By Geoffrey James, Inc.com Happiness is the only true measure of personal success. Making other people happy is the highest expression of success, but it's almost impossible to make others happy if you're not happy yourself.
With that in mind, here are nine small changes that you can make to your daily routine that, if you're like most people, will immediately increase the amount of happiness in your life:
1. Start each day with expectation.
If there's any big truth about life, it's that it usually lives up to (or down to) your expectations. Therefore, when you rise from bed, make your first thought: "something wonderful is going to happen today." Guess what? You're probably right.
While taking a break from my regular type of workouts today, I did 30 mins on the stationary bike. By the way, I did 37 straight chin ups recently! It's significant because I finally managed to do the same number of straight chin ups as my age.
Article that came out in Brick Underground for which I was interviewed.
Investment Bootcamp, Part 3: 10 mistakes to avoid when investing in NYC real estate
by Lucy Cohen Blatter | 12/03/12 - 10:28 AM
In the third part of our series, we look at some of the biggest mistakes investors make when buying a NYC property:
1. Deciding on a property based on the wow factor. Don't be too impressed by superficial features, says Wei Min Tan of Rutenberg, who works with many foreign investors. “If you’re buying as an investment, there’s a lot more to look at than just the lobby and amenities,” he says.
“Look instead at location of the building--driven by proximity to the subway or some kind of driver in the neighborhood, like Wall Street for example--as well as the overall quality of the building, and supply and demand within the building. There are certain buildings that have just so much supply, and it’ll take a long time to rent those apartments out,” he says.
The most expensive areas in Manhattan are generally West Village, Tribeca and Soho.
However, as I always mention to clients, a good buy depends on location and building quality. Just because a property is in the West Village doesn't mean it's hot, will appreciate tremendously etc. "Most expensive" here refers to what you can get for a certain price point. Or the amount of extra renovation you should still expect to put in despite already paying a very high price.
For example, $1 million may only get an old 1-bedroom condo in the West Village. But in another area, it may get a 1-bedroom in a nice luxury condo with amenities such as a pool, fitness center and nice courtyard. To get a 1-bedroom in a luxury condo in the West Village, you may have to pay $2 million. Hence West Village is "expensive."
Buying an apartment in New York is an experience that ranges from scary for the
first time international property investor to weekend shopping for a seasoned, high
net worth, individual. In both cases,
the buyer is venturing into a different country. The rules of the game are different, laws are
different, you're wary on who can be trusted etc....
Manhattan has been relatively safe from Hurricane Sandy. The crane at One57 (the $90 million penthouse) snapped and a tree fell on a low rise Chelsea building. Overall, structures in Manhattan are fine because (i) Manhattan island is well protected geographically (ii) structures in Manhattan are made of brick/concrete/steel.
Many buildings in Lower Manhattan have flooded basements, no power and some had to evacuate residents/employees post hurricane while building management fixes the problems. This is incomparable to the damage seen in the news in parts of Queens, Long Island, Jersey. Subway systems are still down but everything should be back to normal in a week.
QE3 is the Federal Reserve Bank's recently announced initiative to buy $40 billion of mortgage backed securities per month indefinitely until the economy improves. The main goals of QE3 are to (i) improve the housing market by decreasing mortgage rates and boosting housing demand (ii) stimulate the economy by pumping money into the financial system. The Fed hopes this would spur business investment and hiring.
Sales in the third quarter of 2012 was up 9.3% compared to last year. This is also the highest sales pace since the third quarter of 2008 when a financial crisis was triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Bloomberg reported today that Goldman Sachs' CEO Lloyd Blankfein is long real estate amid anti-deflation actions by central banks globally. Given that asset prices are expected to increase, Blankfein said,"I accept that invitation to have higher asset prices, and so I would go long more the real assets."
Manhattan condo prices continue to increase as supply is at the lowest level in years, according to Crains New York. 432 Park Avenue, which will be the city's tallest residential tower, is now increasing average asking price to $5,800 per square foot. This is three years before scheduled completion.
1. From 1912 to 2012, stocks had a real return of 6.6 percent per year and this is fading. This 6.6% return will be hard to replicate in the future because two drivers that contributed to corporate profits are already at historical lows (i) labor costs (ii) corporate taxes. Bond returns are fading as well. The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index currently yields only 1.8%.
2. Today, a diversified portfolio comprising stocks returning a nominal 4% and bonds returning a nominal 2% may produce an aggregate portfolio return of 3%. After inflation, it becomes zero. Bill Gross goes on to say that assumptions of 5-6% real returns used by portfolio and pension fund managers are unrealistic. Realizing this, policymakers' solution will be to inflate ourselves out of the predicament. But growth from inflation is not real growth as people will realize.
Our clients who decide to buy a townhouse in New York realize the advantages of owning a building include having potential air rights, owning the land and having substantially larger space than owning an apartment. A client may decide to buy a single family townhouse or buy a small multifamily building where they have primary residence in one unit and have other apartments within the building rented out for investment income.
Number of new residential property construction permits in New York City is at close to the lowest level since the 1960s according to the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). In the last decade 2000-2009, there were 231,228 residential housing permits issued. The estimate for 2010-2019 is only 78,315 permits or slightly higher than the worst decade of the 1990s when about 70,000 permits were issued.
Moving in day. This is my reward - the day the happy client, beaming with pride, moves into the new apartment. This is what we work for and the reward at the end of the transaction journey which includes viewings, analyses, negotiations, emotions, big sums of money, hundreds of phone calls, surprises, countless emails etc.
How does a buyer find a good real estate agent in New York? Should you select the agent with ads everywhere, the cousin of your college friend, or your former colleague who became an agent a year ago? This is probably one of the biggest questions buyer clients have. It becomes even more challenging for foreign buyers as their pool of agent candidates is smaller.
Many of our foreign investor clients tend to be more comfortable with buying property in London because they were either educated in the UK or live in a Commonwealth country with legal systems similar to that of Britain's.
Having born in London and lived in New York for the past 12 years, it struck me this morning to compare London vs New York.
From left, Arch Partners; SLCE Architects; Herzog & de Meuron; below, Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
New residential condominium buildings are being built again in New York. The New York Times reports that prices of the new buildings such as the Baccarat Hotel Residences, 56 Leonard and the revived One Madison Park are higher at $2000 to $4000 per square foot. While this wave of new developments is not as large as during the pre-recession, it signifies a comeback for New York high end residential property.
One of the nicest things about New York is accessibility to good (and inexpensive) wines. For example, Chile produces some of the best value wines in the world, and Puro Wines in Soho is a Chilean wine specialty shop which we visited this afternoon.
New York is on break today for Independence Day. In anticipation of the Macy's fireworks show tonight, some are doing BBQs, enjoying a boat ride, watching a movie or just simply relaxing with the family. Happy Birthday, America!
Hudson River Park has been my new running route as of 6 months ago. Specifically from Battery Park to the Superior Ink building on W 12 St (easy run), to W 72 St by 220 Trump Place on Riverside Blvd (longer run) or to W 96 St for the longest run.
New Yorkers can usually be divided into two types -- the
die-hards who would never leave the city for all the backyard space in the
world, and suburban-dreamers who long for a calmer, more serene life among the
Here are five neighborhoods for each type of New Yorker.