A GUIDE TO BUYING A COOPERATIVE OR CONDOMINIUM IN MANHATTAN
Mitchell Hall 646-442-7166 email@example.com nycREALTOR.us
COOPERATIVES AND CONDOMINIUMS
CO-OPS – Manhattan’s Primary Housing Style
Co-ops, (short for “cooperatives”), are apartments owned by a corporation. Individual tenants do not own their apartments in exactly the same way that they would a condominium or a house. They actually own shares of stock in the corporation. These shares are apportioned based on the size and floor level of their apartment, and ownership is established by a stock certificate and occupancy is governed by a “proprietary lease.” The corporation pays all real estate taxes, maintenance expenses, and the underlying mortgage on the building. The coop owner’s portion of the payment depends on the number of shares owned in the corporation. Cooperative ownership is the most common form of apartment ownership in New York City. There are three times as many co-ops as there are condominiums in Manhattan, which means that there are more co-operative apartments on the market and they are likely to be more affordable than similarly sized condominiums. Basically, cooperative ownership offers the same advantages with a few extras: 1. 2. 3. The tenant-owners elect a Board of Directors, whose responsibility is to meet, interview and “approve” or “disapprove” a prospective owner, thereby protecting the present tenants’ interests by approving only qualified candidates. Cooperative ownership offers a more stable community environment. Residents tend to stay for longer periods of time, and few co-ops allow extensive subletting, preferring a high owner-occupancy. A large portion of the monthly maintenance fee paid by each shareholder is tax deductible, i.e. the pro-rata share of the cooperation’s real estate taxes, as well as the building’s underlying mortgage payment.
There are some disadvantages, however, in purchasing and owning a coop: 1. 2. The board often requires a larger cash downpayment. Usually prospective purchasers are required to put 25% down. Some co-ops may require more. Many of the most exclusive buildings permit no financing at all. Most co-ops prefer owners to be occupants; therefore subleasing an apartment may be difficult. Each coop board has its own set of rules, but generally speaking, subletting will have to be approved by the board, and permission is usually granted for no more than 2 years. Some co-ops, however, are more flexible and are known as “easy boards”. Owners are normally not allowed to use their apartments for professional or business purposes. Almost all renovations to individual apartments will have to be approved by the board. Owners who wish to sell their apartments will have to have the new buyer approved by the board through the application process.
3. 4. 5.
Despite the disadvantages, cooperative ownership remains a very popular option for residential ownership in Manhattan. Your Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy salesperson can be relied upon to guide you through the purchasing process.
Owning a condominium in Manhattan is the same as owning one anywhere else. It is a fee simple ownership, and the buyer receives a deed in a formal title transfer. Monthly payments to the condominium are called “common charges,” and they are used strictly for maintenance and upkeep of the jointly owned areas. Of course, the amount of interest on the owner’s personal mortgage is fully tax-deductible. Fee simple ownership gives owners the right to rent their apartment, making it a better investment opportunity. Mortgage amounts can be as high as 90% of the sales price if the buyer qualifies. Often there is not a formal application process, so the time from contract signing to closing is usually shorter.
One to six floors. No doorman. Built in the late 1800s and early 1900s as single family homes. Many were converted during World War II to create multiple apartments (3-10 units per building.) Brownstones have “charm,” high ceilings, architectural detail, and usually wood burning fireplaces. Square footage is generally less than a similar room count would provide in a doorman building.
Located mostly in the mid blocks. Usually six to nine stories; and many are found on side streets. Non-doorman building. Some pre-wars have an elevator attendant, and many have intercom security and live-in supers.
Four to eleven or twelve story buildings. Former commercial buildings converted to apartments. Large open space. Usually an elevator (sometimes a freight elevator) but no doorman service. Most are found in lower Manhattan in SoHo, Tribeca, or Chelsea. Some have restrictions regarding tenancy such as status as a certified artist.
Twenty to forty or more floors, and a twenty-four hour doorman. These are also postwar buildings. The more luxurious buildings also have a concierge who provides services such as receiving laundry and packages. Some of these buildings have a health club and/or swimming pool and a parking garage.
Ten to 16 floors. Doorman or non-doorman. Built 1900’s to 1940s. Exterior and interior architectural detailing. Common features include high ceilings, hardwood floors, arched doorways, or fireplaces. Most are co-ops.
Built from 1946 through today. Exteriors are usually white, red, or brown brick. Usually less expensive than pre-wars. Long corridors with many apartments per landing. Eight foot ceilings, big closets, and small kitchens. Laundry facilities are usually in the basement.
Up to five floors. No elevator or doorman. Originally built as multi-family housing, this is one of the cheapest apartment options. Sometimes called “railroad flats,” these apartments can also be very charming compared to newer buildings.
An area adjoining the living room space which can be used for a dining area or be separated or closed off to make a bedroom, den, or office. 3
CONVERTIBLE, FLEX, OR JUNIOR
An apartment with a larger alcove off the living room which can be converted to another bedroom, or which can be used as a dining area. A “convertible two-bedroom” or “flex two” is a one-bedroom apartment with a large alcove and 1 or 2 bathrooms.
Units which are fully equipped with furniture and amenities. Apartments are available for long and short-term use.
An apartment with a small alcove off the living room which can be converted to a small bedroom or used as a dining area. A “junior 4” would be a potential 4-room apartment: living room, bedroom, kitchen, and alcove area (bathroom is not counted as a room.)
Sometimes found in apartments with high ceilings. An upper area which has been built for storage or as an extra sleeping area or living area.
A studio is a two-room apartment (the kitchen is considered one room). An “alcove studio” is a studio with an alcove for dining or sleeping. A studio with a windowed alcove large enough to be a bedroom can be referred to as a “junior one-bedroom” or “junior 3” (three rooms).
A one-bedroom is a three-room apartment (kitchen, living room, and bedroom). A onebedroom with a windowed alcove large enough to be a bedroom is called a “junior 4” (4 rooms), “flex 2” or “convertible 2” (convertible to two bedrooms).
A two-bedroom can be a four, five or six-room apartment. A “flex 3” or “convertible 3” is a two-bedroom apartment with space for an additional room (third bedroom, dining room, den, maid’s room, etc.).
A classic is an apartment in a pre-war building, which has a formal dining room, 1 or 2 baths, and, in a larger apartment, 1 or 2 maids’ rooms. A “classic 6”, for example, is a 6-room apartment in a pre-war building that has a living room, formal dining room, two bedrooms, kitchen, maid’s room, and 1 or 2 bathrooms. In the larger classics, it is common to find the smaller maids’ rooms combined into one larger room. Frequently, pre-war buildings have been gutted and “rehabbed,” but room counts and layouts will usually be listed according to their original configuration.
HOW TO PURCHASE A COOP OR CONDO IN MANHATTAN
1. Start out with a neighborhood choice and a budget in mind. 2. Consult your REALTOR, mortgage broker and/or banker regarding a mortgage. (If you need to know how much you can afford, find out BEFORE looking.) 3. Select a real estate attorney, someone who specializes in Manhattan co-ops and condos. Suburban lawyers or lawyers who specialize in other fields can spell trouble or delay. 4. Discuss with your REALTOR a negotiating strategy and make an offer. In New York City, offers are submitted verbally, and negotiations proceed back and forth over the telephone and may be confirmed in writing until all aspects of the sale have been agreed to—price, amount to be financed, occupancy date, closing date, disposition of lighting fixtures, etc. 5. Accepting the offer: There is no legal obligation between buyer and seller until a contract is signed. In a hot market, this process should move quickly. 6. Gain information about the building you’ve chosen—its financial and physical condition, its history as a coop, etc. Your agent and your lawyer will guide you in this process and your attorney will go through the “due diligence process”. 7. Going to contract: The seller’s attorney prepares the contract and forwards it by messenger to your attorney. Both attorneys consult and agree on all points. 8. Signing the contract: You sign it first, then it’s sent back to the seller’s attorney to obtain the seller’s signature. A down payment is expected at this point—usually 10% of the contract price, which is held in the seller’s attorney’s escrow account. 9. Complete the mortgage application, if any. 10. The bank that is providing the mortgage will arrange to have the apartment appraised. 11. Prepare the board (or condo) application.
FOR A COOP:
12. Consult with your REALTOR first, and then begin preparing the board application package. (See How to Prepare a Board Package.) 13. Submit completed board papers, along with mortgage commitment letter to your REALTOR. 5
14. Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy managers thoroughly review the package. 15. Board package is submitted to the managing agent who then orders the credit check, and forwards the application to the board members. 16. Some or all of the board members interviews purchasers. Your REALTOR will be your guide. 16. Board approval is obtained.
FOR BOTH CONDOMINIUMS AND CO-OPS:
17. Closing is arranged by the seller’s and buyer’s attorneys, in conjunction with the lender. 18. Move-in time is coordinated with the building’s superintendent. 19. The entire process can take between 2 to 5 months.
HOW TO PREPARE A BOARD PACKAGE
A major aspect of purchasing a co-op apartment is completing a purchase application and assembling financial documents and references, which together are commonly referred to as “The Board Package.” First time co-op buyers are often shocked by the amount of confidential material required by boards. Just be assured that the information is kept confidential. The primary purpose of the Board Package is to assure the corporation of your financial ability to carry the apartment (boards are tougher than banks) and to give them confidence that you will be a “cooperative” shareholder and a welcomed member of their community. Each co-op has its own set of requirements and application formwhich your Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy agent will obtain for you from the building’s managing agent.
OUR TWO MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS ARE THESE:
Read the instructions on the cover page carefully and plan to provide ALL the information requested. Your agent will “translate” some of the items for you. Be sure your application, references, and supporting documents are neat and clear.
THE MOST COMMON ELEMENTS OF A BOARD PACKAGE ARE:
1. Purchase Application—Should be typed. Fill in all the blanks and answer all questions: name, address, social security number, name of attorney, schools attended, etc. 6
2. Credit Release Form—Your permission for the managing agent to obtain a credit check on each applicant. Just sign it. 3. Contract of Sale—A copy will be acceptable. 4. Financial Statement—A blank form is usually provided in the package. Basically a statement of all assets and liabilities AND supporting documents, it is VERY important that all sums on the statement reconcile with the attached supporting documents. For instance, don’t list a checking account balance as of January 1, and then include the February statement as backup. Every item on the statement (except for personal property) needs documentation. 5. Reference Letters—A combination of personal and business references. Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy recommends that these letters be taken seriously. Please ask your friends and associates to be specific and glowing in their comments. These letters are an opportunity for a Board to “get to know you.” They also provide subjects for the interview discussion. 6. Tax Returns—Many co-ops require the last one or two most recent Federal tax returns. 7. Landlord Reference—Verifying your past prompt payment of rent or maintenance charges.
Approximately two weeks after the completed Board Package has been submitted to the managing agent, you will be called for an interview. If your schedule has unusual constraints that would limit your availability for meeting with the board, your Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy agent will indicate this in his or her cover letter for the board package.
CONDOMINIUM APARTMENTS FOR THE SELLER:
Broker Attorney Managing Agent Fee Move-out Deposit New York City Transfer Tax New York State Transfer Tax Miscellaneous Title Co. Fees Bank Attorney Fee 6% $1,800.00 and up $450.00 $500.00 1% of purchase price up to $500,000, and 1.425% of the price over $500,000 $2.00 per $500 of price $100.00 $300.00
FOR THE PURCHASER:
Attorney Bank Fees (if applicable): Points Application, credit check, etc. Bank Attorney Short Term Interest Tax Escrows Recording Fees Mortgage Tax Title Insurance Fee for owner Mortgage Title Insurance Fee for bank Violation Search Managing Agent Fee Common Charge Adjustment Real Estate Tax Adjustment Mansion Tax $1,800.00 and up 0 to 3% of loan value $500.00 $450.00 One Month 2-6 Months $100.00 1.75% of mortgage amount on loans under $500,000, and 2.12% of mortgage amount on higher loans Approx. $675.00 per $100,000.00 Approx. $500.00 per $100,000.00 $170.00 $250.00 One Month (prorated) One to Six Months (prorated) 1% where price exceeds $1,000,000
Some of the above fees are estimates and we recommend advice from legal counsel. All information is subject to errors, omissions and changes.
COOPERATIVE APARTMENTS FOR THE SELLER:
Broker Attorney Co-op Attorney Flip Tax Stock Transfer Tax Move-out Deposit New York City Transfer Tax New York State Transfer Tax Bank Attorney Fee UCC-3 Filing Fee 6% $1,500.00 and up $450.00 1% to 3% of price (if applicable) $.05 per share $500.00 1% of price up to $500,000, plus $25.00 recording fee, and 1.425% of price over $500,000. $2.00 per $500.00 of share price $300.00 $20.00
FOR THE PURCHASER:
Attorney Bank Fees (if applicable): Points Application, credit check, etc. Bank Attorney UCC-1 Filing Fee Short Term Interest Move-in Deposit Recognition Agreement Fee Lien Search Maintenance Adjustment Mansion Tax $1,500.00 and up 0 to 3% of loan value $400.00 $450.00 $20.00 One Month $500.00 $200.00 $250.00 One Month 1% where price exceeds $1,000,000
Some of the above fees are estimates and we recommend advice from legal counsel. All information is subject to errors, omissions and changes.
New residents in New York City may be overwhelmed by the vast array of public services and municipal structure that they find upon arrival. The following information is a general guide for fledgling New Yorkers who are trying to get settled.
Application forms for a Learner’s Permit, a Driver’s License, or Non-Driver ID card are available at all Motor Vehicle offices. See the list below for offices in Manhattan. If you are transferring an out-of-state license to a New York State license, both written and road tests may be waived if you hold an out-of-state license that is valid or expired within the last 12 months. The out-of-state license must be surrendered to obtain a New York license. The out-of-state license must have been in effect for six months to qualify for a test waiver. To transfer your license, you must bring proof of your name and proof of your date of birth. An eye exam is also required. Eye tests may be taken at Motor Vehicle offices or you may bring in Form0000 MV-619 (Visual Acuity Report) completed by a medical doctor, registered nurse, optometrist, or optician within the last six months. To register a vehicle for the first time, you must bring the following to your local Motor Vehicle office: Completed registration/title application Proof of ownership Proof of insurance in the registrant’s name Proof of inspection Sales tax clearance Proof of registrant’s name and date of birth If the registrant is not the owner of the vehicle, registration authorization from the owner together with proof of the owner’s name and date of birth If the vehicle was purchased from a dealer/leasing company, an odometer disclosure statement Bill of sale Appropriate fee To change a registration and/or title, you must provide the following: Completed registration/title application The current registration receipt For vehicles newer than 1973, the certificate of title Proof of registrant’s (or new owner’s) name The appropriate fee
LICENSE AND CAR REGISTRATION
For a change in name, partnership, vehicle year, vehicle identification number or registration class, also provide: Proof of insurance in the registrant’s name Proof of change to be made
Department of Motor Vehicle offices: 141-155 Worth Street (Between Center and Baxter, across from City Hall) 2110 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard For more information, call (212) 645-5550.
There are a number of companies that provide the necessary services for a comfortable home. Contact: Con Edison for gas and electricity: (212) 338-3000. Heat and hot water are included in the rent in most buildings, but not all. Gas is included in some. NYNEX for phone service. Call (212) 890-2350 for new orders.
Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy’s Concierge Services You’re moving. Life is hectic. You need things done. Our Concierge Service helps you do them…
Buying a home can be overwhelming, but not with us helping you. When you need a mover, an architect, decorator, plumber, painter or maybe even a dog walker, call us because we know them all. We have a network of preferred service providers exclusively for our customers and clients who are selected because they meet our high standards. Want to learn more? Just call our Concierge Desk at 212-327-1200, ext. 235. or click the link One call, one resource. Now isn’t that nice?