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Hi all, can I get some weigh-ins from board members and reno-experts (2-part question):
Situation: I am in the process of buying a place, all looks pretty good so far, the only thing In am thinking about is a possible bathroom renovation. The bathroom is okay now, livable, but not as nice as I want.
I am wavering between a full gutting and just doing cosmetic changes.
So: Had a board interview and been telling them I will not renovate at the moment. My broker told me to say that, and then at closing drop the renovation plans on their desks if I wanted to renovate.
From an ethical standpoint that seems wrong to me, I mean I would basically be lying to them if I would do that.
Or is this somethings that is common and board members just go with it and resign them to the fact that people at interviews will say what they want to hear? (If I was a board member, I would not take kindly to that new person coming into the building...)
So that's one question and ethical quandary.
The other one is regarding the renovation (prewar, 4x9 bathroom, last reno was probably in the 70's)
If I don't take out the tub, would I still have to change risers and have the plumber come in and all that?
If I wanted to change the toilet and sink but keep them in the same place, and also retile floor and walls...?????
I am not clear if that in itself means a much smaller scope of work Do I need to redo the sheetrock walls for wall retiling?
Would it mean work could get done faster? Less hassle for board approvals and all that?
Could I do it when I am in the place already, at some point within the next 6-8 months?
Sorry, I hope all above makes sense and you have some answers.
something got cut off, it should read:
I am not clear if that in itself means a much smaller scope of work ?
Do I need to redo the sheetrock walls for wall retiling, tearing down walls?
First, do not lie to a board. Be honest. "Drop plans on the table at closing" is offensive, unnecessarily confrontational, and not a good way to start off with your new neighbors. Why would you want to offend a board you want to approve your plans? Boards won't turn you down because you want to reno a bathroom anyway. And if they were crazy enought to do that, would you want to live there anyway? Better to find out up front.
Retiling usually means resheetrocking or new plaster. Changing plumbing is a matter of building policies--best to ask the super what he knows. In terms of timing, best to do before you move in. It will make an utter mess. Fine dust all over everything that is almost impossible to contain. If only a one bathroom, you can't live there during reno in most cases. Just bite the bullet and get it done before you go ahead and paint and redo floors (assuming you are doing those things). Obviously, the less you do, the quicker it goes.
"My broker told me to say that..."
"From an ethical standpoint that seems wrong to me..."
Kudos on figuring out that lying like that poses an ethical problem.
Let me give you a life lesson. Unethical people tend to think everyone behaves unethically. As such, when they encounter unethical behavior, they tolerate it. Then they get screwed by an associate's unethical behavior, which reinforces their thinking. Ethical peoples' radar goes off when they observe unethical behavior, even if directed at a third party, and steer clear of associating with such people and avoid getting screwed. Ever hear the expression "you can’t cheat an honest man"?
Fire your broker. He/she is screwing you, but you're too blind to see it. What do you think happens when you throw renovation plans at the board after telling them you didn't want to renovate? What do you think would happen to your deposit if you made closing contingent on renovation approval which wasn't spelled out in the contract? If your broker is telling you to lie blatantly, what do you think he/she is lying about to you?
I think this would be another edition of the video-series on Youtube, this one is called "Shit real-estate borkers say"
Here's a thing about board members: they're your peers. So they know that the apartment for sale in their building has a '70s bathroom, and they know how much money you have, so if you say you're not going to reno it, chances are that they're going to guess you're lying.
However, a small-scope-of-work new walls and floors, new fixtures is a "small" reno, and it's possible once you're in place. It will be a week or so of having to shower at your gym, but probably only a day or so without a toilet.
DG Neary Realty
Well you don't have to offer any info they don't request. Did you tell them without being prompted that you WILL NOT reno? That's stupid as well.
If they ask, you can say it is outdated but livable so it's something you may want to spruce up.
Remember the interview is not a time to have a conversation, get to know your potential neighbors, share your thoughts, shoot the sh*t, or any other nonsense. They ask questions... you politely respond only to what is asked.
Wow. Sorry, but your broker sounds like a skunk. Absolutely do NOT lie in your board interview. Misrepresenting yourself could have real consequences down the road. "Drop the plans on their desk" after telling them you're not planning to renovate is a sure-fire way to begin a pissing match which could result in the outright rejection of your plans.
If asked, tell them you'd like to update the bathroom. Unless you're proposing expanding it into a dry zone there really should be no problem at all with getting your plans approved.
It sounds like you've already told them you don't plan to renovate. Now it's just a matter of time before you reveal that you're a liar. Welcome to the building!
wow, what's with the vitriol? that's not really warranted, I feel.
but thank you, front_porch and kylewest et al, for your level-headed answers!
and no, to clear things up, I did not lie at the interview.
Look, the bottom line is: do you want to get past the coop board or not? Sure, you can be honest and bask in your spotless integrity. However, your integrity is not putting a roof over your head. Renovating old apartments is INEVITABLE, and if coop boards live in a fantasy world where high net worth individuals are supposed to be content to live with formica bathrooms with pink bathtubs and moldy tiles, then go ahead and feed their delusions. "Oh, the bathroom is just lovely as it is now." If coop boards were more rational, applicants would not have to lie.
You can be vague with your answer so that you're still on good terms. Just say that you hadn't thought about it, but nothing comes to mind as far as renovations or work. As an afterthought maybe throw in that the bathroom is a little old, but still in great condition which was a selling point of the apartment.
If you have adequate liquidity per the board requirements, I would not feel bad about giving such a response in the interview. Because you clearly have enough cash to renovate and have an emergency fund left over, so the board should approve you. But let's be honest, not all board members are teh sharpest tools in the shed. There's usually one or two who know finance then the rest are just popular and go along with whatever the smart one said.
This whole thing about board rejections be ause a buyer wants to undertake reasonable Reno is apocryphal IMO. I've never encountered an actual case of this. I think it is an urban myth.
I have been renovating for a long time now. I have never come across a board that rejected someone over a small renovation. There are not too many people moving in anywhere that will not do something, weather its paint or a new kitchen or new bathroom. It would be different if at the meeting you said you want dot gut the place put in central air and make it into a 3 year project.