Buy It or Build It? A Guide To Creating The Ideal NYC Home

Buy It or Build It? A Guide To Creating The Ideal NYC Home

A panel of experts provides insights on one of NYC’s most popular topics-the quest for an ideal living space.  Should you find a turn- key home you love or create one by combining units or renovating a relative bargain? What are the financial risks and benefits of various approaches, including lifestyle choice? A real estate broker, real estate attorney, architect and contractor combine their experiences and knowledge to manage expectations and answer your questions about the process, duration and pros and cons in NYC.

Jennifer Roberts, Associate Real Estate Broker with Engel and Voelkers, NYC
Robert J. Smith, Attorney-At-Law
David Yum ’87 CC, Principal, David Yum Architects
Lee Stahl, Contractor and President of The Renovated Home

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With over three decades of experience in selling condominiums, co- ops, townhouses and lofts in New York City, Jennifer Roberts has built a reputation as a hard-working, good-natured broker, using her knowledge and experience to empower her clients to realize their real estate goals.

Jennifer is currently an Associate Broker in the Park Avenue office of Engel & Völkers, one of the world’s leading global companies in the brokerage of residential properties.

Along with Randi Fisher, she is a founder of The Fisher Roberts Team. Jennifer was named one of the Crowned Heads of Real Estate in the April/May 2017 issue of AVENUE magazine. She has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Huff Post, Resident Magazine, Brick Underground, The Real Deal and Global Vision Magazine, among others.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science and has an MBA from Fordham University. She is also a certified negotiation specialist (CNE). Prior to her career real estate, she worked for American Express, Dun & Bradstreet and Bloomingdale’s.


Robert J. Smith received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980 and a J.D. from New York Law School in 1983. He has been admitted to practice in New York State and the United States District Court (Southern & Eastern Districts of New York) since 1984. Mr. Smith is a member of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), where he is a member of the Real Property Law, General Practice and Trusts and Estates Law Sections, and was selected to serve as a member of the NYSBA’s Committee on Condominiums and Cooperatives. Mr. Smith is also a member of the New York City Bar Association (“City Bar”), where he serves on the Committee on Cooperative and Condominium Law. He currently serves as Chairperson of a City Bar subcommittee that recently revised the condominium form contract, which is now available on the City Bar and NYSBA websites. Mr. Smith gave a Continuing Legal Education presentation about the revised form condo contract at the City Bar as part of the Coop and Condo Law Committee’s “Hot Topics” program. The City Bar subcommittee is now working on revising the standard form coop contract. His service on these committees keeps him on top of recent developments that help him to provide the best possible level of service for his clients. Mr. Smith is a preferred attorney for members of the Actors Federal Credit Union (AFCU). He has served as a panelist at seminars sponsored by AFCU and by the NYU Federal Credit Union, providing insight into the process of purchasing a home in New York. Mr. Smith is a member of the Penn Club of New York, where he participates in a monthly networking luncheon group. He has served as an Arbitrator in Small Claims Court in Manhattan and is a member of the Association of Arbitrators. He is also a member and Past President of BNI Manhattan Chapter 7.


Mr. Yum has taught architectural design at Harvard University, NJIT, the Boston Architectural Center, and at FIT, where he received a Teaching Merit Award in 2004 and 2006. In 2011, David was the Sybil Bruel Scholar in the Attingham Trust Summer Program dedicated to the study and preservation of the English Country house.  He has lectured at Syracuse University, Taylor University, and the University of Michigan. He has been a guest critic at Arizona State University, the California College of Arts and Crafts, and the University of California at Berkeley.  David received his Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College and his Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


A Designer and Builder by Trade, Lee Stahl, the president and founder of The Renovated Home has been designing and building consequential high end residential renovations and investment flips for over 27 years.

In 2016, Way Out Of The Box productions was formed to assist brokers and owners looking to market and sell their estate condition properties. Its mission simply stated is to take the insanity out of the budgetary process by providing clear budgets attached to reality, designs and specifications that appeal to the wide breath of the high-end market as well as a host of tools for sellers, brokers, and investors.

Today, these 2 companies operate side by side; designing, building and completing renovations as well onsite and virtual staging, designing, rendering and marketing estate properties ready for sale.