Sometimes it is difficult for real estate agents to write a glowing ad for an apartment. Words like “tiny” and “cramped” are substituted for words like “intimate.” NY1 real estate reporter Jill Urban recently wrote about the truth behind real estate ads and how the average apartment hunter can save time  by eliminating certain apartment listings altogether. Her trick? Apartment hunters just need to know what adjectives to look for.

“Cozy,” “interesting,”and “potential” are red flags that an apartment might have problems. “Cozy” usually means undersized while “interesting” means that this apartment isn’t to everyone’s tastes. “Potential” is almost always the realtor’s way of saying that the apartment will need work. Even if the place is marked down considerably, apartment hunters should move along. A discount is not as much of a discount after sinking lots of money into fixing up an apartment with “potential.”

To read the full article, go to, and find out the right and wrong words to look for in a real estate ad.

Check out residential buildings all over Manhattan at our informational website Neighborhood NYC at


stone glass towerAt a rental industry event today in Midtown Manhattan, executives from a major landlord with over 2000 residential rental units in Manhattan acknowledged a market recovery in its early stages. They talked about how they are responding to higher occupancy rates, more consumer traffic, and rental incentives that have fueled the declined rental market over the past year.  In the most prime locations, owner-paid broker commissions (also known as OPs) and free rent incentives are being taken back, leaving tenants to pay today’s market prices without the benefit of “net effective” rents.  This also puts the responsibility for the broker fee back in the tenant’s court.

This landlord, who graciously sent three of its top brass to discuss the marketplace with rental managers and principal brokers from the most notable brokerage companies in Manhattan, noted that the one sweet spot in the city for consumers to capture bargains is Midtown West.  They, along with Silverstein, Rockrose and Glenwood, have added hundreds of new residential units in the Hudson Yards district – with more now under construction.  Consumers can continue to expect the big discounts, bargain prices, free rent incentives and owner paid fees in this neighborhood for the foreseeable future.

It is interesting that since October 1, our listings department has identified major landlords such as Rockrose/TF Cornerstone, Archstone, Related Management, and Equity Residential, who have removed owner paid commissions and free rent incentives in prime neighborhoods such as Chelsea, Greenwich Village, TriBeCa and even the Financial District (in some cases).  Other major landlords continue to pay brokers and give discounts; however, the four landlords mentioned here account for more than 10,000 residential rental units in Manhattan.  It is clear that a change is underway.street lamps and beaux arts building

This new disparity in the changing market makes it more important than ever for consumers to identify a good broker / agent and stick with them.  We offer a unique perspective on the marketplace, as we keep up with which landlords are offering the best values, and where the definitions of value are changing.  While it might seem like a good use of time for a consumer to canvas each of the major landlord portfolios in search of bargains and discounts, a simple phone call to a reputable broker could yield the same information in a single conversation thus saving you time and we all know “time is money”.

I’m currently showing this gorgeous prewar apartment in the East Village and I want to make my case for living on a first floor. I get a lot of phone calls about well priced East Village apartments, but often callers hang up when I tell them it’s located on the fourth or fifth floor. I tell them, “Well that’s why it’s so well priced!” Walking up three to five flights of stairs will usually get you a bigger, better space.

Having stated my case, I urge everyone to consider life on the first floor in the East Village. Many people are avidly against living on the first floor of an apartment building yet this is a golden opportunity to get a great space at a discount, and you don’t have to climb hundreds of stairs to get there! In fact, you can come and go from long trips or with your laundry/groceries without any hassle.

This particular East Village apartment I am showing is a grand two bedroom, easily converted into three bedrooms. There is tons of prewar charm and original details: high ceilings, crown molding, beautiful herringbone floors, and large rooms. The bedrooms are large, much like the great sized rooms you get in those old prewar buildings on the Upper West Side, but in this case it is situated in the younger, much hipper East Village.

This is the only apartment like it in this building, and do you may wonder why?!?! BECAUSE IT’S ON THE FIRST FLOOR! Yes you got it, First floor apartments usually have higher ceilings and more room, because buildings are often configured with a standard layout that doesn’t apply on the ground floor. First floor apartments are an opportunity to have something different.

Let’s not forget that you get more space for your money. This apartment would easily be $4,000 or more just one flight up. So why pay more to walk up an extra flight of stairs when this first floor apartment is only $3650. That is a rhetorical question considering in this economic climate everyone is looking for a deal, and I say look at an even better deal right here. At least take a look, you might find your aversion to first floor living was imbedded in your brain long ago when you first moved to the city and your parents convinced you that east village crack heads that would come knocking on your door:) Well, to the dismay of many locals who remember when the Musical “RENT” was an accurate depiction of the local fare, the gentrification of the area actually makes the “RENT” scenario more of an anachronism.

You can view this listing here

To Contact Pia Dubitsky you can call her @ (917) 882-6437 or email her @ pia[at]benjaminjames[dot]com

So what do you think, we hit the bottom, and we’re coming back, If so, then I would like to introduce you to 75 Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. This building is offering a very consumer friendly rent to own option that puts a lot of control into the buyers’ hands with very limited to no risk! Here’s how it works.

First you choose and lease a no fee apartment in this top of the line high rise condo conversion.  The deal works like any other hi-rise apartment in NYC and as a incentive you even get two months’ rent free whether or not you buy. At the time of lease signing you enter into a purchase price agreement for the sale of the unit which happens 14 months after  the lease start date! You are not bound to this price, and you don’t even have to close but the owner / building is bound, giving the advantage to the tenant / buyer.  If you agree to move forward and buy the unit, 100% of the rent you paid over the last year goes toward the purchase of the Condo, and you just lived rent free for a year, and lived very well!

This building has many 5 star Hotel amenities, because the first 18 floors of the building is a 5 star Hotel which is Part of Hyatt’s new luxury lifestyle brand named Andaz™. That tends to make me believe it’s not going to have a hard time holding its value. Your Potential “Risk”: the market doesn’t go up in the next year but let’s not forget that you live like a king in these outstanding units at a competitive rent. Your Potential “Reward”: the market comes back, and you have a locked in price from a year prior (when the residential market was reeling in the recession), and enter into a contract with a deep discount.

To Exercise this Option, give me a call @ 201-218-1198 or Email me, Neil Nerich.

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Benjamin James Rental Agent Suzanne Belmont talks about this season’s rental incentive (deals) and a renter’s readiness.

Everybody knows Landlord incentives like free rent and paying broker fees has kept the New York City rental market going during the market decline of the past 16 months.  As fall sets in on Manhattan this year, landlords are getting prepared for a slower season.  The good news is incentives will remain for now, and in some cases they will be increased, just to keep tenants signing new leases as the market once again builds steam.Carrot

Anyone looking to rent in the fourth quarter of 2009 can expect some fair price negotiability, landlord paid broker fees – especially on high rise rental units, flexibility on occupancy dates, and maybe even free time as a motivator to induce new tenants to sign up in the cooler season. 

paperworkA softer marketplace doesn’t mean applicants don’t have to be prepared!  Landlords are acutely aware of people’s credit problems and employment issues, and because of the financial squeeze citywide, it is more important than ever for prospective renters to be ready with employment verification letters, pay stubs, most current bank statements and even landlord references to verify their good tenant history. 

Whether it is doorman buildings, walk ups, elevator apartment buildings, townhouse, brownstone, coop or condo, I can create a stress free and enjoyable experience because I am on the front lines of the residential market each and every day.  I will find you your best deal and your dream home!

To view Suzanne’s inventory please visit or you can call her at 212-645-4477

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