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Thread: Buying a new construction condominium

  1. #166

    Default CoO check on DOB site?

    [quote=bananaman;196690]spaceboy,

    I'm going through new construction closing right now. Here's how it went:

    I kept in touch with the sales office for their best estimate of my closing date. About three months prior to the estimated close I started checking the (publicly accessible) DOB Building Information System almost every day to see if any Certificate of Occupancy inspections were scheduled.




    How exactly did you see if hte COO inspections where scheduled by looking at teh DOB site? I went to look at my new construction building, but i don't see any links to scheduled inspections...

  2. #167

    Default

    I also think it depends on the size of the development. I have seen some small ones where they are willing to do a lot more in terms of site visits and customization whereas in the larger ones they just dont have the time or desire to deal with dozens of units asking for changes here and there...

    Your best bet in terms of a site visit is before you sign anything or make an offer. If you can make them feel like you are serious and the site visit is the thing you need to get you over the hump, they will let you do it.

  3. #168

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mh330 View Post
    How exactly did you see if hte COO inspections where scheduled by looking at teh DOB site? I went to look at my new construction building, but i don't see any links to scheduled inspections...
    Yes the DOB site is a bit on the c rude side isn't it? If you've found the "Property Profile Overview" for your building, click on "View Certificates of Occupancy" and get the job number. Then click on "Bldg Info Search" and enter the job number under "Application Searches". You will then see a "C/O Application Summary" link which is what you want. Yes the information is publicly available, but I guess nobody said it had to be easy....

  4. #169
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default

    But once you figure it out ^ it's a piece of cake

  5. #170

    Default 80/20 rule

    How are all of these new buildings with 421-a tax abatements dealing with the 80/20 rule for affordable housing? Do they really set aside 20% of the housing for lower income families?

  6. #171
    http://tinyurl.com/2ag28z Front_Porch's Avatar
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    Default Can multiple owners buy one condo unit?

    The question, can multiple owners buy one condo unit?, was asked separately here:

    http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=16580

    so I thought it was worth adding to this FAQ-style thread.

    The short answer is, you'll have to ask the building, but generally yes. The Orion, for example (which I picked just because it's new, and it's big) has sold units to family trusts, to corporations, and to LLCs.

    I would recommend having a lawyer set up the holding structure for you, just to minimize possible risk -- it cost me less than a thousand dollars to set up a LLC with my lawyer doing all the work, which is a relative bargain if you're thinking about using it to hold a large asset such as a one-bedroom.

    ali r.
    {downtown broker}

  7. #172

    Default Softening & negotiation?

    I know it is difficult to generalize, but I'm wondering if people are seeing more new construction projects willing to negotiate than perhaps 6-9 months ago? A year ago, nobody dared to think that one could meaningfully negotiate on 99% of the new construction projects in Manhatttan.

    I know, for example, that the Sky House recently was offering to negotiate the prices on a number of units to begin moving inventory. Ditto at the Charleston project where there seem to be price decreases across the board on remaining unsold units.

    Is this merely a function of slow sales at these two developments, or is there a feeling that with all the new units coming online and the pace of sales slowing a bit that there may be some broader changes afoot?

    Thoughts appreciated...

  8. #173
    http://tinyurl.com/2ag28z Front_Porch's Avatar
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    Default pricing

    Individual buildings may be exceptions, but I don't think you'll see much softening through bonus season.

    ali r.
    {downtown broker}

  9. #174
    http://tinyurl.com/2ag28z Front_Porch's Avatar
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    Default NY Post article on condo boards . . .

    NY POST

    NOT IN MY HOUSE By MAX GROSS
    January 10, 2008 -- Get ready to start groveling. If you follow New York City real estate, you've no doubt heard of its infamous co-ops and their maddening boards. They're notorious for making buyers beg and plead for a spot in the building - poring over financials, conducting background checks, wading through private matters, postponing closings and often shutting out potential residents altogether - without any need to explain themselves. And if you're lucky enough to get into a co-op building and then decide to renovate or (shudder!) sublet your place ... well, good luck. Don't like it? Buy a condo.


    The problem now, though, is that many condo boards are starting to ape their co-op cousins. And while you'll still be able to put less money down (10 percent down is common for condos, while most co-ops require at least 20 percent), the rest of the condo-buying process has gotten a lot harder.


    "They provided us with a list of instructions that was, like, 24 pages long," says Jerry Sisk, an aerospace engineer and former Air Force officer who's buying a one-bedroom condo at 300 Cathedral Parkway with his daughter, Shana, in the name of their family trust.


    "They wanted me to provide two years of tax returns, they wanted to look at my bank accounts, they wanted to know how long the bank accounts had been around for, where I was going to get the money to pay for the condo. They wanted notarizations and signatures from my CPA and my bank. They wanted notarized signatures from my wife and myself. They looked at my stocks, my bonds, what's in trust, what's not in trust. All my assets, all of my liabilities."

    The Sisks also had to sign off on a criminal background check. And even though they struck a deal with the unit's seller in late October, Shana, who will be living in the apartment, was not able to get the green light to close on the Morningside Heights condo until last week.

    "I had to be out of my prior apartment by Nov. 30," she says. "I have been homeless throughout the entire process."

    She's slept on friends' couches in the interim.

    This represents a big shift from the way the condos of yore operated. The appeal of the condo used to be that it didn't adhere to all the Draconian co-op rules and regulations. "The condo application used to be three pages, and you did it by hand," says Mary Jo, a senior vice president at Barak Realty.

    "The great thing about condos is that you don't have to rush the sorority," says Holly Sose, a broker with City Connections Realty. You didn't have to impress your neighbors because what did you care what they thought?

    But even Sose has had to confront the fact that some condo buildings are changing their tune. She recently found a client - who didn't want to be bothered with a lengthy interview or a financial disclosure - a condo he liked on 26th Street in Manhattan. But when he was asked to cough up all his financial information, he balked.


    "He thought the whole process was offensive," Sose says. "He just said, 'Forget this' and took something on 18th Street. On principle, he thought it was dumb."


    "I was more surprised than anything else," says Hatim Diab, another buyer at 300 Cathedral Parkway who had to dig himself out of an avalanche of paper after he made an offer on a one-bedroom. "If I can get a loan, why can't that be [the end of it]? Didn't the bank already look over everything?"
    The phenomenon is taking place mostly in older condos.


    "There's a natural tendency to have some say over who lives in the building," says Jonathan Phillips, a broker with Halstead Property. In new-construction buildings (which don't yet have real boards), most developers are just interested in selling out the building.


    "I think it would be crazy for [a developer] not to be helpful to a buyer," says Elad Dror, director of residential properties for the Monian Group.


    There are, of course, limits. Immediately after The Post reported in October that cross-dressing millionaire killer Robert Durst looked at the Miraval Living building on the Upper East Side, the developers announced they were legally capable of blocking any deal involving Durst.



    "The sponsor has reserved to itself the right to not sell an apartment to anyone that the sponsor believes would have an adverse impact on the unit owners," building attorney Stuart Saft said at the time.
    And even with new developments, finances are likely to matter a lot more than they used to, thanks to the credit crunch.


    "It's a bandwagon effect," says Jeffrey Katz, CEO of Sherwood Equities. "There's a realization that ... there hasn't been enough caution."


    While co-ops have always insulated themselves from financially shaky buyers (such people were simply rejected outright), a condo doesn't have the same flexibility.


    "The only say [a condo] has under traditional bylaws is that the board of managers has a right of first refusal," says Harry Gaffney, a real-estate attorney with Simon, Eisenberg & Baum. "If you sign a contract, the board can step in and say, 'We'll buy it [at the same price].' But that's really the limit to their involvement."


    In the past, it was a given that a condo board would never actually buy the apartment - unless it was being dramatically underpriced.


    "There was a case of that last year at 100 UN Plaza," says Kevin Brown, chairman of Century 21 New York Metro. Rather than see the price of the building diminished, the board stepped in and tried to buy the unit. "But the buyer immediately upped the offer to $50,000 or $100,000 more and [the buyer] squeaked by."
    However, this is still relatively unheard of. Most boards don't have millions in cash reserves lying around.
    And there are many more ways condos are making life tough for potential buyers.


    "They're not exactly exercising right of first refusal," says Prudential Douglas Elliman Managing Director Jacky Teplitzky. "It's more subtle than that. They're coming back with more and more questions. And [they'll do it] until the contract will expire and the buyer has the opportunity to walk [away from the deal]."



    Condos are also getting more nitpicky about what goes on in the building. House rules are being beefed up. They're getting "much more stringent about when [renovation] work can be done, when elevator service can be used and having architects look at what you want to do in your apartment," says Donald Trump Jr., who was recently involved in a flap with the condo board in the Trump Place building where he lives. (Trump was kicked off his board and had to maneuver his way back on.) "It's definitely gotten more intensive."


    Renovations, pets, subletting, even smoking in your apartment are all now going through boards.
    "They're asking for more insurance on renovations," says Teplitzky about her own Upper East Side building, which recently went condo. "If the insurance was $1 million, they're now talking about $2 million. And I'm not talking about for moving walls. I'm talking about just a paint job."


    "I am dealing with one building right now that is considering amending their house rules to prohibit smoking in the condo," says Luigi Rosabianca, a real-estate attorney with Rosabianca & Associates, who sits on numerous condo boards throughout the city.


    Can the building legally do this?


    "Sure," says Rosabianca, "when it's having a pejorative effect on the quality of life."
    "Another thing I'm seeing is zero tolerance" when it comes to not paying common charges, says Rosabianca. In some cases, he notes, the boards are filing liens against owners who are late on their common charges - and tacking on late fees.


    All of the annoyances are clearly having an effect on condo buyers.


    "I had a client who was looking at three properties in a row on Riverside Boulevard," says Constance Southwick, a broker with the Corcoran Group. Two of the three condos had restrictions on pets. The client picked the building that allowed pets, even though she herself didn't have a pet.





    "She went for 220 [Riverside Blvd.] because of resale concerns," says Southwick. "New Yorkers are big into their dogs. She thought it would be easier at some point in the future and not discourage potential buyers."

  10. #175

    Default Tribeca Space

    Just wanted to let everybody know that I still haven't closed on my Tribeca Space condo (nor has anyone else who bought into the building and was promised occupancy in Fall 2006). No word from Sponsor or Corcoran Marketing as to what the problem is or a projected move-in date. I should have rescinded my purchase contract when I was given the chance to do so by the Attorney General in September 2007. I feel like a real fool now. Do you think the Attorney General will force the Sponsor to grant another right of rescission???

  11. #176
    http://tinyurl.com/2ag28z Front_Porch's Avatar
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    Default Note to prospective buyers: check your HVAC!

    In the old, old days, apartments had fireplaces and radiators.

    Then as HVAC (that stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technology got better, the units began to get flatter, and recess into the walls.

    However, there has been a crop of new construction condos where buyers have found the units to be more prominent, louder, and leakier than they thought.

    If you are buying new and now, you should get a recessed system that isn't prominent and doesn't make jet-plane level noise -- but it is something for you and your broker to inquire about.

    ali r.
    {downtown broker}

  12. #177

    Default

    Since the HVAC units aren't always on when people go to check out the model units, does anyone know what some "good" and "bad" models are just for reference sake? Pictures would be helpful, if possible. Thanks!

  13. #178

    Default

    Boogi -

    Ask to turn it on at the beginning of your tour. Some units don't work so well in the cold and will sound overly loud, but it generally takes some time for that to set in. You'll at the worst hear it at it's worst.

    It stuns me how unwilling buyers are to question sellers. It's going to be your home, do everything you can to ensure it's somewhere you really want to be.

  14. #179
    http://tinyurl.com/2ag28z Front_Porch's Avatar
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    Default

    It stuns me how buyers are so "certain" that real estate agents will lie to them that they'd rather walk into a sales office and "believe" everything that gets said to them.

    My advice, especially for first-timers, is to bring a buyers' agent with you -- that person can then look at all the buildings you're looking at and help you sort good from bad.

    They do get paid -- ranging from 2% to 4% of the sales price -- but that's worthwhile if it keeps you from having some of the experiences we've heard about on these boards.

    ali r.
    {downtown broker}

  15. #180

    Default HVAC headaches in new construction

    Quote Originally Posted by boogi View Post
    Since the HVAC units aren't always on when people go to check out the model units, does anyone know what some "good" and "bad" models are just for reference sake? Pictures would be helpful, if possible. Thanks!
    I moved into a new construction condo last summer. I would like to warn people about some issues with them to consider. Our HVAC units building wide have been giving us problems. Some were installed carelessly, they were left on without filters and got dirty and clogged, the drain systems didn’t work or were clogged causing flooding, and some were just defective. The sponsor/builder now states that it is our responsibility to fix the units. ( we are fighting that). Which brings me to the warranty issue.

    When we bought a replacement HVAC unit for our second home, we were issued a 10-year warranty on most parts, 5-year warranty on parts and labor. When I called the manufacturer of the units (Climatemaster) in our condo I was told that the sponsor/builder did not take out the warranty on our units, therefore it is “out of warranty” We have only owned our unit for 6 months!

    So rather than all the worry about paint imperfections I would suggest to new buyers get down in writing the warranty coverage on your HVAC units. And if there isn’t any, call the company and try to get it before you sign on the dotted line. The repairs are very expensive.

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