Love thy neighbor then buy their apartment

To combine units requires patience and a premium

TRD New York TRD WEEKEND EDITION /
Dec.December 29, 2018 04:00 PM

(Credit: iStock)

It can take years — sometimes decades — but New Yorkers looking to trade up can sometimes do just that by buying the apartment next door.

Combined units represent only a fraction of the market, around 2 percent to 5 percent of sales in the city, according to Miller Samuel Real Estate. But with a dose of luck, they do happen regularly, as the New York Times reported.

“I’ve heard of lots of people who have knocked on the door next door to say, ‘By the way, when and if you’re in the mood to sell, please come to me,’” said real estate attorney Steven Sladkus. Sometimes, combining units can be more cost effective than trading up for a new and larger unit. Other times, sellers charge a premium because they know they can.

That was the case with Michael Faillace, who bought a 1,100-square-foot apartment for $184,000 in 1992, and then waited 25 years to buy his neighbor’s apartment on East 86th Street.

In 1999, Faillace passed on an opportunity to buy the apartment next door for $160,000 and regretted the decision for years. In 2004, he was outbid on the adjacent unit and claims he immediately began nagging the new owner to sell. In 2017, after the apartment was appraised for $800,000, the neighbor said he’d sell — for $990,000. Faillace and his wife, Soraya, bit the bullet and closed in January 2018.

The process of combining two units (i.e., knocking down a wall) can cost around $20,000. But issues like uneven ceiling heights or load bearing walls can creep up and the extra kitchen also needs to be excised.

“Anything is possible if you have enough money,” said Don Friedman, president of Manhattan-based Old Structures Engineering. “But most people aren’t going to throw $1 million at combining two 800-square-foot apartments.” [NYT] – E.B. Solomont


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
(iStock)

Manhattan vacancy hits new peak; Brooklyn stable

Manhattan vacancy hits new peak; Brooklyn stable
200 Water Street and 31 Prospect Park West (Google Maps)

Brooklyn’s luxury deal totals rise for 3rd straight week

Brooklyn’s luxury deal totals rise for 3rd straight week
Metro areas with less affordable housing drive high-income buyers to eye homes in lower-income neighborhoods at disproportionate rates (iStock)

TRD Insights: Gentrification happening fastest in least affordable cities

TRD Insights: Gentrification happening fastest in least affordable cities
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has given the go-ahead to reopen schools for in-person learning statewide (Getty; iStock)

School’s back on. Will the NYC resi market follow suit?

School’s back on. Will the NYC resi market follow suit?
New York’s real estate market is becoming two different stories: Manhattan, where deals are falling — and the suburbs, where demand is spiking. (iStock, Unsplash)

Manhattan is cold, the suburbs and Brooklyn are hot: Here’s what the resi market looked like in July

Manhattan is cold, the suburbs and Brooklyn are hot: Here’s what the resi market looked like in July
Home sale price declines are expected for July, after a recent bump, according to a CoreLogic report. (iStock)

Home sale prices got a bump, but a drop is coming: Report

Home sale prices got a bump, but a drop is coming: Report
(Images courtesy of Victor Group)

The Getty condo chops prices up to 53%

The Getty condo chops prices up to 53%
442 Union Street and 257 Berry Street (Google Maps)

Brooklyn’s luxury market reaches new pandemic high

Brooklyn’s luxury market reaches new pandemic high
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...