Wednesday: MOVING DAY!!
Get up early and bring suitcases up to 79th and York
Afternoon: Meet movers and La Madre at U-Haul in Chelsea to get bedroom furniture out of storage.
Evening: Show apartments to Jen in Midtown
Show Italian girl apartments.
Junior League party. I still need a dress. I vowed that I will not wait until two hours before the party to find a dress, as I do with most Junior League events.
Teaching a writing class in the afternoon, the first of two I'm doing this fall.
Today was a good day. Got up early, showed some places to a great gal name Katherine who ended up taking a huge alcove studio on 24th and Park. Initially the super, who is from Montenagro, yelled at me for coming to the building without calling first, but by the end of the visit Katherine was sold on the place (and the super, apparently) and it was all hugs and smiles as we left to go fill out paperwork.
Tonight: Steps aerobics and a little creative work. Tomorrow the real fun begins.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
This morning I stopped at the McDonald's on 22nd and Sixth Avenue for a large coffee. I had my travel coffee mug with me, and so I asked the cashier just fill up my mug as opposed to giving my a styrofoam cup.
"I don't think we can do that," she said.
"It's OK," I said, "Just charge me for a large."
The cashier was flummoxed. She turned to her manager. "Can we do that? Fill her mug and charge her for a large?"
"No," the manager said. "If you want your coffee in your mug, you can pour it in from the cup we give you."
"That's really wasteful," I said. "The point of bringing your own mug is so that you cut down on waste."
I paid my $1.75 and out the door I went, with my mug and my styrofoam cup. The ironic part is that at most coffee shops, they'll only charge for a small if you bring your own mug. Maybe McDonald's gets some sort of profit handing out cups to people who don't use them.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
This past week was, to say the least, not a good one. Thanks to the blunders of two other brokers, two deals didn't go through, costing me several thousand dollars in commissions.
The first genius, we'll call him Phil, was a broker from another company that had a furnished one bedroom that my clients, a brother and sister from Europe, were going to share for a few months. My clients were approved, leases were drawn and checks were cut to both the owner and Phil, the other broker. My clients were staying at the Intercontinental Hotel, so the sooner they could get into the apartment, the better.
At 9:00 p.m. the night before, Phil The Genius told me the owners were calling the deal off because they didn't want an NYU student living in the apartment, and putting a bed in the living room.
This is when I lost my mind. My clients were in their late 30s, and taking professional development courses at NYU. They were going to put an air mattress in the living room, not an entire frame and box spring. But Phil, whose listening skills rival those of Helen Keller, apparently, told the owners that an undergrad and her brother would be living in the apartment. He misrepresented them, ruined the deal, and decided to tell me this hours before my clients were supposed to move in.
The lesson from all this is that although I couldn't control Phil's antics, maybe from now I need to control situations a little more. Early on I noticed Phil wasn't getting things right, but I never thought he would flub the whole deal after they were approved. Maybe I should have listened to my gut when I first felt that Phil wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, and been more clear about who exactly would be in the unit, and who they were. Then again, they did fill out an application, so that should have made it clear enough.
Needless to say I will never work on anything with Phil again, and if I can avoid his company, I will.
By the way, I found the quote because I follow a guy called ABKing on Twitter. You should, too.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I work in real estate everyday, and I can say with certainty that if there was ever a time of opportunity in New York City real estate, this is it. Housing prices have come down, as have interest rates. If you have good credit and good savings, you might find yourself in a favorable position to buy. Yes, you may have to put 20% down, but it would mean less to finance and pay off in the long run. And no one likes debt, right? (Certainly not the federal government, apparently.)
Of the many misleading parts of the ABC News piece, it focused on very high end apartments, and mostly co-ops.
Your typical New York City apartment does not cost anywhere near $50 million dollars. This piece would have you think you would need a king's ransom to own a home in Manhattan. In the past year there have been two developments that sent the average apartment price in Manhattan over the top: 15 Central Park West and The Plaza. Those are the $50 million palaces they were alluding to, and they are few and far between. If you have $500,000, you can find something in Manhattan. Heck, you can even find something for $350,000 is you wanted to. It would be a studio, but it would be yours.
Co-ops are notoriously tough, because the co-op board has to consider the health of the corporation, the building that you're buying into, when they screen applicants. It is, in fact, the co-op system in New York City that saved the city from much of the foreclosure mess the rest of the country is experiencing, because co-ops have stringent financial requirements, beginning with but not limited to your debt to income ratio (it should be under 30%, if not 25%) personal savings and assets as well as how you plan to finance your apartment. If you can't afford the place, they won't let you in. Good for them for being so responsible.
What you do for a living isn't as much of an issue as how your financials are. True, I had a listing agent rumble this week about a rental applicant's guarantor who worked in financial services, but by and large being in banking isn't going to be a liability. One would hope that someone who works in banking would know how to manage their salaries and bonuses so that they would be solid in case of an emergency.
The larger issue is why ABC News was using someone, Holly Peterson, who wrote a very bad chick lit book about being a socialite as an authority on real estate finance.
Till next time.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
A friend at the Junior League told me about an opening in their corporate communications department, a position where they were looking for someone with strong web skills (Hello!). I sent over a resume and eventually had two interviews with two different people. They went extremely well and I thought I had it in the bag.
Then they stopped calling. Cold.
I was upset and worried that maybe I had said something wrong, but considering how well the meetings went, I guessed that wasn't the case.
A few weeks later a very good friend was laid off from one of their offices in Jersey City. Shortly there after, the media started rumbling about Lehman's financial woes.
We all know how the story ends.
Long story short: I'm glad they never called me back.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
He gave me a few to blog, mostly because I liked all the dresses his mother and grandma used to wear. Do you have any family photos I could post? I'm kind of obsessed.
I want this dress. This is his mom at the prom. Methinks it's about 1965 or so. Maybe earlier?
These two are of grandma, who is quite the stylish lady, judging from the photos.
How come no one wears dresses like this anymore? More importantly, how long does it take to get into one of these?
This is a high school prom in upstate New York. Everyone looks so sharp!
Bathing beauties, circa 1950 or so. Great. Shot.
My family also plays instruments together, but no one ever brings an accordion. My friend, who is part Polish, has many family photos that include accordions, much less an upright bass. Awesome.
Early 1980s BMX action. Those socks rock.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
A few days ago I was walking by Anthropologie near Union Square when I saw their window displays. More than anything, I was surprised by how many books they managed to find in order to create it. For a Back To School display, it was ironic that they were treating the books as nothing more than decorative objects. Isn't that where the knowledge lies?
In a way, it kind of made me sad. Knowing how long it takes to write anything, it seemed a shame that so many people's work had been reduced to, quite literally, window dressing. Even worse, there was a stamp on the binding of a lot of the books that read "Brooklyn Public Library."
In this digital age I'm surprised that we aren't hearing more about Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451, the science fiction novel (and movie) from the 1960s in which it was illegal to own books. I'm also a little surprised Hollywood hasn't planned a re-make of it, since the first movie was a little campy, but its message it rather topical these days.
Note Brooklyn Public Library stamp on bindings.
Friday, September 12, 2008
The listing belonged to an agent at another brokerage. We'll call her Beth. Before leaving to go back to work at around 11:30 a.m., my client, we'll call him Mike, left me a $300 deposit and promised to fill out the application and fax me over paperwork as soon as he was in the office.
Finance being what it is these days, Mike couldn't get back to me until after the markets closed. But at 4:10 p.m. all his paperwork showed up in my fax, and so I walked it over to Beth's office at 4:20ish.
When I was in the lobby of her building, Beth called my cell phone. For some reason, she was screaming into the phone in her very thick Long Island accent.
"Pauline," she shouted. "Ya got some nerve telling me your client wanted the place, a place that I stopped showing all day loooong, and then you don't even have the decency to bring me an app and a deposit. That's a hot apartment and I just lost a day because you didn't control your client. Ya wasting my time."
This went on for a good 30 seconds, again, when I was just a few floors below her with a completed application and a deposit in my hand. When she stopped for air I said very calmly, "Beth. I'm the lobby. I have his application, paperwork and deposit in my hand. You just have to run his credit."
"What?!" she asked.
"I'll be up in two minutes." I said.
Beth stormed into the reception area once I was upstairs. "Ya know," she said, "When I say I need an app, I need an app. Right away."
"He works at a hedge fund," I said. "He can't do much until the markets close."
Beth said nothing, just flipped through the stack of papers in front of her, looking for a mistake, or something that I may have left out. It was as complete as it could be.
"Is he going to need a guarantor? I need their information, too, ya know." She said.
"He makes over $80,000 a year, plus a bonus. There's no need for one. Show the owner his tax return, if need be."
Again, Beth said nothing, most likely because she was too busy eating crow. She mumbled something about speaking with the owner, and I started the four block stroll to my office.
Less than half an hour later Beth called, sweet as candy. My client was approved. We could sign leases this weekend.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It's weird: it has I have an excellent connection, but when I open Mozilla the screen says I can't connect. Is there something being lost in the translation? I've tried everything from repair my connection, disabling and then reconnecting my modem, I even put in the new version of Mozilla a few weeks ago.
If anyone has ANY insight, please let me know. The computer is about a year old and usually runs great. If you want to come over and tinker with it, be my guest.
Thanks! I need to get back online -- fast!
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
...because mine does. Every time I put it on shuffle, it has a serious predilection for The Beatles, Sting, The Police and Amy Winehouse. I have lots of tunes on there, but Revolver keeps coming up time and time again.
A few years ago I had a different iPod and it also really liked British artists, especially The Libertines.
If someone can explain this to me, please let me know.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
TR and I had a lovely afternoon walking around the Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO and back over the Manhattan Bridge. He took some great shots of me that I need to share, if for no other reason than to spread Tom's talent to the masses.
All photos by Tom Rosinski.
In the empty warehouse