Agent Detail
Warburg Realty - A Higher Standard Since 1896
Gordon T. Roberts Gordon T. Roberts
Licensed Assoc. Real Estate Broker, Licensed Since 2002

Office:  654 Madison Avenue
NY, NY 10065
Phone:  212-439-4569
Fax:  646-422-4169
Email:  gtroberts@warburgrealty.com

A luxury goods professional with twenty-five years of business experience in New York City and abroad, Gordon Roberts traded an accomplished career in high-end retail for the hands-on world of Manhattan real estate. For the seller, he possesses the marketing skills to maximize sales results, and for the buyer, a discerning eye for the best available property. A member of the Real Estate Board of New York, Gordon is longtime Upper East Sider and East Hampton homeowner.

Licensed Since 2002
Current Townhouse Listings
LOCATION PRICE USAGE STORIES WIDTH
124 West Houston Street
NET#100051294
$18,000,000 Mixed Use 6 25 ft.

Apartment Sales and Rentals
LOCATION TYPE TRANSACTION ROOMS BR BA SQ FT
1060 Fifth Avenue
NET#552988
COOP Sale 15.0 5 5.0 n/a
112 East 74th Street
NET#839407
COOP Sale 10.0 3 3.0 n/a
535 East 72nd Street
NET#279051
COOP Sale 8.0 3 3.0 n/a
531 East 72nd Street
NET#1123203
COOP Sale 8.0 4 3.0 n/a
535 East 72nd Street
NET#434354
COOP Sale 7.0 4 3.0 n/a
129 East 69th Street
NET#471092
COOP Sale 7.0 3 3.0 n/a
1105 Park Avenue
NET#302730
COOP Sale 6.0 2 2.0 n/a
164 East 72nd Street
NET#414891
COOP Sale 6.0 2 2.0 n/a
25 East 86th Street
NET#505125
COOP Sale 6.0 2 2.0 n/a
1070 Park Avenue
NET#567314
COOP Sale 6.0 2 2.5 n/a
47 East 87th Street
NET#568592
COOP Sale 6.0 3 3.0 n/a
25 Sutton Place South
NET#828745
COOP Sale 5.0 2 2.0 n/a
433 East 51st Street
NET#282187
COOP Sale 4.5 2 2.0 n/a
225 East 79th Street
NET#288907
COOP Sale 4.5 2 2.0 n/a
535 East 72nd Street
NET#795196
COOP Sale 4.5 2 2.0 n/a
535 East 72nd Street
NET#1079272
COOP Sale 4.5 2 2.0 n/a
535 East 72nd Street
NET#461090
COOP Sale 4.0 2 2.0 n/a
23 East 74th Street
NET#633066
COOP Sale 4.0 2 2.0 n/a
535 East 72nd Street
NET#719197
COOP Sale 4.0 2 2.0 n/a
308 East 79th Street
NET#530730
COOP Sale 3.5 1 1.0 n/a
225 East 79th Street
NET#29121
COOP Sale 3.0 1 1.0 n/a
246 East 51st Street
NET#420095
COOP Sale 3.0 1 1.0 n/a
225 East 79th Street
NET#430705
COOP Sale 3.0 1 1.0 n/a
157 East 72nd Street
NET#452398
CONDO Sale 3.0 1 1.0 n/a
139 East 94th Street
NET#569153
COOP Sale 3.0 1 1.0 n/a
225 East 79th Street
NET#87107
COOP Sale 2.0 n/a 1.0 n/a
161 West 16th Street
NET#292236
COOP Sale 2.0 n/a 1.0 n/a
160 East 91st Street
NET#420311
COOP Sale 2.0 n/a 1.0 n/a
422 East 72nd Street
NET#265398
CONDO Rental 3.0 1 1.0 739
30 East 68th Street
NET#704709
RNTL Rental 3.0 1 1.0 700
524 East 72nd Street
NET#296249
CONDO Rental 2.0 n/a 1.0 n/a

Townhouse Sales and Rentals
LOCATION TRANSACTION USAGE STORIES WIDTH
434 East 75th Street
NET#469215
Sale Mixed Use 3 17 ft.

Press Mentions
4.8.14 Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on brickunderground and AM New York
brickunderground and AM New York

ASK AN EXPERT: HOW DO I COMPILE A GREAT-LOOKING CO-OP BOARD PACKAGE?

Q. I have to make six copies of a board package. I want to impress! Are three-hole binders okay? Plastic sleeves? Binder clips? Stapled? Should I include tabs for sections? Any other advice for making a great impression? Or what to avoid?

A. The co-op board package is a crucial component of getting the apartment you want, so it’s important to make sure your package is professional-looking, well-organized and easy to read, our experts say.

In one neat bundle, it details your finances, employment background, personal qualifications, plans for the apartment, and other information to convince board members that you’re not only a qualified buyer but also a welcome addition to the building.

“The contents of the package need to be assembled thoughtfully, carefully and deliberately,” says real estate broker Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty. “Above all, board packages should be clear and easy to understand.”

Co-op and condo attorney Dean Roberts of Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus agrees: “Nonconforming or sloppy applications make it more difficult for people reviewing the package to complete their work and clearly do not benefit the applicant.”

All that said, don’t get bogged down debating paper clips versus binder clips and which color of section divider will make those bank statements pop.

“What is far more important, is that the information is extremely clear and easy-to-read and makes sense and tells the story,” says Deanna Kory, a real estate broker at the Corcoran Group. “That is the true art of doing a board application and also the way to impress a board," she says, adding, "Whatever is unclear, write a quick note or an explanation to clarify."

Let’s assume you’ve got the content under control and focus on the presentation. (If you don’t, read up on what goes into a board package.)

Here are some tips for making your board package go down like a spoonful of sugar:

• Include a table of contents or a cover letter that lists the different sections.

• Numbered subdividers are necessary to orient your readers and make it easy for them to refer back to particular sections.

• Clips to fasten the different sections are a good idea, but steer clear of binding the copies: managing agents or board members may need to remove, reorder or copy pages. “Three-ring binders are sometimes a good [idea] if you have a lot of bulk that needs to be kept in order, but they themselves are bulky, so oftentimes paper clips harnessed by binder clips do the job just fine,” notes real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty.

• Some managing agents want stapled pages with sections clipped together and labeled color dividers; others will clarify that they don’t want packages stapled or bound. If you're not sure, ask the managing agent if they have a preference.

• When you make your copies, double check that all the pages are in order in each copy and that the copier hasn’t inadvertently added blank pages, Warburg’s Roberts notes.

• Make sure even a non-financial person can understand your financial statement as it's one of the most important documents in your package. Important numbers should catch the readers’ attention; Hackel circles key figures on the financial statement to make them easier to spot.

• Double check that the numbers on your financial statement match up exactly with the backup documents, and arrange the supplemental information in the same order as the financial statement. Hackel also recommends providing a separate summary page for each asset class, such as cash, equities, bonds and real estate. If your finances are more complex, suggests Kory, include a “detailed but easy-to-read” spreadsheet which shows your balances in each asset category from each account. Then have someone you trust look everything over to see if they can clearly understand them on the first review.

• Proofread, proofread, and proofread again, "because no amount of elegant presentation will make up for a financial statement that doesn’t jive with your verification of assets, misspellings, transposed numbers, missing pages, and other sloppy gaffes," says Warburg's Roberts.

http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2014/04/how_do_i_compile_a_great_looking_co_op_board_package


1.29.14 Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on brickunderground and AM New York
AM New York

ASK AN EXPERT: ARE THERE ANY DRAWBACKS TO BUYING AN APARTMENT UNDER AN LLC?
CAN I STILL GET A MORTGAGE?


Q. Are there any drawbacks to buying an apartment under an LLC? Can I still get a mortgage?

A. There are indeed some disadvantages to buying an apartment under a Limited Liability Company (LLC) formed for that purpose instead of buying under your own name, say our experts, but let's start with the advantages first.

The benefits of LLC ownership include anonymity (your name will be shielded from public records, which means your boss/employees/kids' friends' parents won't be able to find out how much you paid for your apartment), as well as tax benefits and asset and financial protection, says real estate attorney Rachel Kleiman of Braverman Greenspun.

But buying under an LLC will add an additional several thousand dollars or more to your closing costs--much of it relating to setting up the LLC itself.

"In New York, costs to form the Limited Liability Company could be expensive due to publication requirements," says Kleiman. In addition to legal costs involved in taking title under an LLC, there are annual fees at the city and state level.

Furthermore, by holding the property under a corporate name, "you'll also miss out on certain tax abatement programs such as STAR, etc., that are directed to individuals versus corporations," notes real estate attorney Dean Roberts of Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus.

Perhaps more troubling, the pool of available apartments will be drastically limited.
"Not all co-op boards will permit this type of ownership," says real estate broker Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty.

Most likely, says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty, "you'd have to limit your property selection to condos or buildings. I know of one co-op that purportedly allows shareholders to convert their ownership to an LLC after a minimum of two year's ownership. Maybe there are others. But the vast majority of co-ops--which outnumber condos in Manhattan--require the accountability of individuals as shareholders, since an LLC might dissolve."

You'll have fewer mortgage options too. Federally-backed loans do not allow for a borrower to hold title as an LLC, so you'll need to find a portfolio loan, says Robbie Gendels, a senior loan officer at National Cooperative Bank in Manhattan.

"It may be harder to find a fixed-rate portfolio loan and rates may be higher," says Gendels. Additionally, she says, "many banks that do offer residential loans to an LLC also require the owners to sign personally."

Buying under an LLC could hurt your neighbors' ability to get mortgages or refinance, as lenders may not consider an apartment owned under an LLC as owner-occupied, says Roberta Axelrod, a real estate broker and asset manager at Time Equities.

As you consider your next step, "be sure to consult with an attorney and a financial adviser to analyze your own particular situation, weigh the pros and cons, and properly advise you from a legal and tax standpoint," says Roberts, the real estate broker.

If you decide to proceed, remember to let your apartment insurance broker in on the ownership status, as "the LLC must be added to your apartment insurance policy as an additional interest," says apartment insurance broker Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage.


1.29.14 Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on brickunderground and AM New York
brickunderground

ASK AN EXPERT: ARE THERE ANY DRAWBACKS TO BUYING AN APARTMENT UNDER AN LLC?
CAN I STILL GET A MORTGAGE?


Q. Are there any drawbacks to buying an apartment under an LLC? Can I still get a mortgage?

A. There are indeed some disadvantages to buying an apartment under a Limited Liability Company (LLC) formed for that purpose instead of buying under your own name, say our experts, but let's start with the advantages first.

The benefits of LLC ownership include anonymity (your name will be shielded from public records, which means your boss/employees/kids' friends' parents won't be able to find out how much you paid for your apartment), as well as tax benefits and asset and financial protection, says real estate attorney Rachel Kleiman of Braverman Greenspun.

But buying under an LLC will add an additional several thousand dollars or more to your closing costs--much of it relating to setting up the LLC itself.

"In New York, costs to form the Limited Liability Company could be expensive due to publication requirements," says Kleiman. In addition to legal costs involved in taking title under an LLC, there are annual fees at the city and state level.

Furthermore, by holding the property under a corporate name, "you'll also miss out on certain tax abatement programs such as STAR, etc., that are directed to individuals versus corporations," notes real estate attorney Dean Roberts of Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus.

Perhaps more troubling, the pool of available apartments will be drastically limited.
"Not all co-op boards will permit this type of ownership," says real estate broker Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty.

Most likely, says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty, "you'd have to limit your property selection to condos or buildings. I know of one co-op that purportedly allows shareholders to convert their ownership to an LLC after a minimum of two year's ownership. Maybe there are others. But the vast majority of co-ops--which outnumber condos in Manhattan--require the accountability of individuals as shareholders, since an LLC might dissolve."

You'll have fewer mortgage options too. Federally-backed loans do not allow for a borrower to hold title as an LLC, so you'll need to find a portfolio loan, says Robbie Gendels, a senior loan officer at National Cooperative Bank in Manhattan.

"It may be harder to find a fixed-rate portfolio loan and rates may be higher," says Gendels. Additionally, she says, "many banks that do offer residential loans to an LLC also require the owners to sign personally."

Buying under an LLC could hurt your neighbors' ability to get mortgages or refinance, as lenders may not consider an apartment owned under an LLC as owner-occupied, says Roberta Axelrod, a real estate broker and asset manager at Time Equities.

As you consider your next step, "be sure to consult with an attorney and a financial adviser to analyze your own particular situation, weigh the pros and cons, and properly advise you from a legal and tax standpoint," says Roberts, the real estate broker.

If you decide to proceed, remember to let your apartment insurance broker in on the ownership status, as "the LLC must be added to your apartment insurance policy as an additional interest," says apartment insurance broker Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage.


12.12.13 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground and AM New York
brickunderground and AM New York

Ask an Expert: Are condo boards as powerful as co-op boards?

Q. Are condo boards as powerful as co-op boards? Are they as difficult when it comes to renovations and sublets?

A: Though condo boards and co-op boards each operate as the captain of their respective ships, there is a significant mismatch of power, say our experts.

Let's start with what the two types of boards have in common. Both are elected and tasked with following the building's rules and acting in the best interest of residents, says Gordon Roberts, a real estate broker at Warburg Realty. Similarly, both determine monthly expenses (maintenance fees in co-ops and common charges in condos), assess owners, oversee the shared areas of the building and decide which services will get residents' dollars, notes Roberta Axelrod, a real estate broker and asset manager at Time Equities.

For the rest of the article, please visit: http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2013/12/ask_an_expert_are_condo_boards_as_powerful_as_co_op_boards


11.26.13 Gordon Roberts and Shirley Hackel on brickunderground and AM New York

brickunderground and AM New York

Ask an Expert: How much cheaper is an apartment in a landlease building?

Q. If you have two identical apartments--one in a building that has a landlease, and one in a building that owns the land it sits on--how much less is the landlease apartment worth?

A. Expect to pay a little to a whole lot less, but be prepared for higher monthly costs, say our experts.

First, quick definition of a landlease, also known as a ground lease.

"A landlease building is one where the land it is built upon is owned by someone else, and the building has a longterm lease with an annual cost for occupying the land," explains Gordon Roberts, a real estate broker at Warburg Realty. "That cost is divvied-up among the shareholders as part of monthly maintenance or common charges. Leases often run 50 years or more."

Here's how much you can expect to save on the purchase price (or lose if you trying to sell):

Jonathan Miller, real estate appraiser and market analyst, Miller Samuel: Expect to pay anywhere from a few percent to 35% less

Some ground rents are far more severe than others, so there is no rule of thumb, but even if there is a small ground lease, just the fact that one exists has a negative impact on market value.

In addition, many lenders resist lending in land lease buildings--especially in a period like now where banks are conservative about lending. Their assessment of risk usually centers around the date of the next increase in rent and how it will impact sales and values in the building. If a bank won't lend, the seller may be forced to find a cash buyer (who is expecting a discount).

Often the terms of a ground lease will include a schedule of when a re-appraisal of the land is required, which is the basis of calculating the rent. There is often litigation or mediation to determine the value of the land which adds additional costs to the process. You can imagine that the change in land value in, say, 15 years plus could be quite substantial. That increase in ground rent is added to the monthly maintenance payments. The impact to value might be a few percentage points to as much as 35% (or more) depending on the building.

Shirley Hackel, real estate broker, Warburg Realty: Landlease apartments are worth 30% less

You will pay about 30% less in a landlease building than for a comparable apartment in a building without a landlease, but you can count on spending significantly more on monthly maintenance. And bear in mind that in a landlease building, the portion of the maintenance used to pay the ground rent is not tax deductible.

Additionally, it’s more complicated to obtain financing in ground lease buildings because of the risk that a landowner might decide to sell the land or not renew the lease. Lenders typically want to see about 40 years left on the lease term. It’s also more difficult for a ground lease building to borrow money itself for any capital improvements, because lenders usually want the mortgage secured by both the structure and the land.

Ground lease apartments are not for everyone. They attract buyers with a high income who are comfortable paying more in maintenance in exchange for a significantly discounted price.

Roberta Axelrod, real estate broker and asset manager, Time Equities: Expect to pay 10-20% less

The sales price will be 10 to 20 percent less as the market favors a property with the land included. However, this doesn't tell the entire story as a land lease building needs to pay rent for the land, so common charges are typically higher than in a building with the land. The actual differential in what the owners pay may be even greater depending on the rent for the land lease.

Gordon Roberts, real estate broker, Warburg Realty: The discount could be as much as 30%--or more

To evaluate the desirability of purchasing in a land-lease building, consider the length of time left on the lease. If there’s more than 25 years left on the lease, it’s worth considering. If it’s less than 10 years, there are definite risks, the biggest downside being is the lease expires and is re-negotiated at a much higher price. Your monthly maintenance could skyrocket, and that in turn could devalue the market value of the apartment.

In my experience, most real estate attorneys are risk-aversive, and counsel their clients discouragingly: “Of all the gin joints in the world, and you have to walk into this one?” They often feel there are too many liabilities associated with ownership in a land-lease building, and clients are urged to keep looking.

Some banks won’t provide financing, so that would be something to check out well in advance. There may also be some unfavorable tax implications. On one hand, this negative cloud hanging over land-lease buildings can reduce the number of interested parties when it comes time to sell, but it might also give you a negotiating edge as a purchaser.

Bottom line: In the current market where inventory is tight, an apartment in a land-lease building might stand out as a really good value. There could be a price differential as much as 30%, and you could conceivably get much more apartment for your money. Know what your risks are, and get professional counseling from your attorney, mortgage banker, and tax advisor. If the risks are manageable for you, it could work.


11.6.13 Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground and AM New York
AM New York

ASK AN EXPERT: SHOULD WE SELL NOW, OR WAIT UNTIL THE SPRING?

Q. My husband and I are thinking about selling our one-bedroom apartment and looking for something bigger. Should we list it now, before interest rates go up too much, or wait until the spring, when more people will be looking? As far as finding a two-bedroom apartment, will we be better off looking now or next year?
A. There's rarely been a better time to sell--or a worse time to buy a two-bedroom. Here's how our experts break it down:
Shirley Hackel, real estate broker, Warburg Realty: "While spring is the acknowledged traditional season for residential real estate, transactions occur year round....List now. There’s a real shortage of inventory, so why wait? If what you’re selling is a premium property, you’ll probably have the upper hand, so try to negotiate a flexible closing date with your purchaser, and maybe even terms for a post-closing possession, so you’re not homeless.

If you’re selling now, don’t wait another season, and certainly not another year, to make your next purchase. It’s too risky. I’ve been helping buyers and sellers since 1980 and have seen many cycles. In my view, it’s important to buy and sell in the same market. Rates and prices should remain level in the months ahead. You’d need a crystal ball to forecast much further down the road."
Gordon Roberts, real estate broker, Warburg Realty: "There’s much to do to prepare a property for sale – from interviewing at least three different brokers, studying the market to see where your property might fit, getting an idea of a realistic price, and getting the property in tip-top shape, ready to show. If you and your husband are both working or have other demands on your time, this process in itself could take six weeks or more. So, if you ‘re just beginning to think about selling at the beginning of November, you’re already in the 2014 market. In terms of timing, I would try to get your apartment on the market in January and sold in time for you to buy in the spring.

That said, the concept of spring and autumn selling seasons is increasingly obsolete, especially in a market of tight inventory. There are buyers waiting in the wings for the 'right thing' to come along, or highly motivated because they’ve lost out on other properties they bid on. They (or their broker) have signed-up online for auto-notification of new listings that fit their criteria, and are ready to act regardless of season.

Historically, some sellers will temporarily withdraw their property from the market during the end-of-year holiday period -- Thanksgiving through the New Year’s --simply because they don’t want to be bothered with showings. Buyer inquiries tend to taper off during that period, anyway. Conversely, as I’ve advised some buyers, the holiday period can be a good time to look for end-of-year deals with less competition."


11.6.13 Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground and AM New York
brickunderground

ASK AN EXPERT: SHOULD WE SELL NOW, OR WAIT UNTIL THE SPRING?

Q. My husband and I are thinking about selling our one-bedroom apartment and looking for something bigger. Should we list it now, before interest rates go up too much, or wait until the spring, when more people will be looking? As far as finding a two-bedroom apartment, will we be better off looking now or next year?

A. There's rarely been a better time to sell--or a worse time to buy a two-bedroom. Here's how our experts break it down:
Shirley Hackel, real estate broker, Warburg Realty: "While spring is the acknowledged traditional season for residential real estate, transactions occur year round....List now. There’s a real shortage of inventory, so why wait? If what you’re selling is a premium property, you’ll probably have the upper hand, so try to negotiate a flexible closing date with your purchaser, and maybe even terms for a post-closing possession, so you’re not homeless.

If you’re selling now, don’t wait another season, and certainly not another year, to make your next purchase. It’s too risky. I’ve been helping buyers and sellers since 1980 and have seen many cycles. In my view, it’s important to buy and sell in the same market. Rates and prices should remain level in the months ahead. You’d need a crystal ball to forecast much further down the road."

Gordon Roberts, real estate broker, Warburg Realty: "There’s much to do to prepare a property for sale – from interviewing at least three different brokers, studying the market to see where your property might fit, getting an idea of a realistic price, and getting the property in tip-top shape, ready to show. If you and your husband are both working or have other demands on your time, this process in itself could take six weeks or more. So, if you ‘re just beginning to think about selling at the beginning of November, you’re already in the 2014 market. In terms of timing, I would try to get your apartment on the market in January and sold in time for you to buy in the spring.

That said, the concept of spring and autumn selling seasons is increasingly obsolete, especially in a market of tight inventory. There are buyers waiting in the wings for the 'right thing' to come along, or highly motivated because they’ve lost out on other properties they bid on. They (or their broker) have signed-up online for auto-notification of new listings that fit their criteria, and are ready to act regardless of season.

Historically, some sellers will temporarily withdraw their property from the market during the end-of-year holiday period -- Thanksgiving through the New Year’s --simply because they don’t want to be bothered with showings. Buyer inquiries tend to taper off during that period, anyway. Conversely, as I’ve advised some buyers, the holiday period can be a good time to look for end-of-year deals with less competition."


10.30.13 Gordon Roberts on DNAinfo.com
DNAinfo.com

Bob Dylan's Former Greenwich Village Practice Space Up for Sale

A building Bob Dylan used as a practice space has hit the market for the first time since 1967, the broker said.

The 13,150-square-foot building at 124 W. Houston St. was listed for $22.5 million by Warburg Realty and Eastern Construction.

Dylan rehearsed on the ground floor of the building, which also housed early conceptual artists Arakawa and Madeline Gins, according to Gordon Roberts, a broker for Warburg Realty.

It’s “one of the few first-generation artist loft buildings remaining in the SoHo area," Roberts said in a statement. “The property offers endless possibilities, from art production to a palatial personal residence.”

Arakawa and Gins created some of their most famous works while living in the building in the 1970s, the broker said. The duo had a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 1997, called “Arakawa/Gins: Reversible Destiny."

Built at the turn of the 20th century, the West Houston Street building still has many of its original elements, including cast-iron details on the facade, slab marble floors and pressed tin wall designs.


10.29.13 Gordon Roberts on curbed.com
CURBED

ON THE MARKET

A six-story artist loft building on West Houston Street has hit the market for $22.5 million. The brokerbabble touts the place as perfect for a condo conversion, but the real highlight is who used to occupy the building. Japanese-born conceptual artist Arakawa used to live there, and Bob Dylan used the first floor of the building as a rehearsal studio. Developers will also be pleased that building retains cast-iron facade details, marble slab floors, and is "not restricted by landmark designations." [NYO; StreetEasy listing]

10.17.13 Gordon Roberts on Brick Underground and AM New York
brickunderground and AM New York

ASK AN EXPERT:
WILL A CO-OP LOOK PAST MY FINANCIAL PROBLEMS?
WHAT ABOUT A MORTGAGE LENDER?


Q. Five years ago I had a financial setback after I lost my job and had some unexpected medical expenses. It resulted in a lot of overdue bills, debt collectors etc., but that mess is behind me now.

I've been fully employed and current on all my bills for over three years. I've also saved enough money for a downpayment on a studio or maybe a one-bedroom apartment. Do I have any chance of getting approved by a co-op board? What about getting a mortgage?


A. It's possible, but it won't be easy, say our experts.
"Co-op boards tend to err on the side of caution, and, given your financial history, they may scrutinize your application a little closer and evaluate your after-purchase cash reserve in case you became unemployed again," says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty. "Just having enough cash to cover the down payment is not going to be sufficient for most co-op boards."

Please see
http://brickunderground.com/blog/2013/10/ask_an_expert_will_a_coop_look_past_my_financial_problems for the rest of the article.


9.1.13 Christine MIller Martin and Gordon Roberts in The Mann Report
NYRS Joins Christofle And Perrier-Jouet For Night Of Celebration

A select group of the city's top residential brokers from NYRS gathered recently for an evening filled with champagne and camaraderie generously hosted by Christofle at their flagship store at 846 Madison Avenue on 70th Street. The evening brought together three elite luxury brands: Christofle, Perrier-Jouet and NYRS.

Christofle President and CEO Nicolas Krafft welcomed NYRS with champagne, compliments of Martin de Dreuille, Brand Director of Champagnes at Pernod Richard UDSA. Christine Miller Martin, an NYRS agent and Senior Managing Director at Warburg Realty, organized the event and commented "I am delighted to bring together three brands that focus on excellence and the luxury market: the decorative arts; champagne and NYRS brokers who represent the best of the high-end Manhattan real estate professionals."

One of the highlights of the evening was the raffle. The grand prize, a beautiful champagne bucket, was awarded to Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty.

8.28.13 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground and amNY.com
Ask an Expert: Tips for buying the right one-bedroom apartment as an investor

I want to buy a one-bedroom apartment as an investment and rent it out. What should I look for as far as type of building, layout, location, carrying costs etc.? Any other advice?

There is much to consider before plunking down several hundred thousand dollars or more on a one-bedroom apartment that you intend to rent out rather than live in yourself, say our experts.

Do the math
Start with your financials and work backwards to arrive at a price range you can truly afford, says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty. Then stick to your budget.

"Be prepared to compromise," he advises. "In the current market, you're likely to have a pretty short list of candidates."

For the rest of the story, please visit: http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/ask-an-expert-tips-for-buying-the-right-one-bedroom-apartment-as-an-investor-1.5967369


8.1.13 ELITE GROUP EARNS NEW YORK RESIDENTIAL SPECILIST CREDENTIAL
New York Residential Specialists (NYRS) celebrated the graduation of its Spring 2013 class with a reception at The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). To date, 244 top real estate agents from 31 leading brokerage firms have now achieved the prestigious NYRS designation. First awarded in 2007, the NYRS credential is certified by REBNY and is the premier professional credential for residential real estate agents in New York City. Designed specifically for the unique challenges of NYC’s residential market, NYRS certification classes are taught by industry leaders and the curriculum features classes on ethics, negotiation and technology. NYRS agents comprise a powerful peer group committed to advanced education and professional excellence.

A celebratory reception for graduates, instructors, and sponsors followed the last class of the season, which focused on self-branding and social media. REBNY NYRS Co-Chair Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty and Frank Russo of Halstead were both present at the ceremony to greet and congratulate the graduates. “With the NYRS designation you’ve gained a certain competitive edge and have become ambassadors of an elite group that is synonymous with excellence in residential real estate,” noted Hackel. Warburg graduates included Gordon Roberts and Susan Silverman.

Limited enrollment in the NYRS curriculum is open twice each year to qualified agents during the fall and the spring. The fall semester begins September 16, 2013, and agents who see to enroll must be recommended by their managers and meet qualifying criteria.


6.5.13 Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com
Ask an Expert:
Should my neighbor and I sell our apartments together as a combination?

Q. My neighbor and I are thinking of offering our apartments (we each have a one-bedroom) for sale together as a possible combination. Will we get more from them together than if we sold them apart and if so how much? Any tips for marketing them? For instance, is it worth it to hire an architect to draw up some possible ways to combine our apartments?

A. Assuming the apartments would make a suitable combination, there's rarely been a better time to think combo as a buyer or seller, say our experts.

"Under the right circumstances, one plus one does indeed equal 2.5," says New York City real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel.

In Manhattan, he says, "larger apartments tend to command a higher price per square foot than smaller apartments. Just the fact that somone owns two adjacent apartments that can be combined may be worth more than the sum of their individual values before improvements are even made. We're going to see more of this activity going forward with limited inventory and the need to be creative becomes more important."

That said, Miller notes, "Some layouts don't work well--think adjacent 1-bedroom condo units in a 1980's building."

Real estate broker Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty agrees that not all contiguous apartments are worthy of being joined.

"The main problem with combinations, particularly in postwar buildings, is their tendency to stretch out horizontally so the result feels ‘railroady,'" she says. "Enlist the aid of a professional designer or architect upfront to determine whether combining will create a satisfactory end product of a space that flows gracefully with well laid out proportionate rooms."

Keep in mind that bigger combinations are generally more attractive than smaller ones.

"It used to be that putting two one bedrooms together would equal a significantly larger number than the sum of its parts," says real estate broker Deanna Kory of Corcoran, but these days, as buyers have gotten wiser about the amount of cost and work involved, "unless it's a particularly special combination you usually don't get a huge incremental difference.

"Indeed, agrees real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty, "Listing two side-by-side apartments as a potential combination is a strategy that seems to work better at higher price points. When two apartments can be combined to make a really large apartment with four or more bedrooms, the numbers are bigger, the buyers have deeper pockets, and there’s more incentive to go through the process."

For the rest of the article, please visit http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2013/05/ask_an_expert_should_my_neighbor_and_i_sell_our_apartments_together_as_a_possible_combo


4.30.13 Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground
Ask an Expert: What do co-op boards look for in reference letters?

Q. What sort of things do co-op boards look for in reference letters? Are reference letters from out of state acceptable? I've only been in New York for six months and I don't know that many people here other than through work.

A. Relax: Out of state reference letters shouldn't be a problem in most buildings, according to our experts.

"While it’s great if you’ve been a New Yorker for awhile, already owned shares in a co-op, know someone in the building, or have some other bond that will create a comfort level with the board, being a recent transplant is not necessarily a negative," says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty. "Your letters would reflect the transition and demonstrate some continuity."

Please visit brickunderground.com for the rest of the story.



4.24.13 Gordon Roberts on nydailynews.com
Ask an Expert: Battle of the outdoor spaces--backyard/patio vs terrace/roofdeck.

Real estate experts weigh in on what is the optimal outdoor space - a ground level backyard or a higher level terrace - and discuss the pros and cons of both. Privacy, light, and wind are some of the things to consider when making a decision.
Q. After 12 years in a building with no outdoor space, my husband and I are determined to buy an apartment with a private outdoor area. What are the pros and cons of a patio/backyard versus a terrace/roofdeck?

A. There is a considerable difference between owning a ground-floor outdoor space and one many stories above, says our experts, and each will cost you.

"Be prepared to pay dearly for it, and sadly, be prepared to compromise," says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty.

For the rest of the article, please see http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/battle-outdoor-spaces-backyard-roofdeck-article-1.1326372?localLinksEnabled=false


4.4.13 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com
Ask an Expert: Do all co-ops have the same ridiculous liquid fund requirements?

Q. I'm searching for an apartment to buy and I'd like to know how to find coops that don't require 1 or 2 years mortgage and maintenance in liquid funds. This seems like a ridiculous request if you have the equivalent in a Roth IRA which would be accessible.

I've found one co-op that will consider far less with 10 years or greater employment history with one's current employer. What other options are out there and how do I find them?

A. This requirement is not unusual--nor is it universal. The challenge is finding a more flexible board, say our experts.

"There are plenty of co-ops whose rules are more lenient," says real estate attorney Adam Stone of Regosin, Edwards, Stone & Feder. "But those generally will not be the Fifth Avenue or Park Avenue buildings. It may not be possible to know a building's particular rules before going to see the apartment. But once you know who the managing agent is you can request a copy of the coop application and ask if there are any predetermined guidelines for applicants."

A listing probably won't discluse this info, but you may find a hint.

"You might focus on buildings that allow 80% financing as a possible indicator of a more flexible board," says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty. In addition, he says, "the listing broker is probably your best resource if you’re searching on your own, especially if they have prior experience in the building."

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2013/03/ask_an_expert_liquid_fund_requirements


3.22.13 Gordon Roberts in NY Daily News
Ask an Expert: What should we watch out for when buying a sponsor-renovated apartment?

Typical shortcuts in sponsor renovations include cheap tiles, fixtures, and cabinetry, according to real estate experts.

BY TERI KARUSH ROGERS / BRICKUNDERGROUND.COM

There are several precautions you should take when considering if you should buy a sponsor-renovated apartment, real estate experts say.

Q. We are thinking of buying a co-op that was renovated by the sponsor. It's a middle-of-the-road renovation that isn't really our style but we're prepared to live with it for a few years until we can afford to redo it.

Our main concern, since the sponsor is a little on the sleazy side, is to make sure they didn't take any shortcuts, especially on the bathroom and kitchen.
What sort of things should we watch out for?

A. There are several, some more consequential than others, when looking at a sponsor apartment, say our experts. A sponsor apartment is a unit owned by the original owner or corporation responsible for turning a building from a rental into a co-op.

"You'd want to know that the renovations were legally permitted, approved by the board, and undertaken by licensed contractors," says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty.

For the rest of the story, please visit brickunderground.com


3.21.13 Gordon Roberts on today's brickunderground.com
10 apartment staging mistakes that can cost you a sale

You’re ready to put your apartment on the market. Now take a long, hard look. Is it ready to meet the public? Does it even know what to say to the public?

Ideally, according to stager Cheryl Eisen of Interior Marketing Group, your apartment should say “a stylish person with impeccable taste lives here." Unfortunately, observes Eisen, "most homes I see that are not professionally staged look like Pottery Barn meets grandma’s hand-me-downs."

Note that staging is not the same thing as interior design, says Susan Goldstein, design director of Studio D.
“Interior design is geared to the homeowners taste and personal desire," says Goldstein, while "staging is about putting enough furniture in a space so that buyers can envision themselves living in the home and how their own furniture will fit in."

Staging is a form of "visual merchandising,” says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty. “The object of staging is to flatter the apartment but not be too obvious about it, like being properly dressed without drawing attention to what you’re wearing."

Visit http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2013/02/10_staging_mistakes_that_can_cost_you_a_sale for great tips


3.17.13 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com
NYC Renovation Questions: Murphy beds may be more practical than you think

Q. I’m about to move into a tiny studio, and am considering a murphy bed. What should I know?

A. Murphy beds -- also known a hide-a-beds or wall beds -- are most attractive when they're part of a built-in case or cabinet (fixed or attached) to your apartment wall. The idea is that when folded or in the closed position, no one would ever know that the cabinet is indeed a Murphy bed.

Built-in storage, usually flanking either side of the bed, is completely customizable and designed to work with your individual space. This removes any dorm-like feeling or the hideous “bed in a closet” that has been associated with Murphy beds of yore.

For the rest of the story, please visit: http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2013/03/murphy_beds_may_be_more_practical_than_you_think

3.12.13 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com and nydailynews.com
Ask an Expert: We're leaving New York. Should we sell our Brooklyn condo or rent it out?

Owners should consider several factors when deciding if they should rent or sell their vacant unit, such as building fees, the stresses of landlording, and the market.

Q. We are moving to another state and debating whether we should sell or rent out our Brooklyn condo. What should we consider when making our decision?

A. You'll need to consider everything from how much you stand to profit under each scenario to your own appetite for the ups and downs of landlording, say our experts.

"First and foremost, you should seek advice from their financial planner and tax advisor to see what makes the most sense for your particular situation," says real estate attorney Adam Stone of Regosin, Edwards, Stone & Feder. "Meaning does it make financial sense to keep the apartment as an asset, or would it make more sense to sell, liquidate, and diversify?"

Next, suggests real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty, "have the apartment evaluated by real estate brokers with a track record in your neighborhood - say, three brokers from different firms who specialize in rentals, and three others who specialize in sales. Get their opinion of value, and ask for recent comparables. In the current market, chances are that all of them will say they can easily find a buyer or tenant for you."

Visit http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2013/03/ask_an_expert_were_leaving_new_york_should_we_sell_our_brooklyn_condo_or_rent_it_out for the rest of the story.


2.27.13 Gordon Roberts and Shirley Hackel on brickunderground.com and nydailynews.com
Ask an Expert: Should we sell our apartment when there's competition in the building?

Q. We were planning to put our apartment on the market next month; however, two other one-bedrooms in our line were put up for sale last week. They're asking about 10-15% less than what we were planning to list ours for.

Both are on higher floors than ours and need a decent amount of work, while ours was gut reno'd two years ago.

What is the impact on the price we're likely to get? Is it better or worse to wait until they sell before we put ours on?

A. Among other things, the answer depends on how fast you want to sell, the quality of your renovation, and how much better the view from you neighbors' higher-floor apartments really is, say our experts.

Assuming your apartment isn't overpriced, "having two other apartments in your line for sale at the same time as yours is not necessarily a bad thing because buyers like to comparison-shop," says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty. Moreover, he says, "if open houses are scheduled so all three are open for inspection at the same time, you could get additional traffic."

But as much as buyers love competition, notes real estate broker Mike Akerly of Akerly Real Estate, "if your listing is overpriced, it will not sell before your neighbors’ apartments and may not sell at all."

Much depends on the quality of your renovation, says real estate broker Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty.

For the rest of the article, please visit http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2013/02/ask_an_expert_should_we_sell_our_apartment_when_theres_competition_in_the_building


2.22.13 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com and in AM New York
Painting your apartment to raise its resale value

Beyond a deep clean-and declutter, and a fair price, a fresh coat of paint is the single biggest thing you can do to boost your apartment’s appeal to buyers.
Bear in mind that painting to sell is not the same as painting for pleasure. Here are a few pointers:

• Neutral colors may not be exciting, but they’ll make your space look bigger and brighter, and help create a blank canvas on which buyers can imagine themselves living and working. For a tailored look, broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty recommends: “... painting the walls light tan, and the trim—doors, windows, window frames, baseboards, moldings—a bright white.”

For more great tips, visit brickunderground.com


2.5.13 Gordon Roberts and Shirley Hackel on brickunderground and dailynews
Ask an Expert: We want to buy a co-op as a pied a terre. What does it take to get approved?

Q. My wife and I want to buy an apartment in Manhattan to use on the weekends. We would rather buy a co-op as they're more affordable than condos, but many co-op buildings don't allow pied a terre purchases and some say they'll consider on a 'case-by-case' basis.

What criteria do boards consider? How can we help ensure that we'll be approved?

A. Co-op boards have two primary reservations about residents who intend to use the apartment as a secondary residence, say our experts.

"Some are concerned that pied a terre purchasers will not be able to afford a second home if financial trouble comes and that it will take second priority," says Roberta Axelrod, a real estate broker and asset manager at Time Equities. "Some are concerned that it is simply a cover for investors who will rent out the apartment or use it as a hotel--either for money or for friends and family."

Documenting that "you can afford the apartment and being willing to pay a year's maintenance up front or put some money in escrow does the trick if the concerns are financial," says Axelrod. "Explaining who will be using the apartment and under what circumstances can be very helpful for use concerns."

An acceptable explanation might be, "We want the apartment so that we can stay over after going to the opera, and we will not have guests in the apartment when we are not there," says Axelrod.

Agrees real estate broker Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty, "If you can show that you have a business in New York, and you will be using the apartment a night or two a week, and that you and your spouse are cultural aficionados with season weekend tickets to the opera, theater and ballet, and that your grown children live happily in their own apartments, you’re likely to be considered favorably. If the board, however, is left to imagine that you will be giving the keys to your children, relatives and friends, you can be sure your application to purchase will be rejected. You need to provide the board with a comfort level that your use of the apartment won’t create either noise disturbances or traffic distractions to shareholders."

For the rest of the story, please visit http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2013/01/ask_an_expert_buying_a_pied_a_terre_in_a_coop_building


1.15.13 Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on nydailynews.com
Ask an Expert: What are the best businesses to have below an apartment building?

Real estate experts say that grocery stores, restaurants and bars are the least desirable tenants to have below a building from a quality of life perspective.

Q. What are the best and worst kinds of businesses to lease out the commercial space beneath our co-op, in terms of quality of life for residents, financial security for our building, and resale value of apartments?

A. Our experts agree that grocery stores, restaurants and bars are typically the least desirable from a quality of life perspective.

Restaurants and bars in particular "have to be the worst because of late hours of operation, noise potential, and pest potential," says New York City real estate attorney Adam Stone of Regosin, Edwards, Stone & Feder. "They are also the types of businesses that have a smaller chance of succeeding and higher rate of turnover."

On top of that, they can do a number on resale values.

"Buyers have a strong bias against restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets and food shops because of garbage disposal, pest control and odor issues," says real estate broker Shirley Hackel of Warburg Realty.

Their concerns are well founded, says pest control expert Gil Bloom of Standard Pest Management. Moreover, he says, oftentimes a food establishment's need for "storage and, worse, refuse storage exceeds their allotted space, which can then spill over into building areas. These establishments can tax the waste system and discolor the exterior sidewalk with pest attracting grease and debris."

Real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty notes that though restaurants raise some serious concerns, these anxieties are not necessarily insurmountable.

Visit www.brickunderground.com for the rest of the story ...


1.10.13 Gordon Roberts in today's AM New York
Renovating your kitchen with resale value in mind

The kitchen is the most expensive room you’ll ever renovate, especially in NYC. Figure on $15,000 to $25,000 for an inexpensive renovation of the average
7-by-9-foot apartment-sized kitchen, $40,000 to $75,000 for a midrange job, and $100,000 and up for a top drawer do-over.

If you’re planning to sell within the next five years— before most kitchens tend to look dated or worn—here are a few tips for recovering as much of your investment as you can:

• Don’t put a luxury kitchen in a lower-end starter apartment—you probably won’t recover your investment. Generally speaking, try not to spend more than 5% of the sales price of your apartment. But don’t under-renovate, either.

Visit www.brickunderground.com for the rest of the story ...


1.3.13 Gordon Roberts on nydailynews.com
Ask an Expert: Should I buy an apartment in a self-managed building?

Q. I'm selling my co-op in a large full-service building and thinking about buying a duplex in a small (12 units), self-managed co-op.

What are the risks and benefits of buying into a building that's not professionally managed? Are there any specific questions I should ask to make sure the building is being run well?

A. The main advantage of a self-managed building is that, in theory, your monthly maintenance charges should be lower without a managing agent on the payroll. But these types of buildings--typically small ones without many units to share the cost of a managing agent--definitely demand a higher level of scrutiny, say our experts.

Let's start with the reserve funds, which tend to be on the skimpier side.

"A building with only 10-12 units usually doesn’t have much of a reserve fund or cash balance," says New York City closing attorney Adam Stone of Regosin, Edwards, Stone & Feder. "They often get by month to month and a benefit of that is keeping monthly common charges down. But if the building needs $100,000 for a new roof, for example, you know who they will come looking to for your share of that."

Hire an engineer to inspect the building, says Stone.

Visit www.brickunderground.com for the rest of the story ...


1.2.13 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com
Ask an Expert: Should I buy an apartment in a self-managed building?

Q. I'm selling my co-op in a large full-service building and thinking about buying a duplex in a small (12 units), self-managed co-op.

What are the risks and benefits of buying into a building that's not professionally managed? Are there any specific questions I should ask to make sure the building is being run well?

A. The main advantage of a self-managed building is that, in theory, your monthly maintenance charges should be lower without a managing agent on the payroll. But these types of buildings--typically small ones without many units to share the cost of a managing agent--definitely demand a higher level of scrutiny, say our experts.

Let's start with the reserve funds, which tend to be on the skimpier side.

"A building with only 10-12 units usually doesn’t have much of a reserve fund or cash balance," says New York City closing attorney Adam Stone of Regosin, Edwards, Stone & Feder. "They often get by month to month and a benefit of that is keeping monthly common charges down. But if the building needs $100,000 for a new roof, for example, you know who they will come looking to for your share of that."

Hire an engineer to inspect the building, says Stone.

Visit www.brickunderground.com for the rest of the story ...


12.13.12 Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground.com
NYC Renovation Questions: What should I know about replacing wood floors in a pre-war apartment?

Q. I am buying a prewar apartment and the hardwood floors do not appear to be in good condition. What should I know about replacing them? How can I keep costs down?

A. The first thing to know--whether you plan to replace the floors or just refinish them--is to do it before you move in, says architect Tom Degnan of Degnan Design Group. You'll want to avoid the inconvenience and hassle of moving your furniture out of your apartment, as well as the dust and dirt caused by sanding and refinishing.

Cost-wise, according to Michael Savino of MD Floors, expect to pay between $2 to $4 per square foot just for the existing floors to be removed and disposed of.

New floors will start at about $15 to $18 per square foot and go up from there depending on variables including species, cut, pattern, complexity of the stain and the choice of new floor stain color and the finish (polyurethane, tung oil or wax). This cost includes sanding and finishing.

Visit www.brickunderground.com for the rest of the story ...


9.10.12 Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground
NYC renovation bloopers: 6 great ideas you'll regret having

Q. I'm looking to renovate and don't know where to start. Are there any seemingly great ideas that have gone awry I should be wary of?

A. Even the most premeditated renovation can spawn some regrets in the aftermath. And when you're paying NYC prices, that's definitely something you want to avoid if you can.
Start by asking each of the professionals involved in your project to point out aspects that may bear rethinking.

"Visit www.brickunderground.com for the rest of the story ...


7.9.12 Gordon Roberts and Shirley Hackel in The NY Daily News and on BrickUnderground
Is it better to buy an apartment with a lax co-op board?

Q. From a resale perspective, is it better to buy into a building with a liberal co-op board or a strict one?

A. While there is no clear answer to your question, our experts put forward several persuasive theories:

Liberal. "Given the choice between a liberal and a strict co-op board in general from a market perspective, it is better to have the liberal board," says Roberta Axelrod, a real estate broker and asset manager at Time Equities. "Purchasers want to be approved and sellers want their buyers approved. Owners want to be allowed maximum freedom to live in their units as they choose to and are wary of buildings that are overly restrictive. On the other hand, no one wants to buy into a building where owners can't pay their maintenance so there needs to be a balance between no review and a building that gets a reputation for being overly strict. It is always best to have a board which is in line with the norms of the market."

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6.19.12 Gordon Roberts in The Daily News
NYDailyNews.com

Ask an expert:

Will a European kitchen hurt my home's value?

Experts weigh in on if an alternative kitchen layout will hurt your resale value

Q. I'm planning to remodel my kitchen in the European style, including a built-in wide fridge under the countertop, and a separate cooktop and oven. It will be beautiful and expensive, but not a traditional American kitchen. How will that affect the resale value of my apartment?

A. To the extent that it turns some buyers away from your apartment, a European-style kitchen--particularly the refrigerator you have in mind--will likely have a depressing affect on your resale values, say our experts.

While your separate cooktop and oven may actually "be viewed as a plus in the American market," says Roberta Axelrod, a real estate broker and asset manager at Time Equities, the same is not true for your refrigerator.

"The under-the-countertop fridge may be off-putting to some buyers wired to stand in front of an open fridge and stare at its contents," says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty, who recommends a traditional upright fridge. That said, he observes, "if space is limited, a below-countertop fridge could be a clever and attractive solution."

Real estate agent Deanna Kory of Corcoran agrees that the amount of available space will play a huge role in how buyers perceive your kitchen.

"Often, European-style kitchens seek to maximize small spaces with seemingly non-traditional placements of appliances," she says. "The only instance in which this would negatively affect resale value is if the unit’s square footage allows for a larger kitchen. If the apartment does not permit a larger kitchen then it lessens the negative impact--but if it is possible to expand, buyers typically like to have standard size kitchen appliances and good size working spaces. For whatever reasons, tall, but narrow fridges seem okat if the space will only permit such."

If you own a condo, or in the rare co-op amenable to pied a terres, your eventual buyer may be a European looking for a pied a terre.

Manhattan appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel agrees that renovations should generally conform to local tastes.

"A rule that I and most appraisers live by is, 'The more personalized the upgrade, the less it contributes to the value of your home,'" says Miller, who presumably would express the same view of a koi pond installed in your living room.

"Highly personalized improvements tend to appeal to a smaller subset of your housing market than upgrades done in a neutral way," says Miller. "Neutral in this context means what most buyers in your market tend to want, not what you want. The more people there are who want a certain style of upgrade, the more they will pay for it."


4.25.12 Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground/NY Daily News

Ask an Expert: How much is a dining room worth?

Q.
Percentage-wise, how much more should I expect to pay for an apartment with a separate dining room, versus a standard 2 bedroom, where you basically eat in your living room?

What about a true eat-in kitchen, where you can put a whole table, not just a couple of stools next to a counter?

A. In space-deprived New York City, you will certainly pay more for the privilege of noshing in an area specifically designated for that activity, agree our experts.

How much more is a little harder to pin down.

Visit www.brickunderground.com for the rest of the story ...


3.1.12 Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground and the Daily News
Ask an Expert: Is it ok to put a kid in a windowless 'bedroom'?

Q. I've seen some apartments advertised as one-bedroom with a "home office" that can be used as a bedroom. Often they're used as children's rooms, which is what my wife and I are thinking of doing.
Is it legal to put a child in a windowless "bedroom"? Is it safe? (I'm thinking about fires, air quality etc.) Pricewise, what's the right discount for this type of apartment versus a "true" two-bedroom?

A. These "home offices" are often found in office buildings converted into residential use, where apartment layouts tend to be deep and narrow, says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty. He notes that many adults claim these spaces as master bedrooms because they have a "cocoon-like blackout-quality."

Visit www.brickunderground.com for the rest of the story ...

3.1.12 Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground and the Daily News
Ask an Expert: Botox for co-ops worried about younger, sexier condos

Q. My co-op wants to stay competitive with newer condos in our downtown neighborhood. In what order would you rank the following projects in terms of their effect on resale values: Lobby and hallway renovation, roof deck addition, elevator replacement, playroom/gym addition?

A
. Our experts agree that there is no one-size-fits-all answer, so you may want to convene a few real estate brokers who've done business in your building for a mini-focus group on what would benefit your building the most.

Generally speaking, the cosmetic condition of the lobby, hallways, and elevator should be your top priority.

"In a perfect world, assuming money is not an issue, the curb appeal of a building is extremely important," says Dan Wurtzel, president of Cooper Square Realty.

If the lobby and hallway are really "blah or look poorly maintained, potential buyers are likely to draw negative conclusions about the building as a whole," says Gordon Roberts, a real estate broker with Warburg Realty. "It needn't be an ostentatious renovation. Improved lighting, clean wall surfaces, polished floors can all add to a welcoming atmosphere that communicates that it's a 'nice' building."
Also, notes Roberts, "many people would be willing to overlook a so-so lobby in favor of a smooth, worry-free elevator....so if the elevator is molasses-slow breaks down a lot, and gets feedback like 'This is the worst elevator of all time and I'm afraid to go in it,' it would be worth it to address that deficiency first."

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2.1.12 Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground/NY Daily News
Ask an expert: Why am I having trouble selling my apartment?

Q. I've been trying to sell my Upper East Side one-bedroom for 4 months. I've had 6 open houses, no offers, and very little feedback one way or the other. I did everything my broker suggested in terms of staging, purging, and freshening, and lowered the price a total of 10%.
Right now it's just below the price that an apartment two floors under mine sold for last spring. (In case you were wondering, we are NOT affected by the Second Avenue subway construction.)
Any suggestions? How do I know if the problem is the price, the apartment, or the broker?

A. It's tough to tell without seeing your apartment and studying the comparables, say the experts, but price is the most likely culprit, particularly if you based your asking price on the spring sale in your building.

"Over the last few months, from the spring 2011 season to fall 2011, the market saw a substantial shift. In some cases prices were down 10 percent," says real estate broker Deanna Kory of The Corcoran Group.

More specifically to your situation, it's a buyer's market for Upper East Side one-bedrooms right now, says real estate broker Gordon Roberts of Warburg Realty.

Visit www.brickunderground.com for the rest of the story ...


1.26.12 Gordon Roberts in The New York Times
The New York Times
Market Ready
Reupholstering a Built-In Banquette
Market Ready is a series of articles on strategic home repairs and
redecorating that can be done to prepare a home for sale.

Q. I have a built-in banquette in my kitchen. Should I reupholster it before trying to sell my home?

A. If you have a kitchen banquette that’s covered with stained or worn fabric, it may be a good idea to reupholster it before opening your home to potential buyers.

“Oftentimes banquettes have a lot of food stains on them, or kids have been standing on them,” said Gordon Roberts, a managing director at Warburg Realty in New York. “They can just look really beat up. That can be a distraction if the rest of the kitchen is showing well.”

In that case, Mr. Roberts recommended re-covering it, because “it’s a relatively inexpensive thing to do, and it will freshen a kitchen up,” making the whole room look more appealing.

But if the rest of the kitchen is in poor condition as well, he said, reupholstering the banquette might not be such a good investment. “If the kitchen is really old and needs to be gutted,” he said, “then reupholstering the banquette is not going to save the day.”

Philip Gorrivan, a New York interior designer who frequently uses banquettes in his projects, said that they can be a good selling point because they are a very efficient use of space. “I always tell my clients they should have them,” he said.

For a high-traffic area like the kitchen, Mr. Gorrivan said, he almost always has banquettes upholstered in a fabric that’s suitable for indoor and outdoor use. “It’s engineered really well, and any stains come out of the fibers,” he said. “It lasts forever.”

Indoor-outdoor fabrics have come a long way from the stiff, uncomfortable textiles of yesteryear, he added. “You’d be amazed: usually, you can’t even tell that it’s an outdoor fabric,” he said. “They’ve gotten so good and so chic that you can even get indoor-outdoor velvets.” Some of his favorite manufacturers include DeLany & Long, Duralee, Knoll and Perennials.

If you’ve already selected a fabric that isn’t naturally stain-resistant, Mr. Gorrivan said, you could have it treated by a fabric protection service like Fiber-Seal, “but I really think that indoor-outdoor fabric is a better way to go.”

Mr. Gorrivan recommends a fabric with a small-scale pattern or subtle color variations, rather than a solid color. “The more texture or pattern, the more sins you can hide,” he said. “I would go with a tight, textured pattern, like a nice weave.”

You might also want to take a close look at the condition of the upholstery in the rest of your home, even if you’ll be taking most of it with you. If your furniture is dirty, most of it can be steam-cleaned, Mr. Roberts said. “The couch, the chairs and the slipcovers.”

It doesn’t cost much, he said, and it will help give buyers the best impression of your home.


8.31.11 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com
Ask an Expert: My lot-line windows are about to vanish. Do I have to tell buyers?
by Teri Karush Rogers | 8/31/11 - 7:52 AM

Q. My apartment is on the market, and I recently learned that the building next door is planning to add three more stories and that my apartment will lose two east-facing windows. Do I have to tell prospective buyers?

A. Maybe, and regardless of whether you have to, you probably should, say our experts.

Although New York is still generally a "buyer-beware" state, says real estate lawyer Alan Fried, and "while generally a seller is not obligated to voluntarily disclose negative conditions about a property being sold--other than a few government-required disclosures like lead paint--a seller may not actively conceal a condition or make affirmative misrepresentations."

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8.24.11 Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com
Ask an Expert: Buying a co-op when you're self-employed

Q. I've been an independent marketing consultant for five years and I want to buy an apartment. Income-wise, I had one bad year three years ago but other than it's been pretty steady at around $225,000 a year. Still, I've heard co-op boards have a bias against self-employed buyers. Should I even bother looking at co-ops? If so, do you have any suggestions for how to present my income and self-employed status in the best light?

A. Co-ops have historically been cautious about approving freelancers and entrepreneurs, but the times they are a-changin', according to some of our experts.

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7.5.11 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com
Q. When picking an agent to sell my apartment, how much does it matter whether the agent has sold in the neighborhood before?

A. "While it's not absolutely critical that an agent has prior experience in your building or neighborhood, it can certainly be an advantage," says Manhattan real estate broker Gordon Roberts.
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12.7.10 Gordon Roberts on today's brickunderground.com
Ask an Expert: How many sales is too many?

Q. Future buyer here. Should I have concerns about buying in a building where a large number of units are being sold in a one year period? For example, I looked at 200 W. 20th. Have to wonder if it's due to shareholders wanting to move up to a larger unit, or something negative like bedbugs.

A. Should you be concerned? Maybe. Maybe not. Due to the variety and depth of our experts’ very interesting responses (six from real estate brokers, three from real estate lawyers and one from an appraiser), we’re departing from our usual format and printing each reply individually.

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11.16.10 Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on today's brickunderground
Shirley Hackel and Gordon Roberts on today's brickunderground

Q. If I go to an open house on my own and sign in under my own name (i.e., without listing a broker, because I’m not working with one), can the seller’s broker stop me from bringing in my own broker later? Or can I bring in my own broker at any time?

A. According to the real estate brokers on our expert panel, it’s perfectly okay to bring in your own broker later even though it may make the seller’s broker (who stands to earn the entire commission instead of half by representing both sides) a bit cranky.

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10.25.10 Gordon Roberts on today's brickunderground.com
Ask an Expert: Is central air necessary in a high-end renovation?

Q: Is it necessary to install central a/c in a high-end renovation? How much does it cost, and what’s the premium on resale?

A. Most buyers expect central air in high-end renovation unless it’s technically impossible to install, according to our experts.

“Window units are decidedly down market,” says real estate broker Gordon Roberts. “In general, luxury climate means comfort which is state-of-the-art, efficient and felt, but not seen or heard.”

Real estate broker Deanna Kory says central a/c seems very important “for mint renovations of $3.5 million and up. Some buildings won’t allow it so through-wall is second choice.”

If you’re still not sure, consider the potential competition when it’s time to sell. “Are there other units in the building with central air?” says Roberts. “Then you should probably follow suit. And if you’re already thinking about resale, what are the comparables in your neighborhood? Is central air the norm in properties you’d hope to be commensurate with?”

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9.14.10 Shirley Hackel, Gordon Roberts, Sarah Smith on brickunderground.com
Should I paint my exposed brick wall before selling?

Q. I own a junior one-bedroom in Manhattan that I'd like to put on the market within the next year. The apartment overall is in mint condition and I wouldn't expect whomever lives here next would need to do much (if any) work before they move in.

However, I have one wall that is exposed brick that I'd really like to paint white. I've asked around, and most people say that I shouldn't paint over it, and then they wax poetic about how much they love the look of exposed brick in general.

I, too, am fond of the look. However, my wall is not is the static, neat looking kind that most people think of.

It's messy with mortar caked over the brick in some places, the bricks are different colors in spots and (most significantly) there are several areas and large holes that have been cemented over the years that make the whole wall just look messy.

Would painting the brick negatively affect my resale value when it comes time to put it on the market? In photos, the wall will probably look great, but up close, it's like a hot mess. What do buyers think when they see exposed brick or when they see it painted?

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7.15.10 Gordon Roberts in The Village Voice
Could Your Dog Pass a Co-op Board Interview?

You know how co-op board interviews are this intimidating New York Thing that rich people worry about? Well, it's not just people -- we read yesterday that people's dogs are now having to pass these interviews along with their humans. It's true! If you're trying to get into a co-op and your dog is a bit barky or likes to jump -- basically, if your dog sometimes messes up and acts like a dog -- you may be out of luck. We asked around and found out some advice for making sure your doggy passes its interview.

Gordon Roberts, a broker with Warburg Realty, told us that "as a broker, I try to smooth the way for the meeting." This includes helping the owners prepare a "profile" of the dog for the board to look at pre-interview.

"New York is so atypical of other real estate markets," Roberts said. "This is kind of an 'only-in-New-York' thing.'" I'll say!

We also spoke with Andrea Arden, a professional dog trainer. She said that demand for co-op board interview training has gone up in the past five years. She trains dogs in things like "elevator etiquette," "walking nicely," and being able to be quiet when they're alone. Apparently, sometimes during an interview, the humans will just put the dog alone in a room to test whether or not it will bark. "There's not always much you can do," she said. Besides muzzling the dog, I guess.

Arden sets up sort-of "rehearsals" in which the dog is led through a series of situations that mimic a potential meeting. Dogs also take a "Canine Good Citizen" test that some co-op boards look at. "People are now doing things to build their pet's résumé," Arden said. Dogs! With résumés! Maybe we should just give up and consider them people now.

Let's get servicey: What breeds are a better pick for this kind of thing? Arden said that dachshunds, beagles, and Yorkshire terriers, while small, are a pretty barky little group of dogs. Which, clearly, you're not really going for. On the other end of the spectrum, there are some bigger dogs that "co-op boards will automatically raise an eyebrow about."

Dogs are also taught something called "hand targeting," which is basically a doggy handshake in which the dog uses its nose and gently nudges your hand. This is radically different from our family dog's greeting method of knocking you down to the ground while licking your face, and much more appropriate for polite society.

Rich-people buildings are weird. Their doormen play Tooth Fairy, and your dog needs a résumé to get in. Maybe just get a cat? Though surely that's a whole other can of Fancy Feast.


6.18.10 Gordon Roberts on today's brickunderground.com
Fresh Start Fridays: Washer/dryer included
Friday, June 18, 2010

Two-bed, two-bath prewar 2nd-floor walk-up on a cul-de-sac on East 72nd Street (in one of the Upper East Side's "Black and White" buildings) overlooks East River and features oversized windows and a roomy kitchen with under-the-counter outside-vented washer/dryer. $950,000, $1,794/mo maintenance. [Warburg]



6.15.10 Gordon Roberts on brickunderground.com
When is a two-bedroom too small to sell?

Q. I'm looking at buying a two-bedroom apt in Park Slope, but the bedrooms are extremely small (5'10"x14'1" and 8'2"x14'1").

I need a two-bedroom and can't really afford anything bigger, but do you think that the small bedrooms are going to make it difficult to resell in the future or are there enough buyers in Park Slope that would find this layout and lower price range desirable?

A. That all depends, say the brokers we checked in with.

“A small two bedroom if priced right will always have a buyer,” says Terry Naini, an agent who works in brownstone and downtown Brooklyn. “That said, the specific location, condition, and health of the building are paramount.”

A small two-bedroom close to multiple train lines and the park with low monthly charges will sell easier than one that is further from the trains, with high carrying costs in a walk-up building, notes Naini.

Manhattan broker Gordon Roberts wondered if your two-bedroom is actually a one-bedroom in disguise.

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4.6.10 Gordon Roberts on BrickUnderground
My elderly neighbor is a safety hazard

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Q. Last night our elderly neighbor went out and left her dinner cooking on the stove, causing a panic when the hallway filled with smoke and bad smells and set off smoke alarms.
Fortunately the super was around and let himself into her apartment to shut off the stove before things got worse. But who knows whether we'll be so lucky next time.
What do people do about elderly neighbors' safety (and their own)?

A. This situation is unfortunately common. But it's possible to preserve dignity and safety at the same time.

As a first step, your managing agent and/or board members should meet with your neighbor to share their concerns and suggest some safety measures, says property manager Michael Wolfe. Some suggestions include stove timers and smoke alarms as well as automatic water valve shut-offs to prevent accidental floods.

It may also be time to reach out to your neighbor's family.

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