtown in Meatpacking. PHD Terrace, at the Dream Midtown, allows guests to enjoy a different perspective than its sister, namely views of Midtown and Times Square. Word on the street is they serve a 164 oz. Moscow Mule!

210 W 55th Street

What to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Property

Buy a Vacation Home

Victoria was originally quoted in The Wall Street Journal about What to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home.

You've decided to make the plunge and purchase a vacation home. Buying a second home is a great way to accumulate additional wealth, and as an investment, generate cashflow in the interim. There is a laundry list of things to consider before buying your vacation. Speak to your real estate broker and qualified tax adviser before making your investment decision. 

We've created a list of some of the most important things to consider and ask before you buy your vacation home. Purchasing a vacation home as an investment vs. for strictly personal use is certainly a different process. We focus on a purchase as the former. 

Is it better if you live close to the property to do chores, show it, etc.?

Proximity to a property is always helpful, as it allows the you to easily access it, check up on it, and be able to respond more quickly to any issues that arise If you are not close the property, consider hiring a broker to handle the rental, property manager to oversee the property and fix any problems, liaise with local plumbers, gardeners, etc. If you are renting the property for income, you always want to ensure a seamless process for the prospective renters. 

If you want to own a home located a significant from your primary residence, be aware of potential challenges. The main challenge of remote ownership is dealing with the property over the phone, email, etc. and not face to face very often. Any interaction with those overseeing the property will be "digitally."

What investors is this ideal for, and who should not get involved?

Vacation homes can hold sentimental value for a lot of owners/families, thus those that get attached to the property are not ideal to have a vacation rental as the objective is to have it rented out during the peak-season times of the area to generate maximum income. Vacation home investments are most Ideal for someone that can meet the full tax deductibility rules of a vacation home so they can take full advantage of the home from both a price appreciation standpoint as well as from the rental income received while holding the property.

It is also important to have the mindset that owning a vacation home for an investment does not mean its a "vacation" for you- expect all the unexpected that arises when multiple people are rotating throughout the property and treat the property from the "Im on vacation" mindset.

What would be your advice to someone thinking of property hunting this spring and summer?

In the current market in vacation destinations such as The Hamptons, there is more leverage towards the buyer as the seller is dependent on the market one is looking in. We work in The Hamptons because of its proximity to the city and the preferred location for a second home for many NYC residents. If you are considering buying a vacation property in The Hamptons now, it is a buyer's market in the area, especially at high price-points. While there market has picked up a bit on the East End, there remains a large amount of high-end inventory that has been spending a longer time on the market....this works to the buyer's favor.

If you are considering looking for a rental for the summer season, it is always important to be thorough with your search and always start your search earlier than you would expect! When you decide on a property, be sure to double-check items such as who is paying utilities? is it your responsibility as the tenant to pay for expenses such as pool heating, gardner, housekeeping, etc?, Are pets allowed? 

If you are considering a longer-season rental, see if there is negotiability in the price. Owners are often willing to provide a better rate to someone that commits to renting the full season (Memorial Day through Labor Day) vs. someone who wants to rent a single week in July. 

New Construction in Southampton, a popular location for vacation investment homes

New Construction in Southampton, a popular location for vacation investment homes

Are lenders welcoming to people buying second properties?

Every lender has different "rules", but generally if you are purchasing a second home and are in solid financial condition, the lender should not have a problem providing a loan. Given the increased risk to the bank of having a second mortgage, they may make you provide an increased downpayment so you have some "skin in the game."

What are the tax rules? To get the most tax benefit, do you have to limit your own use of the property?

Rental Property taxation can get complex, and we always refer clients that are looking to make a vacation home purchase decision of tax related questions to their qualified tax advisor. However, we see vacation homes generally fall into 3 types for taxation purposes:

Type 1: Rented more than 2 weeks with substantial personal use. The home was rented more than 14 days in the year and personal use exceeds the greater of 14 days or 10% of rental days

  • Type 1 homes are considered personal residences for federal income tax purposes, and thus owners can use the up to $1M worth of mortgage debt deduction (can be used on up to 2 personal residences)
  • Rental income for this type is taxable, however, allowable deductions are often able to offset the rental income

Type 2: Rented more than 14 days and personal use does not exceed the greater of 14 days or 10% of rental days

  • Type 2 is considered a rental property for federal tax purposes, and generally any rental income will be subject to taxation
  • Taxes for a rental property are complex as deductions are limited by the passive loss rule
  • If you are on the threshold of a Type 1 vs Type 2 property, it may benefit you to get in more personal days to move into Type 1

Type 3: Rented less than 15 days with more than 14 days of personal use

  • Considered a personal residence plain and simple
  • Rental income for this type does not have to be reported!
  • As a result, you cannot deduct direct expenses in this case
  • As one can see, taxes vary on the usage of the home, but it is hard to say which scenario may be advantageous for one vs another. It is important to expect that if you are looking to purchase the vacation home strictly has a rental property, you should expect to pay taxes on the rental income

How Useful is Price Per Square Foot?

Calculating Price Per Square Foot

Whether you are a real estate pro or a first-time buyer, you have most likely heard chatter about Price Per Square Foot (PPSF). During the search process, there are many factors to consider such as size, location, amenities, and, of course, price. Sometimes, focusing too much solely on price is not the best way to compare 2 properties, especially if you are a value shopper. This is where PPSF comes into play and can help make a more accurate comparison of 2 apartments in terms of price value.

Price Per Square Foot

Cheaper does not always mean a better deal. PPSF is a measurement that tries to level the playing field and allow a prospective buyer to make more of an apples-to-apples comparison of properties.

Consider the following hypothetical scenario:

Property 1: A 2200 sq ft 3-bedroom condo on East 74th Street asking $5,000,000.

Property 2: A 1700 sw ft 2-bedroom condo on East 61st Street asking $4,500,000.

Property 1 one is priced at a PPSF of $2273 ($5,000,000/2200 sq ft) and Property 2 is priced at $2647 a foot. While property 1 is more expensive, the buyer’s dollar goes farther as they are getting more square footage per dollar spent.

While things like location, bedroom count, and price will impact a decision, we can see where PPSF can be a useful measure of whether a property seems like it is priced high or low, and whether it seems like a value compared to another property.

PPSF is influenced by things such as:

  • Neighborhood
  • Building- is it new construction or not?
  • Outdoor Space (generally counted between 30-50% of interior square footage)
  • Amenities
  • Taxes & Maintenance- buildings with high taxes or maintenance usually have lower PPSF

Is PPSF the End All Be All?

While PPSF is certainly useful when assessing pricing as a buyer, consider a price at which to list when selling, and to identify value as an investor, it is not the end all be all when it comes to what makes a property inherently valuable.

Real Estate titan Louis Sunshine once said that not all PPSF is created equally. For example, some developers might extend measurements to the outside of building walls, include hallway space, etc. which would make the PPSF slightly different than a comparable unit that did not calculate square footage the same. Thus, it is important to take PPSF with a grain of salt and understand that the figure is relevant.

Use it as a factor when analyzing your investment decision to look for opportunities or trends. Is the PPSF in line with comps based on the asking price? Does the PPSF seem to be on an uptrend in the neighborhood? Questions like these begin to unlock the power and importance of this go-to measure for real estate brokers.

College Graduates Face NYC Housing Costs

College Grads Housing Cost

Many college graduates, armed with their diploma in hand, will make the move to New York City to pursue jobs and start their career. One of the biggest obstacles college graduates face with their transition to New York is the expensive cost of housing.

It is certainly a tough battle to fight given the tight labor market which requires graduates moving to where the jobs are vs. jobs coming to them. Median pay for entry level jobs in the city is certainly higher than in other parts of the country, however, the increased compensation still leaves a very large gap for many between income and housing costs. According to WNYC, the median income across New York City is $50,711.

 


The average rent in Manhattan in April 2017 was $3,232.


The general best practice when it comes to housing costs vs. income is a ratio of 30%, or having rent that does not exceed 30% of your monthly income. Based on the recommendation, a new graduate would have to make approximately $130,000 to afford the medium rent in Manhattan. Sounds intimidating, but understanding the basics can help any new graduate navigate the complex New York real estate market and find the perfect apartment.

Whether you end up renting in a condo, co-op (in rare instances), or a rental, building, there are a few general rules of thumb that can be expected across the board:

  •  Income Requirement: The general rule in New York City is that you must make 40x the monthly rent, or 80x the monthly rent if you are using a guarantor. Rental buildings will be stricter with these rules whereas it is ultimately up to the discretion of the condo owner to accept a tenant
  • Security Deposit: Be prepared to have certified check’s for the first month’s rent, security deposit, and broker’s commission.
  • Lease Length: Most buildings will require a minimum of a 1 year lease. There are some buildings that do allow for a 6-month lease.
  • Credit: Most buildings will run a credit check. Strong credit always helps!

Given the general requirements as a new college graduate, what are the options?

  1. Use a Guarantor- Many college graduates do not earn enough to meet income requirements, and defer to a guarantor on the lease. This is usually a parent of guardian who has earning power to meet these requirements.

  2. Savings- Often times, if the income is close to the threshold, but the individual has strong credit history and a substantial savings or cash-equivalent account, the individual will be accepted

  3. Roommates – While many want to say goodbye to roommates after their college days, NYC is a place where even those in there 40s have roommates sometimes. Plain and simple, it significantly reduces monthly housing expenses.

  4. Prioritize – Decide what is important. Would you rather have a nice apartment or live in a better neighborhood than leaving an ample nightly happy hour and weekend going out budget?

  5. Use a Broker – In a market like New York, a broker will be your best asset. They have knowledge of what buildings are willing to negotiate, and can also help find buildings that are giving out incentives such as free months of rent.

We asked team member Jamie Lee who has helped many young adults transition into the city about what she recommends in the process:

“You have to be educated on the different neighborhoods of New York City.  I tell my clients to walk the streets of different areas, spend a weekend day there, and get lunch or dinner to really feel out different neighborhoods and see if they can see themselves living there. “

The Alternative

One alternative option, which is growing in popularity, is savvy parents who purchase an apartment as investment, and charge their children “rent.” Sound crazy?....it is not! In this scenario the parents can get the tax benefits of a mortgage while owning an asset that is likely to trend up in value over the long run. Additionally, the child is paying towards actual ownership in the asset, equity, rather than paying true rent to a landlord that is solely capitalizing off of them.

Of course, buying is a big decision, but one that we are here to walk you through. When it comes to Millennials, Jamie knows that indecisiveness can be very common. Sometimes, she tells them to rent first for a year and feel out an area before taking the plunge, or she makes sure they buy something that can easily be rented out or resold if they decide to move after living there 3 yearsGiven how challenging it can be for millennials to pay rent, imagine how hard it is for them to save for home ownership. In fact, owning a home is one of the biggest challenges Millennials face, as crippling debt and rising rent costs eat away at disposable income. We have a list of 10 creativeways to save for a down payment.

It is important for Millennials not to get discovered, and remember that there are options. Team member Kimberlee Knecht has helped many clients in the early 30s age bracket purchase their first property, and that first property is in New York City.

She points out that

“Condos are more scarce than co-ops from a market composition overall and are also more lenient, and because of this, condos can be 10-15% pricier than comparable co-ops.”

Thus, co-ops can be a great option for a first-time buyer in the city, looking to own that first piece of New York.

Of course, this is just the beginning, and The Victoria Shtainer Team has a wealth of resources and insights that can help breakdown the process, whether renting or buying. Consult our resource library, or contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss your unique apartment needs.

Your Memorial Day Weekend Guide

Memorial Day Weekend 2017

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, and we are going to be kicking off the unofficial start to the summer season. Whether you stay in the city or spend your summers out east, The Victoria Shtainer Team has curated a list of a few of our favorite happenings in NYC and the Hamptons. From art festivals to the must-try new restaurants in The Hamptons, this list will keep you busy during the long weekend.  

While we cannot wait to kick off the summer season, we also must take a moment to pause and remember the meaning of the Memorial Day Holiday. We would like to thank all of those that serve in the US Armed Forces and continue to protect our country every day. Salute our troops and celebrate the start to summer!

 

New York

 Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit:

The bi-annual art fair is returning to the streets of Greenwich village. Browse artwork on display by original artists from New York, the nation, and globally. The fair includes paintings, sculpture, and eco-friendly art and unique pieces that are available for purchase at substantially less than gallery prices.

The exhibit is free admission and will be running May 27-39 as well as June 3-4, 12pm-6pm. University Place beginning at East 13th down the east side of Washington Square Park to West 3rd Street.

 Brooklyn’s King County Memorial Day Parade:

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There are quite a few different Memorial Day parades throughout the city, however, the Kings County Memorial Day Parade in Bay Ridge is the most iconic. 2017 marks the 150th year of the parade. Following the ceremony there will be a 21-gun salute by the U.S. Army at Fort Hamilton. The NYPD and FDNY participate in the march, and antique fire trucks and autos are on display. 

The parade kicks off at 11am on Monday, May 30th at 78th St and Third Avenue in Bay Ridge. Take the R train to 77th St Bay Ridge Avenue or 86th St.

Arlo Hotel Weekend BBQ:

A post shared by Arlo Hotels (@arlohotels) on

A great option if you are staying in the city for the weekend. Head to Arlo SoHo for one of the best open bar BBQ parties around town. The rooftop event will have traditional MDW fare such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and tacos complimented by panoramic city views. A DJ and entertainment will round out the event.

Saturday May 27th, 2-5pm. Tickets purchased in advance for $65. 231 Hudson Street

 Lower East Side Festival of the Arts:

 The Lower East Side is known to be a culturally diverse and vibrant neighborhood of the city, making it a great setting to celebrate performing art. Over 100 performers from poets, puppeteers, and filmmakers will take over the Theater for the New City for the long weekend. Saturday’s event also features a streetfair with food and art vendors.

Free Admission. May 26-28 with Saturday’s festivities held outdoos

 Rooftop Cocktails at 1 Hotel:

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Enjoy the long weekend with a relaxing cocktail while taking in wonderful views of the Manhattan skyline. The chic 1 Hotel at Brooklyn Bridge rooftop offers a great vantage point to view the city. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails, a plunge pool, or fire pits on a chilly evening.

60 Furman Street, Brooklyn

The Hamptons

 Montauk Show on the Green:

The 9th Annual Memorial Day Weekend on the Montauk Green is coming to Montauk Village Green. Artisans from throughout New York and the country will be showcasing original creations including paintings, sculpture, jewelry, photography, and ceramics. Admission to the show is free and it will be running Friday 12-6pm and Saturday and Sunday 10-6pm.

Free Admission. 742 Montauk Highway, Montauk

Wolffer Estate Vineyards:

Wolffer Estates Rose

The annual summer events return to the Sagaponack vineyard starting the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.  You will not want to miss summer 2017's first installment of Sunset Fridays and Saturdays at the wine stand with music by Clinton Curtis Friday evening and Mamalee Rose Saturday evening. Enjoy wine by the glass or bottle as well as cheese and charcuterie plates. 

Yoga in the vines will be returning to Wolffer beginning Thursday, May 25th. Some of the Hamptons' best yoga instructors will be conducting classes right in the vineyard. Drop in classes are $25 with packages available for purchase as well.

139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack

Le Bilboquet Sag Harbor:

The popular French eatery on East 60th Street in Manhattan is heading out East. The restaurant, of which Ronald Perelman is a partner, is taking over a prime spot on the docks in Sag Harbor. If the crowd at the Manhattan location is any indication, we expect this is going to be a popular spot! The restaurant is slated to have a crudo bar and feature its signature Cajun chicken dish.

1 Long Wharf, Sag Harbor

Eleven Madison Park Summer House:

The former Moby’s space in East Hampton will be transformed into the renowned 11 Madison Park pop-up for the summer. The restaurant is closing its Manhattan location for the summer to renovate and moving operations out East.

The opening has been the talk of the town as the 3-star Michelin restaurant is making reservations exclusively for American Express cardmembers. The East Hampton location is expected to be more casual than its city counterpart and feature an a la carte menu, indoor dining room, tented area, and picnic tables and games in the backyard. Note: the tent and backyard will be on walk-in basis only.

341 Pantigo Road, East Hampton

Calissa:

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A taste of Mykonos is coming to Water Mill starting Memorial Day weekend. The team of Il Cantinori in partnership with executive chef Dominic Rice (formerly at Narcissa and Jean-George) will be leading Calissa. Rice will be using Long Island seafood to serve up dishes salt-baked striped bass and lobster bucatini.

1020 Montauk Highway, Water Mill

 

Why Amenities Matter

You’ve read about the private wine-tasting rooms, concierge, and underground squash courts that some luxury buildings have, possibly thinking “why would buyers care about this?”. The fact is, amenities have become a distinguishing and differentiating feature of some of the best buildings, and they are highly sought after by luxury buyers.

In metropolitan areas such as New York, were space comes at a premium and overcrowding can be the norm, amenities offers residence another way to “escape” from a hectic city lifestyle. Amenity spaces act as an extension of the home, providing additional space for residents to utilize. Suddenly that 1,200 square foot apartment becomes larger with a residents’ lounge, gym, or screening room in an amenity space.

30 Park Place private lap pool

30 Park Place private lap pool

 

Amenities not only provide additional space for residents, but they act as an adaption to the modern way of living overall. In a world of connectivity where a work e-mail or text is expected to be answered at any hour, amenities add convenience to a resident’s life. Dry cleaning is only a step away in the lobby, the gym is a 2-minute elevator ride instead of a 20-minute subway ride, and a large dinner party can be hosted right in the comfort of the building. Amenities can offer back one of the last luxuries we all have, time.

The Rise of Amenities

Amenity packages have long been an aspect of many luxury buildings. From 24-hour doormen to concierge and in-building gyms, these are the things that attracted luxury buyers.

Just as tastes and design preferences have evolved, so too, have amenity offerings. During the construction boom after the market collapse of 2008, amenities became a weapon in the toolkit of developers building ultra-luxury skyscrapers.

When every building has the best kitchen appliances, the highest quality finishes, and great views, how do they compete for the same luxury clientele and win? Amenities. We have seen some over-the-top amenities arrive to new development in New York City such as in-room dining from Wolfgang Puck, dog spa services, a private iMax theater, and restaurants for residents and their guests only.

Today’s luxury clientele is ever more discerning, and amenities in luxury real estate markets around the world have adapted to meet those evolving tastes.

Desirable Amenities

255 East 74th Street

Fitness is very important to many New Yorkers, and some buildings offer fitness centers that take it step above your standard gym. One of the leading luxury fitness facilities in New York, Equinox, calls some luxury buildings around town, with the Casa 74 Condominium being one of them.

The Victoria Shtainer Team currently has an exclusive listing in the building- Apartment 24B. When you call Apartment 24B home, a full service Equinox is only a short elevator ride away as it is located in the building.

Equinox has been regarded has a value addition to properties and neighborhoods, sometimes being cited as a catalyst for further neighborhood development and advancement. 196 Orchard Street, a new development on the Lower East Side, will also have an Equinox located inside. Many believe this will be highly transformative for the neighborhood.

One Manhattan Square

One Manhattan Square, a building we identified as changing the Lower East Side, is a great example of developers alluring buyers with not only competitive prices, but also extensive amenities. This building has one of the largest amenities offering we have seen, with total amenity space slated to exceed 100,000 square feet!

The building’s amenities are expected to be so extensive that many people are dubbing One Manhattan Square the “Verticle Village” as residents have everything they could want right on the property. Amenities are slated to include social courtyard, outdoor fire pits, an outdoor kitchen, multi-level fitness center, bowling alley, and screening room.

One Lincoln Plaza

One Lincoln Plaza at 20 West 64th Street offers a great amenity package in addition to its wonderful location. In fact, the building offers an amenity that can still be considered a rarity in New York City, a pool.

Not only does One Lincoln Plaza have a pool, it is located on the roof! This offers a unique experience in New York City where you can enjoy a pool while also taking in skyline views. In addition to the pool, the building has a fitness center, and two outdoor terrace spaces, one with direct Central Park and 57th Street skyline views.

The Victoria Shtainer Team currently has an exclusive listing in the building, apartment 18RS, giving prospects a unique opportunity to live in this coveted building at Lincoln Center. Not to mention, it also has Central Park views from the kitchen and dining rooms!

Guide to Mother's Day in New York City

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14th. Whether you plan to spend the day with Mom, or you plan to send a gift because she is not in town, we have you covered with ideas for ways to make Mom feel special. From Brunch to spas, check out our guide to Mother's Day in New York City. 

Aire Ancient Baths

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Situated in Tribeca among the neighborhood furniture stores, restaurants, and warehouses is the first American outpost of Aire Ancient Baths. The luxurious water spa has been widely popular since opening its doors on Franklin street as a destination to relax and detox.

Aire started in Seville, Spain in 2004 in a 16th century palace that had original Roman baths beneath it. The first location was followed by ones in Barcelona and Almeria.

The spa, located below ground in a cavern only lit by candles, combines soaking traditions from the Greek, Roman, Ottoman, and Arab empires. Guests move between 4 pools ranging from 102 degrees to 46 degrees. There is also salt water as well as a jet tub. The space is done completely in stone imported from the South of Spain and only accommodates 20 people at a time.

Prices start at $75 for 2 hours of lounging- Aire Ancient Baths

New York Botanical Garden Garden Party

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Enjoy the beautiful spring blooms at the weekend-long garden party at the New York Botanical Garden. Stroll through the newly opened Lilac collection and enjoy live music and dancers on the garden’s main stage. There are a bunch activities planned throughout the whole day, making it a great family event. Activities include putting on the green, croquet, and guided walking tours throughout the gardens. Brunch, by reservation, will be served picnic-style.

Brunch at While We Were Young

 This new West Village restaurant and bar has been called the “ultimate ladies’ night out” spot because of its beautiful interior. The space is a bit more girly than your typical West Village restaurant, so it will be perfect for mom.

From the bar covered in petals to the rose colored banquet and chevron marble floor, the setting is sure to be beautiful for a Mother’s Day brunch. The cocktail creations are equally as beautiful, and we are confident the Kale Margarita will make for a great Instagram picture!

The space is quite small, and does not take reservations so we recommend getting there early! Looking for more Brunch recommendations? Don't forget to check out our list of The Best Places for Your Weekend Brunch.

Oysters and Champagne at Grand Banks

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 On Pier 25, situated on the historic schooner, Sherman Zwicker, Grand Banks offers a setting that feels as if you are transported away from the city. The setting gives guests panoramic views of the Hudson River, New York Skyline, and Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan.

The floating vessel is the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of champagne and a dozen (or two!) of oysters while taking in the New York skyline and the Hudson River. Additional menu items such a freshly crafted cocktails and lobsters. Grand Banks will also serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am- 2pm with menu items including French toast and Avocado toast and poached eggs.

If you can't spend the day with Mom, consider these gift ideas that she is sure to love!

Gifts:

Flowers: Beautiful flowers are always a great-go to gift to remind Mom you lover her. Favorites include peonies, orchids, and Lilacs. Check out Blanchet Flowers in Chelsea. .They are known for their orchids, including rare varieties. They incorporate them into all of their bouquets! Ordering is available online.

Fragrance: Gift Mom her favorite fragrance this Mother's Day. While scent preference varies, a favorite among many is Chanel No. 5. Available at Bergdorf Goodman

Salon: Treat Mom to an appointment at the salon so she can relax and look her best. We recommend a gift certificate to The Dry Bar. She will love getting a blowout while sipping champagne before a night out!

Massage: Another great gift selection is a massage so Mom can have some "me" time. Consider using Zeel, an on-demand massage service that will come directly to her home! Booking are available through their app.

 

The Best Wedding Gift You Can Give

gifting a down payment

Wedding Season is here!

Whether you are about to tie the knot and are looking to setup your registry, or you are attending a wedding in the coming months, consider why saving for a down payment at this major life milestone could be one of the best decisions to make or why helping someone attain this goal is is the best gift to give. 

Forget the Tiffany china and Frette linens as cash is king! Giving yourself the gift of a home is the best gift you can give yourself, so kindly ask for cash in lieu of a registry and let all your guests know you are working towards owning your dream home. 

Attending a wedding soon? While cash me not be your idea of a great gift, consider how much it could help a young couple looking to purchase their first home.

Gifting a Down Payment

A wedding is a great time to gift money towards a down payment. We previously wrote about 10 Ways to Save for a Down Payment, and it is no surprise that gifting was one of the ways to work towards this goal. 

Often times, first-time homebuyers think that a gift cannot be used to make a down payment on a home as it will not qualify them for a mortgage. While it is important to note you must be qualified under normal mortgage lending guidelines to receive a loan, it is also important to stress that, yes, you can use a gift to make a down payment on a home. If you have questions about mortgage approval and how it may relate to a gift, this is a great time to connect with us as we can refer to a qualified Mortgage Broker to discuss specifics as each lender has its own Best Practices. 

You may be thinking that cash sounds like a boring gift or that you do not like to give cash, however, cash is the most valuable gift when it comes to working towards owning a home. It can feel awkward asking people for money, but a wedding is a great opportunity. 

Let attendees know how important owning a home to you is, and that you are diligently working towards it so cash for a down payment is high on your wish list! In fact, the cash for a down payment may more than pay for itself in the long run.

Owning a Home is a Vehicle to Wealth

Owning a home is regarded as one of the biggest contributing factors to accumulating wealth. In fact, a self-made millionaire told CNBC that not owning a home is the single biggest Millennial mistake. Those that own homes are wealthier by a large margin than those who do not own a home. 

Many people, especially Millennials, find themselves in a situation where they are struggling to pay high rent prices in many urban and metropolitan areas which leaves them for little discretionary income to spend, and, more importantly to save. Crippling student debt and credit card loans leave many with no option but to continue to rent. This does not mean, however, that some of these individuals would not be able to qualify for a mortgage. They simply are unable to save money for a down payment given wages vs debt obligations. 

This is where taking the opportunity to receive gifts as cash be can a wise decision as it can boost a "down payment fund" to the next level. Instead of paying rent each month towards something that is not owned, home owners making mortgage payments are paying towards something that will be theirs, something that will increase in value, and thus increase their wealth.