Pied-a-terre is a French word that translates to “a foot on the ground” and is used as a real estate jargon. A pied-a-terre is a small living unit like an apartment, and is usually located where the owner does not live primarily, but visits frequently; thus they are generally smaller than a primary home would be.

Why Should You Consider a Pied-a-terre?

People have different reasons for owning a pied-a-terre. Some need it because it gives them easier access to the city on weekends, especially in popular NYC areas. Business travelers often own a pied-a-terre in cities they travel to, particularly for easy accommodation.

Others may own a pied-a-terre if they have family members living in the NYC – especially if they love to visit them regularly. Similarly, some individuals purchase this type of  real estate simply because they want their own place to stay from time to time in the big city.

Essentially, it is more accessible, cheaper, and convenient to own a pied-a-terre than to have to pay for hotel rooms constantly. Think about it, with a pied-a-terre, you would be avoiding the stress of bookings, check-ins, and even packing while also enjoying a home away from home.

So if you want to get a pied-a-terre for yourself, here are the things you should keep in mind:

1.    Location

For most people, location is everything, especially in NYC. Before deciding on a pied-a-terre, you must consider the proximity of the building in regard to your favorite neighborhoods or attractions (like restaurants, bars, running trails, parks, etc.).

2.    Amenities

You should also value and check for the amenities offered in the building. If you’re an avid gym goer and you would enjoy having a gym in your building, make that part of your criteria. In addition, if you are like most New Yorkers and you buy lots of things online, you might appreciate the presence of doorman or other building staff members who can keep an eye out for the delivery person. Consider this extra step as an investment of your time because it will be something you thank yourself for time and time again.

3.    Maintenance Fees

As it is when buying any type of apartment in NYC, the monthly maintenance fee is certainly something you should consider when browsing for a pied-a-terre. Even though this may seem like something that goes without saying, some people overlook it until they see the monthly bill… Therefore, make sure the monthly costs don’t make the investment feel like a bad idea. Unless you need one right away, keep searching for the pied-a-terre that makes the most sense.

4.    Functionality

Some buildings may not allow the sale of units as a pied-a-terre. Not to say that some sellers mislead buyers on purpose, but this is definitely something to confirm with the building’s management.

Rent or Buy It?

It is recommendable to rent a pied-a-terre if your lifestyle doesn’t encourage such a hefty investment. That way, you won’t have to worry about high taxes and maintenance fees, and you won’t get stuck with an asset that may depreciate.

Renting is also cheaper in the short-term and allows you to try it before you buy it. Keep in mind, not all buildings allow short-term rentals so this may not be an option for the pied-a-terre of your dreams. However, it never hurts to ask.


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