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Photo by Mary Hautman

A Brownstoner reader is wondering whether it’s OK to use the same broker for buying and selling.

richiebk writes:

Curious to everyone’s thoughts on using the same broker to list your current apt and find your next apt. Can a broker devote time in both areas? Can you negotiate fee since a single client (me) is helping them on both ends?

Have you gone this route? Or did you find it best to use separate brokers? Share your thoughts in the original post.

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Bed Stuy photo by Evan Daniels

A Brownstoner reader who’s a new landlord is looking for tips on vetting potential tenants.

sidewalksurfing writes:

New landlord here. After doing some research on the forums I keep seeing advice to see if a prospective tenant has wound up in Landlord and Tenant court. How do I execute a search like this? Do I need a lawyer to do it?

How do you screen possible new tenants? Share your thoughts in the original post.

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Street photo by Fleur Losfeld. Photo illustration by Barbara Eldredge

A man in an unmarked white van sawed a crack into a Brownstoner reader’s newly redone sidewalk.

soundhoner writes:

So I happened to be at home today, and I heard a saw sound so went outside. A shady looking individual, with a white unmarked van parked right in front, sawed into my sidewalk. Confused, I asked him what he was doing and he mumbled something unintelligible. Asking for clarification, he said the word “caulking”. Angrily.

I didn’t really pay much attention to it, but I realized later I really should have. After he left I saw a random crack. This sidewalk was just completely redone a few months ago when the city installed the bioswale.

Then I remembered. When I first bought this place, there was a violation on the sidewalk and the broker had told me a ‘neighborhood guy’ was going around creating cracks and calling up violations in order to try to push his own business. I feel dumb for not running over and taking a picture of the license plate.

Should I call the police and describe the incident? This is really bizarre to me, but I also don’t want a violation on there that will cost me hundreds to repair. Also the sidewalk was perfect! What kind of shady nonsense is this and what do you recommend?

What’s the next step here? Has this happened to you? Share your thoughts in the original post.

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Photo by Liz Unger

A Brownstoner reader is finding water pooled on the roof of their new garden-unit extension.

sidewalksurfing writes:

We have just finished a gut reno on a Stuy Heights house. Now that I’m in I’m noticing the roof of our garden unit extension is really flat. I mean, not sloped or pitched whatsoever. Water tends to pool on it after it rains and I’ve even climbed out on it to sweep the water off. We had the roof reflashed and patched but I have to imagine water pooling there is probably not a good thing long term. We want to put a porch over it so we can access the backyard from the parlor floor but I’m wondering if I should first add something to the roof to make it more sloped so water drains off it properly. No structural engineer here but I have to imagine it’s risky to load up the this little roof with anything heavy… anyone have experience with this or am I just being paranoid?

How do you prevent water from pooling on the roof? Is it safe to build a deck there, as proposed? Share your thoughts in the original post

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House photo by Mary Hautman

A Brownstoner reader is in fear of losing her mind due to noisy next-door neighbors.

miss718 writes:

Ever since our neighbors renovated their adjoining frame house, it’s like being in the room with them. We didn’t hear the previous neighbors to nearly the same degree. This is awful and when I’m on the phone with clients, they can hear the kid next door screaming, which she does a lot. There’s only 6 inches of brick between the houses so my husband doesn’t think that blowing in insulation is going to work. Anyone have recommendations for a sound proofing expert before I lose my mind?

What’s the best way to dampen the sound between row houses? Do you need a pro or can it be done on your own? Share your thoughts in the original post.

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Photo by Mary Hautman

A Brownstoner reader is considering selling their home by owner.

FishieFishie writes:

Ever sold your NYC home yourself, without a broker? Obviously, people do this all the time, but I was wondering how it works, especially with a co-op. Where do you advertise? Is it possible to advertise in some “old-fashioned” way, the way newspaper ads used to be, without over-sharing, or do all sites require everything, starting with name/address? What information of your own do you have to collect to provide people? Although you can’t reject people for protected categories, how does one reject a prospective buyer for other reasons – like he’s just so unpleasant to deal with? At what point does the inevitable lawyer get involved?

Commenters are mixed — a couple have bought and sold sans broker and it worked out fine, but others suggest at least considering hiring an agent for the sake of more exposure and less work. You could also list your home directly on Brownstoner. Have you done this before? Share your thoughts in the original post.

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Photo by Cate Corcoran

A Brownstoner reader is planning a brownstone facade renovation and wants to let their tenant know how much noise and disruption to expect.

pitythefool writes:

We’ve just secured financing to restore our brownstone facade, and will soon be choosing a contractor and filing permits, hoping to start in late May and get the slurry coat on by the end of June. Our tenant works from home and I want to give her a sense of how disruptive the process will be to her peace and quiet. Can anyone tell me how long the jackhammering/noisy part of removing the existing facade lasted, and also the time up into the slurry and scratch coat is on. Are the scaffolding/workers outside really noticeable?

Share your thoughts in the original post.

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Photo by Mary Hautman

A Brownstoner reader came home to find a neighbor’s scaffolding pillars on their property, without having known there was a renovation beginning. The contractor’s netting also knocked out internet and cable in the reader’s building.

bedstuyreno writes:

My new neighbor started renovation yesterday on the facade of their building. I came home yesterday afternoon with scaffolding pillars on my property and netting and wood boards against my building. The neighbor did NOT ask permission to enter my property or put anything on or against my property. In fact, they didn’t even give me a heads up they would start renovating. When the contractor put netting against the building they knocked out the building’s internet and cable.

I spoke to my neighbor very sternly and told them to remove the pillars from my property — their contractor has pushed back and said the DOB gives them permission to put pillars on adjoining properties. Besides calling the DOB and filling a complaint — which I plan to do, what other things should I do to resolve this issue? Needless to say, things are now off to a rocky start with the neighbor from their lack of respect and communication.

Commenters agree that the neighbor should have given advance notice, but what’s the best way to move forward here? Share your thoughts in the original post.

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In this fence drama case (not the first we’ve seen), a Brownstoner reader has a neighbor’s fence on her property.

bkbenita writes:

I’m renovating my brownstone, so we had a survey done of our property lines. It ends up that my next door neighbor’s (ugly) chain link fence, which separates our two gardens, is about 8″ on my property. We’d like to renovate/landscape our garden, remove her fence, and put up a new wooden one on the correct lines.

My contractor says that we can just give the neighbor notice that we’re doing so, and just go ahead and remove her fence (and offer to replace it with the wooden fence at our own cost). My lawyer says its not worth the fight and that we should just install our fence next to the chain link fence – but then we’re losing precious inches. Would love thoughts from those who have experience in this. Should I go through the DOB?

How should she proceed? Share your thoughts in the original post.

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