Carol Staab
Associate Broker
Douglas Elliman
111 Fifth Avenue
New York , NY 10003

Main Content

The Success Guide To Buying Your Manhattan Home – Step 5

How to Select the Right Apartment

  1. How to best view an apartment!
    Walk through the space “as you would live in it” thinking of your daily routines and activities. Don’t assume you can change anything about the apartment like enlarge the bath or add a washer & dryer without getting proof!
  2. Locations in a building that may affect your enjoyment or the value of your apartment.
    • 2nd floor – usually sells for less and can be more difficult for resale. Possible privacy and noise issues from the street.
    • Next to the elevator or trash chute. Can cause noise issues.
    • Directly below the roof or set back terrace – you may get leaks and hear traffic noise from the terrace.
    • Down the hall from an amenities’ rooms – foot traffic and noise from the rooms can be a problem.
    • An interior apartment with no views and light. While it may be a entry level price to get into a building just remember that it will take a long time to sell it when you exit.
    • Combined apartments or buying to combine. Make sure that the combined monthly fees are not out of line with apartments of the same size that aren’t combined. High monthly fees can create problems with price sensitive buyers when you sell.
  3. Be aware of lot-line windows – Lot line windows that face onto the lot line or invisible property line of a building may not be there forever. You may risk having them blocked up and have to pay for it if an adjacent building is built up.
  4. Buying a sponsor apartment in a co-op. This can cost a little more but may be well worth it! The big advantage and the reason buyers seek them out is because you may be able to bypass the building’s normal down payment and reserve requirements and be grandfathered into certain perks held by the sponsor such as storage and a right to install a washer & dryer. Also you won’t need to worry about passing a board interview. Sponsor apartments tend to cost about 5% to 10% more. Closing costs are higher because transfer fees in this case are paid by the buyer.
  5. Best buys for investors – You will need to buy a condominium because few co-ops allow investor purchase and subletting. Hire a broker who has experience in investor sales and buy an apartment that has the widest appeal to renters. Two to three bedroom units in luxury condos are usually in high demand. Find out what your return on investment will be and also keep in mind the level of appreciation of the property in the future.
  6. If you are considering buying a new condo with its floor to ceiling windows, high ceilings, light filled rooms and modern day amenities that suit your lifestyle then you need to know the following: Don’t equate new with perfect! Construction defects from mild to major can occur and can even interfere with your ability to sell until fixed. The most common problems are exterior leaks, windows that won’t open, defective floors, inferior substitutions for interior finishes and appliances, missing fire proofing, HVAC problems and bad ventilation. You can run into lawsuits, big assessments, and mild to severe inconvenience and expensive repair work. Choosing a developer who has an excellent reputation and track record can help minimize the risk of buying new development. Another way is to buy a resale condo in a building that is 2-3 years old that has a history so you know if there were any problems and if there were problems that they were resolved.