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But what are the details that purchasers of co-ops, condos and townhouses may, to their subsequent dismay, overlook sometimes immediately after closing or, not infrequently, months later?
In the kitchen, consumers may too late discover that the gleaming stainless steel of the commercial-style oven does not contain a self-cleaning feature or that the equally gleaming refrigerator does not come with a water dispenser. Prospective buyers also should check whether: the drawers are self-closing, indicating highest quality; the cabinets are sturdy and composed of solid wood; the backsplash is not only attractive but also perfectly installed. Is there under-the-counter lighting, evidence of leaks beneath the sink, an effective seal in the dishwasher?
In baths, it is a good idea to see whether the tub needs reglazing or that any evident reglazing of the tub and wall tiles looks like a budget job. What is the condition of the grouting? Has an old-fashioned toilet been replaced with a new one that saves water and flushes well? Check the quality of the vanity and see whether there is enough space to store medicines, cosmetics and other supplies there or elsewhere. Is new tiling demanded? If there are, say, marble tiles, are they an inexpensive stock type so prevalent in post-modern construction aiming to look costly but failing to provide top quality?
Elsewhere in the apartment, give careful consideration to flow. At the entrance of the apartment, ideally there ought to be enough room for you to greet visitors and unburden them of their outerwear. Hallways are not an economic use of space, though they may be necessary and even provide drama if they provide a sense of grandeur.
Whether in the kitchen, baths or other rooms, finishes can dazzle and daze. How well do moldings meet each other and the walls, door saddles fit and other details appear? Do doors close easily and completely? Has any stain been uniformly applied? Is the new paint cheap stuff used by flippers? Are the walls skim-coated?
Floors require special attention. Do they squeak and are they of a construction that transmits noise up and down because they are supported by wood joists? If you can see the nail heads in hardwood floors, know that refinishing is not an option. Are the floors level? Now look up and shudder if you see popcorn on the ceilings, another cost-saving device of which post-war developers have been uncommonly fond.
Another concern must be electrical service. Not only should there be enough amperage into the apartment and, preferably, circuit breakers, but be certain there are sufficient outlets.
"Sustainable Kitchen" by Jeremy Levine Design. Where would you look for any defects?
As for the windows, can you hear street noise readily? Are they well insulated from the elements? If you plan to replace them, learn whether there are requirements in the building that will prevent you from making the sort of improvement you plan. Also find out whether there is a requirement for a new owner to have new windows of a particular type installed.
Since no apartment exists outside of a building, what’s inside the building as a whole also bears scrutiny. You can learn a great deal about maintenance simply by walking up or down a couple of flights of stairs used for service. There and elsewhere, do you detect unpleasant odors? If a bike or storage room is important, a big question also is whether there is enough space for you. Is the storage area common or is an individual area made up of chicken wire or, instead, a metal bin? If there are lobby personnel, you’ll want to note their attitude and appearance.
The foregoing items do not likely surprise you (and the list of them is hardly exhaustive). Many of them register on an unconscious level but must be raised up. Other of these suggestions may not occur to buyers as they waltz through the apartment of their dreams, perhaps nearly swooning at the eat-in kitchen, the well-proportioned rooms, the plentitude of closet space, the updated bath, the original pre-war details.
Almost without exception, the property for which purchasers seek to make an offer is that one in which they fall in love, at least figuratively. Nothing else they’ve seen before or after measures up in their minds. That’s why a second or third look is never a waste of time. That’s when defects and quirks tend to come to the fore. It’s a bit like having many dates before moving in with someone.
Indeed, falling in love with a property is something like falling in love with a person. What you like may never fade, but those aspects that annoy you and tend to gloss over at the beginning are like thorns that dig deeper over time. You would be ill-advised to ignore them at the risk of having your dream home become, if not a nightmare, an irritation that just won’t quit.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.