Q & A with Dottie Herman

» Featured Columnists | By Dottie Herman | February 25, 2011 9:00 AM ET

Q1 - My boyfriend and I just graduated college and we both got jobs in NYC. We are not from NY and don't know much about the neighborhoods. How should we decide where to rent?

A - Choosing a neighborhood in New York City for the first time can be a fun experience. Each neighborhood offers different features that may be attractive to your lifestyle and hobbies, but learning the city will take time. One criteria you may want to start with is choosing a home close to where you both work or if that is not possible, close to public transportation. In this way you can ensure that the two of you can easily get to your respective workplaces. Budget can also be a very determinative factor for the amount of space you will be able to obtain. Apartment rents vary, as do the amenities you require for apartment house-living which may also be a new experience for you both. Traditionally, buildings with a doorman and staff are more expensive than those without these amenities. Also if you have pets, many buildings have No Pet policies or specific requirements about. In the case of a dog, it can be weight. You might want to hire a real estate professional who can efficiently help you to find an apartment and assist you with the settling in services to get you up and running in your new home once you've found it.

Q2 - I recently put my home on the market. I wanted a much higher price than my realtor suggested. Should I go with their price or stick to what I think my home is worth?

A - Review with your realtor the data upon which the price recommendation was made. If recent sales of comparable properties and those currently on the market support the realtor's recommendation, go with the suggested price. Properties that are priced correctly, are selling. Buyers today have on-line access to all the data, and they know when a property is priced too high. By pricing your property unrealistically, you may risk being perceived by buyers and other brokers as not a serious seller. The goal is to generate offers, and over-pricing a property will be a deterrent.

Q3 - How do I decide if a coop or condo is right for me when looking to purchase in New York City?

A - There is a very fundamental difference between Cooperative Ownership, which is owning shares in a coop corporation, and Condominium Ownership, which is owning the fee as you would in a home. In a coop purchase you receive a stock certificate and a Proprietary Lease. In a condo purchase you receive a Deed. Condominiums are traditionally more expense because they have more liberal rental policies in the event you wish to use the unit you buy for investment income. In addition, while co-ops (and some condos) require a Board Package in which you disclose certain personal and financial information, condominiums do not require a personal interview as coops do.

Q4 - I want to put my home up for sale. It hasn't been updated in many years. Should I put a fresh coat of paint on, and clean it up a bit? What are some other easy quick fixes to make my home show better?

A - Prepping your home to come on the market for sale is very important. You want to create a visual and sensory experience that keep Buyers interested to come thru your home. Some steps you can take are: a fresh coat of paint ( where needed), de-cluttering the closets, storing away accessories that may be breakable, cleaning up the garage and basement, cleaning the windows and doing some colorful planting outdoors and having fresh flowers in the house, if possible. 

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