Sunday, November 16, 2008

Relocating to Manhattan

Having the unique experience of starting my real estate career on the West Coast in Seattle, WA and now being an agent in Manhattan has given me the ability to help first time home buyer’s relocating to Manhattan.

I grew up on the West Coast in Seattle, WA and started selling real estate once I graduated from the University of Washington. Relocating to Manhattan from Seattle was definitely a culture shock, so I understand what its like to move the big move here. I understand the buying process in a more traditional real estate environment and then coming to an almost entirely different experience buying or renting real estate in New York City.

In Seattle, apartments meant rental apartments. If you were renting, you said you lived in an apartment. In Manhattan everybody lives in apartments, except for the small majority of townhouse owners. In Seattle, I sold my fare share of condominiums, but never a co-op. I wouldn’t even know where to go look for one if somebody asked for a co-op building. When I tell my first time home buyers that when they buy a co-op, they don’t actually own their apartment. Instead, they own shares of a corporation that owns the building they live in, they are a bit surprised at first, but not as surprised when we go look at apartments and they see the compact size of some of the spaces.

In Seattle I owned my own 2 bedroom 1 bath house. I thought my kitchen was tiny, but it was huge compared to the kitchens here. I would consider a spacious kitchen here to be maybe 8x8 with just enough room for two people to be in the kitchen at the same time. A lot of the kitchens in the studio apartments are the size of a closet. Your mini kitchen will include a two burner cook top, the refrigerator you use to have in your room in college, and a couple of cabinets, and a tiny sink. The lifestyle here is to eat out a lot more so the necessity of a full size working kitchen is not as important.

Another aspect of relocating to New York City is getting use to the jargon used specifically describing apartments. What is a 2bd, 2ba, w/d, wfp, eik, CAC, Triple Mint Apartment? The use of triple mint condition is overly used in my opinion. If an apartment has been remodeled recently it means triple mint, if it’s been well maintained it becomes triple mint maintained. The high end property descriptions are fun to read just to see how they create this fantastic beautiful language describing exceptional properties.

Because I have sold real estate in the more traditional setting I understand the point of view of the buyer relocating to Manhattan and what they understand as the conventional real estate buying process. I can bridge that gap to understanding the New York market and facilitate a smooth transition to either buying or renting a New York City apartment.

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