Entries in Apartment (5)


D.C. Residents Make Big Bucks Renting Homes to Inauguration Visitors

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- This weekend hundreds of thousands of Americans are flooding the nation’s capital, overtaking trains on the metro and annoyingly standing on the wrong side of the escalator. What better revenge for D.C. residents than charging exorbitant rates for those visitors to camp out in their studio apartments?

Jokes aside, some D.C. residents are making a pretty penny off inauguration attendees this weekend by renting out their spaces through social media sites.

Airbnb, a website that allows  people to rent their homes to travelers and vice versa, is expecting roughly 2,000 people to stay in D.C. to partake in the inauguration festivities using its service, up from 150 people in 2009.

Ellen Boomer, a freelance writer who started using the site in July, said she sees renting out her space as a way for her to make some money while out-of-towners experience a historic moment.

“I’m so close to the Capitol and the inauguration,” Boomer said. “Since I’m not going to the inauguration, why not let someone else enjoy the proximity and stay here?”

For $600 per night, a renter will be staying in her two-bath, two-bedroom, two-story home, about five blocks from Capitol Hill. Boomer said her client made the reservation about 10 weeks in advance – the night before Election Day.

Last week, some D.C. Craigslist users were banking on the idea that visitors might have procrastinated.

One poster listed her Dupont Circle apartment on Thursday and heard back from three interested parties by Friday afternoon.

Shar, who preferred to go by her first name since her apartment has a policy against this type of subleasing, advertised her “large, clean, sun-drenched, fifth-floor floor studio” for $179 per night.

Like many D.C. residents, Shar has no desire to brave the cold and crowds on Monday. Instead, she is staying at a friend’s apartment a few blocks away from her guests. The two plan to split the profits.

“We tried to price it reasonably,” Shar said. “We figured super rich people would already have somewhere to stay.”

Both Boomer and Shar offer certain conveniences not found in many run-of-the-mill hotels. Boomer leaves her guests baked goods, bottles of wine and fresh lavender from her garden. Shar’s ad said visitors could take advantage of free Wi-Fi and a Keurig one-cup coffee maker with K-cups.

“I was just trying to think if I were renting, what I would want,” Shar said. “Everything’s here, you don’t need anything extra.”

An Airbnb spokesperson said big events like the inauguration, where hotels often book up fast, drive more and more travelers to their site.

That means renters can drive up the price. For inauguration, Airbnb anticipates hosts will increase prices by 2.5 to four times the usual rate. A quick search shows rooms for the weekend in D.C. going for as high as $2,050.

Though Airbnb charges hosts a fee that Craigslist users avoid, it also offers a level of safety and comfort, with customer service agents available to help both guests and owners through their stay.

Shar didn’t have much of a plan for what to do if her clients trash or burglarize her place, as happened to an Airbnb user before the company upped its security.

“If it looks shady or feels shady, the deal’s off,” Shar said. “I don’t need money that bad.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Apartment for Rent: Live Like President Obama!

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Searching for an apartment and harboring dreams of becoming president one day? A two-bedroom pre-war apartment on Manhattan's far Upper West Side may be the place for you.

The Harlem apartment once occupied by a young Barack Obama is on the rental market once again, though the asking price has increased from $360 in the early 1980s to today’s $2,400 a month.

According to broker Zak Kneider with New York real estate firm CitiHabitats, the apartment is a third-floor walk-up with exposed brick, large windows, and charming details.

“Live Like the President!!!” the online posting for the apartment reads. “Barack Obama’s former apartment is now on the market for rent. Be a part of history and live where the President lived while he attended Columbia University. Who knows, you just might end up in the White House one day.”

The apartment is the exact one where Obama lived while he was attending Columbia in the 1980s, Kneider said, noting that because of that connection, the real estate office and tenant have been “inundated” with more than 50 inquiries about the property since it was posted on Wednesday.

“I think it’ll go very quickly actually,” Kneider said. “The amount of calls is just amazing.”

The apartment will be ready for an August move-in, Kneider said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Apartment Rents Rising; Vacancies at 10-Year Low

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Across the country, rental prices have begun to spike as vacancy rates reach a low not seen in a decade, according to Reis, which tracks commercial real estate performance.

Nationwide, vacancy rates have fallen below 5 percent to 4.7 percent in the second quarter of 2012 -- a low that hasn’t been seen since 2001.

“For most markets, once vacancies tighten below 5 percent, effective rents tend to spike as landlords perceive that tight market conditions afford them greater pricing power over tenants.  With overall vacancy below this level, it appears that rents are beginning to accelerate,” according to Reis senior economist Ryan Severino.

In the U.S., the average price for effective rent rose by 1.3 percent to $1,041.  New York City had the highest increase in the second quarter after average rents rose 1.7 percent to $2,935.

After New York, apartment renters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Seattle, San Francisco and Nashville, Tenn., saw the highest effective rent growth.

New York’s second quarter vacancy rate of 2.2 percent makes it one of the tightest markets for finding a rental apartment.  A few other areas experiencing low vacancies include Portland, Ore.; Minneapolis; New Haven, Conn.; and San Jose, Calif., which round out the top five.

According to Severino, “Vacancy has not been this low since the wake of the dot com boom more than a decade ago and there is a paucity of available units.”

He continued, “As the market tightens and vacancy reaches very low levels, landlords shift their strategy for growing revenue vacancy decline to accelerating rent increases,” which is what is currently happening.

The reasons for higher rents include an exodus of people from houses and condos that were foreclosed during the real estate meltdown and tighter lending standards that have locked more buyers out of the market.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pennsylvania Company Tells Condo Owners: Pay Rent or Leave

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(READING, Pa.) -- Condominium owners assume they will be able to settle down in their homes if they stay on top of monthly payments, follow homeowner association rules and maintain the property.  But 11 condo owners in Reading, Pa., had a rude awakening when a developer purchased the property and turned the building complex into rented apartments.

Three years ago, Teresa Fusco, 56, bought a condo unit, appraised for $101,000, at Deer Path Woods in Reading, about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia.  Eleven units were owned and occupied while the other 97 apartments were rental units.

Fusco, a secretary who lives alone, had about $71,000 left on her mortgage when the property owner went into foreclosure last fall.

A developer, Kevin Timochenko, purchased the rental units for $7,200 at a foreclosure auction, as reported by AOL.  That gave Timochenko almost 90 percent of voting power for the condominium homeowners' association.

Because Pennsylvania law allows homeowners who have 80 percent of voting power to control the sale of the entire property, Timochenko could legally convert the entire complex -- including the condos -- into apartment units for rent.

Fusco said she and the other 10 condo owners were given a choice during a condo association meeting on Dec. 22: pay rent for the property they had previously owned in addition to their mortgage payments, or move out.

"I was devastated because this was my home, not just my house," Fusco said.  "It was where I was going to retire.  If something happened to me, I could still afford my mortgage and my taxes.  I was just completely taken aback."

Timochenko did not return a request for comment.  Nicole Plank, an attorney for Timochenko's Metropolitan Management Group, did not return a request for comment either.

To add insult to injury, property values in Reading have taken a hit as in many other parts of the country, and Timochenko had the entire property appraised at a value that was less than fair market value, said Fusco and Fred Nice, her attorney.

The average appraised value was around $35,000 for each unit, whereas owners like Fusco had mortgages of around $60,000 to $90,000, said Tom Beaver, an attorney working with other former condo owners.

Pennsylvania state senator Judith L. Schwank, whose district includes the town of Reading, introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow a voting block of 75 percent of actual condo homeowners -- 11 total in Fusco's case -- to reject an appraisal.  Unfortunately, she said, the bill, if passed, could not be retroactively applied to Fusco's situation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Heiress, 22, Buys Former Citigroup Chairman’s $88M NYC Apartment

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The 6,744-square-foot NYC apartment of former Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill has sold for a record-high $88 million to the 22-year-old daughter of a Russian billionaire who plans to use the apartment part-time when visiting the city.

Representatives for Ekaterina Rybolovleva, daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, confirmed in a statement that a company associated with the woman had signed a contract to purchase Weill’s apartment at 15 Central Park West.

Weill listed the 10-room apartment, with views of Central Park, for $88 million in November, promising to donate the proceeds of the sale to charity.

The New York Observer was the first to report that Rybolovleva paid the full asking price, making it the highest individual transaction in New York City history.

Rybolovleva is studying at an undisclosed U.S. university and plans to stay in the apartment when visiting New York, her reps said.  She was born in Russia but has lived in Monaco and Switzerland for the past 15 years.

The man footing her apartment bill, her father, Dmitriy Rybolovlev, is the world’s 93rd-richest man, according to Forbes, with a net worth around $9.5 billion. He made his fortune through a fertilizer business, Uralkali, which he sold in 2010.

Rybolovlev has made headlines before, for both his real estate transactions and his personal life.

In 1996, he was accused of murdering a fellow businessman before ultimately being acquitted for lack of evidence.

More than a decade later, in 2008, he purchased Donald Trump’s 33,000-square-foot Palm Beach mansion for $95 million. He is now battling his wife, Elena, over control of that mansion in their ongoing, billion-dollar divorce.

His daughter’s New York pied-a-terre includes a wraparound terrace that, alone, is bigger than most New York apartments, at more than 2,000 square feet.

The four-bedroom apartment, which Weill and wife Joan purchased in 2007 for $43.7 million, also includes two wood-burning fireplaces.

The previous real estate record in New York was the $53 million sale of a townhouse to a private-equity investor in 2006.

Rybolovleva is not the first 22-year-old heiress to make real estate headlines in the United States this year.

In July, heiress Petra Ecclestone, daughter of U.K. Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, made a similarly high-priced purchase on the West Coast.  She paid $85 million in cash for “Candyland,” the nearly 57,000-square-foot Los Angeles mansion that was previously owned by Candy Spelling, the widow of famed U.S. television producer Aaron Spelling, and the mother of reality-TV star Tori Spelling.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio