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I am considering 2 options: (1) buying the apartment next door and combining with my existing apartment or (2) buying 2 apartments that can be combined very easily. There are complications to each in terms of getting the purchase done but #2 has a very easy floorplan to combine and while #1 would have a more complicated floorplan and would require taking out a kitchen, renovating the apartment next door, knocking down a few walls, moving plumbing, etc but we wouldn't incur as much transaction costs from selling our existing apartment and the execution would be easier. What are the costs and approvals needed to do each of these combinations outside of the typical renovation cost? Both are condos. Do the owners have to approve the combination or just the Board? Does the DOB have to approve the combination and how long and how much does that take? Someone mentioned higher transfer taxes on the combined vs. the individual. The 2 apartments to be combined (option #2) have a tax abatement; could that be negated if they are combined? I am trying to determine how doable it is to combine 2 apartments when you are buying them separately from 2 separate owners and how long before we can actually live there (how long approvals take etc, excluding the time the actual construction takes). In addition to cost for #2, I wouldn't want to close until the combination has been approved (by the building and the DOB)and I'm trying to understand the timing of those hurdles and if it's reasonable that a seller would wait that long for the approvals. Thanks.
If you go with option 2, why don't you just buy a 2 or 3 bedroom rather than combining two apartments. Seems like a messy proposition on a new purchase. If you buy the apartment next door, that would make more sense. We faced a similar situation 15 years ago, when we owned an adjoining studio and 1 BD, we ultimately decided to buy a 2 bedroom/2 bath, in move-in condition. So much easier. If you do decide to combine apartments make sure you do it well, many combos end up looking like some odd patchwork of rooms.
It is to make a 4 bedroom and combining these 2 apartments will be cheaper than buying a true 4 bedroom (and there are very few 4 bedrooms in our area with what we are specifically looking for).
I agree that combining your existing apartments would be less expensive, not so sure about buying 2 new apartments when you add the combo costs. Also be careful about having the most expensive apartment in the building if you have any intention of moving somewhere down the road. What area do you live in?
also, FWIW, I've noticed when looking at the floorplans of combination apartments, that the bedrooms can get very small because of the need for a corridor between the combined apartments.
REL1: On option #2 it sounds like you may already have something in mind, but I know of an opportunity that fits that profile. I am not a broker and this is not currently on the market. If interested to hear about it please email me at email@example.com
In my current building, this would be the most expensive apartment in the building and require a corridor so one of the bedrooms would be a little small (and as I said construction costs would be more). With option 2 (the 2 new apartments), the construction costs would be very low and a corridor would not be required so the bedrooms would actually be large and it would not be the most expensive apartment in the building. I am wondering what other hidden costs and/or hurdles there are to combining apartments though.
1) Can't speak to the legal issues of combining a co-op, did it with co-op (2x).
2) Your post wasn't clear as to which would produce a better floor plan. That would be of tremendous importance to me.
It sounds like #2 is a better floorplan, in a building where this wouldn't be an outlier in terms of size or CC+tax.
Don't know what level of pain you're willing to put up with, and also #2 may end up being way more $$ (carrying 3 apts for a while),
but if it were me, I'd go for 2.
You can't close BEFORE you go about obtaining approvals for apartments that don't belong to you. So there's always a risk that
any proposed combo won't be allowed. Unless of course both sellers are wiling to wait and sign off on all the papers (never seen
this happen and why would it unless there you pay extra).
"1) Can't speak to the legal issues of combining a co-op, did it with co-op (2x)."
You can't speak about the legal issues of combining a co-op, but you have combined two co-ops? (I am trying to assume no legal issues came up...)
Typo. The first co-op should be a condo.
Do not do #1 if it results in an awkward layout. You will have a tough time recouping your costs when you go to sell. #2 will only work if each seller permits you to have a contingency that the purchase is contingent upon the purchase of the other unit and board-approval for the combination; however, I can't imagine either seller would be willing to tie up their unit like this unless you are paying a premium and they are in no rush to sell.