By Karen Monroe
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn is a destination, not a default, when it comes to selecting where to live in New York. While the sights, sounds and excitement of New York City are magnetic, many of us prefer the calm and cool of Brooklyn. The city that never sleeps is great fun to visit, but isn't always our first-choice location in which to live.
When I was first moving to New York, everyone told me how much I'd love Brooklyn Heights. Its many comparisons to San Francisco are clear: It's walkable, diverse, has great restaurants and lots of parks for my dogs. But as a lifelong Californian, I assumed it was the bright lights of NYC that were where it was at. Once I was on the ground looking for a place to live, I realized I was wrong.
Finding a home is like choosing a mate: There's the idealistic perfect partner who meets all of the criteria on the list (usually this is an imaginary friend), and then there is the right person for you. Usually it is through experience and education that you learn what you really want. The older and smarter we get, the more flexible this list becomes. Tall, dark and handsome slowly morphs into having hair and a sense of humor. And so it goes with real estate.
My affection for Brooklyn was an initial process of education provided expertly by my real estate professional at the time. But most people already know that Brooklyn is among the best New York has to offer. I'm proud to say that I live here. So are the nearly three million other residents who choose to make this borough home. With a Kings County motto of "In Unity There is Strength," what's not to love about Brooklyn? Not to mention the museums, parks, music, botanic gardens, festivals, food and fun available year-round.
As far as real estate prices go, you also get a bit more bang for your buck in Brooklyn versus Manhattan. At least for now. Brooklyn is hot these days, and it's getting hotter. With lots of new housing developments, and many more scheduled for completion in coming years, Brooklyn will be the new New York City. It's inevitable. Where else is there left to develop in Manhattan, aside from tearing down what already exists to replace it with an apartment building that is bigger, taller and boasts better amenities? In Brooklyn, regeneration has only just begun.
Not only is Brooklyn a destination, Brooklyn is a way of life. It's a brand. It's a place that reminds many of us of where we came from, whether across the country or across the pond. Just ask those who live here. It's home sweet home.
On the Run
Disclosures: The classic tell-all story required in real estate transactions. You've got to state what you know about the place you are trying to sell. It's the law, no matter what state you live in. But somehow, the feeling of ‘don't ask, don't tell’lingers in some situations.
I say this based on my own experience of buying a home in San Francisco. Great house to buy. All the inspections came out clean, but then the torrential rain storm came and the sewers overflowed, the drains poured out and much of my house flooded with nasty, smelly water. It ruined files, walls and furniture. And then there was the potential for mold from the drying dampness. By then it was too late. It was my home – and had been for months – and the former owners were long gone to Florida. They knew, it had rained that hard before. But no one disclosed the problematic fact of flooding.
My suggestion is to always be up front with your realtor and potential buyers or renters. If you are on the buying or renting side, be sure to ask. Make certain to visit your possible new home at different times to find out what really goes on from a light, sound, smell and noise perspective throughout the day or night. Most things are negotiable, many are fixable, and some are not deal breakers. Honesty is the best route. Remember, what goes around comes around, especially in real estate.
Karen Monroe practices real estate at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 156 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. She lives in the neighborhood and represents buyers, sellers and renters in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Karen can be found walking her dogs and running the parks, paths, streets and bridges of Brooklyn and beyond. For feedback and all of your real estate needs, contact Karen at [email protected].