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5 Reasons to Buy an Apartment in Manhattan Right Now

 

Buying a home in Manhattan just got a lot easier, thanks to a record turnaround in the market not seen in nearly a decade. In fact, recent market activity indicates that 2019 has become the year of the buyer. You may want to hold off your apartment search in the outer boroughs and find your steal of a deal right here in the heart of the city.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider buying an apartment in Manhattan right now:

  1. More Available Units

While sellers have had the edge in negotiations for years, recent data suggests that transactions have been slowing down. According to the 4Q 2018  Miller Samuel Marketing Reports, Manhattan experienced a 6% decrease in median sales price year over year, with a 12% increase in inventory. And this past quarter 1Q 2019 marked the 6th consecutive quarter of year-over-year sales decline, the longest streak since 2008-2009.

There are many factors that may have influenced this drop in sales, including affordability concerns, the disconnect of the housing market from the robust overall economy, and the new tax law. Regardless of the reason, the fact remains that Manhattan has a surplus of units available, giving buyers the most favorable market in a decade.

  1. Dip In Prices

As one might expect, the result of an increase in available units throughout Manhattan has lead to a decrease in average payments made by buyers. According to the Q4 2018 Miller Samuel report, average sale prices for units dropped 3.6% year over year, going roughly from $2,000,000 to $1,900,000.

  1. Strong Local Economy

While high inventory and low prices would suggest a softening economy, this is not the case. As cited in the New York Quarterly Economic Update, Q4 saw an increase in economic growth throughout the entire city. Average hourly earnings are up with solid job growth across most industries. This should be encouraging to those looking to buy or rent in Manhattan, as solid financial footing makes it easier to commit should the time come.

  1. Low Interest Rates 

Mortgage rates are already historically low. But with the Federal Reserve’s recent announcement that interest rates will not rise through the entirety of 2019, we can expect mortgage rates to dip further. According to Fortune (March 21, 2019), the 52-week low drop rate in average mortgage rate fixed for 30 years is 4.34%, making this the best time in years to be a buyer. 

  1. Global Economic Uncertainty

According to Bloomberg, the Global Uncertainty Index, a measure of unpredictability in 20 countries (including US, China and Eurozone), reached a record high in December 2018. This has led to fewer transactions by foreign investors in New York City – particularly those from China, the UK and many South American countries where economies are collapsing.

In fact, China’s recent crackdown on money leaving the country has had a significant impact on NYC realty, as China had been a key foreign investor in Manhattan for years. This translates into more opportunity here at home.

Manhattan remains one of the most dynamic residential markets in the world. By all indications, now is the time to buy.

For more information on buying an apartment in NYC, or any real estate questions you may have, contact Batra Group at (646) 202-1877.

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4 Ways Homeowners Can Reduce Indoor Allergens

 

With spring allergies on the way, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep the scratchy, sneaky, watery-eyed culprits at bay. By following these tips recommended by the Mayo Clinic, you’ll be well on your way to an allergen-free home:

 

  1. Switch to Hardwood Floors

Since carpets trap dust, hair, and other irritating particles, it’s best to switch to hardwood or linoleum floors. If you can’t remove your carpets, try switching to low-pile carpeting and clean them as frequently as you can with a vacuum.

  1. Change Out Upholstered Furniture

Like your carpets, your furnishings can easily collect allergens. If you have any upholstered couches or chairs, consider replacing them with leather pieces, as they’re much easier to clean.

  1. Clean Your Air Filters

If your air filters aren’t properly taken care of, they’ll be circulating dirty air throughout your home. To prevent this from happening, clean your filters regularly. Also make sure that there isn’t anything blocking your filters so that they can be working as efficiently as possible.

  1. Stick to a Weekly Cleaning Routine

Arguably the best way to remove allergens in your home is to have an effective weekly cleaning routine. What needs to be done will vary from home to home, but some of the staple recommendations would be to wash any curtains, vacuum the floors, and dust any appliances. By sticking to this routine, you’ll have a better chance of removing most of the culprit particles in your home.

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6 Expert Tips to Land Your Dream Rental Apartment In NYC

 

If you’re like most NYC apartment seekers, you’ve likely already started your search online, only to discover how quickly the market changes from day to day. In fact, New York City is among the most competitive places in the world to land an apartment, with the most enticing listings getting applications within hours of being posted. This is particularly true during peak summer months. But have no fear. By taking the following steps, you’ll be well on your way to beating out the competition and landing your dream rental apartment in New York City.

 

  1. Do Your Research

Before you start your search, it is essential that you know the lay of the land. Take the time to learn about each neighborhood and all the various apartment types. Do you want to live in a doorman building? Perhaps one with a fitness center and bike storage? This process will take some time and care, as there are multiple factors to consider, most importantly your budget. It is also important to keep an open mind throughout your research, as you might be surprised by what you find. By doing this upfront, you will have a better sense of the market, allowing your dream apartment to come into better focus.  

 

  1. Know What You Want

After doing your research on what is available, the next step is to determine which of the features you looked at are necessary to your life in the city. While it is certainly possible to find an apartment that has everything you want and is within your budget, it more likely that you’ll have to prioritize your needs and go with an apartment that most closely matches them. Therefore, you will need to distinguish your must-haves from the features you would be willing to compromise on. These vary from person to person, but it is important to figure this out in the beginning, as you’ll be better able to spot a perfect listing when you see it.

 

  1. Align With an Experienced Agent

Once you have narrowed your search, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced real estate agent. While it is possible to avoid this step in the hopes of saving on broker fees, it is usually more trouble than it’s worth. “No fee” apartments typically have a higher monthly rent to compensate for having no fee. That said, there are several key advantages to using an agent. First, the agent will better understand the market, giving you expert insight into what you should pay attention to throughout your search. Additionally, the agent will have access to all available listings, not just what is advertised, thus increasing your odds of finding a place you love.

 

  1. Make a Good First Impression

While this advice may seem cliche, it remains extremely relevant when looking to secure an apartment. Acting in a professional manner can help you stand out, especially if you are in a position to meet the landlord upfront. At the very least, it ensures you will not be taken out of the running. From a strong handshake to dressing professionally to responding in a timely manner, a good first impression goes a long way.

 

  1. Have Your Documents Lined Up

Your  rental application will include multiple documents, including your past rental history, your credit history, proof of income, and more. These documents will likely be combined with a traditional rental application, as seen here. By having these documents prepared, along with your checkbook in hand, you will be ready to apply on the spot when the opportunity presents itself.

 

  1. Be Ready To Commit

This, above all else, might be the most important measure to consider. When looking to rent in New York City, the best thing you can do is be ready to commit to an apartment on the spot. If you decide to wait, even for one day, your listing might be gone. This is especially true during peak summer months. While it is important to make sure that the listed apartment is the one you want, it is in your best interest to act quickly.

 

By following these steps, you’ll be well positioned to land your dream rental home in New York City.

Ready to start your search? Call Batra Group today at (646) 202-1877.

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5 Ways To Make Moving Easier For Your Kids

 

Moving to a new home is a life-changing event typically accompanied by strong emotions. For all the excitement and optimism, there can also be a fair amount of anxiety. This is because two things are taking place simultaneously. You are saying goodbye to the familiar and hello to the unknown. This transition can be particularly challenging for kids, who often need extra support to cope with the change. Here are 5 ways to make your move easier on the kids and unite the family in optimism:

 

  1. Take Them on a Tour

For some kids, the anticipation of what their new home will look and feel like can be stressful, especially if it’s in a far away place. All sorts of questions can pop up in their minds – from the size of their new bedroom to whether they’ll make friends in the neighborhood – which can keep them fearful of leaving their old home behind. To help reassure them, take them to your new home before you officially move in. By walking them through the rooms and driving around the neighborhood, you will be familiarizing them with what their new life will be like, showing them that everything will be just fine. If you are unable to do so for any reason, try sitting down with them and showing them pictures or taking them on a Google street view tour.

 

  1. Allow Them To Express Themselves

Coping with change requires accepting a new reality and reframing it in a positive light. Of course, most kids don’t have such coping mechanisms in place just yet. They will typically need to work through some difficult emotions first. As your children try to come to terms with leaving their friends, school, and extracurriculars behind, along with the place they’ve called home for years, they can react in a variety of ways. As parents, it’s important to understand that this can be difficult and allow them to express their feelings in a healthy and constructive way. Afterward, you can help them reframe the move by celebrating the positives.

 

  1. Make Sure They’re Involved

Kids typically have little say in the decision to move, which can leave them feeling powerless. You can mitigate this by making sure your child is actively involved throughout the moving process, even if they are just responsible for making small decisions. Whether it’s choosing the color of the walls in their room, packing their clothes a certain way, or giving their input on what they would like to have in the new place, involving your children in the decision making process will make them feel better about the move.

 

  1. Create A Travel Pack

One of the best ways to provide a sense of comfort for your kids is to create a travel pack together with all of their favorite things – including toys, games, stuffed animals or other items they can keep in a backpack for the trip. Not only will this give them a sense of control, but they will also have their feel-good belongings close at hand.

 

  1. Throw a Goodbye Party

A simple party to acknowledge friends and memories is a great way to create a sense of closure. You may also wish to take a final goodbye tour of the neighborhood and all the places that have been a part of their world for years. While this activity is likely to bring up feelings of nostalgia and a bit of sadness, it is an important part of the process of moving on. You can then look ahead to all the possibilities and new memories you will be creating in the years ahead.

 

While there’s no surefire way to avoid moving anxiety, getting your kids involved early and often is your best bet for a smooth transition that benefits the entire family.

For information on moving in NYC or any real estate questions you may have, contact Batra Group at (646) 202-1877.

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3 Essential Staging Design Tips for Your Open House

 

There’s no place like home, and surely you’ve put much time and effort into making yours as lovely as can be! That said, when you’re ready to move out, you’ll want to give potential buyers the chance to envision it as their own. This likely means making some changes. Here are 3 Essential Staging Design Tips to help you create the perfect environment for your showings and open houses:

 

  1. Cleanliness

 

There’s nothing that turns off a buyer more than an untidy presentation. Before you even think about hosting an open house, make sure your floors are clean, your countertops are polished, your windows are smudge-free, your furniture is dusted, and so on. Remember to ventilate your house as well, and perhaps use air freshener or light a few candles to chase away any unpleasant odors. If you’re not the housekeeping type, now might be a good time to call in some backup and hire a cleaning service!

 

  1. Decluttering

Take the time to declutter and depersonalize your home. The idea behind this is that a prospective customer should be able to imagine themselves living here, making changes that would match their own vision. With that in mind, remove personal photographs, souvenirs, and other knick-knacks for showings. That collage from your trip abroad or grandma’s antique tea set may have to find a new temporary home! Aim for a neutral, spacious vibe, and consider renting a storage unit for larger items, such as quirky pieces of furniture or loud rugs and posters.

 

  1. Professional Style

Make sure your home looks as professionally styled as possible. You don’t have to go full Martha Stewart to succeed here, but it wouldn’t hurt to do some research and/or get some advice. Aim for contemporary style and comfort. In some cases, you’ll simply want to add a piece of accent furniture or artwork, or perhaps some new bedding or an area rug. You can even rent them from a staging company. The idea is to excite your buyer with the most attractive look possible.  

A few quick tips to get you started are:

  • Give your walls a fresh coat of neutral paint. This will make your rooms look both bigger and cleaner.
  • Opt for strategic lighting, such as standing lamps or wall mounts. Overhead lights tend to give off a harsh glare.
  • Buy a few succulents or a bouquet of flowers and set them up in a prominent place. Natural touches will make your house look more homey without compromising neutrality.

On a final note, don’t be shy in asking your real estate agent for help. It’s your agent’s job to guide in you in all matters related to the sale of your home, and they are typically well versed in staging. That said, be open to inspiration and put some creative effort into the process. It can actually be quite fun.

For more information on selling NYC property or any real estate questions you may have, contact Batra Group at (646) 202-1877.

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5 of the Best Dog Parks in New York City

 

Among the most important factors people consider when looking for an apartment in New York City are building and neighborhood amenities. For an increasing number of people, the must-have features include accommodations for pets, particularly dogs. In fact, according to StreetEasy.com, pets and pet services are among the top 2 most important amenities for renters and buyers in New York City. Many upscale buildings have taken note and now offer pet spas, grooming services and even indoor dog runs. But arguably the best treat for you furry friend is a great run in the park. 

Here are 5 great dog parks to know about when looking for neighborhoods to buy or rent in:

1. Carl Schurz Park – Upper East Side

Located between E 84th and E 90th streets, the Carl Schurz Park is a perfect spot to bring your pets if you’re living on the eastern half of Manhattan. Offering dog runs every Wednesday and Thursday from 12:15-1:15 pm, the park allows your pets to exercise freely in a safe environment. It’s also a comfort to owners that the park regularly sanitizes these spaces, cleaning them on a weekly basis in the summer and bi-monthly throughout the year.

2. De Witt Clinton Park – Upper West Side

On the opposite side of the borough, De Witt Clinton Park is a great place to bring your pets to if you’re in the Upper West Side of the city. With multiple dog runs throughout the park, your pet will have an opportunity to run and play to its heart’s content.

3. Washington Square Park – Greenwich Village

At the base of 5th Avenue, Washington Square Park is another great area for pet owners living in the heart of Manhattan. Like De Witt Clinton Park, Washington Square Park offers several dog runs for pets to play in. These spaces are open throughout the duration of the day, allowing dogs to get all their energy out until the park closes around 9 pm. 

4. Prospect Park Dog Run – Brooklyn

With acres of open green space, Prospect Park is a fantastic place for Brooklyn pet owners. Located next to Park Slope, the area is extremely pet friendly, allowing owners to choose whether or not their dogs should be leashed when playing in the grass.

5. Gantry Plaza State Park – Long Island City

Offering two different dog runs, Gantry Plaza State Park is a great spot for dogs to play in western Queens. The park also offers owners to walk their dogs along paved pathways from 8-10 am every morning, giving them an amazing view of Manhattan while they are out. So whether you’re on the go or there for the afternoon, Gantry Plaza is perfect for you and your furry friend.

 

For information on pet-friendly apartments, neighborhoods, or any real estate questions you may have, contact Batra Group at (646) 202-1877.

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What are the Closing Costs for a Seller in NYC?

 

Congratulations! You’ve put your home on the market, found a buyer, and are now ready to close a deal. But before you break open the champagne, you’ll need to plan for some final closing costs. The good news is that there are fewer of them for sellers than for buyers, although you will still need to factor in agent commission (typically 5-6% of the sales price). To help get you through the home stretch, we’ve compiled a list of standard seller closing costs, so you can plan ahead:

 

Fee type Amount
NYC real property tax Typically 1-1.5% of purchase price
New York State tax .40% of purchase price
Attorney fee $1000-$4000
Move-out fee $500-$1000
Flip tax 1-3% of purchase price
Payoff/loan satisfaction Varies, but expect $500+

 

This looks like a lot, but don’t worry. While transfer taxes and attorney fees are a given, depending on where you live, move-out fees and flip taxes may be optional. The move-out fee should be mentioned in your original lease, and if it isn’t, you might not have to pay it. Similarly, a flip tax, which covers renovations, is generally paid only when you’re selling from within a co-op. Finally, loan satisfaction is necessary only if you have a mortgage provider.

 

What about real estate commission? While not technically a closing cost, the agent commission is still paid at this time to both the buyer’s agent as well as your own (seller’s) agent. You should expect to pay around 5-6% of the purchase price, with both agents receiving an equal share. Importantly, if the buyer doesn’t have an agent, your agent will be required to represent both parties in the transaction, and earn the entire sum.

 

For more information on selling your apartment in NYC or any real estate questions you may have, contact Batra Group at (646) 202-1877.