Things to Know About Your New York City Rental BEFORE You Sign the Lease

Check out my featured post on Mary in Manhattan where I discuss what renters need to know before they sign on the dotted line!

Mary in Manhattan

Welcome back to guest writer, Nikki R. Thomas, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker and New York City Blogger! Follow her blog, Nikki in NYC and be sure to read her previous article on owning a home in NYC.

After spending who knows how many hours tracking down listings and hitting the pavement, you’ve FINALLY found a great new rental! Woo hoo!

renting apartment new york city Credit: Nikki Thomas

But wait just a second…

Before you sign the lease, be sure you’re clear on all the important points below.

**IMPORTANT NOTE – This is NOT nor is it intended to be legal advice! If you have any questions about your lease, consult a real estate attorney!!!**

  • New Rent Law Changes
    • First and foremost – be in the know about the recent changes to New York state’s rent laws. They don’t just apply to rent regulated apartments – some changes apply to market…

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Top Links – November 12, 2015

2015-11-05 10.32.16

Fall is reaching it’s glorious, crisp zenith and we’re starting to coast our way into the holiday season.

Let’s take a look at my top picks for real estate news, advice and city happenings for the past few weeks.

Record Number of Queens Homes Asking More than $1M (Curbed NY)

Despite Price Growth, Signs of a Slowdown in the Brooklyn Market (Street Easy Blog)

Your Landlord May Be Charging You Too Much Rent (Brick Underground)

7 Reasons Why Living in an Older Home Isn’t All Tall Ceilings and Charm (Apartment Therapy)

A One Day Food Tour of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, New York’s Most Diverse Dining Destination (Serious Eats)


Manhattan vs. Brooklyn – The Prices – Q3 2015

Curious as to how the numbers stack up in Manhattan and Brooklyn? Here’s an infographic to give you a basic overview, based on Corcoran’s most recent quarterly reports for both boroughs. (Click here to view the full Manhattan Report and click here to view the full Brooklyn Report.) The infographic highlights the median price by apartment type for each type of building covered by the report, and also gives the lowdown for which areas are likely to be your best bets for affordability.

Note – I prefer to use the median rather than the average price because the median represents the middle point – so half of all the listings noted in a given area are above that price and half are below.

Manhattan Infographic Q3 2015

Brooklyn Infographic Q3 2015

The summer sales season appeared to carry on the momentum seen in Q2 2015 – the median in Manhattan was $999,000 up 12% from last year and up 5% from the previous quarter, the highest in more than 10 years. Contracts signed were up 11% year over year.

Meanwhile Brooklyn continued to be a hot ticket –  the median price was $623,000, a whopping 28% year over year increase, and contracts signed were up 9% year over year.

The boroughs seemed to be on opposite trajectories concerning inventory, however – inventory decreased year over year  in Manhattan by 13% while inventory in Brooklyn saw a year over year uptick of 7%.

The Takeaway

The takeaway for this quarter is pretty much the same as last quarter – if you’re looking for affordability in Manhattan, then you should consider the East Side, Midtown, Financial District/Battery Park City and Upper Manhattan, since all of these areas have prices below the median in multiple categories of apartments. Prices in Brooklyn continue to be more affordable relative to Manhattan, especially deeper into the borough, but the gap is narrowing further and further in the most popular areas.

As I’ve kept saying for the past year, in this kind of market, no matter where you’re planning to look, you should definitely consider both condos and co-ops. Even with all of the new developments slated to come onto the market this fall in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the number of properties on the market is still historically low, and co-ops have not seen the same kinds of meteoric price increases as condos and new developments. Competition will remain fairly stiff in both boroughs, so prospective buyers would be best served by considering all options available to them. Not sure what the difference is between a condo and a co-op? Or are you uncertain as to whether or not you would qualify to buy in a co-op? Then check out my past blog posts here and here for more information.

And of course, if you have more questions about the market, a specific neighborhood or NYC real estate in general, feel free to contact me using the form below. I’m always happy to help!


Fun in Fall – A Lovely Day in New Paltz

There are few places more awesome to visit this time of year than the Hudson Valley. So we recently headed up with some of our friends to one of our favorite towns, New Paltz, to take in everything that the season has to offer.

We started the day picking apples at one of my favorite orchards, Dressel Farms, which offers gorgeous, sweeping views of the Shawangunk Ridge.

We followed that up with a stroll down Historic Huguenot Street, spending a bit of time in the old Walloon Church Graveyard. Quite a perfect place to be with Halloween coming up 🙂

We then spent a great amount of time meandering around the Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary. It was so serene and enchanting, especially with the golden light of the late afternoon.

We finished off the evening with a hearty, rustic Italian dinner at one of our favorite Hudson Valley restaurants, A Tavola. I highly recommend, well…everything. Haha! Love that place.

With Friends at A Tavola New Paltz

There’s still a lot of time left in the fall season, so we will definitely be taking another trip up that way. So stay tuned for more ;)!


Top Links – October 15, 2015

Fall 2015 Mailing Photo

The wonderful cool, crisp and colorful brilliance that is fall is finally here! I’m not one to wish away warmer weather, but I do quite enjoy all the sights, sounds, tastes and spicy smells of the autumn season.

Let’s take a look at my top picks for real estate news, advice and city happenings for the past few weeks.

No, Brooklyn is Not More Expensive Than Manhattan, But It’s Getting Closer (Brick Underground) 

As Manhattan Prices Keep Climbing, Inventory Plummets (Curbed NY) 

6 Predictions for the Fall Real Estate Market (DNA Info) 

Get Psyched for Winter – Rents Will Probably Go Down (A Bit) (Brick Underground) 

The 20 Best Fall Events in NYC (Time Out NY)

A lovely 1855 schoolhouse in Greenwich Village

A look at a beautiful old building in the East Village.

Ephemeral New York

“Proper but gloomy” is how one architectural writer characterizes this Italianate brownstone building at 34 East 12th Street.


“Lovely and enchanting” might be a better description. For a long time, this 19th century beauty was covered up behind scaffolding and brown paint. Now that its facade is back in view, its history deserves a shout out too.

Schoolhouse18551920sThe building opened in 1855 as Grammar School 47. That makes it one of the oldest schoolhouses in the city, and it’s also a rare public school at the time that was reserved for girls only.

“In 1854, the year before Public School 47 was built, East 12th Street between Broadway and University Place consisted mainly of houses and stables,” according to the Landmarks Preservation Committee report, which designated it a landmark in 1998.

The city school board wanted to expand the number of schools, especially for girls. “It was the Board’s…

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