MANHATTAN — With the real estate market in full tilt, finding a good contractor who’s available — not to mention affordable — is more challenging than ever. Prices are typically higher for gut-renovated apartments, but if nicely upgraded they can save time and money in the long run — especially when extensive upgrades require a temporary move to another apartment. And who wants the headache of a renovation right after a closing?
Here are four apartments with recently completed renovations, making them move-in ready.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the cancellation of the Midtown East/Sutton Place open house.
333 E. 53rd St., Apt. 8A, Midtown East/Sutton Place, Manhattan
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
Approximately 600 square feet
Maintenance: $1,160 per month
Open House: Sunday, May 11, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
UPDATE: This open house has been canceled as the apartment went into contract Friday.
Lowdown: Work on this one-bedroom co-op with north and east exposures was completed about a month ago, said Martin J. Purcell of Rutenberg Realty.
“It was originally a rental unit for the building, and they took back ownership and gut renovated it,” he said of the doorman building. “The previous tenant had been there for years.”
The upgraded kitchen features custom cabinetry, all new appliances — including a Miele dishwasher — and granite countertops, Purcell said. Everything was also replaced in the bathroom, with the exception of the “beautiful” original cast iron tub.
The windows are new, as is the electrical wiring. There are two “extra-deep” closets in the foyer, as well as a 35-square-foot walk-in closet in the bedroom.
The “well-maintained” 1929 building has a basement gym, planted roof deck, storage units and a “recently redone” laundry room, Purcell said.
Location: The unit is on a tree-lined block near Sutton Place between First and Second avenues. Peter Detmold Park is 1.5 blocks away at the East River, as is access to the FDR Drive. An entrance to the E, M and 6 trains is at 53rd Street and Third Avenue.
The area has started to transition, with an influx of “more upper-class restaurants and bars,” Purcell noted. A new public esplanade and park at 1 Sutton Place South is slated to open in fall 2015.
Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s a turnkey apartment,” Purcell said. "The building has great financials and, for the neighborhood, it’s one of the better values out there.”
242 W. 104th St., Apt. 6RW, Upper West Side/Morningside Heights, Manhattan
2 Bedrooms/1 Bath
Approximately 700 square feet
Maintenance: $1,139 per month
Open House: Sunday, May 11, 3-5 p.m.
Lowdown: Although this sunny Morningside Heights top-floor apartment hasn’t been completely overhauled, the space has an updated kitchen, new bathroom and a host of other improvements made during the seven years the sellers have owned the space.
“It’s a fairly extensive renovation for the price point, and especially for first-time buyers. They’re not going to want to spend another $50,000 to do the kitchen and bath,” said Susan Eley, of Nestseekers.
The sellers replaced the kitchen appliances about a year ago, as well as refinished the unit’s hardwood floors, added built-ins to the living room and second bedroom, installed ceiling fans with remote controls and added accordion blinds. In January, they gutted the bathroom.
The asking price dropped $25,000 this week after a deal fell through and the unit came back on the market.
Location: The building, at the corner of Broadway, sits between two year-round greenmarkets. The gluten-free bakery Tatz Gourmet Sweetz opened on Amsterdam near 102nd in April. The 103rd Street 1 train station is around the corner; the B and C trains are four blocks east, at Central Park.
Why put it on your open house calendar? “It’s well-priced and well-situated, and it’s in move-in condition,” Eley said.
77 E. 12th St., Apt. 17J, Greenwich Village/Union Square, Manhattan
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
Approximately 850 square feet
Maintenance: $1,327 per month
Open House: Sunday, May 11, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Lowdown: Sunday is the first showing for this Greenwich Village co-op that has “incredible sweeping views” down Broadway all the way to New York Harbor, said Jesse Shafer, of Corcoran Group.
Before buying the space, the seller, who works in the tech industry, couldn’t find the place “with the requirements that he was looking for, so he created it,” Shafer added, finishing an extensive “nine-month ‘stud-to-stud’ renovation” about three years ago.
In addition to all the high-end appliances and finishes now expected in a new or renovated development, there’s also a Lutron lighting system, a custom sliding Raydoor on the office space (which is currently being used as a second bedroom), heated granite floors in the bathroom, and a medicine cabinet with a mirror defogger, interior lighting and electric outlets.
“In many ways, what’s impressive is not what stands out, but what you can’t see,” said co-broker Greg McHale, of Corcoran. “[The seller] added soundproofing to floors, ceilings and all the party walls. He wired everything for FiOS and Time Warner cable behind the walls. He replaced the plumbing stacks for the entire apartment and for those above and below him — which was the only way he was able to do it.”
The doorman building has no underlying mortgage, BuildingLink automation for packages and a “huge roof deck with 360-degree views.” The boiler is new, and the building is pet friendly.
Location: It’s centrally situated at Broadway and 12th Street just two blocks below Union Square and its seven subway lines. The East Village and Lower East Side, SoHo, the West Village and the Meatpacking District are also all within easy access, regardless of transportation choice.
“The last few years, University Place has really transformed from mediocre bars and restaurants to really great options,” Shafer said.
Why put it on your open house calendar? “If you’re attracted to new developments with luxury finishes and infinity views but resent paying $2,500 per square foot and up, this is an apartment for you,” Shafer said, adding that “the [co-op’s policy of] unlimited subletting after two years of ownership is very rare."
764 Marcy Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
5 Bedrooms/2.5 Baths
2,600 square feet
Real Estate Taxes: $945 per year
Open House: Sunday, May 11, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Lowdown: Developers of this two-family townhouse “ripped apart everything and started all over again,” said Frank Castelluccio, of Corcoran Group.
The sun-filled house, built in 1899, is divided between two duplexes that have a “cool, modern, contemporary feel” but traditional details, like crown moldings and high ceilings. The fireplaces are electric. The lower-level space has three bedrooms, a separate shower and soaking tub in the main bathroom, a private outdoor seating area off the master bedroom, and access to the garden and deck.
The upper-level two-bedroom/one-bath duplex includes an open top-floor “recreational area” that has 6-foot ceilings with two skylights in the middle.
Unlike most townhouses, this 25-foot-wide lot has a side entrance with access to the yard, which is “convenient for people with bikes or to put garbage on the side,” Castelluccio noted.
Location: Bed-Stuy is “rocking and rolling,” Castelluccio said, with several renovations going on around the neighborhood, especially in the immediate area, and easy access to popular new bars and restaurants. Down Marcy a couple blocks are the Herbert Von King Park, Hattie Carthan Garden and Banneker Playground. Plans are in the works for a new food co-op in the neighborhood to be modeled after the one in Park Slope.
It’s a half-mile to the Bedford-Nostrand G train station, and about three-quarters of a mile to the A and C Nostrand Avenue entrance at Fulton Street.
Why put it on your open house calendar? In addition to having a rental income, which would “be about $3,500," Castelluccio estimated, "the convenience and the functionality of the house is perfect.”
Even though the price dropped $100,000 this week, "there are offers on the table, but I’ll continue to show it until the contract is fully executed,” Castelluccio added.