Real Estate

Lessons Learned From a Decade of Answering Your Real Estate Questions

Q: For 10 years, Ronda Kaysen answered New Yorkers’ questions each week as The New York Times’s Ask Real Estate columnist. Now, as she shifts her focus to writing more feature articles for The Times, she looks back on what she’s learned. How did she answer the hardest questions and what parting words would she give to anyone seeking housing advice?

A: It’s an odd assignment, telling strangers how to deal with landlords, co-op boards, roommates and neighbors. But soon after I started writing the Ask Real Estate column in 2013, my editor offered me this advice: Think of myself as a bossy, but knowledgeable, big sister. As someone who grew up with two older sisters, I got it. If you were wrongheaded, I was here to set you straight. If you were wronged, I could help you defend yourself.

I soon became something of a 311 operator for The

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