Thinking about buying a condo or co-op in New York City? Don't forget these 7 considerations before buying:
1. Understand the Ownership Difference Between a Condo and a Co-op: In Manhattan (and mostly everywhere else), the buyer of a condominium (“condo”) apartment is buying a bona fide (Latin for “good faith”; genuine) property; and that buyer’s ownership is evidenced with a deed of ownership designating the buyer as the owner. The buyer pays the overall property mortgage, real estate taxes, maintenance and insurance, etc. By contrast, a cooperative (“co-op”) is owned by a corporate entity or coalition that divides the property into “shares”; each share is sold to a buyer and designates a particular portion of the property as being leased to the buyer (as a lessee) under a long-term proprietary lease. As a lessee, the buyer pays a monthly or annual lease fee to the owning corporate entity; and as the owner, that owning corporate entity pays the overall property mortgage, real estate taxes, building maintenance, insurance and corporate employee salaries, etc.
2. Location, Location, Location! This consideration includes not only which specific location within Manhattan (i.e. for instance, do you want to live Upper East Side, on Central Park, in Midtown, in the Financial District, etc.) but also location within the condo/co-op building itself (i.e. do you want to live in a corner unit with more windows and less neighbors, facing the river, facing the city, etc.).
3. Amenities: Many Manhattan luxury condo/co-op apartment buildings offer significant amenities for residents, such as, for instance: 24/7 concierge, roof-top lounge area and/or fitness center and/or swimming pool, movie theatre, 5-star restaurant, valet parking, on-site laundry and dry cleaning, etc. Which amenities are “must-haves” for the buyer, and which amenities can the buyer do without?
4. Floor location: Likewise, depending on the location of the condo in Manhattan, does the buyer want to live on the Penthouse floor, just above the roof-line of nearby buildings, or on the first floor (if perhaps there is no elevator), etc.
5. H.O.A. fees: The buyer should be aware that Home Owner Association (H.O.A.) fees are commonly assessed monthly or annually for condo properties. These H.O.A. fees are used to maintain the “common areas” of the condo property, such as, for instance: building and grounds appearance; pool; fitness center; trash pick-up; utilities such as electricity, water, cable, etc.
6. Rules and Regulations: The buyer should become aware of the rules and regulations that are specific to the condos / co-ops that are being considered for purchase. Such rules and regulations will advise the buyer about such things as: outdoor furniture requirements; whether pets are allowed, and if so, which types of pets; barbecue grill requirements.
7. Construction & Renovations: When was the building constructed and/or renovated? Is the condition of the appliances, flooring, etc. acceptable for the buyer’s tastes? Does the buyer want a move-in ready apartment, or does the buyer want an allowance to do his or her own upgrading? What incentives are offered with purchase (such as, for instance, new kitchen appliances, a painting allowance, or new carpeting, etc.)?