Vandenberg, Townhouses for Sale, Ny Townhouses, New York Brownstone, Nyc Brownstone, Manhattan Brownstone, Manhattan Townhouse, New York City Brownstone, New York City Townhouse, Manhattan Brownstones for Sale, New York City Townhouses, Townhomes Manhattan, Townhouse Realty, New York City Brownstones for Sale, Upper West Side Townhouse, Nyc Brownstone For Sale
Townhouses for sale
Townhouses for rent
Our Sold Gallery
Meet the Vandenberg Team
Essential for Sellers
Essential for Buyers
Client Testimonials
Blog Social Media Contact Us
Career Opportunities
New York Citys Town House Experts - 212-769-2900
Whats My House Worth?Receive New Listings FirstDexters Weekly Market UpdatesVandenberg Open Houses and Seminars




Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market

By Carl Swanson
Published: November 11, 1999, New York Observer


When Marcy and Michael Balk’s obsessively renovated pink-granite “mansion” –7,500 square feet, six bedrooms, five stories – at 24 West 71st Street finally sold for $4,275 million in September, breaking records for a brownstone sale on the Upper West Side, it was the result of a carefully planned strategy devised by their agent, Vandenberg Real Estate, back in the dark days of 1994: Don’t advertise it!


“If you have a mansion, you don’t want to overexpose it, because if you don’t sell it in the first six months, it gets a stigma,: said Dexter Guerrieri, the agent for the house for the two years it was on the market. The market’s brisk now, and the Upper West Side is hot, but a couple of years ago, that wasn’t the case. (To be fair, other agents doubt Vandenburg’s strategy was intended, noting how few buyers there are for houses on this level.)


“A typical broker just gets property and advertises it and hopes for the best,” said Mr. Guerrieri. “And here we were making sure that only the key brokers knew about it –showing it infrequently to keep it from being overexposed.” The Balks lived in the house until a few months ago and continued to renovate it compulsively to museum-quality luster until their final days there. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” sales strategy suited them perfectly. They didn’t want architectural voyeurs who weren’t in any position to buy ogling their work-in-progress and adding to their self-imposed chaos.


And there seemed to be no end to the work. The broker recalled that once when he was showing the house, he walked in and saw workers putting up new fabric on the walls of the foyer and along the staircase – an area he’d assumed had already been finished. “I thought I was showing an almost finished house,” he said. “I wondered if maybe something was wrong…” A new elevator was being installed, custom made pocket doors had been ordered for the curved entrance to the living room and new furniture has arrived. “It wasn’t just name appliances and marble baths – you can find that anywhere,” said the broker. “A typical house like this might have more of a glitzy feel” – think Trump-style beveled mirrors and gold-plated faucets. Instead, it was more of a true restoration. Which was fortunate for the buyers, who wanted to move in with just their toothbrushes. They had been living in Battery Park City but wanted to move to the Upper West Side to be near private schools for their 3-year-old son.


Until they came poking around in the middle of the August off-season (eight years to the month after the Balks bought the once rundown property), there had been a collection of actors and movie producers coming through the house, people Mr. Guerrieri said fit into his category of “Lincoln Center influentials,” who enjoyed the discreet selling strategy. “The buyer has to discover the property,” said the broker. “you have to have courage, and the sellers have to have courage, to wait. “ It should be noted that Mr. Balk was in no hurry to move; it was his wife who directed the renovation and who was itching for another project. Mr. Guerrieri added, “by setting the price and holding the line, we did something really significant,” which was, in effect, to set the standard for the “best house on the market” and to drive up the prices of houses all over the Upper West Side. Brokers: Vandenberg (Dexter Guerrieri); William B. May (Eric Ozada).


Back to Articles









Vandenberg Inc, The Town House Experts (TM), Licensed Real Estate Broker, 1995 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, New York 10023 - All information is from sources deemed reliable and is submitted subject to errors, changes of price, rental, prior sale, and withdrawal without notice
212-769-2900 | Home | Townhouses for Sale | Townhouses for Rent | Our Sold Gallery | Meet The Vandenberg Team | About Vandenberg | Meet The Team | Our Core Values | About Preservation Volunteers | About Brownstone Revival Coalition | Remembering Austin Haldenstein | Essentials for Sellers | Top 10 Reasons Sellers Choose Us | Complimentary Market Evaluation | Case Studies of Dexter's Sales | Free Reports | Essentials for Buyers | Our Premier Buyer Services | Receive New Listings First | Upcoming Open Houses | Free Reports | Client Testimonials | Press | Videos | Contact Us | What's My Townhouse Worth? | Receive New Listings First | Dexter's Weekly Market Update | Vandenberg Open Houses and Seminars | Case Studies | Contact Us | Career Opportunities | Blog | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use Policy