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If you’ve been holding off on buying that posh pad, ‘tis the season. Investors are snapping up luxury units over $1M to seize the cheap money (carpe dime?) and because of concerns over rising interest rates, say Schwartz, Levine, & Kaplan real estate attorneys Sandy Schwartz and Ross Levine, who rep buyers in $1M to $5M deals.
Scwartz, Levinge, and Kaplan's Sandy Schwartz, Jeff Kaplan, and Ross Levine
Sandy (left, with litigation partner Jeff Kaplan and Ross) is working on a unit at The Laurel (see story below), a $3M unit at 155 Franklin, a $1.4M duplex at LOFT 25, and a $1M deal at 77 Reade. Many are being financed in an active jumbo market, while others are all-cash. Want that hot tub installed before you move in? Buyers are also becoming more savvy and demanding, adds Ross. “If you’re paying all cash, buyers have more teeth,” he says. Sandy, Ross, and Jeff only launched the law firm six years ago, but Sandy and Ross go back way longer—third grade in Merrick, Long Island. Not only did they attend the same schools, they were in Little League, the University of Michigan, and Brooklyn Law School together. They even worked as associates at the same firm, where they met then-senior associate Jeff (presumably allowing him to join the secret club they started).

Sandy Schwartz, Fedor Emelianenko, and Renzo Gracie
The constant crossing of Sandy’s and Ross’ paths were not planned, but more fate, they say. The long history isn’t the only thing the duo have in common—both are avid athletes. Sandy is a blue belt in jiu jitsu, which he took up three years ago under Renzo Gracie (Sandy, left, looks on as Renzo, right, poses with Strikeforce’s Fedor Emelianenko). In a way, jiu jitsu also teaches you how to handle the industry, Sandy says. “No matter who beats you, you have to treat them with respect because you never know when you’ll see them again.” Accessibility and respect were the cornerstones of starting the firm, he says, pointing out that when his father was in construction, his biggest frustration was not being able to reach his lawyer(suggestion: the local putting green).
Ross Levine
When Ross is not crunching away at their 60 E 42nd St office, you can find him at another Crunch—gym, that is—teaching spin classes on Lafayette Street. He took up spin instruction eight years ago after he noticed his teacher didn’t draw enough attention from the class. His wife coaxed him into becoming an instructor, so he got certified and now teaches 25 to 45 people per week. It’s also been a great place to pick up clients (albeit sweaty ones), he says.