Investing in NYC Apartments: Turn-Key Apartments vs Fixer-Uppers

August 7, 2013 at 6:34 pm Renovations

By Victoria Benatar

Who wouldn’t dream of having a property in New York City? As New Yorkers, many of us forget how lucky we are to own or rent in this city – despite its crazy prices.  After all, Manhattan is a mecca for business, entertainment, art and tech among other industries. With so much going on this relatively small island, it’s not surprising that available space and land is always coveted and property values are high. This combination has made Manhattan a safe haven for real estate investment.

With that idea in mind, I advise my international clients to buy properties in NYC whether it is for a pied-à-terre or as an investment, because, Manhattan has proven to be as solid as the bedrock that anchors its skyscrapers and a safe place to grow their assets over time.

This, of course, is no novel revelation, but finding the right property can still be a challenge because Manhattan is a vast and complex place with many different building types, property characteristics and neighborhoods and people. But with the right help it can be a completely manageable, profitable and even fun experience.

Having the right resources – like StreetEasy and a team of reliable real estate professionals – is incredibly important and can help you make faster decisions and smarter investments.

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For example, I tend to advise my clients to consider properties that require renovation. Typically, I encourage them to look at properties that would not be considered turn-key, ones that are hard to sell and that at the outset seem to be problematic. Looking past a property’s current condition and envisioning what it could be with renovation and remodelling is a great way to lock in a property at an affordable price.

I always try to get a balance number between the renovation budget and the price of the unit to determine if the purchase makes a good sense as an investment. Usually renovation should not be more than 20% unless you really found a bargain.

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Many times I have had foreign clients that are sending their kids to college in New York City and are either paying high fees for student housing on a semester basis or paying  high prices for rentals on a monthly basis.  Their kids have the convenience and luxury of living in the city near school, but it’s essentially throwing away money especially when considering the option of purchasing a property.

In this case, the kids can use the unit while they are in college. After they graduate, the unit can be rented to other college kids, the family can use when they visit the city instead of paying for a hotel, or they can flip it with the hope that the resale value has increased over time.

There are many combinations that can be done when buying a property in NYC as a foreign investor, either to share, or rent – in almost every case buying in NY is a smart idea and a smart investment.

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