Yes, I understand that buying real property or shares in a cooperative can be a long and emotionally involving process, however, the walk-thru/inspection of the property 3 to 24 hours prior to closing is crucial. The last thing you want to hear from the attorney(s), is that “no one is liable to credit you for anything broken after closing.” Certainly, there are contextual realities in which this may not apply, for example – if you buy a property in a new development and there are construction defects – it is possible that the developer has measures in place to remedy defects post closing. Subsequently, what I am referring to here, is on the resale of a condominium, or cooperative/townhouse. I believe that buyers of real property, or shares in a cooperative should hire a professional inspector, and also conduct a personal and careful walk-thru prior to closing. The inspector, of course, will check for the building’s electrical, the boilers, the roof and even give an opinion of the foundation of the structure; he/she will also check the actual unit(s) that you may be purchasing in depth. In a condominium or cooperative, technically everyone who owns shares or real property, is, to some degree responsible for contributing towards the reserve fund. Furthermore, buildings usually have income producing systems in place to build a reserve fund – including collecting from investments, or even incorporating commercial income with services like laundry, or having a commercial space within the building. Roofs and major mechanicals also usually have warranties/insurance for a given amount of time – thus, it is crucial to know the type of warranty, and life of the boilers, roof, electrical, because if they are old, and the warranty is about to expire – the insurance may only cover a certain amount. If a building does not have a robust reserve fund, or a system in place to cover the repairs and labor in the given context, it is likely that YOU will end up paying for part of it in the form of an assessment in a cooperative, or increase in common charges in the case of a condominium. The inspector will certainly also check your: appliances, electrical systems, outlets, potential leaks, floors – windows, even air. As a prospective home owner, you should double check that: all door handles are working, there is not an issue with the pipes (in the case of gas leaks, or rotted pipes under the sink? ); if there is a fridge, it might work, but did you check the ice-maker? Yes, look for patched up leaks in in all rooms within your walls; open up the windows, they can be expensive to fix or replace. Your smoke /carbon detector(s) should be functioning, but if they are not, it is your responsibility to make sure that they are functioning immediately upon taking possession. Additionally, check the dishwasher (yes run it) the washer and dryer (yes turn it on), and anything else that you can think of, including noise – you never know. Be prepared, be happy, take responsibility for your happiness.
2013 could be a year of additional movement for our real estate market. At this time, judging from research – it appears that inventory is somewhat low and prices have started to see some increases. While there are new listings; both cooperatives and condominiums, the selection is still somewhat controlled. Since the (2008 +) economic decline, affecting new constructions and loans there was a decline in new construction, something that is also changing as of 2012, and into 2013. There are some new notable luxury condominiums splashing the midtown landscape. Additionally, the Hudson Yards appears to have approval for a 90 plus year lease deal to be able to develop residential and commercial properties, which will continue to add to the on-going revitalization of Manhattan’s undeveloped areas.