The Open-House Log: Special Credit-Crisis Edition

17 Cheever Place, Cobble Hill
What: A four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath townhouse.
Price: $2.575 million
Broker: Madeline Castrese, the Corcoran Group.
Attendance: Bustling.

Who: Antoinette and Bill Gray, semi-retired.
Is this your first time here in a while?
BG: This is our first time in Cobble Hill, period. This is the place to live! We’re in rural Virginia now. There is life outside New York, which was hard for me to believe.
Would you live in a townhouse like this?
BG: Oh, yes. But the pricing leaves us astounded.
Is the market in Virginia stable?
BG: It’s pretty stable. AG: Except the houses aren’t selling.

Who: Chris Cooper (pictured, holding Felix, 5) and Jennifer Hanlin (holding Mia, 5), architects.
So you’re locals?
JH: We live right across the street, in a converted school.
CC: We’re both architects, so we’re looking more at unrenovated
brownstones. Here, they’ve managed to make the place feel open and light, which is one of the problems with brownstones.
Are you worried about buying in this market?
CC: Of course. But people are negotiating. Right now, we’re in a funny situation because we have to sell before we buy.

Who: Allieu Shaw, TV broadcaster, and Aminata Cisse, model.
Any concern about the economy?
AS: Lots. [But] somebody’s got to live somewhere, no matter how bad the economy is.
AC: We’re looking at a few different places.
AS: We’re between this house and one in Clinton Hill.
Which is better?
AC: That one has a really beautiful master suite.
AS: I like this one! The living room, and the dining area …
How are you going to decide?
AC: Whoever writes the check.
And who’s writing the check?
AS: I don’t know.

255 West 98th Street, No. 6A
What: A 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath co-op.
Price: $1.495 million
Broker: Wendy Maitland and Scott Harris, Brown Harris Stevens.
Attendance: Barely any.

Who: Judi Z., president of a garment firm.
How long have you been looking?
Just, like, a month or two. Here on the Upper West Side.
When you first started, was the market better or worse than it is now?
Prices are coming down.
So are you going to make a move soon?
Yeah. But I want the right price, because when the market drops more, which it will, I don’t want to [have] overpaid. The ones we saw a month ago are coming down by, what, a hundred grand?
Are you thinking seriously about this apartment?
I love the way it’s decorated! But we need a real two-bedroom. I have a son who comes home from college. If there was a real second bedroom, and a den-office, it would be great.

Who: Andrea Hall, owner of a textiles business.
Have you been looking long?
Literally for a week. We have two kids, and we need a two- or three-bedroom. We rent.
Why now?
We see that prices have come down.
Does the apartment work for you?
No. First of all, I love prewar apartments for their old details and separate spaces, so the fact that they made it loftlike didn’t work. The living area, the dining area—it was one big room. It’s too contemporary. And I’m not a fan of exposed brick.
Are you worried about buying in today’s market?
Our time horizon is very long—a good ten to fifteen years. It’s more important to us to find a great place and take advantage of the softening in the market. We’re not flipping it.

520 La Guardia Place, Greenwich Village
What: Three-bedroom, two-bath co-op.
Price: $1.275 million
Broker: Mallory Weil, Halstead Property.
Attendance: Mobbed.

Who: Matt Baldwin, owner of a tutoring company, and Shelly Shapiro, banker (pictured).
How serious are you about buying?
MB: I don’t know. We’re currently renting.
SS: We’re expecting a down market.
MB: We have six months on our lease.
Are you concerned? I mean, you’re in banking.
SS: Well, a little. But his business isn’t affected at all.
Do you like this place?
MB: No. I mean, if it were a different economic climate …
SS: We like more of a modern aesthetic.

Who: David Saenz, lawyer, and Stacy Saenz, lawyer.
How long have you been looking?
DS: We’re looking to upgrade from a one- to a three-bedroom. It’s been three months poking around. This place is very well priced—a lot of others, you can see them start to come down.
SK: But they haven’t quite.
Do you think the changing market will help buyers like you?
DS: We’re hoping so. Maybe there’ll be less bidding wars.
SK: We’ll have to see where the market is in terms of credit lines.
And you have to sell your old place.
DS: Actually, we’re going to try to rent it out. It’ll only be a problem if banks don’t give out mortgages.

Who: Claude Hersh, attorney
Are you scared off by the credit and stock markets?
Actually, my partner and I have been thinking this was going to happen, so we’ve been holding off. We made low offers on a few places.
So you’re serious now?
I think brokers have been telling sellers a real story about how they can get a higher price when they really can’t. We think it’s going to get worse. I think we’ll hold off for a few months.
Where are you looking?
Anywhere downtown. I live on the Upper West Side. It’s boring.

The Open-House Log: Special Credit-Crisis Edition