February: The Longest Short

February 27, 2021

Prioritize list of search criteria and figure out what is best for you.


February: The Longest Short

For the shortest month of the year, Feb 2021 has certainly felt long... and we still have a couple of days left. 

Whether it was a matter of current or cultural events, personal, professional or familial challenges included, February has definitely been busy.  This month we have endured:

  • Several snowstorms inhibiting our already limited ability to circulate and/or potentially contributing to seasonal winter blues. Not to ignore the effect of being snowed in on the daily schedules of WFH parents with energetic children in need of stimulation and exercise.
  • Frustration arising from the partisan resolution of Trump's second impeachment, less than one month after an unprecedented insurrectionist attack on the nation's capital.
  • Exhaustion from navigating digital wormholes spelunking in search of the perfect pandemic proof VDay gift and/or a romantic recipe for a home cooked gourmet meal. 
  • Fatigue from figuring out how to celebrate Black History Month post insurrection, post police brutality protests and subsequent corporate DEI pandering, during a pandemic, with all of the above in background in the shortest month of the year.
  • Dealing with Mercury Retrograde.
  • Celebrating Lunar New Year
  • Super Bowl, FOMO
  • (President's Day)
So yes a lot was going on in everybody's world, on multiple levels, simultaneously, and it is nearly impossible to stay on top of everything while trying to stay happy, healthy and sane.  I'd say February had a programming overload, and I'm (wait I missed groundhog day) looking forward to a month with less scheduled action.  

What I would also say, bringing it back to real estate, is that you can't pay attention to what is going on in every market and make the best move in the one that is relevant to you

If you are looking to rent a walkup, you shouldn't necessarily be paying attention to concessions being offered for luxury hi rises.  

As a buyer, a sub 700k condo won't have the same discounts as one for 7 or 70M, and the price of property in North Carolina is wholly irrelevant if you don't intend to move there.  Thanks SNL.
It is important to focus on your ONE thing, or your prioritized list of search criteria and really drill down to figure out what is best for you.  
So I'm not the "Black History Facts" guy, in fact, I personally think the rapid-fire posting of Black Facts during February alone trivializes the contributions of Black Americans to American society as a whole.  I could write a lot more, but suffice it to say that I'm black, this is the Brighter Report, and:
"According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Latimer improved upon Edison's original design. Latimer created a light bulb with a more durable filament made of carbon.

He sold the patent to the US Electric Co. in 1881, and a year later patented a process for efficiently manufacturing the carbon filament. He even wrote a book in 1890 on electric lighting, the first of its kind. 

Because of Latimer's contributions, incandescent light bulbs became more affordable and practical, MIT says, thus transforming American culture."

Lewis Howard Latimer (September 4, 1848 – December 11, 1928) pictured above, saying what he said, doing what he did, when he did it, without equal rights under the law.  

I can't say he was a personal hero to me.  Frankly, I never learned about him in school, but he was clearly a brain.  A black brain at that, and I do think the lead-in quote pictured above can be illuminating to your potential housing search, and/or next month's existential quest by taking advantage of present opportunities to craft your future.



With respect to the celebration and cultivation of black talent/community beyond February, I am working on a new commercial/retail project in conjunction with URBANE DEVELOPMENT and we will be seeking tenants for various ground floor space in "developing" areas throughout Brooklyn and several locales in the Bronx.

The first project will be leasing the 2 retail spaces at the Caton Flats.  

I have had the pleasure of assisting several clients secure space as a tenant's agent, and look forward to helping develop communities through this venture. 

If you or someone in your immediate network is an entrepreneur, educator, community based organization, or simply a business looking for space, pls do reach out. 

You don't need to be black or brown, but the spaces will largely be in located within communities of color, and our goal as commercial agents will be to positively impact those communities.

Here are some Articles for those with interest in learning more, even if you are not looking for or connected to those looking for retail space.

This isn't my Identity Chart. Just yoinked this one for display purposes.

My parents are from Jamaica.  I am Black.  American.  Born Brooklynite.  Native New Yorker.  College Educated, and a bunch of other things.

Each facet uniquely informs my identity, my preferences as an individual, and not as a member of a cultural monolith devoid of diversity.

I am not Chinese, but I checked out what's in store for an Earth Goat in the year of Metal Ox, and I tried to get some dumplings and long noodles.  Cultural Curiosity is definitely a part of my identity.

I was VERY conscious of Mercury Retrograde, double and triple checking emails, making sure communication was not only clear but also clearly reiterated. Esoteric and "Alternative" modes of thinking are also of interest to me.

With a packed social calendar, and a diverse pie chart of identic prioritization, (cognitive dissonance notwithstanding).  It is important to realize that, beyond perspective, individuals rarely look at things in the exact same manner, and, as a result, empathy is a great tool for seeking win-win solutions.

The point of me sharing all this is not to shame anyone for not celebrating the same things other people do, or pat myself on the back for liking what I like, but to highlight that while the lives we lead are inextricably intertwined in many ways, the diversity of prioritized experience makes it so that very few people are actually celebrating the same thing in the same way at the same time.  

This matters in negotiation.  It matters in projecting the timing of a potential exit.  Determining your specific advantage, your particular set of needs, and identifying your spirit guide (or broker) to help you achieve your goals.

It is also to say that a weighted pie chart of priorities could be a more revelatory tool than a simple bulleted list of search criteria.  In your head and heart, these priorities are clearly weighted and influence your search criteria in a corresponding fashion.

You may say "nice to have," vs "must have," but even that delineation may not really get you to the mathematical truth of your housing equation.

Additionally, our individual identities are constructed in opposition to, adherence to, and acceptance by a variety of external and internal forces.

In the same way as no two people are the same, no two searches are the same.

There is no "typical Murray Hill buyer," but the attributes represented by the product offerings in a given neighborhood may map to a type.  This is correlation, not causation.  So take the time to think about how your identity affects your priorities, and how your priorities may or may not sync with those of your competition and the sell side.

That is your advantage, unless you want exactly what everybody wants for different reasons, but at the same time, and at a discount.

Being well versed in parroted points from talking heads who don't actually sell real estate won't really help you get the best deal on property that best suits your needs.  Be A Metal OX in Black History Month and beyond.

Your Valentine will thank you, possibly on Super Bowl, or President's Day, especially if you are snowed in thanks to an agoraphobic Groundhog.

Knowing is Half the Battle.

2021 is the Lunar Year of the OX, specifically the Metal Ox. 

Be a Metal Ox..

Metal Ox: Hardworking, active, always busy, and popular among friends.

I'm not going to go into Feng Shui or anything deeper than that.  Click the link for the site I learned more about Lunar New Year on, if you find it interesting.  My lead in was extra long winded, so i'm gonna cut to the chase.

People are doing deals. Buying Homes.  Selling Homes. Moving on to and preparing for the next stage of their lives.

Rentals transactions are happening, with fees paid and no months free.  In cases where there are no concessions offered, there is still the opportunity to make an offer.

Generally speaking, you could wait for steeper discounts or "the right time," or you could get it done.

Come May/June, barring any further global catastrophe, pandemic, or economic event, there will be more competition, less negotiation, and we will undoubtedly be able to track that the bottom of the market was Q1 2021.

But it will be too late at that point to take full advantage. 


Since last month's newsletter....

4 West 21 Street, New York, NY, 10010

2 bed 2 bath ,1200sf, doorman/elevator, gym condop
Flatiron 6495

My first customer come by and gushed about how great the place was, only to go get a "better deal" somewhere else.  No problem. There weren't a ton of inquiries.  I felt like I needed to drop the rent to be competitive after that feedback, but I had already done the analysis and decided to stick to my guns.

After broadcasting the property on an alternate network, I literally had over 15 inquiries on a Saturday night, showed 6 people on a Sunday , received 4 astonishingly overqualified applications and had an approved renter the next day.

Management approved the week after.  The renter came with the floorplan printed out, a measuring tape, and a sense of conviction that let me know they were serious about the deal, and that made all the difference.

360 Macon Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11233

Contract Signed
Landmarked 2 Fam in Stuyvesant Heights
Bed Stuy 2.25M

The lesson I will share here, is that sometimes going through all the motions is a necessary process to realizing you have the best possible outcome.  Additionally, buyers and sellers don't necessarily view the property in the same way.

A seller could be emotionally attached, irrationally proud, or energetically exhausted for a slew of reasons that may or may not be property related.

For a buyer to WIN, they don't need to prioritize the Seller's position over their own, but it is good to be cognizant of potential psychological reactions in addition to going through the proper steps to make sure you're not getting shafted.

It's a tightrope to walk, especially during retrograde, but if you walk tight, you make it across.

675 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11216

Contract Signed
Park Facing Brownstone 2 bed 1 bath Condo with PVT Terrace
Bed Stuy 900k.

Buyer, who was initially introduced to me by a past client 4 years ago, contacted me after reading my newsletter.  We exchanged emails for about 2 months before hitting the streets.

We then spent 2 days looking at everything in his target area/price range, and had an accepted offer by Wednesday of that same week.

When you have a shortlist of contenders, it becomes more evident of the relative quality between options when viewed in quick succession.  200 search results becomes 20 real options after crunching numbers, which boils down to 5-10 worth seeing in person, and hopefully 1-5 contenders.

We prioritized spending time determining what was most important to him, and when we identified it, we didn't focus on the discount, we focussed on securing the deal.

*he got 25k under ask or 2.7%

160 East 27 Street, New York, NY, 10016

Offer Accepted
1 bed CONDOP  w/Elevator and Unlimited Subletting Policy
Kips Bay, 400k!!!

We had an accepted offer on another unit in the building, when this virtually identical unit came on market for 20% less.  It needs a little sprucing up, but not more than 20k.

So for 420k, or 60k saved compared to other unit in the building, my buyers are going to be ahead of the game, even if rents are presently down in NYC.  Net 12.5% savings, post cost of renovation

NYC will bounce back, and so will that rent.

185 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11238

New Listing. 3/1 OCCUPANCY
Brownstone Walkup D/W, unobstructed Southern Exposure
Clinton HIll. $2700

My former next door neighbor and repeat client. Crazy how much the block has changed in the 8 years since I moved.

My former apt building, also a brownstone, is now a condo.  The empty lot 4 doors down is now a ground up new development, and there is a new half block long development the next block over that has completely changed the view from the rear of the apartment.  More light and air.

Initially, I was worried about pricing, concessions etc, but believe it or not, there are a good amount of people who want a character apartment that they can make into a personalized home.

In an age of floor to ceiling windows and stainless steel appliances, there is still demand for a 3rd floor walkup with a sloping floor and non stainless steel appliances.


My takeaway/gems.

1) People don't read, they skim, and they largely search for what they want to see.  Be Brighter!

2) If you are a freelancer, check out www.sayRhino.com as a potential guarantor.

3) Searching online by yourself doesn't make you an expert, and it doesn't give you an edge in negotiations.

Demand is case by case.

Arguing that there are better deals out there, while expressing interest in the unit you are seeing AND trying to get a discount is understandable, but not fully logical.

If you like the unit, make a case for yourself and that unit, leave the other apartments you aren't interested in out of the discussion.  We all have access to  Streeteasy.

Access alone isn't understanding.  By extension, if that's all that one needed to find a home in NYC, there would be no brokers.

4) A broker can be a arbitrator/tie breaker in a couple's housing search.  Or you could let finding your new home amplify any minor disagreements and possibly jeopardize something greater.

So that's my February Brighter Report.

I'm an Earth Ram/Goat actively getting my Metal Ox on.

Brownstone.  Lux Rental.  Condo.  Condop. Brooklyn. Manhattan.  Flatiron. Kips Bay. Bed Stuy. Clinton Hill.

$2700, 6495, 400k, 900k,2.25M

Would love to help somebody get a great Harlem Condo, a 2 fam in Bushwick, or a condo in Williamsburg!

LMK how I can help you!

Until next time,



82 Irving Place, 2B 
1 bed 1 bath Co-op
$575,000, maintenance $1050

This coop 1 bed property is renovated, the bedroom is large enough to accomodate a Queen Sized Bed, the living room can fit a Sectional Couch with room to spare and there is laundry in the basement.  Most importantly, it is a 1 bed in the heart of Manhattan for under 600k. 

While you do not get a key to Gramercy Park, and the unit does not face the street, these features would cost you an additional 175-500k, for the same space.  Location matters. 
For Rent

Large 1.5 bed 1 bath, Townhouse Floorthru $2750
D/W, N/S exposure, SUNNY, 2 DCFPLC


1200SF 2 BED 2 BATH $6495
Doorman Elevator, Gym, Parking


Serene and spacious this split 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment is located in the Flatiron District, steps from Madison Square Park. Whether working from home or commuting, the central location grants convenient access to work and play.

This spacious 2 bed 2 bath enjoys calm steady Northern light and a picturesque view of architecturally distinct neighbors characteristic of the corridor. The combination of wide windows and open layout really give this home a lofty feel, without the loss factor, unbalanced light, and lack of amenities generally inherited with true loft living.

Enjoy the huge windowed master bath w/ white marble throughout & soaking tub + separate standing shower, but make sure to draw the shades!!


230 Ashland Place
Fort Greene

Repped the buyer on acquisition and on exit. 
$279/sf profit.

KW NY Tri-State/Manhattan Region and Project Destined (PD) are joining forces to empower a new generation of leaders in real estate, transforming Black and minority youth into owners and stakeholders in the communities in which they live, work and play.

Together, we are building a work-based education platform that provides a pathway to (home)ownership, entrepreneurship and wealth creation, by removing barriers to become a real estate professional and empowering students with the skills, confidence, experiences and network to launch their careers and a life as changemakers in their community.

In its pilot launch, the KW x PD partnership will provide 60 students, over three years, with:

-   TRAINING - 40+ hours of training in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and real estate

-   NETWORKING - culled from agent participation:  (1) as instructors for the live learning component; (2) as dedicated mentors for students; (3) as speakers for the Executive Speaker series; and (4) as judges for the weekly competitions.

-   EXPERIENCE - in pitching a live KW deal to KW professionals.

-   FUNDING - to take the state pre-licensure course in residential real estate, upon completion of KW x PD program.

-   ACCESS - to KW NY Tri-State/Manhattan Region market -webkit-centers and renowned training to launch their careers as KW NY Tri-State/Manhattan Region real estate professionals.

Donations, if you are so inclined, are tax deductible.

We cannot change the history of America, but this is our chance to alter its trajectory in a way that builds equity and opportunity in a real and tangible way. Won’t you join us in the endeavor?

How can I help you?
Buyers: 150k-15M. 
Sellers:  500k-5M. 
Renters: 1800-18k per month.   
Areas Served. 
All Manhattan.
All Brooklyn: accessible by train, 1 fare zones.
Queens: LIC/Astoria, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights
Bronx: accessible by train, 1 fare zones.

Property Types:
Rentals: Doorman, Walkup, Elevator, Loft, Townhouse
Sales: Condo, Coop, Condop, Townhouse/Brownstone
Commercial: Office Leasing, Retail Leasing, Investment Sales

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Brighter Real Estate Group
All rights reserved.

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