October 2017: The Leaves are Falling

With autumn come thoughts of pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns, hot apple cider and bright cozy sweaters. Our thoughts turn inwards as well, shutting down the backyard for the season, decorating our homes for Halloween and Thanksgiving, embracing the change of seasons. There’s still so much going on in the Real Estate world, and some things which might have seemed out of reach have suddenly come within grasp. Read on.

The Story: The Luxury Market

The Jump Off
Luxury is in the eye of the beholder. When the mansion tax was imposed in New York City almost thirty years ago, it declared that anyone buying Real Estate for over a million dollars had to pay 1% of the purchase price in Real Estate taxes. Fast forward to 2017, and you’ll find yourself paying that 1% on a typical two bedroom brownstone apartment in Brooklyn. Nice, but hardly a mansion. So what makes a home luxurious and what market trends are we seeing in luxury Real Estate?
The Process
While buying in the one to three million dollar range may sound luxurious, it’s actually the most competitive segment of the market since most decently sized two to three bedrooms in Manhattan or Brooklyn will land you well north of a million. The real luxury in New York City starts at around four million. Real Estate acquisitions being a form of wealth preservation, foreign all-cash buyers once drove the high-end luxury market in New York City to soaring heights. And since the modern-day luxe buyer tends to value experience and services over things, luxury properties offer hotel-like amenities to draw in buyers. At 100 East 53rd Street, for example, Foster and Partners designed a residence with exercise rooms, an onsite wellness center, a 60-foot sunlit swimming pool and an in-house restaurant run by acclaimed Michelin Chef Joël Robuchon (with special privileges for residents, of course). Now, with countries like China making it harder for their citizens to take money out of the country, the luxury market is slowing down (although delayed new development closings have skewed the market reports upward). And, since vast wealth accumulation doesn’t happen overnight, there is little new customer growth in the ultra-luxe market.
The Wrap-up
In short, if you’re in the market for a property over three million, the odds of getting a good deal are in your favor right now. Not only will you likely avoid a bidding war, but you may even be able to negotiate a higher floor for the same price — win, win!

The Conversation Cheat Sheet

Why it’s really the City that Never Sleeps…
Personally, I’ve always relied on neighborhood 24/7 bodegas to fuel my midnight cravings for German Haribo candies on Friday movie nights. Apparently, Mr. Lime down the street is not just good for my sweet tooth but for Real Estate as well.
Speaking of Real Estate, sometimes it seems that New York is a city under construction, and you can’t walk more than a block without hearing the cacophony of jackhammers and cement trucks. But more dangerous and inconvenient is the construction damage inflicted by your new neighbors.
And while no one wants to talk about it, estate planning is something you’ll want to look into, no matter your age. We handle a handful of estate sales every year and you wouldn’t believe what comes up.
What to do when you realize it’s cold out and shorts and sandals won’t cut it anymore…
Now that fall is here, you’ll want to get on things like that mess of leaves clogging up your gutter — a blocked drain can lead to accumulated water and devastating leaks and floods. Here are some other ways to get your outdoor space ready for fall.
And if interior design is more your thing than outdoor maintenance, Elle Decor has made it easy to stay in the know with a list of ten design firms’ Instagram accounts to follow so you can get quick inspiration on your morning commute.
FYI, fractured lines are the latest design trend — we fell in love with this pink acrylic desk by Alexandra Von Furstenberg that even lights up. Another clear winner is this Jonathan Adler mirror — but if you want an on-trend item that won’t break the bank you may just want to start with some super cool napkins.
What to do when it’s five minutes to Halloween and you still don’t have a costume…
Check out Halloween Adventure, Abracadabra Superstore, or one of New York’s fabulous vintage shops. Once you’re outfitted, don’t miss the iconic Village Halloween Parade.
In other news, if you want to find a prime spot at the largest block party ever (26.2 miles long to be exact) the New York City Marathon is coming up and we’ve got some great places to catch the action and grab something to eat or drink as well.

The Gabriele Moment

Photo credit: John Fontana @fonj — Djupavic/Iceland

Here’s what I’ve been up to these past few weeks as I walk, bike and race between the bridges and the parks.


Once upon a time I had a dark room. I’ve always had a love for photography and the way you can show the familiar in an unexpected way — even if these days I do most of my visual storytelling with my iPhone! Don’t they say the best camera is the one you always have with you? Anyway, when the chance for a photography trip to Iceland came up (the organizer, Bill Schwab, is a contemporary American photographer who I met in NYC a few years back) I jumped at the chance. Bill’s landscape photography is mystical and mesmerizing and I couldn’t think of a more restorative getaway. So I packed my digital camera (by that I mean the Sony Alpha 7 I’ve owned for years), downloaded the manual to figure out all those esoteric buttons and functions, grabbed a digital photography magazine and boarded the plane.

They Said It

“Through the sale of several properties in New York City, Gabriele Sewtz is definitely the most focused and driven agent we have come in contact with.” ~S.F.~ Seller

Don’t take my word for it! Read more independent reviews of my services from members of Park Slope Parents.

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