Contact Us at 917-860-2782 or vshtainer@compass.com

What is BRRR? Everything you Need to Know

BRRR Real Estate Investing

We recently wrote about the most common questions we get surrounding real estate transactions. Along those lines, many clients ask us about investing in real estate as way to create a portfolio that generates passive income. There is one strategy that is particularly popular among real estate investors known as “Buy, Rent, Refinance, Repeat”, or BRRR. Owning a home is one of the biggest escalators to wealth and the BRRR strategy is a way to invest in real estate and increase the scope of an overall investment portfolio.

Why has this become such a popular strategy?

This strategy has become very popular, especially in the low rate environment we have seen. Lower rates translate to a lower monthly mortgage payment. Given that rents remain the same or increase year over year, a lower monthly mortgage payment means the owner if profiting more the tenant’s rent than with a mortgage with higher monthly payments.

The BRRR strategy is based on leverage, and thus not suitable for all. It is important to access your risk profile and determine your ability to take on additional debt in the form of mortgages is sustainable and wise. Because a mortgage is viewed as “good debt”, there can be tax benefits in having on. It is important to speak with a qualified tax adviser as to what you may be able to deduct in mortgage interest and how your property will be viewed by the IRS – investment or vacation properties can fall into different categories. We discuss that in more detail here.

What is this strategy based upon?

The premise of this strategy is to purchase a property (ideally at a discount to fair value to capture more equity), finance it, and find a tenant to secure cashflow on this property. Once a tenant is in place and the property is producing positive cashflow, the owner refinances the property which essentially takes the payment back out. Refinancing allows the owner to then roll these funds to facilitate the purchase of another property. The cycle continues from here.

By getting a mortgage at historically low rates, rental profits increase as your tenants' rent covers the cost of a (lower) mortgage payment, and you, as the owner, keep the difference. Income + price appreciation overtime can lead to nice profits.

What Implications Should I Be Aware Of?

It is important to understand that what works for one buyer or investor may not be ideal for you and your personal situation. It is easy to fall in the typical investment trap of “my neighbor told me that X is a good area to buy in so I bought there as well.” Arm yourself with a qualified team from a tax adviser to a real estate broker to you can ensure you are getting the best advice and insights in each area of the process.

Additionally, when it comes to financing and the products available, there are many options. Getting a mortgage product that is suitable for you is an important aspect of this strategy. Most investors hone in on a 15 or 30-year option, but explore all the products your lender of choice offers. Tradeoffs exist with both options such as speed of building equity, interest paid on life of loan, and interest rates. Your broker and knowledgeable Mortgage Broker will be able to help decide what option may be best for you and you real estate investment goals.

It is also important to recognize that there may be times where the rental market, and thus your ability to rent the property, may be challenging. Ensure that you can continue to hold the property in the face of it sitting empty until you can find a new tenant.

Interested in hearing professional stories on this strategy? Victoria was included in an insightful article published by The Real Deal where many top brokers talk about their successful real estate investment. Read the full article here: Brokers Place Their Bet .

5 Common Questions About Investing in a Home

5 Things to Know When Investing in a Home

Buying a home is one of the largest decisions and financial transactions in many people’s lives. Because of the scale of this transaction, stress and anxiety level can go through the roof with the question – Is this the right decision for me? Is this the home I should be investing in?

Whether a first-time home buyer, or a seasoned real estate investor adding to your portfolio, questions arise during every transaction. In our experience working with buyers, sellers, renters, and investors across all experience ranges, here is a list of the most common questions we get asked when it comes to investing in a home. 

Was housing crisis during the financial crisis just a black swan event to be put behind us, or did it show that homes are not the safe and profitable holdings?

Not all those that purchased homes during the crisis of ‘08 were negatively impacted, however, the ripple effect did bring down the overall market. Those that were hit hardest were buyers that stepped up to buy properties they could not afford, largely amplified by mortgage lenders who had much more relaxed lending guidelines and approved individuals for mortgages they could not truly afford. The latter was largely responsible for the subprime mortgage crisis during this time period.

The crisis revealed the dangers of over leveraging. While a mortgage can be a great thing, taking on too much debt can lead to many issues, especially in a home purchase. A large majority of those severely wiped out by the housing crisis mortgaged the purchase of the home with minimal equity down, thus they had no skin in the game so to speak and we were willing to just walk away from their payments as a result. This is why so many homes went into foreclosure.

Any market, financial or otherwise, is subject to a crisis, however, the housing crisis has resulted in more restrictions imposed on lenders, and is certainly more prevalent in the back of buyers’ minds as they asses what they can afford.

Now that home values have recovered, what's the smartest home owning strategy going forward? Is it safe to assume a home will steadily appreciate?

Plain and simple – buy what you can afford! Consult with a mortgage advisor to receive a pre-approval letter if you are financing your home purchase. The pre-approval letter will reveal in what price range you should be shopping.

Time horizon is certainly a contributing factor to price appreciation. Because of the additional costs of a real estate transaction, a timeline of at least 5 years is usually a standard outlook to outweigh the costs of buying versus renting. This, of course, varies from market to market, and even neighborhood to neighborhood. If you envision yourself staying put for quite a while, we tend to see real estate prices appreciate over a long time horizon.

Is it safe to assume the home will be a substantial asset for funding retirement through a downsizing or reverse mortgage?

Owning a home is credited as one of the largest contributions or “escalator” to wealth. With that being said, substantial price appreciation can be observed on homes owned for multiple decades. Upon retirement, some individuals do not need the large family home they used to raise their families, and downsize. Downsizing generally results in additional gains pocketed from the price appreciation of the original home versus the price paid for the new, smaller home. Again, this is very market dependent as a smaller home in a different market may not equate to a smaller price tag all the time.

As to whether the additional “income” from a home sale can fund retirement, that is something the client should consult their certified financial advisor in regards to as everyone’s financial situation and needs in retirement vary.

As a young investor, what do I have to do to ensure I will be able to successfully purchase a home?

For many young couples looking to purchase their first home, the largest obstacle in achieving that is coming up with the down payment. There has been a definite shift towards this being a large struggle over the last decade as more and more young couples are burdened with large amounts of student debt given the increased costs of education. They are then forced to rent, which can be costly, and have minimal bandwidth to save for a down payment with all their various financial obligations.

A minimum 5-year timeline is reasonable in most markets in order to cover the costs of the transaction on both the buy side and the sell side if moving down the road versus price appreciation over that timeframe. Of course, the longer one stays in the home, the more the transaction costs are spread out over time which is coupled with additional time opportunity for price appreciation.

It does not necessarily always make sense to reach for the most expensive home. If buying the most expensive home they can afford means tapping out their budget and being on the line with meeting monthly expenses, this is probably not the wisest decision. Instead, buyers should look to purchase something in their price range that they love yet still allows them to live their daily lives while meeting financial obligations.

What kinds of misconceptions and fears are you seeing in the market among all your clients?

Working with buyers in the current NYC market, we would identify a lack of urgency as the biggest commonality across different price points. Buyers have an advantage over sellers in the current market as well as a large selection of inventory including both resale and new construction. This can lead buyers to stretch out a search as they feel what they are looking for will “still” be there.

In regards to young people taking on debt – as referenced in some responses above, we think the young buyer’s mentality towards debt has definitely changed living through the financial crisis as well as coupled with the increasing amount of student debt. As a result, some can be apprehensive to take on additional debt with a mortgage. However, talking through some of the advantages of mortgages, such as tax benefits, as well as reviewing the myriad of products available with a mortgage broker can alleviate some of these upfront concerns. We are seeing younger people having to rent longer than their predecessors given the inability to save for a down payment rather than aversion to taking on debt in the form of a mortgage.

 

42nd Year of The Hampton Classic Coming This Sunday

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End your summer on a high note with the 42nd Hampton Classic Horseshow returning to Bridgehampton this Sunday. The Hampton Classic is one of the "it" events on the Hamptons circuit. The show, well into its third decade, is well respected from locals and equestrian-lovers alike. This year's show will be help from August 27 - September 3.

The Classic is often regarded as one of the most prestigious outdoor equestrian events held in the country. This year's show marks the 42nd edition of the Classic. The show features competition from every level, from young children in leadline classes to Olympic, World, and World Cup Champions.

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The Classic became highly distinguished in 2009 when it became only the second horse show ever to receive the designation of Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation. Only those competitions that have been around for 25 or more years are eligible to receive this designation.

While the competition in the show can certainly be stiff as some of the best in the world come to compete, there is fun to be had on the grounds as well. The 60-acre Hampton Classic show grounds is also a destination for dining and shopping as the event is known for its celebrity sightings and high-end boutiques that host pop-up shops on the lawn. This year’s Boutique Garden is expected to have more than 80 vendors.

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Also returning for the second year will be "Jump for Charity" where 10 rider captains will be paired with 10 selected charities. Custom hats have been generated for each charity. If all hats sell, $30,000 will be raised which will be allocated to the top three charities in terms of performance of their captains!

Opening Day, August 27th, will feature competition in six rings beginning at 8am. The highlight of the day will be the $30,000 Boar’s Head Jumper Challenge in the famed arena. This will be an arena of 1.40 meter jumps against the clock.

If you are in the East End this weekend, attending the Hampton Classic is a must! Limited tables for purchase were available under the tent at last check. Additionally, General Admission is $10/person with children under 6 free.

Victoria Shtainer Hampton Classic

Summer at the Seaport District

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In the heart of Downtown Manhattan, the Seaport District has been undergoing a large revitalization and transformation. We previously wrote about all the exciting things happening in the Seaport. This summer, however, the heat has been kicked up another notch at the waterside neighborhood with the “Summer at the Seaport” sponsored by Chase Sapphire.

Have you explored any seasonal spots this summer in the city? With many looking to get in a last vacation day or Summer Friday before Labor, the Seaport is the perfect spot to enjoy a summer afternoon or evening downtown. For Summer 2017, the Seaport is serving as a destination for highly curated culinary, music, retail, and cultural experiences.

There may only be a few weeks of summer left, but there is still a lot happening at the Seaport District to checkout.

Not convinced? Check out this wonderful video from our friends at South Street Seaport:

The Garden Bar

Perhaps the main focal point of the Summer at the Seaport installation is the Garden Bar sponsored by Chase Sapphire with special VIP access for card members. The bar is situated in the middle of the iconic cobblestone streets of the neighborhood, stretching 78 feet long and draped with greenery and palms. The setting feels like a garden oasis in the middle of the bustling city. The Garden Bar will be serving up selection of rare beers, rosé, and cocktails.

Additionally, The Garden Bar is located directly adjacent to a lush stage where live performances have been happening all summer long. Outdoor drink + live music…what is better? The lineup for the rest of the summer is as follows:

Thursday August 10th at 6pm: Breanna Barbara

Saturday August 12th at 6pm: Gedeon Luke and the People

Thursday August 17 at 6pm: Southern Avenue

Saturday August 19 at 6pm: Behold the Brave

Thursday August 24th at 6pm: Annie Hart

Saturday August 26th at 6pm: Showtime Goma

Thursday August 31st at 6pm: Calvin Love

Thursday September 7th at 6pm: The Alpaca Gnomes

The Chase Sapphire Lounge is reserved exclusively for Chase Sapphire members and offers a special menu of beverages and food.

Food Lab

Speaking of Chase Sapphire, members will also be able to get exclusive access to tickets at the Food Lab which has been hosting some of the most renowned chefs all season long. Each cehf will take up a 2-week residency at the Seaport, offering guests a taste of their signature culinary dishes. With guest chef’s coming in through early fall, you are sure to catch a unique experience before the summer ends.

Alon Shaya is currently in the Seaport until August 12 with Jessica Koslow, of Sqirl fame in Los Angeles, arriving on August 20th.  A partnership with Sixpoint Brewery has allowed each guest chef to create a custom beer for their time in residency. The remaining schedule for The Food Lab is as follows:

Jessica Koslow – August 20th – September 2nd

Dale Talde – September 20 – 23rd

Wylie Dufresne – September 29th – October 11th

 

Other Attractions

The Seaport is home to other attractions to enjoy a summer day or evening. Check out these popular spots to grab a cold drink or a good bite:

  • Clinton Hall: The popular pub has opened a location right on the heart of the Seaport. Clinton Hall is known for its 20 rotating draft beers alongside 20 burgers. There are also table games
  • Front Row Food Trucks: Various food trucks are rotating into front street, parking in a Smorgasburg-style street food display.
  • Mr Cannon: There is not much description provided on this new Speakeasy, aside from its inspiration. The address is not published on the website, but rumor has it it is located at 206 Front Street.

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.