The Secrets to Finding a Quiet Apartment

When it comes time to search for an apartment here, it isn’t altogether impossible to find a quiet apartment in noisy Manhattan. The key is knowing what to look for both online and in person.


Avoid “noise-emitting points of interest” in the vicinity, such as fire houses, police stations, schools, bars, and hospitals. Prewar buildings tend to have thicker walls that’ll keep sounds to a minimum. And new developments generally use top of the line noise-canceling materials. Apartments located on side streets are usually your best bet. Rear-facing units will typically have less noise than street-facing ones. The rear and corners of the building are the quietest from an exterior noise perspective.

Corner units are also typically far away from the elevators and garbage chutes. Generally speaking, the higher up you go, the less street noise you’ll be subjected to. You’ll want to stay away from any floors with any amenities, such as gyms or playrooms.

Ask your attorney to check the building’s board minutes for any noise complaints relating to the unit you’re interested in and those surrounding it. Check with your buyer’s agent if the apartment has sound-proof windows.

Finally, walk around the apartment to see if the floors produce any noise. If yours do, chances are that your neighbors’ will, too.

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Buying in a Walk-Up

Sure, it’s cheaper than an elevator building, but will climbing a few flights of stairs each day be worth it?


The down sides are pretty obvious… Physical exertion, such as schlepping groceries, will take its toll. And if you have an injury those stairs become a significant obstacle. Contractors and moving companies will likely charge you more. And be prepared to tip your Seamless delivery person extra or meet them in the lobby. But there are some significant benefits to buying in a walk-up!

You could save up to 25% in comparison to a similar unit in an elevator building. And the higher you go, the more you’ll save. Maintenance fees are likely to be lower because there is no need to inspect and maintain elevators on a regular basis. Taxes will probably be lower too since elevator buildings are assessed at a higher rate.

You may become a more organized and efficient person, because who wants to go up and down for a forgotten item? Just remember — try before you buy.


Want to avoid the stairs? Check out Àgueda Ramírez, Licensed Real Estate Agent at The Bizzarro Agency, with the benefits to a ground floor apartment.


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Understanding Cond-op Apartments

Condops are one of the most misunderstood designations in New York City real estate.


Agents will often define condops as co-ops with condo rules… but the truth is a bit more nuanced than that. The category of housing was created by owners and developers in the 1980s who wanted to get around a tax rule.

The owners of mixed-use co-op buildings with commercial space on the ground floor designated the commercial space as one condo unit. And the entire residential section of the building became considered another condo unit that was then divided into co-operative shares.

Condops unique structure makes them complex, often with multiple boards. The Condominium Board deals with issues pertaining to the general common elements such as exterior repairs, or major plumbing repairs. The Commercial Board govern issues covered to the commercial units.

A third board is elected by the co-op members and deals with shareholder issues regarding the residential space, like common hallways, or laundry rooms. Any prospective condop buyer should find out how well the boards function together and separately.

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Getting the Most From a Mortgage Lender

Unless you buy with all cash, you know you’re going to need a mortgage.


Just as you want a real estate agent who understands your needs, you want a mortgage broker who is on their game and can facilitate a smooth transaction.

Mistakes can waste time—and money. Using a broker who is familiar with your property type will make the mortgage process go smoother.

Your mortgage broker should be armed with knowledge of products, knowledge of how to navigate the co-op questionnaires, and knowledge to customize what suits each borrower. Sellers will notice if your broker is from out-of-state and it may become a stumbling block to an accepted offer!

That said, going with a big name bank doesn’t ensure smooth sailing. Trust your buyer’s agent’s advice on which brokers to use. They know a lender’s reputation, past performance, and the relationships they have.


Pedro Paredes, Licensed Real Estate Agent at The Bizzarro Agency, has some pressing info on what you need to know about obtaining a mortgage.


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Buying a Starter Apartment

Starter apartments can be found in pretty much every neighborhood of New York.


Upper Manhattan is a great fit for first-time homebuyers because of factors such as finances, budgets, and personal preferences. First, remember that a starter apartment is not meant to be your ‘forever’ home. It’s a launching pad that will be upgraded as major life events unfold.

Prepare yourself: starter apartments are typically studios, alcove studios, or one-bedrooms and often have small layouts, small kitchens, and simple appliances. Once basic needs are met, budget permitting, you can then look for additional amenities such as space, light, choice views, or a balcony.

It’s all about affordability and untapped potential. Choosing the right neighborhood is everything: with the equity, starter homes accumulate over time, buyers can often use them as a stepping stone to a larger home.

Making a profit on the home is contingent upon a number of factors, including how long you hold the apartment for, what kind of market we’re in when it comes time to sell, and what kinds of upgrades were made to the unit.

If you want to make your money back, do not spend more than 10% of the purchase price on renovations.


Check out Pedro Paredes, Licensed Real Estate Agent at The Bizzarro Agency, with some advice on what to consider before your renovate.


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How to Choose The Right Neighborhood

There are many calculations New Yorkers make when choosing where to live…

And even if you have the means to afford to live wherever you want, there will be trade-offs.


Here are 5 things to consider when picking a neighborhood in the city:

1. Don’t get bogged down! Just because a neighborhood is supposed to be hip or was made famous by a TV show doesn’t mean it’s the right place for you. Instead, consider your specific wants and needs before settling on a place.

2. Figure out what matters most to you: location, space, or price! If space and price are your biggest concerns, you may end up living in a neighborhood that’s a bit off the beaten path. If you’re invested in a location with lots of amenities and things to do, you’ll almost certainly end up paying more in rent.

3. How important is being close to nature? New York may have a reputation as a concrete jungle, but there are plenty of areas where green space is abundant… Fort Tryon and Inwood Hill Park are enormous and close to the vibrant neighborhoods of Inwood and Washington Heights.

4. Take public transportation options into account. The MTA does not serve all parts of the city equally, so don’t get stuck in a “subway desert”. Even so, prepare to spend a lot of time on the subway. The average one-way commute time in New York City is about 36 minutes.

5. Treat the entire city like your neighborhood! Researching neighborhoods extensively before moving means that you’ll find a ton of places you want to explore! Once you have a home base, spend the rest of your time doing just that.

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Should You Rent or Buy?

Should you keep renting, or are you ready to become a homeowner?

Consider the following when making a decision:

1. Timeline: It can take three months or more from contract signing until the time you get your keys.

2. The Market is Shifting: Inventory is up and prices are going down. With more choices, it’s the perfect time for first time home buyers to start looking. [UPDATED: THE MARKET HAS SHIFTED AGAIN DUE TO COVID19]

3. Disappearing Opportunities: Prices are at average much lower than Lower Manhattan. However, rezoning and new developments are going to soon change this.

4. Personal Finances: Some co-ops only requiring 10% down, so if you saved up some cash and built your credit, this is the best time to start your home buying process!

Join Simonne Hill, Licensed Real Estate Agent at The Bizzarro Agency, for an important chat on what it means to be a potential first-time homebuyer, below.


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