Guest Post by BOND real estate agent Daniel J Bollinger
Purchasing a condo/co-op can be a daunting task. With the amount of inventory on the market in NYC there are a LOT of options. There are six basic characteristics in assessing if a residence is right for you. But in today’s market with the unprecedented amount of new construction going on there are also some additional questions to ponder.
Below is a list of these questions and some clarification about these traits.
I’m sure you have heard the adage ~ the three most important things in real estate are “location location location”. This is true but seeing that we’re in the best city in the entire world let’s break this down a little more. Yes location is important ~ do you want to live on the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, in Chelsea, the West Village, or Tribeca?
- Each area of the city has its own charm and cultural definition. But other things may be important to you:
- How close to you want to be to transportation (Penn Station, train or bus line, etc.)?
- Is it important to you to be right on Central Park to enjoy the beautiful views?
- Would you rather be a few blocks away from a major transportation hub to enjoy a little more peace and quiet in the evening?
Everyone has their own desires and wishes when it comes to location. What are yours?
The architecture in NYC is vast and beautiful. You may hear a lot about Pre-War buildings. Pre-war buildings refer to buildings built between 1900-1939 ~ just before WWII. They are magnificent in that the architects and builders used masterful designs and construction materials and techniques to accommodate the swelling population at that time. The result was sturdy brick and stone buildings with high ceilings, which created a New York type of architecture that was built for great form, function and endurance. That is why the pre-war conjures images of high ceilings, thick walls, plaster ornamentation and generous layouts.
Other questions to ask yourself about a building are:
- Do you want to live in a large apartment building with lots of neighbors or do you prefer a smaller development?
- Does a walk-up bother you or are you looking for an elevator building?
- Is the architecture itself very important to you?
- Do you want a new building that may have smart technology pre-wired into the building?
- Or do you like ‘classic’ interiors?
There are many pros and cons to each style of buildings in Manhattan.
How much natural light does the residence provide? This is a biggie in Manhattan real estate. I am sure you have read many listings advertised with “tons of natural light” and “eastern exposure for maximum light” and things of the like.
Natural light is not only healthy for us they make our apartments seem bigger and most certainly brighter. That is why you read in many ads, “floor to ceiling windows for maximum light exposure”. And more light coming in also equals more views of the city for you.
There are four exposures available in a residence: North, South, East, and West and each have difference characteristics.
Northern exposures are cooler and clearer (less burning than southern exposures). North exposures are better for fighting fading on fabrics and artwork. That is why many artists paint only on northern exposed objects.
Southern exposure is just the opposite ~ it’s more for the lizard who likes to bask in the sunshine all day. Southern exposure also heats your residence more.
East and West are pretty simple: are you more of a sunrise person (East)? Or do you enjoy sunsets more (West)?
How much space do you need/want? One bedroom, two bedroom, or more? How much square footage do you seek? How big of a living room/den do you want? Do you want a chef’s kitchen with a lot of space? Do you entertain often and need a large formal dining room?
These are the types of questions you should ask yourself to help find the residence that fits your needs.
Air refers to the floor plan and air circulation. Do you like lofts with their open layouts and high ceilings? Do you prefer a classic six? How does the air move throughout the apartment? This is what is meant by the term “air”.
Views are a personal choice. Some people want them, some people don’t care. I have dealt with people who were perfectly content looking at the tops of trees in their third floor apartment. And some others who wanted to live on the top floors of a building so that they could enjoy the majestic Manhattan views. One thing that is good to research is what are the air rights around the building? Today you may have a beautiful view of the park, river, etc. but tomorrow’s construction may cut that view. Something your agent should be aware of when making a long-term investment decision.
These are the six basic traits of a residence that most agents will advertise about and/or market about a property. But the new age of construction going up right now makes me expand this list with two more attributes of a building: Amenities and Design Details.
Amenities: “Amenity” is defined as, “a desirable or useful feature or facility of a building or place.” New construction in NYC certainly has many amenities. Common amenities in today’s construction include bike storage, fitness centers, rooftop lounges, and children’s playrooms. But some higher standard amenities including pools, concierge services, parking, valet services, home theater rooms, soundproof music rooms, and much more. Each new development will certainly advertise their amenities.
Design Details: This is a new category that I have come up with. Being the Real Estate Editor for New York Lifestyles Magazine I am very thankful to get private tours of many of the new developments in the city. The one thing that makes this new age of development different than the past few decades is that designers and architects are finally starting to “get it”.
In years’ past developers built four walls and put a bathroom and kitchen in it and called it a day. But now you see layouts with design details that are very thought out. The XOCO building in SOHO (above) is a great example of design details: recessed floating walls with curved edges of sculptural plaster give their residences an open sense of space and great ‘flow’ throughout the condo.
They are the only development that I know of that has taken the “bathroom niche” outside of the bathroom and put them in both the master bedroom and kitchen ~ brilliant in my opinion.
And 252 East 57th (above) has thoughtfully built a huge grand den with a curved glass picture window for a panoramic view of the city, and then designed a kitchen/dining area as an intimate family space for people who know that dinner time is family time. Their ability to size these rooms that offset each other appropriately is just another example of the thoughtfulness of architects and designers in today’s market. 252’s automated parking garage is a technological wonder as well. For those who like to think “outside the box”.
Daniel J Bollinger
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Bond New York