2018, Real Estate, and You
|A warm 2018 welcome to you all. Having turned over our calendars and brought in the new year, many of us are now occupied with a traditional slew of self-imposed goals, projects, and resolutions we'd like to fulfill. At the heart of all these commitments lie our homes and how we use them. Real estate– in its physical, tangible sense, and in its fiscal sense, or market value– plays an essential role in aiding (or obstructing) us in our paths to self-improvement.|
That's why we chose to use this first-of-2018 post to highlight some common resolutions most New Yorkers face at the start of each new year. They include breaking old habits (about 13% of us smoke cigarettes), learning new disciplines (physical exercise is key), and following through on old projects (because you can't ignore home renovations forever).
Our own Bamberger Report has discussed each of these challenges before in great detail, and we've done our best to summarize the findings below. Browse their highlights and click on any of the photos or linked text to read the original articles in full.
Despite pursuing an aggressive anti-cigarette policy in public spaces, New York City's residential apartments remain largely untouched by government regulation. Check out the main points below, and read the full article to learn more about how your real estate and smoking habits might affect each other.
- In March 2003, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced a comprehensive ban on cigarette smoking in all New York City restaurants and bars. It was the first nail in the proverbial coffin for a decade-long anti-smoking initiative led by both the city and state.
- City and state officials have yet to implement any widespread bans on smoking in residential apartments. There are bans, however, on smoking in common areas, like stairwells, lobbies, and laundry rooms.
- Co-op boards have the right to consider their own cigarette bans, and with good reason. According to a 2008 PHAI study cited in an article on The Cooperator, only 19% of prospective buyers visiting an apartment would still be interested in purchasing if they smelled tobacco smoke.
Few Manhattanites are likely to bite on big ticket fitness equipment. Some fear the wrath of neighbors who will pound on doors, floors and ceilings at the first hint of a treadmill; others simply can't sacrifice the precious square footage to a large and intrusive machine. For most apartment dwellers, fitness options are limited to either the building's gym, or membership in an outside club. Read the full story here, or skim the main points below to learn more.
- The Bamberger Report scouted six co-op buildings– three with gyms, three without, and each with 100-300 apartments– and conducted interviews with residents in each building.
- The results revealed a split in the marketplace between buyers who highly valued the convenience, privacy and/or availability of an in-house gym, and those who did not value those features. Group 1 was likely to gravitate toward buildings with gyms, even at a substantially higher cost. Group 2 was likely to balk at the cost of an in-house gym, even if that cost were discernible only in maintenance and not in a higher price per square foot. Group 3– which turned out to be smaller than we had expected– was the group that wanted a gym, would prefer it in-house, but was prepared to walk a block or two if the price wasn't right.
- The bottom line: having a gym in the building is likely to add to the cost per square foot of your apartment. The amount it adds will vary dramatically over time, depending on the amount of buyers (from Group 3) in the marketplace at any given time.
Renovations can have a huge financial impact on the value of your apartment. On the other hand, they are extremely personal– not to mention herculean– efforts to undertake. And remodeling an apartment to fit an owner’s particular needs does not always translate into a higher price tag. We've seen cases where apartments languish on the marketplace for months without generating buyer interest because they have been designed for too-specific tastes. While there certainly are renovation success stories, it's important to consider why you're deciding to renovate before taking the plunge. If you'd like to explore this topic beyond the summary points below, be sure to view the full article here.
- “If you’re planning on living in the apartment for more than five years,” says interior designer John Chadwick when speaking to The Bamberger Report, “renovate to your taste and don’t worry about value. In all likelihood the wear and tear will devalue the renovations regardless.” However, if you’re planning on living in an apartment for less than five years, it’s a smart choice to treat the property as a flip.
- Consider installing a washer/dryer in your apartment, if your building allows it. Brokers and building managers alike have been quick to note the rising popularity for washer/dryer units in individual apartments over the past decade. Despite increasing demand, a 2010 New York Times article reports that only 20% of sales and apartment listings in Manhattan include these units, making them a still hard-to-find luxury.
- It’s easy for bathrooms to become outdated, which makes it especially important for any homeowner to replace damages and consider thorough cleanings before selling the apartment. If you’re remodeling, don’t underestimate the importance of picking the right appliances– especially the faucets.
- Whether you decide to do a basic kitchen fix-up or a more intricate renovation such as installing special moldings or a wine cooler, it’s also important for you to consider the features of surrounding apartments, both in your building and in the neighborhood. Buyers usually look for apartments in one specific area to follow a particular aesthetic; you want your apartment to satisfy this “norm,” but also be a tad more spacious and modern.
It's no secret that good habits start at home. Our homes are in many ways a physical manifestation of our lifestyles, with our strengths and weaknesses reflected in equal measure in the apartments we inhabit. We hope the articles compiled here shed light on how you can leverage your real estate to help affect changes in your own life, one day at a time.
Make it Yours,
Dan & Aaron