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Oops - spelling error in title. I meant "renovation."
Back in January I bought an HDFC co-op and had, at that time, an architect who submitted plans to the board. They agreed to almost none of the items we proposed initially, but eventually allowed me to have a washer/dryer. That, I believe, is the only significant change I made to the apartment (besides demo of a on-structural wall and moving the kitchen sink a few inches.) I paid for expediting, drafting and several inspections. My architect was way too optimistic about what permitting would cost as I went forward.
I should note that my wages as an adjunct professor are shockingly low. My whole reno was done with a licensed contractor who came to his profession via an 80s diy community. In memory of that spirit, he was able to work within my budget by using salvage materials and creativity. But I did run out of savings.
In March the architect had still not filed with the city. He told me it could cost another $2000 to complete the filing and I told him to hold off. Now he is saying that I have an outstanding bill with a structural engineer for $750. But that is perhaps for another conversation.
My question is this: If I don't complete the filing, what kind of trouble can I get in? Others have more recently told me that filing was kind of unnecessary for this project. I have begun to regret the $4000 or so that I had put toward this end. And yet I worry that, having begun the filing, and leading the board to believe I will file, could lead to problems at some point, at resale etc. Does anyone have any insight on this? Sorry if any of it sounds naive.
Thank them when/if you happen to meet them by chance; avoid any further contact (other than incidental) thereafter.
> As a board member, we don't expect a 'thank you' for approval.
I agree. They were doing their job not doing you a favor. No need to thank them.
As a board member, we don't expect a 'thank you' for approval. I agree in that saying hello when you see one of the members and being a cordial neighbor says so much. If you wanted to perhaps wait until the annual shareholders meeting (and attend that) - and perhaps after you live in the building for a bit, then give a thank you to the board for their year's work and time.....that's a nice gesture as well.
Anon: I'm afraid you are on the way to official insanity. Try NOT to perseverate so much on this issue or it will truly drive you to the nuthouse.
Go to bedbugger.com and read the forums check out what pesticides other do it yourselfers use. Delmethrin may not be effective since most have immunity. I have to say if the tenants above have it, they will keep coming back in and infecting your place.
I'm feeling increasingly more optimistic about self treating these days. The insecticide and steaming binge from this weekend seems to really be paying off. Slept on the floor last night and didn't get any new bites. I found something unmoving in the bed that I'm not sure was even a bed bug and that's it. I bought lavender and a squeeze bottle for de yesterday.
That said I was scheduled to have another professional treatment today. Then the board president sent me a letter stating that it would be the last treatment they would pay for. I love the way they put it, in the language of "courtesy" treatments and some kind of implied addiction ('hey- we're cutting you off!') Since the unit upstairs is still delaying inspection, I opted to cancel and postpone my treatment until the situation upstairs becomes clear. And that led to a flurry of verbal abuse from my exterminator, who happened to let it drop that he is hurting for work right now. All of which leads me to wonder whether his results are not that great or more people are self treating.
Thanks to both of you for giving the most useful advice and support yet. :)
Wow, and I thought I was/looked antiquated because I still carry my suitcases! Good point, Matt.
"If you self treat you will only spread the problem to surrounding apartments until they come back to you."
Um, this is the essence of life in New York City.
Even "qualified professionals" cannot keep bugs (of any kind) out of a building permanently, because there will always be at least one tenant in the building who's not as scrupulously clean as you are.
I find it amusing that over the past 20 years since we've gone from CARRYING our suitcases (http://image1.masterfile.com/getImage/846-05648104em-1950s---1960s-MAN-SALESMAN-BUSINESSMAN-WITH-TWO-SUITCASES-RUNNING-JUMP.jpg) to dragging them all over God Only Knows Where, we're only know wondering why we have a problem with bedbugs.
We are a boutique building in LIC (21 units). we currently have First Management (chosen by sponsor) and we are fed up with it. We are looking to replace our management company. Any recommendation of companies that specialize in small buildings will be really helpful.
issue well covered here: http://streeteasy.com/talk/discussion/17818-80-carpet-rules
I have heard in many instances that a building requires 80% of the floor covered. I have never heard of anything else that a person would have to do. If the person complaining about the noise can't love with it they probably should move or do some sound proofing to their ceiling. Just my opinion.
It's so tricky -- floors conduct sound differently. It could be something as simple as the hardwood was laid improperly. Or you could be walking with a heavier foot than you realize. Do you have pets? Dogs in particular make more noise than their owners realize. And it's not about barking; it's about running. A little guy running about overhead can sound like a bowling ball. A big guy can sound like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. One of the quickest and easiest fixes is to stop wearing shoes in the house (I don't know why people would want to wear their street shoes in their homes in the first place).
I suppose it's possible something was done incorrectly when your floor was replaced. If that is the case you will be responsible for whatever 'fix' is needed, even if the mistake was made by previous owners.
Something else to think about before things get that extreme, though--even with 80% covering if you are clomping around in heels or have kids running around excessively you will probably disturb the downstairs neighbors. Perhaps try to do what you can to keep noise in check a bit more and perhaps this issue will go away on its own.
Go to this book from the government: http://www.nonoise.org/epa/Roll10/roll10doc26.pdf
It explains the mitigation for all types of noises. Remember, noise abatement has to consider BOTH apartments. It may be that your neighbors may have to make some changes to their home also. It may be that your neighbor is overly sensitive to noise. Also try to see whether this neighbor complained about the prior owners too.
I lived in a rent controlled apartment and the downstairs neighbor complained so much about me that I was put on notice. (The managing agent was also trying to dump the rent controlled tenants.) I asked the managing agent to come out to both apartments and see what type of remediation we could do. Good thing. The downstairs neighbor told the managing agent that I was intolerable since she heard me walking in the foyer when I entered and left the apartment. (That was because I switched I wore soft soled slippers in the house and changed to street shoes in the foyer. ) Also I took a shower every evening when she was watching TV. He asked her whether there was anything else and she said no. The managing agent came up to see my apartment and found everything in order. He told the neighbor that she was unreasonable to complain about less than 30 minutes of normal "noise" a day and suggested she move to a nursing home.
Thanks for the responses. My latter question stemmed from NYCMatt's doomsday prediction. Nothing more.
Right. Leaving it to the managing agent forces the board to codify just what the requirements are. It really boils down to meeting the financial criteria and not being a litigious crackpot. That can easily be verified by the managing agent.
On the other hand, it's the board's responsibility to vet buyers, so just blowing it off seems to be going too far.
Stop overanalyzing this. There isn't enough data recorded or even data to be recorded for non-traditional co-op approvals. A managing agent doing it is likely to give approval because none of the emotional aspects are involved.
NYCMatt, I understand that a MA may have less of an interest (i.e- it is not a shareholder and doesn't have to live/pay for a deadbeat or a "crazy" neighnot) in keeping out questionable candidates but I presume that they review the financial documentation fairly close, do DTI calculations and generally follow some sort of approval model that has been adopted by the Board. Further, from what I read on here, unless you are drooling or insult someone pretty badly, if you are brought in for an interview, you are generally good. I understand that 5 minds are usually better than 1 but do you think there is a real statistical difference between co-op defaults for shareholders who gain entry in non-alternative means such as MA approval only or purchasers of Sponsor units? And again, from what I was told, all other issues, capital improvements, finances, etc. are decided by the Board. Anyone else have any thoughts?
Lz, the fact that you're even asking that question frightens me. Stick with buying in New Jersey.
There is no standard behavior for all boards.
On my closing, I went to contract @ 1st week of January
Submitted my board package @ 1st week of february.
Was interviewed by the 1st week of march and closed around the 3rd week.
I could have probably submitted my board package faster but I committed to my rental through april anticipating it would take 90 days for any emergencies. Once things looked smooth I actually slow played it and ended up with only a week of an empty rental apt.
I would be sitting on your broker.
I shouldnt judge your broker based on him/her not assembling/making copies of your board package, but if your broker is not from a boutique agency counting all it's pencils and staples, Im guessing they are not a good one.
A buyer's broker should be proactive on the package, it's the major part of the real work they'll do for the transaction.
Once on a unit I almost bought with a crappy broker, I went to an open house of another unit they were hosting.
When they saw I was still looking at other apts, that lit the fire under their azz.
(My board def goes darker in summer, we have foregone July and August meetings. But we are a small co-op)
Just wanted to comment that I have never heard of a buyer's broker not assembling or at least substantially assisting his/her client with the Board Package. Crazy. Keeping my fingers crossed for you! Keep us updated!
"This idea that Boards go dark for the summer is exaggerated." I'm the Treasurer of my board, and I agree. General life intervenes, that's all.
Once your package is submitted to the broker(s), the broker(s) is/are the one(s) who should put it all together and submit it to the management company. Then the management company generally gets it set up for the board to review, with all the "math" on the front page (income to debt ratio, financing percentage, etc.). Then the package is submitted to to board (or sent back to the brokers if incomplete). Then the individuals on the board review the package as their own time permits. Could be a day, could be a month. Most have full-time jobs (and many have families), and none get paid for being on the board, so review to them is not as pressing as it is to you.
A majority of the board need to approve for financials, and except in rare circumstances, if you're invited to an interview, you're in (unless you really blow the interview, which is difficult to do.)
So time-wise, depending on whether you're financing, depending on a host of other things, it could be a GOOD two to three months before you hear back from the board that you're invited to interview. The length generally means nothing, other than the board members have regular lives like everybody else.
Hope this helps, and I wish you the best of luck!!
Someone previously suggested on this board somewhere that you look at time from contract to closing for previous relatively recent transactions in the building to get an idea of pace at which building's board works. That was right on the money in our recent closing. (Side note - We did not use a buyer's broker; seller's broker acted as dual agent; she did all construction of board package and gave us regular updates. Coophopeful's agent sounds awful!)
This idea that Boards go dark for the summer is exaggerated. a) it's more likely in August than July, b) lots of Boards do their business on email- they don't wait for a meeting which often has a set agenda not to be interrupted by unpredictable sale matters.
Why haven't you tried the buyer agent bugs listing agent to bug Seller (who wants this done with also) to inquire in the hallway with a Board member about the status? I'd be trying something if it has been over a month since they received the background info.
Is this building self managed? This could be the problem. Hire a managing agent and offload the work to a super and managing agent. The board should be over-seeing the process and not turning unit owners into porters and engineers.
The board should be accessible by email or in person at reasonable hours.
"Would a NYC apartment president/super even take these calls?" ... NO!
"are going to have to be small and incremental" ... NO!
Who has leverage if you decide to change the rules and do something shocking like telling people to communicate complaints via email - Them because they can say you've violated some weird by-law or you because you can just say there is no written rule and you can cite market convention as justification. I suspect it's the latter.
@Alan - To *some* extent they expect non-conformity. But what they *want* is for me to do things exactly as they have previously been done. (Exhibit A: the 2003-vintage phones that we carry around.) So any changes I want to make, either for just my term or for future presidents, are going to have to be small and incremental.
I've already set up a web-based e-mail address for the building (which I will pass down to the future president) so that I can answer e-mail using a proper PC and keyboard rather than the outdated telephone number pad. I've got the monthly meetings moved from 1 PM to 4 PM. I've eliminated the need to physically greet the cleaning staff when they arrive at 7:10 AM each morning, and am having them place their daily report copy in the mailbox.
Really it's just the phone calls at arbitrary times from other residents who expect me to always be at the ready. Would a NYC apartment president/super even take these calls? A paid super probably would. But an unpaid board president?
>I should add that this isn't in NYC.
What city is this in?
I am about to place a bid on what my broker has termed a "liberal coop" (20% down, unlimited subletting) on the UWS. My housing DTI is 22% and total DTI is 28% (no CC debt, just student loans). Credit score is over 800, I have been employed at the same job for 11 years and have been consistently promoted so I believe all that is solid. However, I have a question about post-closing liquidity requirements: is there a rule of thumb for "liberal coops"? I ask b/c after down payment/closing costs, I will only have about 20 months of "liquid assets", cash/stocks (401K adds almost 250K but I know that doesn't count as liquid). Is that generally sufficient?
Matsonjones: in another thread, someone mentioned that the building has had large maintenance increases the last couple years. Is this true? And can you please explain why the maintenance has been increasing? In general, is the building financially sound, with big reserve fund? Thank you very much for any insight.
I (somewhat) recently moved into 225 East 57th Street.
I like the fact that the hallways are clean and clear, and doorways are not surrounded/cluttered with personal ephemera. It's common space, not an extension of your unit. I've lived in other co-op/condos in the past where it felt like an bootcamp obstacle course just to navigate the hallways.
Now I hope my building board and Wallack Management will look kindly upon the renovation plans I'll be submitting soon (*fingers crossed*)...
Board prez here (but not Mr Paget)... The placement of boots, umbrellas, doormats, bicycles, etc is the common hallways and fire stairs is not only against board rules but moreover against the NYC fire code. It is the same reason that these items are not permitted in rental buildings of well managed buildings. If management is aware of these issues and does not remedy, it creates potential liability to the building if someone were to be injured. This is NOT a co-op issue! This is an issue for all multiple dwellings with shared common areas.
The board president should probably keep his yap shut:
"[...]the Midtown East co-op where Dennis Paget is the president of the board, and where the `no umbrellas and boots in the hallways' rule is also in place. `I tell the staff people to confiscate them,' Mr. Paget said."
that question is more dependent on the submission timeline of the package and the speed of management companies turnaround/review.
Coop hopeful, Good luck. Most people do not carpet their foyer unless the floor isin poor shape. It's excluded from the coverage requirements likely in part because it's not a typical area to cover. It's also not as though anyone below is trying to sleep in their foyer. It's a pretty high traffic area for everyone and as such also a place easier to clean absent carpeting. Not sure why I would cover the foyer. On the other hand we have rugs in every room other than the baths and kitchen and fully covered and padded the hallway,notwithstanding the new hardwood floors.
If I ever get approved for the co-op I'm trying to buy, I plan on getting wall to wall carpeting, and that will include the foyer area. It will include everything except the kitchen and bathroom. Why would you not cover your foyer?
front_porch: The regulations of the building specifically said that they did not require floor coverings in the hallways, bathrooms, and kitchen. The noisy neighbors said they followed the "letter of the law" and refused to do anything more since they had spent a lot of money on carpeting. You can buy all sorts of hallway carpeting on Overstock.com for very little money.
This is just common sense. You put floor coverings down in highly used areas of the apartment. The 80% rule really is only enforced if there are noise complaints. Why would you want to set yourself up to have a dispute with a neighbor?
>>The managing agent suggested they split the cost of putting down rugs in the hallway.<<
Unbelievable. People can be such jerks. Why indeed would you not cover your hallway if your kids are going to tromp all over it and disturb the neighbors? And to suggest the neighbor should have to help carry the cost of putting down a cheap runner is mind-boggling.
Why wouldn't you cover your foyer?
Garden Realty. 718-836-9724. Far and away the best and most
knowledgeable and conscientious management company that
I have ever dealt with. It is located in Bay Ridge.
Wow... I am perplexed with the lack of quality property management companies in this city. I am the Vice President of a 28 unit condo in Williamsburg and I really need a good solid recommendation. Please list your experiences and comments with said companies. Any info at this point is much appreciated. Thanks!
You should sell now and buy back in when you're ready to move back.
We used to rent in a coop with 2 year limit (at least on paper) but they have made exceptions over the years as coop management/shareholders gets 20% of the total yearly rent and we were good tenats. We rented close to 4.5 years.
Not much you can do, most boards are very strict on these types of rules, Maybe this is a gift, its a great time to sell now unlike 2 years ago when you rented it out
Ask them for a waiver due to extenuating circumstances and keep your fingers crossed. Occasionally a building will do that for you. However, many people in a coop buy in just because they don't want renters.
I just moved into a coop just because they are very strict about subletting. After many years in a condo, I just got fed up with increasing number of owners who used them as rental properties. The tone of the building changed with the increase of renters.
You need to invite the Board President to Daniel or Per Se and discuss your need to pay a consulting fee for advice on dealing with boards in general.
Sorry, I must not have been clear. I'll use numbers. Let's say that, looking at the past two years, one-bedroom apts in my building sell on average for $800,000 to $1,000,000. And let's say that the price in my contract is $975,000, putting me in the top 10% of that range. In this scenario, my board's attorney said the transfer was rejected because that price was too low and suggested that an acceptable price would be a minimum of $1,200,000. But last month they approved the sale of a slightly smaller one-bedroom apt for $900,000. See what I mean?
I am simply hoping that someone has experience in this department.
>top 10% of prices for similar apartments in the last two years
Prices are up over the past 2 years.
>It is impossible that the board can legally insist that my sale be a record-breaker by 20%, right?
Not sure your math works. You say it is in the top 10% over the last 2 years. Then you compare to being 20% above all others.
>Please please advise!
You've come to the right place, this anonymous message board.
I recently went to contract to sell my apartment. The board interviewed the lovely and financially overqualified purchasers (whom I happen to know well), and we all got phone calls approving the transaction, so we started packing! Five days later, we got calls saying the approval was a mistake, and the board actually rejected the transaction. The explanation we were given (after lots of pressure from us, given their unprofessional back-and-forth) is that the sale price was too low.
HOWEVER, the agreed-upon price is in the top 10% of prices for similar apartments in the last two years. So it is rather high, given the building's history, not low. And the sale price that the coop's attorney suggested would be acceptable to the board is about 20% higher than the record price for a similarly-sized apartment in the coop!
What, if any, power do I have in this situation? It is impossible that the board can legally insist that my sale be a record-breaker by 20%, right? Please please advise!
I wouldn't tell the board about your compulsive searching the internet to see if you've been sued. That's a little OCD. Also if the charge for your appraisal (max $750?) moves the needle on your credit, I'm a bit concerned you shouldn't be buying an apartment!
^ Completely agree with bramstar on all points. Board member here as well, and "the package" is most definitely thoroughly reviewed and discussed by all members of the board. The management company pulls the credit report, and includes it in "the package". And your score falls within a relevant range, so a few points won't make a difference, *especially* if you pay your cards on time.
>As a board, we rely on the brokers and managing agents to ensure a buyer is qualified before the interview. The interview is to make sure you aren't a psycho or something - i highly doubt any board member (except for the very bored ones - no pun intended) will actually read through and make decisions based on your mountain of paperwork called "the package". <
Then you are being negligent. As a board member I read the entire package, as do the other members. We then discuss any concerns and request additional clarification through our managing agent if need be. We schedule an interview ONLY after we are satisfied with the elements in the package. Relying on your managing agent or a broker to fully vet potential shareholders in YOUR corporation is just a dumb way to do business.
And re: OP's question--no need to worry about a couple of points if your allover score is in the 'very good' to 'excellent' zone.
How is the back round check done? A couple years back I had been sued for cc (this was disclosed in our package) and I got in the habit of checking Ecourts for lawsuits filed against me. I am debt free, but I don't trust debt collectors. Hear to many stories of them suing on a previously settled debt, thus the reason why I keep checking Ecourts.
In 2012 I settled both of those and my credit scores are all above 700 now and the wife has 800's and we both have very little debt.
However, a lawsuit under someone with the same name as me is now showing up in Ecourts. I called the creditor, law firm, and court and verified it wasn't me. Plus, it's in a court upstate, where I have never lived. However, I just hope the co-op board does not come across it and think it's me.
Do they normally do back round checks?
Board member here.
My board (myself particularly) reviews the entire pile.
And credit score is monumental as it reflects that you pay your bills on time.
In fact, the higher the credit score, the less that giant pile is heavily scrutinized.
On the flip side, I recently reviewed a package where I thought the score should have been higher considering the salary and cash in bank. It lead me to further investigate the pile and realize the score was low because the heavy purchasing was being done with a debit card and not credit cards.
As annoying as it was for me to prepare my giant pile when I purchased, I understand it's necessity.
But worrying about a couple points is not something to lose sleep over.
We found little benefit to contemplating a condo. More expensive, nearly as much paperwork, but possibly actually less effective at keeping out the unwanted.
>I've visited office buildings in Manhattan and while the employees have badges, nothing is demanded of invited visitors.
Challenge you to find many Class A office buildings in Manhattan where there is no ID requirement.
And even so, so what?
And Americans do carry identification as a routine.
Matt, the "free country" point is that Americans are not required to carry government papers as a matter of daily routine. The residents' apartments are their private property, but somehow they aren't allowed to let people who aren't carrying government ID papers in to visit them? I don't think even the Soviet Union was that bad.
I've visited office buildings in Manhattan and while the employees have badges, nothing is demanded of invited visitors. I was met by the people I was visiting, and was given a badge marked "GUEST". A hassle, but still reasonable. I'm assuming that in Jelj13's building, this ID thing is for unannounced and unexpected people, and that the residents can still bring guests in with them when coming in together off the street, and come down to meet invited guests in the lobby. If they're really turning away _accompanied guests_ who didn't have the foresight to bring ID, then I don't know what to say because that's just outrageous.
"The Muslims who were the distraction, or the white Christian men who really masterminded the whole operation?"
Oh, boy. I'm not even stepping into this.
This is why you shouldn't live in a condo or co-op in NYC, you might get a nut like Triple_Zero on the board:
>Jelj, I'm glad you were able to handle your difficult tenant, but if I had been on your board, I would have been 100% against this discriminatory policy. Signing in is fine, but you're basically denying entry to anyone who isn't carrying photo identification -- something that is not required in the USA, still nominally a free country.
Did you actually deny entry to guests who weren't carrying "their papers", or did you have the tenant come down to sign them in, as office buildings do?
As everyone knows, all the 9-11 villains had photo IDs. Using this disaster as a backdoor way to oust an uncooperative tenant is despicable.
"As everyone knows, all the 9-11 villains had photo IDs."
To which "villains" are you referring?
The Muslims who were the distraction, or the white Christian men who really masterminded the whole operation?
How large is the building? Would combining the two apartments bring your total share allotment out of proportion with other tenants' shares? I've heard of this happening but it seems odd that it would be the case with a combo of two relatively small apartments unless it's already a very small building...
Bnash: when was the last combo approved? Look through the DOB records, pretty straightforward to figure out. Is there anyone on the board with whom you have at least a smiley-elevator relationship? Leave them a note with your phone number and ask them to call or ask the staff who the most approachable member is, and maybe make a house call. Be very, very obsequious - it can't hurt.
Maybe ask a broker who has sold multiple listings in the building under the current regime. Also re-list with said broker. Sometimes, it's better to go with the flow if you want to be out of there. Don't waste your energy being the neighbor from hell.
bnash - become the neighbor from hell, when you leave the house play the music as loud as you can, borrow a dog that thinks the carpet is street, invite horrible relatives to hang out in your common space. Trust me your next buyer will be approved. Sounds sneaky but the board members probably don't like you already and look forward to making life hard for you.
I have no problem with kids [they're especially good curried]. It's parents what I simply cannot abide.
Do not ignore lovetocook's post.
My ex neighbor (1st year I lived there) in my small co-op building had two kids that used to scream and run up and down the stairs.
If I get neighbors with kids again, I will sell.
OMG let it go already. They don't want you there!! Sometimes "no" really does mean "NO".
What building is this?
Crazy about you too Riccardo
I love fieldschester, but then again, I'm crazy.......................
Streeteasy is the best tool you can use right now for any apartment searches. But, as always contact a knowledgable broker who can assist you with the most up-to-date information. Streeteasy will not let you know about listings that will come on the market soon...
Whatever happened to apt23? Did her husband get freed?
Thanks - I hope you're right.
They should. Just include the letter in the package and make a note of it in the application regardless of whether they have a separate line asking for expected 2014 income.
I've posted here in the past and have gotten great information. To make a long story short, an ex and I purchased a co-op together nine months ago and now it's time for me to try to buy her out. I spoke with management and confirmed that a new application is needed despite my being a current resident.
I am putting together the application and am filling out financial info. My current salary is certainly rather low, however, in two months I will be starting a new job that is more than double my current yearly salary. I have a signed offer letter that dictates my new, much higher salary. With this income, it will be pretty obvious ( in my opinion) that I will be able to afford the apt. I will not have a mortgage, by the way, and will be buying her out fully in cash.
Can / will the board take my new offer letter into consideration? Anyone have experience with this?