Saturday, March 03, 2012

Last 5 Days To Vote for NYC's Best App!

Only 5 days are left to vote on the most useful apps submitted in the New York City Big Apps 3.0 competition. A summary and video demonstration of the app is posted to the Big Apps 3.0 website. This year there are over 350 apps vying for the top. I found a couple very interesting real estate - related apps. Zoner, for instance, helps you figure out how much buildable area is available on a particular lot - this app has already been built and is available for download. I am looking forward to using it to double check my calculations for clients. StableRenters is a pretty comprehensive app aimed at showing public record activity such as violations that a landlord collects. Admirably it aggregates information from all of the landlord's buildings to give the landlord a sort of "responsibility rating". Definitely a tool that could benefit many renters and help get some apartments in NYC their needed updates. Another real estate app I thought stood out is New York City Datascape. This app uses census and other information to create a 3D map of New York City based on what you think is most important (parks, cafes, schools, even average square foot rents so you can stay within budget). It's a great way to figure out which neighborhoods you want to explore if you are looking at moving to a new neighborhood. I thought Phoundit was really clever. If you have Foursquare, then you might receive a ping if you check in at a location where a fellow Phoundit user has lost something. Many of the apps are fairly simple, but useful. Apps for finding parking garages or recycling centers or nearby city parks. Guestlist NYC seems like a must have for clubbers (a scene from which NYC Real Estate Goddess has mostly retired). A lot of work and imagination went into these apps, and winning or placing highly means a lot to these developers. Go to the Big Apps 3.0 website and vote on an app you think is interesting before March 8! You can vote once each day, so keep coming back. You might find your next can't-live-without app there.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Save on Your Refinance

Came across this excellent article today regarding title insurance and refinancing:

Title insurance is a safeguard against defects in the title of real property. This phenomenon came out of the era of non-computerized records (since the 1500s, basically), when it was very easy to impersonate someone, forge documents, or otherwise muddy the waters when it came to proving ownership of a property. Title insurance (coupled with title abstracts) basically come into play when there is a defect in title, such as an old lien on the property or a claim by a previous owner.

In New York, particularly in Manhattan, title insurance is rarely used. Some 80% of available residential units are co-ops, which are not considered real property, and therefore rarely involve title insurance. Title insurance is mostly applicable to real property ownership - including condos and townhouses or buildings of any kinds. In fact, mortgage companies require a title abstract - and usually also title insurance - before they will agree to the mortgage loan.

The author of this article - Mr. Guttentag - has highlighted a possible cost savings for owners of condos and townhouses who wish to refinance - namely, a discount on the reissue of title insurance. If you are thinking about refinancing your condo or house, this is required reading!