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Buy Your Mom an Apartment; Scrambling to Sell Before 2013

1) This week's Hunt finds Richard, with the urging of his fiance, Madeleine, finally making the move from Long Island to Manhattan that he's always dreamed about. He doesn't have a lot of specific criteria, just that he's looking for a rental for between $3,000 and $4,000/month, so the two of them check into a Midtown hotel and begin exploring residential neighborhoods, soon settling on Riverside Park. So far, so good. He finds a renovated fourth-floor walkup for $3,750/month and submits his application, but soon receives word that he's been outbid. He ups his offer to $4,000/month and is promptly outbid again. So much for that. After looking around a little more, he finds another place for $4,000/month and again submits a bid. This time, he's told that someone who saw the apartment earlier has decided to take it and that they, in effect, have dibs. He's frustrated and confused, but finally ends up finding a ground-floor 1BR with a backyard in the West 80s for $3,500/month and manages to sign the lease with no mishaps. A happy ending, but a disconcerting Hunt nonetheless. [The Hunt/'The 'Just-Do-It' Apartment'; photo by Harris Graber]

2) Apparently, a new "trend" is for rich people to buy apartments for their parents near where they live. Sure. Why not? The idea is that they want the parents nearby—but not, understandably, living in the guest room—so that it's not a pain to go visit them and the grandparents can interact with the grandchildren on a regular basis. Which all sounds perfectly nice. Anybody with tons of money and kids and parents that they don't hate should definitely consider it. Maybe check with the grandparents first, though. ['The Ultimate Amenity: Grandparents']

3) With many people predicting that the cost of selling an apartment will rise significantly in 2013 due to a increase in the top federal capital gains tax rate, brokers are in full-on scramble mode to close as many sales as possible before New Years. That also means that many sellers are willing to offer big discounts and opportunistic buyers are swooping in. All of which spells great business for real estate lawyers. [Big Deal/'A Mad Dash to Avoid a Bigger Tax Bite']