I've read plenty of negative reviews about Pan Am on yelp and so to share my opinion, I added my own review about PanAm on Yelp, and it was hidden under "reviews that are not recommended." So here's hoping this will be seen? I don't understand the majority of the negative reviews on Yelp. On second thought, I do. But none of these issues relate directly to them. These are issues every New Yorker has unless they're paying 5M+ for their apartment. And even then I've heard similar stories or different but far worse... I've had nothing but the best experience with PanAm in my last 4 years. Most of the negative reviews are all things that people deal with in ny, no matter who the landlord. I've been living in Manhattan for over 25 years now and have moved around a lot. Probably 15 apartments total. I've had the experience of several different landlords. Maybe 3 or 4 that I can think of off the top of my head that were as responsive to my needs as PanAm. My super has always helped me out whenever I need it, and if for some reason I can't reach the super, I contact Pan Am and if I'm emailing late at night I always have an answer the next morning or latest early afternoon. They've even addressed some of my issues with tenants by sending out flyers to the entire building. Mostly, I've been angered by the reviews on yelp because I've recommended PanAm buildings to friends and family, who then always stumble across their reviews and second guess themselves and my opinion. I've typically been able to sway them since they've all spent time at my apartment and don't have anything but nice things to say. I don't want my friends, family, and coworkers to think I'm making poor recommendations when I know that its the opposite. Anyway, maybe one day my review will be approved by Yelp. Who knows, since I've always had issues with reviews showing up for restaurants, my laundromat, my dog groomer... they pick and choose as they see fit. I don't really get it.
Cooper & Cooper was such a blessing. Jordan Cooper (one of the principals) contacted me himself in order to set up an appointment and really took the time to understand my needs, requirements, and deadline. Even though we were moving in about a month, we had to find an apartment that specific week due to other work commitments, which would only leave us one week before our scheduled move. Jordan set me up with one of the firm's managers (Genevieve) and we met the next day. Genevieve met with us at our hotel and took us from the Upper East Side to the Lower East Side. We saw about eight apartments, all ranging in sizes, prices, and amenities. She was friendly, professional, organized, efficient, right on spot with the timings, and responsive. We made the decision to go with a wonderful complex in the Upper East Side, steps away from the subway station, within blocks of Central Park. Although it was on the higher end of our budget, we could not be more happy with our choice. Genevieve even managed to negotiate our monthly rent down and include two years of free gym membership in the building (savings of $1200!). Jordan personally attended the lease signing in order to answer any question we might have had and show support. Cooper & Cooper even offered to oversee the movers if we were too busy! In any case, our experience with Jordan and Genevieve could not have been any better. My wife and I felt like they really cared about us and about their reputation. Every firm has good agents and bad agents. But we thank Cooper & Cooper and know we would've never found this complex without them.
In View of some recent derogatory comments made about the Brusco's, I thought I would offer my insights about my experiences with the family business after 30 years of residency on 92nd Street. In all that time, I have basically found them supportive, reasonable and responsible. They have carried me through lean periods when rent was over due and my funds were low. They have made repairs promptly and professionally. When I call the office for any matter, large or small, I am always treated respectfully and usually with a swift response to my issue. My acquaintance with Paul and Joe Brusco is strong and I find them to be stand up guys with little or no agenda except to satisfy their tenants needs. I have been able to argue loudly and strongly with no repercussions and when all is said and done, we quickly return to a genial friendship. I enjoy my apartment, they take care of needs in the apartment and sometimes even offer a faster or more efficient route to solving any problems. Landlords are generally perceived as "the enemy" with their only agenda being to raise the rent." I have found, in my experiences with the Brusco's, nothing could be further from the truth. Thanks for reading and if you have problems with your building or apartment...instead of taking to social media to air your issues, call the office and talk to them. They are available and ready to do the right thing.
I believe I'm the exception to the stereotypical landlord/ tenant dynamic. I've lived in a Brusco building on the Upper Westside for many years. All in all, I can only characterize my experience as extremely positive. Whenever there's been a problem in the apartment, it's been tended to in a timely manner. In fact, I've often scheduled a repair on the same day I've reported it. Also, once a work order is generated, I can contact the plumber, electrician, painter, or contractor directly, without having to deal with a middleman. Though I live on the ground floor directly facing the street, I've never felt unsafe. It has also given me many advantages: heat is immediate from the boiler directly below my apartment, water is from the city instead of the tank on the roof, a vintage elevator is not a concern, and being right off the lobby means the area around my front door is presentable. My dealings with the office staff are courteous and easygoing, and while my contact with the Bruscos has been limited, it has always been cordial and respectful. I appreciate the ongoing responsibility of upkeep and repairs, and I love the fact that the responsibility isn't mine, but the benefits are. In short, I consider this my home, and I'm very grateful to be living here."
I have been a tenant in two Brusco buildings since 1983 and have always found the Brusco’s to be fair, compromising and very generous, especially to me when things got a bit tough…letting me go three months rent in arrears… making repairs quickly even though I owed them money and even renting to friends of mine who may have not have had all the necessary requirements needed to lease an apartment in this city. By definition, to many folks, landlords are the enemy. And I say, they most assuredly are not! Just as a good director needs good actors to tell his story… good landlords need good tenants to stay in business and you don’t have the kind of Brusco longevity in the real estate business without treating those good tenants fairly and squarely. And they have been doing it for over 50 years… that in and of itself should say something much louder than whatever drivel some cowards choose to write on a social media blog.
HANDS DOWN THE BEST!! I know what you're thinking. How is it possible for a real estate brokerage in New York City to have so many 5 star reviews? I am here to echo 100+ reviewers that these guys are the real deal. From the moment I called them, I could tell they were different. They were friendly, responsive, made sure I was prepared with my documents (letter from my employer, bank statement, pay stubs, etc) and willing to meet me on short notice (I had been left for dead by one of the big agencies, and running out of time to find a place). Cooper & Cooper came to my rescue, thank goodness! They have tons of access to great buildings across the city. I looked in a few different neighborhoods with my agent before settling on a fantastic 2 bedroom. Approval was quick, I signed the lease and done! Finding an apartment can be super-stressful, but it doesn't have to be. Give these folks a call, they won't disappoint!!
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Fantastic! I worked with Jelena Koprivica and she was an absolute delight to work with. Friendly, professional, honest. First of all, I was making a move from CA to NY and had to find a place either within 5 days or while I was still out of town. I met with Jelena multiple times, she showed me so many great apartments and even gave me tips about the neighborhood! The thing I loved about her the most was that she was never pushy or aggressive. She made sure I turned in all my lease paperwork on time, but she was never pushy. I ended getting a great luxury apartment in a building i LOVE. Oh, and did I mention that she helped me secure a place/submit all my paperwork, all while I was still out of town?! Jelena is amazing and I would recommend her to any of my friends.
Being a long time resident of the upper west side and living in the same apt. for over 25 years (thanks to the compassion and understanding of the Brusco's) I can only rebuke anything negative about the entire Brusco Family. For years I felt like I had to apologize to anyone coming over to my apt. for the first time as the entry and hallways were atrocious! Soon after the Brusco's purchased the bldg. the improvements began and they continue....and I am talking major improvements from a new boiler to all new stairs and flooring. As for the Brusco office staff especially Orchid and Celsa, they are ALWAYS courteous and professional. It may not look like it here but I know many, many happy Brusco tenants!!
ABOVE AND BEYOND CUSTOMER SERVICE! Joe Brusco was wonderful as my realtor. He took time to listen to my needs and found multiple apartments that met my criteria. He filtered the choices after questioning me about what I liked and disliked about the apartments we had just seen. He was responsive by phone and email. He was always punctual and I felt he never wasted my time (it was obvious that he prescreened each apartment he took me to.) In fact, even after the lease was signed (when other agents would never be seen again) Joe was helpful to me by securing professional services and furniture. I would highly recommend Joe to anyone looking for a professional, caring realtor.
There has perhaps never been a better tool for do-it-yourself home handymen than the internet. With detailed instructions and videos explaining how to perform a number of common maintenance and renovation tasks around a house, an untrained homeowner might be surprised at how much he or she can accomplish with a quick search online. But even with all of this information, there are still many jobs that lie far outside the scope of most DIY enthusiasts. General contractors are there to fill in this gap.
A general contractor specializes in seeing a home remodel or repair project through from start to finish. To do this, the contractor works with the client - whether they are a homeowner or business - to nail down the scope of the work. Then he or she will turn to one or more subcontractors for specific tasks, like equipment operation, design, electrical work or whatever else is needed.
In essence, general contractors could be thought of as middlemen between a homeowner or business owner and any number of specialists. To get their money's worth, many assume they should just "cut out the middleman" and hire specialists directly, but this often proves more difficult in practice. General contractors won't be completing an entire project by themselves, but should have a long list of dependable experts who can work together and accomplish any task. They might also serve as the manager on the site of a construction project, overseeing workers and providing guidance and assistance when needed. For larger projects, though, the contractor might only handle administrative matters and employ a foreman or other professional for on-site supervision.
There are many general contractors who also specialize in certain tasks themselves. There is usually at least one general contractor on hand to organize the construction of an entire home, for example. But general contractors could also help a homeowner add an additional bedroom, build an in-ground pool or complete a major landscaping project. They could also work with a business to add or improve office space, whether that means making more room or converting a commercial building from a nail salon to a restaurant. Basically, if it's a job that involves building or repairing, a general contractor probably knows how to get it done.
No matter what the exact job may be, a contractor will probably need to accomplish several other essential tasks in pursuit of the ultimate goal, which may include:
- Understanding and applying for building permits to meet local regulations
- Organizing a budget and adhering to it throughout the project
- Gathering all the necessary tools and equipment, from hammers and shovels to large excavators and generators
- Securing the construction site and equipment after work hours
- Working with personnel on-site to address any issues
- Keeping records of materials, labor and all other expenses
Every general contractor performing any kind of work on a project must be licensed to do so in their state. The guidelines for the specifics on licensing vary from state to state. Some states might only require registration of contractors, which is different from licensing. Registration typically means that there must be a written record of what work is being performed and by whom, but it does not guarantee professional knowledge. Licensing, on the other hand, involves an examination process to assess professional competence.
Whether your state requires licensing or registration of contractors, there should be a record of most professionals willing to complete certain projects in your area. Check your state or county website for more information. In states that require licensing, every licensed contractor's contact information is available online or from another public source.
Not every project needs to be completed by a licensed or registered contractor. If it's just a minor job that won't take more than a day or two, and will cost less than a few hundred dollars, it's likely not necessary to find a licensed or registered contractor. However, anything bigger or more expensive, or a project involving plumbing or electrical work, needs to be completed by a licensed or registered professional.
General contractors also must be covered by an insurance policy. This should include liability coverage for any property damage that could be inflicted in the course of a job. It should also include a worker's compensation policy in case anyone is injured on the job. Before hiring a contractor for anything, ask for written proof of this insurance to see exactly what is covered.
A number of trade associations for contractors in the U.S. exist. Some of the biggest include:
- Associated General Contractors of America: Represents more than 6,500 general contracting firms and more than 9,000 specialty contractors nationwide.
- Associated Builders and Contractors: Represents non-union contracting firms.
Most trade associations for general contractors will provide references for anyone looking to hire a contractor for a specific project. They may also provide a number of benefits for their members, including assistance with licensing, training, insurance and business development.
Hiring a General Contractor
No matter what you need accomplished, you want to choose a contractor who can get the job done right at a reasonable price. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure you find a trustworthy general contractor.
Finding general contractors
The first, and perhaps most reliable, way to find a general contractor is to ask friends and family members for a recommendation. If you know anyone who has had major work done on their home, particularly if it's a similar job, ask them who they hired and if they were pleased with the result. You could also ask neighbors about who they've hired if you notice work being done on their house. Many remodeling contractors post signs in front of homes to advertise their services. As a general rule, it's rarely a good idea to hire a contractor who solicits work by going door to door.
If you are considering hiring a contractor without a personal recommendation, ask the contractor for references from past clients, and do as much background research on them as possible. Look for any complaints (or compliments) online to get a better idea of their track record. There are a number of websites specializing in connecting contractors with people or businesses who need work done. These sites may also allow past clients to submit their own reviews of the contractor.
Before hiring a contractor, make sure you are both in agreement on the project's budget. It's normal for most contractors to charge clients a premium not only for the labor expenses and zoning expertise, but for acquiring the materials as well. Be as clear and concise as possible regarding what you'll be purchasing yourself and what you will be paying the contractor to complete. Homeowners may be able to find a better deal on raw materials when they purchase these directly, but they first need to be sure they aren't buying the wrong things.
Don't forget to discuss how the project will be finalized and what will be done about cleanup. Plans for how the work site will be cleaned at the end of each day as well as at the conclusion of work need to be put in writing. An experienced general contractor should make every effort to keep the workspace clean and prevent dirtying or damaging any other area. Even so, talk with the contractor about the daily schedule, the logistics of transporting workers and equipment, and how cleanup will be handled.
As previously mentioned, you need to make sure to follow any state and local regulations regarding construction work, which includes hiring a licensed or registered general contractor. Ask the contractor for proof of their certification before signing anything, as well as their proof of insurance. You should also check your homeowners insurance policy to see if they offer coverage for contracted work. You may want to call your insurance provider and ask for more details on what your plan will and won't cover.
Perhaps the best way to feel safe about a contractor and the work being done is to hire a contractor you trust. This is why relying on personal references from friends and family is so important, and will often provide a great deal of peace of mind. If you aren't able to obtain a reference, work to conduct extensive research on the contractor as well as the work you are hiring them to perform. This should bring everyone's expectations into alignment and result in a safe work environment.
Before any money changes hands, there should be a contract to sign. Make sure the specifics of the work to be done and all costs are listed in the contract, right down to the most precise details. If you forget to have something included in the contract after signing it, there's rarely a chance of recourse.
Once the specifics of the job are nailed down, be sure to discuss the payment schedule with the contractor. This is important because paying too much up front offers the homeowner minimal leverage if the quality of work does not meet expectations or contractual specifications. Try to establish a reasonable pay schedule with the contractor, such as paying 10 percent of the total cost for each 10 percent of the work that is completed. It's a good idea to include this payment plan in the contract as well.
Finally, look into getting a lien release signed before work begins. If there is ever a dispute regarding payment over the course of the project, a contractor or subcontractor could place a payment claim, or lien, on your property. This can trigger a long legal process that may be frustrating. To avoid this, ask the contractor to sign a lien release, which is a legal agreement that states that any payment accepted is final. This can come in handy if a contractor has his or her own payment issues with their subcontractors. Signing a lien release form certifies that any payment made by a client to the contractor is enough to pay for any goods or services rendered. A lien dispute could also be prevented by performing due diligence prior to picking a contractor, as any contractor with good credit and a long track record of satisfied clients should have no trouble paying for materials and labor once all contract conditions have been met.
Once work is underway, it's never a bad idea to check up on the progress of the job, either by staying in touch with the contractor over the phone or visiting the site in person. If you work with a trustworthy professional, it's probably best to keep your distance and allow everyone to stay busy. If you want to keep an eye on things, make sure workers wear the right safety gear and that everything looks to be moving along according to schedule. Finally, once work is finished and you are satisfied, be sure to thank your contractor and tell friends or family members about your experience.