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Thread: Buying a new construction condominium

  1. #256

    Default HVAC Odors

    Has anyone on this board had to deal with the so called "dirty socks syndrome" from their new HVAC units? Basically an awful odor comes from the unit when the AC is running, it goes away after the service guys clean it, but it returns in weeks to months without fail. It took over 2 years before I learned that this was a known entity that affects these relatively new types of indoor HVACs. I have to believe with all the new residential buildings that have gone up in NYC over the past few years, others have had the same problem. It is quoted to affect one half to two percent of units and apparently can even come back if you replace the unit. Looking for advice.

  2. #257
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Funny .


    Can Someone Please "Disrupt" Real Estate Agents?

    by Hamilton Nolan



    We live in a marvelous, annoying era in which startup geniuses constantly getting rich by "disrupting" mundane industries. Hotels? Disrupted. Taxis? Disrupted. On behalf of the beleaguered apartment hunters of New York City, I humbly request that someone disrupt real estate agents out of existence.

    Real estate agents are everywhere of course—exercising their clammy grip over the housing supply from Olympia to Ocean City. But in cities like New York (and San Francisco, and... whatever other cities have real estate markets that resemble gladiatorial contests), renting apartments is a uniquely one-sided experience. With vacancy rates in the very low single digits, high demand, and competition from not only Wall Street mother****ers but also international mother****ers, renters are at a hopeless disadvantage to landlords. You will take what is offered, and you will pay what is asked, and you will accept it, or else you will pack your shit and mosey on back to where you came from and give up the dream of ever becoming a fashion person.

    So here you are, the poor renter, already faced with insanely high rent prices and short supply. And into this mix comes: the real estate agent. Who is the real estate agent? He is a middleman. He is a toll to pay. He is the coin slot on the pay toilet that you must deposit money into in order to be allowed to shit. In this metaphor, shit represents "your entire bank account."

    I do not want to exaggerate my point here. It needs no exaggeration. It is common, in New York City, for a real estate agent handling rentals—not sales, in which huge sums of money are spent and mortgages are signed and homes are made for a lifetime, but common apartment rentals—to charge a fee of 15% of the annual rent in exchange for their services. And what services do you get, in exchange for this monstrous tax?


    • The real estate agent will unlock the door of the apartment so that you can look at it.
    • The real estate agent will hand you lengthy forms to fill out to apply for the apartment.
    • The real estate agent will give those forms to the landlord and tell you whether or not the landlord will deign to rent their apartment to you.


    That is all. That is everything that the real estate agent does. I am referring to good real estate agents. The below average (or even average!) real estate agent will be unresponsive to emails, late to appointments, and completely ignorant of facts about the apartment you are trying to rent. That's okay; they know quite well that they don't need to provide any added value to you.

    They have the keys. And if you want the keys, you will pay them. And if you won't, some other poor bastard will.

    Elements of the real estate process have indeed been "disrupted" by the internet already. Apartment listings are available on Craigslist and a million other sites. Facts about buildings can be found on Trulia. Recommendations for various neighborhood amenities are on Yelp. All of these things mean that real estate agents are actually providing fewer real services than ever. And yet they persist in existing. Today, it is easy for you, the aspiring renter, to make yourself a list of potential apartments to rent and arrange times to view them. You do not need a real estate agent's imaginary expertise to help you with this. All you need the real estate agent to do is open that door.

    Sorry—you don't need the real estate agent to do that. You don't need a real estate agent to do anything! Renters at the low to moderate end of the price spectrum (most of us) would benefit from the immediate disappearance of all real estate agents. If apartment owners and landlords would show their places themselves and hand out applications themselves and award the apartment to the renter themselves, then we could save ourselves an extra 15% of the annual rent in fees. The problem is that real estate agents usually charge the renters, not the landlords, and the landlord can save a bit of hassle, and they know that there is a high demand for their apartments, so what do they care how much the renters need to pay? It will be paid.

    For now. Until someone disrupts this bullshit. The outrageous fees that real estate agents charge amount to a tax on people who are obligated to move soon and therefore desperate to literally avoid homelessness. It is not a fair dynamic. Of course, since real estate agents are paid on commission, it's only natural for them to want to grab as much as they can when they can get it. It's a feast or famine mentality, and it hurts everyone.

    Let's be honest: an idiot can unlock an apartment door and hand over some forms. What if there were a low-cost service that paid (vetted, accountable) people a reasonable hourly wage to—stay with me here—go around opening doors for people and handing out forms? This is a relatively straightforward, low-skill job. Landlords just want to save themselves a little time. They just need someone who will show up and hand over applications. People who are trying to rent an apartment without bankrupting themselves and who are capable of using Craigslist to find listings would surely be happy to have a very small surcharge added onto the price of the apartment for this sort of basic service, rather than having the entire application process held hostage by a middleman demanding a fee of $3,600 to unlock the door of a $2,000 per month apartment. Rich people looking for something fancy can continue to use deluxe brokers.

    We'll see which is more popular.

    http://gawker.com/can-someone-please...nts-1552765631

  3. #258
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    Laudable, but an unfortunate misunderstanding of the economics of the situation. The author repeatedly states the exact reason this won't happen. The only way this system gets "disrupted" is if NIMBYs allow more units to be built than demanded, and vacancy creeps up some. That's not about to happen.

  4. #259
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    New Disclosure Rules for Shell Companies in New York Luxury Real Estate Sales

    By STEPHANIE SAUL
    JULY 20, 2015


    New York City’s luxury real estate market has become less and less transparent and increasingly alluring
    for foreign buyers, many of whom remain invisible behind limited liability companies. Todd Heisler/The New York Times

    Seeking to increase transparency in the luxury real estate market, the de Blasio administration has imposed new disclosure requirements on shell companies buying or selling property in New York City.

    The changes will help remove a “veil of secrecy” surrounding high-end real estate sales by requiring that the names of all members of a shell company buying or selling property be disclosed to the city, the finance commissioner, Jacques Jiha, said.

    Mr. Jiha said he was spurred to make the changes partly by a series of articles in February in The New York Times that examined the growing use of limited liability companies in real estate transactions, particularly in high-end real estate in New York, a market that has become less and less transparent and increasingly alluring for foreign buyers. A number of the apartments examined by The Times were bought, using shell companies, by international buyers who have been the subject of government inquiries around the world, either personally or as heads of companies.

    In all, more than half of New York condominium sales above $5 million last year were to limited liability companies, which can be established in many states without disclosing the names of the actual, or “beneficial,” owners.

    The primary intent of the new rules is fairly narrow: to help identify real estate owners who may be avoiding city income taxes by claiming legal residency outside the city or even the country. An estimated 89,000 of the city’s condos and co-ops — valued at $20 billion based on city tax assessment data but with an actual estimated fair market value of $80 billion — are owned by people who claim to be nonresidents of the city.

    Even so, the new rules, which went into effect in May, come as longstanding concerns about the use of limited liability companies to hide the identity of real estate buyers have percolated to the top of debate among regulators. The director of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, cited the Times articles in a recent speech in California.

    “In short,” she said, “greater transparency of beneficial ownership information would make it more difficult for criminals to hide their purchases of luxury real estate through the use of shell companies.”

    City officials said they were not aware of any other jurisdiction with similar reporting requirements. Yet while the new rules could be a tool for law-enforcement officials tracing tainted assets, they will not address many of the problems cited by The Times, which found that real estate brokers, building managers and condo boards gave little scrutiny to the backgrounds of buyers or the sources of their money. The disclosures will not be a matter of public record, so only the Finance Department will be privy to the information. Nor does the disclosure form require the name of the beneficial owner, who in some cases might not be among the company’s members.

    Some prominent players in the city’s real estate industry questioned the necessity of the new requirements.

    Jay Neveloff, a lawyer and member of the board of governors of the Real Estate Board of New York, the city’s leading industry trade organization, said that in its desire for more information, the city was forcing some buyers to give up their privacy rights simply because a few bad actors had made secret purchases.

    “I think it’s an unfair, inappropriate position for the Department of Finance to say to people who invest in real estate, ‘Gotcha’ ” Mr. Neveloff said. “There’s no doubt there are bad people who buy real estate with money they’ve gotten from criminal activities. It’s got to be a tiny minority.”

    Mr. Neveloff said he was not officially speaking for the real estate board, but a spokesman for the organization said it wanted more information from the city about the new requirements. “We’re seeking to get a better understanding of the new rules’ goals and assess whether it’s necessary and assess just how burdensome it would be for taxpayers and the industry,” the spokesman, Jamie McShane, said.

    Others questioned whether the rules went far enough. Douglas A. Kellner, a Manhattan lawyer who specializes in identifying and returning stolen assets, said that because the form did not require disclosure of beneficial owners, they could omit their names from the limited liability companies and add another layer of ownership — such as an offshore limited liability company or trust — to conceal their identities.

    “They’re just inviting another layer in order to conceal it,” Mr. Kellner said. “It doesn’t solve the problem.”

    In advertising pitches, some real estate companies have promoted the use of limited liability companies as a way to conceal the identities of buyers so they can avoid residency audits, which can be costly and time-consuming.

    Timothy P. Noonan, a lawyer who represents clients undergoing audits, said those who wanted to remain “low profile” with the city had previously bought property through limited liability companies. “Really it’s an issue of whether or not you’re going to be on their radar screen,” Mr. Noonan said. “Even if someone has a good case, the audits are really difficult and they’re expensive and intrusive.”

    By law, those who have apartments and stay in New York City more than 183 days are considered legal residents and required to pay city income taxes.

    The new rules affect a form known as NYC-RPT Real Property Transfer Tax Return, which is filed with the city when property ownership is transferred and identifies both the seller and the buyer of the property. Previously only one member of a limited liability company had to be identified, and frequently that member was a nominee who did not have a real interest in the property. Under the new rules, all members of a limited liability company must be identified, along with their taxpayer identification numbers.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/21/ny...s&emc=rss&_r=1

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