Printed from StreetEasy.com at 11:58 AM, Jan 23 2017
Talk » Sales » Discussing 'doorman vs. no doorman'

doorman vs. no doorman

Any opinions on this. Is safety really a factor in considering whether to buy in a doorman building or not?

I think a good live in Super is much more valuable than a doorman.

Not that I am scared that I'd be mugged, but have a doorman is inifititely better than not having one.

1. It's convenient. You don't have to rush home to receive FreshDirect deliveries or arrange for a FedEx pick up. They're there for those things.

2. You can take safety/security for granted when entering the bldg. W/o doormen, you must first look around, open the first lock, then someone follows you into the bldg... Should you or should you not let them in... You won't have to go throug these dilemmas.

3. In terms of theft from apartments, the presence of doormen would greatly control the situation.

Thanks. nyc, I never thought of #1.

Counterpoints:

1. It costs more for a doorman. Not just built into the rent but in terms of tips you have to pay them every end of year.
2. Loss of privacy.
3. The only person I know in NYC that was burglarized lived in a doorman building.

Doorman AND live-in super is the way to go. They can make your lifestyle very trouble-free. Just beware Holiday time -- all that tipping for a fully-staffed building gets EXPENSIVE!

I have lived in both and prefer not to have a doorman. A live in super will accept packages and dry-cleaning (ours does). Also, doormen tend to be nosy and gossipy, something that always annoyed me. Particularly in larger buildings, you feel compelled to tip all staff which can run big dollars during the year and at year end. My preference is to be in a non-doorman building on a block with buildings that have doormen - safety is addressed for the block and it doesn't cost you more.

i've lived in both but completely agree with OTNYC...

Waiting an extra day for a couple of packages that need a signature is worth not having to pay for a doorman.

great feedback. thanks.

Hmmm. Those "counterpoints" seem common among people who have never really lived in a doorman bldg.

I don't understand how living close to a doorman bldg. would deter theft/crime in an adjacent non-doorman bldg. If people can sneak into a bldg., your super won't be there to greet them, and they can walk out w/ anything! My doorman won't care, or would he be monitoring the activities elsewhere (he won't be able to see, anyhow). Also, malthus, does "N = 1" in your logic not bother you?

Also, despite what some people seem to believe, I almost never encounter a nosy or gossipy doorman--I guess I have been lucky. The ones my friends, family, and I have dealt w/ have been highly professional and well-trained, refusing to talk about other residents' business altogether--almost to the point where you want to say, "It's okay, you can relax. I am not going to report you."

I agree with OTNYC and julia. Those tips can add up to about an extra month's rent. If you receive a lot of packages that need signatures, there are enough mailbox services around town to take care of that problem.

"Also, doormen tend to be nosy and gossipy, something that always annoyed me."

1,000% true in my personal experience. My gossipy ex-roommate would dish with the doormen where I used to live, and would find out who was cheating on their wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend, who was gay, who was a closeted gay, who IIIIIII had brought home when he was not around (why should he care?), who was late on their rent and by how much, etc, etc.

Disturbingly gossipy.

First of all, everyone needs to be reminded that tips are OPTIONAL at the end of the year. In fact, my building routinely pays a bonus to our super out of general operating funds just to avoid this whole tipping drama with the shareholder-tenants.

OTNYC: "A live in super will accept packages and dry-cleaning (ours does)." Good for you -- you're one of the few lucky ones. I'd like to know how your super makes himself available to answer the door and take care of these deliveries while also doing his job. Our super is too busy organizing the trash, cleaning out the back courtyard, sweeping and mopping the floors, cleaning and maintaining the roof, and fixing the boiler.

Admittedly, I'm a guy, so I've never worried about the safety issue of doorman versus no doorman. And as far as privacy, my life is an open book -- I don't care what the doorman sees. And if you do a lot of travelling, an extra set of eyes on your empty apartment can be quite reassuring.

But hands-down, the main reason why I miss I doorman so sorely is the delivery issue. Getting packages delivered without one in New York City is a PAIN. IN. THE. ASS.

It seems that people who own want doormen and people who rent prefer non-doorman buildings...or am I misreading the posters/answers/pov's.

"My gossipy ex-roommate would dish with the doormen where I used to live, and would find out who was cheating on their wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend"

I have two very good female friends whose husbands cheated on them. If it weren't for their "gossipy" doormen, they'd never have won such generous divorce settlements.

After many years in non doorman buildings I made the switch a year ago and just love it. No more having Amazon, Banana Republic and any other dot com deliver to office and then have to schlep the package home. When I need to leave something for someone to pick up, I don't have to be home. The security thing is nice but I know back when crime was a real problem in NYC, people got raped and robbed in dooorman buidlings at only a slightly lower rate than comparable non-doorman houses. I just love living in a full service building, not just doormen but the garbage shoot and on floor recycling emptied multiple times daily, the exquistely clean laundry room and building exterior. Well worth the cost even at Christmas. To be honest though, when I was my younger (much) wilder period, I don't know how I would have felt about a a doorman. The idea of someone knowing my comings and goings, when and with whom would have been a little scary...hell I didn't want to know myself.

What is more desirable as far as resale?

They appeal to different audiences. The doorman is more expensive, but there are arguments on both sides (as you can see).

I think you will find plenty of pros and cons, its ultimately up to you and your lifestyle. I only consider doorman buildings and while the tips do get expensive, I budget for them and expect them.

I also see plenty of non-doorman buildings with the same monthly costs so it is often just holiday tipcs (which do add up)

"No more having Amazon, Banana Republic and any other dot com deliver to office and then have to schlep the package home."

At least you had that option.

I worked for two of the Big Three television networks, and after the anthrax scare, ALL mail and packages are routed through a central mailroom before they're distributed. Even someone who just wants to drop off an envelope at the front desk is given the address of the mailroom building, and from there it can take days for the envelope or package to reach me (if it ever does -- books and movies from Amazon and Barnes & Noble had a way of getting "lost in the mail" when I had them delivered to work).

Love having the door open for me. Like the safety issue. Like the service for packages, groceries etc. More than one person can come and fix things - don't have to wait for the super. FWIW I have never lived without one. Can't see myself going back. If I had a lot of money I'd choose a huge apt with a doorman over a townhouse.

People say what they want to say to justify what they have, but, in the end, here is the truth: If everyone could afford a doorman bldg., they'd take it in a heart beat.

I have never heard of a buyer who specifically ask for a non-doorman bldg. (or anyone who found the presence of a doorman to be a deal breaker). By contrast, a large majority of the buyers in the Manhattan market specifically ask for doorman bldgs., and I have seen many deals fall through because buyers just had to have doormen. It DEFINITELY affects the resale value significantly.

So, you be the judge.

cccharley: "If I had a lot of money I'd choose a huge apt with a doorman over a townhouse."

I've often had those fantasies myself: 10 million dollars -- which would you choose? Fabulous townhouse in the Village, or an opulent Classic Seven in a full-service white glove building?

I have to admit, there is something about owning your own BUILDING with outdoor space. But then again -- as far as deliveries -- for me it would only work if I had a full-time housekeeper home to answer the door!

Doormen Equals Ralph from The Jeffersons.

They are fine services, but you pay for them if you are an owner and maintenance/common charges don't come back when you sell your apartment.

Maintenance/common charges is the single largest element that warps the buy vs rent, cap rate calculations and makes the net yield so low- minimizing them is highly profitable in the long run.

"Maintenance/common charges is the single largest element that warps the buy vs rent, cap rate calculations and makes the net yield so low- minimizing them is highly profitable in the long run."

In the long run, we're all dead -- as Keynes would say.

In the meantime, it sure is nice to have someone home to accept your packages, dry cleaning, and groceries while you're out and about.

"Doormen Equals Ralph from The Jeffersons."

You know that in real life, most doormen work alone and can't leave their post in the lobby, right?

enough with the 80 people saying it's nice to have a concierge- it's overpriced

"enough with the 80 people saying it's nice to have a concierge- it's overpriced"

If people are willing to pay for it and can afford it, it's a good VALUE to them, and therefore it's not "overpriced".

"First of all, everyone needs to be reminded that tips are OPTIONAL at the end of the year. In fact, my building routinely pays a bonus to our super out of general operating funds just to avoid this whole tipping drama..."

It's optional just as tipping any service professional is optional but unless the person has been incompetent or offensive, it's considered very rude to stiff the building's staff just as you wouldn't stiff a waiter for no reason. I think it's a great idea to pool the money among the owners/residents so that you don't have to go through the exercise of trying to determine what is a reasonable amount to give to whom. However, most buildings don't take that approach. When it comes to service and personal rapport, I'd actually prefer to tip the lifeguards at the building's pool rather than some of the doormen but that's where I draw the line because they are not staff and the list of the tip recipients is already too large.

I wouldn't call this issue a deal breaker by any means as there are advantages to a full service bldg as many have pointed out. But if someone is on the fence, it is a factor to consider.

Comment removed.

Doormen Equals Carlton from Rhoda.

> If people are willing to pay for it and can afford it, it's a good VALUE to them, and therefore it's not "overpriced".

On that attitude, this entire board is useless.

I see no reason, and have no desire, to ever live without a doorman again.

"What is considered normal and customary tipping during the holidays ?"

It runs the gamut from a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to the equivalent of a monthly mortgage payment.

I'm with you, Kyle. I've had the live-in super (5 years) and now live in a building with a 24-hour doorman (since March). Live has improved dramatically. I also like the doormen; they're nice guys.

NYCMatt: If I had $10 million I would choose a doorman building hands down. In particular this apartment - which comes with a doorman, pool, terrace and a fireplace:

http://www.streeteasy.com/nyc/sale/381184-condo-500-west-end-avenue-upper-west-side-new-york

In response to the OP, I just moved from a doorman building to a non-doorman building.

Things I miss:
- Not worrying about having to be home when the dry cleaning is delivered
- Not worrying about having to be home when dinner is delivered (At my old place, I used to order from seamless web before I left the office and have dinner waiting with the doorman when I got home.)
- Not having to schlep packages home that I had delivered to the office
- Having to go to the basement to throw out garbage/recycling, rather than having a garbage shute/recycling room on my floor
- Actually having to sort recycling, dismantle boxes, etc. before tossing them out
- Having to arrange to be home for repairs rather than just dropping off a note with the doorman
- Having the doors open when I come home laden with work/groceries/the packages I deliver to the office
- Not having to look around to when I am entering the building for safety purposes

I chose not to engage with the doormen in my old building, just "hi" would suffice. It wasn't at all an intrusion.

What I won't miss come December: Christmas tips for 14 staff members. For me that was half a month's rent.

OnTheMove -- regarding 500 West End Avenue:

Oh.

My.

GAWD!

Matt - regarding your post:

OTNYC: "A live in super will accept packages and dry-cleaning (ours does)." Good for you -- you're one of the few lucky ones. I'd like to know how your super makes himself available to answer the door and take care of these deliveries while also doing his job. Our super is too busy organizing the trash, cleaning out the back courtyard, sweeping and mopping the floors, cleaning and maintaining the roof, and fixing the boiler.

Our super does organize the trash, but this is about an hour 3 times a week. We have a separate weekly cleaning service that cleans the building and the roof, plumbers on retainer for the boiler. Our super has plenty of time to buzz in the Fedex guy who will take the packages to the super's apt.

As for tipping being "optional", this isn't like stiffing an unattentive waiter at a restaurant you've vowed not to return to. These are people you see every day, the names of whose wives and children you know. Good luck with not tipping them - it just doesn't happen.

On The Move -- You and I think Alike :-)) That's been on my save list for when "my ship comes in !" LOL

A penthouse with a PRIVATE POOL !!! I'd have no problems tipping the pool guy if I owned that !!

I liked having doorman and concierge better, don't get me wrong. We are moving back to one in July. But they ARE gossipy.

Doormen = Mrs. Kravitz from Bewitched!

Wow. The minute I win the lottery, guys, I am gonna beat you to the punch on that penthouse.

"-Not worrying about having to be home when dinner is delivered (At my old place, I used to order from seamless web before I left the office and have dinner waiting with the doorman when I got home.)"
Really? You can do that? I must investigate.

I think nyc212 is employed by the doorman's union.

Yes, or maybe I am a doorman. Seriously, malthus, I understand that you have a need to justify your living condition (i.e., no doorman), but the history of NYC real estate does not agree w/ your perspective.

If there are two comparable units in comparable bldgs, only that one w/ and the other w/o a doorman, then the unit in the doorman bldg. ALWAYS, always, 100% of the time, gets you more money. Period. Thanks.

What is my living condition? What is my position? You have no idea what you are talking about.

You made some points in favor of having a doorman (which I happen to agree with) and I gave the counterpoints. You then assumed that I am poor, don't have a doorman and am attacking those who do. Somebody started this post to ask for advice, not your diatribes. You should be a bit less defensive. Make that a lot.

I have lived in a doorman building and currently live in a building with a live in super. A good super. I prefer the good live in super over the doorman. Accepts packages, always around keeping an eye on things, helps with everything. All the basic benefits of a doorman without the opening the door and fixes anything and everything.

What doorman building doesn't have a live-in super?

If you have small kids, you'll appreciate what the doorman does for you. Never having to go to a store and drag a box of 100 diapers back home is blissssssss. Yes, you can buy the 20 packs, but you want to go the store every few days?

A doorman used to be a bigger issue, esp as a woman living alone.

I first moved to NYC during the early 90's when crime rates were higher. My non-doorman building was in prime Manhattan, on a block among doorman buildings, and we had break-ins, mainly because burglers knew we were one of the few buildings w/o a doorman. Often times robberies happened because people held the door for the person behind them as a 'courtesy'. Same issue I had living in other cities.

Now that crime rates are lower, a doorman is viewed more as a convenience/nuisance. But you never know when circumstances change.

I like having a doorman for the convenience and the safety. IMHO, for the long run I think it's worth the investment for re-sale value. I think more people than not would prefer one (single women, families w kids who need help loading the car, busy people who can't be home in time to pick up dry cleaning, etc.).

Uggh. I never would have thought of a doorman as gossipy. How annoying.

For those in non-doorman bldgs who need packages delived, you need to make friends w/ people who are around during the day (e.g. stay at home moms).

uwsmom: "For those in non-doorman bldgs who need packages delived, you need to make friends w/ people who are around during the day (e.g. stay at home moms)."

Gee! Why didn't we non-doormen types think of that earlier? Duh!

Could it be because the notion of a stay-at-home mom in New York City pretty much only exists in the realm of the Upper Class, where you're more likely to be living in a doorman building in the first place? Or could it be that with today's hectic schedules, with schools, activities, errands, etc. even so-called "stay at home moms" are rarely ever actually AT HOME during the day?

Hey Matt. Stop being such a douche. Glad you have it all figured out. Best!

Hey uwsmom -- it's a struggle to constantly educate the great unwashed, but I'm not giving up.

How would you know the doormen gossip unless you're gossiping with them?

A couple more advantages:

1. Carrying only two keys: mailbox and apartment door. No need for extra locks.

2. When guests are arriving while you're away, you can leave a key for them downstairs. No juggling schedules.

Re: the increased maintenance and Xmas money, it's worth it you or it's not. If you don't want doormen, no need to pay for them.

Having been a stay at home mom who was assumed by all non-stay at home moms to be living a life of leisure (um, no), I can tell you I may have accepted a package for a friend once, but to be treated like someone's personal package receiver would have really pissed me off. That's not how people should behave.

LOL - I'm rarely home, and I'm a "stay at home" mom.

"LOL - I'm rarely home, and I'm a "stay at home" mom."

Thank you, nyc10023. When I brought this up I was flamed.

I gladly accept packages for our townhouse...just a handful of people so it's no hassle. Typically I run into our delivery guy on the street while coming and going.

That's very nice of you, uwsmom. We're out of the house every morning until lunchtime, and then usually have playdates in the afternoon. Now that the weather is nice, we're home for lunch and then out again until just before dinnertime.

NYCMatt: uwsmom's child is young and doesn't go to school yet and probably naps at home, so she has to get home for that.

:)

Perhaps it's just a function of brownstone living. Our block is almost all brownstones, so the UPS guy (which accounts for 85% of our deliveries) is out on the street for quite awhile. I can set my watch by when he's around, know where he always parks his truck, and am on a first name basis (we get a lot of deliveries).

NYCMatt: "your" notion of a stay-at-home mom in New York City is, well, not correct.

So please do "correct" my notion, uwsmom. Please enlighten us all.

Comment removed.

Don't be too harsh on Matt. I am not even sure what point he was trying to make. In NYC, there are lots of different types of SAHMs, from different socio-economic levels.

Some of us are out most of the day, some are homebodies, whatever. Impossible to generalize. I'm of the "don't like to stay at home" so that kids can create messes that I have to clean.

I'm developing a profile of NYCMatt

35-38 years old
went to a college two notches under an Ivy (e.g. George Washington, Emory, Tulane, Tufts)
studied economics in college
lives alone
gay
chip on shoulder
Republican
works in media, as a mid-level guy in finance or ops

Wow, maleprop, I'm flattered that you've given me such thought. And snaps to you for your accuracy!

Close, but not on the button. Good try, though!

Doorman preferred if you have a family.

I went to Tufts. George Washington isn't in the same league. Emory and Tulane are good but not at Tufts level. More important, Tufts is just ONE notch under Ivy. We've got very low relative acceptance rates.

Right, nyc10023. The only generalization you can make about mothers is that they can't win. Always getting beaten up upon, SAH or not. SAH fathers get grief, too. Non-SAH fathers are the only ones with a free pass. Or so my siblings say. They've covered all four categories between them.

Well, the exact college and exact position within the media company were guesses.

"Non-SAH fathers are the only ones with a free pass."

A free pass to shoulder the burden of supporting the family financially.

Doesn't sound "free" to me.

True NWT.

Matt: You're missing the point.

"Well, the exact college and exact position within the media company were guesses."

Oh, c'mon ... it was all a guess.

Nope, I have a high degree of confidence on your age (you moved to NYC in 1995), your occupation (you used to work for one of the big 3 broadcast networks), that you live alone, that you are a Republican with a chip on your shoulder (you can just read this discussion to come to those 3 conclusions), and you are gay "snaps to you", "on the button" are pretty good verifiers.

Actually, over the course of my career, I've been at all three of the Big Three.

maleprop - Gay and Republican? Don't think so.

great

Gay and Republican equates with chip on shoulder.

Right. Because there's no such thing as a gay Republican. http://online.logcabin.org/

Which one of the two are you?

Well you know all the answers, Carmac -- you tell me.

I'll stick with the whole of my original profile, except the exact school and the exact employment position.

Good for you.

Anything else you care to guess?

Wow, that chip on the shoulder is really proving itself out.

Wanna come over and knock it off for me, big boy?

usc

u.s.c.

Well, all caps, but it won't let me.

I suspect a lifeline anger issue is hard to change in one evening.

Caps or lower case, wrong guess.

I would bet against USC.

Oh I don't know about that. I've had my entire world rocked in only 30 minutes. Anything is possible.

Rocked?

You read correctly.

Getting back to the question, nygal, have you ever watched Law & Order? You know the scenes where the detective asks the doorman about the person's comings and goings and who has visited them recently? It is just like that, doorman will know so much about your life, frankly I hated the loss of privacy. Doorman can't help but be interested in the people who live in the building because their job is so boring. I was a low maintenance tenant never wanted them to grab my packages as I was coming in, always tipped, never bothered them, but still the unseemly side of some members of the building's staff, including the doorman and superintendent, surfaced. Some are untrustworthy and total bitches. If you know Spanish or French, don't tell, listen in on their conversations!

If you are a shopaholic and have a ton of packages delivered to your home, well, there's no denying having a doorman will help you a lot.

Seriously, how much of your life can doormen know just from your comings and goings, as long as you keep your mouth shut and restrict your conversations with and around them to the weather and the Yankees?

If you want to own any kind of substantial co-op or condo in NYC, a doorman makes a big difference in resale value. Package deliveries or not, there's no getting around that buyers expect a good or premiere property to come with a doorman building.

Our NYC buildings are like little villages...if you want your business known it will be known...if you respect everyone and mind your business....not much will be said about you.
I have always lived in doormen buildings and I've found that it's better to keep some distance. Once you become friends with the staff, you will get more information than you want to hear!
As far as the service is concerned, there is nothing like it...especially the security of having a staff that takes care of everything in the building. It's well worth the extra expenditure.

i have lived in both and to me personally having a doorman is important. All true about the butitsskiness (sp) so it's best not to engage, hello, how are you, well will it ever be summer, what are they opening around the corner is more then enough. Even with that expect some gossip or a story. It's like anything some will be gems, some just want gossip, and some will be almost worthless. And yes, it will cost in tips.
I love a door man because of the packages, dry cleaning, another set of guys watching when i'm away and i forget my keys about 50 zillion times a day. Everyone needs different things but if you work long hours and might need some assistance with your place 9and we all do) i reco a doorman.
A great super is important but he is one guy... the doorman will also leave a message for the super so you have a better chance of getting things done.
my 2 cents

Categories:

Rentals (3178)
Market (1513)
Neighborhoods (649)
Boards (311)
Renovation (1987)
Anything (2471)
Sales (24649)
Developments (619)
Financing (509)
Schools (109)
Brokers (383)
Services (525)