Archive for category: Blog

Launch of the Marco Polo Festival in New York City

The Marco Polo festival dedicated to East Asian culture

http://www.nydailynews.com/2.1279/marco-polo-festival-helps-city-discover-new-cultures-article-1.1489025

Festivities at the Marco Polo Festival in Chinatown and Little Italy

After the Boston Marathon Tragedy, NYC authorities will be implementing new security measures. Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/04/sports/organizers-overhaul-security-plan-for-marathon.html?_r=0

The Real Estate Marketing is Still Decreasing Despite of Price Gains

An interesting report from Las Vegas Review Journal stating that the US Real Estate market is still suffering, harming construction jobs all over the country. However, certain states lile NV and AZ report price growth: http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/business-press/real-estate-housing-starts-down-construction-jobs-further-down

Ron Hershco on Madison Square Garden Losing their Lease

Madison Square Garden

Late last month, when reviewing the lease of Madison Square Garden, the Department of City Planning recommended that its commissioners grant the Madison Square Garden Company a limited 15-year renewal. This means MSG will most likely be leaving the neighborhood in 2029.

The Huffington Post  highlights the current predicament MSG is in:

The Madison Square Company had sought an unlimited extension for The World’s Most Famous Arena, which had been operating under a temporary certificate of occupancy since its 50-year permit expired in December.

Local leaders and community groups, by contrast, had advocated for a 10-year cap, which they said would help force the arena to relocate and make way for an expansion of Penn Station, the busiest and one of the most overcrowded transit hubs in the country. City Planning ultimately tried to find middle ground, Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said Wednesday.

“The special permit term limit we are approving today recognizes that Madison Square Garden occupies a unique location on top of a major transit hub,” Burden explained, adding that the vote was unanimous.

The City Council has 50 days to vote on City Planning’s decisions, a City Planning spokeswoman said. If it does not, the measures will automatically go into effect.

The Madison Square Garden Company said it was “extremely disappointed” in Wednesday’s outcome.”

Do you think MSG should move from its current home? If so, where should it move to?

Hurricane Season and Flood Insurance – What Ron Herscho Wants You to Know

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The 2013 hurricane season began on June 1 and will officially end on November 30. Ron Hershco believes now is the best time to make sure your properties are covered with you current flood insurance policy.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about new FEMA evaluations on how much flood insurance should be attained by multiple mortgage holders:

The Federal Emergency Management Administration is currently re-evaluating flood maps, requiring more jumbo-mortgage holders with homes in high-hazard areas to buy flood insurance. Also, changes to federal law enacted in July are expected to jack up premiums.

Even though flood coverage is only mandated for government-backed mortgages, or conforming loans, lenders generally keep the same requirements for jumbo borrowers who live in high-hazard (Zone A) areas. These are defined by FEMA as having a 26% chance of flooding during the lifespan of a 30-year mortgage.

“The pool of people required to pay flood insurance has dramatically increased,” said Peter Grabel, a senior mortgage loan originator at Stamford, Conn.-based Luxury Mortgage.

Both Bank of America and Wells Fargo require jumbo-mortgage borrowers to obtain the $250,000 maximum coverage available for residential properties under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is an arm of FEMA. Homeowners can purchase a second NFIP personal-property policy that covers up to $100,000 to replace a home’s contents.

Homeowners also have the option to buy what is called “excess” flood insurance from private insurers to cover repair or replacement costs above $250,000.”

Where you or your family affected by Hurricane Sandy? Did you have flood insurance before last year’s hurricanes? Do you plan on getting it now?

 

Ron Hershco and Living Under Co-Op Rules

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Can you imagine being told what shoes to wear in your own building? What about having your umbrella and rain boots taken away when you leave them outside your door to dry for a quick moment? How about being told you can have a dog, just not the breed of dog you currently own? These are just a few examples of harsh co-op board rules that exist in NYC.

Ron Hershco recommends getting a list of the co-op board rules for living BEFORE putting in an application. There most likely won’t be a rule to make you not buy the apartment of your dreams, but if you’re early in your process, a known list of rules could help you narrow down your options.

A recent article in The New York Times gave a more detailed background on where these rules came from:

“The average co-op or condominium has two dozen house rules. “Typically, they’re quality-of-life rules meant to benefit everyone in the closed community,” said Toni Hanson, a vice president and senior managing director of Douglas Elliman.

While there’s good sense behind many of these rules — don’t hang or shake things out the window; lay off the stereo before or after a certain hour — certain strictures can charitably be described as quirky, not to say capricious or overreaching. Your home is your castle? Think again.

It’s all, of course, in the interest of helping a building full of strong-minded New Yorkers coexist in (relative) harmony. Co-op boards have long issued directives about deportment and decorum, and condo boards are increasingly following suit. For the most part, they are well within their rights. Residents can either get with the program or get behind a co-op coup to remove the big-brother board members in their midst.

Generally, thanks to what’s known as the business judgment rule, boards have broad latitude in making, amending and rescinding house rules — the good, the bad and the decidedly wiggy. If board members think a situation needs to be addressed, they can address away without input from residents.”

Have you ever experienced any of these tough co-op rules? Do you think they are fair or unjust? What rules would you make sure to enforce?

Ron Herschco on Illegal NYC Housing Laws

Global rental website Airbnb, which connects short-term renters with budget priced room rentals, has found themselves on the wrong side of the law in NYC. Residents are restricted by NYC law from renting out rooms or apartments for fewer than 30 days, unless they are also living in the home as the same time as the visitor. This is contradicts the basic business plan of Airbnb.

Earlier this month, Ron Hershco commented on the Department of Buildings cracking down on real estate agents and brokers. Now it seems they are heavily pursuing non-licensed renters and average home owners as well.

According to Time Magazine it is not the first time Airbnb has been in trouble:

No stranger to similar controversies in other cities, Airbnb released a statement saying it will continue to fight the legal battle. While its  terms of service say that users are fully liable for complying with local laws, the company maintains that New York City’s laws are not aimed at individual tenants, but instead at preventing landlords from buying residential buildings and operating them as hotels, reports CNN Money. The San Francisco-based company, which currently operates in over 33,000 cities in 192 countries, has raised the ire of authorities elsewhere — most recently in Amsterdam, where the main issue is that local laws, such as paying tourist taxes, are circumvented with Airbnb transactions.

Since New York City’s mayor’s office of special enforcement began carefully scrutinizing short-term rental issues in 2006, it has received more than 3,000 complaints, conducted nearly 2,000 inspections and issued nearly 6,000 notices of violation, according to the New York Times. In January, the travel news site Skift estimated that approximately half of Airbnb’s listings  in New York City “are likely illegal.”

Have you ever rented to or from someone that could violate this new law? Do you know anyone who has?

Ron Hershco and Real Estate Upgrades

It’s interesting to see how things change over time. Recently, Ron Hershco saw the new One World Trade go up and forever change the NYC skyline. Even more recently, Firemen’s Hall, at 155 Mercer Street went under a few extreme renovations and turned the corner to make some great improvements.

According to The New York Times, here’s a little history on Firemen’s hall:

Firemen’s Hall, used for two fire companies and as the volunteers’ headquarters. The New York Times described the style of the brownstone facade as “Italian, or in other words, a composition of Greek and Roman, applied by the Italians to modern building.”

According to The Times account, written when the cornerstone was laid, the building was to be surmounted with three pedestals, the center one with a full-size statue of a fireman, “the same one who has stood sentry for so many years in front of the old Hall,” which had been on the same site.

At the end of the ceremony, the department was presented with the skiff that in 1842 had floated from the Croton Aqueduct to the new reservoir in Central Park, which greatly improved not only the city’s water purity but its firefighting capacity.

What was once a bit of an eyesore has turned into one of the chic real estate developments on 2013. The building was completely redone with a touch of its old charm. Have you seen any other developments around NYC that have been recast from old to new?

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New York Has a New Skyline says Ron Hershco

Today was a milestone of a day for New York City. One Word Trade Center became the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, at 1,776 feet tall. The skyline will forever be changed and for those who remember the events on almost twelve years ago, this is a day that they will also never forget.

People say it all the time, and it couldn’t be more true. There’s no place like New York. As someone who has dealt with Manhattan real estate for years, it’s amazing to see the change that took place today.

From the Associated Press’ report of the morning ceremony:

 

A tall, heavy spire was fully installed atop One World Trade Center on Friday, bringing the New York City structure to its symbolic height of 1,776 feet.

Loud applause and cries of joy erupted from construction workers assembled below as the huge, silver spire was gently lowered and secured into place. “It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” Juan Estevez said from a temporary platform on the roof of the tower where he and other workers watched the milestone.

“It’s a culmination of a tremendous amount of team work … rebuilding the New York City skyline once again,” said Estevez, a project manager for Tishman Construction.He said the workers around him were “utterly overjoyed.”

Installation of the 408-foot, 758-ton spire was completed after pieces of it had been transported to the roof of the building last week. It will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna and also as a beacon to ward off aircraft.

Lee Ielpi, whose firefighter son died after responding to the attacks, watched workers secure the spire from his office at the nearby 9/11 Tribute Center, which he co-founded.”The building looks spectacular. … I’m looking forward to the day when the cranes come down and they light the spire at night,” he said. “It’s supposed to be a very moving experience.”

The tower is slated to open for business in 2014.

New York City definitely has a new skyline.

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Ron Hershco Says Downsizing Has Its Advantages

When you live in New York City, the question of space when it comes to real estate is a big one. Whether you’re looking to sublet, rent or even buy, people want to know that they’re getting the maximum space for their buck. While some look at the expensive and trendy West Village, others are looking to move a bit north to the likes on Harlem to get the most bang for their buck.

A recent New York Times article followed a family as they looked to move from their Greenwich Village rental to a three-bedroom two-bathroom co-op. However, it seemed they couldn’t find what they were looking for close by. The family turned to Harlem and found just what they were looking for in a duplex at a building on Fifth Avenue and 127th Street, that was recently converted to condominiums.

The thing you have to remember with New York City real estate is that by staying flexible you’ll be able to have more options and might even be able to find the perfect space that you’re looking for. Don’t be turned off just by the sound of a location. There are renovations taking place across the city – annexes being built and new buildings sprouting up.

Have you ever thought about downsizing a bit and moving to a new location?

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