NYC Condo Owner Needs Help to Rent Apartment

Asked by Laura, New York, NY Mon Oct 6, 2008

I own a junior one bedroom condo in Battery Park City (New York City), which I bought in July 2007. I recently got engaged and will be moving to Europe with my future husband in the spring of 2009. I am looking for advice on whether I should try selling the apartment in these troubled financial times or, instead, rent out the apartment (either furnished or unfurnished). My mortgage is $2,400 and my carrying charges are $1,280. If I were to rent out the apartment (great, custom closets, new floors and kitchen), is there a rule of thumb on how much I should ask if I were to rent the apt furnished (versus unfurnished)? Are there any good resources to walk me through the process or give me advice/info on management companies? (My building does have a management company.) Any advice you could give would be a great help. Thanks!

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Joseph Ferra…, , New York County, NY
Fri Oct 10, 2008
I would suggest renting it except for the fact that it is difficult when you will be in Europe. You'd have to hire a mgt company to collect the rent, make any repairs, etc.
1 vote
Ben, , New York
Wed Oct 8, 2008
Jr 1-bdrm rent for around $2500/mon in BPC. If you use a management company, they take a cut of a few percent.
Do you really want to be an absentee landlord and paying $1200/mon to hold on to the apartment?
If your unit is in one those buildings where the ground rent is up for renewal soon, e.g. Battery Pointe and The Soundings in 2012, your CC will increase signifgantly.
Finally, how many of your neighbors work in the finance industry? Quite a few I bet.
1 vote
Jenet Levy, Agent, New York, NY
Sat Nov 1, 2008
Hi, Laura. My suggestion would be to list it for sale now, since you are not moving til Spring '09. You have a few months to have a terrific agent work diligently on getting it sold. If you don't have a signed contract and you are close to the time you will be moving, then you can switch gears to renting. Generally rentals go on the market the month before, for example if you are leaving in May, you can put it on for rental in April or even March. If you are lucky, and you had it priced right and it was given really good exposure, you might alreadt have a buyer by then. If not, as I say, switch gears at that point. If you list it for sale the two key things that make an apartment sell are that it is priced correctly (some companies are notorious for overpricing listings which just wastes your time and you end up having to reduce it) and that it gets the most exposure possible. In order to get the most exposure it is critical that your agent and their company are part of the National Association of Realtors (that REALTOR trademark symbol). That means your property will be listed in all the same places that most NYC companies list it, but additionally on and other sites that only REALTORS have access to. is the most heavily trafficked real estate website. Most NYC companies do not have access to it. Mine does. It also guarantees that your agent subscribes to the highest code of ethics. Please feel free to click my contact info for more info or direct help.
0 votes
Antolin Du B…, Other Pro, New York, NY
Thu Oct 30, 2008
Hi Laura-

Know you've received a ton of offers to help you, and I want to let you know I am out here too. I have rented THOUSANDS of homes, over the course of several years, and I am the first choice for many. And, being a direct owner, you will save money on your listing- in fact, its FREE! Just wanted again to put my name out there, and put more money in your pocket. Give me a look sometime, and see how easily we can work together- even if we never meet in person.

Mr. Craiglist
0 votes
c, , New York
Thu Oct 30, 2008
Hi Laura, furnished rental are a very good idea! you will make more money! check me out I am specialized in furnished rental in Manhattan!
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0 votes
Adina Greenb…, , New York, NY
Mon Oct 27, 2008
I know you received many answers already but let's stick with your original question, help with renting out your apartment, I would suggest to look for a specific rental company and one that is a member of REBNY
(Real Estate Board of New York). Choose a company that works downtown or has an office downtown and be prepared to give an incentive like first month free. Lots of landlords do so now a days and it will rent your apartment faster. Up to the beginning of the summer rentals are slower, so an incentive is a good idea.
A rental agent will do comparibles to determine the right price of your unit, he/she will scrutinize the tenant, check out credit, employment and so.
0 votes
Maureen Hous…, Agent,
Wed Oct 15, 2008
My sister in law and her husband are most likely going to need to rent a place in NYC. He is relocating there for business and they have their home for sale in Providence RI they were just visiting me in Hilton Head Island saying they need to find a rental. If you want email me and maybe i can put you guys in touch. Ironic i checked this tonight i never do.
Who knows may work I dont know if Battery Park is a area they will want or not they know more about the city than i do
0 votes
James Kobzeff, Other Pro, Salem, OR
Wed Oct 15, 2008
Hi Laura,

Contact a real estate professional in your area to assist you. You might also consider calling a local property management firm. Both should be able to help you set a rental price. When you advertise, consider "Craig's List". Good luck.
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0 votes
Alen Moshkov…, Agent, Brooklyn, NY
Sat Oct 11, 2008
Hello Laura,

You have already had several answers here, but let me put my two cents into this question as well. Right now due to our market conditions softening and inventory levels rising this is causing our rental market to soften as well.
That being said if you decide to rent, you will have to consider several things. I'm not sure what your purchase price was on your condo, which building you are in (amenities or none) and not knowing that makes it difficult or impossible to say what type of a realistic return you can be looking for.
One thing that is working against you when it comes to rentals, is that many of the new rental buildings and older ones are offering incentives and concessions to renters. One month free rent or more, some perks, etc.... Thats something you will have to consider if you decide to rent it out.
When it comes to Condo sales, Battery Park is not a quick moving area. If you were to sell your apartment, will your price be competitive with the LEED buildings which are going up? Many buyers look for a resale property on a new construction to avoid paying Transfer taxes which can work in your favor.
Someone here already mentioned, with you being away in another country it will be very difficult to manage your apartment on your own unless you get help of a managing company who can take care of your apartment.
If you were to go that route and rent, I work for Prudential Douglas Ellimand and we manage more buildings in the City than any other R.E. firm which can be something for you to consider.
If you decide that selling makes most sense to you, in my personal opinion don't go with a small firm that nobody knows. Choose a large firm. Douglas Elliman is the largest firm in New York with most amount of listings and we bring sellers highest amount of exposure for their properties. In todays market for your apartment to sell you need two things going for you (Correct Price and Exposure). One year ago it used to be location location, now its price and exposure.
You purchased one year ago, and I'm not sure how much your property has appreciated over that time if at all. I can run some comps for you to see how many properties are on the market currently in Battery Park and how many have sold in the past 3 months and how many are currently in contract.

One last advice, don't try to sell or rent this on your own, you will just waste time, energy and money. Do it right from the start, capture largest pool of buyers/renters, move to Europe and only look forward to good times.

Hope to hear from you Laura
Best of Luck
0 votes
Antolin Du B…, Other Pro, New York, NY
Sat Oct 11, 2008
I beg to disagree with Joseph, but here is how you can manage this money losing investment w/o further cash flow hemorraging aka a management company should you choose to rent:

1) Get an account at a bank that you can access in Europe and via the web. Chase or Citiabank should do, or some other big Multinational.

2) Line up a handyman before you leave, give the tenant the number to the handyman for problems inside the unit. Any problems outside the unit, have them contact the super, or maintenance man.

3) Have tenant call the handyman for repairs, and deposit the money directly into your account at X Bank.

4) You add your amount to X bank, have the mortgage/taxes/insurance all deducted straight from the bank account. Cry until your cash flow becomes positive.

Seriously, this is the reason why I would so buy a condo, if the numbers ever worked out. (The numbers never seem to work out.) Most of the maintenence is done for you, and the occaisonal burst pipes every 10-20 years, or blocked toilet, or some other silly thing can be handled from a distance.

But alas, the numbers never seem to work out. I have looked in Manhatten, in Queens, and even in Myrtle Beach. Must be some secret society opposed to letting the numbers work out positive in investing in condos.

Good Luck
0 votes
Antolin Du B…, Other Pro, New York, NY
Wed Oct 8, 2008
Ben's right. Dump it, move on. You will be underwater in the rent for years at least, but you might break even on the sale.....hopefully. Either way you will resolve it quickly, instead of dragging out a losing cash flow investment for yeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrsssssssssssss. Not a fun proposition, let me tell you.

Run your winners long, cut your losses short.

Good luck.
0 votes
Jolie Muss, , Upper West Side, New York, NY
Mon Oct 6, 2008
Some condos have renting restriction so I would check you documents. How long you have lived in the apartment as your primary residence and how much you bought it for may influence your tax situation if you sell. Please contact me at 212 721-3301 so that I can discusss your options with you.
Jolie Muss
Licensed Real Estate Broker & Brokerage
331 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023
Office: 212 721-3301
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