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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Become your dream

Become your dream  James De La Vega

headroomI've been showing a few properties on the Upper East Side of Manhattan recently. Walking the streets around 75th and Second Avenue I started noticing the words "become your dream" and a fish, scrawled on some of the garbage that has piled up because of the snow and lack of garbage pick up this winter. It was transformed into piles of new canvas for some creative street artist. It reminded me of the late 70's © SAMO graffiti that started popping up all over town, attributed to the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

I googled the phrase and found that others had noticed it too. In fact, they had noticed the work much earlier than me. Artist James De La Vega has been prolific in creating street art for several years now. He's a native of East Harlem that attended Cornell.

I use the phrase "beauty lives everywhere" as a tag-line on my promotional materials about real estate. I was nice to see beauty in places that were unexpected. Using words in public space as art, and appropriating the media form of the "slogan" as art, is a tradition that artists like SAMO, Barbara Kruger, and Jenny Holzer have embraced. However De la Vega's is directed more at the common man, in a direct attempt to inspire, rather than provide commentary. I found it refreshing.


Monday, February 14, 2011

January 2011 Manhattan real estate market report

Corcoran Manhattan market reportHere are the latest metrics on contracts signed in January 2011 at the corcoran group. The condo market really started coming back to life in January with price per square foot numbers higher, and larger units selling. Frankly, business has been brisk for right-priced prime Manhattan real estate.

january 2011 manhattan real estate market report

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I have to pay a higher interest rate because of a delay in closing, who's responsible?

Q&AToday we have a couple of questions answered by New York City based Real Estate Attorney Keith Schuman, about the closing process on your coop, condo, or loft. After the deal is struck, your attorney and broker will work to get it closed. The road is often smooth, but issues can arise. Having the right representation can really help keep a deal on track.

deed and keys

If a Purchaser must pay a loan extension fee or a higher interest rate as a result of a delay in closing, is the Seller liable for these expenses?
Closings are delayed for many reasons. A Seller has no control over how quickly the Purchaser obtains financing or the timing of the Board's review of the Purchaser's application and the Seller is not responsible if the delays cause the Purchaser to incur additional financing costs. Often, closings are delayed because a Seller has exercised its legal right to postpone the closing or a transfer agent is not available. All of this should be properly explained to a Purchaser at the beginning of the process so that a Purchaser understands and is prepared for the possibility of a delayed closing. This is particularly important as it relates to interest rate locks. Purchasers frequently lock in their interest rate prematurely and may incur additional bank fees if they do not understand that closings are commonly delayed.

What Due Diligence should a Purchaser's Attorney Perform?
Prior to signing a contract, the Purchaser's attorney should review the underlying documents relating to the Coop or Condo. For a Condo purchase, the lawyer should examine the offering plan and all amendments; the bylaws, the rules and regulations of the building (sometimes called the House Rules) regarding pets, guests, alterations, repairs, sublet policies and home occupations, the board's minutes and the financial statements for at least the previous two years. Although there are no financial statements or board meeting minutes available for new condominium construction, the offering plan will outline the potential risks for the buyer and describe the closing fees and procedures. For an existing coop or condo, the Purchaser's attorney should review the materials described above and read the Board minutes and interview the property manager. The attorney's role is to thoroughly investigate and analyze the Coop or Condo's underlying documents as well as the physical and financial condition of the building to uncover any serious issues which would be important to the Purchaser to be aware of when making a decision to purchase in a particular building. Of particular importance are potential or current special assessments to raise additional capital, pending maintenance increases, discussions of the need for capital improvements or other necessary repairs to the building, lawsuits involving the building, and quality of life issues with neighbors or neighboring buildings such as problems with noises, odors and leaks.

About the author: Keith A. Schuman, Esq. is the founder of Schuman & Associates, LLC, a full service real estate firm that provides legal services to its clients, through all aspects of their transactions. Keith is a frequent contributor to Contact him at or phone 212.490.0100.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Price improved! Art Deco, pre-war one bedroom

350 East 77th Street, #2-Hfor saleI've just been authorized to drop the price of this one-bedroom co-op, on Manhattan's Upper East Side by almost 10% and now offer it at $435,000! Spectacular value for a spacious, pre-war apartment, on East 77th Street, between First & Second Avenues. This second floor apartment in an Art Deco style building, gets great light from its south exposure facing a courtyard, with views of the street and the tree tops on East 76th St. It has a nice dining area just off the kitchen, and a window in each room. This is one of today's best priced properties in the neighborhood.

see this listing: 350 East 77th Street, apartment 2-H »

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